Popular Design News of the Week: February 11, 2019 – February 17, 2019

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. Introducing Textblock   HTML Slides Without Frameworks, Just CSS   The Best of Slack & Trello in One App   The Failed Netflix Homepage Redesign Experiment that Nobody even Noticed   Design Without Color First   Graphic Artist Peter Saville on Creating Burberry’s New Logo   Next.js 8 Released   Making Google Fonts Faster   Pantone Color Bridge Plus and CMYK Cheat Sheets for Graphic Designers   UI Goodies 2.0! A Redesign and More Resources for Designers!   How White Space Killed an Enterprise App (and Why Data Density Matters)   Pods – Tiny Telegram Groups for Designers   Choosing the Right UI Animation Tool   7 Pillars of UI Design: Keep these in Mind   21 CSS “Hotspot” Examples   Goodbye, Slack. Hello, Spectrum   Form Design: Handling Optional Fields   Designing Magical Interfaces   Designing Futuristic Interfaces – Become a XR Designer in 5 Minutes   I Failed as a Designer at a Startup   The Maze Report – An Instant, Gorgeous UX Report for all your User Tests   34 Great Free Fonts   3-colors Gradients Generator   The Ineffectiveness of Lonely Icons   Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling Applied to Product Managers & UX Designers   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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Flat design and semi-flat design: what it is and how to use it

Flat design has been a standard design choice for a while now, and there’s good reason for that. It’s streamlined, it’s modern and perhaps most importantly, it delivers information fast—all while looking clean and fresh. For all the good flat design can do for brands, it’s easy to look at a flat image and think that creating one yourself is simple, that it requires no skill or effort. By felipe_charriaBut that’s not the case. This trend has a long history, and there’s a great deal of design thinking that goes into giving your flat design substance. That’s where this guide comes in, to help you understand the psychology that gave rise to flat design and how best to apply the aesthetic to your future projects. Here are some tips you don’t want to miss, because in spite of how long flat design has been around, it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. What is flat design?
— Flat design is what it sounds like: a design style that’s two dimensional and proud of it. There’s no shading, no added-in glare and no highlights to make images look 3D. Rather, flat design embraces a 2D style in order to communicate information quickly. Take a look at a few screenshots from the “Paper Mario” series to see flat design directly contrasted with 3D design. Via Nintendo.Effective flat design is unobtrusive by nature, and this means it often incorporates “invisible” design elements, choices on your part that the user won’t notice. Users feel and interact with these elements, but don’t really “see” them—even when they’re part of the visual design. Let’s take a look at a few examples: Using a shopping cart icon to communicate where the user has to click to finish their transaction. Yes, the icon is visible, but there’s no “click here” call to action. Breaking up information on a page with different background colors. Give each paragraph a separate punch by displaying it over its own color. Using specific color combinations to tell the viewer how to relate to certain images and information. When something’s urgent, make it stand out with bright red text. By astuarisHere’s how flat design works in web design: all web design is crafted to guide the user through the site or app, and flat design approaches this role in a very different way from its predecessor, skeuomorphic design. While skeuomorphic design uses visual and auditory cues to tell the user how it works by...

How to Design for 3D Printing

3D Printing is a revolutionary new technology that allows you to realize, well, just about anything. The most common form of 3D printers use a special form of plastic filament to print durable, hard ABS plastic components or items. However, there are 3D printers—industrial mostly—that can work with materials like concrete, glass, titanium, steel and more. The tougher materials aren’t really necessary for design, but it’s still a great thing to know especially when you need to consider material design guidelines. In design and graphic art, you mostly work with hand sketches, digital content and imaging software, and flat, 2D-style designs. How would a 3D printer offer you anything new? Maybe you dabble in the occasional 3D modeling from time to time, or maybe you don’t. Whatever the case, the two mediums just don’t seem to correlate. We’re going to explain some design tips you should be aware of and how that applies to your particular industry: graphic and visual design. Major Brands Are Already Using 3D Printing for Design A variety of large corporations and organizations have not only realized the potential of 3D printing technology — they’ve implemented it in their regular routines. Nike, Nokia, Ittala, Coca-Cola and even Volkswagen have all been creating and designing with 3D printing tools. Nike even took their 3D printed concepts and rolled them into manufactured products, some of which you can buy on store shelves right now. If the bigger companies and organizations are starting to adopt and utilize this technology, that will soon trickle down to smaller companies The reason they’ve taken to this technology is because it streamlines their design and manufacturing processes. All product designs or prototypes can be constructed in-house, and then when it’s time to ship something, they can be manufactured internally as well. This doesn’t relate to graphic design, but it does point out one obvious thing. If the bigger companies and organizations are starting to adopt and utilize this technology, that will soon trickle down to smaller companies, including you. More companies will desire 3D printing compatible concepts and visuals, which means turning to professionals who can work with the necessary tools and software. If you haven’t already begun training with these technologies and tools, now is the ideal time. Learn Printing Technologies Before diving...

8 authors that are putting a creative spin on the self-improvement genre

Self-help books are not a new invention. There have long been resources available to those of us who want guidance on some aspect of our lives. However, looking for help within paperbacks hasn’t always come with the most positive connotations. Just think of Charlotte in Sex and the City afraid of being caught in that part of the bookstore, or poor Bridget Jones devouring Women Who Love Too Much. Things are different nowadays. As the number of people leaving behind a standard career path to set up on their own has been growing, more and more freelancers and entrepreneurs are seeking sound advice to help them improve both in life and in business. Self-help as a genre, which has evolved into “self-improvement” or more simply, “growth”, now touches on everything from personal happiness and entrepreneurship to environmental betterment and social justice. With this in mind, we’ve selected 8 of our favorite authors in the self-improvement genre to highlight. Not only are these authors doling out great advice, they are each putting a creative and modern spin on the category that we feel makes their work stand out on the bookshelf. 1. Roxane Gay
— Illustration by stormyfuegoRoxane Gay is pioneering the movement of increased self and social awareness, especially for millennial women. Her writing includes Bad Feminist, a collection of essays on politics, criticism and feminism, and Difficult Women, stories of women challenging the status quo and claiming independence for themselves. These are honest and vulnerable essays and stories that have readers thinking about the world in new and different ways. What makes her approach to self-improvement unique? Roxaneʼs approach to self-improvement is unique in its combination of memoir and cultural critique, which lends itself to advice and learnings for readers. Her writing is truly intersectional and covers a range of difficult topics including race, gender, body size, xenophobia and so on. Most importantly, her writing is empowering! Roxane truly believes that one person can make a difference. It can be hard to believe that your own story matters—”Who am I to share my story?”—but everyone has a story to tell. If you can combine your personal voice with the wider context in which that experience sits, you can start sharing that with the world and really take a stand on an issue that matters. Where do you start? Check...

Defining Design Constraints When Designing for a Client

As graphic designers, we work with color, typography, and other elements of design every day. There are many amazing resources and free assets available for designers today. Sometimes having too many options can feel overwhelming and can lead to a lack of clarity especially when designing for clients. With an entire color landscape available to help you hone your skill, it would make sense to establish some parameters when choosing different elements for your design. By narrowing down this landscape into specific spectrums, we will show you how to hone in on what the client is looking for. By turning different elements of your design into a spectrum- classifying something in a way that it falls between two extreme points, we are able to identify different features associated with it and how it may influence the overall design. This way of working helps you get on the same page as your client from the very beginning and ensures that we don’t get too far down the wrong path. When you define key elements like content density, color, typography, photography style, illustration, and other basic design elements at an early stage, you are able to collaborate better. When you present and collaborate on these ideas during the earliest part of the project you are able to determine which direction you want to take your designs. To get started, create a line with polar opposite ideas on each end of the spectrum. Now start populating ideas in between them. The chosen designs would transition to each side and ideally, it would range anywhere between 5-7 designs. Once you have this ready, start a discussion with your client and see which direction you should go in. Now, look into the preferred color choices of the client. Narrow it down until you get a well-defined spectrum. Here are a few examples of different designs that were created on spectrum. This will give you a better understanding of how this tool is used and implemented. 1. Premium to playful Designers narrowed down the tone of the website to fall somewhere between premium to playful. By looking at this spectrum, you are able to see how premium colors and designs tend to be more minimal with lots of white space while playful imagery and designs gravitate towards the opposite end of the spectrum. Playful designs take up a lot of white space and visibly louder in design. 2. Color Usage If you look at the...

10 Free Clothing Mockups for Your Designs

Need some clothing mockups for your next design project? Maybe you’re creating an eCommerce store and need some temporary graphics. Or perhaps you’re actually designing clothing with custom logos. Whatever your goal, these ten free clothing mockups are super easy to edit and apply designs to. Woman T-Shirt Mockup PSD This women’s V-neck T-shirt mockup comes with a front and back image, as well as smart layers to allow you to easily add your own logos and artwork. With a huge 4000 x 3000px resolution, your design will look great at full size or downscaled. And it’s simple to edit: just change the T-shirt color and paste in a design. Psd Woman Long Sleeve T-Shirt Mockup If you want to show off an apparel mockup with a model, check out this long-sleeved T-shirt design. Change the color, add in some custom graphics and even remove the model with the touch of a button. This one is great if you want to see how your design will look on a real person. Snapback Cap PSD Mockup This is a great resource. With seven predefined colors, three different angles, and two logo layers, this cap mockup is super customizable. There are tons of elements and room for plenty of changes, so go crazy with this one. Hoodie Mockup PSD If you need a hoodie mockup, you’ll love this. Everything on this design is tweakable, from the cords and cuffs to the pocket and inner hoodie color. And of course, you can easily add your own designs to the mix. Tank Top PSD Mockup Here’s a realistic tank top mockup for all of your apparel projects. Just change the color, drop in a logo, and tweak the background if needed. There’s a front and back version so you can know just how the final product will look. Baby T-shirt Psd Mockup There are all sorts of placeholders out there for adult clothing, but what about for infants? This baby T-shirt mockup comes with various editable elements, including a tag that you can customize. Your design will look photorealistic here! V-Neck T-Shirt Mockup Looking for a simple V-neck shirt mockup? This one comes with front and back versions, and a few layers you can change to reflect your design. With just a few essential layers, editing is straightforward and easy to do. Polo Shirt PSD Mockup Need a professional-looking polo shirt mockup? This PSD is very editable; you can change the colors of every piece of the shirt, including the buttons. There’s room for a...

9 Tips for Designing an Email Signature in 2019

It’s no secret that email signatures have a major impact in the world of email marketing. It’s also clear that they are one of the easiest ways to re-engage with your existing customers, without spending any (or very little) money. Successful businesses are using the untapped power of their email signatures because they know that decisions are all about prioritizations based on invested effort vs benefit. Let’s take a look at how you can revamp your email signature for 2019 to give it that “pop” factor. 1. Create Your Signature with Mobile in Mind It’s amazing how many people completely skip over this step, without knowing the consequences. Mobiles account for 46% of all email opens, meaning that testing your email signature for mobile compatibility is essential. A common misconception is that your email signature will be compatible across all email clients. The sad truth is…it won’t. Although I would love to blame Outlook for this, the reason is actually that most email clients (mobile included) use different HTML rendering engines and that means they all display email signatures differently. In addition, mobile screens are much smaller than PC displays, and they also use scaling. Because of this, vertical layouts work much better on mobiles. Using a wide layout on mobile devices can cause your signature to look squashed and the images to be scaled up which makes them look blurry. 2. Include Only Essential Details The details a college student includes in their signature will be a lot different to the details a lawyer includes. Only include the details which are relevant to you. For example, if you’re a college student, you would probably include the university you’re attending and the subject you’re studying. You wouldn’t include those details if you’re a lawyer. Most people aren’t interested in knowing your favorite band, or color. Your email signature should include the information needed to contact you, and any other relevant information. If you’re unsure, ask yourself “Would I give that information to a business associate I had just met?”. Here are the most popular fields to include in your email signature: Full Name Job Position Company Mobile Phone Number Office Phone Number Office Address Profile Picture and/or Logo (or both) Social Icons (optional, but recommended) Promotional Banner (optional) Disclaimer (optional) Details which are not needed...

6 Must-Follow Rules for Creating a Beautiful UI

User Interface is the surface plane that connects a user to the device he or she is interacting with. UI design of an app or web application usually should help convey the essence of the brand, its story, functionality and overall value of the product. It is a critical step in creating a product. When done well can enhance the overall functionality of the app. Users should be able to efficiently use the product — this means that as UI designers, you should be able to design intuitive interfaces that not only delight audiences but are easy to use. User Interface design is constantly changing, there are always new things to learn and consider when creating a design for interfaces. To increase your chance of success, we have put together some important principles that are applicable to any interactive systems. 1. Universal Usability Your design should be responsive. This means that when you create a website or an app, it should be designed to be able to respond to various screen sizes and devices. The number of people using their mobile phones to surf the web has been growing rapidly and to keep up with this trend, user interface designers have to create interfaces that can adapt to different loading times and screen sizes. So when your designs are responsive to different devices that users may be using, you are naturally creating a great user experience for them. 2. Consistency When you design around consistency, you are bound to make your interfaces intuitive. It directly relates to usability and learnability. When a user is familiar with a design pattern, he or she is able to use the interface without having to think. There are two types of consistency – visual consistency and functional consistency. By keeping the visual elements in your design consistent, you are able to create an interface where users don’t question its integrity. This is usually done by keeping the colors, typography, icons and other choices in your design consistent. Whereas functional consistency directly relates to how an object within the design would function throughout the interface. Users tend to get frustrated when things don’t work. By keeping the interface controls like buttons and menu items consistent, you increase your chances of having your interface run smoothly. So, make sure to create designs with users expectations in mind. 3. Clarity...

Bold fonts: tips and inspiration to master the trend

Typography is often the workhorse of any design. Type is called on to communicate an actual message with clarity and legibility, while also handling the trickier, less tangible stuff of voice and tone. On top of all that, it has to be on-trend! Nothing makes a design fail harder and faster than an outdated or unstylish font choice. When it comes to fonts in 2019, bigger (and bolder) is better. While delicate hand-drawn fonts dominated design for the first half of 2010’s, we’re now seeing the rise of large, bold type in every area of design. The stalwart sans-serifs like Arial and Helvetica will always reign supreme in the large type arena, but designers are starting to have more fun by embracing more fanciful full-bodied type options. Wondering how to use the big, bold font trend? We’ve got tons of inspiring examples of products where they are showing up, along with lots of tips for harnessing their power in your next design. What are bold fonts?
— Before we can talk about using bold fonts in your designs, let’s define the trend a bit. Via Scott FullerWe’re talking about type-driven design: compositions where big, bodacious fonts take center stage and are impossible to miss. These are designs that aren’t afraid to sound shouty, where type is on equal footing with the graphic elements or even dominates the entire composition. The bold font trend grew out of the larger trend of minimalism–if the font is oversized, the rest of the composition can stay clean and simple. It’s like a large piece of statement art in an otherwise under-furnished room. This trend favors the custom type, fonts that aren’t instantly recognizable. Many designers that are really leaning into this trend (like Scott Fuller’s gorgeous work above) craft a custom type treatment for each design. Other designers are using old favorites in new and surprising ways. What bold fonts bring to the table
— At a pure nuts and bolts level, bold fonts are difficult to miss. The designs work at a small size and tend to draw the eye away from gentler, subtle designs. Via Christian Bjurinder Whether you’re a consumer scanning shelves for a product or a user landing on a webpage or app for the first time, you feel a certain way when you’re greeted with large, bold typography. Bold fonts communicate certainty and confidence to a user. Bold fonts are big right now. Here’s why.
— The larger the...

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12 Feb 2019