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The Totally Made Up Design Awards for Design Blogs
Graphics / 20 Dec 2010

The Totally Made Up Design Awards for Design Blogs

Once upon a time, designers discovered blogging. This changed everything for many long-time designers like me who now pretend to be writers for a living. The rapid explosion of the design blog industry has brought about an unending flow of articles that essentially use 1,200 words to tell you how you should do your job. The question we’ll answer today is, which blogs actually take their own advice?

To highlight those blogs that feature the best design, we’ll be handing out very prestigious awards in several categories that I made up on the spot. All awards are based solely on visual appeal and give no consideration whatsoever to the actual quality of the blog content. Winners can claim their trophies at any trophy store for a small fee. Let’s get started!

10 Fresh Mac Apps With Beautiful Interfaces (and What We Can Learn From Them)
Software / 16 Dec 2010

10 Fresh Mac Apps With Beautiful Interfaces (and What We Can Learn From Them)

Interface design is a valuable skill to possess. Every decision you make, be it something as major as a color scheme or as minor as a stroke width, can potentially have a huge impact on whether or not people decide to use the application, website, etc. We designers know this better than anyone because we tend to be interface snobs, meaning we flat out refuse to use an app with poor design, even if the functionality is stellar.

The next time you’re faced with the task of designing an interface, why not learn from those who have already succeeded? Below we’ll take a look at the interfaces of ten beautiful and fairly new Mac applications and discuss what went right.

Farming Out Extra Work: Thoughts and Considerations
Business / 15 Dec 2010

Farming Out Extra Work: Thoughts and Considerations

Have you ever reached a point where you feel stagnant in your career? Are you working all hours of the night and day for much less compensation than you had hoped for and don’t see any possible way to increase your prospects?

Today we’ll discuss how to increase your income potential while keeping your sanity through hiring other freelancers like yourself to help take on the load. If you don’t think you can afford it or don’t know how to begin, you’ll definitely want to keep reading!

Weekly Freebies: 10 Incredible Icon Sets for Designers
Graphics / 14 Dec 2010

Weekly Freebies: 10 Incredible Icon Sets for Designers

Tired of combing the web for high quality free icons? Your search is over. Below you’ll find literally thousands of hand crafted icons perfect for all your web design projects. Enjoy!

How to Cut the Crap and Actually Be Productive as a Creative Person
Business / 13 Dec 2010

How to Cut the Crap and Actually Be Productive as a Creative Person

Today we’re going to talk about everyone’s favorite subject: productivity. More importantly, we’ll discuss why your current system doesn’t work, why traditional company structures suck and how to wrangle your creative brain into submission.

If you’ve been waiting for an eye-opening discussion into what’s really wrong with your workflow and why your $50 todo list app isn’t fixing it, this is your lucky day.

Web Design Critique #32: Doofyme
Critique / 11 Dec 2010

Web Design Critique #32: Doofyme

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 Doofyme, the personal portfolio of Chris Kinsey.

Freelancer or FTE? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding
Business / 10 Dec 2010

Freelancer or FTE? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding

As a designer, you have a much higher likelihood of confronting the freelancer vs. full-time employee dilemma than most people. No matter which side you’re currently on or have been on before, there are several key questions that you should ask yourself before deciding where you fit in best.

Below we’ll take a look at ten such questions that you can use to assess your career aspirations and long-term goals. We’ll also offer tons of advice along the way about how to interpret your answers to each question.

Design a Fun Baby Announcement Site in Photoshop
Graphics / 9 Dec 2010

Design a Fun Baby Announcement Site in Photoshop

Designing a baby-centric site isn’t an easy task, especially for people like myself who usually favor masculine themes, colors and textures in their designs. Today we’ll tackle this task head on by creating a fun and unique baby announcement site that’s far from typical.

Feel free to follow along and be sure to download the PSD so you can have a look around or even use it in your own site.

Trends for Creating Extravagant Website Templates
Inspiration / 8 Dec 2010

Trends for Creating Extravagant Website Templates

Website template designs are very popular among modern web developers. Working within a template design can save boatloads of time when under the deadline crunch. Not only this but most source code is created within HTML5/CSS standards and allows for simple customizations.

There are a few techniques which can be utilized to develop the best templates. Designers and developers alike frequently create templates and offer them for free download to the community. Color theory, grid design, layout structure, and content development all play key roles in the creation process. Check out some of the tips below and see how you could integrate these ideas into your work.

12 Stylish and Free Slab Serif Fonts
Typography / 8 Dec 2010

12 Stylish and Free Slab Serif Fonts

Slab serif fonts are quite stylish and attractive and are versatile enough to be used in many different contexts. They’re also currently very popular among web designers everywhere.

If you’ve been wondering where other designers are snagging these great slab serifs, look no further than the collection of twelve free fonts below.

The All-New Design Shack Is Here!
News / 6 Dec 2010

The All-New Design Shack Is Here!

It’s been a little while coming, but I’m pleased to let you know that the all-new Design Shack is now very much live! We’ve tweaked the design to be a little simpler and more streamlined, and added plenty of new features (with lots more to come over the next few weeks!)

Read on for a little explanation about what’s new in the latest iteration of the site, and what you have to look forward to over the coming month!

12 Brilliant Direct Marketing Pieces You Have to See
Business / 6 Dec 2010

12 Brilliant Direct Marketing Pieces You Have to See

Direct marketing is all about connecting with customers in a real way. To accomplish this effectively, you often have to come up with some crazy unique and inventive ideas. The next time you’re in a meeting where people are ideating about direct marketing ideas, use these as inspiration to wow the group!

All of the examples below are from Ads Of the World, an excellent online source for all kinds of real and conceptual advertising and marketing examples. This is a truly invaluable inspirational resource for anyone involved with printed marketing deisgn.