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Did you know that we publish useful books and run
friendly conferences — crafted for pros like
yourself? E.g. our upcoming SmashingConf Barcelona,
dedicated to smart front-end techniques and design patterns.
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.
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.
The internet is a wonderful place (mostly). An unprecedented revolution in communication, it continues to empower more people to publish and share their knowledge than any other phenomenon in history. It is a limitless playground of ideas and unbridled creativity. Or is it?
In 2014, Elliot Jay Stocks declared that designers have stopped dreaming. That we’ve stopped being creative. That every site looks the same. A crazy notion, considering the magnitude of tools and resources we have at our disposal. But Elliot’s been right before, and he’s not alone either.
Chances are you’ve seen it: a child glued to a tablet or smartphone, swiping fearlessly with small, sticky fingers. From airports and restaurants, to homes and even schools, mobile devices are a ubiquitous part of childhood today. Apple launched a curated ‘Kids’ category in the App Store last year that already has more than 80,000 apps.
With so many apps for kids out there, you may have considered designing one yourself. “How hard could designing for kids be?” you might think. Well, don’t let appearances deceive you. Despite their simple storylines and silly soundtracks, designing for kids is serious business. It’s not just taking grown-up content and dumbing it down. In fact, there are many reasons why designing for kids is actually more difficult than designing for adults.
As digital technologies are implanted deeper in the world, making more and more aspects of life intangible, it’s hard to imagine the world without any kind of banknotes, or paper money. In the dramatic history of our world, money became not just generic objects of payment, but also symbols of societies.
Combining utility and exclusivity, money is one of the challenging objects to design. And as with any complex task, currency design holds some valuable lessons for us, web designers. This article is an attempt to formulate some of these lessons and, therefore, draw your attention to the inspirational nature of paper money.
A company proves that it has a strong creative process by developing successful products repeatedly. We see this in companies like Apple, BMW and Google. Founders such as Steve Jobs formed a corporate culture with an intense focus on creativity and design. This culture highlights two core elements in the creative process: the ideas and the team.
The creative process can be described in one sentence: Ideas begin with a small team of creative people at the heart of the company who communicate easily with each other.
Did you know you have a superpower? No, I’m not talking about super-strength, sticking to walls or pushing metal claws out of your forearms (although you might have those as well, for all I know).
If you work on the web — which I assume you do if you’re reading this — your superpower is side projects. Unlike your regular job, where you have to listen to your boss or please your client, a side project lets you take on an alternate identity, one of which you’re in charge and no one can stop you.