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.
“Can you put together a digital strategy for us to review?” Requests like this strike fear into those of us who work on the Web. What do we know about putting together strategy documents?
Yes, we understand the Web, but we don’t know how to write a document that is essentially a business strategy. What even goes into a digital strategy! Unfortunately, this is something management seems to increasingly request from Web designers.
The recently popularized “flat” interface style is not merely a trend. It is the manifestation of a desire for greater authenticity in design, a desire to curb visual excess and eliminate the fake and the superfluous.
In creating new opportunities, technological progress sometimes leads to areas of excess. In the 19th century, mechanized mass production allowed for ornaments to be stamped out quickly and cheaply, leading to goods overdecorated with ornament.
In my career as a freelance illustrator, map-making has become a favorite specialty of mine. With each map assignment, I virtually travel across the globe, visiting places I’ve never been. Most recent was a “trip” to New Zealand for a sampling of local Wellington beer for Draft Magazine.
My maps are designed to appear next to magazine stories about trips to faraway places, or about the best restaurants in a nearby neighborhood. I create them in Adobe Illustrator, and I relish the research process as much as working on the drawings themselves.
A website has a personality — it is a reflection of the person or organization behind it. When people visit your website, you want it to stand out from the crowd, to be memorable. You want people to come back and use your website or get in touch with you.
So, to distinguish itself from the unwashed masses, your website not only needs remarkable content, but also has to be innovative yet functional. Ask yourself, what would make life easier for your user? The following websites will whet your appetite for extreme creativity. Browse through and explore them for yourself.
If you code websites, it’s a good bet that at least one of your clients has asked about or requested a mobile-friendly website. If you go the responsive design route (whereby your website is flexible enough to adjust visually from mobile to desktop widths), then you’ll need a strategy to make images flexible, too — a responsive image solution.
The basics are fairly simple to learn, but once you’ve mastered them, you’ll find that scaling images is only the beginning — you might also have performance and art direction conundrums to solve.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the staggering array of resources and options available to designers. In this article, we’ll explore the idea of consciously restricting yourself to a set of core tools that you know, love and trust.
Take a traditional craftsman — let’s say a carpenter. While they may have access to a wide range of tools in their workshop, they will take a bag with just a few carefully chosen tools when working away. Similarly, an artist may have a wide range of paints, brushes and accessories in their studio, but will carefully select a limited palette and a few choice brushes when painting in the field.
Please notice that this article is targeted at newcomers to the industry rather than seasoned designers and developers. The point of the article is to provide a general guide to building meaningful, future-friendly websites today, including strategies, techniques and tools that most Web designers are used to today. — Ed.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… a young designer embarked on an epic journey strewn with perilous layout challenges, constant procrastination, devious jQuery errors and deadly Internet Explorer bugs. It was a rite of passage that all designers must take in order to stand proud with their peers in this wide world we call the Web. Yes, I’m talking about creating your own portfolio website.
I recently redesigned my own portfolio website. It was a challenging but enjoyable experience that I really learned a lot from. My goal was to create a unique online presence that represents my personality and displays my design work in detail, while of course serving as a promotional medium to gain more exposure and business.