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.
Vintage design is an endless source of inspiration. Seeing how fellow designers tackled their job decades ago, with a limited set of tools, and how timeless, even classic, some of the pieces are still today, is fascinating.
With this Quick Tip, we want to leave behind current trends and indulge in the aesthetic of past times. We’ll dive into wanderlust-awaking travel posters, design manuals that wrote history, and, last but not least, we’ll bridge the gap to today by looking at how a mid-century design movement still influences designers. Buckle up... and off we are to a journey through pre-Photoshop, pre-Sketch and -Illustrator times!
The perceptual process enables us to perceive the world through our senses of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. In particular, our visual system processes vast amounts of information in its environment. Rather than perceiving elements separately, our brain organizes patterns, objects and shapes into whole forms that we can understand.
The gestalt grouping principles of visual perception describe this organization as a set of principles that explain how we perceive and organize this huge amount of visual stimuli. The gestalt principles – similarity, proximity, closure, figure-ground, continuance and common fate – are a popular tool used by designers for visually organizing information.
More and more of our experience online is personalized. Search engines, news outlets and social media sites have become quite smart at giving us what we want. Perhaps Ali, one of the hundreds of people I've interviewed about our emotional attachment to technology, put it best: "Netflix's recommendations have become so right for me that even though I know it's an algorithm, it feels like a friend."
Personalization algorithms can shape what you discover, where you focus attention, and even who you interact with online. When these algorithms work well, they can feel like a friend. At the same time, personalization doesn't feel all that personal. There can be an uncomfortable disconnect when we see an ad that doesn't match our expectations.
What would a page look like if it had no designer? This odd question occurred to me in the 1980s, while overseeing the transition from lead-based typesetting to phototypesetting of an Indian newspaper. The Patriot’s distinctive design seemed to emerge, not from a designer, but the tactile interaction between lead and the illiterate villager who assembled the pages.
This article examines how design has changed as materials have evolved, and underlines how the need for deliberate design is greater than it has ever been.
The modern logo has to work harder than ever before. In the past, a company logo was perhaps intended simply for a shop sign and printed in local newspaper adverts. Today's logos have to work with a growing plethora of smart devices with varying screen sizes and resolutions, displaying responsive websites.
Often logos end up suffering within responsive website design. Many have not been designed with responsive frameworks and variable sizes in mind, and are just resized to fit whatever available space has been provided for them or not.
Editor's Note: Some people simply have the magic touch for digging up design goodness. Today, we are proud to present the brilliant gems that Veerle Pieters has dug out, letting us explore a fresh breeze of photography, art, type, print as well as web design projects.
As designers, we have our good and bad days. Some days ideas come naturally. Other days we struggle or have moments where we are really stuck. We are in urgent need of inspiration. Let me help you get through these moments of pain and suffering. Let me nurture your creativity. Sit back, relax, and feed your appetite. Here’s your monthly dose.
In the last few years, the way we design infographics has changed significantly. Infographics have evolved from static graphics to rich, interactive experiences with animation and video elements, all tailored to the uniqueness of the content, instead of pressing it into a precast mold. For this round-up, I have collected some of the better infographics to see what engaging and informative experiences can look like today.
Most of the infographics on this list were chosen to showcase different ways that designers have approached data visualization. However, there are also a few hybrids here that illustrate the disappearing boundaries between infographics and richer multimedia experiences in creating engaging content and compelling stories. Deviating from the traditional infographic form means that we tread into more complex media territory, but such experimentation with technology and narrative will be key in shaping the future of infographic design.
Editor’s Note:Some people seem to have a magic touch when it comes to digging up design goodness. Veerle Pieters is one of them. As she explores print and web design, photography, art and type, she uncovers a lot of brilliant gems. And because they are too good not to share, she has compiled a selection of inspirational examples for you in this showcase.
The plan is to bring out a new one every month, so let us know in the comments if you like what you see. But for now, please lean back and enjoy!
The idea that designers are bound to be servants of other people's and companies' products is extremely pervasive. Sure, you may build your own design agency but, in the end, that agency is simply a collective effort to serve someone else. From my perspective, though, the world is waking up to the idea that designers can be founders of a product and not just create the beautiful wrapping around some engineering core.
A recent study by Boston's Design Management Institute showed that design-driven businesses have outperformed the Standard & Poor's 500 by an astounding 228% over the past 10 years. These were companies that had design embedded within the company's organizational structure, design leadership present at senior levels, and a commitment to design's use as an innovation resource.
As logo and brand designers, our work starts long before the first concept sketches, and finishes long after the last perfectly placed pixel. Our work requires so much more than just creative ideas and technical skills — it compels us to be a marketer, strategist, psychologist, salesperson, showman and project manager at the same time. It's difficult, but it’s also exciting and challenging!
The goal of my article is to help you rethink your (logo) design workflow. Some of these tips are mine, others are borrowed from world-famous designers. All these tips and tricks are tested and proven, and are tailored to improve your workflow for (re)branding projects.
What's your responsive design process like? Do you feel that it's efficient? The following article is an excerpt from Ben Callahan’s chapter “Responsive Process,” first published in the eBook version of Smashing Book 5 (table of contents). We've collected some useful techniques and practices from real-life responsive projects in the book — and you can get your hard copy or grab the eBook today. You will not be disappointed, you know. —Ed.
“The successful respondent to this RFP will provide three static design options for our team to evaluate.” I’ve never been a huge fan of taking a multi-option design approach, but I get it — sometimes a client needs this. “Each of these options will provide design for three unique layouts: home page, listing page, detail page.” All right. Now, we’re up to nine static design files. This is getting a bit out of hand.
Nothing is perfect on the web. We can't make sure that our websites always work as intended, but we can try our best to design resilient and flexible websites that aren't that easy to break — both in terms of interface design and security. Yet neither resilience nor flexibility are usually reflected in our deliverables and mock-ups.
In practice, mock-ups usually represent a perfect experience in a perfect context with perfect data which doesn't really exist. A good example for it are “optimal" usernames which are perfectly short, fit on a single line on mobile and wrap nicely, or perfect photography that allows for perfectly legible text overlays. It's not realistic. We need to work with dynamic content in our prototypes, with both average and extremes being represented.