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Co-Founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. Sven is now writing Science Fiction Stories and looking for a publisher ...

Favicon Episode 6: Black, Abstract and Hand-Drawing

Every now and again we showcase beautiful favicons — tiny pieces of art you'll usually find only if you are looking for them or search through your bookmarks. Below you'll find 50 more outstanding little pieces of art. Please notice that these favicons weren’t chosen simply because of their beauty; it’s been important to us that the favicon perfectly fits to the site design or its content. All favicons are clickable and lead to the sites where they are used.

Favicon
Favicon
Favicon
Favicon

We've written enough about favicons in our recent posts. If you'd like to find out more about them, how to use them and how to design them properly, you should take a look at the following articles and showcases:

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The Secrets Of Grunge Design

Shiny and glossy design elements are now officially outdated. Just like retro is becoming trendy again, grungy look appears to rapidly gain on popularity. And there is a damn good reason behind it. In our everyday environment we're unlikely to find ideal geometric forms or pretty shadow effects as they are manifested by glorious Web 2.0-designs. The reality is different, and Web is definitely not an exception here.

Therefore designers often tend to explore the less ideal and more realistic design solutions which reflect the world we're living in more accurately and precisely. Result: such elements give the design a more realistic, genuine look, a look one would actually expect in real life.

Screenshot

In such grunge designs dirty stains, torn images, "broken" icons and creased pieces of paper are as popular as hand-drawn elements and dirty textures. The main purpose of hand-drawn elements lies in their ability to convey a personality and an individual note. And dirty textures are often used as background images for navigation menus, photos and overall layouts. Usually these elements are regular objects from our daily life, replicated in their real form without any glossy effects.

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Blog Headers For Free Download

One month ago we've asked our readers to help us create a gallery of blog header graphics which every designer could use for free and without any restrictions whatsoever. We've announced a Header Graphics Contest and now, one month later, it's time to present the most interesting, creative and beautiful works we've received.

38 graphic designers and artists participated; as a result we've received over 100 truly outstanding entries. The best ones are displayed below. Some of the participants will be randomly awarded with Poser 7, Anime Studio, and Manga Studio provided by Smith Micro Graphics. Participants, please stay tuned — we'll contact the winners within the next 24 hours.

Blog Header For Free Download

Blog Header For Free Download

Blog Header For Free Download

This post presents the results of the contest — 45 beautiful blog header designs you can use for free. Below the designers have described their themes, intentions and shown us some examples of how header graphics can be used.

Please notice that

  • often also the source image (.ai or .psd) can be downloaded,
  • all images are clickable and lead to the full-size image of the header,
  • full-size images have the resolution of 850×200 px,
  • and you can also download graphics together with source files using corresponding links in the description.
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Gallery Of Date Stamps And Calendars

Designer's attention to small details often has a significant impact on how visitors perceive the overall design of a web-site. Although users' main focus usually lies on finding information, it's nice to find the content being supported by finest visual details. This holds for favicons, shopping carts, pagination and tag clouds we've covered in our earlier posts. But it also holds for... well, date stamps and calendars. Apparently, the latter are used not only in weblogs, but also on large web-sites where events, news and any kind of time-planning is involved.

Blog Calendar Icon Blog Calendar Icon Blog Calendar Icon Screenshot Blog Calendar Icon

In such designs a tear-off calendar is often used to symbolize the date in a most intuitive way. However, it's not always the case. In fact, designers seem to experiment with a number of different approach one wouldn't really expect from such a tiny design element. Out collection of appealing and interesting calendar icons and date stamps is supposed to prove it. It might provide you with some fresh ideas once you need to design some original date stamp, but don't know where to start from. All images are clickable.

Some of presented examples may not look nice at the first glance, but they all have some idea behind them — an idea you may use and develop further.

You might want to check out the following articles as well:

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45 More Excellent Blog Designs

We, designers, are creative folks. And being creative, we permanently strive for inspiration — innovative approaches, crazy ideas, smashing concepts and, in general, unique designs which can help us to observe a given problem from a fresh perspective. This is why we always have some fancy design books laying around on our desk, and this is why we enjoy observing other people's work — basically just because we can learn a hell of a lot from them.

There are things one can do a number of times without worrying about becoming boring. For instance, collecting and showcasing excellent blog designs. In this post we do it already the third time. Why? Web design lives in blogs; new developments appear there, that's where the music plays. And that's where you need to look for in order to keep up with current trends and developments.

Screenshot

This post presents 45 excellent blog designs with a perfect layout and unique personal note. We haven't analyzed the content of the blogs; instead we focused on ideas, approaches, graphics and layouts.

If you miss some stunning blog designs in this showcase please let us know in the comments. However, it's also possible that these designs have already been covered in one of our previous showcases:

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Shopping Carts Gallery: Examples and Good Practices

Imagine that you are designing an online-store. Since stakeholders are only interested in the number of sells, the success of your work directly depends on how well you manage to drive users to the "Checkout"-button. In this case you might want to consider some design approaches which will set you apart from your competitors. After all, the probability that they've done it wrongly is extremely high.

One of the simplest examples of flawed design decisions is the incorrect use of the shopping cart icon — a traditional icon which stands for the virtual holding place for any products of the store. Used properly, this little yet powerful element can help users to buy a product as quickly and painless as possible. As such, it is essential for the purchasing procedure and therefore deserves to be considered carefully during the design process.

Screenshot Shopping Cart

Screenshot Shopping Cart

Screenshot Shopping Cart

Screenshot Shopping Cart

In this post we present attractive, creative and user-friendly shopping carts, bags, trolleys, buckets and baskets — any kind of carts as they are used in the online-stores. Besides, we also cover related creative ideas, design approaches and usability guidelines.

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Adobe Illustrator Tutorials – Best Of

Over years Adobe Illustrator has become the standard application when it comes to illustration design. Artists, illustrators and graphic designers use Illustrator to create vector-based graphics which — contrary to raster-based editors such as Adobe Photoshop — can be easily rescaled without the loss of quality. E.g., Illustrator is often used to quickly transform hand-drawn sketches on a sheet of paper into lively and colorful digital images.

However, to master Adobe Illustrator isn't easy; and the creating process of professional illustrations requires both time and patience. Therefore tutorials can turn out to be real life- and time-savers as they show exactly what needs to be done in order to create professional illustrations and how masters of illustration actually manage to do their magic. One year ago we’ve presented a hand-picked collection of Illustrator tutorials. Now it’s time for a fresh portion of healthy and creative Illustrator material.

Illustrator Tutiorials Screenshot

In this post we present a collection of excellent Adobe Illustrator tutorials for beginners and advanced designers. The new selection isn't enormous, but big enough to provide you with some good starting points.

Please notice that

  • we've selected only those tutorials which haven't been featured last year or were released after the article was published.
  • you might also be interested in Adobe Photoshop Tutorials - Best Of we've presented few weeks ago.
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Smashing Header Graphics Contest

In many blogs header graphics often takes a prominent position as bloggers try to impress visitors with distinctive and appealing visual elements. In fact, designed properly, header graphics can create an appropriate atmosphere and convey the style the designer has chosen. Well-designed themes can be as useful as templates, particularly if you can download them and experiment with them as you wish. However, you won't find that many sources on the Web. That's time to change it.

Blog Header Graphic

We'd like to create a small smashing gallery of blog header graphics which every designer could use for free and without any restrictions whatsoever. To achieve this we need the help of our creative visitors. To achieve this we need your help. Which is why we announce a Header Graphics Contest.

Update (02.02.2008): please notice that this contest is not about designing a header for the Smashing Magazine web-site. Your header graphics don't have to be related to Smashing Magazine at all. This is about sharing your skills with fellows designers and creating a free repository of downloadble header graphics.

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