Photographer's secret weapon: how to make your pics standout


When you see the work of great photographers, you possibly wonder how do they manage to do it. What magic is enabling them to create these masterpieces? You might think that success lies in having the right gear, professional models, enough money to travel around the world, and of course talent. But the truth is that behind every great photographer is a huge amount of passion, hundreds of hours of practice, and some simple secrets. So obviously, it's not about expensive gear (some photographers use an analog camera, proclaiming the independence from technology). It's not about traveling to exotic places and photographing famous people. It's about how much you love what you do and how you grow your creativity.

 

  • Grow Your Creativity

 

Creativity comes naturally to some people. But if it's not developed and maintained properly it may vanish during the struggle with procrastination. The good thing is that you can boost your creativity and find a source of inspiration for everyday practice.

 

 

  • Think Outside the Box

 

Great composition is essential in photography. What you put in the frame and how you put it, determines the success or the failure of your images. If all your pictures are in landscape format and taken at your eye level than it's time to make some changes. Challenge yourself to get outside your comfort zone, try to impose yourself temporary rules. For example, try not to use the landscape format for a couple of days. Another good practice is to make monochrome compositions. Black and white photography helps you better observe the shapes and the geometric elements. To add even more inspiration, try using some special effects, like Luminar's splash effect. It allows you to keep the color of a certain object, while everything else is in grayscale.

 

  • Treat Yourself with Artistic Experiences

 

Creativity needs inspiration. A visit to a botanical garden may give you some ideas. Take a long walk in the city. Even a local fair, a traditional market or a touristic landmark may be a good source of inspiration. Visit art museums, galleries, and photography exhibitions. Most people react to art, but it doesn't necessarily have to be paintings or photography. You may be inspired by classical music, jazz, theater or movies. It's important to expose yourself to art in any form.

 

  • Take a Course

 

Learning is always a good idea. Photography courses became fashionable lately. Among dozens of online classes for beginners, you can find some worthwhile courses and tutorials. Amazing photographers like Albert Watson and Annie Leibovitz teach technical classes, but also offer mentorship, portfolio reviews, and insights. From the master classes, you'll find out how to minimize the photo editing process. You'll find out that style and patience are the most important qualities of a photographer while technicalities are left to an image editor. For example, lightroom plugins can solve many of the basic adjustments, while you focus on finding your inner voice.

 

  • Do Snapshots

 

Scheduled photo sessions are good, but photographing unexpected events is even better. Take a camera with you or at least a smartphone with a decent camera. A photographer is an observer. Street photography and travel photography are based on snapshots. Be prepared and keep your eyes opened. Ingenuous female poses, candid children games, dramatic events, wildlife pictures, they all happen spontaneously. You have to be there and feel the moment. Some photographers choose a place and wait for something to happen. They believe in the magic of that place and can 'feel' a good shot. Doing snapshots is also a good practice. It helps you to get acquainted with your camera and change the settings fast.

 

  • Use Filters

 

To make your pictures standout, filters may be a great help. They aren't expensive or hard to use. Their functions are limited, but you can use up to two or three filters at the same time. The most common filters are the circular polarizing filter, the neutral density filter, and the color enhancing filter.

 

Photography is an art, even if today we all have a camera in our pocket. The biggest mistake you can make is to think that Camera will resolve everything. Sure, you have some amazing image editors, and cameras Henri Cartier Bresson wouldn't have dreamed about. But the secret weapons behind a great photographer are creativity, dedication, and motivation.

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The palettes of 2018


Being creative is hard work. Creative block is real! As an artist, you need to practice and motivate yourself daily. But when putting colors together is something that you love, it comes natural. Right?

We thank the community here @Colourlovers for being so supportive and accepting and for coming up with amazing color combinations this year.

Let's check out the palettes that marked 2018 and give a big round of applause for the authors.

colourlovers palette of 2018 colourlovers palette of 2018 colourlovers palette of 2018 colourlovers palette of 2018 colourlovers palette of 2018 colourlovers palette of 2018 colourlovers palette of 2018 colourlovers palette of 2018 colourlovers palette of 2018 colourlovers palette of 2018

Which one is your favorite? Can you decide?

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Five Wardrobe Essentials Every Girl Must Own


The ancient Greeks believed that clothes make the man. This is certainly one principle that has stood the test of time. Your choice of clothes can make or break the impression you create on others. Yet, it can get tricky to get the right look bang on every single day. The key to it is some must-haves that can be styled on the go, with minimum time and effort. Here are five essential dresses for women that can transform your look-book.

A Classic White Tee Shirt

It’s always a win-win situation with a plain white tee. No wonder it tops every girl’s list of things she cannot do without. It seamlessly fits into every look, be it the everyday plain Jane or the party-hopping glam diva.  It can be paired with absolutely everything, from the basic blue jeans to a pair of formal black trousers, a lovely fancy skirt or a slip-on dress.

A Multi-Purpose Blazer

Every girl must own that one blazer she can simply throw on and rush out of the door without a second thought. It is ideal as an addition to work wear when you want to get that serious, no-nonsense look. Combine it with a cocktail dress and ankle-strap heels for a drink with friends. Or, go with it as the easy alternative to a heavy coat when not in the mood for the latter.

A Pair of Well-Fitted Jeans

Despite being available in a wide array of styles and colours, the humble pair of jeans remains as ubiquitous as ever. Yet, there is absolutely nothing that could go wrong with it. There is arguably no other piece of clothing as popular or versatile as this. It is ideal for casual get-togethers, formal dinners, a quick run to the grocery store, first dates...one gets the drift. The perfect dark washed, boot-cut pair can be styled for literally any and every look.

A Little Black Dress

The Little Black Dress or LBD has acquired something of a cult-status in wardrobe must-have lists. Every other fashion magazine and blog swears by this quintessential.  Choose one with a hem and neckline that is appropriate for most occasions, and you are ready to roll with this multi-functional piece of clothing. If the conventional black is not your cup of tea, choose one that suits your personal sense of style. From delicate florals to playful polka dots and flamboyant animal prints - this dress comes in a wide range of options.

A Pair of Flat Pumps

This is another hot favourite with most women. A quick tip is to carry a pair in your bag for unexpected long days when the going gets tough in your heels. This ensures no compromise on style while shifting to more comfortable footwear. They are perfect to channel your high-school self as well as the glam goddess in you. One is sure to find a couple of these in different colours in every wardrobe.

So, lose no time in stocking your wardrobe with these trendy dresses for ladies online and step out looking like a diva!

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Best Christmas Card Designs 2018


If there ever was a perfect time in the year to show to your customers how much you care, we couldn't imagine a better holiday than Christmas. Aside from showing gratefulness, Christmas is the time of the year you should invest all you got into astonishing marketing, and spend the rest of the year watching how it paid off.

 

There are infinite creative possibilities to boost your market and reconnect to your old customers; one could really go wild with ideas. Although, whatever we come up with, nothing really shows care and dedication as sending Christmas cards. This is a very elegant, classy way to send best wishes to your mailing list, and you can rest assure that everybody will love it.

 

Following the cozy holiday spirit, Colourlovers are looking through the most personal, stylish designs for Christmas cards, which famous brands prepared for 2018.

 

1. Unique snowflake

cards

find project here

This year, Ideas Factory decided to send Christmas cards to its clients with a personal touch to each card. They developed an app which draws a special snowflake generated by the input which is mathematical value of the clients name.

 

2. Wrapped up present

christmas card

find project here

Alexander Boys from UK created something much more fun than the card - their card is a model for a 3D decorative box with a vintage bicycle design, and instructions for folding. This is a present for them, which can be used to wrap a present for you.

 

3. Handmade with love

christmas card

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The designer Laura Louise drew her Christmas cards by hand, which is an intimate gesture, although not very practical if you are making an effort for a large number of people. If you are drawing digitally, you can also change special details for every client automatically.

 

4. Color yourself cards

christmas card

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We Are Scout created the cards which are half way finished - and the final part is left to the recipient to play. By drawing the patterns, they involved the audience in the coloring process and left the choice of colors to them.

 

5. Wooden cards

Christmas cards

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Collective 88 had their cards designed by Elly Ang, and printed on wood. This effort reached the heart of the clients and fitted into the warm Christmas atmosphere, while the palette of gray and brown perfectly matched the material they choose.

 

6. Paper and photo

find project here

New World School of the Arts had their Christmas card designed by a team of two - David Garcia and Camilo Rojas. They created the whole message from origami objects and letters in 3D, and then arranged them for a photo that is sent as a card. This interaction between 2D and 3D mediums speaks about experiment and dedication.

 

7. Christmas-up your brand

christmas cards

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Here is an idea! Why wouldn't you use your own products and give them some Christmas magic? Nicko Dalton made an interesting choice of using Handy Haynes' builder's trowel and redesigns it to look like a Christmas tree with green paint over it. This was their choice for the Christmas cards, but also a great marketing campaign trick.

 

8. The card you keep

unique Christmas cards

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Another interesting 3D card example is created by Hank And Maxwell. They used leather, shaped to be folded into a 3D reindeer. Their card is not just a card; it is a Christmas present you will be happy to keep.

 

9. Make the best of it

christmas cards

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Miles Design had an impressive way to engage their recipients by turning them into something really useful. Their card can in fact be broken into a set of coasters, which the client will be more than happy to keep long after Christmas.

 

10. Oh, so white

christmas cards

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A beautiful image of pure whiteness coming from Ink Designs is their choice to show sophistication of their brand. They imprinted their white logo on the white background to present an image of a reindeer with a cute blue nose for their special cards.

 

11. DIY collage

christmas card

find project here

One of our favorite ideas for this year's chic Christmas atmosphere in love-giving marketing is coming from Pop and Pac. Their Christmas card is actually a set of cards, presenting different patterns in different colors, and a card of a Christmas tree. Their idea is that everyone can decorate their tree as they like, and change the design when they feel like it.

 

12. Digital, yet real

christmas cards

find project here

Last, but not least, the card that was popular five years ago made its comeback for millions of Christmas-lovers, available for purchasing on Etsy. The card is written in CSS code, while on the other side we can see the outcome of the code - the font, the size of the letters and the color. This might be a geeky choice, but it is still pretty creative and fancy.

 

What did your Christmas card look like? Tell us in the comment section bellow.

 

The COLOURlovers team is wishing you a merry Christmas!

 

About the author:

Nina Petrov is an activist, poet, performer and mathematician. She communicates with the world mostly through words, movement and equations, but sometimes also by speaking very loudly. The only truth she could say about herself is that she keeps changing every day, never stops learning and interacting with her surroundings.

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Printing Neon Colors in CMYK: Is It Possible?


If you want to know if it is possible to print neon colors in CMYK, read on throughout this article and find out the answer to this query. New Street Real Estate

Experimenting with color printing might be an exciting thing to consider especially if you are into designing something. However, there might come the point in time wherein things become confusing, and you actually don’t know what to do. Have you also asked yourself if it is possible to print neon colors in CMYK? Or do you think you can convert neon RGB colors to CMYK for printing? Well, these things seem to be a challenge to the majority, so let’s discuss it below.

What is CMYK?

It is best first to be equipped with what CMYK is. Well, simply saying, CMYK refers to CYAN, MAGENTA, YELLOW, and BLACK. CMYK color is created with the use of a subtractive process, and this means that every additional color means more light is being removed to form it. If you combined C, M, and Y, you would not have pure black, instead, a dark brown color.

K or BLACK is used completely in order to remove the light from the printed picture in which the eye sees as black.

How about CMYK Printing?

On the other hand, you should also know what CMYK printing is. It is the standard option in the printing industry. CMY would cover most light color ranges, and the K gives it the ability to create darker deep colors.

The CMYK color offers a wider range of colors, but limited than the RGB color profile. This RGB color is being used through electronic devices that are emitting red, green and blue light as for creating other colors. And unfortunately, CMYK color and the RGB color don’t translate well.

Is it possible to print neon colors in CMYK?

There might be an instance wherein you created a design, like for a logo, that is made with RGB colors. Could you print your design in CMYK?

Generally speaking, you cannot print neon colors in CMYK, and that is because of certain factors. On the other hand, take note again that RGB is known to be additive so the more color you add, the closer that you will get to white.

Nevertheless, CMYK is subtractive wherein the more color you add, like using neon colors, the closer you get to black or even muddy brown. CMYK offers a smaller range of colors than the RGB color.

Then, what to do now?

If you certainly need that particular neon color to be printed, there is a need for you to find a spot neon color and stipulate that in the printer you are using. And this would mean that the ink would be pre-mixed to create the neon color and would be laid on a plate, rather than mixing the CMYK inks to achieve your desired result. This also means that it will serve as the fifth color and could also lead to the extra cost.

Besides, neon colors aren’t like ordinary pigments or inks. Instead, they essentially reflect more visible light that falls on them. This neon is a fluorescent dye which absorbs an incoming ultra-violet light and turns such energy into a visible color like green, magenta or yellow which it then emits. And that is why they have to glow. So, your printer will not take inks with fluorescent dyes.

So, how to print neon colors?

Compared to standard printing jobs, printing neon colors is referred to be a custom job, and it could also be a more expensive way of printing as it requires special handling. With that, there is a need for you to consult with your local printer for advice before making a final decision.

You should also choose the right paper for this printing job and select the number of neon colors to be used. And bear in mind that neon inks are best used on a highly absorbent uncoated paper. Take note as well that neon colors would fade within a few weeks once placed in direct sunlight.

There you have it! This information presented above could definitely help you when it comes to dealing with printing neon colors or other things associated with CMYK printing.

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The generation of remake


The constant growth of hipster culture popularity opened the art world towards new / old ideas. The newfound nostalgia of modern generations is somewhat a result of rapid technological changes and development. In the time of frequent and careless urbanization, there is an emerging trend to resist to these new trends and robotizing.

 

retro cat with glasses

 

This rebellion is marked with love and care for the planet, the environment, people and social encounters, as well as the cultures of 60's and 70's. Alternative urbanization movements inspire a different aesthetics than the futurism would imply. They remind us of the beauty of the nature while trying to plant green surfaces in our boring gray metropolis. This urge to save the planet made us dedicate more of our funding to ecological and social causes, while our lifestyle is often depending on technology.

 

What new trends have these alternative movements brought to design and the general observation of beautiful?

 

The upcoming generations of intellectuals are led by new values, appreciating old school tech and vintage furniture, retro fashion and industrial design. This has led to the mass popularity of antique shops and old fashioned looking coffee shops and hairdressers. Emotions associated with these appearances are the feeling of warmth, personal contact, intimacy and customer care.

 

changes in contemporary design

 

Furthermore, things like old-looking photographs are getting more interesting to the audience, where the use of vintage filters on social media are on the rise. The user wants to reflect on the culture from the past and at the same time upgrade it with new and fresh content. A lot of well situated brands discover ways of using this trend by remaking their old designs and giving the same product that retro glow to attract young customers (for example Coca Cola's vintage bottle design).

 

retro coming back to fashion and design

 

In the depth of this philosophy is the idea of recycling and reusing materials, but even so brand new products can sell better if they are designed in a nostalgic manner, with retro fonts and patterns. An important lesson can be learned from fashion and interior designers, which is that this new age is not about replicating old school ideas, but remaking them into something new and practical in the 21st.

 

Visual content which will be in the focus of the following couple of years is exactly the perfect balance between old and new, vintage and futuristic; the beautiful harmony of flavors to reach the upcoming generation of users.

 

About the author:

Nina Petrov is an activist, poet, performer and mathematician. She communicates with the world mostly through words, movement and equations, but sometimes also by speaking very loudly. The only truth she could say about herself is that she keeps changing every day, never stops learning and interacting with her surroundings.

 

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Introduction to Fashion and Textile Design - The Course for You?


There are many different courses which you can take in this world. The almost limitless provision of education in the U.K means that people can have any training they want. An excellent example of a valuable and practical course is Introduction to Fashion and Textile Design. However, what makes this a good choice for you?

 

A Look at the Course

 

To begin with, let’s take a look at the course itself and what you would find yourself doing while you took part in it. The program is designed to provide you with an introduction to fashion and textile design, as you may have gathered from the title. You’ll be taking a look at different fashion concepts, both from a design perspective and a practical one. There’s even a chance to design a prototype during the course and assemble it.

 

Why Choose This Course?

 

There are many different reasons why this is the correct choice for you. If you’re someone who is interested in fashion and what it can offer people, then this is the course you should be signing onto. It’s a dynamic program which provides a look at some of the critical components of fashion and textile design and then provides you with the knowledge needed to move onto a more advanced course later on in life.

 

The Benefits of Education

 

For those of you who may be sceptical, it is essential to grasp the real value of education. There is no doubt that building a good understanding of a chosen field can be exceptionally important. Dr Roy Ale, Marketing Executive at Oxford Summer School, says that ‘the merits of education run deeper than anyone could predict at first glance. We’ve had many capable young minds come through our halls, and they all left with their minds broadened and armed with a greater chance of making a career in the future’.

 

The Importance of Trying

 

Inspiration isn’t always easy for people to find within themselves, but we strongly urge people to try and get access to education wherever they can. For many, it can foster a profound love of a particular subject, and in other cases, it can be the start of a lifelong career in the field. However, the real value of education falls to each person to try and grasp, so we encourage you to come along and see what it means for you.

 

Overall, the value of this course is considerable, and it is heavily encouraged that people come and experiment with it at their leisure. When trying new things, there is an understandable sense of anticipation and worry. What if you don’t like what you’re confronted with? What if you struggle? However, it’s important to push past these worries and concerns and focus on the positives. There’s no doubt that this is an excellent course to try and participate in, and one which will undoubtedly enrich your life if you decide to undertake it.

 

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Sexy Trends in Design


Contemporary design is responding to the habits and lives of contemporary people. In the web full of content, yours has to stand out, attract and take someone’s breath away. To create visuals that respond to the modern online eye, you need to get even further more outside of that box, think bold and exotic, passion-driven and consumer oriented.

 

Individualization

 

Over the past few decades, mankind got used to fitting boxes all the time - by gender, age, interest, hair color. Nowadays, the society is getting tired of being a part of a generalized audience, individualism is getting far in appreciations - everybody needs attention and unique approach. Therefore, the time of generalizing your User Persona is officially on it's way to retiring. It is time to put an individual in the focus of things, make everybody feel special, avatar by avatar.

 

retro is what makes contemporary design pop

 

Teasing foreplay

 

A contemporary scroll-er scrolls down through million of posts and adds every day, from the moment we wake up and grab our phones, to the moment we drop them next to our bed in the evening. To really get someone’s attention has never been this difficult. In the ocean of colors and codes, your idea needs to stand out and reach the thumb of your customer. It is no longer about pretty, elegant and sophisticated design, the next focus that will reach the market popularity is the shocking, provocative, teasing. The factor of unexpected is what gets people to stop scrolling and take a look at your visuals - this is the magic window for your success in design.

 

Go retro

 

Social disconnection is bringing the world to a state of nostalgia and melancholy, seeking for different party types, looking for alternative ways to connect. This is exactly why the era of our parents is so vital for this new emerging culture. The new, millennial, IT literate generation longs for a time of innocence and dancing, when the world just started opening up, but you could still have quality social time. This need to relax and enjoy life inserts a new type of groove and retro suddenly became cool. Your audience is buying the vintage dreams wrapped up with a bow, and this trend in design has been here for over a few years now, but it is only growing and expanding.

 

As we are approaching the end of the decade, black is the new black, and emotional strength and vulnerability is the focus of individual interests and passion. New trend, new consumer, dictates to be treated like a living, emotional being, and no longer as a data on a chart.

 

About the author:

Nina Petrov is an activist, poet, performer and mathematician. She communicates with the world mostly through words, movement and equations, but sometimes also by speaking very loudly. The only truth she could say about herself is that she keeps changing every day, never stops learning and interacting with her surroundings.

 

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7 Valid Reminds for Increasing Client Leads as a Web Designer


A website is a tool to attract and generate leads, which should in return help you sell your products and get wider brand recognition. But, for all of this to happen, you need to put efforts into your role as a web designer. These efforts include more than just finishing your individual products, posting content and media, refreshing the old content and other website tricks you hear on daily basis. With the competition being as large as it is now, it is important that you create a design that helps you attract and convert more and more visitors.

To that end, we present you with 7 reminds that will help you increase the client leads for your website.

1.   Make an Online Portfolio and HR Resume

As a web designer, you want your name to get out there. This is the only way to get recognition and increase the client leads. Without a portfolio and a resume, you won’t get very far.

Thankfully, there are plenty of sites like Behance that you can use to showcase your work in the form of a portfolio. As for a resume, you can get professional help from some reliable resume experts on sites like Brillassignment.co.uk. Both these are essential for getting your name out there. Without a portfolio and a resume, potential clients won’t be able to see and evaluate your work.

When creating your portfolio, make sure to focus on the best pieces and prove the qualifications listed in your resume. It might be tempting to put every project you’ve worked on in your portfolio, but this will only make it crowded and draw the attention from your best work.

2.   Add Contact Information

You might think that adding a phone number and email to a website is outdated or irrelevant now that contact forms are all across the Web, but nothing says ‘a scam site’ more than the lack of contact information. Add an email address and preferably, a phone number to boost your credibility and provide potential customers with new ways to reach out and become leads.

3.   Include a Location

Google has reported that four out of five customers use the search engines to find a local business or website. Half of the people who find a local business on this search make a visit or contact the business that same day, and 18% of the smartphone searches result in a purchase that same day.

So, as a graphic designer, you should definitely consider adding a location to the websites to drive sales and increase your leads. This is also a grand sign that your website is legit, as is the contact information.

4.   Provide Social Proof

Nothing screams ‘social proof’ more than customer testimonials, but your job doesn’t end there. If you want to truly showcase social proof and make people trust your website, try to add photos to the testimonials. This should convince the audience that your sites are reliable and trustworthy, especially if you add the human factor to the testimonial pages.

5.   Install a Live Chat

Live chat is an instant way for a visitor to get the information they need, and considering that most people stay on a website for seconds only, you definitely want to provide them with such an option. Regardless of the website you are creating, a live chat helps generate leads and creates trust in your clients.

Some of the prospects might be unable or even unwilling to visit your location or contact you on the phone number, so you should definitely install a live chat option and provide them with instant responses. Nowadays, live chats are more popular than phone conversations, mostly because people are often too busy or prefer typing over talking.

6.   Offer Explainer Videos and E-Books

If you specialize in web design, making videos and writing books might not be your strong side. But, e-books and videos are an excellent way to demonstrate your knowledge and provide something free to the visitors. Free things always attract more audience, and with the help of experts like SuperiorPapers, you can turn those interested readers and viewers into actual leads.

Your e-book can be purely informational and relate to the website content, or it can direct the reader toward your services as a web designer. E-books are often very short and comprehensive, which is what makes them so effective – people don’t have the time to read large books on every website, even if they are provided for free.

As for videos, use explainer videos to tell the visitors how to use the website and what it offers. Your videos should be of high quality as any other multimedia you use on the website, but also short and to the point. A video can attract the attention of the visitor, but it is your job to create this explainer video in a way that keeps them interested in the website design.

7.   Make the Design Mobile-Friendly

The Pew Research Center has reported that over three quarters of Americans aged 18 and higher own smartphones. According to them, approximately 20% of all smartphone owners use the phone to access the internet. This makes it more important than ever to make your web designs mobile-friendly. Whether these are part of your portfolio or a website where you sell products and services, chances are that many people will access the sites from their mobile device.

If you fail to make your designs mobile-friendly, you will lose potential leads and credibility as a designer. There might not be a solution that fits all sizes when it comes to mobile devices, but there are things you can do to make your website mobile-friendly. Thankfully, there are many website themes that automatically adjust when opened on a smartphone of different size.

Conclusion

As a web designer, you need to have many tricks under your sleeve to turn customers into leads. Some things are essential, while others are based on choice. The tricks in this list should help you get more clients and improve your web design in a way that it attracts and maintains a wide audience.

 

Author Bio
Scott Mathews is an expert writer who works for several writing services. He’s been writing academic papers for myassignmentwriting.com.au for four years, and just a year ago began working part-time as an assignment writer at Assignment Geek. Scott is a dedicated writer and an insightful blogger who contributes on many websites online, including his work for A-writer.com. In his free time, Scott travels the world with his family of four.
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3 Design and Space-Planning Resources to Help You Plan Your Next Home Upgrade


Devising a new room layout is one of those strange design activities which manages to be both creatively rewarding and deceptively tedious. There’s no question that it’s exciting to recreate a living space. With just a few tweaks to furniture layout and color, it’s almost as though you’re living in a brand new space!

On the other hand, let’s be honest here. It’s work. Unless you’re astoundingly lucky and get that perfect aesthetic balance on your first try, chances are you’ll be shifting furniture and swatches around a lot.

You know how it is—the couch might protrude too far into a walkthrough area, the TV might not quite work in that corner, that perfect shade of eggshell wall paint may suddenly look bleak and institutional when combined with your glass coffee table.

Getting it “just so” requires a solid dose of trial and error.

This is where design and space-planning resources make a world of difference. Let’s look at three design and space-planning websites and apps which allow you to enjoy all the experimental playfulness you desire with none of the heavy lifting.

Amikasa - 3D Room Design Without The Frustration

A few years ago, using an app to virtually create a three dimensional room or house layout existed purely in the realms of science fiction. These days, 3D room visualizing apps are thick on the ground.

They all operate on similar principles:

  • Draw up your room layout as accurately as possible.
  • Position shapes roughly approximating your furniture where you think they should go.
  • Check it out in a 3D projected view.
  • Rinse and repeat until satisfied.

They’re pretty good. They do give you the ability to bring your idea into virtual reality before you lift a finger. However, they also come with a downside. Most of these apps are incredibly fiddly to use and require quite a bit of practice to master. Put bluntly, you’re trading grunt work for brain work.

But then, along came Amikasa! This app is arguably the best way to visualize a 3D space on the market right now, and for one simple reason. It’s incredibly easy to use.

Instead of relying on smartphone optics to guesstimate the dimensions of a room, or having you generate blueprint like dimensions from scratch, Amikasa starts with a simple question: what’s the rough shape of your room?

From there, it’s a simple matter of tweaking that shape to more closely resemble your room’s specifications. It’s beautifully intuitive and I found I could do in minutes what took me up to an hour in other 3D design apps.

But that isn’t Amikasa’s most significant selling point. What makes this app perfect for me is that you can then use 3D models of actual furniture shapes. You’re not locked into using abstract representations of your stuff. Instead, you’re working with virtual objects which are close enough to reality to make visualization a breeze.

Another big bonus I found is that you can also easily place your surround sound speakers into the equation, finding ways to maximize their utility and aesthetic appeal just as you would with standard furniture.

It’s a thing of beauty and available both for iOS and Android. Give it a try!

PHOTOCOPA - Creative Color Picking

You’d think there’d be a plethora of decent color visualization resources out there for finding that perfect color palette. But it’s actually surprisingly hard to find something genuinely useful, for a few reasons.

A lot of the apps and websites out there focus on (admittedly pretty cool) augmented reality to virtually “paint” your room with your chosen color. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea in theory, but I’ve yet to find one which works flawlessly enough to actually help me visualize a room and make sound color decisions.

More critically, screens won’t display color the same way a paint chip does. Your phone or monitor’s luminance, contrast and brightness settings all subtly alter how a color looks. Without an expensive color calibrated monitor, there’s simply no way to get perfectly accurate color matching on an electronic device.

As an aside, if you are contemplating extensive design projects requiring true color and serious graphics-processing grunt, I’d highly recommend investing in a computer system and color smart monitor which is fit for the purpose. If you’re near Northern California, check out Nerds On Call's Sacramento computer repair shop. Nerds On Call can provide solid advice on how to upgrade your computer to accommodate heavy design work.

But back to PHOTOCOPA. The reason this app works so well is that it neatly side-steps these design problems by focusing on what really matters—generating a pleasing palette of complementary and contrasting colors you can use as a starting point. Once I have that winning color combination, calibrating my chosen shades against paint swatches is a breeze.

PHOTOCOPA works by keeping it simple.

I start by taking a picture of a color I want to begin with. It may be on an existing piece of furniture, but just as easily it could be a color I stumble across while I’m out and about.

Most recently it was an unusual leaf I found on the sidewalk. But I digress.

You can then have PHOTOCOPA use this shade as a starting point, generating a beautiful assortment of color combinations which all work in different ways for different reasons.

What I love most about this site is that it refuses to be prescriptive. It doesn’t lead you down a false path of choosing one particular color based on a screen’s false rendering. Instead it focuses on what a design app does best: giving you ideas.

Once my creative eye is bumped in a new direction by a surprising color combination, I find it that much easier to see beyond what’s there to the possibilities lying beneath.

This app works by fixing your sights on all the wonderful color possibilities.

Pinterest - For Flashes of Inspiration and Clues You Can Follow

In every design project, whether large or small, there’s a moment where you might find yourself staring into a void. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve begun a home design upgrade with literally no inkling on the first step I should take.

When these dire, blank moments settle over me, invariably I turn to Pinterest.

Pinterest is to out-of-the-box idea generation as YouTube is to embarrassingly endearing cat videos.

It’s just a vast, eclectic soup of different tastes, styles and disciplines. Every time I delve through its images I find something I hate and something I love—both of which are invaluable in crystallizing where I want to take a design next.

Of course, there are thousands of boards in Pinterest dedicated to interior design, but you’ll be richly rewarded if you gate crash into completely new visual categories you know nothing about.

Try jumping into clothes design boards and look for colors which speak to you. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try phrases like “scientific art” and “sacred geometry.”

If just one idea in a hundred leaps out of the screen at you, note it down! It’s just one more quirky design possibility. And who knows? It may become the seed of an amazing design path for you to pursue.

The truth is, there’s thousands of tools out there which may bless you with that one golden design idea you’re searching for. Ideas and inspiration come from the oddest of places. However, if you’re going to play it by the numbers, I think these three products represent a fabulous place to begin.

They’re practical without being prescriptive. They’re unusual without being obtuse. Most importantly, they’re great fun to use. Happy designing!

 

Mark Lambert is a technology and computing writer for Nerds On Call. He likes to write about technologies which make life easier, more productive and just plain cooler.
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