Effective web design doesn't have to be pretty and colorful — it has to be clear and intuitive; in fact, we have analyzed the principles of effective design in our previous posts. However, how can you achieve a clear and intuitive design solution? Well, there are a number of options — for instance, you can use grids, you can prefer the simplest solutions or you can focus on usability. However, in each of these cases you need to make sure your visitors have some natural sense of order, harmony, balance and comfort. And this is exactly where the so-called Divine proportion becomes important.
This article explains what is the Divine proportion and what is the Rule of Thirds and describes how you can apply both of them effectively to your designs. Of course, there are many possibilities. Hopefully, this post will help you to find your way to more effective and beautiful web designs or at least provide some good starting points you can build upon or develop further. Read more...
Successful product design manages to reveal useful functionality beyond its appealing form. No matter how excellent a design looks like, most customers aren't likely to spend money on something they won't be able to use. On the other hand, most people are likely to buy something useful despite the design it has.
Yet the key to a truly successful product design lies in designer's ability to combine both beautiful design and functionality making it obvious to the customers how the product can be used and which benefits it delivers. However, one can combine the beauty of design with the utility it is supposed to provide.
Most products fail to pass this test and never reach the production stage; some products do manage to get to the stores. In the overview below you'll find an overview of some beautiful and original product designs which will hopefully make the cut and will be available in the next years. Some of them are already available today.
You may want to take a look at our related posts
Free stuff always comes in handy. Particularly if it offers a high quality one would usually expect from a quite costly commercial product. The latter holds particularly when it comes to typefaces and icon packs. On the other hand, when you are looking for some excellent desktop wallpapers to spark your creativity, it’s just damn hard to find the good ones. Well, not any longer.
Below you’ll find some sweet friday freebies — a high-quality font, icons, Photoshop brushes, screensaver and wallpapers. If you have any further suggestions please don’t hesitate to share them in the comments.
You may also want to take a look at our previous article
When it comes to icons, web designers and graphic artists have an excellent opportunity to showcase their craft, prove their experience and explore their creativity. A sweet, nice icon set is a perfect showcase of designer’s work and a powerful instrument to build up your reputation online. In fact, designers make use of it, creating absolutely amazing icon sets and offering them for free download.
However, designing a high-quality icon set isn't an easy task. It takes time, patience and resources and it requires professional skills and experience. We are regularly looking for talented artists and creative designers and we are happy to support them as much as possible — e.g. 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.
In the overview below we present 40 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 fre 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:
This time you'll find quite many tasty snacks. Literally. Read more...
Buttons, badges and pins stand for a medium which is often underestimated and not taken seriously. That's a pity, because designed properly, badges and buttons can effectively communicate ideas to your potential customers and impress them with something creative and beautiful.
Buttons are powerful because they show what is important to the person wearing it, which ideas he or she supports and what kind of a person you are dealing with. Some buttons can make people pass away with a subtle smile, the other ones can send a message to the world, and as such, pose a very powerful medium to explore. Which is why we, designers, can make use of them, packaging ideas in small and "portable" objects of daily life.
In this post we cover some interesting ideas for design of buttons, badges, pins and clips — traditional handcraft which can be attached to cloth, bags, documents and whatever you can think of. You may use them to deliver some idea or message, in web design (e.g. Missy makes use of them) or in the merchandise for promotion purposes.
Not all examples presented below fit to all environments; some of them are more likely to be used in informal environments. You don't want to have a Bart Simpson screaming at your boss during the job interview, do you? You may want to check out some ideas for laptop sleeves, skins and stickers as well. Read more...
Desktop wallpapers are always nice to look at and to draw inspiration from. They may provide with some fresh perspective and offer you some eye-candy for tedious coffee breaks. We are regularly hunting for free high-quality icons, fonts and wallpapers and present them to you, so you don’t need to search for them. As long as we find something beautiful, interesting or useful, we let you know in our posts. And now it’s time for some sweet wallpapers designer’s toolbox.
In this post we present more (really) stunning desktop wallpapers related to typography, photography, illustrations, HDR as well as some abstract and fantasy-related wallpapers. Hopefully, everybody will find something interesting for his or her desktop. All wallpapers can be downloaded for free.
You can also scan through the following posts:
Don't forget: until 21th of May you can participate in Smashing Texture Contest, take a photo, send it to us and win a professional digital camera. We have received over 200 entries so far. Read more...
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 you Freebooter Script, Cora Basic Regular, Walkway and Karabine. Please read the license agreements carefully — they can change from time to time.
Sometimes typography is all you need to communicate your ideas effectively. Graphics can support the type or type can support the graphics, but to deliver the message precisely, you need to make sure your type is expressive enough, your design is distinctive enough and the composition is strong enough. The results are sometimes crazy, sometimes artsy, sometimes beautiful, but often just different from things we're used to. Thus designers explore new horizons and we explore new viewing perspectives which is what inspiration is all about.
This post showcases over 70 examples of sexy, bold and experimental typography. Some examples are typographic posters, some are typographic illustrations and some are just sketches with type. In any case, you will hopefully find some inspiration for your future works.
Feel free to check out our previous typography-related posts:
- Breathtaking Typographic Posters with over 50 typographic posters designed by artists across the globe. We feature Oriental, Iranian, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese and Russian typographic posters as well as a number of further references,
- Typography In Motion presents some excellent examples of typography embedded into movies and videos,
- The Showcase of BIG Typography with over 35 examples of big, “loud” and yet elegant typography in web design.
So what can be achieved out of simple letters and symbols? Please be patient, some screenshots are huge. Read more...
Getting creative is part of our job. Whatever project we are working on, at some point we need to come up with some nice starting point — some fresh idea which we could explore further, build upon and refine until we have a polished, perfect result. Although having an idea is at least as important as implementing it properly, without inspiration and innovation you just can't get anything done.
And this is where it sometimes gets messy. In fact, drawing inspiration is not as easy as we used to think of it. Inspiration is not just observing something, analyze it and implement it in one or another way in your work. Inspiration is much more: there is a fine line between inspiration and imitation which is easy to cross and as easy to mix up.
Inspiration means captivate an idea and develop it further. Imitation means identify an idea and use it. As a professional when getting creative, you need to make sure that you pick the right path to follow.
Noell Hyman draws inspiration from magazines; stick-it-notes contain some ideas she might want to work upon later.
So how do you actually come up with new ideas (apart from reading Smashing Magazine, of course)? Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you have some bulletproof approaches against creativity blocks?
We would like to hear your opinion. Let us know in the comments! Read more...
Pixel art lives both in and beyond computer screen. Artists design pixel art posters, magazine covers, album covers, desktop wallpapers, paintings, "pixelish" video ads and even pixelated tattoos. And there is a good reason behind it: in times when popular design solutions strive for real-life-look or perfection pixel art offers a distinctive and creative artistic approach which is extremely expressive. In fact, pixel art can be impressive as well. This post attempts to prove just that.
Below we present over 50 excellent pixel art designs — illustrations, paintings and posters as a part of our ongoing monday inspiration series. Some of the works presented below have an extremely high level of detail which is why you can observe pixel art for hours and still miss some details it contains. You can find ever more resources related to pixel-art in an overview we've presented in the end the post.
Please be patient: the images may take some time to load. Read more...