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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 performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

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Handcraft Strikes Back: Buttons, Badges, Pins and Clips

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.

Pins, Badges and Buttons - sketchBot Buttons

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.

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More (Really) Stunning Desktop Wallpapers

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.

Awesome Wallpapers - Wallpaper - Nebulae Wallpaper

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.

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Free Fonts Of The Month: Freebooter Script, Cora Basic

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.

Freebooter Script

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.

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Sexy, Bold And Experimental Typography

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.

Beauty of Typography - Typography

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.

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Where Do You Draw Inspiration From?

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.

Ideas and Inspiration
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!

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Pixels Go Mad: The Celebration Of Pixel Art

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.

Pixel Art - MCS_Einstein_patentoffice.jpg (thumb)

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.

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Improving Code Readability With CSS Styleguides

Once your latest project is finished, you are very likely to forget the structure of the project's layout, with all its numerous classes, color schemes and type setting. To understand your code years after you've written it you need to make use of sensible code structuring. The latter can dramatically reduce complexity, improve code management and consequently simplify maintainability. However, how can you achieve sensible structuring? Well, there are a number of options. For instance, you can make use of comments — after all, there is always some area for useful hints, notes and, well, comments you can use afterwards, after the project has been deployed.

CSS Styleguides

Indeed, developers came up with quite creative ways to use comments and text formatting to improve the maintainability of CSS-code. Such creative ways are usually combined into CSS styleguides — pieces of CSS-code which are supposed to provide developers with useful insights into the structure of the code and background information related to it.

This article presents 5 coding techniques which can dramatically improve management and simplify maintainability of your code. You can apply them to CSS, but also to any other stylesheet or programming language you are using. You can browse through the references listed under the article — they containt further information about how you can achieve a well-organized and well-structured code.

You may also be interested in the articles

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