Joshua Johnson

Equal parts editor, writer, designer, & photographer. Hit me up on Twitter, read my Mac tutorials or check out my photos.





Software / 1 Oct 2012

How to Avoid Stupid Screw-Ups With Adobe Template Files

Don’t you hate it when you use some important file as a template and then accidentally save over it? I used to do this all the time and it frustrated me to no end.

Fortunately, Adobe has invented these great little template file types that fundamentally function differently than your normal files to make sure you don’t screw anything up. Read on to see how they work.

Critique / 28 Sep 2012

Web Design Critique #89: Discoveries Magazine

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 Discoveries Magazine, a medical research publication. Let’s jump in and see what we think!

Inspiration / 27 Sep 2012

Design a Vintage Typographic Wedding Invitation

Today we’re going to take a step back from the web to embark on a good old fashioned print design project. Wedding invitations have become a major target for home-grown design experiments so we’re going to dive into one and see what we can come up with.

We’ll use a major typography focus combined with some simple icons to give the finished product a sophisticated vintage appeal. We’ll also do the whole thing using just two spot colors.

Software / 26 Sep 2012

Adobe Edge: Does Adobe Finally Understand Developers?

Adobe and web design. They have a complicated history. I can never quite tell if Adobe is an estranged partner of web developers or an active advocate. Are they focused on empowering developers or replacing them with clunky WYSIWYGs?

Today we’re going to take a look at Adobe Edge Tools and Services, a new initiative from Adobe that might be enough to change your mind about how Adobe views coders.

Software / 25 Sep 2012

Finally, Collect for Output in Illustrator

For over a decade, a fierce debate has raged on about whether or not Adobe Illustrator is an appropriate tool for page layout projects. Should you really be building ads and brochures in an application meant for illustration?

The question is an interesting one, and those in the “yes” camp have always been held back by the simple lack of a “Collect for Output” feature. This has finally changed in CS6. So is the debate over? Not remotely. Read on and join the discussion.

Inspiration / 24 Sep 2012

30 Great Looking Web Designs Built With Diagonal Lines

Too often, we fall back on the same old design techniques and aesthetic feel. Why not mix it up every now and then and try something new? One technique that really seems to be gaining traction lately is the implementation of strong diagonal lines in web design.

After years of strict, standard grids that utilize clear vertical and horizontal directionality, a bold diagonal design can make a refreshing statement that’s eye-catching and attractive. Read on to see thirty recent examples of designers using diagonal lines in their work.

Graphics / 20 Sep 2012

How to Design the Perfect Twitter Header Image

Twitter recently rolled out an updated design for profile pages, which allows you to insert a new “header photo” that sits on top of your feed, much like Facebook’s timeline cover image.

Today we’re going to dive in and see some examples of good Twitter profile images and discuss how you can design your own. I’ll even toss in a free template so you can get started right away.

Business / 19 Sep 2012

Compromising With Clients: Play Nice or Take a Stand?

I was recently put in an interesting position where I had to choose between my professional principles and a paycheck. As a designer, you’re probably no stranger to this situation.

What’s the right course of action? When is compromise a laudable action and when is standing firm and refusing a request the better way to go? I’ll share my thoughts through a real and personal story.

Critique / 14 Sep 2012

Web Design Critique #88: SeaWorld

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 we have an awesome client that I’m sure we all love: SeaWorld! How cool is that? Let’s jump in and see what we think of their site.

CSS / 13 Sep 2012

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.

Inspiration / 12 Sep 2012

53 Outstanding Works of Art Made With Paper by FiftyThree

Paper by FiftyThree has become the reason that I reach for my iPad lately. It’s simply an amazing outlet for creativity that strikes an unrivaled balance between artistic freedom and simplicity. If you haven’t gotten your hands on it yet, you’re missing out.

Designers, painters and even wannabe artists like myself are flocking to Paper and churning out truly outstanding works of art. Today we’re going to take a look at fifty-three of the best Paper sketches and paintings that I’ve seen.

HTML / 11 Sep 2012

Transform Your Designs Into Coded HTML Emails With Mailrox

Coding HTML emails sucks. In a time where we’ve become so ingrained with web standards and CSS-based layout, jumping back in time and coding up table-based layouts with inline styling feels downright icky. In fact, there are tons of web designers who haven’t even been around long enough to be familiar with how to code this way.

Today we’re going to take a look at a new tool that promises to make life much easier for HTML email designers. With Mailrox, you upload your design, slice it up and easily transform it into a working HTML email.