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10 Simple Steps to Better Photoshop Performance

Before getting started with Photoshop, we all should have first visited the "Edit > Preferences" menu and change the "Performance" settings to fit our personal taste and computer specifications, but this isn't always the case – in many situations designers simply forget these aspects.

Photoshop - Memory Usage

If you never changed the default performance settings in your Photoshop or you just want to double check them to improve the Photoshop performance, here are 10 important and useful points that you may want to consider.

Maybe you already went through that bad feeling of clicking "undo" dozens of times and realizing that Photoshop wouldn't provide you with more previous steps, but this problem can be easily resolved by changing the History States setting in the "Edit > Preferences > Performance" menu.


9 Steps To A Happy Relationship With Your Hosting Provider

Having a good relationship with your hosting provider is perhaps not crucial, but pretty darn close to it if you want to maintain a fully functional website. Remember that even though you are the client, you still need to abide by the beloved ToC (Terms and Conditions) of your hosting provider. You should also research hosting plans to prevent future quagmires. Listed below are ten points to think about before signing up with a Web host and what to do if you already have a provider.

sale image

One of the best and easiest ways to maintain a happy relationship with your hosting provider is to not go blind staring at the price tag. We know it's easy to do, but remember that in most cases you get what you pay for. Cheap Web hosting can, of course, be top-quality and sufficient for small websites, but it can also be really poor and get you off to a bad start with your new host. Make sure you look at what features are included in the hosting package.


Ampersands With Attitude

Ampersands have long been the character in a typeface with which typographers can indulge themselves. Sweeping curves, flirtatious finishes and bold statements - these are the things that make ampersands an exciting character to use and, better still, to design.

Ampersands with attitude?

Can you spot what typeface is used to display the ampersand in the image above? Large view

There are, however, two problems. The first is that the English language gives us few situations to use such a daring character. We seldom get to show off these beautiful examples of typography. The second is that the poor little ampersand so often goes unnoticed.

Allow me to share with you my top 10 different styles of ampersands. Some are similar, but each have their own personality. In an effort to limit my sample selection, I have only chosen ampersands from freely available sans fonts.


Executing Our Ideas: It’s In the Details

When designing for the Web, how important is it to begin with a brilliant idea for a web-site? Can a quality site be built if the underlying concept is weak? And what happens to a brilliant idea if its execution is less-than amazing?

Many hold that execution is a secondory factor to the concept. I believe the opposite argument can be made – it's not a great idea that counts most, but great execution.

Now don't get me wrong – there has to be an idea in there somewhere. As designers we can't go about designing without a plan. It is vital to have a concept to rally around as we craft our designs. But the notion that great work requires a completely unique, brilliant concept every time is, I believe, misguided.


Top 10 Creative Ways To Display Time

Clocks don't have to be boring. Of course, clocks need need to remain usable and display current time; however, they can do it in a number of creative ways. You are about to see some of the most creative examples out there. Take some time and enjoy.


If the others are songs, Uniqlock is the concert. Japanese girls dance focusing your attention away from the passing time. Probably one of the strangest — unique — clock screensavers out there.


Will Horizontal Layouts Return?

In the 90s, as the Web was just starting to take off, designers used horizontal layouts — rather in an experimental way, just to give users and designers an idea of what HTML was actually capable of. From the usability perspective it was horrible — sites were hard to scroll and the content was hard to read.


After horizontal approach has lost its novelty, it was quickly discarded and widely rejected. Surprisingly it seems to get back on track. The horizontal scroll is gaining forces and it's not that horrible this time. Why? Simply because we have a new generation of computer devices, such as mice with a 4-way scrolling wheel and widescreen monitors. We have a lot of space area and we have an efficent and user-friendly way to navigate horizontally.


10 Awesome, Contemporary Character Designs

Characters live amongst us — in graffiti, as vinyl dolls, as commercial identity icons and almost everywhere. A character communicates content without actually saying a word. We can see the use of characters in advertising, consumerism and in contemporary art growing more and more important and diverse.


This post presents 10 examples of breathtaking contemporary character design with excellent use of colors, visual elements, proportions and texture.


Top 10 CSS Table Designs

Tables have got to be one of the most difficult objects to style in the Web, thanks to the cryptic markup, the amount of detail we have to take care of, and lack of browser compatibility. A lot of time could be wasted on a single table although it's just a simple one. This is where this article comes in handy. It will show you ten most easily implemented CSS table designs so you can style your tables in a zap!

Top 10 CSS Table Designs

Before we start, let's review the general rules of thumb when styling tables:

Tables love space. Set the width of tables carefully, according to the content. If you don't know the perfect width, simply set the width of the table to 100%. Tables look nicer when they have "overwidth", and when it comes to tables too much width is definitely better than too little width.

Cells need some padding. Sure, each table cell relates to each other. But it doesn't mean that we have to pull them too close, right? Define some space between the cells, crammed up table cells are so much harder to read.

Treat tables the way you treat content. Tables are read similarly to the way we read text — except it's harder and it takes more time to read a table. So be careful with the amount of contrast you are giving to your table. Use soft colors — it's easier for the eyes. Don't treat your table like it's a graphical decoration. Make sure that the style you apply to it makes the content more readable, not the other way around.


Who Do You Design For: Clients or Users?

If you close your eyes and think back to the first design fundamentals class you ever took hopefully you remember the instructor saying,"When beginning a design ask yourself who is your audience? If you don't know who you are designing for then how can you design anything at all?"

Fast forward to the present. Now you are a freelance designer, you have met with the client, discussed what they want and agreed to do the job. Suddenly the client sends you a sketch of a horrible monstrosity of a design so unholy your eyes begin to burn. The client attached instructions that do not resemble the previous discussions and break every rule you can imagine.

Now ask yourself, "Who are you designing for?" By definition, your job is to communicate a message via images and text. But, as a businessperson your goal must be to meet the requests of the client. If you go against the client’s explicit requests and produce a user-centric design, oddly enough you’ll have an unhappy client. Now the flip side of the coin. If you cooperate, lay down your sword, turn off the grids and produce what the client has demanded, the design will fail and in turn you will fail. The bad design will always come back like Rocky and smash you right in the face.


My Secret Weapon to Getting Contracts

In my first days of freelance web design, I did all the right things to get business — web-site done, Chamber of Commerce joined, social media networking done. So why wasn't the phone ringing? I suspect many freelancers feel the same way. The big question remained: where do I get business?

Then I discovered a secret weapon. I wanted local business, as it's easier to build referrals that way. I went through the local directory looking at businesses without web-sites, or with very old and poor sites and made a list. I made a small brochure, put on some decent clothes, grabbed my business cards and actually physically walked into their offices! I got enough business within two days to keep me busy for months, and had a blast at the same time.


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