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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 front-end/UX workshops, webinars and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.
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. [Content Care Oct/21/2016]
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.
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. [Content Care Oct/12/2016]
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.
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.
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.
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. [Content Care Nov/07/2016]
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.
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. [Content Care Nov/15/2016]
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. [Content Care Nov/09/2016]
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.
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. [Content Care Oct/11/2016]
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.
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. [Content Care Oct/17/2016]
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 historical trends, examples and innovative solutions for design of 2008 navigation menus. The images are not clickable and do not lead to the sites from which they've been taken - all is gone.
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. [Content Care Oct/14/2016]
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.
Sometimes being a web-developer is just damn hard. Particularly coding is often responsible for slowing down our workflow, reducing the quality of our work and sleepless nights with pizza and coffee laying around the laptop. Reason: with a number of incompatibility issues and quite creative rendering engines it sometimes takes too much time to find a workaround for some problem without addressing browsers with quirky hacks. And that's where ready-to-use solutions developed by other designers come in handy. [Content Care Nov/03/2016]
One year ago we've published the post with 53 CSS-Techniques You Couldn't Live Without where we provided references to the most useful CSS-techniques which are often used in almost every project. Over the last year we've been observing what's happening with the CSS-based web-development, and we collected most useful CSS-techniques we've stumbled upon — for us and for our readers.
In this post we present 50 new CSS-techniques, ideas and ready-to-use solutions for effective coding. You definitely know some of them, but definitely not all of them. Some technique is missing? Let us know in the comments to this post.
Few weeks ago we've presented a number of innovative gadgets, devices, designs and concepts. Unless explicitly specified, none of them has been officially released or produced yet, and none of them is currently available for end-users. But what about existing products? What about innovative designs which are already available in stores and can be bought straight away? [Content Care Nov/03/2016]
As part of our monday inspiration series we present 25 mind-blowing gadgets and devices which are already available today. Among them you'll find loudspeakers, turntables, TV sets, furniture, laptop sleeves and further accessories. Please notice: most of them aren't cheap at all, and many of them cost over $10,000.
Print and Web are different. Traditional layout techniques from print, particularly an advanced formatting, aren't applicable to the Web as CSS doesn't offer sophisticated instruments to design such layouts (e.g. text floating around an embedded image; some "floating" techniques provide such results, however they produce bloated source code just as well).
At the same time the flexibility of the Web is hardly applicable to print as there is no way to customize a traditional periodical for reader's convenience. Apart from that, online-reading is very different from offline-reading: in the latter both leading and the line length are usually much shorter. [Content Care Nov/09/2016]
However, there are a number of fundamental principles which are often being used in both media. Over the last years newspapers and web-sites started to apply similar principles of data presentation, such as the heavy use of white space and grid-based design. The results can sometimes be very similar, but often they have almost nothing at common.
This issue of monday inspiration series is supposed to provide you with some examples of outstanding newspaper designs which have been rewarded with prestigious awards (see references at the bottom of this post), and demonstrate unusual approaches of newspaper design.