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CSS / 12 Mar 2012

Use Pseudo Elements to Create an Image Stack Illusion

Today we’re going to see if we can take a single image inserted via HTML and make it look like a messy stack of images using only CSS. The key: pseudo elements.

Along the way we’ll see how embarking on a project like this can quickly lead to some messy code and how we can combat that with some awesome DRY coding practices.

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Freebies / 9 Mar 2012

Weekly Freebies: 25 Fantastic Free Form and Field PSDs

Every week we search all over the web and bring you a handpicked selection of the finest design freebies around. We do all the research and you reap the benefits!

This week’s collection of freebies contains 25 incredibly useful form and field PSDs. We’ve got everything from login and payment forms to gorgeous search fields. If you’re looking to add some UI goodness to your next project, don’t miss these downloads!

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Typography / 8 Mar 2012

That’s Arial Hot Shot: 5 Tricks for Spotting Helvetica in the Wild

So you think you’re a pro at spotting typefaces eh? You’re a real type lover with at least one clever t-shirt dedicated to the cause of teaching the world to kern. You’ve seen the Helvetica documentary eight times and you love to walk around a crowded city with a superior smirk on your face, pointing out all the instances of Helvetica that you see.

The big problem with this, aside from the fact that you seem a little full of yourself, is that Helvetica can actually be pretty tricky to identify if you haven’t done your homework. I’m willing to bet that you’ve even pointed at Arial (gasp!) a time or two and boldly proclaimed it to be Helvetica! Save yourself the embarrassment and learn some great tricks for spotting the most ubiquitous font on the planet.

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CSS / 7 Mar 2012

Web Design Vocabulary Refresh Part 2: CSS Structure

What’s the difference between a property and a selector? How is a declaration different than a declaration block and what’s a CSS rule? How do I tell the difference between a pseudo class and a pseudo element?

This series will serve as a basic introduction to some terms that every new web designer should be sure to add to his or her vocabulary. It won’t be an exhaustive vocabulary list but rather a primer on a few terms that I found difficult to wrap my head around when I was a beginner. We started with HTML earlier this week and today we’ll move on to some structural components of CSS.

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CSS / 6 Mar 2012

Use Gridpak to Roll Your Own Responsive Grid

I love finding free tools that are capable of making my job (and yours) just a little bit easier. The web developer community is positively overflowing with talented people who are more than willing to share their creations with the world while asking nothing in return.

Today we’re going to look at one such tool from Erskine Design called Gridpak. With it we can quickly and easily generate our own responsive grid for building web pages that work well on lots of different screen sizes. It’s a little tricky to implement though so we’ll help you figure out how to set up your styles after you grab the download.

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HTML / 5 Mar 2012

Web Design Vocabulary Refresh Part 1: HTML

What’s the difference between an element and a tag? When should I use strong and when should I use bold? What the heck is the DOM? When you’re new to web design, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is always the jargon. So many technical terms are thrown around flippantly and rarely explained outright that it’s easy to get lost.

This series will serve as a basic introduction to some terms that every new web designer should be sure to add to his or her vocabulary. This won’t be an exhaustive vocabulary list but rather a primer on a few terms that I found difficult to wrap my head around when I was a beginner. We’ll start with HTML today and move on to CSS in the near future.

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Freebies / 3 Mar 2012

Weekly Freebies: 12 Free Icon Fonts Perfect for Web Design

Every week we search all over the web and bring you a handpicked selection of the finest design freebies around. We do all the research and you reap the benefits!

This week’s collection of freebies contains twelve awesome free fonts that double as icon sets. Icon fonts are perfect for serving up to the web via @font-face and make for an incredibly versatile way to add interesting but simple graphics to your site. Icon fonts can be pretty pricey but you can grab all of these without spending a cent!

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Layouts / 2 Mar 2012

Mastering Multiple Photo Layouts

Working with multiple photos and images can be a tricky prospect. Done carefully, the use of multiple images can help create an effective and masterful design for both print and web design projects. Some of the best examples of design using multiple photos can be found in the websites of professional photographers.

Consider dominance, number of photos, color, grouping and image quality when working with a variety of photos. Look at details and consider the feel of a project to get the best results when using many images in your project.

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Inspiration / 1 Mar 2012

Massive Inspiration Roundup: 140 Dribbble Debut Thank You Shots

Dribbble started as a very small, targeted way for a handful of designers to share the things they were working on. It has since grown into a fairly massive network that houses an unbelievable range of design related talent. Despite its growth, the network remains fairly closed. Unless you can score one of those rarely issued invites from a faithful user, you’re a mere spectator.

Those who do score invites are incredibly appreciative, so much so that it’s become an incredibly popular trend to spend your all important debut shot on a graphic that serves as a thank you message to the person that invited you. Browsing through all of the various ideas that designers come up with to visually thank each other is fascinating. We’ve spent hours looking through these shots and today bring you a massive collection of 140 of them. Enjoy!

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CSS / 29 Feb 2012

What’s the Deal With Display: Inline-Block?

We’ve been using floats for layout pretty much since we left tables behind. It’s a quirky solution that can often cause troubles, but if you know what you’re doing, it works.

One interesting alternative to floats that people are turning to more and more lately is to set the display value of an element to inline-block. What does this do exactly? How is it like a float? How is it different? Let’s dive in and see what we can discover.

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Mobile / 28 Feb 2012

5 Quick Ways to Make Your Site More Mobile Friendly

If you’ve ignored mobile platforms in the past, it can be intimidating to finally make the jump and begin to support mobile browsing on your existing sites. There’s so much to learn, a million techniques to choose from and a limitless amount of work that you could potentially put into existing projects.

A question that designers and site owners alike always want to know is, “How can I quickly add mobile support?” Sometimes, you don’t have the budget to start from scratch and yet still desire a modicum of mobile goodness. Today I’ll walk you through five things that you can do to make your site more mobile friendly.

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CSS / 27 Feb 2012

Super Sweet CSS 3D Text Effects With Sass and LESS

I was recently discussing the merits and various features of CSS preprocessors with a colleague. We covered all of the basics: how it’s great to have variables and how mixins can save you an incredible amount of coding time. When the conversation turned to some of the more obscure features though things got interesting. When I brought up the various color operations, my colleague boldly proclaimed that no “real designer” could ever find a legitimate excuse for using this feature and not picking his own colors manually.

In the words of Barney Stinson, “challenge accepted!” Today we’re going to create an awesome faux 3D text effect with pure CSS and then see why it’s a lot easier to do it with the color operations in Sass or LESS.