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How Dogs and Rats Can Make You a Better Designer
Business / 11 Mar 2011

How Dogs and Rats Can Make You a Better Designer

Today we’re going to venture far outside of the designer’s typical learning bubble. We’ll leave Photoshop behind and pick up the tools of a marketing executive studying consumer behavior.

This article will teach you two distinct approaches to impacting your target audience. Knowing these terms and theories will not only help you become a more effective designer, they’ll also make you look super smart at work!

25 Professional and Incredibly Powerful Photoshop Plugins
Software / 10 Mar 2011

25 Professional and Incredibly Powerful Photoshop Plugins

Freebies are awesome, and design blogs are full of them, but sometimes you need a professional tool to handle professional tasks. There are a wealth of extremely powerful and high quality photoshop tools that can dramatically improve your workflow and are worth every penny you have to spend to get them.

Today we’ll look at a number of the best tools available for making color adjustments, adjusting focus, enlarging images, transforming layers in 3D, reducing noise, creating textures, applying complex masks, and even taking that PSD into full-blown HTML.

5 Quick and Easy Photoshop Textures You Can Make From Scratch
Graphics / 9 Mar 2011

5 Quick and Easy Photoshop Textures You Can Make From Scratch

The web is full of free texture resources. Unfortunately, we’ve all used them before and hate all the inherent restrictions that come as a result of using borrowed art. For your next project, why not just use textures that you make yourself from scratch? You skip the restrictions and the end product is much more unique because you’re not using the same resources used by everyone else.

Today we’re going to get you started by teaching you how to use a couple of basic Photoshop filters to create five completely different textures. Each texture should only take you anywhere from one to three minutes to bust out and can therefore be quickly applied without eating up your crucial design time. Let’s get started!

Weekly Freebies: 12 Gorgeously Grungy Fonts
Freebies / 8 Mar 2011

Weekly Freebies: 12 Gorgeously Grungy Fonts

Who doesn’t love a good collection of free grunge fonts? These twelve are some of my favorite free fonts around and can really add character to whatever project you’re working on. I downloaded each to build the custom previews below so I can attest to them all being perfectly functional.

Browse through and download a few and leave a comment below letting us know which are your favorite! Also let us about any we missed that you particularly like.

Book Review: Smashing Book 2
Reviews / 7 Mar 2011

Book Review: Smashing Book 2

It’s been over a year since we took a look at Smashing Magazine’s very first publication, and the web industry has come a long way in twelve months. Today, we’re going to offering our thoughts on The Smashing Book #2, hailed as “sharing valuable practical insight into design, usability and coding”.

With a great range of contributors and big steps forward in shipping and physical design, let’s see how Smashing Magazine’s latest release stacks up!

Web Design Critique #40: FanExtra
Critique / 6 Mar 2011

Web Design Critique #40: FanExtra

Welcome to our 40th design critique! 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 FanExtra, a fantastic resource site for designers.

Free Websites: Who Has Them and Which You Should Use
Business / 4 Mar 2011

Free Websites: Who Has Them and Which You Should Use

It’s the dream isn’t it? A completely free website! No paying greedy designers, no web hosting free, no purchasing of a domain; just a pure and simple free presence on the web.

The world of free websites has come a long way in recent years, there are some truly viable options that just might suit your needs. However, there’s always a catch! Below you’ll find out which services have restrictions that you can live with and which you might want to avoid.

Tackling Online Menus: Tips and Examples
Inspiration / 3 Mar 2011

Tackling Online Menus: Tips and Examples

Restaurant websites are quite frequently disasters of both design and usability. Even good designers can go very wrong on this particularly tricky task.

Before you attempt your next restaurant website design, check out this article. We’ll go over some super practical tips for success in addition to a few pitfalls to avoid.

CouchCMS Creator Kamran Kashif Explains His Designer-Friendly CMS
Interviews / 2 Mar 2011

CouchCMS Creator Kamran Kashif Explains His Designer-Friendly CMS

This week’s awesome Design Shack Deal allows you to snag a commercial license of the awesome CouchCMS for a mere $9! CouchCMS offers designers the option of creating custom CMS-driven sites for their clients without any knowledge of PHP.

We sat down with the developer behind CouchCMS to learn what it’s all about, why he created it and why you should consider using it on your projects. If you haven’t picked up your copy already, you won’t want to miss this!

Weekly Freebies: 150 Cloud Brushes for Photoshop
Freebies / 1 Mar 2011

Weekly Freebies: 150 Cloud Brushes for Photoshop

For this week’s post we’ve rounded up fifteen cloud brush sets that collectively contain over 150 brushes to add to your Photoshop library. Some are super realistic, others are more artistic so you can pull off any look you’re going for.

Take a look and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Web Design Critique #39: Sabina Nore
Critique / 26 Feb 2011

Web Design Critique #39: Sabina Nore

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 the personal website of Sabina Nore.

Layout at Light Speed With the Wireframe Toolkit for Keynote
Graphics / 25 Feb 2011

Layout at Light Speed With the Wireframe Toolkit for Keynote

The Wireframe Toolkit for Keynote allows just about anyone with a basic grasp of how to use presentation software to rapidly build user interface mockups for iOS and the web. If you don’t have Keynote, don’t worry, there’s a Powerpoint version included as well!

Today we’re going to give you super quick run through of how to use the Wireframe Toolkit for Keynote to build a basic web app layout. If you can copy and paste, you can do this!