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Author:

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.

Twitter: Follow Vitaly Friedman on Twitter

Google Profile: https://plus.google.com/101951294740286010890

Improving Code Readability With CSS Styleguides

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.

CSS Styleguides

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.

You may also be interested in the articles

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(Really) Stunning Pictures and Photos

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.

Mind-Blowing Photos - Sky

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:

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Five More Principles Of Effective Web Design

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.

Signalfeuer

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.
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Celebration Of Vintage and Retro Design

Retro and vintage designs are often considered as being outdated, looking old, unattractive and dull. That's not true. Although compared to modern design, retro is mostly a completely different realm, it has a large variety of benefits modern graphic designers often tend to overlook. And that's a pity. Because we, as designers, can learn a lot from it.

Nostalgic designs arise feelings, awake memories and better manage to involve broad range of readers even although they don't really realize it. Furthermore, retro can look cool and offer readers or visitors something they haven't expected at all. So why not try to impress them with some impressive vintage art for a change?

Vintage and Retro - FORTUNELLO

Below you'll find the celebration of retro and vintage design — ads, illustrations, book covers, pins and posters from 1920-1980s. The images weren't necessarily created in the mid of 20th century. Vintage is living today which is why this post also features artists and designers who make use of the vintage and retro style in their works.

Please notice: if after reading this post you'll experience some need for buying ice cream, chewing gum or eating sausages, it's not our fault.

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Fresh Freebies: Typeface, Pirates and Circular Icons

Free stuff always comes in handy. We are regularly hunting for free high-quality icons, fonts, wallpapers, plugins and scripts and present them to you, so you don't need to search for them. As long as we find something beautiful, interesting or useful, we let you know in our posts. And now it's time for some sweet freebies for designer's toolbox.

Screenshot

Below you'll find an excellent free font and some recently released icon sets. They all are released for free; however, please take a look at license agreements before using them in commercial applications.

You can also take a look at our previous article

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Excellent Book Covers and Paperbacks

Book covers are hard to design and nice to look at. An effective book cover manages to catch human's eye and convey the idea behind the book on one single page. However, it's getting even harder: to make a book really hard to forget, designers need to design the cover in a unique, creative and striking way. That's not that different from Web where it's important to build a sound information architecture upon a rather restricted design layout.

Book Covers - Book Covers

The main idea of this post is to provide you with some creative, expressive and appealing book covers. You won't like all of them, but you'll definitely find some designs which are worth pondering upon.

You may be interested in the following posts we've published earlier:

  • Breathtaking Typographic Posters with over 50 breathtaking 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.
  • Award-Winning Newspaper Designs with examples of outstanding newspaper designs collected from dozens of countries.
  • Data Visualization and Infographics showcases spectacular data visualizations and infographics which manage to combine a strong visual appeal with the effective presentation of information.
  • Data Visualization: Modern Approaches presents interesting modern approaches to data visualization as well as related articles, resources and tools.

Please keep in mind: there are thousands of excellent book covers; we've selected only few ones which are excellent in our humble opinion. Although this selection is definitely subjective, we've tried to do our best to find interesting designs which make the book cover hard to forget. If you have further suggestions please comment on this post. All covers posted are the copyright of their respective holders.

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Beautiful Handwriting, Lettering and Calligraphy

Handwriting seems to have lost some of its attraction over the last years. Nobody writes beautiful handwritten letters, and uses digital means of communication with smileys, abbreviations and standard lettering instead. And that's a pity. Since handwriting is unique, it has a tremendous expressive power a standard lettering isn't able to achieve.

More than that, handwritten text can be incredibly gorgeous. In fact, there is nothing more valuable than a beautiful handwritten letter sent to your beloved ones. And this post attempts to prove just that.

Lettering and Handwriting - British Ariways B/W Font

In the overview below you'll find excellent examples of beautiful handwriting, creative lettering and professional calligraphy. It's really amazing to see what one can create out of simple letters drawn with a pencil on a small piece of paper.

For further typographic inspiration you can browse through our previous posts

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Fresh, Free and Gorgeous RSS/Feed Icons

We love high-quality freebies. Over the last years we've featured a number of designers and developers who released their work for free — among other things we presented high-quality free fonts, free Wordpress themes, free wallpapers and, of course, free icons.

Every release helps to make the Web a nicer place which is why we support designers and challenge them to release something for free in order to be featured on Smashing Magazine. And the results are quite often pretty impressive.

Smashing Icon Set

Today we are glad to release a free RSS/Feed icon set. The set contains 8 icons which you can use for private and commercial projects, blogs and web-sites for free. The icons are available for both Mac and Win-users in resolutions 16×16px, 24×24px, 32×32px, 48×48px, 128×128px, 256×256px and 512×512px.

This icon set was designed by Dirceu Veiga from Brazil especially for Smashing Magazine as a gift for its readers.

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Slick Laptop Designs and Concepts

Laptop design doesn't have to be boring. Although often laptops look exactly as we expect them to look like, there is a number of design solutions and approaches which are completely different — unusual, creative, beautiful and damn useful. In fact, over the last years designers came up with a number of interesting concepts which have somehow stuck between the prototyping stage and the production stage. Nevertheless, much is possible. And this post is supposed to prove this point.

Laptop Designs

Below we present innovative laptop designs and laptop concepts. Many of the products listed below are prototypes and aren't available yet, and it's unknown whether they'll be released over the next years. However, they give us an idea of what we should expect from laptops over the years to come.

You might want to take a look at our posts

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