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Smashing Conf Barcelona

You know, we use ad-blockers as well. We gotta keep those servers running though. 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.

Category: Design

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.

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How To Transform Your Problem-Solving And Creativity

Think of all the people you know who inspire you, whether family and friends or public figures. Who are the most interesting, engaging and stimulating to be around? The ones with the great ideas and energy for life? These people almost certainly always ask questions and have an insatiable thirst to learn new things.

How To Transform Your Problem-Solving And Creativity

According to Donald N. MacKinnon, who is considered to be a world-leading researcher on creativity: "Creative people have considerable cognitive flexibility, communicate easily, are intellectually curious, and tend to let their impulses flow freely."

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A Frank Lloyd Wright Approach To Digital Design

Frank Lloyd Wright was a century ahead of his time. He was a pioneer, an avant-garde architect who broke free of the traditions of his era. His views on materials, form, function, space and environment define his iconic works. These ideals and principles are still used in architecture today, and his buildings have stood the test of time, remaining relevant even in today’s digital age.

A Frank Lloyd Wright Approach To Digital Design

I find a lot of inspiration in Wright’s timeless work. As designers, we’re frequently asked to create digital experiences (especially in software) that will have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years. This is an eternity in “digital” time, and it has made me ponder the future. What kind of devices will people be using in the next few decades? What interaction patterns will we be using in 25 years? 50 years?

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Part Four Design Principles: Visual Weight And Direction

Every element on a web page exerts a visual force that attracts the eye of the viewer. The greater the force, the more the eye is attracted. These forces also appear to act on other elements, imparting a visual direction to their potential movement and suggesting where you should look next.

Design Principles: Visual Weight And Direction

We refer to this force as visual weight and to the perceived direction of visual forces as visual direction. Both are important concepts to understand if you want to create hierarchy, flow, rhythm and balance in your composition.

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How To Maximize Your Creative Energy

We’ve heard many personal stories this week of how people in our industry have experienced hard times and how they managed to get out of them. We end this week with an article by Ann Holm, a personal development coach and expert in psychology and brain science. Read on to learn how to reduce stress in your everyday life and prevent burnout and other breakdowns in order to stay healthy and unlock your potential. – Ed.

What does knowledge of the brain and personality have to do with creative work? As a lifelong brain geek, I have taken on the mission to help others tap the secrets of the brain to uncover personal potential. Not surprisingly, everyone can benefit from at least some knowledge in this area.

Maximize Your Creative Energy

In fact, I’ve found that people who work in the creative industry in particular seem to be interested in this topic because many of them work alone and have to manage their energy, distractions and time to complete a project, while staying flexible and in the moment to capture the unforeseen creative gems that emerge seemingly out of nowhere.

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Feeling Stuck? Design What You Don’t Know

Many of us struggle silently with mental health problems and many more are affected by them, either directly or indirectly. It's {Geek} Mental Help Week and we would like to help raise awareness with a couple of articles exploring these issues. – Ed.

Where is it?! It has to be here somewhere. It use to be so easy. What happened? Somewhere, somewhere, somewhere. That idea is somewhere. It’s here, it has to be. This is where I’ve always found it. But there’s nothing. The only shapes I find here are well worn and boring, dints still obvious even with fresh paint. Oh so boring. So boring and so often used because they’re just “fine.” Too easily used. Too easily reached for and offered up as if they were new again.

Feeling Stuck? Design What You Don't Know

Didn’t this used to be easy? Didn’t fresh ideas arrive without being asked for? Why did I have to wait until the last moment to even notice, wait until moments before these old dented ideas have to be presented?

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A Front-End Developer’s Ode To Specifications

In the physical world, no one builds anything without detailed blueprints, because people’s lives are on the line. In the digital world, the stakes just aren’t as high. It’s called “software” for a reason: because when it hits you in the face, it doesn’t hurt as much. No one is going to die if your website goes live with the header’s left margin 4 pixels out of alignment with the image below it.

A Front-End Developer's Ode To Specifications

But, while the users’ lives might not be on the line, design blueprints (also called design specifications, or specs) could mean the difference between a correctly implemented design that improves the user experience and satisfies customers and a confusing and inconsistent design that corrupts the user experience and displeases customers.

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Icons Of Digital Design – Who Shaped Modern Design?

Apple launched the Macintosh personal computer in 1984. It was more user-friendly than other PCs at that time — and, with its desktop publishing software, graphical user interface and mouse (all novel at the time), the Mac was uniquely geared to designers. Compared to what we can create on the computer today, the original Macintosh, with only 128 KB of memory, had limited capabilities. At the time, though, it opened up so many new possibilities.

Icons Of Digital Design

Of course, using a computer didn’t automatically make designers better at their craft. Instead, the new technology gave them more control and sped up their exploration process. As with anything unfamiliar, the Mac sparked debate among designers during this time: While some saw the computer as simply another tool for creating work, like a drawing pen, others saw its potential as a medium in itself.

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Size Matters: Balancing Line Length And Font Size In Responsive Web Design

As we refine our methods of responsive web design, we’ve increasingly focused on measure (another word for “line length”) and its relationship to how people read.

Size Matters: Balancing Line Length And Font Size In Responsive Web Design


The popularization of the “ideal measure” has led to advice such as “Increase font size for large screens and reduce font size for small screens.” While a good measure does improve the reading experience, it’s only one rule for good typography. Another rule is to maintain a comfortable font size.

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Case Study: PixelMogul, A Simulation Game For iOS

Are you a web designer or developer who dreams about creating a mobile game and bringing it to the app store? We have good news: Your road to the app store might be shorter than you think! And if you can recall your experience with ActionScript and the Flash platform from days of old, then you’ll even have a shortcut.

Case Study: PixelMogul, A Simulation Game For iOS

Building a native app with Flash might sound weird at first. In this article, we will share some insights on how we built a game for iOS that is written entirely in ActionScript.

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Part Three Design Principles: Connecting And Separating Elements Through Contrast And Similarity

Similarity and contrast, connection and separation, grouped and ungrouped are all ways to describe the varying sameness and difference between elements. Based on the information they carry, we’ll want some elements to look similar, to indicate that they are related in some way. We’ll also want to show that some elements are different and belong to different groups.

Design Principles: Connecting And Separating Elements Through Contrast And Similarity

Key to showing both is the visual characteristics of elements and their relationships. If two elements are related in some way, then they should show similar visual characteristics. If the elements are different, then they should look different.

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Designing Badges (And More) For A Conference

To badge or not to badge? That is the question. Because badges — and a lot of stuff designed for conferences — often look the same. But if you have a little, different conference, you need different kinds of things. Badges included.

Designing Badges (And More) For A Conference

It all started in 2013 with the first Kerning conference. I was asked to design the official notebook: we ended up with a really typographic design for the cover and a funny pattern on the back. And an Easter egg on the cover — more on that later. It was a really funny project, so when my dear friend Cristiano Rastelli, a member of Kerning’s organizing committee, asked me to design the notebook and some printed materials for Kerning 2014 I immediately said “Yes, let’s start!”

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Off To The Races: Getting Started With Design Sprints

Many modern software development best practices draw on influences from the industrial era and concepts like specialization, where individuals with specialized skills worked in an assembly line to mass-produce physical products. These practices from the world of manufacturing have come to influence how things are done when designing and building software products as well.

Off To The Races: Getting Started With Design Sprints

Lean thinking is one of the latest approaches software development companies have adopted to maximize value and reduce wasted effort and resources. It does so by breaking down an objective into a series of experiments. Each experiment starts with a hypothesis that is tested and validated. The output of each experiment informs the future direction. This is similar to the idea of “sprints” in the agile world, where the overall product roadmap is divided into smaller and meaningful bodies of work.

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