Articles

Browse our articles, inspiration, news, and tips for the design community.

30 Websites With Photographic Backgrounds
Graphics / 17 Mar 2010

30 Websites With Photographic Backgrounds

In design, the simplest of options are often among the best. Using a photographic background is an easy way to make your site beautifully eye-catching. Below you’ll find 30 examples of sites from all over the world using strong photographic elements as background pieces. Some use pure photography while others mix in illustrations, Photoshop effects, and text. Use these as a leaping point for your own ideas the next time you need a fresh design.

20 Gorgeous Web Application Interfaces
Graphics / 14 Mar 2010

20 Gorgeous Web Application Interfaces

The advancement of web technology has led to some incredibly impressive improvements in online application interface design. Below we’ll look at 20 web apps that aren’t only extremely useful, but indisputably attractive as well. I’ve subdivided the applications into four categories: Design, Business, Productivity and Miscellaneous.

What to Do if Someone Steals Your Design
Business / 12 Mar 2010

What to Do if Someone Steals Your Design

Protecting your intellectual property has always been a difficult task and the Internet has only served to complicate matters. The web has become an unoriginal designer’s one stop shop for endless material to shamelessly ripoff. Today we’ll take a look into some of the reasons design theft is so rampant online and explore some answers to the essential question of what to do if someone steals your design. A big thanks to Von Glitschka for providing much of the content and advice seen below!

The Importance of a / B Design Testing
Accessibility / 9 Mar 2010

The Importance of a / B Design Testing

For many developers, launching a site is not the end of the design process. To continually improve the success of their design, these developers turn to A/B testing. This relatively simple process can teach you loads about what your users are looking for as well as what they ignore or find unimportant.

Today we’ll take a quick look at what A/B testing is, the benefits of implementing it, and some tools to get you going.

5 Reasons Band Websites Suck (And Some That Don’t)
Graphics / 7 Mar 2010

5 Reasons Band Websites Suck (And Some That Don’t)

This post began purely as a showcase of well-designed band websites. Naturally, to begin my search I opened up my iTunes library and Safari and began checking out the sites of the bands in my collection. What I discovered shocked me; nearly every site I came across was profoundly lackluster or altogether horrid. I’m at a loss as to why record companies, who spend countless dollars promoting their big money makers, seem to be incapable of finding web designers that match the remarkable talent of their artists.

At this point the nature of the article changed entirely. Due to the wealth of ugly sites to choose from, today we’ll examine some of the reasons I think the band website industry really needs to step up and make some major changes. We’ll conclude by analyzing some examples to follow if you want to create a band site that doesn’t suck.

Winner Announced: Competition: Win a Copy of LittleSnapper
Competitions / 4 Mar 2010

Winner Announced: Competition: Win a Copy of LittleSnapper

Congratulations to @torstennn, the winner of our LittleSnapper competition! We hope you enjoy the free software. Thanks for entering everyone, check back soon for more competitions!

This week’s giveaway includes the best Mac application around for cataloging screenshots and online inspiration.

Read on to find out how you can win a copy of the amazing LittleSnapper from RealMac Software (a $35 value!).

How and When to Integrate Ads Into Your Site
Business / 3 Mar 2010

How and When to Integrate Ads Into Your Site

Due to the success stories of mega blogs like Smashing Magazine, the professional blogging world has really exploded in recent years. There is a thriving network of free content online spanning nearly every hobby or profession you can imagine. Driving virtually all of these sites (or at least those focused on profitability) is one thing: ad revenue. Consistent and rewarding ad revenue is the holy grail among the blogging world.

Knowing when and how to integrate ads into your site can be quite difficult. Today we’ll look at some tips to help you know if the time is right for you to jump into the world of advertising and what your options are for doing so.

10 Tips for Effective Creative Brainstorming
Business / 28 Feb 2010

10 Tips for Effective Creative Brainstorming

Brainstorming can either be a creative gold mine or a time wasting disaster.

Brainstorming is often discussed in relation to a business environment. In college, nearly every one of my business school textbooks had an entire chapter dedicated to the concept. Though creative brainstorming is in many ways a different beast due to its visual nature, many of the same concepts apply.

Today we’ll take a look at ten tips to consider before you pull your creative team into a brainstorming session. When applied properly, they can drastically increase productivity and quality of results.

In Depth With Vitaly Friedman: A Smashing Success
Interviews / 26 Feb 2010

In Depth With Vitaly Friedman: A Smashing Success

We’re continuing our interview series today, spending some time talking to Vitaly Friedman of Smashing Magazine. Vitaly has been one of the leading minds behind the web’s largest design blog, and is a fascinating web designer and entrepreneur.

We’ll be discussing Vitaly’s background, the early days of Smashing Magazine, taking a look at a typical day in his life, and investigating some of the design trends we’re likely to see over the next 12 months!

25 Examples of Convincing Call-to-Action Buttons
Inspiration / 24 Feb 2010

25 Examples of Convincing Call-to-Action Buttons

Despite what many people will tell you, there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to call-to-action buttons. Yes, it’s true that large, colorful buttons, surrounded by plenty of space are usually the most successful, but it’s important that you tailor each button to the primary task of the web page in question, whether it’s to Signup, Checkout, Register or anything else. As a designer, it’s your job to make it as easy as possible for visitors to achieve these tasks and call-to-action buttons are the most powerful tools at your disposal, so use them wisely.