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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Breathtaking Typographic Posters showcases over 50 breathtaking typographic posters designed by artists across the globe. We feature Oriental, Iranian, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese and Russian typographic posters.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Free professional WordPress themes always come in handy. Whether you are looking for some design inspiration or professional coding solutions — in both cases you can learn a lot, you can apply them and you can build customized designs upon them without reinventing the wheel all the time.
However, to create a unique design, sometimes it's not enough to change colors or increase font-size of a theme designed by other designers. The uniqueness of a theme is all about little details, some personal touches in the play of link colors, footer and header. Therefore in most cases it's useful to think of free Wordpress themes as a playground for your imagination.
In this article we present 20 fresh free high-quality WordPress themes. Unfortunately, over the last months they haven't gained the popularity they deserve which is why they are now featured on Smashing Magazine. All themes can be downloaded, customized and used for free — in personal or/and commercial projects. Please read license disclaimers carefully before using the theme in commercial projects — they can change from time to time.
You might also want to take a look at our previous selections:
100 Excellent Free WordPress Themes Together with hundreds of other designs, these themes have been manually selected, installed and tested over the last weeks. They all can be downloaded, customized and used for free in both personal and commercial projects.
Typography is more than being legible and looking good. Among other things, effective typography manages to achieve two important objectives: a) to create an appropriate atmosphere and enable users to develop trust toward the site and b) to make sure visitors get the main message of the site and (if possible) become interested in the services offered on the site. Since written text is the most efficient instrument to communicate with visitors precisely and directly, the power of typography shouldn't be underestimated.
To communicate effectively, typography requires appropriate typefaces. Last year we've presented 80 Beautiful Typefaces For Professional Design, a selection of excellent typefaces one should be aware of when developing web-sites. Now it's time to update our selection with typefaces we've missed then and new typefaces which have been developed over the last year.
Below you'll find over 60 first-class typefaces for corporate design. Please notice that they are not free; however, we've focused on typefaces which are definitely worth spending money on. So which typefaces are “bulletproof”? What fonts can be used effectively in almost every Corporate Design? And what are the options for unique, but still incredibly beautiful typefaces? Let's find out.
Sometimes laptop is more than just a device. Using laptops over years, some of us tend to develop a genuine affection toward their little (or not so little) companions. We take care of them, putting them in a nice hand-made fabric, spicing them up with some fancy outfit and providing them with a personality using laptop skins. That's not as bad as it sounds, and there are many ways to use laptop decoration (or laptops decorated by other people) as a source of inspiration. In some way you may also call it laptop art.
In this issue of monday inspiration series we provide you with some fresh ideas to spice up your environment with laptop skins, engravings, sleeves, cases and stickers. In the end of this post you'll also find some experimental ideas for laptop decoration — caution, you don't really want to replicate them at home or at office — well, at least if you care about your laptop.
Apparently, Apple geeks are far more emotional when it comes to accessories for their laptops — although we've tried to cover as many different ideas as possible, in the selection below many of the presented ideas are used on Macs. There is nothing we can do about it, really.
When it comes to Flash, images, animation, videos and sound effects are often used on large scale. Consequence: in most cases Flash takes quite much time to load and requires a good dose of patience from users. Users know it and are often willing to give a Flash-site some time to load. However, to count on user's patience, Flash-designers need to inform site visitors how much patience is actually required. If it isn't done, the latter have no anchor point to estimate how much more time is needed and consequently close the browser window thinking that the site simply doesn't work properly.
In this post you'll find some creative Flash-preloaders which may serve as an inspiration for your Flash-projects. Please notice that sometimes you need to look closely and precisely in order to find the preloader. Depending on the server load and your connection preloaders may quickly disappear. In most cases it's not a disadvantage — well, at least it shouldn't be.
this selection is not ultimate and isn't supposed to be the best of; it is intended to provide you with some ideas for creating your Flash-preloaders once you need to — please share your favourite Flash-preloaders in the comments to this post.