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Adobe Illustrator 101: 10 Things You Should Know About Ai
Software / 15 Jun 2011

Adobe Illustrator 101: 10 Things You Should Know About Ai

Adobe Illustrator is one of my absolute favorite applications. For vector work, Illustrator simply can’t be beat and you should really set your reservations aside and give it a shot. Even if you’re commonly creating raster graphics for the web, there are a number of things that Illustrator simply does better than Photoshop so getting to know both apps and their strengths/weaknesses is a must.

Today’s article is for the extreme Illustrator newbies. You have the Adobe Creative Suite installed on your computer and have seen Illustrator sitting there quietly begging to be played with but you’ve never jumped in. We’ll go over ten basic things you should know before starting.

Win an iPad 2 & One Year of Hosting (Worth £730)!
Competitions / 15 Jun 2011

Win an iPad 2 & One Year of Hosting (Worth £730)!

I’m excited to let you know that – in partnership with Heart Internet – we’re kicking off a fantastic competition to win an iPad 2, and one year of free reseller hosting with domain and goMobi!

It takes just five minutes to enter, and we’re asking you to fill out a short survey. We’ll be publishing the statistics from this in a few weeks time, to give you some awesome insight into the web design industry. Read on to find out more…

Designing News: How Top News Sites Handle Tons of Content
Graphics / 14 Jun 2011

Designing News: How Top News Sites Handle Tons of Content

If I had my way, along with just about every other web designer, web pages would always contain a fairly limited amount of content in order to keep the focus clear and the line of communication easy to follow.

Unfortunately, real world situations call for web pages with immense amounts of content. To learn to tackle the issues that arise in this arena, we’re going to look at a particular section of websites that are perhaps more overcrowded than any other: news websites. How do the designers at CNN, MSNBC, Fox and others handle the layout of so much information? Find out after the jump.

Custom Web Design Techniques for Unusual Navigation
Navigation / 13 Jun 2011

Custom Web Design Techniques for Unusual Navigation

Page navigation is arguably the most important aspect to any properly constructed website. How easily your visitors can travel from page-to-page will affect the overall emotion and user interface of your website.

Great web designers always keep a surprise around every corner, and navigation menus can feature this big time. From fullpage to corner links I’ve shared a few great examples of unusual website navigation. Hopefully these ideas can incite a barrage of creativity within yourself and any future projects.

Web Design Critique #54: BDQWorks
Critique / 11 Jun 2011

Web Design Critique #54: BDQWorks

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 BDQWorks a Drupal/WordPress theme design and development company.

What to Do With Your Portfolio’s Contact Form: 3 Popular Solutions
Business / 10 Jun 2011

What to Do With Your Portfolio’s Contact Form: 3 Popular Solutions

You’ve got your portfolio site almost finished and it’s time to tackle that task you’ve been putting off: the contact form. Some designers love forms, but many of us find them boring and annoying and would rather spend our day creating anything else.

One of the most difficult parts of this task is simply deciding what fields and questions to place in your contact form. What information should you be gathering from potential clients? Today we’ll answer that question by looking at three different common solutions.

Weekly Freebies: 25 Beautiful Stone Textures
Freebies / 10 Jun 2011

Weekly Freebies: 25 Beautiful Stone Textures

Happy Friday everyone! Before you blast out of the office and declare your freedom for the next couple of days, take a gander at these awesome stone textures to add to your arsenal of design resources.

All of the textures below are completely free and licensed under creative commons. They have also been approved for commercial use so you can use them in pretty much any project you want! How sweet is that? Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Outsourcing Your Own Brand: Pros and Cons
Business / 9 Jun 2011

Outsourcing Your Own Brand: Pros and Cons

Should designers outsource their own website or personal brand? It may sound crazy but the practice is more common that you might think.

Today we’re going to attempt to look at both sides of this issue and explore the good and the bad of letting another designer define your digital identity.

3 Rock Solid Website Layout Examples: Coded
CSS / 8 Jun 2011

3 Rock Solid Website Layout Examples: Coded

Recently on Design Shack we featured an article titled “10 Rock Solid Website Layout Examples“, which broke down some common layouts into simple silhouette wireframes so you could easily apply them in your work.

Today I’ve chosen three of these layouts and converted them to live, responsive web pages with some HTML and CSS. They’re all super simple and easy enough for many beginners to take on, plus we’ll be using an awesome framework to do the heavy lifting.

Get 5 Smashing Magazine eBooks for Only $25!
Deals / 8 Jun 2011

Get 5 Smashing Magazine eBooks for Only $25!

This week we’ve teamed up with Smashing Magazine, the grandaddy of all design sites, to bring you an unbeatable deal on some must-have reading material for summer.

Smashing eBooks are professionally produced and simply overflowing with enough educational content to turn you into a design pro in several areas. We’re offering not just one or two, but five of them for a mere $25. Read on to check it out.

12 Fun CSS Text Shadows You Can Copy and Paste
CSS / 7 Jun 2011

12 Fun CSS Text Shadows You Can Copy and Paste

Typography is everyone’s favorite toy in web design. One particularly fun tool that CSS gives you to play with your type is text-shadow, which seems simple enough at first but can be used to create some remarkable effects with a little ingenuity and creativity.

Today we’re going to run through several text-shadow examples that you can copy and paste for your own work.

Web Design Critique #53: Distinction
Critique / 4 Jun 2011

Web Design Critique #53: Distinction

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 Distinction, home of a web design agency in Nottingham.