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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.
As with most designers, being sure that we explore and select the most successful, memorable and stimulating designs is a vital aspect that underpins every project we undertake. For us, the beginning of a new challenge has never been as simple as asking ourselves what might be the best avenue to take and then sitting down at a computer and attempting to fulfill that idea.
After researching the subject matter, we will almost always begin with a sheet of paper and pencil and draw out a variety of design options to help bring together and develop the breadth of ideas that are maturing in our minds. In this article, we will explore the use of drawing and mark-making as an integral part of the creative process.
Today is the day when it all started — the day when this little website launched back in 2006. We are celebrating our six-year anniversary party, and you, being the ones who made the website possible and kept us going, are our special guests. We couldn’t possibly have a party without you!
But who are we? Who are the people working behind the scenes to make Smashing Magazine truly smashing? Today we’d like to publish something rather different. Being chummy as we are, we’d like to give you a peek behind the scenes — a little insight into how we work, who we are, where we live and where we come from. It will be quite a ride, so get yourself a beverage, make yourself comfortable and set a few minutes aside.
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