Web design has significantly improved over the last years. It's more user-friendly and more appealing today — and there is a good reason behind it: over the years we've found out that design with focus on usability and user experience is just more effective. Modern cut-edge design isn't filled with loud happy talk and blinking advertisements. We've learnt to initiate the dialogue with visitors, involve them into discussions and gain their trust by addressing their needs and speaking with them honestly and directly.
Few weeks ago we've presented 10 Principles Of Effective Web Design — a comprehensive article about effective Web design and provided you with insights about how users actually think as well as with some examples of how effective designs can be achieved.
This article highlights 5 further principles, heuristics and approaches for effective Web design — approaches which, used properly, can lead to more sophisticated design decisions and simplify the process of perceiving presented information.
Please notice that you might be interested in the following usability-related articles:
- 10 Usability Nightmares showcases usability nightmares you should avoid when designing functional and usable web-sites,
- 30 Usability Issues explains important usability issues, terms, rules and principles which are usually forgotten, ignored or misunderstood.
Retro and vintage designs are often considered as being outdated, looking old, unattractive and dull. That's not true. Although compared to modern design, retro is mostly a completely different realm, it has a large variety of benefits modern graphic designers often tend to overlook. And that's a pity. Because we, as designers, can learn a lot from it.
Nostalgic designs arise feelings, awake memories and better manage to involve broad range of readers even although they don't really realize it. Furthermore, retro can look cool and offer readers or visitors something they haven't expected at all. So why not try to impress them with some impressive vintage art for a change?
Below you'll find the celebration of retro and vintage design — ads, illustrations, book covers, pins and posters from 1920-1980s. The images weren't necessarily created in the mid of 20th century. Vintage is living today which is why this post also features artists and designers who make use of the vintage and retro style in their works.
Please notice: if after reading this post you'll experience some need for buying ice cream, chewing gum or eating sausages, it's not our fault. Read more...
Free stuff always comes in handy. We are regularly hunting for free high-quality icons, fonts, wallpapers, plugins and scripts 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 freebies for designer's toolbox.
Below you'll find an excellent free font and some recently released icon sets. They all are released for free; however, please take a look at license agreements before using them in commercial applications.
You can also take a look at our previous article
Web form is often the main communication channel between visitors and site owners. Feedback is always important which is why it's necessary to make sure that web forms are easy to understand and intuitive to use. Nevertheless, even in form design one can afford some healthy portion of creativity.
Web forms don't have to be boring and, using CSS or Flash, you can easily make sure that they are appealing and effective. To get noticed, you need to come up with something unique and interesting — symbols, icons, colors, position or the size of web form are often used to achieve interesting design solutions. We've searched for some examples and we've found them. Creative, original and unusual web forms.
Below we present over 40 (really) beautiful examples of web forms as well as modern solutions and creative ideas related to web form design. Some of the examples are Flash-based; however, in most cases you can easily create similar designs with pure CSS and (X)HTML.
Also consider our previous article
Book covers are hard to design and nice to look at. An effective book cover manages to catch human's eye and convey the idea behind the book on one single page. However, it's getting even harder: to make a book really hard to forget, designers need to design the cover in a unique, creative and striking way. That's not that different from Web where it's important to build a sound information architecture upon a rather restricted design layout.
The main idea of this post is to provide you with some creative, expressive and appealing book covers. You won't like all of them, but you'll definitely find some designs which are worth pondering upon.
You may be interested in the following posts we've published earlier:
- Breathtaking Typographic Posters with over 50 breathtaking 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.
- Award-Winning Newspaper Designs with examples of outstanding newspaper designs collected from dozens of countries.
- Data Visualization and Infographics showcases spectacular data visualizations and infographics which manage to combine a strong visual appeal with the effective presentation of information.
- Data Visualization: Modern Approaches presents interesting modern approaches to data visualization as well as related articles, resources and tools.
Please keep in mind: there are thousands of excellent book covers; we've selected only few ones which are excellent in our humble opinion. Although this selection is definitely subjective, we've tried to do our best to find interesting designs which make the book cover hard to forget. If you have further suggestions please comment on this post. All covers posted are the copyright of their respective holders. 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're glad to present you GrauBlau, Nevis, Countries of Europe and a five excellent reduced fonts designed by the Ingofonts foundry. Please read the license agreements carefully - they can change from time to time.
- Free Fonts Of March feature M+ Outline, GeoBats, FF Unit Rounded Bold and IPAP Fonts Family.
- You can find over 80 more free fonts in our section Fonts.
Handwriting seems to have lost some of its attraction over the last years. Nobody writes beautiful handwritten letters, and uses digital means of communication with smileys, abbreviations and standard lettering instead. And that's a pity. Since handwriting is unique, it has a tremendous expressive power a standard lettering isn't able to achieve.
More than that, handwritten text can be incredibly gorgeous. In fact, there is nothing more valuable than a beautiful handwritten letter sent to your beloved ones. And this post attempts to prove just that.
In the overview below you'll find excellent examples of beautiful handwriting, creative lettering and professional calligraphy. It's really amazing to see what one can create out of simple letters drawn with a pencil on a small piece of paper.
For further typographic inspiration you can browse through our previous posts
We love high-quality freebies. Over the last years we've featured a number of designers and developers who released their work for free — among other things we presented high-quality free fonts, free Wordpress themes, free wallpapers and, of course, free icons.
Every release helps to make the Web a nicer place which is why we support designers and challenge them to release something for free in order to be featured on Smashing Magazine. And the results are quite often pretty impressive.
Today we are glad to release a free RSS/Feed icon set. The set contains 8 icons which you can use for private and commercial projects, blogs and web-sites for free. The icons are available for both Mac and Win-users in resolutions 16×16px, 24×24px, 32×32px, 48×48px, 128×128px, 256×256px and 512×512px.
This icon set was designed by Dirceu Veiga from Brazil especially for Smashing Magazine as a gift for its readers. Read more...
Laptop design doesn't have to be boring. Although often laptops look exactly as we expect them to look like, there is a number of design solutions and approaches which are completely different — unusual, creative, beautiful and damn useful. In fact, over the last years designers came up with a number of interesting concepts which have somehow stuck between the prototyping stage and the production stage. Nevertheless, much is possible. And this post is supposed to prove this point.
Below we present innovative laptop designs and laptop concepts. Many of the products listed below are prototypes and aren't available yet, and it's unknown whether they'll be released over the next years. However, they give us an idea of what we should expect from laptops over the years to come.
You might want to take a look at our posts
- Laptop Sleeves, Skins and Stickers
gives some fresh ideas to spice up your environment with laptop skins, engravings, sleeves, cases and stickers,
- Innovative Designs and Devices
presents innovative, futuristic gadgets, devices, designs and concepts,
- 25 Mind-Blowing Products and Gadgets
showcases excellent gadgets and devices which are already available today,
- User Experience Of The Future
covers recent developments in the field of user interface design.
Every month we take a look around and select some of the most interesting web-development-related web-sites. We read articles, check out tools, analyze the advantages of new resources. Below you’ll find useful references, tutorials, services, tools, techniques and articles we’ve found over the last 30 days - an overview of web-sites you shouldn’t have missed in March 2008.
All images can be clicked and lead to the sites from which the screenshots have been taken. And please, please, don't forget to check out the last link. You won't regret it. Read more...