Category: Design

This category features articles on general design principles, Web design, typography, user interface design and related topics. It also presents design showcases and practical pieces on the business side of design. Curated by Alma Hoffmann.

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Free Printable Sketching, Wireframing and Note-Taking PDF Templates

Sketching and wireframing are a specialized style of drawing, used for fleshing out preliminary complex ideas, group brain-storming, a lo-fi method for evaluating interaction concepts, and as a way of roughly perfecting a design technique.

Sketch, Template and Wireframe Printable Paper

Sketch and wireframe paper is essentially drawing paper that is designed specifically for this purpose. You could use it for web page design, web app design, architectural or structural design, graphic design, movie direction, animation... basically any type of design that needs a physical creative outlet or group collaboration.

Not all sketch and wireframe sheets are universal, most are specialized for a particular medium, such as storyboards and specialized grid paper (axonometric perspective templates).

Below you will find a concise collection of ready to print sketching, wireframing and note-taking templates. Most, as expected, are geared towards the design community, but there are also templates that could be used within any industry and for any purpose.

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What Makes A Great Cover Letter, According To Companies?

Ah, the dreaded cover letter. Boring to write, difficult to get right, and you're usually preoccupied by other things (such as the portfolio and resume, which are also really important).  Unfortunately, your cover letter is a company's first exposure to you, and it determines whether your application is trashed or fast-tracked to the company's to-hire list.

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The status of the cover letter is changing in the Web industry. While a well-formed cover letter still has a place, some companies believe that Web folk who rely on this archaic tool never make it to the next round. But what do I know? Let's hear instead from some great Web and design agencies to get their advice on creating a great cover letter!

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Best Practices In Modern Web Design: The Ultimate Round-Up

Web design has evolved at such an extreme rate over the past ten to twenty years that it's often hard to keep up with current trends and best practices. It wasn't that long ago that table-based designs were considered cutting edge and CSS was unheard of. And to compound the problem, finding up-to-date information on what the "right" way to do things is can be nearly impossible at times.

Showcase of Design Elements - De-clutter Your Interface With Hover Controls

So we've collected more than 100 best practices for designing modern websites, from blogs to portfolios, covering everything from CSS and coding to images, graphics, and typography. Along with the practices themselves are resources for more information and examples of the practices themselves to help you visualize what we're talking about.

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What’s Brand?

Brand is an important part of any business. So why do some of us claim we brand businesses, when we fall so short on it's definition and limit ourselves at logo design? There are many factors that affect a brand and these factors can contribute to a unique and long-lasting brand. We often overlook the real meaning of brand and we need to understand it to fully comprehend the field.

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Applying “A Pattern Language” To Online Community Design

A Pattern Language is a book about architecture that was written in the 1970s, before the Web as we know it was even conceived. But the book provides hundreds of valuable patterns for community planning and architectural design, many of which can easily be applied to online communities and social networking websites.

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Niche social networks are popping up online all the time, with many designers and developers taking advantage of pre-built social network platforms and making little modification. It makes sense, after all: why reinvent the wheel when perfectly good ones are available?

But if you step back and really consider how your social network or online community is set up, you might be able to improve the user experience and overall user satisfaction by leaps and bounds. Looking to other fields, such as architecture and civil engineering, is one way to gain new ideas without having to reinvent the wheel.

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How to Create a Promotional Snail Mail Campaign

It’s important to promote your design business. This is especially true when economic times are challenging, you’ve got news to announce, or you’re simply hungry for growth. Many forms of promotion are available to the modern designer – with banner ads and Google AdWords among the most popular. In this digital age, it’s easy for web and graphic designers to overlook one of the most effective and fun forms of promotion: the mail campaign. In an era when people are accustomed to communicating electronically, the value and meaning of something you can hold in your hands is greater than ever before.

3D Mailer by Ultra Design Co.

The promo mailer is perhaps most popular among illustrators and graphic designers working for editorial clients, which means that it is a powerful, untapped resource for some web designers. Likewise, it was probably a much more common practice ten years ago than it is today due to the rise of online promotion techniques – but those who ignore its potential are missing out on a tool with the power to gain new clients, increase web traffic, and attract publicity for your business and events.

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Common Questions About Design Professionalism

The design profession is full of happy folks, and understanding why so many designers enjoy their work is not hard. But not all are so happy. If you’re not careful, the joy of getting paid to pursue your passion can be tainted by the less joyous realities of the professional world. You see, no matter how skilled you are as a designer, unless you are equally prepared in professional matters, your prospects will be limited and your circumstances compromised. This is true whether you work freelance, for an agency or in-house with a company.

Design is craft

Every week I hear from designers who are struggling to come to terms with these realities. Unhappy with their current circumstances, they write to ask for advice on improving their lot. Usually, they either claim not to understand how things got so bad, or they lay the blame somewhere other than at their own feet. In every case, however, the sole cause is their poor choices and lack of professional acumen. It needn’t be so.

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Handy Tools and Tips for E-Commerce Websites

Running an e-commerce website is a never-ending task, from trying to squeeze that extra bit of conversion rate out of the check-out page to figuring out which referrers give you the best traffic. There's also a plethora of tools out there to help you achieve your goals. But which ones do what, and why should you use some of them? This article introduces some of these tools and offers a tip or two on how to use them.

Wordle image of rob-smith.info

If you own or operate an e-commerce webs, you'll find one or two things that you haven't tried before. If you're new to e-commerce, this article should give you insight into some of the possibilities available to you as you enter the market. A plethora of merchants out there could benefit from lower-cost e-commerce help and advice. Covered in this article are analytics tips, visualisation tools, product page tips, checkout tips, testing tools to try right now and a final tip.

This article is only the tip of the iceberg. If you have any tips on usability, the check-out process, product pages, analytics or testing, please add them to the comments, so that this article becomes even more useful to readers.

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Print Magazines for Web Designers, Digital Artists, and Photographers

Although much valuable information for all sorts of web and print professionals can be found online, it is often difficult to weed through all the noise and find good quality content. I believe it's vital that professionals in different creative fields supplement their online learning and research through well-edited and high-quality print publications.

.net / Practical Web Design .Net / Practical Web Design

Print magazines, more often than not, are well-researched and are headed by top-notch editorial staff, usually containing information and resources on the cutting edge of their respective industries' trends and happenings. To that end, to help you fulfill part of your offline research needs, I've compiled a list of print magazines that are of interest to professionals in three different categories: Web Designers, Digital Artists, and Photographers. And be sure to comment so you can tell us your personal favourite print magazine, if you don't see it listed here.

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Art Manifestos and Their Applications in Contemporary Design

The way you express yourself with words is a crucial extension of your creative identity. Professional designers are usually busy focusing on the visual aspects of their craft, but visual arts and literary arts collide and coincide regularly. The two fields meet not just in typography, but also in press releases, social networking communication, slogans, promotional materials, ‘About Me’ pages, marketing strategies, and every single pitch, contract, and email you’ve ever sent to a client.

What might happen if you injected some of those materials with a healthy dose of poetry, humor, or bravado? Obviously, doing so will not be appropriate in some forums, but when it is, this may be a good way to express yourself and differentiate your brand from the crowd.

<em>Fortunato Depero's book </em>Depero Futurista,<em> 1927.</em>

Some of the most electrifying examples of writing about art and design come in the form of the manifesto. The manifesto has played a pivotal role in some of the most important creative movements of the previous century: Futurism, Surrealism, and Cubism among them. Most graphic designers working today will probably not require their own manifesto, but it can be helpful to write a mission statement or expression of your creative goals. Likewise, most of us probably don’t intend to launch a full-scale ‘movement,’ but this genre of writing may inspire you to reconsider the literary content of your creative work and its public representation.

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