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Smashing Book 5 features smart responsive design techniques and patterns.
Check out all of the posts in ‘Inspiration’ below. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try searching using the form at the top of the page.
There is an old story of blind men and an elephant. The blind men all meet and are asked to describe the elephant. One says that an elephant is long and skinny like a snake. The other says that the first doesn’t know what he is talking about and says an elephant is like the trunk of a tree, round and thick. The third says they are both wrong, that an elephant is wide and circular like a giant disc.
In some versions, they stop talking, start listening and collaborate to “see” the full elephant. When a sighted man walks by and sees the elephant, they also learn they are blind. It doesn’t take us very long to figure out that each of the men is talking about a different part of the elephant (trunk, leg and ear, respectively). The men are blind, so they fail to take in the whole elephant. Because their experience was limited to a certain part of the elephant, they assumed that the elephant was the part they could see. One could only feel that the elephant was a trunk, so he thought it was like a snake.
I am sure that my day job as a designer has a lot of similarities to that of the entire Smashing community. I create wireframes, mockups and concepts. I craft HTML and CSS using methods that I hope are fluid and adaptive. At the same time, my coworkers and I serve over 100 clients and 13 million users on a single platform.
Each client has the ability to design their website as they see fit, but we have an unbalanced ratio of designers to clients. I do not have the luxury in my day-to-day work of spending months working through a design process as part of a client’s implementation. However, this scenario of limited time hardly strikes me as rare among my design peers.
One of the advantages of working in a creative industry is the number of designers and developers who take their craft seriously. The design community shines in one regard in particular: the design community seems to be less willing to hoard knowledge and skills. Instead, we present them, elaborate on them and keep improving on each other's techniques — among other media — magazines and books.
In this overview of magazines you'll find everything from purely online publications to monthly, glossy print editions, where all subjects relevant to art and design are being investigated in colorful, eloquent detail.
We can all agree that the work we do should inform, be appropriate to the client and their audience, and, of course, look good. But there’s a bonus third attribute worth aiming for—creating a lasting impression.
Visual memory is fascinating; we use it often without realizing. If for example you ask someone how many rooms they have in their home, before answering, most will in their minds eye (possibly even with their eyes closed to aid concentration) walk through each room, adding up as they go. If graphic designers can tap into the benefits of this phenomenon, providing visual triggers to keep the subject matter of their work fresh in audiences’ memories, this has to be advantageous.
“So, you do nothing all day.” That’s how many people would respond to someone who says they spend the day with a pen or pencil in their hand. It’s often considered an empty practice, a waste of time. They’re seen as an empty mind puttering along with the busy work of scribbling.
But for us designers and artists, drawing pictures all day is integral to our process and to who we are as creative people, and despite the idea that those who doodle waste time, we still get our work done. So, then, why are those of us who draw pictures all day even tempted to think that someone who is doodling or drawing pictures in a meeting or lecture is not paying attention?
We have lots and lots of good stuff here for your weekend reading pleasure in today's Smashing Daily issue, like some thoughts about the first transatlantic communication cable, and some thoughts about brands (and whether you can actually care about them). We have a good article about expectations when doing business, and an idea to serve images that are acceptable to the retina. There's news about jQuery, a post about browser update policies, and much more.
The Web font revolution that started around two years ago has brought up a topic that many of us had merrily ignored for many years: font rendering. The newfound freedom Web fonts are giving us brings along new challenges.
Choosing and using a font is not merely a stylistic issue, and it's worth having a look at how the technology comes into play. While we cannot change which browser and OS our website visitors use, understanding why fonts look the way they do helps us make websites that are successful and comfortable to read in every scenario
It has been said that "we read best what we read most". This quote was used as a type specimen in Emigre magazine in the late 1980's by Zuzana Licko. It was written in defense of her typefaces, whose elemental shapes—designed with the strictures of the early HP laser printer in mind—challenged the commonly held notions of what made typefaces legible.
The paradigm shift—wrought by the personal computer, Postscript and desktop publishing—should have had a massive impact on the shapes of our typographic characters, just as the advances of the World Wide Web further changed the way we viewed words (even though letterforms change at the pace of the most conservative reader). Thus, radical innovations like Kurt Schwitters' Systemschrift, (a phoenetic alphabet from 1927), are doomed to fail.
In 2011 we saw the rise in popularity of two relatively new trends: responsive Web design and the use of HTML’s canvas. While some websites had experimented with both, in the last 12 months we’ve seen these trends move from the fringes firmly into the mainstream.
Responsive Web design is more a concept than a technology — an ideal that many new websites aspire to. Canvas, on the other hand, is an HTML5-based technology that opens the door to a new wave of interactivity.
As a Japanese person living in Europe, I’m sometimes asked: “Japanese is a difficult language, isn’t it?”. Those asking are often surprised when my answer is a simple: “No, actually, it’s not.”.
While it is true (at least to many Westerners) that Japanese is an exotic language, when compared to learning other European languages, it may seem harder because it has has no relation to their own language. But from my own experiences of learning English and German (and also from seeing some European friends learning Japanese), I can say with confidence that learning spoken Japanese is, in fact, not so difficult.