Articles

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

Graphics / 23 Sep 2013

Pros and Cons of Working With Design Kits

Design kits seem to be everywhere these days. From UI kits, to templates and grids, to complete design kits, what makes these tools so popular (and what are the disadvantages)?

Today we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of using different types of design kits, and even show you a few kits in the examples that might be worth trying out for various purposes.

Inspiration / 20 Sep 2013

10 Tips for Designing Logos That Don’t Suck

So you’re designing a logo. It sounds like an easy enough task, right? Draw a circle, type in the company name and you’re done (I’ve literally heard a designer suggest that very process). Unfortunately, if you’re really worth the money the client is paying you, there’s a lot more to it than that.

There are a million people in the logo design industry today dishing out crappy logos in bulk for crowd sourcing sites. How do you as a serious professional stand out from the crowd and produce quality logos that don’t suck? Read on to find out.

JavaScript / 18 Sep 2013

How to Easily Manage Cookies Within jQuery

Web browsers can generate unique sessions organized for each user on a website. Often these are handled on the backend using languages like PHP or Ruby, but we can also utilize cookie sessions on the frontend with Javascript. There are many tutorials out there explaining how to generate pure JS cookies. But a newer library jQuery Cookie simplifies the whole process.

I want to explain how we can build a very simple authentication system using jQuery Cookies. The code is all handled on the frontend but you will need a live testing server to see any results. Browser cookies are created on the local IP which comes from the web server, and so unfortunately you can’t just run these scripts locally. But definitely check out my live demo to get an idea of what we are creating.

Design Dilemma / 16 Sep 2013

Design Dilemma: How Do You Know When You’ve Been “Fired” by a Freelance Client?

Hans G. writes: A regular client of mine hasn’t returned any of my emails since I finished a project two months ago. He said he liked the finished site, and there weren’t any problems with payment or anything else. He mentioned another project coming up at the time, but I haven’t heard anything yet, despite a few emails and a couple of phone messages. I just don’t know if he’s done with me as a designer. I was really counting on the regular work for my income, and I have to pay my bills… really soon!

Well, Hans, we all go through this. I get regular payments as a retainer for ongoing work from several clients, and I sweat those payments every month if one is a day late. A little paranoia, a little worry, and I always wonder what I can do to stop the crazy feeling I get every month. Perhaps there’s a way of doing business so you know exactly when payments will be received? So, join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

Competitions / 12 Sep 2013

Giveaway: Win PSD to HTML Coding From Markup-Service

We’re excited to bring you another great competition today, giving you the chance to win one of three awesome packages from Markup-Service.com.

This is going to be a real treat for busy web designers and developers out there who need a little help with their PSD to HTML conversions. We have $600 of packages up for grabs, so read on to find out a little more about how to enter — it just takes a couple of seconds!

Design Dilemma / 11 Sep 2013

Design Dilemma: Dealing With Language Barriers

Dina T. Writes: I deal with several foreign clients who speak English fairly well, but I find that even though terms and fees are approved, at the end of the project, they act like we never agreed to anything. Are they doing this on purpose? Is it a cultural thing, or just language differences, lost in translation?

Dina asks a very good question. As we become a globalized economy, every party involved has to understand culturalisms that drive certain ways of negotiating. Once you accept the differences, working across borders is a great thing, and the future for freelancers, as well as corporate entities. So, whatever your language or nation, join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries, and concerns about the murky world of design…

Inspiration / 9 Sep 2013

10 Popular Trends in Modern Web Design Elements

Trends in web design can change and fade almost as quickly as they become fashionable. But so far in 2013, a handful of trends have really seemed to take web design by storm, and seem to be sticking.

Today, we’re going to examine ten trends in modern web elements and showcase some great examples of each — everything from vintage typography and circles, to vibrant colours and handy vCards. Even better for you is that all of the examples below are available for download (some free, some paid).

JavaScript / 4 Sep 2013

Code a Single-Page Sliding Website Layout With Fixed Navigation

When constructing a simple webpage, it can often make sense to fit the content into a single layout rather than multiple pages. These single-page websites are beneficial when you have a small project or portfolio which needs some online presence. If you split up content into neat sections, then visitors might use a small sliding navigation to quickly advance along the page.

In this tutorial I want to demonstrate how you can build a custom sliding navigation with jQuery. There are many alternative plugins which provide these features and will also save time. But I want to show how we can make this effect using only jQuery and the scrollTo plugin for optimized performance. Check out my live sample demo to catch a glimpse of what we will be making.

Business / 2 Sep 2013

Do You Need a Style Guide?

It’s a simple question: Do you need a style guide? And it has a simple answer: Yes. Any brand, company, blog or webpage that wants to create and maintain consistency and a professional feel should have a style guide.

Style guides are a must for any publisher with multiple employees. This is especially important if more than one person will work on any brand elements (from the website to printed materials), and to ensure that transitions between employees are seamless in the eyes of users. Today, we take a look at well-documented style guide from MailChimp, and highlight things you can take away in creating your own document for the first time.

JavaScript / 29 Aug 2013

How to Build a Dynamic Imgur Upload App Using jQuery & PHP

Many new online web services are providing backend APIs for developers. These allow anyone to connect into a web app and pull out specific information (or push or change bits of data). Today we’re specifically looking at the API for Imgur.

In this tutorial I want to demonstrate how we can remotely mirror an image found elsewhere online and auto-upload to Imgur. It’s possible to create a form handling user-uploaded images as well. But I wanted to keep the demo clean without needing to move user content onto the server. This process is very simple once you understand how APIs work. Take a peek at my live demo to see exactly what we will be making, then follow along!

Business / 27 Aug 2013

10 Digital Design Terms You Need to Know

Design jargon is everywhere. And you need to be able to speak the language. Working on digital projects has its own set of terminology. From dither to color values to fluid or fixed layouts, there are a few terms every designer needs to have a grasp of.

So we’ve made it easy for you, and put together a list of digital design terms you need to know. This list started as a top 10, but we added some bonus jargon for comparative purposes. How many of these terms are you already familiar with?

Design Dilemma / 26 Aug 2013

Design Dilemma: Retirement Planning for the Freelance Designer

Daniel A. writes: I’ve come to realize that I can never afford to retire and I’m scared! I worked some staff positions for about half my career and I have nothing to show for it. Two IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts, usually set up by your employer) are gone.

Creatives are not great financial geniuses. It’s embarrassing to admit, but it’s the most necessary part of surviving as a creative, as well as a person. Join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…