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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.

Inner Shadows in CSS: Images, Text and Beyond

CSS / 10 Jul 2019

Inner Shadows in CSS: Images, Text and Beyond

Shadows in CSS are quick and easy, whether you’re slapping on a box-shadow or a text-shadow. But how comfortable are you with inner shadows? Can you pull off an inset box-shadow? How do you do the same thing on some text?

Today we’re going to learn some really simple inset shadow techniques that you can pull off with just a few lines of code. I’ll walk you through both the box-shadow and text-shadow syntax and how to change them to pull off an inset shadows.

10 Tips for Designing Logos That Don’t Suck

How to Design a Logo / 4 Mar 2019

10 Tips for Designing Logos That Don’t Suck

So you’re designing a logo. It sounds like an easy enough task, right? Draw a circle, type in the company name and you’re done (I’ve literally heard a designer suggest that very process). Unfortunately, if you’re really worth the money the client is paying you, there’s a lot more to it than that.

There are a million people in the logo design industry today dishing out crappy logos in bulk for crowdsourcing sites. How do you as a serious professional stand out from the crowd and produce quality logos that don’t suck? Read on to find out.

Are you in the middle of a logo design project? Don’t forget to check out our in-depth guide on how to design a logo!

15 Tips for Designing Terrific Tables

CSS / 22 Aug 2018

15 Tips for Designing Terrific Tables

Tables of information are boring. In a sense, they’re meant to be that way. A good table communicates a lot of information in a concise, easy to understand way. Because the emphasis really should be on the information, over-designing a table can kill the effectiveness. However, in the right hands, clever design can not only make a table more attractive but can actually increase readability.

Today we’ll take a look at several ways you can improve the functionality and aesthetics of your tables. One of the most common places we currently find tables online is on a web app’s pricing page so most of our examples will take this form, just keep in mind that these principles can apply to any type of informative grid (whether or not it’s actually a table).

The Greatest Print Campaigns of All Time: Volkswagen Think Small

Graphics / 18 Oct 2017

The Greatest Print Campaigns of All Time: Volkswagen Think Small

You’re a web designer living large in the 21st century. Your job is defined by screens and software. What in the world could you possibly learn about design from a bunch of old dusty print ads? The answer of course, is “a ton.”

Today we’re examining one of the most famous print ad campaigns of all time. The Volkswagen “Think Small” campaign. How did a funny looking car that was named after a bug, known for being slow and manufactured in factories built by Nazis ever become iconic to a generation of post-war Americans? Great design and fantastic marketing.

10 Free Color Palettes From 10 Famous Paintings

Inspiration / 23 Aug 2017

10 Free Color Palettes From 10 Famous Paintings

If you want to learn a thing or two about color, why not look to the true masters whose artistic work has stood the test of time? Great painters almost always possess a keen understanding of color that is truly impressive when you stop to appreciate it.

Follow along as we pull color palettes from ten of my favorite artists and paintings and learn a thing or two about art history in the process. You’ll be able to see each palette as an Adobe Color CC swatch, and drop it right into Photoshop!

8 Rules for Creating Effective Typography

Graphics / 14 Aug 2017

8 Rules for Creating Effective Typography

Today we’re going to discuss something that is both a hot trend and timeless art: typography. The basic rules outlined below will help you become more aware of how you structure and use typography in your designs.

Being conscious of these rules can improve nearly everything you create that contains a headline or major typographic element. Let’s get started!

12 Fun CSS Text Shadows You Can Copy and Paste

CSS / 19 Jul 2017

12 Fun CSS Text Shadows You Can Copy and Paste

Typography is everyone’s favorite toy in web design. One particularly fun tool that CSS gives you to play with your type is text-shadow, which seems simple enough at first but can be used to create some remarkable effects with a little ingenuity and creativity.

Today we’re going to run through several text-shadow examples that you can copy and paste for your own work.

10 Great Google Font Combinations You Can Copy

Google Fonts / 13 Jul 2017

10 Great Google Font Combinations You Can Copy

The average man considers which flavor of Doritos will taste good with his Heineken. The sophisticated man considers which cheese will pair well with his choice of wine. The designer of course considers which two fonts will look great on the same page.

Today we’re going to use the Google Font API as a playground for mixing fonts and finding ideal pairings. You’ll be able to skim through and instantly grab out selections that you think are appropriate for your projects.

The best part? You need only to copy and paste our code to implement these fonts on your site. It’s completely free and there are no downloads required.

6 Portfolio Design Mistakes That Drive Me Nuts

Business / 6 Jul 2017

6 Portfolio Design Mistakes That Drive Me Nuts

Your public portfolio is one of the most important things you’ll ever design. It presents you to the world and, if you’re a freelancer, tends to play a major role in whether or not people choose to hire you.

I’ve viewed a ton of online portfolios and today I’d like to walk through some of the weaknesses I see time and time again. Read on to see if you’ve made some of these mistakes.

5 Ways to Learn Web Design: Which Is Right for You?

CSS / 28 Jun 2017

5 Ways to Learn Web Design: Which Is Right for You?

The web design education industry has exploded from a small niche to a powerful, continually expanding force. Countless people all over the planet are interested in learning about how to build and design websites, and tons of companies are cropping up promising the ultimate solution.

The good news for you is that increased competition in this field is a great thing for customers. You have more options than ever for learning just about anything you want to know concerning web technologies. The big question though is, with so many options available, which is the right one for you? We’ll go over a number of different strategies being used to teach web development and discuss how you can figure out the most appropriate for your unique learning style. We’ll also include some resources to get you started on each available path.

10 Awful Client Cliches That Make Every Designer Cringe

Business / 23 Jun 2017

10 Awful Client Cliches That Make Every Designer Cringe

This is the third part in our series all about making fun of design related clichés that drive us all crazy. We put out the word on Twitter and asked for some of the worst things that you hear again and again from clients. The following are some of our favorites!

We’ve already picked on designers plenty with 5 Former Design Trends That Aren’t Cool Anymore and 5 Cliché Logo Design Trends to Avoid, now it’s time to turn around and give some attention to all the crazy things that clients say to their designers. There’s no shortage of cliches to choose from!

5 Cliche Logo Design Trends to Avoid

How to Design a Logo / 21 Jun 2017

5 Cliche Logo Design Trends to Avoid

Logos are one of the trickiest things to get right in the graphic design world. It takes almost zero talent to make a logo — virtually anyone can do it. However, making a good logo requires a lot of insight, artistic skill, and patience.

Too often we see designers falling into the trap of rushing into a logo design project and coming up with ideas that are so overused that they’re downright cringe-worthy. Today we’re going to take a look at five logo trends that fit this description. Read on to see if any of your go-to techniques are on the list (and make a mental note to avoid them in the future!)

Are you in the middle of a logo design project? Learn more about how to make your concept stand out in our in-depth guide on how to design a logo!