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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.

Business / 16 Jul 2010

5 Tips for Sending More Useful and Effective Invoices

It happens all the time. No sooner than you click the send button does the phone ring. At the other end is an angry client who just received an invoice. Despite the fact that all of your payment agreements were handled before the project ever started, he has still somehow managed to be surprised at the amount that he owes you.

Whether the description above typifies your client base or not, it can still be a good idea to soften the blow of an invoice by showcasing what you did and how it benefited them. There are also a few things you can do to make the whole process easier and therefore (hopefully) speed up payment. Below we’ll look at five things you can do to make your invoices both more useful and impressive.

CSS / 15 Jul 2010

30+ Innovative Icon-Based Navigation Menus

Here at Design Shack we love a good navigation menu. Lately we’ve noticed a trend arising around menus that use icons either exclusively in place of text or as a support of additional textual information.

Adding icons to your navigation can not only give you an aesthetic boost but actually make for a quicker visual read of the link. Here’s a collection of over thirty icon-based navigation menus that we found online. We’ll conclude with a few resources you can use to snag some free icons to create your own fancy menus.

CSS / 13 Jul 2010

Rapid Blueprint CSS Layout With Boks

Today we’ll take a look at Boks, an awesome little tool that will help you spec out a basic site layout in no time flat.

We’ll go through what it is and how you can use it to speed up your development as well as what the limitations and downsides are that you’ll want to be aware of before you download the app.

Critique / 9 Jul 2010

Web Design Critique #7: Web Icon Set

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 as well as those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.

Today’s site is Web Icon Set, a web design inspiration gallery.

Business / 9 Jul 2010

Why Money Shouldn’t Motivate Design

Today we’re going to discuss the difference between designing for money and designing for a living because it’s what you love to do.

We’ll take a look at a few things that motivate designers who couldn’t be anything else if they tried and why design is more than a means to a financial end but is in fact a way of life.

Inspiration / 8 Jul 2010

100 Must Read Design Blogs

In my daily search for design-related content I’ve come across tons of really stellar blogs. Recently I noticed that the list of sites I regularly check in on had far surpassed 100!

I know there’s no shortage of lists like this but I still wanted to share my discoveries with the Design Shack readers. Some of the blogs below are quite famous, others are fairly obscure. Most are specifically about design, others are more for supporting subjects like freelancing or photography. So without further adieu, here’s my list of over 100 must read (or watch for the video sites) design-related websites.

Business / 6 Jul 2010

QuoteRobot: Freelance Job Quoting Made Easy

Quoting jobs can be a real pain.

As designers we often procrastinate and/or avoid this necessary step simply because it’s tedious and no where near as fun as actually designing something. QuoteRobot is a new tool that helps address this problem by enabling you to quickly get back to what you love instead of being bogged down for hours on end creating custom bids for every client.

We had a chat with Shawn Adrian, one of the founding developers of QuoteRobot, and asked him to explain a little bit about the service and why you as a freelancer should be interested in this product. Below is our full interview. Along the way we’ll toss in some screenshots so you can get a feel for the service.

Critique / 30 Jun 2010

Web Design Critique #6

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 as well as those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.

Today’s site is Screenfluent, a web design inspiration gallery.

Web Standards / 29 Jun 2010

5 Ways to Be an Ethical SEO Expert

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been a huge buzzword among marketers for years. The reason for this is that search engines can be legitimate sources of mountains of traffic for your site and the higher you rank on them the better.

The problem that arose in the early days of SEO was a blatant abuse of the system. What began as a few innocent tricks to earn more visitors morphed into questions of etiquette and heated debates regarding what should and shouldn’t be allowed. The web design community has come a long way in the past decade but there are plenty of marketers that still follow the tactics of the 90s either through ignorance or defiance.

Today we’ll briefly look at how to engage in SEO in an ethical manner by pointing out five key techniques to avoid.