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Co-Founder of Smashing Magazine. Former writer, web designer, freelancer and webworker. Sven is now writing Science Fiction Stories.

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Write a Guest Post and Win Apple MacBook Air

As you may know, we are looking for motivated, talented and professional guest authors. And we are paying each author $100-300 per post — depending on the quality of the delivered article. If you think that you are one of them contact us — we want you, we need you, we can't live without you and we would really be happy to have you in our Smashing team.

MacBook Air

And to spark your interest for writing we've decided to announce a guest author contest — write a small guest article for Smashing Magazine and win one of dozens of attractive prizes waiting for you.

Best guest articles will be published on Smashing Magazine with the link to the author's site. The best guest post will be determined by the editorial team and will be awarded with Apple MacBook Air, a compact, ultrathin 13.3" laptop (1.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive) released by Apple few months ago.

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Textures and Patterns Design Showcase

Textures and patterns are used more often than one may think. The reason why we don't see them is because they usually remain in the background, supporting the overall design, replacing a standard background color and creating a more inviting atmosphere. But they almost never stand out. Used primarily for background images, they need to fit to the overall design making the content easier to perceive. In fact, wood textures seem to have become so popular that designers suggest that wood is the new glossy style and wood is the new white.

Well, we don't think that wood is a new revolutionary trend — after all, it was used and explored for years. However, since wood isn't used everywhere — in correct and wrong contexts — experimenting with it makes perfectly sense. Still, there are a number of options beyond wood: e.g. fabric patterns, tiles, ground, stone, walls, bricks, stiches, cardboard, ceramics, decay, rust, old tapes, illustrations, plastic and glass.

Texture Background Screenshot

In this post we present a showcase of sites using textures and patterns— we want to focus designer's attention on design options available beyond wood. Reason: we strongly believe that vibrant, realistic background images are becoming a new trend. If it sounds familiar to you, you are absolutely right: we've seen the same trend 8-10 years ago. The sources for the background images are usually either photos (e.g. you can download free textures in the Smashing Texture Library) or illustrations created with Photoshop, Illustration etc.

You may want to take a look at the related articles:

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55 Free High Quality Icon Sets

We love free icons. We love to smash things. And we respect hard-working designers. Therefore we are regularly looking for talented artists and creative designers and we are glad to support them by showcasing their work in our magazine. If you are going to create an icon set and experience any problems releasing it or spreading the word — let us know, we may figure something out.

Freebies Icons

In the overview below we present 55 more excellent, free and professional icons for desktop and web design. Some of them can be used for both private and commercial projects. You may always use them for free in your private projects. Nevertheless, it is always worth to take a look at the license agreements — they can change from time to time.

You can also scan through the icons-related articles we’ve published before:

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Style Switchers Contest Results

Three weeks ago we have announced the Style Switchers Design Contest where we've presented some ideas for style switchers design and encouraged our readers to create a style switcher for their own web-sites. One of the participants was to be awarded with an Apple Cinema 20 Flat Panel Display. Over 60 designers participated and — as in all of our earlier contests — the results are indeed pretty smashing. Now it's time to review some of the best designs and, of course, announce the winner.

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Screenshot

This contest has proved one thing: there are a number of possibilities for creative use of style switchers in your designs. They don't have to be boring and can combine functionality with a beautiful and engaging design. Style switchers are back now; and we are glad that so many designers have participated in our contest learning how to use them and apply them to their designs.

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Favicon Episode 7

Every now and again we showcase beautiful favicons — tiny pieces of art you’ll usually find in your browser's address bar or when searching through your bookmarks. Favicons are important as they provide visual indicators to visitors and help them to easily associate the content with a bookmark in their browser. Besides, favicons are just nice to look at and there are way too many sites which don't make use of them. We like to change things. Which is why here is the 7th episode of the favicons series.

Favicon
Favicon
Favicon
Favicon
Favicon

Below you'll find 70 outstanding favicons. Please notice that the favicons weren’t chosen simply because of their beauty; it’s been important to us that the favicon perfectly fits to the overall site design. All favicons are linked to the sites where they are used — you can click on them to get more insights into how favicon design can be related to the layout design.

We’ve written enough about favicons in our recent posts. If you’d like to find out more about them, feel free to take a look at our previous posts:

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CSS Editors Reviewed

We continue to review text and source editors for designers and web-developers. After a thorough consideration of WYSIWIG- and source code editors now it's time to take a closer look at applications for advanced CSS-coding. Reason: while numerous HTML-editors offer more or less advanced CSS-support there are also allround-CSS-editors which offer a sophisticated integrated development environment for CSS-coding.

Of course, real CSS ninjas accept nothing but a minimalistic Notepad or some sophisticated source code-editor. In fact, CSS-editors are often considered to be unnecessary and superflous — after all, you can do the same in your favourite text editor. And sometimes this is true — while there are some really bad HTML-editors there are also some even worse CSS-editors. Particularly code autocompletion tools are extremely good at bloating the code to extremes, making the resulting stylesheet unnecessary complex and hard to maintain. Why would someone purchase a CSS-editor to raise the maintenance costs afterwards?

CSS Editor Screenshot

Yet CSS-editors can be helpful; furthermore, you can effectively use them in different settings by developers with different skills. Web professionals can use a CSS-editor to improve workflow and get all useful CSS-tools provided by one single application. Newbies can easier learn CSS by analzying stylesheets and using live-editing to understand how the design is built up and what is actually going on behind the scenes. In either case you should make sure you know what you are doing and not end up producing quick'n'dirty stylesheet.

This post presents an overview of 15 established or rather unknown CSS-editors; you’ll probably find “usual suspects” — your favourite editor or the editor you’ve once been working with. But you’ll also find some rather unknown alternatives which are definitely worth considering when choosing an optimal source code editor.

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Hand-Drawing Style In Modern Web Design – Volume 2

When it comes to web design too often perfect, colorful and boxy designs make the cut; however, the reality is different as it is hard to find objects with a perfect shape and a perfect color in our daily routine. To achieve a unique and communicative design we need to consider more creative approaches. For instance, we can draw sites by ourselves — or at least some parts of it.

The main purpose of hand-drawn elements lies in their ability to convey a personality and an individual note in times when perfect, boxy and rounded elements can be found almost everywhere. They look different and they can make a web-site look different. And this is what we usually are after in the first place.

Screenshot

And in fact, this is done quite often: whether a blog, a shop, an ad, a private page, or some collaborative project — doesn’t matter whether with Flash or (X)HTML. This post presents fresh examples of hand-drawing style in modern web design. All screenshots can be clicked and lead to the sites from which they’ve been taken.

Please also have a look at our previous showcase

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