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Inspiration / 11 Apr 2012

200+ Pinterest Boards for Designers to Follow

If you love design inspiration, you should be on Pinterest. This free service has really taken off and designers everywhere are using it to collect and archive examples of great design. Whether you’re a typography nut, need some ideas for design books to read, or want some inspiration for out of the box brochure ideas, there are designers on Pinterest who are no doubt pinning exactly what you’re looking for.

Much like, Twitter, the key to enjoying Pinterest is to find and follow users that share your interests. The trick here is that while every user has multiple “boards,” only some of them are actually design related. We’ve spent hours and hours hunting and have found over two hundred of the best Pinterest boards that designers should find useful. Read on to check them out!

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CSS / 10 Apr 2012

What’s the Deal With :Target in CSS?

I’ve been seeing a lot of tutorials lately that utilize :target in CSS to perform some fancy feat so I thought I’d take the time to really dig in and discuss how and why this syntax works. Instead of blindly following someone else’s code, you should be able to wield this tool with the knowledge of what’s happening how it affects browser support.

Read on to learn all about the basic functionality associated with the :target pseudo class and how you can stretch that ability to perform all kinds of crazy stuff with pure CSS. Along the way we’ll build some great navigation and slideshow examples for you to learn from.

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CSS / 9 Apr 2012

Facebook Exclusive Article: How to Center Anything With CSS

We’ve decided to reward our faithful fans with an exclusive treat. Anyone that “likes” Design Shack on Facebook can download a free, in-depth CSS tutorial!

To follow up last week’s article on the difference between absolute and relative positioning, this week we’re taking a look at an extremely basic question with an incredibly broad reaching answer: How do I center something with CSS?

Read on to get a glimpse of the tutorial and see how you can claim your download today.

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Articles / 6 Apr 2012

10 Tips for Writing for Designers

Ever get that feeling that some members of your creative team just aren’t quite with the program? It is entirely likely. Sending out communications and messages that will reach your whole team can be somewhat tricky because of the differences in how people think.

Creatives sometimes tend to be a little more free-thinking and less-structured than some of their office counterparts. Research has shown that people who use more right brain functions, such as designers and creative thinkers, also respond to and process the same information differently than left-brain thinkers, who tend to be more organized and logic-oriented. (Some studies have even shown that the highest rates of dyslexia, which affects reading and comprehension, have been found in right-brain thinkers.) With just a few tweaks, you can more effectively get your message across to everyone.

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CSS / 5 Apr 2012

3 Free Apps for Testing Your Responsive Designs Online

Responsive design has brought about a whole new list of challenges for web designers who have decided to take the plunge and leave static design behind. Creating a layout that works well at not one but several, or even all, possible widths requires patience, creativity and of course, lots of testing.

Nothing replaces checking out your design on the actual devices that you’re targeting, but as you’re building, it’s nice to be able to get a quick peek of the layout at various widths right on your computer. You could resize your browser window manually, but this gets ridiculously tedious if you’re shooting for precise pixel dimensions. Fortunately, several talented developers have already built some great tools to aid you in this process. Join us today as we take a look at three of them.

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CSS / 4 Apr 2012

The Lowdown on Absolute vs. Relative Positioning

When I was first learning web development, the style side of CSS seemed straightforward and fun, but performing layout feats seemed like a confusing mess. I sort of felt my way around without a solid understanding of how things like positioning and floats worked and as a result it would take hours to perform even simple tasks. If this situation sounds familiar, then this article is for you.

One of the real revelations that I had early on was when I was finally able to wrap my head around how positioning contexts worked, especially when it came to the difference between absolute and relative positioning. Today we’re going to tackle this subject and make sure you know exactly how and when to apply a specific positioning context to a given element.

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Competitions / 3 Apr 2012

Winners Announced: $500 of PSD to HTML Conversion Up for Grabs

We’re excited to launch a new competition today, giving you the chance to win one of two awesome markup packages, courtesy of Markup Service! It’s a great way to speed up development on time-sensitive projects, and you can be confident that the end result will be of a highly professional standard.

Read on to find out how to enter the competition, and get your hands on $300 credit for your own markup requirements!

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CSS / 3 Apr 2012

Build an Infinite Scrolling Photo Banner With HTML and CSS

Today we’re going to embark on the challenge of creating an animated banner of photos that automatically scrolls horizontally through an infinite loop. The best part: we’re going to do it without a single line of JavaScript.

To make this banner truly useful, our goal will be to use individual photos dropped into our HTML, not simply one long CSS background that repeats. This is pretty tricky but we’ll walk you through exactly how it works. Let’s get started!

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Web Standards / 2 Apr 2012

The Top 10 Web Design Buzzwords and Hot Topics for 2012

In 2011, there wasn’t a web design blog or magazine in the world that didn’t use “HTML5” or “CSS3” in at least a few headlines. We talked endlessly about the new possibilities that these technologies brought about, argued tirelessly about the hurdles that they presented and had tons of fun creating demos with embarrassingly modest browser support.

Though CSS3 and HTML5 are still at the top of our discussion lists, I decided to look around and see what other terms and buzzwords are major topics for 2012. Read on to see what web designers are ranting and arguing about these days. Along the way you’ll find over fifty excellent articles to check out that will brush you up on each topic.

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Critique / 31 Mar 2012

Web Design Critique #78: Katy Cain

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 the portfolio of Katy Cain, a wedding photographer in Chandlers Ford. Let’s jump in and see what we think!

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Articles / 30 Mar 2012

Have a More Successful Brainstorming Session

One of the most important aspects of the creative and design process is the sharing and development of ideas. Seldom does a first draft of anything — from an ad concept to a new web layout — see the light of day without planning and revision. Jumpstart the process with more productive and creative brainstorming sessions for your team. The concept sounds simple, right?

The best planned brainstorming sessions take some work. As the leader of the group you must decide how many people to invite and what ground rules will be set. Most of all you want to help bring something positive away from the meeting. Try these tips to spice up your next brainstorming session.

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Graphics / 29 Mar 2012

Style Tiles: The Flip Side of Wireframes

Style Tiles provide a fresh and productive way to approach the design process. They allow you to specifically hone in and focus on a project’s personality and mood without worrying about specific layout decisions.

Today we’re going to show you exactly what Style Tiles are, why you should use them and how to incorporate them into your design process. Follow along and you just might change the way you design forever.