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Web Design Critique #34: myRepono
Critique / 15 Jan 2011

Web Design Critique #34: myRepono

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 myRepono, a website backup service.

Design Meets Psychology: Putting Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Work
Business / 14 Jan 2011

Design Meets Psychology: Putting Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Work

In the past, we discussed at length Why Designers Can’t Ignore Marketing. For the most part, commenters agreed with idea that designers should familiarize themselves with basic marketing principles.

Today, we’re going to put this idea into practice and discuss Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a model born in humanistic psychology and adopted by many marketing professionals as a way to understand consumer behavior. We’ll go over what the model is, how popular companies like Coco-Cola put it into practice and why any of this is relevant to you as a designer.

Designing a Church Homepage Without the Clutter
Graphics / 13 Jan 2011

Designing a Church Homepage Without the Clutter

Church home pages tend to suffer from many of the same problems that we recently saw with band websites. There’s so much content that gets thrown onto these pages and it all competes for attention to such a degree that most or all of it loses any intended visual significance.

Today we’ll learn how to battle that by designing a dramatically simple and attractive church homepage that still has plenty of room for various messages, announcements and more.

Easily Create a Full Screen Photography Slideshow Website Without Flash
JavaScript / 12 Jan 2011

Easily Create a Full Screen Photography Slideshow Website Without Flash

Photography websites nearly always run on Flash. Adobe’s increasingly notorious technology simply does an excellent job of displaying imagery in a dynamic way that’s perfect for photography showcases. However, there are a few downsides.

First, it’s not always easy to find a quality, free slideshow template to start from, and if you’re not a Flash developer, this could lead to significant costs. Secondly, the world is in quite the love/hate relationship with Flash at the moment, with many developers switching to JavaScript, CSS3 and HTML5 where possible.

So today we’re going to build a beautiful, Javascript-powered photography site with a full-screen slideshow. Literally all of the heavy lifting will be done by an awesome free jQuery resource so our job will be mostly customization. Let’s get started!

Weekly Freebies: 10 Brilliant jQuery Plugins
JavaScript / 11 Jan 2011

Weekly Freebies: 10 Brilliant jQuery Plugins

This week’s collection of awesome free resources includes some of our favorite jQuery plugins. Utilizing these in your site designs can save you loads of time in development and will help ensure that both your code and design is top-notch.

There are a few random plugins for tooltips and Twitter widgets but most of the resources you’ll find below help with image presentation. Whether you want a 3D carousel or a fullscreen slideshow, there’s something here for you!

Web Design Critique #33: Trade & Lateral Development
Critique / 8 Jan 2011

Web Design Critique #33: Trade & Lateral Development

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 Trade & Lateral Development, an email marketing firm.

How Much Money Do Designers Make?
Business / 7 Jan 2011

How Much Money Do Designers Make?

Design isn’t about money, it’s about something higher. It’s about loving what you do, making the world more attractive and satisfying your never-ending need for intellectual stimulation. Good designers don’t see design as a job, but a lifestyle. We think about design constantly while looking at the things around us, our hobbies are design-centric, we read and write about design; on and on.

Who needs money when you have a passion like this? Me, that’s who. Don’t get me wrong, lots of that mumbo jumbo above describes me pretty accurately. But let’s face it folks, we all have mortgages, bills, student loans and other factors that ensure our need for green stays intact. Today we’re going to have some fun and see how much money we should be making!

Illustrator Typography: Using the Appearance Palette
Graphics / 5 Jan 2011

Illustrator Typography: Using the Appearance Palette

Adobe Illustrator is a fantastic app for creating complex vector typographical arrangements. The application is so big and complicated though that it can take years to figure out how to recreate some of the cool effects that you’ve seen elsewhere without coming up with complicated workarounds.

Today we’ll remove some of the mystery of working with strokes and fills by diving into the appearance palette to see not only how it works, but how to manipulate the items within to create some really cool effects.

Designing Web Interfaces Scaled for Touchscreens
Graphics / 4 Jan 2011

Designing Web Interfaces Scaled for Touchscreens

Gone are the days of convoluted javascript notation and countless plugins includes in your header. Layout design has taken a large step forward as we’re seeing designers creating some extravagant concepts. Touch screen devices currently hold the highest interest from a designer’s and developer’s point of view.

More people are using touchscreen enabled devices now than ever before. This includes tablet PCs and the entire list of mobile phone operating systems. These devices are all mobile and allow for access from most any remote location.

Weekly Freebies: 10 Great Grunge Paper Textures
Graphics / 3 Jan 2011

Weekly Freebies: 10 Great Grunge Paper Textures

You can simply never have too many grungy paper backgrounds at your disposal. Unfortunately, many roundups shoot for quantity over quality in this area so it can be difficult to track down real, usable resources. We sifted through tons of paper textures to bring you ten of the best we could find.

All textures are sourced from Flickr Creative Commons and Lost and Taken. They’re all very large and ready to use. About half require simple attribution in the form of a link while the rest are usable with no restrictions. Enjoy!

Deeper Study Into the WWW’s Document Object Model
HTML / 28 Dec 2010

Deeper Study Into the WWW’s Document Object Model

The Document Object Model is a fundamental part of the World Wide Web. DOM for short, this is a set of API standards which define how a browser should construct a web document and how developers are able to manipulate objects.

We’ll be looking a bit further into how the DOM really works. The model has been around for years and currently resides at DOM level 3 (DOM3 documentation here). There is a DOM4 currently in editor’s draft with some brand new specs coming soon. For now we can focus on a brief understanding of how the object model came into being.

Design Discussion: Brand Advertising vs. Promotional Marketing
Business / 23 Dec 2010

Design Discussion: Brand Advertising vs. Promotional Marketing

Design is not merely the act of creating attractive things for people to look at, that’s art. Instead, every project you work on as a designer has its own set of goals for what it should accomplish. The visuals you create are meant to help lead people in a specific direction.

Below we’ll take a look at two common goals that are pursued in advertising design. First we’ll go over the similarities and differences between brand advertising and promotional marketing, then discuss how these implications apply to your design work, regardless of what field you’re in.