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Redesign The Web by Smashing Magazine

Redesign The Web by Smashing Magazine


We are very excited to review the brand new Smashing Magazine book, REDESIGN THE WEB.  I'll start by saying that I would not only recommend this book to every designer, but it is a must for any person who is in the position to make decisions about their website. Why do I think this? Understanding the how and why behind design allows you to learn the types of questions you should be asking about your website and will help the entire design process immensely.

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Let's start by taking a look at the table of contents:

Chapter 1, The Business Side of Redesign, was my favorite chapter in the book. Focusing on the business of design is by far the most important part. This concept can sometimes be overlooked when you get caught up in "making it pretty". "The most powerful defense against fashion is simple: we must ask why." Great tip to try next time your clients wants a "make my website look like that" design.

Another great point brought up in this chapter is the designer-client relationship. I agree that many of these relationships are broken. Without the client understanding the how and why behind your work they tend to focus on the looks, not the purpose. Here are some pointers to create a better relationship.

Chapter 2 dives into the technical needs of a company and offers some basic advice for clients when it comes to exercising their options and choosing the right platforms for their needs. This includes everything from choosing the right content management system to your commerce platform.

The following chapters cover the basics of HTML5, the great advantages of using CSS3, and some of the new features and benefits both of these languages have to offer. It also touches upon Javascript and some tricks to replace complex JQuery. If you are familiar with both HTML + CSS, you will understand the tips and pointers these chapters have to offer. Here is just an example of what you will find:

Source: Page 107

Chapter 7 goes over a variety of Photoshop tools at your disposal. Most of these techniques are pretty basic if you are a Photoshop know-it-all, however there might be a few that you didn't know about. If you are new to photoshop, this chapter is a perfect way to learn some new techniques. Here is an example of  from the book:

The later chapters go into the theory behind design as well as the overall brand. Topics covers are designing with personality and techniques to build better user experiences. Both are very important and something you as a designer can never be reminded of too many times.

The chapter, Designing With Personality, was another stand out chapter of this book. Personality really is what sets brands apart. Below are some examples listed of the benefits of creating a personality.

The concept below is extremely valuable. Copywriting isn't always taken into account in design, but in terms of building a brand with personality, it is a very key element that must be given some thought.

A great example quoted from Chapter 10: "GE made its giant corporation feel more humanly by sharing the individual personality of its workforce. It showed us the passion and pride it has for its craft. and we felt it.

There is a landing page strategy that can absolutely benefit you, further than getting early access sign-ups, that is brought up in this book. This is known as the "hidden survey". You can gauge interest and demand of a product that hasn't even been built yet just by monitoring the number of early-access sign ups. Another great way is offering a short "Help Us Build Something You Want" survey asking them a few short questions geared toward getting valuable information that you can use. Getting to know the people that use your product is the best way to build a product.

If you are just starting in the field of design, this book is definitely for you. It will quickly get you up to speed and give you some great pointers that will most improve your current workflow.

If you are well into the field of design this book might not offer entirely new concepts. Still, there is always an opportunity to learn and overall, it is definitely worth reading to see what new ideas you can take away from it.

Get your copy of the new Smashing Magazine book, Redesign The Web.

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Creative Website Design Trends

Creative Website Design Trends


There are thousands of different ways you can design a website, the options are rather endless in fact. Color palettes, placement, design and branding all come into effect in the same space, so it is important for there to be a cohesive theme throughout. Sometimes we can get stuck in how to design the perfect site for your purposes. So here are a few lesser seen ideas that are sure to inspire your next design.

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How cool is the design behind "loom". This design is very simple with a simple menu to the left and a majority of the page taken up by just one image. It is definitely a different approach from some sites that choose to fill up the homepage with different messages and directions for the viewer. Of course, it depends on the amount of content the site has to offer, but I love the simplicity of a design like this.


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Design Sponge continues to be one of the best resources out there for home decor. This is a perfect example of a site that has so many different directions that could take their readers to, depending on what the reader is looking for. This is a simplified way to show snippets of what the site can offer to readers depending on their needs.


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Here are a few interesting and different designs that you just don't see every day.


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This wedding website is fabulous from top to bottom. Everything from the color palette to the typography choices fit perfectly with the style and feel of the couple. Sometimes shapes and interesting typography can go a long way.


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This whole site from top to bottom is well thought out and well put together. Everything from the font choices to the branding are simple yet effective for this company. I happen to be an ever growing fan of darker more textured backgrounds with bold white font, and this is a great example of that look being done just right.


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There are so many great design trends right now, which look do you like best?

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Color of the Year 2011: By the People [infographic]

Color of the Year 2011: By the People [infographic]


It's that time of year again where we look back on the colors that helped us define a year and look forward to the new colors that will help us paint a beautiful future. We had nearly 1,000 people create their own personal Color of the Year in 2011 and below we'll look at what trends emerged.

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Now that we've done this for two years it's interesting to see the change in colors and the words we use to describe our year. As can be expected, love was the most popular word used to describe your colors. And the top 4 words our community chose for 2011 "Love, Hope, Happy, Fun" were almost the same as last year's "Love, Happy, New Hope." Reds have been the most popular color both years, but 2011's colors are more cooler with more blue, teal, and purple shades.

As always we want to know what you see as the color of the year. We each see the world uniquely and we're here to help you share that wonderful perspective of yours. You can help us shape next year's graphic by naming your own Color of the Year for 2012: www.ColorOfTheYear.com

Nearly 1,000 people from around the world told us their colors of the year for 2011... Here are the people's colors of the year:

(Click for Full Screen View)

Look Back at the Color of the Year 2010

Want to see how things have changed since our graphic last year? Check out the Colors of the Year 2010 here.

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CreateMixedMedia Contest: Numbers Challenge & Weekly Survey

CreateMixedMedia Contest: Numbers Challenge & Weekly Survey


This week we are re-featuring the pattern template contest we initially posted last Friday. The challenge is to create a numbered pattern using any number one through seven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7) with the month of April in mind (see more on the theme, below). Also, each number must be its own pattern template.

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Createmixedmedia.com features an artist each week on their homepage in "THE WEEK AS ART" as visualized by the artist who creates that weeks days as art. This week on createmixedmedia.com there is a wonderful display of numbered art four through ten (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10) each very rich in color by artist, Denise Brown (inkstitch.net).

source: createmixedmedia.com homepage, week of march 4th through 10th (THE WEEK AS ART)

Create Mixed Media will place each winning COLOURlovers template as a colored version by the creator, on their site the first week of April in THE WEEK AS ART. The image on the site will link back over to the winners pattern on COLOURlovers.com.

Seven Winners - You win exposure and a great prize!

This fun opportunity offers you as a creator, exposure on your design skill and a prize of $25 to spend in the North Light Shop which has tons of books on mixed media, color, anything art, craft, hobby and technique.

The challenge rules:

Template must be created using any single number one through seven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7).

You can submit as many versions and numbered templates as you like.

Please submit a colored version along with your original grayscale template.

A loose theme of "April Fools" and/or "April Showers" will give you more weight in winning, but you are not limited to this directly (i.e. in the current weeks artist on createmixedmedia.com, her work is simply colorful and organic which will work too).

You can use any extra design elements (shapes, lines, etc) you would like within the template, but the number does need to be noticeable.

This is a template contest. That means you will need to use either Seamless Studio or Seamless Lite to make your initial submission.

Remember, you must only put one number in to one template as the template is referring to a day of the week.

CONTEST ENDS: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012. Submit designs in the comments of this post.

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Decking Out Your Resume

Decking Out Your Resume


I'm sure everyone knows that having an impressive resume can sometimes be the deciding factor in whether or not you land a spot at your favorite company. With so many resumes hitting employers desks these days, the first step is to get your seen by the right people to give you that fighting chance.

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It goes without saying that some employers might not jump at the chance of having a resume sitting on their desk in the form of a milk carton, but the up side to such a resume is that you are sure to get noticed.

It doesn't take drastic actions such as that to impress your new potential employee, but creating a clean, well-designed, and easy-to-read resume might be all it takes to get them to notice you and consider you a candidate.


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With so many people on the hunt for a job these days, adding a bit of personality often times give your potential employers enough reality about who you are. And if they like what they see, you could jump ahead to round to.


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This is also a great time for you, especially as a designer, to show off some of your skills right then and there.


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Just like with business cards, your first impression has to be something worth looking at. I have always been a fan of the sewn business card, but this resume with a sewn detail on some awesome fabric is another cool way to stand out and show off your personality a little more.


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Do you have the whole package? Show it off with more than just a piece of paper.


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Of course, landing a job really comes down to the right fit for you and the company, and a resume isn't 100% going to be the deciding factor, but presenting a well-prepared and unique resume gives you the best fighting chance at getting your body of work seen by the people who could be your future employers. Giving them something something to talk about and something that they don't see dozens of times in a given day will at least come as a breathe of fresh air and something they will definitely remember.

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Bold & Justified: The Huge World of Typography [infographic]

Bold & Justified: The Huge World of Typography [infographic]


Comic Sans is installed more on PCs. Why so serious Linux & Mac? That's just one of the many things we discovered while looking into the creative history of typography aka fonts. They play a huge part in branding and logos. They bring us the words in the stories we read. They add personality to a message. ... and with CreativeMarket.com, our new marketplace for beautiful design content like fonts launching soon, we wanted to bring the typographic history, usage & character to life. Get your typographic love on!

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P.S. How many different font faces can you name off the top of your head?

Click Image to View in Full Size

Design with love by Meghan Robichaud

Are you ready to make your project stand out? Check out Creative Market for tons of awesome fonts available for download now.

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Be My Valentine, Color + Group Feature: Valentine Template Challenge

Be My Valentine, Color + Group Feature: Valentine Template Challenge


Happy Valentines Day! Our community has created and named millions of user-named colors that help us create, innovate, and celebrate the joy of color itself.

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Some of the “most loved” include "Dutch Teal" by Skyblue2u, "Haunted milk" by alpen, "Vitamin C" by GreenLantern, "Chartreuse" by oeln, and "Juicy Pink" by MetteBB. It is almost too obvious to say that WE LOVE COLOR!

Color is infused into every aspect of our lives, especially those in our color bubble, so we thought it was time to devote a big Valentine to Color itself! Although we couldn’t include all the colors in the rainbow, here are some colors that really touch our hearts on Valentine’s Day.

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Valentine's Day Wedding Inspiration &Trends

Valentine's Day Wedding Inspiration &Trends


Though Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday this year, some couples choose this day as a special time to tie the knot, often with small elopements or intimate affairs. Whether you choose a Valentine's Day wedding or one that falls the weekend after, you can add in some special details to keep the feeling of Valentine's Day alive.

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If you are dying to add a few special details and crafts to your big day, here are some great ideas to add into your Valentine's Day wedding (or any other wedding for that matter!) Get ready for a little red and pink madness that will make your big day awesome.


Source: Once Wed

A girl has got to look her best on her wedding day, and to do so, a girl needs a few fabulous details to make her look great from head to toe. A sparkle Bando heart or a pair of fabulous Vivian Westwood plastic shoes will do just the trick. These details just scream sophisticated Valentine's accessories.


Source: Bando, Vivian Westwood, Ruffled

Though they are a details often forgotten, favors are a fun way to thank guests for coming and give them something personal to remember the day by. Boxes of small candies, a CD with music from the big day. or something else special is often times a very personal way to say thanks.


Source: Favors, Heart, Programs

If you are planning to have a Valentine's Day affair next year, here are a few unique Save The Date ideas to get your guests excited about your big day. A simple paint job (see the rest of this red paint shoot, it's awesome) or kraft paper save the date's with fingerprints from the happy couple.


Source: Save the date, Save the date

Sweet treats and fabulous florals are a necessity for any fabulous event. A color palette of vintage pinks and soft red's are a way to add Valentine's touches into a mid-February color palette.  A dessert bar full of macaroons are a great addition to any Valentine's dessert table.


Source: Flowers, Macaroons

A heart cake is one of my favorite ideas ever, but for a Valentine's Day wedding, it is even better! When the couple cuts the cake open there will be a nice surprise for all he guests with a big heart down the center. You can get even more creative adding in different colors, or adding a heart in the center of cupcakes. So awesome right?


Source:  Cake


Source: Shoes, Cupcakes

Looks like we can't get enough of fabulous cake ideas when it comes to Valentine's. Truth of the matter is, that no matter when your wedding is, a heart cake topper is always a detail that will be well-received.


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It can be fun to play up the Valentine's theme at your special day if you add in certain details to make the look complete. Of course, feel free to add in many other elements that you feel make the day totally unique to you. Red, pink and a slew of hearts will never go out of style, so play it up and have fun crafting the perfect details for your big day.

Want more Valentine's Day inspiration? Check out our Pinterest board filled with lots of pink, red and an insane amount of hearts!

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The Color of Love Through the Artistic Eye

The Color of Love Through the Artistic Eye


Love is most often associated with the color red. Be that by conditioning of incessant advertising or that we are drawn to it by nature. Secondary to red is of course pink, in almost any level of saturation.

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Red is one of those colors that possesses the strongest Ying and Yang of its theoretical definitions. Between love and hate, rebirth and death, the human relationship in any combination, could literally be summed up in the meaning of the color Red. Pink has what I would describe as a temperamental scale, more based on softness versus loudness than the extreme left or right end of the spectrum.

"Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love." - paper-leaf.com // COLOR THEORY poster freebie

As we know, colors can generate a wide variety of emotions. Red might be the most diverse and along with pink, a tag-along little sister, many other colors in tow can lend a visual message of love a great big pop!

Falling in Love by Etsy artist,  DJEMBE & CANVAS

"Cranes represent longevity and grace. The flocks ascend our champagne symphony, where love is blessed upon those who simply believe." - posted by artist at the listing

The artist gave us a wonderfully light feeling with this palette and the birds adding further motion. I also like how the painting balances the realities of "love" with a little bit of darkness in the bottom right corner. What do you think of this palette and representation of falling in love?

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Blockbuster Designs: The Creative Content that Sells Movies

Blockbuster Designs: The Creative Content that Sells Movies


With the launch of our design content marketplace, CreativeMarket.com coming soon we thought it would be fun to take a look at the most popular design elements in movie posters from 2011. After all, it's the carefully & creatively designed marketing materials for the movies are what get us to the theater.
(honestly, the best selling designs at the movie theater these days are the concessions stands... $6 for a bottle of water?!) The designers capture our attention, but the real success of a blockbuster movie will be determined by the quality of the film itself (not including #4 on the list below)... Let's take a look.

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What Will 2012 Bring?

What movie are you most excited about for 2012? What design elements do you think will dominate this year?

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