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Graphics / 22 Nov 2011

Three Quick Design Tricks: Break Out Screenshots, Easy Starbursts and Vector Grunge Textures

Today we have a small collection of completely random but very useful design tricks that you should keep in the back of your mind the next time you need a new idea.

I’ll show you a quick way to make a software screenshot more interesting, how to create awesome vector grunge textures and a super fast way to build a vector starburst.

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Software / 21 Nov 2011

5 Simple Steps to Stunning Portraits in Photoshop

Today’s article points out a harsh but true reality: just because you know how to use Photoshop for design work doesn’t mean you know how to edit photos. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.

Follow along as we show you five simple and lightning fast steps you can take to transform your plain, boring portraits to stunning images that look straight out of a professional photographer’s portfolio. Along the way you’ll learn several important tips such as how to properly sharpen an image and how to draw the viewer’s attention to where you want it to go.

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Critique / 19 Nov 2011

Web Design Critique #69: Okay Geek

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 Okay Geek, a delightfully geeky tech blog that we’ve seen before on Design Shack. Let’s jump in and see what we think of the new design!

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Freebies / 18 Nov 2011

Weekly Freebie: Printable Productivity Mousepad

Today’s freebie is incredibly simple but also incredibly useful. It’s a custom-made calendar, todo and notes sheet that you can print and use as a mousepad. I use it myself every day and thought I’d share it!

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Business / 17 Nov 2011

The Ten Commandments of Writing Copy That Wins Clients

Web design companies and freelancers should never underestimate the power of good copy. Likewise, they should never doubt how much bad copy can hurt their chances of winning clients.

Follow along as we discuss then ten commandments of writing simple and effective copy that will convince your potential clients that you can successfully meet their needs and blow away their expectations.

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Deals / 17 Nov 2011

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We’ve teamed up with ActiveCampaign to bring you an unbeatable deal on professional email marketing. This week only you can snag 5,000 email credits for only $30, down from $100!

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Software / 16 Nov 2011

10 Ways Photoshop Actions Can Improve Your Workflow

Photoshop actions are an extremely easy way to automate all of the mundane daily tasks that have made their way into your design workflow. Whether you’re in web or print design, odds are there are a few repetitive tasks that you could let Photoshop handle for you.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to automating your workflow is simply coming up with ideas for where Photoshop actions could help you out. Today we’ll help you solve that problem by going over 10 ways Photoshop actions can improve your workflow.

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CSS / 15 Nov 2011

6 Things I Learned About Print Stylesheets From HTML5 Boilerplate

Print stylesheets can be a pain if you don’t know what you’re doing. Before you even approach one you need to make sure to do some solid research into how to go about it.

Today we’re going to help you along by first discussing the conceptual considerations that you need to keep in mind when creating a print stylesheet. Then we’ll dive into some code from the famous HTML5 Boilerplate to see some modern solutions for addressing the problems that arise when printing from the web.

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Business / 14 Nov 2011

Going Global: Leveraging Cultural Dimensions for Better Design

The world is a widely varied place and it’s naive to imagine that a design that resonates well with one group of people will be equally effective with another group on the other side of the globe.

Today we’ll show you how to wield Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions to better tailor your designs to different cultures through a basic understanding of the values that they tend to pursue.

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Critique / 12 Nov 2011

Web Design Critique #68: Oasis Christian Center

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 Oasis Christian Center & Retreat. Let’s jump in and see what we think!

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Freebies / 11 Nov 2011

Weekly Freebies: 20+ Fiercely Fiery Photo Textures

As a follow up to our 50 Wonderful Water and Ice Textures, we’ve wrangled up over twenty beautiful and fierce fire textures for you to use in your next design project.

Each image is licensed for commercial use so you can use them pretty much however you want, just be sure to check for attribution as many authors simply want you to give them credit in some small way. Enjoy!

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Inspiration / 10 Nov 2011

Close Photoshop and Grab a Pencil: The Lost Art of Thumbnail Sketches

Long before web UI mockups came along, print designers would hone their ideas using a tried and true method called thumbnail sketching. This practice seems to be somewhat of a lost art so we’re going to shed some light on it!

Today we’ll briefly discuss what thumbnail sketches are, some tips for creating them and how to effectively implement them into your already busy workflow.