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Create Complex Layouts in Minutes With EZ-CSS
CSS / 30 Sep 2010

Create Complex Layouts in Minutes With EZ-CSS

If you’re like many developers, you’ve had your fill of grid-based CSS frameworks. Well you’re in luck because today we’re going to look at a fresh take on the concept of a CSS framework.

EZ-CSS seeks to address many of the things you hate about grid-based frameworks while retaining the functionality of aiding in the creating of cross-browser multi-column layouts.

6 Tips for Designing With Lines
Graphics / 28 Sep 2010

6 Tips for Designing With Lines

Today we’re going to look at one of the simplest possible design elements: a line. We’ll learn how to wield lines properly as well as what to avoid when implementing them.

Adding a few simple lines to a design can bring structure and graphical flair to an otherwise boring design. It’s a dead simple trick that, when used effectively, has the effect of adding a layer of finish your design.

Web Design Critique #18: Two Chaps
Critique / 25 Sep 2010

Web Design Critique #18: Two Chaps

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 Two Chaps Branding a Baltimore based web design and marketing firm.

How to Make Your Spreadsheets Less Lame
Graphics / 24 Sep 2010

How to Make Your Spreadsheets Less Lame

Spreadsheets are lame. There’s no two ways about it. We designers hate spreadsheets because they’re a shining example of boring data presented in a boring manner.

Unfortunately for designers, spreadsheets are a necessary evil and could even be called a great and essential tool in the business world. Today we’re going to see how to improve both the aesthetics and readability of your spreadsheets with a few super basic design principles that literally anyone can follow. Let’s get started!

Graphics / 23 Sep 2010

10 Awesome Places to Download Free Vector Art

Despite what many would think, the term web designer does not always imply artist. There are many very capable web developers and designers that are lucky to pull off a quality stick figure on most days. For those that are able to create complicated artwork, there are plenty of times when you’re up against a deadline need something generic.

For either of these situations, you can’t beat free vector art. Though the quality varies dramatically depending on the source, there is a tone of great work out there that you can download and use in your projects immediately. Below we’ll take a look at ten websites offering free vector downloads of various types.

Free 960.GS CSS Photography Template and Tutorial
CSS / 22 Sep 2010

Free 960.GS CSS Photography Template and Tutorial

Love it or hate it, the 960.gs makes for some incredibly fast prototyping. By utilizing preset classes you can accomplish fairly complex layouts with little to no effort.

Today we bring you a free single-page template, fully coded using the 960.gs. The template has a few nifty CSS3 effects and uses @font-face to implement some beautiful custom typography. Below you’ll find the download and a basic step-by-step tutorial for how to build your own.

You can download the template completely free of charge and use it however you like with zero attribution.

Web Design Critique #17: ToonyTuts
Critique / 18 Sep 2010

Web Design Critique #17: ToonyTuts

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 the ToonyTuts coming soon page.

20 Bold Free Script Fonts That You Don’t Have to Be a Girl to Use
Typography / 17 Sep 2010

20 Bold Free Script Fonts That You Don’t Have to Be a Girl to Use

Today we bring you an awesome collection of free fonts that you can download and start using immediately. These fonts are scripts but tend towards the masculine side rather than being all swirly girly.

Give them a shot and let us know what you think!

Create Awesome Animations in Photoshop
Graphics / 16 Sep 2010

Create Awesome Animations in Photoshop

After Effects is the go-to Adobe application for creating both simple and complex animations. However, for those users that either don’t have the time to learn an entire new application or simply don’t own a copy of After Effects, Photoshop has incorporated very similar, albeit scaled back, functionality.

Today we’ll go over the basics of how animation works in Photoshop and then build a basic animation from scratch. Let’s get started!

Are You Using These Two Simple Elements to Ramp Up Conversion Rates?
Layouts / 15 Sep 2010

Are You Using These Two Simple Elements to Ramp Up Conversion Rates?

There are two things you can add to just about any site to increase readership: drop caps and hero shots. These aren’t anything new, and they’re by no means “secrets”. But a lot of designers don’t realize that they’re used for more than just aesthetic reasons. Today I’m going to explain why they work—and show you to best implement them.

Just before I dive in, a word of warning. Using these elements will increase readership rates. That is, more people will read your copy. But if your copy is poor, using drop caps and hero shots will also decrease response rates. So you need to have strong copy to use these elements effectively. Otherwise you’ll actually get fewer conversions. You can check out my previous article here at Design Shack for a quick-start guide to spotting and writing persuasive copy.

Designing a Professional Business Card
Graphics / 14 Sep 2010

Designing a Professional Business Card

Before websites, email blasts and banner ads, business cards were the central piece of design work for countless small businesses. This simple little piece of cardstock was a major representation of your company. In China, business cards are so highly regarded that it’s considered poor etiquette to write on someone’s card or even put it in your wallet! Typically upon exchange business cards will be placed into a small card case.

Though the digital age has dawned, business cards remain a fairly popular way to quickly provide someone with information about how to reach you or find out more information about your company. Today we’ll go over some common mistakes in business card design and explore a few practical techniques you can use to bring style and professionalism to your cards.

Web Design Critique #16: Run Addicts
Critique / 11 Sep 2010

Web Design Critique #16: Run Addicts

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 RunAddicts a blog for anyone who loves to run.