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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.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

Inspiration / 16 May 2012

10 Tips for Awesome Tumblr Theme Design

Here at Design Shack, WordPress is our bread and butter, but in the world of blogging platforms, we have lots of love for Tumblr as well. It’s simple, gorgeous, and simply enjoyable to use.

Today we’re going to take a look at what makes a great Tumblr theme. With over 1,300 options in the Tumblr theme garden, it can be difficult to stand out. Why do some themes catch so much attention while others are ignored? Good design holds the answer.

Software / 15 May 2012

Adobe Muse Test Drive: Is It Worth $15 Per Month?

Adobe has an interesting relationship with folks who design websites. Photoshop and Fireworks have you covered from a static image perspective, but tools to build live, functioning websites are another story completely. Flash is no longer the poster child of modern web technologies (quite the opposite), GoLive went the way of the dinosaurs and Dreamweaver, though still widely used, is regarded by many to be a bloated mess.

One area that Adobe is intent on pursuing is web design for non-coders. They’ve made it their mission to bring the world of professional website creation to the huge market of designers who can’t write a lick of code. Thus far, they’ve largely fallen short of that goal (Project Rome anyone?). Their latest attempt, Adobe Muse, has finally exited beta and is available as a part of Adobe’s new Creative Cloud service ($50 per month) or as a stand alone product ($15 per month). Is Muse worth your time and money? Will it really allow you to create professional level websites without coding? Read on to find out.

CSS / 14 May 2012

Build a Library of CSS Image Label Options

Today I’m working on another awesome free download for PixelsDaily. Here you’ll be able to see my thought processes, goals and code, and later you’ll be able to download the whole project to use in your own work.

Basically, our goal here is to create a simple effect so that when the user hovers over an image, a hidden text label pops up into view. This is of course extremely easy to do so we’re going to go a step further by building a whole bunch of options for the developer to choose from. This will provide you with some good practice for how to create flexible effects that can be applied in different ways without too much code repetition.

Critique / 12 May 2012

Web Design Critique #80: The New Responsive WebAppers Site

It’s time for another awesome web design critique, where we take a look at a real 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 WebAppers, a great place to find open source web resources. Let’s jump in and see what we think!

Layouts / 11 May 2012

Preparing Your Web Design for Print

When was the last time a client asked you to design something for print? Did you feel comfortable meeting the request? There are a few key standards that you should understand to make the successful jump from online to printed design.

When planning a print project you really have to take the medium, format and printing press in mind when putting together a project. It is also important to understand the differences in how color works, font embedding and other just preparing your flier, magazine cover or business card for print.

Layouts / 10 May 2012

Design to the Power of Three: The Magically Ubiquitous Number

Three is only a number, right? Just one of ten numerals that we use to express value, nothing more. Or is it perhaps a lot more? Is the number three a designer’s best friend? Does it drive art, photography, design, architecture and even the natural order of the universe?

Join us as we take a look at some ways that designers leverage the number three, and more importantly, why you should keep the number three in mind whether you’re designing websites, print ads or even logos.