Popular Design News of the Week: December 10, 2018 – December 16, 2018

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers.  The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week. Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news. Designers are not Happy with this Photoshop Update   How We Fixed the World’s Worst Logo   Animate an SVG Icon in After Effects CC   10 CSS Flowcharts   What do You Name Color Variables?   Bad Designer, OK Designer, Awesome Designer   Beautiful 2019 Calendar Designs for your Inspiration   The Chatbot Bubble has Officially Burst   Keep Math in the CSS   Creating Custom Content Blocks: WordPress Gutenberg Vs. Sanity   The Hottest Branding Trend of the Year is Also the Worst   2018 Design Tools Survey Results Now Available   “Plus Codes” by Google   Medium.css – Use Medium’s Typography in your own Projects   Millennial Pink is Dead, and Pantone’s Color of the Year Killed it   Information is Beautiful Awards 2018: The Winners   Reluctant Gatekeeping: The Problem with Full Stack   The Ultimate Marketing Technology Stack for 2019   Testing Made Easy with these Top 7 Testing Tools   There’s More to Mailplane’s Dark Mode than You Think   Browser Games for Designers   Risking a Homogeneous Web   2019 UI and UX Design Trends   The Typography of WALL·E   How do We Build an Impactful Digital Product?   Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News. Add Realistic Chalk and Sketch Lettering Effects with Sketch’it – only $5!

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How to Create a Visually Appealing Instagram

Instagram truly is the social media platform of this decade. It has exploded in popularity and seen massive growth. Instagram has become a social media platform for the masses, and for all types of purposes. From billion dollar companies like Snickers, to influencers, to freelancers. Instagram has one thing that everyone, no matter what they wish to achieve wants, and that is people’s attention. In order to do anything, whether it is to convince someone to hire you as a freelancer, or whether you’re just looking to spread awareness about your business and what you do, you need people’s attention. As such, the usage of Instagram has exploded, because people realize the immense power that Instagram has. In fact, it was not long ago that Instagram reached the staggering number of 1 billion monthly users. Instagram has proven to be an effective tool for getting people’s attention and spreading the message you want to spread, but with increased users comes increased competition. No longer is it enough to simply snap a photo, upload it and wait for the results to roll in. Now, you need a more thought-through and well-planned strategy for how you’re going to operate and win on the platform. Since Instagram is a visual platform, driven by visual content, visual content is everything. Of course, as a designer, you are one step ahead, but in order to fully succeed on Instagram, you need to know how to create a visually appealing Instagram that stands out from the crowd and gets people’s attention. How to Create a Visually Appealing Instagram Before starting to post content on Instagram, you want to decide on an overall theme. Think of your theme as the way you want to be perceived and what feelings you want to create. By creating a theme, you’ll be able to make your Instagram posts and profile more consistent—as opposed to just sharing random posts without any thought behind them. Creating an overall theme is also great since it makes your profile more instantly recognizable and makes it stand out from your competitors. There are several elements to creating a theme with your Instagram posts, and these elements make up an overall theme, but these are the most important aspects you want to pay attention to: 1. Pick a Color Scheme Having a consistent color scheme on Instagram is probably the easiest way you can make your Instagram profile more visually appealing fast...

Designing the Emotional Interfaces of the Future

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou) Today when we think about what product we want to use, we have a lot of options to choose from. But there’s one thing that plays a crucial role in this decisions making process: emotions. Humans are emotion-driven species. We evaluate products not only based on utility but also on the feelings they evoke. We prefer to choose products that create a sense of excitement over dull products that only solve our problems. A lot of articles have been written about how to design emotional interfaces. Most of them describe how to create such interfaces using fine microcopy, illustrations, animations, and visual effects; this article is different; here we’ll see how designers can follow different approaches to create genuinely innovative interfaces. The tips listed below will help you design interfaces of future. Emotional Interfaces of the Future People create bonds with the products they use. The emotion users feel (both positive and negative) stay with them even after they ended using a product. Peak–end rule states that people judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak, the effect occurs regardless of whether the experience is pleasant or unpleasant. It’s evident that positive emotional stimuli can build better engagement with your users—people will forgive a product’s shortcomings if you reward them with positive emotions. In order to influence emotions, designers should have a solid understanding of general factors that impact on users such as: Human cognition – the way people consume information, learn or make decisions; Human psychology – the factors that affect emotions, including colors, sounds, music, etc; Cultural references; Contextual factors – how the user feels at the time of using a particular product. For example, when a user wants to purchase a ticket in a ticket machine, they want to spend the least possible amount of time on this activity. The UI of this machine needs to reflect users’ desire for speed. By focusing on those areas, it’s possible to create an experience that can change the way people perceive the world. Let’s see how it works how we can design beyond a screen. Designing a Voice Interface That Feels Real I probably don’t need to prove the fact that voice is...

The gradient design trend: what it looks like and how to use it

Lots of 90s trends are back in style! Crop tops, chokers, even scrunchies (…seriously). And there’s one trend that’s taking the design world by storm that would feel right at home in 1995—and that’s gradients. A few decades back, gradients were a popular way to add color and depth to designs. They remained a fairly prominent design trend until the late 2000s, when they took a backseat to flat design. But gradients came back in a big way in 2018, and we see them everywhere. They’re a way to enhance flat designs (a design update known as flat 2.0), add color overlay to photos and add texture to backgrounds. Guess what? The gradient trend is showing no sign of slowing down in 2019. So how do gradients work? Why are they so hot right now? And how will we continue to see gradients evolve in 2019 and beyond? What are gradients?
— Gradients, also known as color transitions, are a gradual blending from one color to another color (or, if you’re in a colorful mood, from one color to another color to another color—gradients aren’t limited to two shades). via Walker ArtGradients can blend or transition similar colors (so, for example, different shades of blue or a light orange to a dark red) or completely different or contrasting colors (like purple and red or blue and yellow). The gradient trend is extremely versatile. It can be bold or subtle, the focal point of a design or a background element. And because they mix and blend different shades of color, gradients can create new color combinations that feel different and modern, lending a completely unique feel to designs. You can use gradients to add depth to an otherwise flat design, create an interesting texture for a background, or breathe new life (and color!) into a photo—the possibilities are endless! Why are gradients so trendy right now?
— So, why is the gradient trend having such a moment right now? Because they’re so eye-catching and attention-grabbing. The energy of these stunningly vibrant color transitions makes them stand out and helps to elevate any design. Image via InstagramWhen gradients came charging back onto the design scene in 2018, a lot of designers were surprised—especially when larger brands (we’re looking at you, Instagram) hopped on board. A lot of people thought going the gradient route was too much of a throwback. Nostalgia was one thing, but would people really connect with a...

The illusion of movement in graphic design

You may not be a renaissance master, but by employing certain simple design techniques you can evoke a physical and mental experience in your viewers by making your design move—even if that movement is only implied. Keep reading for a tour of these effective techniques. There are three key categories of movement in design: Kinetic—how designs change their position in space and time Rhythmic—they way lines, forms and colors guide the eye throughout a composition Illusory motion (or motion illusion)—how elements interact with each other to imply motion In this article, we’ll be focusing primarily on how to create illusory motion in design. Take ‘em for a ride
— Your brand may actually have something to do with physical, mental, or spiritual movement, or you may simply want to stand out from the designs of your competition. In either case, a design that employs illusory motion can give you the edge you’re looking for. Mind bending apparent motion example. Via boingboing.netUsing the illusion of motion, you can reach out and touch your customers through a phenomenon called kinesthetic empathy: a cognitive action where the observer knowingly or unknowingly reproduces or senses an action or motion they merely see. The feeling might be so powerful that the viewer is physically drawn forward, nudged backward, or even sways from side to side like a mini roller coaster ride! This instantly engages you in a visual relationship with your prospects. Bear in mind that simplicity is key. Using more than one implied movement technique on a given composition can confuse the eye and even make viewers nauseous. Also, beware of using the “blurred outlines” method on typefaces. There’s a fine line between effectiveness and the kind of overkill which makes the font hard to read. Color and shade combinations should also be handled with care. Hotter colors and shades tend to pop out, while cooler ones can recede into the background. Be aware of how this phenomenon can affect the perception of directional of movement within your design. Generally, this color matter applies more to a composition’s rhythm than illusory motion, but it can be one of those crossover issues, so make sure contrast isn’t working against the desired perceived movement of your design. Here, we’ll detail 9 techniques which can be employed to generate the illusion of movement. Let’s start moving!...

Common SEO Mistakes (and How to Fix Them with Design)

SEO is a complex matter and one that web designers and developers might feel is best left to copywriters and search professionals to handle. That makes sense since many common SEO hacks revolve around the manipulation of content and the tagging of it for search. Here’s the thing though: there are certain choices you make as a web designer that ultimately affect the search-friendliness of your website. Which means you should be involved in the diagnosis and repair of a website’s SEO mistakes. Repairing SEO Mistakes with Web Design A click-through rate (CTR) tracking study from Advanced Web Ranking reported the following data, from as recent as September 2018: What this shows is the likelihood of users clicking on an organic link based on its position in search As you can see, Google is already stacking the odds against your website by filling its prime real estate with paid listings. That said, the data above is proof that search users are willing to sift through paid promotions to get to the genuinely good website recommendations. The only thing is… How do you repair a website’s SEO mistakes so it can get to the top of search? Mistake #1: Non-Responsive Elements We’re operating in a mobile-first world which means websites have to be designed primarily for that experience. That doesn’t mean leaving desktop users out in the cold, but it does mean dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s to ensure that every element fits within the truncated space of a mobile screen. Running your website through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test isn’t enough. Open your mobile device and walk through every page of your website. Does everything fit between the two edges of your phone? Are the buttons correctly sized and placed? Are images displayed in full and without distortion? If not, then start here. Mistake #2: Usability Issues If we’re talking about usability issues that are severe enough to cause a high percentage of bounces—which communicates to Google that your website isn’t worth ranking—start by looking at the navigation. Let’s use this one from Hearth Kitchen as an example: As you can see, the navigation is clearly laid out in a horizontal row. Labels are clear and all pages are present—there’s nothing confusing or hidden. In addition, the header provides users with other information they’d instantly want from a website of this nature. Since users’ eyes tend to track...

47 wildly inspiring animal logos

People love animals. Full stop. We love animals so much that we haven’t stopped domesticating them and revering them and making them the stars of our folk tales and mythology for millennia. Animals are a popular choice for logos because of the deep connection we feel to them. An animal logo can cement your brand in your target audience’s heart, but keep in mind that there’s more to using an animal logo than sticking a cute puppy next to your brand’s name and calling it a day. Logos that work are logos that mean something, and even if you initially decide you want a certain species to symbolize your brand, you’ve gotta make it the star of your brand’s story to make it work. There’s more to an animal logo than the animal itself. Every logo communicates its brand’s personality through its color palette, font, shape and any other style choices the designer makes. As you brainstorm your brand’s persona, think about the following to fine-tune your animal logo. Animal logos: accurate, adorable or abstract?
— Ok, so you’ve decided you want an animal logo. Now you have to choose your animal. Then, you’ve got to determine how your logo will look. Do you want a realistic-looking animal in your logo, an abstract depiction of an animal or a cartoon/anthropomorphic image? And within those categories, there’s subcategories—if you’re going realistic, do you resonate with a photograph or photorealistic drawing or a more simple, but accurate, line drawing? If you’re going cartoon-style, should it be something that wouldn’t look out of place in a Disney movie, or do you want something that feels more like it’d be at home in a newspaper strip? As is often the case in design, there’s no hard right or wrong answer here—just right and wrong choices for your brand. It’s important to start with the basics: your target audience and your message. Jurassic Park and We’re Back are both Dinosaur movies, but they have very, very different depictions of the prehistoric beasts. What traits do you wanna piggyback on?
— When brands choose to represent themselves with animals, they often pick animals that are characterized, whether accurately or not, by the traits they want to showcase themselves. Evernote demonstrates that it can store a load of info, just like an elephant can keep decades of memories in its brain. Or the famous blue Twitter bird communicating that with Twitter,...

20 Best New Portfolios, December 2018

It’s December, which means it’s officially carol season. Oh well. Whether you’re a curmudgeon about these things like myself, or are even now feeling the heat rise in your elf ears and Santa hat, we can all agree that portfolio sites are cool, right? Let’s see what those wacky designers have come up with now. There are quite a few modern, as in pre-post-modern designs here. You know, classic, business-friendly minimalist sites. I must say, sometimes my writer and designer sides clash, and I worry about what design trends make me do to the English language. (Also, I’d like to take a moment to thank Hubert Gałczyński from the previously-featured K2. He has directed me towards Wappalyzer which is a tool that’s helping me more accurately figure out what platforms and CMS everybody is using.) Note: I’m judging these sites by how good they look to me. If they’re creative and original, or classic but really well-done, it’s all good to me. Sometimes, UX and accessibility suffer. For example, many of these sites depend on JavaScript to display their content at all; this is a Bad Idea, kids. If you find an idea you like and want to adapt to your own site, remember to implement it responsibly. TJ Dhillon TJ Dhillon’s portfolio starts as the rest of this article will probably go on. It’s simple, it’s clean, it works. It’s got some nice little drop shadows on hovering over certain elements, and is it weird that I’ve actually missed those? They were never a bad thing in moderation. Moderation might be the key to this whole site design. There are frills, but they’re not overdone. Platform: Static Site Matt Kevan Matt Kevan’s portfolio looks a little bit like a prototype, though it’s obviously polished. As he is a UX designer, the aesthetic certainly works thematically. He’s also elected to put his writing front and center, rather than his more visual work. It’s certainly one way to demonstrate your expertise, but I wish I had some kind of analytics Platform: Jekyll Daniel Spatzek Daniel Spatzek’s portfolio will take us, just for a moment, to the world of the ultra-modern. You know how I feel about sites that are this JS-heavy, but I’m still a sucker for that grid-based aesthetic, especially when it’s properly using the full width of my desktop screen like this. Platform: Static Site Undersight Undersight has that clean-and-modern look, but with a little bit of...

Popular Design News of the Week: December 3, 2018 – December 9, 2018

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers.  The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week. Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news. Google Officially Rolling Out New Search Bar with Sticky Header, Rounded Search Bar   Create a CSS Grid Image Gallery (With Blur Effect and Interaction Media Queries)   Introducing Overlays   The State of UX in 2019   Securing your Site like It’s 1999   New Logo for Government of Mexico   The Dark(mode) Web Rises   Pair and Compare: Find Great-looking Fonts and Font-pairs   PSone.css- A Small Playstation 1 Style CSS Framework   I Put Words on this Webpage so You Have to Listen to Me Now   An 8-bit Introduction to UX Design   Humaaans. A Library to Mix-and-match Illustrations of People   How to Build an Unforgettable First-Time User Experience   Why Most Redesigns Fail   My Struggle with Colors   16 Books Every Graphic Designer Should Read   9 Trends and Ideas You’ll See, Hear and Be a Part of in 2019   Announcing Google Play’s “Best of 2018”   State of Web Browsers in 2018   Eight Lessons from Creating a Design system   Holidays are Coming: 21 Digital Illustrations Full of Christmas Spirit   Redesigning the Shopify App Store: UX Challenges and Learnings   A Comprehensive Guide on What Should Designers Learn About Business   Pentagram Designed the Prettiest Computer Chip You’ve Ever Seen   New Squarespace Branding   Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News. Add Realistic Chalk and Sketch Lettering Effects with Sketch’it – only $5!

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