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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.
To prepare for a talk about the changing roles of designers and developers, given at HOW Interactive a few months back, I interviewed 20+ web shops. Validated by my own experience, I found that many of them faced challenges fitting responsive design into their workflow, and the role of most web designers had changed to include coding in some form or another.
At least half of the designers knew HTML and CSS well but wanted a more visual way to get at it. Well, a new generation of visual responsive design tools has arrived. These responsive design tools are for anyone who understands HTML and CSS (or is willing to learn) and wants to visually design a responsive website — and have code to show for it.
Arabic calligraphy was originally a tool for communication, but with time, it began to be used in architecture, decoration and coin design. Its evolution into these major roles was a reflection of the early Muslims’ need to avoid, as their beliefs required, figures and pictorials that were used as idols before Islam was established in the Arabian Peninsula.
While the Arabic tribes preferred to memorize texts and poetry, the first Muslims tried to document their holy book (Qur’an Kareem) using the scripts that we’ll look at in this article. In order to understand how these scripts developed into the beautiful and complex shapes we know today, we have to understand the history of Arabic calligraphy.
Type design is equal parts suffering and euphoria. It is a walk along a winding road that goes on for many weeks and months before it’s done. A type design brief is like a charter path: It asks you questions, and the answers will guide you to where you want to be.
It will not make the walk much shorter, but the chances of getting lost will be much lower. Below are six questions that will shape the typeface through its first moments of creation and serve as guiding principles through the various stages of the design.
If you’re a graphic designer, you will often have to work with off-the-shelf material created by others — for instance, combining ready-to-use fonts with images from a photographer or stock website. Also, you’ll often have to follow the branding already developed by someone else.
It’s OK; it’s a part of the job, and you shouldn’t be bothered by it. But the part of a project that almost every graphic designer likes and is proud of the most is something that you can do from scratch, something that you have control over and can sign off on confidently: illustration.
Exporting images for the Web from one’s favorite graphics software is something many of us have done hundreds of times. Our eyes fixate on an image’s preview, carefully adjusting the quality and optimization settings until we’ve found that sweet spot, where the file size and quality are both the best they can possibly be.
After exporting the image — usually using a feature called “Save for the Web” — and having gone to all that care and effort, we would be forgiven for thinking that our image is in the best shape possible. That’s not always the case, of course.
Today we are pleased to feature Smallicons, a set of 54 flat icons. If you are looking for a way to make your design fresh and expressive, then this freebie is the answer. The set was created and designed by Nick Frost and Greg Lapin of Smallicons. [Links checked February/09/2017]
The freebie includes 36 icons drawn from a full commercial set available on Smallicons, plus 18 icons designed exclusively for Smashing Magazine. The icons were made using Photoshop vector shapes and are available in different formats, giving you maximum convenience and saving you time for more creative tasks.
Have you ever submitted design files to a development team for production and a few weeks later gotten something back that looks nothing like your original work? Many designers and design teams make the mistake of thinking that their work is done once they’ve completed the visual design stage.
A design is more than a simple drawing on a canvas in Illustrator, Fireworks or Photoshop; it is a representation of function. “Form follows function” is a well-known principle, first coined in 1896 by the architect Louis Sullivan. How will the website work? How will that section fold? What happens when you hover over this button? How does that menu function?
Is sketching by hand more than a nostalgic activity? How is paper any different from a screen, especially when hardware is becoming more and more sophisticated? Is improving your hand-sketching skills really worthwhile when high-tech software is advancing every day?
Everyone seems to have a strong opinion about hand-sketching these days. Some absolutely hate the thought of putting their ideas to paper because they can’t draw to save their lives. Others couldn’t imagine their creativity surviving without it. Love it or hate it, there’s much more to a sketchbook than old-school charm.
Update (10.10.2013): Please note that the ZIP file has been updated after this article has been published. In case Photoshop should crash on your end, please rename your Photoshop settings folder to fix this. You can find the configuration folder here: /Users/[Username]/Library/Preferences/Adobe Photoshop CC Settings. Please note that this will reset all Photoshop settings to default. If you should still happen to run into any issues, please kindly send an email to email@example.com. Thank you for your understanding and support. – Ed.
Here at Smashing Magazine, we're very fond of the creativity and mutual support of the Web design community. Today, we're proud to feature a free Photoshop extension, BlendMe.in, that will help everyone access those font icons they need without even leaving Photoshop. Enjoy!
There is no doubt that the Web is full of websites that are packed with free icon packs, and that doesn't necessarily make it easier for designers to find their way around when they're looking for a particular icon for a particular project. When you're in your creative zone and have an idea about something that would perfectly fit in your design, you don't have time to waste and struggle with finding the right asset.