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This category features articles on general design principles, Web design, typography, user interface design and related topics. It also presents design showcases and practical pieces on the business side of design. Curated by Alma Hoffmann.
For many people, a map of a transportation network is a given, an expected part of the system, something that just is — like a fire-escape plan in a building. So, when I say that I design transportation maps, they don't understand. What is there to design even?
Well, let's take the London underground map as an example. Designed by Harry Beck, it was the world's first transportation map to use the principles of electrical circuit drawings. All line segments were put to the angles of 45 or 90 degrees. The distances between stations were equalized.
Whether you're into good ol' drawing and painting, or quick editing in Photoshop or Illustrator, one thing's for sure: they're all creativity's best friends. Some draw pictures all day, while others find their inspiration in uncommon sources in order to break out of the box.
Whatever it is that you decide to do, it's good to challenge yourself more often and get out of your comfort zone. If you don't, you may never discover something that you love doing, or perhaps even worse, never learn a whole lot about yourself.
How do you keep a team engaged? How do you make sure the team gets up to date with everything that’s being released? How often do the team members talk to each other face to face? Do they have enough support to finish their tasks or to pursue their growth?
These are questions that popped in my head once a design team started to grow quickly in front of my eyes. As a team leader, I was faced with a new challenge: making sure there’s enough recurrence in my team’s communication to facilitate the team’s development. Enter the weekly design meetings.
Lettering and calligraphy are quickly becoming desired skills in a designer's toolbox. Designers such as Marian Bantjes, Jessica Hische, Sean Wes and Martina Flor, just to name a few, have become not only an inspiration to the rest of us, but also a standard.
Their work is not only client-based; they have become their own brand by providing products to their followers as well. Other designers have followed suit, and now it would seem that lettering and calligraphy are everywhere.
Design patterns. An almost mythical phrase that often inspires either awe or resentment. As designers, we tend to think of design patterns as generic off-the-shelf solutions that can be applied to various contexts almost mechanically, often without proper consideration. Navigation? Off-canvas! Deals of the day? Carousel! You get the idea.
Sometimes we use these patterns without even thinking about them, and there is a good reason for it: Coming up with a brand new solution every time we encounter an interface problem is time-consuming and risky, because we just don’t know how much time will be needed to implement a new solution and whether it will gracefully succeed or miserably fail in usability tests.
Joan is applying for a small loan on all-online-loanzzz.com. She's becoming frustrated with the number of financial-disclosure forms she has to fill out. She's thinking about visiting her local bank to ask for a loan instead.
While waiting for a page to load, the application presents a cartoon image of a person wearing a business suit sitting in a jail cell. The image caption says, "Hey, everyone hates disclosures. We know you do, too. We're doing our best to keep everyone out of jail. Please bear with us for a few more clicks. You won't regret it, and our loan officers will stay out of jail." Joan smirks at the image. She might not appreciate the number of forms she has to complete, but she understands the serious nature of applying for a loan.
When users come to your page, they’ll feel some kind of reaction. Whether it’s positive or negative, that reaction is determined in large part by what they see. Because vision is perhaps the strongest human sense, a hero image is one of the fastest ways to grab the user’s attention. Bold, graphic and intentional imagery engages the user. It draws the user in immediately and makes a perfect centerpiece for a minimalist app or website.
A hero image is more than just a pretty picture. It’s a powerful communication tool. In this article, I’ll give you a few tips on using hero images. Also, if you’d like to get started and take a go at prototyping and wireframing your own designs a bit more differently, you can download and test Adobe XD for free.
With the lovely weather we've been having here in Belgium, all of my senses actively engage when I'm riding my bike. I find myself picking up colorful sceneries while the smell of fragrant flowers and the birds' singing somehow doesn't manage to escape me. Oh yes, it's Summer alright!
Not sure about you, but this is the period when I usually feel most inspired, probably, because I'm spending way more time outside. After all, nature is where I find most of my inspiration as it sets my mind free and I feel at ease. Hopefully, you're enjoying some sunny days, too. Give yourself a moment of repose. Sit back, relax, have a refreshing drink and let the stream of inspiration come in.
As designers, we often use imagery that resonates with our audience. Yet, often we also end up with stock photos and generic icons that come across as mere decoration. Or we bypass imagery altogether. But custom images are a powerful design tool. They can tell a story and convey a distinct personality.
Custom illustrations can be especially impactful. They can make our audience feel personally connected to an app or website, while being an integral part of the design.
Editor's Note: In the world of web design, we tend to become preoccupied with the here and now. In "Resilient Web Design", Jeremy Keith emphasizes the importance of learning from the past in order to better prepare ourselves for the future. So, perhaps we should stop and think more beyond our present moment? The following is an excerpt from Jeremy's web book.
Design adds clarity. Using colour, typography, hierarchy, contrast, and all the other tools at their disposal, designers can take an unordered jumble of information and turn it into something that’s easy to use and pleasurable to behold. Like life itself, design can win a small victory against the entropy of the universe, creating pockets of order from the raw materials of chaos.
The Book of Kells is a beautifully illustrated manuscript created over 1200 years ago. It’s tempting to call it a work of art, but it is a work of design. The purpose of the book is to communicate a message; the gospels of the Christian religion. Through the use of illustration and calligraphy, that message is conveyed in an inviting context, making it pleasing to behold.
Sometimes we tend to think of our designs as if they are pieces of art. But if we think of them this way, it means they won’t be ready to face the uncertain conditions of the “real world.” However, there is also beauty in designing an interface that is ready for changes — and, let’s admit it, interfaces do change, all the time.
One of the things I like most about designing a mobile app is that, from the initial concepts to the time when you are fine-tuning and polishing all of the interface details, this is a process with many steps.