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Smashing Conf Barcelona 2016

We use ad-blockers as well, you know. We gotta keep those servers running though. Did you know that we publish useful books and run friendly conferences — crafted for pros like yourself? E.g. upcoming SmashingConf Barcelona, dedicated to smart front-end techniques and design patterns.


Sven is the co-founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. He's now writing at his Conterest Blog, where he focuses on blogs, content strategy, writing and publishing — all in German.

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On-Stage: Free Vector PSD Icon Set

We are always looking for creative and talented artists and designers. Once we find them, we ask them to cooperate with us and release something for free. We provide them with the full freedom to showcase their professionalism and express their creativity. Every release helps to make the Web a nicer place. In fact, the results are quite often pretty impressive. You can find our previous releases in our section Freebies.

Smashing Icon Set

Today we are glad to release a icON Stage icon set. The set contains 49 free vector icons including PSD which can be useful for both corporate and personal setting. You can use the set for free — without any restrictions whatsoever.

The icons are available in the .png-format in the resolution 128×128px. 100% pure shape-based layered PSDs are also included in the package.


The <hr /> Contest

What is <hr />? Basically, it is an old HTML-tag which has been used since the very beginning of the Web. hr stands for the horizontal rule and represents exactly what you would expect — a horizontal line or a horizontal divider.

By default, web browsers render hr as a simple horizontal line. In terms of semantics the tag is supposed to clearly separate content blocks. This is often used in design of footers, but also makes sense in other situations — for instance, if you want to separate two blog posts or make the divisions within the content structure sharper.

Wacom Tablet

Similar to our blog header contest we’d like to create a smashing gallery of freely available <hr /> graphics. The winner will get a Wacom Intuos3 9X12 USB Tablet.


Textures and Patterns Design Showcase

Textures and patterns are used more often than one may think. The reason why we don't see them is because they usually remain in the background, supporting the overall design, replacing a standard background color and creating a more inviting atmosphere. But they almost never stand out. Used primarily for background images, they need to fit to the overall design making the content easier to perceive. In fact, wood textures seem to have become so popular that designers suggest that wood is the new glossy style and wood is the new white.

Well, we don't think that wood is a new revolutionary trend — after all, it was used and explored for years. However, since wood isn't used everywhere — in correct and wrong contexts — experimenting with it makes perfectly sense. Still, there are a number of options beyond wood: e.g. fabric patterns, tiles, ground, stone, walls, bricks, stiches, cardboard, ceramics, decay, rust, old tapes, illustrations, plastic and glass.

Texture Background Screenshot

In this post we present a showcase of sites using textures and patterns— we want to focus designer's attention on design options available beyond wood. Reason: we strongly believe that vibrant, realistic background images are becoming a new trend. If it sounds familiar to you, you are absolutely right: we've seen the same trend 8-10 years ago. The sources for the background images are usually either photos (e.g. you can download free textures in the Smashing Texture Library) or illustrations created with Photoshop, Illustration etc.

You may want to take a look at the related articles:


55 Free High Quality Icon Sets

We love free icons. We love to smash things. And we respect hard-working designers. Therefore we are regularly looking for talented artists and creative designers and we are glad to support them by showcasing their work in our magazine. [Content Care Oct/14/2016]

Freebies Icons

In the overview below we present 55 more excellent, free and professional icons for desktop and web design. Some of them can be used for both private and commercial projects. You may always use them for free in your private projects. Nevertheless, it is always worth to take a look at the license agreements — they can change from time to time.


Hand-Drawing Style In Web Design

When it comes to web design too often perfect, colorful and boxy designs make the cut; however, the reality is different as it is hard to find objects with a perfect shape and a perfect color in our daily routine. To achieve a unique and communicative design we need to consider more creative approaches. For instance, we can draw sites by ourselves — or at least some parts of it. [Content Care Oct/12/2016]

The main purpose of hand-drawn elements lies in their ability to convey a personality and an individual note in times when perfect, boxy and rounded elements can be found almost everywhere. They look different and they can make a web-site look different. And this is what we usually are after in the first place.


And in fact, this is done quite often: whether a blog, a shop, an ad, a private page, or some collaborative project — doesn’t matter whether with Flash or (X)HTML. This post presents fresh examples of hand-drawing style in modern web design. All screenshots can be clicked and lead to the sites from which they’ve been taken.


Block Quotes and Pull Quotes: Examples and Good Practices

Quotes are used to emphasize excerpts of text. Since users almost never read but scan we need to provide them with some focus anchors to fix their attention to the most important parts of our articles. Furthermore, quotes are always used for testimonials and sometimes for blog comments. They can be styled using graphics, CSS and a little bit of JavaScript. Sometimes, creative dynamic solutions can be applied as well.

Screenshot Pullquote

This post presents creative examples and best practices for design of pull quotes. We’ve tried to identify some common solutions and interesting approaches you may want to use or develop further in your projects.

You may also want to take a look at the posts


Style Switchers: Ideas & Examples

Design a style switcher and win an Apple Cinema 20 Flat Panel Display with 16.7 million colors, 400:1 contrast ratio, 0.258 mm dot pitch, 16 ms response time and 170-degree viewing angles. Yes, that's that easy. Style switchers are used to provide users with a choice of layouts, fonts, colors and views they can use to adapt the design to their personal needs. Designs with style switchers are more flexbile, more adaptive and more user-friendly as different visitors can quickly modify the design for their personal convenience.


Web designers can achieve significant usability-improvements by adding a simple style switcher to their designs. Style switchers are useful and powerful as they give users a better control of site presentation. However, this technique is almost never used and are sometimes considered to be unnecessary and useless which is simply not true. We would like to change it.

We want to motivate you to figure out how style switchers work and how you can use them to improve your designs.


Smashing Texture Contest Results

Last week was really full of hard work for us. The response to Smashing Texture Contest was impressive and overwhelming. We have received over 740 e-mails from over 600 participants, resulting in far more than 2000 photos. The result, however, is not just literally zillion of textures, but truly brilliant textures you can use in your private and professional projects for free. Thanks to all participants — without Smashing readers this texture gallery wouldn't be possible.

What came out of it? A variety of interesting, exotic or creative textures from all around the globe. Wood, stone, metal, nature, ice, sand, fabric, paper, glass, fire, food and plastic textures. A large number of daily routine things observed from a completely new perspective.

You can use all textures we present in the gallery for both private and commercial projects for free, without any restrictions whatsoever. However, you are not allowed to offer these files for download; please respect the interestes of over 300 participants of our contest. Please also consider the license information attached to the .zip-archives you download from our server. When it comes to usage of textures, different photographers may have different opinions and intentions.


The Showcase Of BIG Typography

In Web typography doesn’t have to support the overall design. It can dominate. It can be loud. It can be bold. And it can be everywhere on a web-site. In many situations it’s reasonable to give the typography the prominent position it deserves, leaving visual cues in the background or removing them at all. Doing that, you have to risk large font sizes surrounded by a generous amount of white space. What comes out of it? Elegant web sites with a unique form, style and sense of precision.


Few months ago we have already presented some sites with quite BIG typography. In this article we present further 55 examples of big, “loud” and yet elegant typography in web design; some listed designs are Flash-based, and in some cases designs are based not only upon typography, but also upon some visual elements.

Please take a look at the following posts as well:


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