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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.

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).

How to Design a Professional PowerPoint Presentation

Graphics / 23 Feb 2018

How to Design a Professional PowerPoint Presentation

Our series of tips on presentation design outlined some generic rules and ideas that you can live by to create better, more professional presentations. Today we want to follow that up by taking you through the actual process of designing a presentation from start to finish.

We’ll break down every step of the design process, from choosing colors and images to using whitespace properly. After reading through this you should be all set to design your own beautiful presentation slides that will put your coworkers to shame.

Using a pre-built PowerPoint template can be a good starting point for many people (we collected some of the best PowerPoint templates for you!). But if you’re wanting to design your own from start-to-finish, you’re in the right place!

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

CSS / 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

Graphics / 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!

5 Former Design Trends That Aren’t Cool Anymore (So Stop Using Them)

Graphics / 15 Jun 2017

5 Former Design Trends That Aren’t Cool Anymore (So Stop Using Them)

If you’re like me, looking at your own design work from a few years ago can often result in some laughable or even cringe-worthy moments. Design styles have been steadily evolving and most of us can’t help but be affected by these changes. Who among us hasn’t piled on the cheesy Photoshop layer effects, all the while thinking the result was downright awesome?

However, some of us are a little slower to evolve than others. Today we’ll be taking a walk down memory lane and looking at five design trends that used to be super cool, but now simply tend to make your design look outdated and even ugly. If you’re currently still stuck on these trends, it might be time to move along! We’ll help you out with some modern alternative practices that you can use to bring your design skills into the current year in a hurry.