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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: September 2008

Desktop wallpapers can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. However, if you use some specific wallpaper for a long period of time, it becomes harder to draw inspiration out of it. That's why we have decided to supply you with smashing wallpapers over 12 months.

And to make them a little bit more distinctive from the usual crowd, we've decided to embed calendars for the upcoming month. So if you need to look up some date, isn't it better to show off a nice wallpaper with a nice calendar instead of launching some default time application?

Smashing Wallpaper - September 2008

This post features 30 free desktop wallpapers for September, created by designers across the globe. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free.

Please notice:

  • all images can be clicked and lead to the preview of the wallpaper;
  • you can feature your work in our magazine by taking part in our desktop wallpaper calendar series. We are regularly looking for creative designers and artists to be featured on Smashing Magazine. Are you one of them?

So which wallpapers have we received for September?


10 Futuristic User Interfaces

Good user interfaces are crucial for good user experience. It doesn't matter how good a technology is — if we, designers, don't manage to make user interface as intuitive and attractive as possible, the technology will hardly reach a breakthrough. To gain the interest in a new product or technology, users need to understand its advantages or find themselves impressed or involved.

And here is where creative ideas and unusual interface approaches become important. Innovative doesn't mean usable and usable hardly means innovative. As usual, it's necessary to find an optimal trade-off. And some user interfaces manage to achieve just that.


Below we present 10 recent developments in the field of user experience design. Most techniques may seem very futuristic, but some of them are already reality. And in fact, they are extremely impressive. Keep in mind: they can become ubiquitous in the next years.

You may also want to take a look at the related posts:


5 Useful Coding Solutions For Designers and Developers

Often creative and truly remarkable design solutions remain unknown because we, designers, simply overlook them. Being busy with our own projects, we sometimes try to grasp the intuition behind (probably) complex and cluttered code of other designers to understand how they manage to implement particular design ideas. In fact, by just observing the code of other developers we can learn a lot from them; we can find interesting ideas and improve the quality of our work.


As you know, we, at Smashing Magazine, are quite curious folks. We are truly interested in unusual design approaches and creative solutions. Therefore we are regularly looking for them and once we found them, we analyze them, try to understand them and try to figure out both advantages and disadvantages of the technique we have found. And in this post we want to share some of them with you.

We would like to start with 5 advanced and elegant design approaches and ask you if you are interested in this series and would like to have more similar articles. Please let us know what you think in the comments to this post. Now let's dive in. You should probably have some CSS-knowledge already before starting reading this article.


A Small Study Of Big Blogs: Further Findings

Last week we presented the first results of our study of top blogs. As promised, this week we publish the second part of the survey, including further findings and problem solutions we have found out during the study. In the first part we discussed layout design and typographic settings. What remains to be covered are the navigation design, information architecture, advertisements and functionality (RSS-feeds, tag clouds, pagination etc.).

Reminder: since we wanted to make the survey as objective as possible, we used Technorati Top Blogs and analyzed 50 most popular blogs which appear there. We have identified important design problems and considered solutions for each of the problems separately.


We have posed 30 questions which we wanted to to answer with our blog survey. Below we present further findings of our survey of popular blog designs — the second part of the analysis of 50 popular blogs according to Technorait's Top 100.

Please notice: the results presented below should not be considered as guidelines for an effective blog design. They are supposed to give you the intuition of which solution may be better than the other one. Still it is useful to know what big players do and, more importantly, what they don't do.


Free Fonts Of The Month: Fertigo Pro, FF Nuvo

Every now and again we take a look around, select “fresh” high-quality free fonts and present them to you in a brief overview. The choice is enormous, so the time you need to find them is usually the time you should be investing in your current projects. We search for them and we find them, so you don’t have to.


This month we are glad to present only two freefonts, however these are truly beautiful ones: Fertigo Pro and FF Nuvo Medium. Please read the license agreements carefully — they can change from time to time.

  • Free Fonts Of June features the updated Anivers, Gentium and Fresco,
  • You can find over 80 more free fonts in our section Fonts.

A Small Design Study Of Big Blogs

We are quite curious; particularly when it comes to design and web-development we want to know just everything. Therefore, following our web form design survey, we have decided to take a closer look at blog designs, analyze them and find out which design solutions are common and which solutions are not used at all.

Since we wanted to make the survey as objective as possible, we used Technorati Top Blogs and analyzed 50 most popular blogs which appear there. It doesn't really matter if the Technorati list is correct or not — we wanted to find out what design solutions big players (aka most popular blogs) prefer. Popular blogs are often considered to be examples of effective and functional design (which is not necessarily the case).


We have identified 30 design problems and considered solutions for each of the problems separately. We have posed 30 questions which we would like to answer with our blog survey. Below we present findings of our survey of popular blog designs — the results of an analysis of 50 popular blogs according to Technorati's Top 100.


Pop Art Is Alive: Classics and Modern Artworks

As a visual art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s, pop art aims to emphasize the nature of things popular in our daily routine. In pop art, most artists use mechanical means of rendering techniques that downplay the expressive hand of the artist. Being an art movement, it has some expressive attributes other styles do not possess.

In pop art, a vivid manifestation of pop culture reflects in vibrant colors and busy, sometimes hardly recognizable artistic approaches. Street culture, trash, collage, comic books, grunge, graffiti and photo montage are typical design elements that were widely used by designers and artists a few decades ago. And since grunge found its way back and became popular again, it makes perfect sense to analyze the design elements of pop art which are similar to this artistic style.

Pop Art Showcase

This post presents 75 outstanding examples of classic and modern pop art. Hopefully, everybody will find some inspiration for future works or at least smile when scanning the images presented below. Please notice: pop art can be quite vibrant and not necessarily pretty — in fact, some examples show that it doesn’t have to be pretty at all.

Please take a look at the following similar and related posts:


Let There Be Light: Light Paintings and Sculptures

Although light is considered to be rather a practical than an artistic tool, it has some properties which designers can effectively explore in their works. Indeed, light can also be considered as a medium for more powerful and more vivid artistic expression. In fact, many artists and crews make use of it creating quite impressive works of art.

Lightning Photography - Working Late

In this episode of our Monday Inspiration series we present 50 beautiful examples of light art — paintings, sculptures, drawings and graffitts which were created using light. At the bottom of this post you will find references to related Flickr pools which contain thousands of further examples of what can be achieved out of creative experiments with light.


50 Remarkable Nature Wallpapers

When it comes to beauty nothing can beat the beauty of nature. Although we, designers, can derive inspiration from almost everything, nature often manages to provide us with beautiful eye-catching perspectives we would never have explored otherwise. We have collected hundreds of wallpapers already (see links below). In this post we would like to focus on wallpapers which emphasize the variety and beauty of nature.

Beautiful Nature Wallpapers - the magic tree -wallpaper pack by =mpk

This post showcases 50 remarkable nature desktop wallpapers. This post covers various themes and subjects; we have included both photographic and artistic (photo-manipulated) wallpapers. Hopefully, everybody will find something from himself / herself.

You may want to take a look at related posts:


Web Form Design Patterns: Sign-Up Forms, Part 2

Last week we have presented first findings of our web forms survey. The main objective of the survey was to provide designers and developers with some intuition of how effective web forms are designed; we also presented some guidelines of how an effective and user-friendly web form can be achieved.


We have focused on sign-up forms as we wanted to consider further crucial forms (e.g. checkout forms) separately. Afterwards we've gone through each and every one sign-up form of the selected sites and analyzed the design approaches implemented in these forms. Below we present the second part of our findings — the results of our survey among web-forms of 100 popular web-sites where web-forms (should) matter.

Please notice that this post is not about checkout forms — that's a topic for another discussion, we may consider them separately in one of the upcoming posts. We would like to thank Wufoo for providing us with a framework to conduct our survey.


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