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We use ad-blockers as well, you know. We gotta keep those servers running though. Did you know that we publish useful books and run friendly conferences — crafted for pros like yourself? E.g. our upcoming SmashingConf London, dedicated to all things web performance.

Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: December 2016 – Festive Christmas Edition

New month, new wallpapers! To get you in the right mood for December, designers and artists from across the globe got their ideas bubbling and created unique and inspiring Christmas wallpaper calendars to deck your desktop. This monthly wallpapers mission has been going on for eight years now, and we are very thankful to everyone who challenges their artistic skills and contributes to it each month anew.

Christmas Wallpaper Calendars: December 2016

This post features desktop artwork for December 2016. Each wallpaper comes in versions with and without a calendar and can be downloaded for free. Now you only need to decide on your favorite!

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Enhancing Grid Design With GuideGuide, A Plugin For Photoshop And Illustrator

Almost five years ago, I had the honor of writing a post on Smashing Magazine about my Photoshop panel GuideGuide. Since then it has seen wild success as the most installed third-party Photoshop extension, an achievement I’m quite proud. In that time, I’ve added some powerful features and, most recently, expanded it to Illustrator. This post will give you a taste of how GuideGuide can change the way you use guides in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Enhancing Grid Design with GuideGuide, A Plugin For Photoshop And Illustrator

If you’re one of the many people who already use GuideGuide, please read on. You may discover some unconventional uses that are not immediately apparent. I’ll provide a overview of the major features, and then give some examples of advanced and unusual ways it can be used to make you a more efficient designer.

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How To Build A SpriteKit Game In Swift 3 (Part 1)

Have you ever wondered what it takes to create a SpriteKit game from beginning to beta? Does developing a physics-based game seem daunting? Game-making has never been easier on iOS since the introduction of SpriteKit.

How To Build A SpriteKit Game In Swift 3 (Part 1)

In this three-part series, we will explore the basics of SpriteKit. We will touch on SKPhysics, collisions, texture management, interactions, sound effects, music, buttons and SKScenes. What might seem difficult is actually pretty easy to grasp. Stick with us while we make RainCat.

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Brush Lettering: It Only Gets Better After Practice (Part 1)

The resurgence of hand lettering, calligraphy, signage, penmanship, or really anything that is graphic and handmade is increasingly difficult to ignore. Along with letters drawn in any of the categories just mentioned, drawing, sketching, sketchnoting, and any hybrid style (combinations of the above) have also been gaining attention among designers, illustrators, and other professionals.

Brush Lettering: It Only Gets Better After Practice (Part 1)

A quick look around social media or simply googling lettering will quickly show impressive and notable work. Last year I deliberately started practicing brush lettering, meaning I had a dedicated time to practice exercises, write out words and practice letterforms.

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Chatbot UX – Does Conversation Hurt Or Help?

Chatbot fever has infected Silicon Valley. The leaders of virtually every tech giant — including Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple — proclaim chatbots as the new websites, and messaging platforms as the new browsers.

Does Conversation Hurt Or Help The Chatbot UX?

"You should message a business just the way you would message a friend," declared Mark Zuckerberg when he launched the Facebook Messenger Platform for bots. He and the rest of the tech world are convinced that conversation is the future of business.

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Wireframing – The Perfectionist’s Guide

When I was a developer, I often had a hundred questions when building websites from wireframes that I had received. Some of those questions were, "How will this design scale when I shrink the browser window?" and, "What happens when this shape is filled out incorrectly?" and even, "What are the options in this sorting filter, and what do they do?"

The Wireframe Perfectionist's Guide

These types of questions led me to miss numerous deadlines, and I wasted time and energy in back-and-forth communication. Sadly, this situation could have been avoided if the wireframes had provided enough detail.

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CSS Inheritance, The Cascade And Global Scope: Your New Old Worst Best Friends

I'm big on modular design. I've long been sold on dividing websites into components, not pages, and amalgamating those components dynamically into interfaces. Flexibility, efficiency and maintainability abound.

CSS Inheritance, The Cascade And Global Scope: Your New Old Worst Best Friends

But I don't want my design to look like it's made out of unrelated things. I'm making an interface, not a surrealist photomontage. As luck would have it, there is already a technology, called CSS, which is designed specifically to solve this problem. Using CSS, I can propagate styles that cross the borders of my HTML components, ensuring a consistent design with minimal effort.

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Spotify Playlists To Fuel Your Coding And Design Sessions

Some like it loud, others need some steady beats to stay focused, others calm tunes. A while ago we asked on Twitter and Facebook what music the web community is listening to when coding and designing.

Spotify Playlists To Fuel Your Coding And Design Sessions

The answers were as diverse as the community itself and certainly too good to live an existence only in a Twitter discussion. That’s why we’ve compiled those hand-crafted playlists, favorite artists, and loved soundtracks in this article to see which tunes fuel the web, and, well, first and foremost, to provide you with some new ear candy to get you through lengthy coding and design sessions, of course. Get your headphones ready!

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Freebie: Thanksgiving Icon Set (15 Icons, PNG, PSD, AI, SVG)

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, have you already thought about ways how to spend your days before the holiday? Well, you could send simple "Thank You" emails to your past clients, perhaps design something free for somebody, or take some time to improve your website. To those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, we've got a nice icon set for you today — all available in PNG, PSD, AI and SVG formats.

Freebie: Thanksgiving Icon Set (15 Icons, PNG, PSD, AI, SVG)

This set of 15 free icons was created by the design team at ucraft. Please note that this icon set is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported. You may modify the size, color or shape of the icons. No attribution is required, however, reselling of bundles or individual pictograms is not cool. Please provide credits to the creators and link to the article in which this freebie was released if you would like to spread the word in blog posts or anywhere else.

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Not An Imposter: Fighting Front-End Fatigue

I recently spoke with a back-end developer friend about how many hours I spend coding or learning about code outside of work. He showed me a passage from an Uncle Bob book, "Clean Code", which compares the hours musicians spend with their instruments in preparation for a concert to developers rehearsing code to perform at work.

Not An Imposter: Fighting Front-End Fatigue

I like the analogy but I'm not sure I fully subscribe to it; it's that type of thinking that can cause burnout in the first place. I think it's great if you want to further your craft and broaden your skill set, but to be doing it every hour of the day isn't sustainable.

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Sponsored Article Exploring Repeat Grid In Adobe XD

If you’re a visual designer, you probably spend a majority of your time making small adjustments to multiple visual elements. Maybe your client has decided they need a few more pixels of padding between each of your elements, or perhaps they’ve decided that all of their avatars needed to have rounded corners. Any which way, you might find yourself making the same adjustment in your design over and over… and over again.

Exploring Repeat Grid In Adobe XD

In Adobe Experience Design CC (Beta), we’ve introduced the Repeat Grid feature to address this tedious aspect of a designer’s workflow. In this article, we’ll dig deep to uncover the true power of this time-saving feature. We’ll create and adjust a Repeat Grid, add content to it, and wire it up in Adobe XD’s simple and powerful Prototype Mode. If you’d like to follow along, you can download and test Adobe XD for free.

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True Lies Of Optimistic User Interfaces

Three user interfaces (UIs) go to a pub. The first one orders a drink, then several more. A couple of hours later, it asks for the bill and leaves the pub drunk. The second UI orders a drink, pays for it up front, orders another drink, pays for it and so on, and in a couple of hours leaves the pub drunk.

True Lies Of Optimistic User Interfaces

The third UI exits the pub already drunk immediately after going in — it knows how the pubs work and is efficient enough not to lose time. Have you heard of this third one? It is called an "optimistic UI."

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