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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.
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.
Applied carefully, High Dynamic Range-technique (HDR) can create incredibly beautiful pictures which blur our sense of the difference between reality and illusion. In graphics HDR imaging is a set of techniques that allow a far greater dynamic range of exposures than normal digital imaging techniques. The intention is to accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to the deepest shadows. This is usually achieved by modifying photos with image processing software for tone-mapping. And the results can be really incredible; in fact, many artists and designers come up with some pretty fancy results.
This post covers 35 extremely beautiful and perfectly executed HDR-pictures. Some of them might look surreal, too colorful, even magic or fake, but they are not — keep in mind that they've all been developed out of usual photos, and not a single image is an illustration.
the selection isn't supposed to be complete which is why we encourage you to post links to further excellent HDR images in the comments to this post;
there is no ranking, all pictures have been selected due to their outstanding quality and excellent execution;
you can explore further works of the designers and photographers we've featured below by browsing through their sets on Flickr;
all screenshots are clickable and lead to the pages from which they've been taken,
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're glad to present you M+ Outline, GeoBats, FF Unit Rounded Bold and IPAP Fonts Family. Please read the license agreements carefully - they can change from time to time.
You can find over 80 more free fonts in our section Fonts.
Navigation is the most significant element in web design. Since web-layouts don't have any physical representation a user can stick to, consistent navigation menu is one of the few design elements which provide users with some sense of orientation and guide them through the site. Users should be able to rely on it which is why designers shouldn't mess around with it.
That's why in most cases it's where simple, intuitive and conventional solutions are usually the best option. However, it doesn't mean that they need to be boring. One year ago we've presented modern approaches of navigation design. Let's take a look at what's different now, which trends one can observe and what ideas you can develop further in your projects.
This article presents recent trends, examples and innovative solutions for design of modern navigation menus. All images are clickable and lead to the sites from which they've been taken. We've missed something? Definitely! Let us know in the comments!
You can't design without type. However, yon can use only type (or mostly only type) to create breath-taking designs. In fact, many graphic designers and artists take exactly this route to communicate their ideas through their works. 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 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. This isn't a "best of", there is no ranking and the collection isn't supposed to be complete; it's rather subjective and quite random. All screenshots are clickable; however, links not always lead directly to the corresponding image (e.g. it's impossible in Flash-based sites) — sometimes you'll need to search for it.
You may also want to take a look at the article Typography In Motion we've published few months ago.
So what can be achieved out of simple letters and symbols? Please be patient, some screenshots are huge.