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Weekly Freebies: 20 Really Cool Retro Web Elements

Freebies / 18 Feb 2012

Weekly Freebies: 20 Really Cool Retro Web Elements

Every week we search all over the web and bring you a handpicked selection of the finest design freebies around. We do all the research and you reap the benefits!

This week’s collection of freebies contains twenty irresistible retro and vintage web design elements. We’ve got everything from icon sets to badges and background patterns. Be sure to add these to your collection of resources so you can bust them out the next time your design needs to resemble something from a bygone era.

5 Online Playgrounds for HTML, CSS and JavaScript Compared

CSS / 3 Feb 2012

5 Online Playgrounds for HTML, CSS and JavaScript Compared

Local coding environments are great, but it’s often the case that I don’t want to crack open Espresso and spend a few minutes setting up to code when all I really want is to test out an idea or work on a bug. Also, sharing options for most local coding apps are limited and typically require integrating an outside app like Dropbox.

Online playgrounds or sandboxes such as jsFiddle solve this problem by providing you with an instantly ready coding environment for you to begin experimenting in as soon as the page loads. These tools let you combine CSS, HTML and often even JavaScript to create and share coding examples. I’m completely addicted to these things and have extensively tested every one I can get my hands on. Today I’ll go over my five favorites and discuss not only why what I like about each option, but also where they fall short.

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Using Scatter Brushes in Photoshop

Software / 28 Dec 2011

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Using Scatter Brushes in Photoshop

In web design we often focus on using Photoshop to create pixel perfect designs that are meticulously shaped and layered until they’re absolutely pristine. Repeated patterns, tiny strokes, complex gradients and reflections are trademarks of this design style.

But what if you’re going for something more organic? How can we use Photoshop to create complex and random particle arrangements that don’t look cheesy and contrived? The answer of course is to utilize scatter brushes. This awesome tool seems fairly simple on the surface but there’s a ton functionality and limitless possibilities to explore so even if you’re a Photoshop pro, read on to see some great ideas for how to use scatter brushes in your work.

Designing Engaging Header Images: Think Outside the Box

Layouts / 12 Dec 2011

Designing Engaging Header Images: Think Outside the Box

One of the first things you do in designing a site is to decide what that first chunk of pixels that users will see looks like. You’ve got to grab their attention and communicate your message above the fold or risk that person moving on to their next open tab.

Unfortunately, many of us fall into predictable patterns for this piece of the site. We use the same old tricks, shapes and plugins and come up with a result that might look great, but isn’t really that exciting. Today we’ll take a brief look at how you can make your header images more interesting. Along the way we’ll see some live examples from sites that have implemented these techniques successfully.

The Evolution of Apple.com

Layouts / 1 Dec 2011

The Evolution of Apple.com

The Apple design team is widely regarded as one of the most talented group of designers in the industry today. The trends that they set are followed by not only every other major tech company, but by web designers in every conceivable product and service niche.

Follow along as we embark on an exciting journey through time and witness the evolution of Apple’s design style. You’ll get several amazing glimpses at Apple.com dating all the way back to 1997 as we witness the rise and fall of several important design trends.

Create Five Awesome Hover Effects Using CSS Multiple Backgrounds

CSS / 29 Nov 2011

Create Five Awesome Hover Effects Using CSS Multiple Backgrounds

Today we’re going to have all kinds of fun with the CSS multiple backgrounds feature. You’ll learn how to use multiple backgrounds in a simple way and how to go much further by combining the technique with hover actions and CSS transitions to create some really cool effects.

Follow along as we code five different applications of this idea that you can copy and paste to create your own awesome hovers.

Black Friday Web Design: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Layouts / 28 Nov 2011

Black Friday Web Design: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Last week our U.S. readers celebrated Thanksgiving and its subsequent shopping madness known as Black Friday, where retailers dramatically reduce their prices for a day of pure shopper mayhem.

Instead of joining the stampede of frantic shoppers, I followed my annual tradition of hiding away in my home office. However, I couldn’t resist a look around to see how various stores were handling the design side of the event. Let’s see which top name retailers pulled out all the stops and which ran with cliché, generic and even ugly designs.

Practical Design Considerations for Responsive Sites

Layouts / 31 Oct 2011

Practical Design Considerations for Responsive Sites

Responsive design is our current best solution to the phenomenon of the ubiquitous web. The Internet is being accessed by people everywhere on countless incredibly varying devices and responsive pages provide an easy and functional way to account for these differences.

Today we’re going to take a step back from discussions of media queries and technical jargon and focus on the core aspects of how responsive techniques affect your design process. What major points do you need to keep in mind when approaching a responsive web design project? Read on to find out.

What Is CSS? Back to Basics

CSS / 24 Oct 2011

What Is CSS? Back to Basics

This is the third article in our back to basics series where we’re taking a look at the absolute beginning concepts of web development. If you’re a designer with little to no knowledge of web programming, this series is for you.

In our first article, we went over what HTML is and in our second article we outlined the basic anatomy of an HTML document. Today we’ll jump to a new topic and answer a very important question: What is CSS?

Tips for Designing Sleek iPhone App UI Layouts in Photoshop

Graphics / 20 Oct 2011

Tips for Designing Sleek iPhone App UI Layouts in Photoshop

Graphic design for the web has been a popular trend for ages. And with the invent of Apple’s iPhone back in 2007 the app store has grown a tremendous amount. Now we have iOS app designers and developers coming together to build some really fantastic conceptions into reality.

But if you’re not fond of learning Xcode and programming Objective-C, Photoshop may hold more interest. Below I’ll offer some of the tips I’ve picked up for designing killer iOS app mockups. And since there are always new trends emerging the design community is constantly redefining how to create apps. Think of this as more of a beginner’s resource guide to designing for Apple devices.

50 More Beautifully Designed Tumblr Themes

Inspiration / 18 Oct 2011

50 More Beautifully Designed Tumblr Themes

Way back in 2009 we posted a collection of 30 Beautifully Designed Tumblr Themes. Back then the Tumblr library of themes was much smaller than it is today and in light of the huge growth in the platform as a whole we decided to bring you fifty more themes perfect for anyone with a designer’s eye.

This time we’ve switched things up by not only featuring a ton of great free themes, but an additional selection of premium themes for anyone who needs to go that extra mile. Let’s take a look!

Graphics / 9 Aug 2011

Tips for Designing With Multiple Photos

Photography is one of your most powerful resources as a designer. Here we’ll take a look at some clever and unique ways to create photo-centric designs using multiple images.