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Category: Global Web Design
Check out all of the posts in ‘Global Web Design’ below. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try searching using the form at the top of the page.
For a long time, art has been heavily influenced by the social and political landscape. Searching through history, we find that while the social views of a certain period may no longer be relevant, the art and design of that time often are. Designers today constantly draw inspiration from history, consciously and unconsciously. Being aware of that history and knowing what has come before in your field can help you better convey the meaning in your work and forge deeper connections to your environment (artistic, social, political, etc.).
Looking back to the beginning of the 20th century and the styles and movements that ruled the art world at that time, we will look for influences and ideas that have evolved into what has been known since the mid-20th century as “Scandinavian design”. This article also offers some thoughts on how to incorporate its principles in your work today.
We recently turned to our beloved followers on Twitter—as we like to do from time to time—to help us demonstrate one of the greatest things about the online design community: its willingness and eagerness to pay knowledge forward. We asked our friends in the community to share their favorite design tip with us, and they responded en masse. There were so many fantastic responses that we felt it would have been a wasted opportunity if we didn’t compile them for our readers and discuss them with the community at large.
There was such a variety of fine responses that distilling them into a single comprehensive post was difficult, but we managed to do just that (for the most part). So, take a look at some of the best advice the design community has to offer to all those who file within its ranks.
We have theories about everything: why the sky is blue, why apples fall, why bees buzz (and do other unmentionable things), why my boss said a certain thing, why that girl in the restaurant looked at me, why didn’t that girl in the restaurant look at me…. We’re wired to theorize. Theories make us feel secure. We can wrap our heads around them and explain them with little diagrams on whiteboards, or with equations, or even graphs. We give theories fancy names like “The Classical Elemental Theory” and “The Flat Earth Hypothesis.”
The bottom line is: we humans love theories. Yet as a wise person once said, “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” This article is about practice. It’s about five and a half — yes, half — habits that highly effective designers tend to share and which I’ve observed first-hand in the complicated, non-theoretical, absolutely real world. If practice is your thing, keep reading.
A strong personal brand is beneficial on many levels. At the core it differentiates the designer, developer, marketer, etc, from the rest of the pack within crowded disciplines. It functions as a self-promotion agent that works for the practitioner 24/7/365 ultimately ensuring this person becomes a magnet for new and interesting work opportunities.
The foundation of a personal brand is initially created by consistently doing good work. From there, commenting, interacting and reacting in public discussion forums, blogging, Twitter, Facebook and the publication of articles and even books further solidify an individual as a thought leader.
However, “the idea of personal brand is often associated with independent practitioners”, as David Armano puts it. And for independents there are typically no conflicts as they are in the business of promoting themselves, their skills and knowledge. However, for practitioners working within corporations and interactive agencies, the challenge becomes balancing their personal brands with the corporate brand.
Walk into any design classroom, at any college in America, and you’ll see a comfortable mix of male and female students. Turn your attention to the front of the classroom, or down the hall to the faculty and staff offices, and that wonderful gender balance starts to skew. Travel outside the campus, and there’s really no balance at all. [Links checked March/10/2017]
But why? If there are design classrooms across the country with a 50/50 blend of men and women — and in many classrooms, there are more females than males — then why doesn’t the design field represent the same ratio? Why does creative employment still showcase a male-dominated presence? What happens to these passionate and educated females? Certainly, there must be more to it than child-bearing — or is there? Is a more gender-balanced field really all that important? Why, or why not?
As a web designer, you're often forced to wear many different hats every day. You're the CEO, creative director, office manager, coffee fetcher and sometimes even janitor. That's a lot for anyone, and it certainly makes it difficult to find any time for quality creative thinking. Organization in any operation is important, and for our work as web designers it is important, too. [Links checked January/17/2017]
The good news? You don't have to have been born an organizational machine. Let's look at what being organized means and a few strategies and tips to help you clean up that messy desk and get your work ducks in a nice neat row.
What it means to be an organized person or run an organized business is commonly misunderstood. Many people equate being organized with being fussy, which is not the case. Little labeled folders and neatly itemized lists are one way to stay organized, but they are merely tactics. The heart of organization is having a strategy. Being organized is simply a matter of using clearly defined and consistently implemented systems to get things done.
This article is a rebuttal of "Does The Future Of The Internet Have Room For Web Designers?," published in our "Opinion Column" section a couple of days ago. In that section, we give people in the Web design community a platform to present their opinions on issues of importance to them. Please note that the content in this series is not in any way influenced by the Smashing Magazine team. Please feel free to discuss the author's opinion in the comments section below and with your friends and colleagues. We look forward to your feedback.
Last Thursday afternoon, I spent about 30 minutes doing a question-and-answer session over Skype with a Web design class in Colorado. I was given some example questions to think about before our session, which were all pretty standard. “Who are some of your clients?” “What do you like about your job?” “Who is your favorite designer?” I felt prepared.
Halfway through the interview, a question surprised me. “So, are there any jobs in Web design?” When a teenager from a town with a population of 300 asks about job security, and the others sit up and pay attention, he’s not asking out of concern for my well being. He’s asking out of concern for his own future.
Sand, magic carpets, Islamic art, Mecca, turban, luxury, camels, incense, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, arabesque art and cous cous are just a few of the images that spring to mind when thinking Arab world. But there is actually a misconception of what is the 'Arab world'. Most often the 'Arab world' is thought of as solely the Middle East. The Middle East however is only the geographical area defined by the lands between Egypt and south-west Asia. The Arab world is much much larger. The geographical expanse of the Arab world reaches far wider when it is correctly defined by countries which are Arabic speaking.
The history of this expansive region is so deep that it is foolhardy to skim over how the past has influenced art and hence inspired, to a degree, modern web design. For example, Islam, the predominant religion of the Arab world, laid the ground stones for Islamic Art. One of the major reasons that Islamic art is rich in patterns and 'arabesque' repetition of forms such as geometrical floral designs is because it is feared by many Muslims that the depiction of the human form is idolatry and thereby a sin against Allah, forbidden in the Qur'an.
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The business of building websites is one of constant change, adaptation and strategy. The way designers and developers build websites is often informed by the methods of others and their own trial and error. In light of this, we can draw a number of parallels — some philosophical, to a certain extent — between Web professionals and one of the oldest and most popular board games of all time (counting traditional and digital games). This game is chess.
In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between the game of chess and the Web industry. We’ll learn fundamental lessons from the pawn, rook, knight, bishop, queen and king, and we’ll highlight the factors — both offline and online — that determine best practices. The game is beloved by many professionals, so it seems fitting to apply its great strategy and elegance to the digital age; certain practices might help you lead a more successful working life.
In celebrating the merits of free software and the excitement over this radical networked production method, an important truth is left unspoken. Networked collaboration shines in the low levels of network protocols, server software and memory allocation, but user interface has consistently been a point of failure. How come the networked collaboration that transformed code production and encyclopedia-writing fails to translate to graphic and interface design?
The following is an investigation into the difficulties of extending the open-source collaboration model from coding to its next logical step: interface design. While we'll dive deep into the practical difference between these two professional fields, the article might also serve as a note of caution to think before rushing to declare the rise of "open-source architecture," "open-source university," "open-source democracy" and so on.
Websites are designed to be used by people of varying backgrounds, educations and technical levels. One of the challenges we face when designing for the Web is finding a way to create sites and applications that can be accessed by a widely disparate audience while avoiding the pitfall of sacrificing the quality of our work to cater to the dreaded ‘lowest common denominator.’
Even though it happens to me with some frequency, being told by a client that one of the requirements for their project is that it must be ‘idiot proof’ never fails to give me pause. The sentiment itself is offensive enough, but the concept also seems somewhat misguided to me. Do we really want to begin a project by assuming our site's users are idiots?
"The need is constant. The gratification is instant." That’s from the American Red Cross, and it was copy that I plugged into a poster for a blood drive at a comics convention. Sitting beside an image of the sexy and well-endowed Vampirella, the words took on a different meaning. Oops!
But I was struck by how these words are a perfect assessment of our society. We want it all, instantly and as cheap as possible. We are a Walmart culture. Fast and cheap have entered our every pore and changed our society, our lives and our livelihoods. Compounding our daily worries and pressures, we now fight to keep our industry professional and profitable. Clients want our blood for free, and the “hacks” are designing us out of existence.
Most people blame the laptop and easy-to-use software. Many blame art schools for favoring quantity over quality. Can any of these be blamed merely for doing business? If someone who has no idea what they're doing wants to purchase a computer and a slew of graphics software and call themselves a designer, then they're in business.