The Web Can’t Go Home Again

It’s far too easy to look back and imagine that everything was better then than it is now. God knows I miss being a skinny teenager, but I don’t want the acne back. The hormones can just shove right off, too. Even so, there are things I miss about being younger, and frankly a bit naïve. Lately, there has been conversation about the nature of the Internet, and many people seem to feel much as I do about my teenage years: that is to say, they miss the relative innocence. Though once reviled, dancing baby .GIFs and elements seem like high art compared to the click-bait, the passionate-yet-incomprehensible comment wars, and the desperate attempts of corporations to look “hip”. We’d be hard-pressed to look around and say, “Yes, this really is better.” We even miss Tom, and his kind of desperate-feeling attempt to be everybody’s friend We miss the utopianism of the early Internet pioneers. We miss the creativity of people just learning HTML, from the days of the first pages, to the days of the customized MySpace page. We even miss Tom, and his kind of desperate-feeling attempt to be everybody’s friend; because at least he was trying to be friends, not tell you how your every opinion was wrong. And so here we are, in a new world of our own making, and we wish we’d made it differently. Some people blame corporations, and their focus on profit over community. Others more or less blame the blog format, and the press of people who all want to be a little bit famous. There are more than a few who blame social media. None of these people are entirely wrong, of course. We could have done better. We can do better. We can make a friendlier Internet that promotes creativity. What we cannot do is go back. “You can’t go home again.” For those unfamiliar, it’s an old saying based on the idea that once you leave a place, you can never truly return to what once was. Even if the place you left has stayed the same, you will have changed. The you that comes back is not the you that left. We can do better. We can make a friendlier Internet that promotes creativity. We can’t go back to the old Internet because we have changed. Like Adam and Eve in the proverbial garden, we now have knowledge of both the good the Internet can do, and the evil. Businesses have seen how much money can be made. The near-monopolies of the Internet have no reason to give up their advantages. Elsewhere,...

How To Launch A Website In 7 Steps

With so many different web design sites and CMSs like WordPress, SquareSpace, Joomla, Drupal and Wix boasting the ability for complete newbies to design their own sites in a matter of minutes, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself as a new business owner looking to create a new website. The truth is, creating a website using WordPress or other platforms can be done simply. However, there is a big difference between creating a website that simply exists online and creating a website that’s built to last and attract thousands of potential leads each month. By taking a deeper look into how launch a website, you’ll ensure that you don’t overlook key aspects of website design that can significantly impact your sites functionality, UX and overall marketability. Follow these 7 steps to launch a website and go from anxious new business owner, to a seasoned website manager in minutes. #1 Prepare To Host Your Guests The hosting service you select for your site lays the ground floor for your website’s performance. It will either enable or limit your site’s capacity to support high traffic, numerous files, copious amounts of content and fast functionality. From a basic shared hosting package to a premium dedicated server, if you choose the right hosting provider, you can select a hosting service that can grow with your website’s needs. The last thing you want to do is to overlook your hosting package, experience significant growth in your online presence and be unable to foster your new-found growth. Think big picture when choosing your initial hosting package to account for your current and future needs. #2 Plan And Execute Your Content Your content means everything to the success of your website. From the messages that you send to site visitors to how users experience your site, it all comes down to written and visual content. Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm all of the necessary content ideas that fit within your company’s website. Once you have a good idea of the pages you will need to create and the general aesthetic you will want to achieve, you have to begin to put it all together. With a more complete view of your site’s overall look and feel, you can more confidently tweak your overall strategy and execution of your site’s content. Your content will inform how your site is going to be designed and function. Don’t put off writing the content for your...

World travel inspires JPSDesign’s vibrant websites

João Paulo (or as we know him, JPSDesign) is a Brazilian web designer with a passion for travel, fine food and a good bottle of red wine. His vibrant layouts are often inspired by the architecture, signage and colors he sees as he explores the world. Even a trip to the local farmer’s market can yield a fresh batch of ideas. While shifting time zones can be admittedly difficult at times, João Paulo loves the freedom that freelancing gives him—and he sets up his office wherever his laptop and a strong WiFi connection will let him. We chatted with João Paulo about his freelance lifestyle, his favorite web design projects and his advice for fellow designers looking to try remote work. Name: João Paulo Silvino
99designs handle: JPSDesign
Location: Brazil
Specialty: Web design Tell us a little about yourself My name is João Paulo and I’m from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I grew up surrounded by artists—my dad was a comedian and my brother an actor. I remember when I was 13 years old and got my first computer (an IBM Aptiva 846). One of the applications I liked best let me design and edit preset designs. I studied advertising at the university for two years, but after a long conversation with one of my teachers, I came to the conclusion that I really wanted to be in a more creative area. So, I opted for a different college program that focused on visual programming and graphic design. Knowing that my art could be interactive inspired me more and more. That’s when I decided to create layouts for websites. Knowing that my art could be interactive inspired me more and more. That’s when I decided to create layouts for websites. - JPSDesign Why did you join 99designs? I joined 99designs four years ago when I was searching for a different way to find nice projects online. Without a doubt, this is one of the best platforms available right now. 99designs was a “boom” for my life regarding salary, portfolio and visibility. It’s the reason that I increased my travel and the number of projects I work on. How does being a graphic designer enable you to combine work and travel? As a freelancer, my office is determined by the WiFi connection and my laptop. I just need a good connection, no matter where I am. The vast majority of my travel is for leisure. I like to spend time relaxing, visiting...

Getting Started With DOMmy.Js

DOMmy.js is a super-lightweight, standalone Javascript library, designed to work easily with the DOM and produce powerful CSS3 animations via JS. Full disclosure: I developed DOMmy.js. And in this tutorial I want to demonstrate how it can be used to keep your webpages nice and light. DOMmy.js has a very shallow learning curve; it’s even shallower if you have ever used an old-generation style framework such as jQuery or Prototype. DOMmy.js isn’t a next-generation framework like Vue.js, React, or Angular; these are tools which use new technologies such as the virtual DOM, dynamic templating, and data binding; you use next-generation tools to build asyncronous applications. DOMmy.js is a Javascript frame work for writing “classic” Javascript code, working with the DOM at the core level. A Javascript framework like jQuery does a similar task, with three big differences: jQuery uses a proprietary, internal engine to work with selectors and to produce animations. This engine is entirely Javascript-based. Conversely, DOMmy.js allows you to select any element in the DOM and create powerful animations, by using the modern and super-powerful specifics of both Javascript and CSS3. I didn’t need to write a Javascript engine to work with DOM and animations. The cross-browser, flexible and powerful tools that allow you to do it are already available. I just wanted a Javascript structure that would assists developers in writing DOM controls and CSS3 animations using the Javascript language. DOMmy.js is a Javascript structure that looks at the future. It is written to be compatible with some of the latest versions of the major browsers, but I don’t want my code to be compatible with very old software like IE6/7 and similar. jQuery and Prototype both have complete APIs based on an internal engine, DOMmy.js provides controls for just two main things: DOM operations and animations; other tasks can easily be accomplished with vanilla Javascript or by extending the DOMmy.js central structure. So, DOMmy.js is a cross-browser, super-lightweight (the minified version weights only 4kb), super-easy to learn, super-fast to execute, Javascript library. In a nutshell, with DOMmy.js you can: navigate throughout the DOM, by selecting and working with HTML elements and collections of elements; create powerful CSS3 animations and collections of animations; add (multiple) events, CSS...

How Illustrations Impact Brand Identity

Illustrations have found a way to take center stage in corporate web design. There was a time when photography was considered to be more effective and somehow more controllable when designing web pages. Illustrations have moved away from being purely decorative and have found a way to stand next to a compelling photo-realistic imagery. There was a time when explicit graphic communications ruled corporate advertising and digital marketing. The gradual shift from highly precise communicative imagery to a more nuanced and ambiguous form conveyed through illustrations has opened up new possibilities in the world of visual arts. Here are a few examples of how illustrations are currently being used in corporate Web design. Brands like Dropbox, Adobe, Shopify and other leading brands have adopted this medium to communicate their story. As Illustrations emerge to be a part of the user experience, brands are looking to evolve their styles to reach their audiences in a way to build meaningful connections. Dropbox Illustrations By using hand-rendered illustrations, Dropbox was able to create a unique voice over time that helped express their brand to its user. With a visual identity in place, Dropbox continues to use their illustrations for product marketing, comms, and advertising, breathing life and meaning that their product and inspiring millions of users on their way. Adobe Illustrations Adobe develops a unique and adaptable visual vocabulary with exploration and pushing the style away from the original source material. While we continue to build products for a diverse array of human beings, the illustration styles have somewhat remained generic in its form. To help set themselves apart, Adobe moves away from the human form and creates an abstract visual vocabulary to capture the imagination of a wide array of audience. Here is how they do it: focusing on human form, texture, color, shape and restraining their explorations to these four tenants adobe develops an abstraction which is later assembled with the elements I mentioned above. This way of creating a visual abstraction helps them create a systematic language that works across multiple platforms and products. Shopify Illustrations Shopify attempts to create a consistent style of illustrations by setting clear guidelines for how their spot, character, icons are designed. By focusing on qualities that...

Cyber Monday Deal: Elegant Themes Offers Its Biggest Discount Ever

There’s never a shortage of good deals to be found on a Cyber Monday, and this year is no different. Still, you usually have to do your share of searching to uncover some really great deals. This little gem easily qualifies as the #1 Cyber Monday deal for designers and developers. It’s offered by Elegant Themes, the creators of the world’s most highly regarded premium WordPress theme – Divi. Elegant Theme’s offer? 25% off on their Developer and Lifetime accounts, including a free assortment of Divi layouts. A Few Words About This Exceptional Elegant Themes Deal If you’re not familiar with Elegant Themes and its wildly popular products, here are a few things you need to know about this website-building tool provider and its Cyber Monday offer. #1. Elegant Themes is the Ultimate WordPress Toolkit for Designers and Developers By signing up for a membership you’ll get access to 87 different themes, 3 plugins, and the ultimate WordPress theme and visual page builder – Divi. You’ll quickly discover how your new membership will forever change for the better, your website-building undertakings. #2. You Get Unlimited Use Pricing per website will become a thing of the past. With your Elegant Themes membership, you’ll be able to enjoy unlimited use. Take advantage of the Cyber Monday deal, and the one-time fee you pay will be reduced by 25%! When you consider the outstanding value you get when paying the full fee for this superb collection of WordPress tools, it’s not hard to see why the Cyber Monday deal represents an opportunity you won’t want to let slip by. #3. Elegant Themes’ Pricing Plan is About as Simple as it Gets No beating around the bush, no teaser offers, and most certainly no bait-and-switch offers. It’s simply a matter of paying a one-time fee (at a discount!) for your membership to gain access to Elegant Themes’ entire collection of themes and plugins. Better yet, you can use these themes and plugins to build as many websites as you want. #4. You’ll Receive Products You Can Trust Elegant Themes has been in the WordPress theme and plugin business for the past 10 years. During that time, they’ve created some of the world’s most popular products on the market, products they constantly maintain, refine, and improve – every single one of them. What Comes With the Cyber Monday Deal You’ll find “everything” to be quite impressive, since it includes a set of...

Natalie Franke explains how to find your path as a creative entrepreneur

Imagine you didn’t have to face every business challenge alone. Imagine there was a group of entrepreneurs that cheered you on along the way. No, you’re not dreaming. It’s a real movement and it’s called the Rising Tide Society, a community where creative entrepreneurs empower each other. We wanted to learn more, so who better to talk to about this than Natalie Franke, photographer, educator, community builder, and one of the founders of the Rising Tide Society. Natalie Franke, illustration by Daria V.Natalie’s dream was to build a community of entrepreneurs that lift each other up and support each other and she brought it to life. We chatted with her about her journey and how to forge a path as an entrepreneur—plus her top tips on daily routines, dealing with setbacks and finding inspiration. How did you find yourself doing what you’re doing now? I started photographing weddings the summer after my senior year in high school as a way to pay for college. With each event, I fell more and more in love with the creative economy and the wedding industry. By the time I graduated, I was determined to build a business and take a path less traveled. Friends were getting full time jobs and all I wanted was the challenge of building something that I could call my own… even if that meant risking failure. Within two years of leaving school, I had built a six figure photography business and was beginning to understand the toll that entrepreneurship takes on business owners. Working alone, hustling every day, and living in the space between isolation and overwhelm—I had ultimately reached a breaking point. Meet the Rising Tide Society #CommunityOverCompetition On an early spring night in 2015, over a glass of wine and a dinner conversation with industry friends—we started to question whether there was a better way to run a small business. We placed our insecurities on the table and the Rising Tide Society was born. That summer, we launched twelve coffee-style meetings that quickly grew to one hundred, to two hundred, to over four hundred meetings that now span the world. Our vision was to break down barriers by getting people in person to build meaningful relationships… our hope was to ensure that no entrepreneur ever had to build a business alone. Photo of the Rising Tide TuesdaysTogether Meetup in Atlanta by Jon-Michael Sullivan PhotographyCreating the Rising Tide...

7 Photoshop techniques to try right now

Analogue design techniques are becoming increasingly popular as people reconnect with handcrafted styles and timeless traditions like hand lettering, printing and illustration. But not everyone is ready to ditch their tablet for a set of paint brushes just yet. In fact, one of the advantages of digital design is the ability to quickly create analogue-looking effects—wherever you are and with minimal mess—through applications like Photoshop. When done right, Photoshop effects can evoke the same emotions that one feels when they interact with something handmade. Your work can instantly feel more authentic, nostalgic and personal. In this article, we’ll go over seven trending Photoshop effects to give your digital work that extra oomph, along with recommended Skillshare classes to help you master each technique in no time. 1. Mix & match
_ Who can’t relate to the bliss that comes with cutting up magazines and collaging the pieces together? But as much fun as it is to make a mess on your living room floor, most of the pros are opting for digital techniques to seamlessly blend old imagery with contemporary style. Sift through the public domain for vintage illustrations or snap a few of your own photos—then let the creativity begin! While mixing and matching materials manually can be pretty labor intensive, editing your images digitally lets you push your work even further. Coordinate colors and tones, expertly blend in typography, add interesting textures, and (best of all) Command-Z when you inevitably make that mistake. Class Recommendation: Source & Mix – Digital Collage from Vintage Encyclopedia Illustrations 2. Halftones
_ Halftone screens are the basis of photographic printmaking. They allow printmakers to create shading through black dot patterns. Print by Conrad Garner (via Behance)In other words, halftone patterns allow you to print all the tonalities of a black and white photograph with a single pass of ink (which saves a lot of time and material). This also applies to colors. For instance, a CMYK color print consists of a layering of four halftone screens. In older publications, especially newspapers, large halftone screens were used due to resolution constraints and this look has since come to represent a vintage or nostalgic appeal. Today, halftone screens are used intentionally in the design world as an element that brings that...

3 Essential Design Trends, December 2018

It can be hard to think about, and take on new design projects at this time of year. Maybe a little design inspiration is just the thing to pep you up and get you thinking about wrapping up those projects. There’s a continued shift toward designs with more complex visual effects and these trends are no different with stacked text elements, glitchy video effects and artistic imagery. Here’s what’s trending for the end of 2018: 1. Stacked Text The days of the oversized, three-word homepage headline are numbered. Designs are moving toward blocks of stacked text on the homepage. Visually, the weight of an oversized headline is still there. Informationally, there’s a lot more room for messaging. (Just don’t pack these headlines with unnecessary words.) The key to making this design trend work is typeface selection. You need a font that’s easy to read and gives you plenty of room between lines (but not too much room). Typefaces with exceptionally long ascenders or descenders can be an issue here. While designers are experimenting with all kinds of different typefaces, number of lines of stacked text, and alignments, there are plenty of all caps variations (that gets rid of the descender problem) and sans serifs. But don’t feel like this is a rule. Upper- and lowercase letters can look great in stacked blocks, as can serif typefaces. When picking a typeface for this treatment, look for the following: Standard or medium x-height without long or elaborate swatches or flourishes. These characters can cause readability concerns in blocks of text. Regular shapes that aren’t too condensed or flattened. You know you are close when the bowls of each “o” is fairly round. Lettering with a style that seems to take on the mood of its surroundings. A font with too much personality here could overpower the actual words. 2. Glitchy Video Wait…that video is glitchy…on purpose? While it used to be that glitchy video was a result of a slow internet connection or page load speed, glitchy video is a trend. Maybe we can attribute it to things like TikTok, a growing social media platform that uses this technique. Maybe we can attribute it to the fact that it stops users and makes them look. (Even if they might ask if that’s supposed to happen or not.) Either way, glitchy video effects are a definite web design trend. They might happen in the form of background video with...

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08 Dec 2018