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Articles and tutorials on designing in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Fireworks. Free icons, textures, PSDs and other similar resources are featured here, as well as showcases of photography and video. This is also the place that hosts our regular Desktop Wallpaper Calendar series.
After the untimely (and still kind of sad) demise of Fireworks, I found myself looking for other ways to design apps and websites. I also had the desire to produce something more interactive for when I talk about my work with stakeholders. It turned out that Sketch, when paired with some other neat tools, would be a big part of this workflow.
In this article, I’ll talk you through why you should prototype and how you can do it with Sketch and prototyping tools such as Flinto and InVision. You’ll also get a nicely documented freebie Sketch file to help you.
Christmas is only a month away, and it's time to add a few festive icons to your projects, or just freshen up your good 'ol Christmas cards which you may be planning to give out to your family, friends, colleagues, and perhaps even strangers. Today, we're happy to release the Christmas Icon Set, a set of 24 icons that are all available in AI, PSD, EPS, PDF, SVG and PNG formats. This icon set was designed and created by Manuela Langella and is free to be used in private as well as commercial projects.
You may modify the size, color or shape of the icons. No attribution is required, however, reselling of bundles or individual pictograms isn't cool. Please note that this icon set is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. We'd kindly like to ask you to provide credits to the creator and link to this article if you would like to spread the word about the freebie.
Have you ever seen someone make creative notes at a conference and wished that your own notebook was more presentable? It’s much easier to do than you think. You don’t have to be an aspiring lettering artist, and you don’t need to develop top-notch drawing skills.
Making your notes more interesting doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. It’s not like learning to play the piano or taking up diving. If you think sketchnoting looks fun, I have some tips to get you started.
The 6 Plus is the first iPhone that sports a “Retina HD” display — the sharpest display Apple has ever made. It forces designers to provide an additional set of image resources to developers to match that sharpness.
We needed only one set of assets for the original iPhone up to iPhone 3GS. And when iPhone 4 came out with the Retina display, we also needed 2x assets — images twice as detailed. Now, with the display of the 6 Plus being even more detailed than that of the iPhone 4, we will also need to provide 3x assets. The numbers 1x, 2x and 3x are also called “scale factors.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Many people know that Fireworks is a great tool for web design, prototyping and UI design. But what about icon design? Icon design is a very specific skill that overlaps illustration, screen design and, of course, visual design. An icon designer needs to understand lighting, proportions and, most importantly, the context of the icon itself.
The BBC published an interesting article about icon design and skeuomorphism one year ago, titled "What Is Skeuomorphism?" It’s definitely worth reading because it explains why icons often reflect the real world and the thinking behind it.
Textures are everywhere — the concrete of a sidewalk, the fabric on your chair, even the glass (or plastic) surface of the screen you’re staring at right now. It’s natural that textures appeal to us because we see and feel them every day. And it’s no surprise why textures have become such an important element in design — so important, in fact, that I want to share with you the tricks and tools to create your own textures using Photoshop.
The value of icons lies in their ability to support content in web design and communicate with users in more intuitive and effective ways. Most users are known to first scan a page for visually interesting content, and only after something grabs their attention will they actually begin reading. In short, icons are a simple, effective way to draw users into the content of your website.
Today's icon set consists of a passionate set of icons in two styles (flat and light gradient). The icons have been carefully designed by PixelBuddha and released exclusively for Smashing Magazine and its readers.