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Joshua Johnson

Joshua Johnson

Equal parts editor, writer, designer, and photographer. Hit me up on Twitter, or check out my photos.

Build an Awesome CSS Slider With Four Overlays

CSS / 25 Jun 2012

Build an Awesome CSS Slider With Four Overlays

Today’s project is a fun one. We’re going to build a standard CSS image slider with a twist: the visible image area will be divided into four distinct sections, each with a hidden message that is revealed when the user hovers over it.

The ultimate effect is pretty awesome and I think you’re going to like it a lot. Along the way we’ll play with some animations, transitions, positioning contexts and a lot more. Let’s dive in and get started!

Meet CodePen: Dribbble for Coders

CSS / 20 Jun 2012

Meet CodePen: Dribbble for Coders

If you follow Chris Coyier on Twitter, then you have no doubt seen quite a few mentions go by in recent months of a not so secret project called CodePen. Chris promised us that this new tool would join the ranks of jsFiddle and Tinkerbin, serving as a sort of online playground to experiment with and share CSS, HTML and JavaScript demos.

Like a kid in December anxiously awaiting Christmas day, I’ve been dying to see what Chris and his team would come up with. Fortunately, Christmas has arrived. CodePen is a live project and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Adobe Creative Cloud: Is Subscribing to Software a Good Idea?

Software / 19 Jun 2012

Adobe Creative Cloud: Is Subscribing to Software a Good Idea?

Fresh off the heels of purchasing my new MacBook Pro, I decided that it was time to make the jump to CS6. This of course brought up a critical choice: how should I purchase the software? These days Adobe provides you with a plethora of options for getting your hands on their apps and choosing the best method for you isn’t always easy.

The newest method of obtaining the Creative Suite caught my interest right away: Adobe Creative Cloud. Under this model, you’re really leasing the applications instead of buying them. Is this a good idea? Is Adobe Creative Cloud worth it or is it a short term convenience that turns into a long term nightmare? Let’s explore.

Web Design Critique #81: Amilova

Critique / 16 Jun 2012

Web Design Critique #81: Amilova

Every week we take a look at a new website and analyze the design. We’ll point out both the areas that are done well in addition to those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.

Today’s site is Amilova. Let’s jump in and see what we think!

Use the Print Handbook and Never Screw Up a Print Job Again

Reviews / 14 Jun 2012

Use the Print Handbook and Never Screw Up a Print Job Again

Print design is an entirely different beast than web design and it comes with its own set of unique challenges. You might think it sounds simple, but the knowledge required to pull off print jobs with a high degree of success is staggering. You have to understand how different inks will be affected by various types of paper, whether or not small type will be readable in the color that you’ve set it, how to set up your file properly for commercial printers, and a lot more.

Whether you’re a seasoned print pro or a complete beginner, it’s actually pretty easy to screw up a print job, and unlike digital design, there’s no undo or simple updates. Today we’re going to check out an awesome tool that will help you get it all right the first time around: The Print Handbook.

CSS Hat: A Magic Button That Turns Photoshop Styles Into CSS

CSS / 13 Jun 2012

CSS Hat: A Magic Button That Turns Photoshop Styles Into CSS

Taking a design from Photoshop to the web in a click is not even a remotely new idea. For as long as there have been “web designers” there has been the dream of such a workflow. Today we’re going to look at yet another tool that makes this promise: CSS Hat.

CSS Hat is different than other apps that you’ve seen though. It’s not a full blown WYSIWYG aimed at allowing you to build an entire site without writing code, rather it’s a way to bust out a few quick CSS3 styles on a single element using the process that you’ve used for the past decade or more, right in Photoshop. Spoiler alert: it’s good. Really good. Read on to see why.

Twitter’s New Logo: The Geometry and Evolution of Our Favorite Bird

Graphics / 11 Jun 2012

Twitter’s New Logo: The Geometry and Evolution of Our Favorite Bird

Recently, Twitter unveiled its brand new logo. It’s certainly not the first time this has happened, but the company seems insistent that this is going to be the last change we see for a while.

Join us as we take a look at the new logo, discuss why it’s better or worse and analyze the interesting geometry that was used to create the icon. Is there some hidden magic in using circles to create your logo? Read on to find out.

Build an Animated Photo Wall With CSS

CSS / 7 Jun 2012

Build an Animated Photo Wall With CSS

Today we’re going to embark on the adventure of building yet another awesome and fun CSS demo. This time we’ll create a big, seamless wall of photos. When the user hovers over an image, a transparent black overlay will fade it out as a text label fades in and the image zooms.

The result is pretty slick and I’ve also thrown in a bonus second version for those that make it all the way through the tutorial. Read on to get started!

Winners Announced: Win a Copy of Jon Duckett’s HTML & CSS Book

Competitions / 1 Jun 2012

Winners Announced: Win a Copy of Jon Duckett’s HTML & CSS Book

Back in April, we reviewed the best beginner’s web development book that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading: HTML & CSS by Jon Duckett. This awesome book is not only extremely informative, it’s flat out gorgeous.

If you’ve been itching to get your hands on a copy of this book, I’ve got some awesome news for you. This week we’re giving away three copies to our readers. Read on to learn more.

Best and Worst Design: 50 U.S. State Websites

Inspiration / 31 May 2012

Best and Worst Design: 50 U.S. State Websites

In the past, we took a look at fifty of the best and worst university websites from around the United States, a post which launched an interesting discussion about how web design projects can be destroyed by committees and politics, even if talented designers are leading up the team.

Today we’re following that up with a similar discussion on official state websites. Which U.S. states have the absolute best looking websites and which have sites that look like they haven’t been updated since Clinton was in the Oval Office? Read on to see how your state ranked.

Code a Simple Folded Corner Effect With CSS

CSS / 30 May 2012

Code a Simple Folded Corner Effect With CSS

This week we have yet another fun and simple CSS project for you to hone your coding chops on. This time around we’ll be creating the illusion of a page with one corner that has been folded over.

With the power of pseudo elements, we’ll create some CSS triangles that we can then push into place to create our page fold. Once we’re all finished, you’ll be able to simply apply a class to any div to add in the effect.

What if I Don’t Like the Work? Dealing With a Design Project Gone Wrong

Business / 25 May 2012

What if I Don’t Like the Work? Dealing With a Design Project Gone Wrong

Typically, the articles that I write on Design Shack are from the perspective of the designer. One topic that comes up regularly is how to deal with clients on various issues. However, today I’d like to flip things around and jump to the aid of the other team.

Designer/client relationships go both ways and just as often as there is a frustrated designer, there’s a disappointed client. Today we’re going to tackle the question of what to do when you hire a designer and just don’t like the work that resulted.