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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 UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.
When it comes to icons, web designers and graphic artists have an excellent opportunity to showcase their craft, prove their experience and explore their creativity. A sweet, nice icon set is a perfect showcase of designer’s work and a powerful instrument to build up your reputation online. In fact, designers make use of it, creating absolutely amazing icon sets and offering them for free download.
However, designing a high-quality icon set isn't an easy task. It takes time, patience and resources and it requires professional skills and experience. We are regularly looking for talented artists and creative designers and we are happy to support them as much as possible — e.g. by showcasing their work in our magazine. If you are going to create an icon set and experience any problems releasing it or spreading the word — let us know, we may figure something out.
In the overview below we present 40 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 fre in your private projects. Nevertheless, it is always worth to take a look at the license agreements — they can change from time to time.
You can also scan through the icons-related articles we’ve published before:
Buttons, badges and pins stand for a medium which is often underestimated and not taken seriously. That's a pity, because designed properly, badges and buttons can effectively communicate ideas to your potential customers and impress them with something creative and beautiful.
Buttons are powerful because they show what is important to the person wearing it, which ideas he or she supports and what kind of a person you are dealing with. Some buttons can make people pass away with a subtle smile, the other ones can send a message to the world, and as such, pose a very powerful medium to explore. Which is why we, designers, can make use of them, packaging ideas in small and "portable" objects of daily life.
In this post we cover some interesting ideas for design of buttons, badges, pins and clips — traditional handcraft which can be attached to cloth, bags, documents and whatever you can think of. You may use them to deliver some idea or message, in web design (e.g. Missy makes use of them) or in the merchandise for promotion purposes.
Not all examples presented below fit to all environments; some of them are more likely to be used in informal environments. You don't want to have a Bart Simpson screaming at your boss during the job interview, do you? You may want to check out some ideas for laptop sleeves, skins and stickers as well.
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.
This month we are glad to present you Freebooter Script, Cora Basic Regular, Walkway and Karabine. Please read the license agreements carefully — they can change from time to time.
Sometimes typography is all you need to communicate your ideas effectively. Graphics can support the type or type can support the graphics, but to deliver the message precisely, you need to make sure your type is expressive enough, your design is distinctive enough and the composition is strong enough. The results are sometimes crazy, sometimes artsy, sometimes beautiful, but often just different from things we're used to. Thus designers explore new horizons and we explore new viewing perspectives which is what inspiration is all about.
This post showcases over 70 examples of sexy, bold and experimental typography. Some examples are typographic posters, some are typographic illustrations and some are just sketches with type. In any case, you will hopefully find some inspiration for your future works.
Feel free to check out our previous typography-related posts:
Breathtaking Typographic Posters with over 50 typographic posters designed by artists across the globe. We feature Oriental, Iranian, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese and Russian typographic posters as well as a number of further references,
Typography In Motion presents some excellent examples of typography embedded into movies and videos,
Getting creative is part of our job. Whatever project we are working on, at some point we need to come up with some nice starting point — some fresh idea which we could explore further, build upon and refine until we have a polished, perfect result. Although having an idea is at least as important as implementing it properly, without inspiration and innovation you just can't get anything done.
And this is where it sometimes gets messy. In fact, drawing inspiration is not as easy as we used to think of it. Inspiration is not just observing something, analyze it and implement it in one or another way in your work. Inspiration is much more: there is a fine line between inspiration and imitation which is easy to cross and as easy to mix up.
Inspiration means captivate an idea and develop it further. Imitation means identify an idea and use it. As a professional when getting creative, you need to make sure that you pick the right path to follow.
Pixel art lives both in and beyond computer screen. Artists design pixel art posters, magazine covers, album covers, desktop wallpapers, paintings, "pixelish" video ads and even pixelated tattoos. And there is a good reason behind it: in times when popular design solutions strive for real-life-look or perfection pixel art offers a distinctive and creative artistic approach which is extremely expressive. In fact, pixel art can be impressive as well. This post attempts to prove just that.
Below we present over 50 excellent pixel art designs — illustrations, paintings and posters as a part of our ongoing monday inspiration series. Some of the works presented below have an extremely high level of detail which is why you can observe pixel art for hours and still miss some details it contains. You can find ever more resources related to pixel-art in an overview we've presented in the end the post.
Please be patient: the images may take some time to load.
Once your latest project is finished, you are very likely to forget the structure of the project's layout, with all its numerous classes, color schemes and type setting. To understand your code years after you've written it you need to make use of sensible code structuring. The latter can dramatically reduce complexity, improve code management and consequently simplify maintainability. However, how can you achieve sensible structuring? Well, there are a number of options. For instance, you can make use of comments — after all, there is always some area for useful hints, notes and, well, comments you can use afterwards, after the project has been deployed.
Indeed, developers came up with quite creative ways to use comments and text formatting to improve the maintainability of CSS-code. Such creative ways are usually combined into CSS styleguides — pieces of CSS-code which are supposed to provide developers with useful insights into the structure of the code and background information related to it.
This article presents 5 coding techniques which can dramatically improve management and simplify maintainability of your code. You can apply them to CSS, but also to any other stylesheet or programming language you are using. You can browse through the references listed under the article — they containt further information about how you can achieve a well-organized and well-structured code.
Photography is a very powerful medium and a very difficult craft. Excellent photos don't only display some facts — they tell stories, awake feelings and manage to share with the audience the emotions a photographer experienced when clicking the shot button. Taking excellent pictures is damn hard as you need to find a perfect perspective and consider the perfect timing. To achieve brilliant photography you need practice and patience. However, it is worth it: the results can be truly stunning.
Below you'll find 50 brilliant photos and stunning pictures — some pictures tell stories, some are incredibly beautiful, some are funny and some are very sad.
All pictures are copyright of their respective owners. Please explore the further work of the photographers by browsing through their work. We've tried to cover different themes so that everybody will find something interesting and spectacular for himself / herself. All screenshots are linked und lead to the pages from which they've been taken.
You may also want to take a look at the following posts:
Web design has significantly improved over the last years. It's more user-friendly and more appealing today — and there is a good reason behind it: over the years we've found out that design with focus on usability and user experience is just more effective. Modern cut-edge design isn't filled with loud happy talk and blinking advertisements. We've learnt to initiate the dialogue with visitors, involve them into discussions and gain their trust by addressing their needs and speaking with them honestly and directly.
Few weeks ago we've presented 10 Principles Of Effective Web Design — a comprehensive article about effective Web design and provided you with insights about how users actually think as well as with some examples of how effective designs can be achieved.
This article highlights 5 further principles, heuristics and approaches for effective Web design — approaches which, used properly, can lead to more sophisticated design decisions and simplify the process of perceiving presented information.
Please notice that you might be interested in the following usability-related articles:
10 Usability Nightmares showcases usability nightmares you should avoid when designing functional and usable web-sites,
30 Usability Issues explains important usability issues, terms, rules and principles which are usually forgotten, ignored or misunderstood.