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How to Maximize Your Income Potential From Someone Who Did
Interviews / 9 Feb 2011

How to Maximize Your Income Potential From Someone Who Did

Are you in a professional rut? Whether you’re an employee or a freelancer, it’s easy to reach a point in your career where you feel stagnant, both financially and in personal fulfillment. So how do you break free of that? How do these people that you hear about really manage to leave everything behind, venture out on their own and actually become a successful entrepreneur earning more than any agency would pay them?

Today we’re out to answer that question. We sat down with Ken Peters, founder of Nocturnal Design to hear his story about leaving a senior design position with an impressive salary to start his own company. You’ll get some real answers about how he managed to make this transition a huge success rather than falling on his face.

Weekly Freebies: 15 Pixel Perfect Photoshop Style Sets
Graphics / 8 Feb 2011

Weekly Freebies: 15 Pixel Perfect Photoshop Style Sets

Photoshop layer styles represent an incredibly versatile set of tools for changing the appearance of any object you create. The trouble is, it can be quite time consuming to figure out the proper mix of effects to get the look you’re going for. Fortunately, tons of designers have gone before you and created some really complex and beautiful styles that you can apply with a single click.

deviantART is a goldmine for Photoshop styles and we’ve gone through and narrowed down their vast collection to the 15 great styles you see below. Enjoy!

This Week’s Deal: How to Be a Rockstar Freelancer – 52% Off!
Deals / 7 Feb 2011

This Week’s Deal: How to Be a Rockstar Freelancer – 52% Off!

I’m incredibly excited to let you know that today marks the first of our new “Weekly Deals” for designers. We’re kicking things off with the fantastic eBook How to Be a Rockstar Freelancer.

Covering everything from getting started to expanding your business, How to Be a Rockstar Freelancer is the official FreelanceSwitch book. Written by the incredibly talented Collis & Cyan Ta’eed – founders of Envato – it’s packed with new information, advice and insight

Usually priced at $29, today you can pick up a copy for just $14!

Web Design Critique #36: Sticker Mule
Critique / 5 Feb 2011

Web Design Critique #36: Sticker Mule

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 Sticker Mule.

Design a Sketched 3D City Map From Scratch
Graphics / 4 Feb 2011

Design a Sketched 3D City Map From Scratch

I’m constantly trying to convince designers that SketchUp is a tool they should have in their arsenal. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about or even have no interest in 3D modeling, SketchUp can plug right into your workflow as a designer in a number of helpful ways. And hey, it’s free!

Today we’re going to use SketchUp to build an extremely simple but stylish city skyline from scratch. The whole process should take you less than an hour and can be mere minutes if you’re already familiar with the application.

An Introduction to Working With Spot Colors
Graphics / 3 Feb 2011

An Introduction to Working With Spot Colors

Color has always been a popular topic on the web. We used to throw around terms like “web safe colors” a lot more than we do now simply because the computer displays back then weren’t as great as they are now. In place of these discussions, design blogs revert mostly to discussions of color theory and of course, free tools to help you build color palettes.

However, color was a hot topic long before the web was around. Once upon a time, my discussions about color revolved around printing presses and processes for applying ink. I’d wager there are plenty of readers out there who are either interested in learning about print or still work in print today so in this article I’ll teach you all about the magic of ink.

In Defense of Advertising
Business / 2 Feb 2011

In Defense of Advertising

It’s on our clothes, in our houses and painted on the sides of our buildings. It flies high over our cities and can be found deep below our feet in subway tunnels. It’s so ingrained into the way we live that if it were to cease existing, the global economy and infrastructure would crumble in hours. Of what mystical force do I speak?

Advertising. In many American households this is a dirty word. We’ve come to hate this plague that has taken over our society and fear that it over-saturates our lives in ways that can only be destructive. Today I will cross the line and defend not only the industry as a concept but also those undoubtably evil people that participate in it.

Weekly Freebies: 180 Incredibly Useful HTML Email Templates
HTML / 1 Feb 2011

Weekly Freebies: 180 Incredibly Useful HTML Email Templates

HTML Email has seen mass amounts of debate, not only about how it should be done but even whether it should be done at all. However, the popularity of this medium has shown only growth in recent years. As support from email applications grows, so to does the richness of the designs.

Below we’ve included some of the best and most recent free templates from a number of sources. The templates range from heavily designed to extremely basic so that no matter what you’re looking for, be it a simple layout aid or a nearly finished product, there is something here for you.

Pro Techniques for Smarter and Faster Blogging
Business / 27 Jan 2011

Pro Techniques for Smarter and Faster Blogging

Blogging is all the rage in our futuristic web 2.0 technology-induced world. Although the term blogging holds connotations as almost simplistic and unprofessional, it doesn’t mean anything different than writing for the web.

As digital writers sometimes tend to glorify the trade, the job may seem cushy and even quite fun. Bloggers understand the web just a little better than most and can provide their knowledge to others in a positive fashion. The profession does offer a great means for practice writing and endows a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.

Introduction to Developing a Custom Tumblr Blog Theme
HTML / 26 Jan 2011

Introduction to Developing a Custom Tumblr Blog Theme

Tumblr is the fastest growing blog network on the web today. With the ability to quickly reblog any of your followers’ posts it truly revolutionizes the way we interact with a digtial community. Tumblr has taken the popular dashboard feature and expanded it into a personal blog feed.

Amongst the many popular features of the service is the ability to directly customize the look and feel of your page. Each blog has its own theme which is used to give your page its layout and color scheme. There are plenty of free and paid themes to choose from, but it’s much easier and more fun to create your own.

We Design Critique #35: Scentsy Buddy
Critique / 22 Jan 2011

We Design Critique #35: Scentsy Buddy

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 Scentsy Buddy, a site for scented children’s stuffed animals.

10 Website Background Ideas for Your Next Project
Inspiration / 21 Jan 2011

10 Website Background Ideas for Your Next Project

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is a variant of what kind of background someone should use for their site. These designers have the basic content and the layout pretty much nailed down, but the background is either too boring or too busy and they don’t know how to fix it.

Today we’re going to take a look at a few live sites to grab some inspiration on how to effectively add interesting backgrounds to a web page. Bookmark this article and come back to it the next time you’re stuck on a background decision.