Author: Sven Lennartz
Co-Founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. Sven is now writing science-fiction and runs some web sites for fun - more or less ...
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.
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.
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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.
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:Read more...
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.
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.Read more...
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.
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.
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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.
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.Read more...
Most design trends come unexpectedly, evolve over time, become pointless and finally disappear from the design landscape. This holds particularly for web design, which is — just as every other creative field — prone for over-hyping and over-usage of trends. Being used excessively (sometimes properly, but mostly without any reasonable purpose), trends lose their ability to communicate information, express something unique or innovative and consequently lose their visual appeal.
Web 2.0 style is an excellent example for this evolution in design. In the last months of 2007 we've observed a clear example of design abuse, as glossy buttons, colorful reflections, 3D-effects, rounded corners and xx-large font sizes could be found almost everywhere (and we've presented some examples a year ago). However, currently we've been observing a new step in this evolution. Web 2.0 elements start to disappear; they become more subtle, more user-centric, more content-oriented and less loud. Is it a sign for coming changes?
Below we've collected everything you would ever need for a perfect design in a grunge style — design examples, free fonts, icons, textures, brushes and even few tutorials.Read more...
Although usability evangelists often consider Flash to be a usability nightmare, used properly, Flash can provide users with a rich and interactive interface which would be impossible otherwise. Today Flash is the de-facto standard for interactive elements on the Web as most users install Flash plug-in by default. And in fact, there are many paths creative designers can take to create a more interactive and user-friendly interface.
Searching for 'flash tutorials' via Google & Co. won't provide you with the results you expect. Not that you won't find any relevant results, on the contrary — you will be directed to a large number of Flash repositories which offer everything: sometimes useful, but mostly not. Besides, browsing through these repositories isn't that much fun — as you sometimes need to figure out whether a link you see is a hidden AdSense-block or the actual tutorial. And it's really hard to find something "refreshing" and new simply using some standard keywords.
This article provides hand-picked professional Flash tutorials which can enrich your design skills and improve the quality of your works. We've tried to select most interesting and useful tutorials. Most sources can serve as the entry point for further tutorials.Read more...