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A Practical Guide to Designing With Faces
Graphics / 20 Aug 2010

A Practical Guide to Designing With Faces

One of the principal functions of professional design, if not the central function, is to draw the attention of the viewer. Everyone has a message that they want to get across, but getting people to actually stop and take that message in is no easy task.

Designers are therefore tasked with attempting to use every human’s natural attraction to aesthetic beauty in such a way that it becomes possible to capture the attention of an audience almost without them even realizing it.

With this goal in mind, faces are a magic design element.

Using eCSStender to Clean Up Your CSS
CSS / 19 Aug 2010

Using eCSStender to Clean Up Your CSS

Recently we looked at how to use LESS.js to enhance your CSS and save you tons of development time. Today we’ll look at eCSStender, another JavaScript tool that enables you to implement complicated CSS3 properties with very little code.

eCSStender can be a bit confusing to figure out on your own but once you figure it all out it will literally take you less than a minute to install and use. Below I’ll walk you through building a basic example that uses a number of eCSStender extensions.

10 Awesome Stock CSS Files From CodeCanyon
CSS / 18 Aug 2010

10 Awesome Stock CSS Files From CodeCanyon

As both a customer and a contributor, I’m a big fan of the Envato Marketplaces. Each of these sites has done an awesome job at targeting and providing for a niche of creatives while creating a decent income opportunity for authors.

One of the newest sites in this network is CodeCanyon, which sells “scripts and components for a variety of languages and frameworks.” Most of these files only cost a few bucks and they can save you some serious coding time. Today we’ll dive into the infant industry of stock CSS components by looking at ten of the coolest items for sale.

Web Design Critique #12
Critique / 14 Aug 2010

Web Design Critique #12

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 online gaming hub Casino Lemonade.

Designing in the Dark: 10 Dark Sites and Their Color Schemes
Inspiration / 13 Aug 2010

Designing in the Dark: 10 Dark Sites and Their Color Schemes

What goes well with a black website? Today we’ll find out but taking a look at some excellent examples of dark web design along with their primary color palettes.

Each website will have a screenshot along with a brief description, a visual representation of the color scheme, and a link to download the Photoshop color swatches from Pictaculous.

Using Less.js to Simplify Your CSS3
CSS / 12 Aug 2010

Using Less.js to Simplify Your CSS3

LESS is an amazing little tool that extends CSS with the addition of variables, mixins, operations and nested rules. What this means is that you can write leaner code very quickly. And with the recent rise of complex CSS3 properties, we have a few glaring examples of code that could definitely stand to be simplified a bit.

Today we’ll take a look at how to use the newest JavaScript implementation of LESS to simplify lengthy CSS3 markup. One of the key features we’ll be looking at that I haven’t seen discussed elsewhere is how to deal with multiple variables in mixins. It’s fairly simple but can be confusing if you’ve never tried it.

Dribbble Shots of the Week #2
Inspiration / 11 Aug 2010

Dribbble Shots of the Week #2

Because we have come to love bite-sized inspiration, each week we feature ten Dribbble shots that we found to be particularly excellent.

We have no real guidelines for who makes it and who doesn’t, just pure off the cuff judgement based on aesthetic quality. We’ll also pick a VIP that represents our top pick of the week.

Battle of the Burgers: American Fast Food Sites Compared
Graphics / 10 Aug 2010

Battle of the Burgers: American Fast Food Sites Compared

Today’s post will be an intense battle as we compare the design and usability of nine major American burger joints.

These corporations pull in millions making me obese with their irresistibly tasty grilled double heart attacks with cheese and should have plenty of revenue to invest into solid web designers. Let’s see how they fare against my inscrutable eye for ugly web design.

How Persuasive Is Your Website’s Copy? A Simple, Five-Step Checklist
Business / 9 Aug 2010

How Persuasive Is Your Website’s Copy? A Simple, Five-Step Checklist

As a web designer, you’re probably accustomed to obsessing over the layout and visual appearance of your designs. And if you’re like most, a site’s content is something you’d rather not worry about. But being able to identify weak web copy allows you to offer greater value to your client. By spotting major problems and helping him to solve them, you can position yourself as an expert who works with him…rather than as a labourer who works for him.

And if you know some basic principles for identifying and fixing weak copy, you not only increase your value to your clients—you increase your chances of getting them. Your own website will have stronger copy; more likely to persuade prospects to hire you.

An in-Depth Guide to Working With Typography in Illustrator
Graphics / 6 Aug 2010

An in-Depth Guide to Working With Typography in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a fantastic application for crafting typographical masterpieces. However, whether you’re creating a simple paragraph for a print ad or a complex typographical piece of art for a website, there are several tips and techniques you should know for how to manipulate type within the program.

Below you’ll find a brief overview of some of the basic commands you should familiarize yourself with as well as some must-know keyboard shortcuts and even a few obscure features that you may not even know exist. Let’s get started!

25 Brilliant Uses of Colorful Spectrums in Web Design
Inspiration / 5 Aug 2010

25 Brilliant Uses of Colorful Spectrums in Web Design

I’ve noticed a recent trend in web design that involves the use of colorful spectrums as a main design element. The uses are widely varied but almost always quite beautiful.

Today we’ll learn how to build amazing spectrum-based artwork in Photoshop and then take a look at 25 brilliant examples of spectrums being used in real websites.

Web Design Critique #11: Scott Block
Critique / 4 Aug 2010

Web Design Critique #11: Scott Block

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 personal portfolio of Scott Block, a web designer from Maryland.