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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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Web Design Trends 2010: Real-Life Metaphors and CSS3 Adaptation

In our earlier article about Web design trends for 2010 we covered the strong influence of print design techniques, keypress navigation, horizontal layouts, rich typography and aesthetically pleasing designs. Web design today is developing rapidly, breaking the limitations of conventional approaches and exploring the possibilites of upcoming technologies. Designers are not only experimenting with new techniques and design approaches, but they are improving the quality of their designs in both technical and conceptual respects.

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Modern websites have great strengths, such as flexibility, cross-browser compatibility and personalization, but they are also becoming increasingly simple and intuitive. This is being done through the application of subtle usability enhancements, drawn either from the Web itself or from offline interactive systems. The Web today is increasingly complex, while usage of the Web is becoming increasingly simple.

In this article, we'll explore some new design approaches and techniques that you may want to develop for your own projects. We'll present rather unusual or unconventional design approaches and try to understand what's actually interesting about them and how we can apply them to modern Web design. More specifically, we will discuss the following: real-life metaphors that are applied to the Web, hidden complexity, subtle interactivity, context-sensitive navigation and rapid CSS3 adaptation.

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20 Fresh High Quality Free Fonts

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.

Kilogram

In this selection we’re glad to present you Kilogram, Adelle, Ayita Pro, Hattori Hanzo Typeface, Andron, Tertre, Luxi Sans, Sapir, Otari and a couple of other high-quality free fonts. Please read the license agreements carefully before using the fonts — the license can change from time to time.

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50 Helpful Typography Tools And Resources

We love beautiful typography, and we appreciate the efforts of designers who come up with great typographic techniques and tools or who just share their knowledge with fellow designers. We are always looking for such resources. We compile them, carefully select the best ones and then prepare them for our round-ups. And now it's time to present a beautiful fresh dose of typography-related resources.

Useful Typography Resources - The Taxonomy of Type

To help you improve the typography in your designs, we're presenting here useful new articles, tools and resources related to typography. You will learn the fundamentals of typography, find out how to combine fonts and know what to keep in mind when choosing a typeface. We also present typography-related slideshows, glossaries, layouts and experiments.

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The Current State of Web Design: Trends 2010

Web design is a fickle industry. Just like every other form of artistic expression, Web design has undergone a continuous and surprisingly fast evolution. Once a playground for enthusiasts, it has now become a mature rich medium with strong aesthetic and functional appeal. In fact, we are experiencing what could be the golden era of Web design — or at least the best period thus far. We have powerful new tools at our disposal (CSS3, HTML5, font-embedding, etc.), a plethora of freely available resources, a strong design community and also (if you needed any more!) reliable support of Web standards in the major browsers.

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We're seeing better interaction design and more aesthetically pleasing designs. And we're seeing more personal, engaging and memorable sites, too. But what exactly is making the difference? What new directions is Web design heading in today? What new techniques, concepts and ideas are becoming important? In this article, we present some observations on the current state of Web design. We describe existing and upcoming trends and explain how Web design might evolve in the coming months and years. We'll also touch on what we as Web designers should be ready for to keep abreast of new challenges and opportunities.

Please note: this article is the first in our series on the current state of web design. To make sure you don't miss the second part, subscribe to our RSS feed and follow us on Twitter.

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40 Useful jQuery Techniques and Plugins

Over the last year, Smashing Magazine has evolved. We've been publishing fewer lists and more in-depth articles about design and Web development. We have invited professionals and high-profile developers to write for us. We've been investing more resources in the quality and relevance of our articles. We've also explored new formats; and on weekends we've been publishing more inspirational pieces, leaving the in-depth articles to weekdays.

TipTip jQuery Plugin

We've tried our best to fuel the growing appetite of our readers for more advanced articles, but recently we've been receiving more requests for carefully selected, useful round-ups. We are not big fans of lists either, but the format is useful and — if the resources are relevant — can be extremely helpful. Therefore, we've decided to add a couple of round-ups per month as a bonus to our regular articles. Instead of replacing the main articles, we will add round-ups on top of our regular schedule. If you don't like round-ups or find them inappropriate, please feel free to skip them. How does this work for you?

In this post, we present 40 useful but obscure jQuery plug-ins that will hopefully help you improve the user experience on your websites. We look forward to your ideas and suggestions in the comments to this post.

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50 Beautiful Free Icon Sets For Your Next Design

Round-ups of beautiful and useful icons are almost legendary here, on Smashing Magazine. While some readers complain about the annoying "list"-style of some of our articles, we are confident that useful round-ups of relevant resources are very valuable and useful for designers. This is why over months we collect useful links and then present them in posts in the magazine. Like it or hate it, but the feedback that we get from the design community when we publish such posts is mostly positive which is why we keep doing it.

Free High Quality Icon Sets - Leica Camera Icon

This round-up covers 50 beautiful and useful icons that may turn out to be life-savers for your next design. We present photorealistic icons, mini icons and pictograms, symbols and signs, free templates as well as Christmas icon sets and desktop replacement icons. Please make sure to read the license agreements before using the icons – they may change from time to time. Did you find this post useful? Would you like to see more similar posts in the future? Let us know in the comments to this post!

You may be interested in the following related posts:

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Portfolio Design Study: Design Patterns and Current Practices

In our recent study on Typographic Design Patterns and Best Practices, we asked our readers about case studies they would like us to conduct. One of the most popular suggestions was a detailed case study of portfolio websites. Following the requests of our readers, we have carefully selected 55 design agencies and Web development agencies, analyzed their porfolio websites and identified popular design patterns. The main goal of the study was to provide freelancers and design agencies with useful pointers for designing their own portfolio.

Huge Inc's case study

This post presents the initial results of our big portfolio design study. Below, we discuss the visual design, structure, layout and navigation of portfolio websites. We also get into the design details of every single section, including the about, clients, services, portfolio, workflow and contact pages. Of course, you do not necessarily have to follow the findings presented here; rather, use them to get a general idea of what other portfolios look like, and then come up with something of your own that is usable, distinctive and memorable. We would like to thank Mark Nutter for helping us gather data for this study.

The second part of the study will be published here, on Smashing Magazine, in two weeks. Hence, please subscribe to our RSS-feed and follow us on Twitter.

Any ideas or suggestions? Maybe there is something else that you would like us to analyze additionally in this study? Comment on this article — we are listening!

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