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.
User-friendly icon sets are always nice to look at and useful to have ready to hand. Since effective designers guide their users' attention using visuals, icons can (and probably should) be used in almost every project you are or will be working on. Whether for an illustration, sketch, site or weblog - used moderately, icons can point users' attention to the key-aspects of an article or specific site sections and communicate the message of the site in a more effective way.
This is why web designers need them. And this is why we look for them. Regularly.
Let's take a look at over 20 free, beautiful and fresh icon sets as well as references to further free icon libraries. Some of the sets can be used for free only for private projects, however most of them can also be used in commercial projects. In both cases - before using icon sets please read the license agreement carefully; it can change from time to time.
Creative thinking is an essential part of design workflow. Whatever sketch you are working on, at some point you find yourself in the situation where you simply need some fresh ideas to find your path around the creativity block. Going away may help. Listening to the music may help. But particularly the works of the famous graphic artists may help. In fact, studying them very closely, you can not only explore new ideas, but also learn the smallest details - they form the profound foundation of every masterpiece.
In this post we'd like to present you an ultimate breakthrough for your creativity blocks; over the last weeks we've been searching for the most popular graphic designers, illustrators and artists around the world. We've selected some of their works to give you an idea what style they have and what details of modern design you can expect and learn from them.
So what do we have as result? Over 100 breathtaking illustrations from some of the best contemporary graphic designers, illustrators and artists; besides you'll also find references to further (mostly unknown) sources for inspiration you can use on a daily basis.
Once you've selected the artist whose works you like, click on the image to get to his/her portfolio and explore his/her work in more depth. Please notice that most artists listed below are well-known in the worldwide design community (and so are their works); hopefully you know not all of them.
Please be patient, it may take a while until the images are loaded. Please be aware that it also may take a while until you've seen most of showcased images.
Three weeks ago we’ve showcased some of the most beautiful, creative and user-friendly 404 Error Pages; we’ve collected some interesting ideas one can use to help out the visitors once they got lost ony your page. We’ve also asked our readers to design their own 404 pages and promised to present the best solutions afterwards.
We’ve received over 100 entries. The choice wasn’t easy, so evaluating the quality of the entries we’ve considered - among other things - the communication with visitors, precise and clear navigation, the use of graphics, creative ideas and some outstanding solutions. Some of the solutions presented below might not be as helpful as they could or should be, however they include some creative approaches you should be aware of designing your 404 error pages.
We’d like to thank to everyone who participated, your input means a lot for us and for web-designers worldwide. You help to improve the quality of the Web. Don’t underestimate it.
So here is what you’ve come out with: over 45 working examples of user-friendly, creative and outstanding 404 error pages - in a brief overview.
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 too.
This month we've found two of them - FF Good and LTR Datamine Segoe UI. It's not quite clear if one is legally allowed to use Segoe UI, which is also presented below. Please read the license agreement carefully - it can change from time to time.
Automatic tests, checks and analysis services can be extremely valuable if you’re looking for bugs or try to avoid them. To make sure everything is just the way you think it should be, you need validators. To improve the value and quality of your content, you need to be able to analyze the behaviour of your visitors. And to perform better in the future you have to know exactly, what your competitors are doing, how they’re doing it and what you should learn from them.
You don't like to scroll? Be prepared. (We warned you.)
Every now and again designers stumble upon the very same problem: the choice of a unique and beautiful typeface which manages to fulfill three basic tasks. Support the corporate identity, enrich the visual appearance and is compatible with the overall design. However, usually there are simply too many options you can consider, which is why you need time to find the option you are most comfortable with. Although the choice usually depends on clients' requirements, it is necessary to have some pretty starting points for your font decision.
So which typefaces are "bulletproof"? What fonts can be used effectively in almost every Corporate Design? And what are the options for unique, but still incredibly beautiful typefaces?
We have answers. Over the last few days we've browsed through dozens of type foundries, read dozens of designers' articles about typography, analyzed font rankings and visited bookmarked font-related suggestions. So this post has 'em all. Well, OK, at least many of them.
Let's take a look at over 80 gorgeous typefaces for professional design, based upon suggestions from designers and web-developers all over the world. Most screenshots are taken from the foundries and provided specimens - particularly on Veer.com and Fontshop.com.
Data presentation can be beautiful, elegant and descriptive. There is a variety of conventional ways to visualize data - tables, histograms, pie charts and bar graphs are being used every day, in every project and on every possible occasion. However, to convey a message to your readers effectively, sometimes you need more than just a simple pie chart of your results. In fact, there are much better, profound, creative and absolutely fascinating ways to visualize data. Many of them might become ubiquitous in the next few years.
So what can we expect? Which innovative ideas are already being used? And what are the most creative approaches to present data in ways we've never thought before?
Let's take a look at the most interesting modern approaches to data visualization as well as related articles, resources and tools. Read more...
Apart from Floats, the CSS Specificity is one of the most difficult concepts to grasp in Cascading Stylesheets. The different weight of selectors is usually the reason why your CSS-rules don't apply to some elements, although you think they should have. In order to minimize the time for bug hunting you need to understand, how browsers interpret your code. And to understand that, you need to have a firm understanding on how specificity works. In most cases such problems are caused by the simple fact that somewhere among your CSS-rules you've defined a more specific selector.
CSS Specificity isn't simple. However, there are methods to explain it in a simple and intuitive way. And that's what this article is all about. You'll understand the concept if you love Star Wars. Really.
Let's take a look at some important issues related to CSS Specificity as well as examples, rules, principles, common solutions and resources.
You can find the most important things you should know about CSS specificity in a brief overview at the beginning of the article.
There is nothing more valuable than the time we need to get things done. Over a long period of time time-saving techniques and solutions can turn out to be real life-savers. The more you use them, the more essential they become. Besides, using them in your favourite software applications, you can drastically increase your productivity, enhance your time-managment and improve both your professional skills and the quality of your work.
One of such time-saving features are Hotkeys (or keyboard shortcuts), which offer a powerful tool to get the result instantly - with a single keys combination. We've collected the most useful of them - for the most popular applications out there. Some shortcuts are trivial and well-known, but hopefully not all of them.
This post covers the most useful keyboard shortcuts for essential software applications users and web-developers can/should use on a daily basis - OS, Browsers, Music Players, Communication Tools, File Management and Coding. You will also find references to related resources - there you'll find more specific shortcuts for your needs.
With blogging comes great responsibilty. You define the content of your weblog and you carry the full responsibility for every word you've published online. More than that, you are responsible for comments in your posts. To make sure you fulfill your legal obligations, it's important to know, what you, as blogger, may or should do; and you have to know, how to achieve this. After all, the ignorance of the law does not make one exempt from compliance thereof.
From the legal point of view, Copyright in Web is often considered as the grey area; as such it's often misunderstood and violated - mostly simply because bloggers don't know, what laws they have to abide and what issues they have to consider. In fact, copyright myths are common, as well as numerous copyright debates in the Web.
That's time to put facts straight. In this post we've collected the most important facts, articles and resources related to copyright issues, law and blogging. We've also put together most useful tools and references you can use dealing with plagiarism.
You don't have to read the whole article, you can read a brief overview of the key-points in the beginning of the post. Let's take a look.