Articles

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

CSS / 6 Sep 2012

Toggle a Page’s Color and Content With Pure CSS

Today’s project is going to be a fun one. We’re going to build a basic HTML/CSS demo page, then add in a button that allows the user to toggle the page’s color scheme between to states: day and night. As the colors switch, so will various other elements on the page.

The really awesome part is that we can pull all of this off using only CSS. Along the way we’ll learn how to create a CSS-powered click event as well as how to wield pseudo elements to manipulate page content.

CSS / 5 Sep 2012

Build a Fun Photo Swap Animation With CSS Keyframes

CSS keyframe animations open up a vast range of possibilities for what can be accomplished with CSS. Much more than simple, one-step transitions, keyframes can be used to achieve complex, multi-step animations that are quite impressive.

In today’s project, we’re going to start from scratch and build a stack of two photos that spread out and swap their stacking order when you hover over them. Along the way we’ll learn all about how to wield keyframes like a pro and juggle all of those head-spinning prefixes!

CSS / 4 Sep 2012

A Beginner’s Guide to Leaner CSS

Don’t repeat yourself (DRY). It’s a simple concept with the ability to completely change the way you write code. If I look back to my early days with CSS though, I don’t think the concept meant much to me. Sure, all right, don’t repeat myself, thanks for the advice. How does that translate to applicable advice though?

Today we’re going to look at the very core concepts for how to rethink the CSS you’ve been writing by trimming the fat and reducing the redundancy. The result will be leaner CSS that’s easier to author and maintain.

CSS / 3 Sep 2012

Code a Mountain Lion Style Notification Window With CSS

This one is for my fellow Mac nerds. Apple’s newest desktop operating system, OS X Mountain Lion, has a built-in notification system similar to what we’ve had on iOS for years. Today we’re going to build one of the notification windows using CSS.

To pull this off, we’ll use some basic HTML and a little bit of fancy CSS3. To finish it off, we’ll add a touch of jQuery magic to allow the user to drag the window around. It’ll be tons of fun, so boot up your favorite coding app and follow along!

Articles / 29 Aug 2012

Art vs. Design: Are They the Same Thing?

Every project is created by design. It is thought out, analyzed and finally, designed and executed.

But is every design project also a work of art? How similar (or different) are the processes and results? You may find that every designer or artist has a different definition. Here I will share my characteristics of each. (Feel free to agree with or even challenge me.)

CSS / 28 Aug 2012

Semantic Grid Class Naming With Placeholder Selectors in Sass 3.2

CSS frameworks are known for taking a club to the idea of semantic HTML. This is such a problem that developers everywhere have entirely sworn off the idea of grid-based frameworks solely on the principle that it leads to non-semantic class names.

With Sass, it becomes quite easy to work around this problem and use a predefined grid without resorting to wonky class names. In fact, the latest version of Sass (3.2) has a new feature that makes this task easier than ever. Read on to see what it is and how it works.

Inspiration / 27 Aug 2012

25+ Awesome Responsive Blog Designs

One of the very first steps that you should take in any major redesign is to get a feel for the state of the industry by taking a look around at what others are doing. When used properly, good inspiration drives you to your own unique ideas.

This is especially helpful when embarking on your first responsive design project. Today we’re going to hone in specifically on blogs and take a look at how some of the early adopters in responsive blog design have approached the challenge. If you’re thinking about taking your blog responsive, you won’t want to miss these 25 sites!

Critique / 24 Aug 2012

Web Design Critique #86: WPMU

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 WPMU.org, a site for WordPress enthusiasts. Let’s jump in and see what we think!

Business / 21 Aug 2012

How to Find Work When It Doesn’t Find You

Freelancing for a living is flat out nuts. Some days you’ll be so buried in work that you never think you’ll see the sun again. Other days will make you wonder how in the world you’re going to make rent this month.

This article will focus on the latter situation. You’ve reached the end, you’re finished. There’s no more work, the economy sucks, no one’s calling, now what?

Software / 16 Aug 2012

Seven Online Infographic Builders That You Have to Try

The world is becoming increasingly visual – especially the online world. Thanks to social media and the explosion of sites such as Pinterest, displaying information in a visual way has become even more important. But it can be time consuming and even brain-boggling.

There are a host of tools out there though that can help you turn information into pretty good (and Pinterest-friendly) infographics in a matter of minutes. Here we take a look at some of the top contenders, how they work, what they cost and if they are worth your time (and money).

CSS / 13 Aug 2012

Master Responsive Web Design With Gridset

Let’s face it, responsive design is hard work. Web design was difficult enough when we were only considering desktop platforms, but the challenge of seemingly infinitely varying screen and viewport sizes has really added to the complexity of website layout.

Whether you’re completely new to responsive design or consider yourself an expert in the area, the tool that we’re going to look at today will blow you away. It’s called Gridset and it’s amazing.

Critique / 10 Aug 2012

Web Design Critique #85: Sonic Electronix

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 Sonic Electronix, a consumer electronics company. Let’s jump in and see what we think!