5 Ways to Communicate With Non-Visual Thinkers

Many, if not most designers will at some point encounter this scenario: they’ve just completed a digital wire-frame for a new project, with a new client. They’ve thought long and hard about the placement of everything, and they’re ready for feedback. They figure it’ll be a short conversation, just enough time for the client to say, “Yeah, that looks fine. Can’t wait to see it with the details filled in!” The client will take a moment to think, their thoughts briefly visible on their face, and the designer will get nervous. After a minute or so, the client will look up and say, “It looks good…but I’m just not sure about all of those gray boxes.” Even if they’ve been educated about the use of wireframes, some will still ask, “But you’re going to change the gray boxes, right?” Simply put, assuming that others think like we do is one of the silliest mistakes a designer can make, and we all make it at least once. As designers, even if we don’t start out as visual thinkers, we often end up as visual thinkers after some training. That may not be so for your clients. For example: Some think in words; Some think in vague impressions and emotions; Others think in pictures, but the images are “blurry”; Some people think primarily in numbers; And then there are spatial thinkers, for whom thoughts are related to each other by a sense of “distance”. All of these metaphors are imperfect, but serve to highlight the different ways people can think. In fact, people are often on a scale, using one form of thinking or another depending on what they’re thinking about. As a designer, you’re going to have to deal with all of them. 1. Embrace the Differences Realizing other people don’t think like you is hard, and often involves a rude awakening. It’s like accidentally seeing a roommate naked. It’s uncomfortable, and everyone wishes things were not as they are; but you just have to get on with your life, now. It’s best if you simply accept that you saw them naked. Holding on to that feeling of awkwardness will lead to difficult communication later. Likewise, you should accept that clients often have a very different idea of what it means to think. Embrace the fact that they see things differently. Realize that their thought processes may yield insights you never dreamed possible. If you go on while feeling as though interacting with them is a chore, they will probably notice;...

The Top 3D JavaScript Libraries For Web Designers

Modern JavaScript is surprisingly powerful. Especially with support from WebGL libraries and SVG/Canvas elements. With the right tools you can build pretty much anything for the web including browser-based games and native applications. Many of the newest groundbreaking features run on 3D, and in this post I’ve curated my list of the best 3D JS libraries currently available for web developers. Three.js There is no doubt that Three.js deserves to be at the top of this list. It can be somewhat complex to learn from scratch but it’s also one of the better 3D libraries out there. It’s managed by a core group and released for free on GitHub. ThreeJS primarily works on canvas elements, SVG elements, and the WebGL library for rendering. Learning the ropes is a challenge and will require at least mid-level JavaScript knowledge. But you can find the complete setup in the Three.js documentation. If you’re serious about doing 3D on the web, this library is for you. It’s not the only choice, but it’s probably the most popular choice for a beginner to start building stuff fast. Babylon.js Another powerful library I like is Babylon.js. This one again relies on WebGL and runs solely in JavaScript. It’s a bit more popular than other libraries but doesn’t have the same reach as Three.js. Still it’s widely regarded as a powerful choice for web developers who want to create browser-based web games. On the homepage you can find a ton of demo previews and tips on how to get started with 3D game design. There’s also a bunch of important links to resources like the GitHub repo and the Babylon JS tutorials. All of those tutorials were designed by the Babylon team, so they’re an excellent place to start learning this library. Cannon.js For something a little off the beaten path check out Cannon.js. This doesn’t push the usual 3D concepts but instead works as a JavaScript-based physics engine for gaming. Canon is meant to load fast so you can render elements quickly on the page. It supports most modern browsers and comes with a powerful API for building your own physics ideas off of this. It works great with Canvas elements and with WebGL apps. The only tricky part is studying the library and getting over the initial learning curve. Take a peek at the GitHub demos page to see how Cannon.js looks in the...

9 amazing logo design trends for 2019

What makes a logo special? Do we judge its effectiveness based on utility? Is its value determined by how well-received it is? If you want your logo to feel remarkable and relevant, you need to keep an eye on how logo design trends are evolving. Predicting which logo design trends will dominate the terrain ahead means appreciating what’s come before them. Now more than ever designers are willing to look at past trends while pushing the boundaries with new styles. In 2019, we’re seeing a fierce appreciation for color, storytelling and design-defying experimentation. The interesting new ways designers are elevating logo design by playing with familiar styles and clever use of color are going to make 2019 an electrifying year in logo design. 9 logo design trends that will be huge in 2019 — 1. Variable logo design
2. New Age geometry
3. Logos that trick the eye
4. Purposeful color
5. Elevated negative space
6. Shift in minimalism
7. Logos with pedigree
8. Overlapping elements
9. Maximizing details 1. Variable logo design Designers are working in an era where brands are hyper-aware of the fact that their logo will be viewed on a multiplicity of platforms. We covered a similar trend last year, but brands are no longer just concerned with how well a logo translates across platforms, they’re also asking how it can help them build a stronger personal connection with different groups of customers. How can my logo speak equally well to millennials and families? Enter, variable logos that adjust depending on which group you’re talking to. In 2019, this trend admonishes any one-size-fits-all approach to logo design. Variable design individualizes the relationship between customer and client because these logos embrace the challenge of adaptability. Specialized iconography, dynamic typography and thoughtful customization help frame genuine connections to an audience’s specific needs. Sulliwan Studio’s logo for Public Space was designed with major brand flexibility in mind. A series of interchangeable pictograms accompany the logo’s standard typography and can be amended to form new logotypes depending on the customer. No matter which production is on and who the audience is, this logo fits perfectly. Via Elena KitayevaRussia’s Perm Opera Ballet Theatre can update their mark, designed by Elena Kitayeva, for different stage productions and...

46 gifts for designers, artists & creatives

There are two types of people in the world: those who treat gift shopping like an Olympic sport, and those who keep a stockpile of gift cards in their desk drawer for every occasion. In the spirit the holidays, we’ll keep it real with you guys. While we take no issue with gift cards (well played TBH), there’s nothing quite like a present that comes from the heart. At 99designs, not only do we know a thing or two about creativity—we also fancy ourselves the first kind of person. (And boy, do we love a Santa’s helper cosplay.) We asked our designer community, our friends and your favorite creators-in-the-wild to give us all their gift ideas. From that, we curated this ultimate gift guide just for you. This puppy is loaded with unequivocally cool things—from unique stocking stuffers to experiential gifts and even furniture(!). It’s big. It’s grand. It’s a little extra, if we do say so ourselves. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one out there. On your marks, get ready, get set… Let’s gift! —   1. Adventure Awaits print Adventure awaits those who seek it, via Furry Little Peach. Up first is the “Adventure Awaits” print by Furry Little Peach, who you might recognize from Instagram or her inspiring Youtube channel. This A3 beauty has been created using archival ink on 100% cotton paper, meaning it won’t fade or wear over time. Combine this with a nice frame, and you’ve got a museum-quality gift that will impress anyone. $65 AUD at Furrylittlepeach.com via Amazon2. The Working Mind and Drawing Hand FLP also recommends a book she just received and loves: The Working Mind and Drawing Hand by Oliver Jeffers. This book contains never-before-published illustrations and art from Jeffers’ own sketchbook. $34.43 at Amazon.com Recommended by: Furry Little Peach Sha’an d’Anthes is Furry Little Peach–an illustrator, exhibiting artist and published author. 3. Fancy-ish luggage Sometimes a utilitarian gift is the best kind of gift, and this bag comes highly recommended for a reason. It allows you to charge multiple devices and keeps your things safe with a built-in lock. Take it with you to your next creative conference, to meetings, wherever. What could be better for a digital nomad designer? $99 at Brookstone.com Everyone loves to upskill, via Superhi.4. Learn to code with Superhi Teach a man to fish and yada yada. It’s empowering to learn something new....

10 Free Invoice Templates for Creatives

Invoicing is a necessary task for independent and freelance creatives. While default invoices can often be underwhelming in terms of design, there are a number of ways to improve them and bring them up to the high standards we creatives set for ourselves. One of these is to use a beautiful free invoice template, tailored toward individuals in the creative industry. From there, it’s quick and easy to customize them to fit your personal brand and desired design language. In turn, it should help to further impress upon clients and improve your overall personal brand. In this article we are going to bring together ten of the most beautiful free invoice templates available for creatives. Your Designer Toolbox
Unlimited Downloads: 500,000+ Web Templates, Icon Sets, Themes & Design Assets
DOWNLOAD NOW Invoice Free Sketch Source This free invoice template for Sketch uses a spacious layout with bold titles and a single primary color. The backside uses an impressive repeating pattern which could easily be customised to fit your personal brand. Invoice Template This invoice template is one of the more simplistic and minimal template designs. Swapping the logo and brand colors for your own would only take minutes and present you with a wonderfully polished design. Invoice Template Free Sketch This beautiful free invoice template is another minimal example which uses an abundance of white space and well-chosen typography alongside a splash of color. Modern Invoice Template This perfectly presented invoice template makes use of the full page width and houses a well-structured and orderly design. The logo and colors are easily editable and allow you to have the invoice customised in minutes. Invoice Free Template This invoice template is one of the most visually impressive with beautiful header gradients and a bold green highlight color. It wouldn’t make for the most printer-friendly option, but in today’s climate the printing of invoices is fast becoming a rare occurrence. Free Branding Identity Another visually impressive option is formed as part of this branding identity set. It uses well spaced content alongside a single primary color and monochrome footer image. Diamond Yellow Invoice This simple grid-based invoice design is very printer-friendly and may suit best those creatives who need to offer paper copies of their...

Checklist: 5 Ways to Improve Your Design Using Pre-Built Websites

You’ve finished a project, you go through it once more, and you find a few odds and ends that need some fixing. There might be even the need for a major improvement. That’s how it should be, but there are also times when a project goes online, and you wish it hadn’t. You finished it in a rush and it looks more like a first draft than a finished piece of work. That’s not a nice feeling to have when you know you could have done better. We’ve put together a checklist of 5 ways to improve your designs using pre-built websites. Be Theme & Its Pre-built Websites Offer a Better Way Do you have any doubts about how pre-built websites can help you? Then, you should absolutely read further. They are not a substitute for your creativity nor do they do the entire project for you. What pre-built websites do is help you to get a project off to a good start. They provide inspiration and get your creative juices flowing. They also help to improve the quality of your designs. Be Theme has a huge library of 390+ pre-built websites, with many more to come, and they can be yours for a one-time cost of $59. These pre-built websites are organized by industry and content type. This makes it easy for you to find the match you need. Better yet, they stay on top of the latest trends, as the following examples aptly demonstrate. Checklist: 5 Ways Pre-Built Websites Will Improve Your Design Am I in sync with this industry’s specific trends? The fashion industry is a good place to start. Typically, fashion-oriented websites are characterized by rich textures. They have rich colors and an overabundance of bold visuals. Not this year. Today’s fashion websites follow a trend that includes the use of black and white sketches. They feature plenty of white space and minimalistic menus. Be Theme’s designers can be counted on to keep pace with changing trends. They’ve just launched a new series of fashion templates. Take a look. BeModel2 BeWeddingDresses BeTailor2 Do I know for certain what NEEDS to be on the Homepage? Wants versus needs can make or break the design of a homepage, any other page, or an entire website for that matter. Attempting to distinguish between the two is an ongoing challenge. The fact that homepage design involves a subtle mix of art and science doesn’t make things any easier. This is given the importance of creating the right structure for a specific...

5 Trends of Voice UI Design

At its core, the concept of interaction was always about communication. Human-Computer Interaction has never been about graphical user interfaces, which is why Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) are the future of user interface design. An interface is just a medium people use to interact with a system—whether it’s a GUI, VUI or something else. So Why is VUI So Important? Two reasons: Firstly, conversational interfaces are so fascinating because conversation is a form of communication everyone understands. It’s a natural means of interaction. People associate voice communication with other people rather than with technology. Users don’t need to learn to interpret any symbology or new terminology (the language of GUI), they can use English (or any other native language) to operate with a system. It doesn’t mean that users don’t have to learn how to use a system but the learning curve be reduced significantly. Secondly, user expectations are changing. According to Statista, 39% of millennials use voice search. This audience is ready to be the early adopters of VUI systems. Top 5 VUI Trends When it comes to designing VUI, voice interaction represents the biggest UX challenge for designers since the birth of the original iPhone. But the great news is that the most fundamental principles of UI design that we use when creating products with GUI are still applicable to VUI design. Below you can find a few trends that will shape VUI design in next decades. 1. VUI That Builds Trust Trust helps to build a bridge between a person and a machine. If trust is absent, users will be unlikely to interact with a particular voice user interface. The importance of the valid outcome (VUI should give the person understanding that s/he will receive exactly what s/he requested). It’s possible to achieve this goal by focusing on the following things: Improving the accuracy of speech recognition (more sophisticated NLP algorithms). Focusing on understanding the user’s intent (a reason for interacting in the first place). When users interact with a system, they have a particular problem they want to solve, and the goal of the designer is to understand what this problem is. Providing meaningful error messages. Crafting contextually driven flows. While it’s impossible to predict all commands that users might ask the system, designers need to at least design a user flow that is...

Foundation 6.5 Released

After an extended wait, Zurb have finally released the much anticipated version 6.5 of its popular Foundation framework. (This is in place of the originally intended 6.4.4 release.) So, what has changed? Well, this is not a major release so we’re not getting CSS Grid yet, but the changelog is pretty long. The folks behind this release have grouped the changes into 3 categories: improved stability, improved accessibility, and improved browser support. What this means is that there are lot of bug fixes, but not so much in the way of features. There are also a lot of fixes to the documentation. But that’s not to say that’s a bad thing, in fact, it’s a very good thing. A few changes might result in changes to the appearance of your work so it is worth checking First of all, there are no breaking changes and 6.5 is fully compatible with previous versions. A few changes might result in changes to the appearance of your work so it is worth checking. But the good news is that many of the fixes are to correct unexpected behaviour. Work has been done on dynamically created components, to ensure they initialize correctly, and an issue with older browsers handling breakpoints badly has been improved. Support for smaller font sizes is also improved. At the heart of Foundation is its XY Grid, and this release sees some very welcome improvements, including fixes for some slightly dodgy behaviour; a vertical frame will now take the full height, and grid frames now get the vertical scrollbar they should. The Abide form validation plugin has been improved to allow for escaped characters in URLs, and a11y attributes will be set automatically on form fields, labels, and on errors. There have been accessibilty improvements in all the menu plugins, too, with accessibility best practices being applied to other components as well. Possibly the biggest improvement on the Javascript front is that not only is Foundation’s Javascript now provided as CommonJS, ES Modules and ES6 bundles, it is distributed by default as a UMD bundle. This means you can import Foundation in any Javascript environment, including Node.js, with no transpilation necessary. the point of using a framework like Foundation, is so that you don’t need to peak behind the curtain Many of the changes in this release will probably not jump out at most users of Foundation, but a lot of work has gone into behind the...

File Sharing is Caring: Best Ways to Share Files with Clients

As a graphic designer, half of your workday can feel like it’s taken up struggling to find a way to share big files with your clients. If you’re creating large promotional materials, website wireframes, e-books or video content of any kind, your files are probably very bulky and many traditional ways to transfer a quick word doc won’t work for you. If you’re constantly search for better file sharing solutions, we’ve got some suggestions for you to try. The suggestions below are geared toward designers, creators, and anyone who works with large file types. 6 Fast, Secure File Sharing Solutions
Upload to a shared Drive space At this point there are a handful of different “drive” style spaces where you and your client can use your email clients or a similar pathway to login to a shared cloud-based space. The problem with these Drive folders is that they are more limited on space than you might realize. As a designer, your files could outgrow a space like this, at which point you will either have to pay up or start deleting valuable files. Use your internal chat system If you communicate with your client via an internal chat system or chat software, you can send files pretty easily. Most chat systems allow for drag-and-drop from your internal storage, Dropbox-style storage space, or wherever you keep your files for yourself. The caveat to using most chat systems’ own file transfer capabilities is that most chat systems limit the file size that they’re willing to transfer and some can’t support video files at all. You can zip together what you can, but in the end – it will be necessary for you to upgrade if your files get too big. As an alternative, you can also easily insert links to files uploaded to Dropbox without any size limitations using the Dropbox desktop or mobile clients other than the quota limits on your Dropbox account. Share access to your own storage space Why go through the hassle of sending files at all? Store your files in the cloud and give your client a secure password or point of access to the space. This way you only upload files once. This can be done in many ways. If you’re storing your files somewhere internally and you want your client to be able to login securely, you can give them a password vault account. This way, they’ll never see your password or have external access to your hosting space and when you’re ready to cut...

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08 Dec 2018