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Layouts / 6 Jun 2012

Vector vs. Raster: What Do I Use?

With all of the image options and file formats out there, it can be a little overwhelming when you are choosing what file type to use (and send to clients). Compatibility is always a concern when you are working with different file types, but when it comes to graphics and images the type of computer graphic format you use is essential to how the image renders.

There are two types of digital graphics files – vector and raster. Vector images are made of hundreds of thousands of tiny lines and curves (or paths) to create an image. Raster images are composed of pixels. But how do you know what format is best for your next project?

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Competitions / 1 Jun 2012

Winners Announced: Win a Copy of Jon Duckett’s HTML & CSS Book

Back in April, we reviewed the best beginner’s web development book that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading: HTML & CSS by Jon Duckett. This awesome book is not only extremely informative, it’s flat out gorgeous.

If you’ve been itching to get your hands on a copy of this book, I’ve got some awesome news for you. This week we’re giving away three copies to our readers. Read on to learn more.

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Inspiration / 31 May 2012

Best and Worst Design: 50 U.S. State Websites

In the past, we took a look at fifty of the best and worst university websites from around the United States, a post which launched an interesting discussion about how web design projects can be destroyed by committees and politics, even if talented designers are leading up the team.

Today we’re following that up with a similar discussion on official state websites. Which U.S. states have the absolute best looking websites and which have sites that look like they haven’t been updated since Clinton was in the Oval Office? Read on to see how your state ranked.

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CSS / 30 May 2012

Code a Simple Folded Corner Effect With CSS

This week we have yet another fun and simple CSS project for you to hone your coding chops on. This time around we’ll be creating the illusion of a page with one corner that has been folded over.

With the power of pseudo elements, we’ll create some CSS triangles that we can then push into place to create our page fold. Once we’re all finished, you’ll be able to simply apply a class to any div to add in the effect.

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Layouts / 28 May 2012

Think About Images and Text Together

Good design centers on good content. Good content needs good design to survive and stand out among all the other choices out there. The most successful design projects come together because of content-driven design.

It is easy though for designers get stuck in an image or text rut. This frequently happens because people tend think about text and images on their own. What we should be doing is writing copy with images in mind and preparing design projects with the text in mind. Think about how images and text will work together as you plan your next project.

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Business / 25 May 2012

What if I Don’t Like the Work? Dealing With a Design Project Gone Wrong

Typically, the articles that I write on Design Shack are from the perspective of the designer. One topic that comes up regularly is how to deal with clients on various issues. However, today I’d like to flip things around and jump to the aid of the other team.

Designer/client relationships go both ways and just as often as there is a frustrated designer, there’s a disappointed client. Today we’re going to tackle the question of what to do when you hire a designer and just don’t like the work that resulted.

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CSS / 24 May 2012

Framework Fight: Zurb Foundation vs. Twitter Bootstrap

In the vast world of rapid prototyping CSS frameworks and toolkits, there are a ton of different options to choose from, but ever since Twitter’s Bootstrap hit the scene it seems like it has largely gobbled up this market. Is there room or reason for anything else?

The folks at Zurb think so and aren’t about to abandon their widely successful Foundation project. Having written about Bootstrap several times in the past, I’m going to jump into Foundation today and see what I think.

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Competitions / 23 May 2012

Win One of Ten Copies of the Best 365 Websites Around the World

Great news! We’ve chosen ten people to win a copy of “The Best 365 Websites Around the World”. Did your comment win? Were you one of the lucky few? Read on to find out!

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Software / 23 May 2012

Ode to the Option Key: 30+ Cool Option Key Shortcuts in Photoshop

The Option key (that’s Alt for you PC folks) is an amazing little helper for the Photoshop user. For the most part, you can probably get along without it but when you learn to wield it well, you open up tons of time saving features.

Why is it so great? What are all these great things you can do with the Option key in Photoshop? Read on to find out!

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CSS / 22 May 2012

Can’t Get Into Preprocessors? Try Zen Coding

A ton of discussion lately has been given to preprocessors. These incredibly useful tools make coding easier, faster and more maintainable, but they’re certainly not for everyone. Whether or not you’ve jumped on the preprocessor bandwagon, you should give a fresh look to an old favorite that helps you dramatically cut your coding time without reinventing your workflow with compilers and other complications: Zen Coding.

With Zen Coding, you can type a little and output a lot, just like with a preprocessor like Jade or Haml, only it expands instantly into the vanilla HTML that you love. For those that are new to the concept, I’ll walk you through how Zen Coding works and show you some of my favorite tricks, then end with a brief tutorial on getting Zen Coding up and running in Sublime Text 2.

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Graphics / 21 May 2012

DPI vs. Pixels: What Do I Use?

You hear the phrases tossed around by everyone today – from amateur photographers to the iPhone salesman to some of the world’s most acknowledged visual creators and designers. But what do image size specs really mean? And what should you use?

Simply, it all depends on your project. Knowing what medium you are creating for and how your images will be used is key to sizing and picking the right number of pixels or DPI. Before you begin your next project, though, make sure you are familiar with all the image-quality jargon.

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CSS / 17 May 2012

Cycle Through Client Quotes With CSS Keyframes

Client testimonials are a popular website feature. They bring credibility to a company and instill a sense of trust. If your other clients love you so much, I might too!

As a fun experiment, today we’re going to set out to build a cool little quote section that will rotate between multiple different quotes using only CSS. Along the way, we’ll learn all about how to plan and create multi-step keyframe sequences. Let’s get started.