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...

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...

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...

How to Increase Mobile Engagement with Simpler Contact Forms

Contact forms are a necessity for websites. Without them, your clients would be relegated to handling website- or business-related matters over the phone or email. Worse, they’d have absolutely no context for the call or message, which would increase the amount of time they’d have to spend responding to it. Contact forms, instead, gather essential details from visitors so that your clients can go into each conversation better prepared. Of course, mobile contact forms are tricky. With less screen space to work with, how do you design a form that captures all the details your clients require? The fact of the matter is, you might not be able to. Instead, you’ll have to look at ways to do more with less. Even if all a form does is collect a name, email, and phone number for someone interested in learning more about a service, the digital collection of that data ensures your clients won’t lose track of leads or capture details incorrectly when writing them by hand. And when forms collect more than that (say, details about an issue they’re experiencing with the website or product), your clients can better prepare themselves for a possibly stressful encounter. But there’s a delicate balance you must strike when designing forms for mobile users. If you want them to engage with the forms so you can keep your clients from missing out on leads as well as sales, you have to keep a number of things in mind. Columns Plain and simple: there’s no excuse for using more than one column on a mobile contact form. Leadformly has a beautiful example of a mobile contact form that keeps everything in a vertical line. The same principle applies to the fields themselves. If you’re thinking about breaking up the “Name” field into “First Name” and “Last Name”, don’t do it. It’s hard enough inputting information into a mobile contact form. Instead, only place one field per horizontal line and always merge fields that belong together. Fields When creating a contact form for your clients’ website, ask yourself: Is each of these fields necessary? Take, for instance, the Shopify mobile contact form: Although the store address field is optional, it’s a good choice in this context since this is a support contact form. If someone’s asking for support, then they’re a Shopify customer with a corresponding store address to share. The “Subject” field, on the other hand, seems like a waste....

The who’s who of video production

Have you ever sat through the end credits of a movie? I assume it’s because you were waiting for the post-credit scene. If you didn’t run to the bathroom between the end of the movie and the time Sam Jackson steps out of the shadows to tell you about the Avengers Initiative, you probably noticed that it takes hundreds of people to bring movie magic to the silver screen. For someone who wants to produce a video for their small business, that credit list can be intimidating. But have no fear! A professionally produced, high quality video can be made with far fewer people, even just one. It all depends on the type of video you’re looking for, whether it’s as simple as an interview with a CEO, a complex narrative short film to tell your company’s story, or something in between. Most video production companies and freelancers are able to adjust their crew demands according to the size of your budget. Here we explain who is who on a video crew and help you figure out what type of crew you’ll need for your video project. One-man band
— A lone videographer captures a candid moment. Via Vanilla Bear Films.The simplest, smallest (and thus, most affordable) production you can have is a crew of one. This person, often called a “one-man band” regardless of gender, does everything: they set up the lights and camera, they record the audio, they handle all of the logistics involved in setting up a shoot. Although many hands make light work, one person really can handle most of the shoot, if it’s reasonably contained. For example, a single person (or series of people) being interviewed. A lone filmmaker should be able to light the scene, mic the interview subject and compose a nice shot. While this is the most cost-effective option, there is a major drawback: it takes time. One person can’t set up the lights and mic and camera all at once (or take them down all at once at the end of the day). If, for whatever reason, you’re on a tight schedule for your shoot day, consider one of the next options. Two person crew
— A two-person crew talk between takes. Via Nik MacMillan.The most common division of labor when you have two crew people is picture and sound. One person operates the camera and sets up the lights, while the other mics up the subjects of the video. Why separate the two? If sound (i.e. what the person on screen says), as opposed to pretty visuals of your...

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