Resource Centre

A carefully curated collection of articles, books, tools and galleries.

Topics for 2016 include visual trends, graphic design, strategy, creativity and inspiration; web design, development and seo; email marketing and copywriting; marketing, advertising and social media. If you have a resource you'd like us to consider adding to the list, email it to us or if you're interested in adding a resources module like this to your website, let us know.

 

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Pantone hopes its color of the year will improve our gloomy mood

By Anne Quito

The time has come to put away 2016’s pink and blue. Pantone announced today (Dec. 8), that it has chosen a “tangy yellow-green” shade called “Greenery” as the color of the year for 2017.

The mythic color standards company says it selected the bright, natural color as a counterpoint to the dark malaise caused by the murky political climate around the world. “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone’s color consulting arm. “Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”

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The Design Process

By Pablo Stanley

When I had just moved to San Francisco, I was instantly intimidated by all the cool phrases my colleagues used. “Damn, these guys must know a lot,” I thought. I had been a designer for a long time but I felt like a noob around the UX experts. If I wanted to succeed, I had to learn the language?—?communicate like a pro! Then I realized most of them were just in a jargon-measuring contest––they were just as ignorant as me.

If you ever feel lost in the sea of articles from design authorities or design teams, not knowing exactly whose process is the right one or what to make of all those terms they use––know that we’re all figuring out stuff as we go. We just haven’t been able to create a consistent way to talk about our work. The language and process you learn in one company will have to be unlearned when you switch jobs (so you can learn the new, more streamlinedone). Have you noticed that when you get interviewed for a design position, one of the requests we always make is that you “describe the design process at your previous company”? That’s because we want to see what can we copy and apply to our own process.

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Read the article at thedesignteam.io

Behind the Brand Refresh: Olapic

Growing businesses often outgrow their logo. That’s exactly why visual commerce platform and social media aficionados Olapic, chose to refresh theirs. Here’s how they did it.

Why rebrand?

“We pioneered an industry that helps brands put their consumers forth as effective brand ambassadors,” says Rachel Meranus, Chief Marketing Officer at Olapic. In six years, Olapic has gone from serving small-and medium-sized ecommerce companies to global enterprise clients across different industries — and with that growth and the arrival of more competitors, Meranus and her team saw the need for a brand evolution.

“While our brand did a really good job reflecting who we were in the early days, it was time to put forth a new look, feel, and voice that was more professional and sophisticated in nature — a look that could hold its own with some of these major global brands that we’re currently working with,” she says. With the new brand, Olapic wanted to elevate its voice in the marketplace and focus on being the authority in all things visual content.

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Read the article at moo.com

5 Design Jobs That Won't Exist In The Future

By John Brownlee

Organ designers, chief drone experience designers, cybernetic director. Those are some of the fanciful new roles that could be created by the global design industry in the next few years.

But what about current design roles? How will they favor over the next 15 years? Will every company by 2030 have a chief design officer, or will they all go extinct? Should a generation of creatives who grew up worshipping Apple's Jonathan Ive put all their eggs in the industrial design basket?

We talked to a dozen design leaders and thinkers from companies such as Frog, Artefact, and Ideo to find out which design jobs could die out in the next 15 years, and which could grow. There's no empirical evidence behind these picks, so they shouldn't be taken too seriously. Still, they represent the informed opinions of people who get paid to think about the future.


Design jobs that will die:

  • UX Designers
  • Visual Designers
  • Design Researchers
  • Traditional Industrial Designers
  • Chief Design Officers

Design jobs that will grow:

  • Virtual Interaction Designers
  • Specialist Material Designers
  • Algorithmic/AI Design Specialists
  • Post-Industrial Designers
  • Design Strategists
  • Freelance Designers

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Read the article at fastcodesign.com

The Future of Design (and how to prepare for it)

A handy guide to navigating what's coming up next in the design world. 

By  and 

In trying to figure out what the future of design will look like, we’re at a bit of a loss.

Technology is changing at a rapid pace. In five years, mobile platforms have gone from being an emerging part of a company’s strategy to the focal point of its future. So who’s to say when virtual reality and automation become more prominent? Quickly-evolving tools like these and a shifting playing field make it almost impossible to predict the future, because the gadget that will drive our lives in 10 years probably hasn’t even been invented yet. And then there is the matter of divergent career paths. The age-old standard of working your way up the ladder at a single company for the duration of your life has been disrupted by career professionals blending skills that were once thought to be mutually exclusive — like design and computer programming — to make entirely new hybrid careers in anticipation of the market needs of tomorrow.

So that is why we’ve reached out to visionaries and experts across the design world to get their take on what the field will look like in the next 10 years when the very definition of the designer will begin to loosen up and designers will soon be called on by companies to re-think the entire way businesses function, from how teams collaborate to how corporations are structured. 

It’s setting up to be a golden age, one filled with wonderfully-wild new possibilities (full-body virtual reality suits that generate real-life senses, anyone?) and career opportunities. Worried? Don’t be. We asked each participant to give us a glimpse into how we can prepare for the world ahead.

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Read the article at 99u.com

New Film Offers An In-Depth Look At How Graphic Design Has Changed Since 1950s

By Yap Yen

Directed and produced by Briar Levit, the film will have interviews with several leading figures from graphic design, including Ellen LuptonMalcom Garrett and Adrian Shaughnessy

The trailer teases at how much has changed, with various designers discussing the hands-on construction of pages, from the time-consuming processes of hot metal type to photo-typesetting and now, automatically done using computer software.
 

Here is the official trailer for Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production, a film that gives an in-depth look at the huge changes that took place in graphic design from the 1950s through to the 1990s, from linecaster to photocomposition and paste-up PDF. 

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Read the article at designtaxi.com

How New Yorker Cartoonists Generate 500 Ideas a Week

By 

"The trick is to not wait for the moments of inspiration, but to be working and let those moments happen while you’re working."

Every Tuesday the 50 or so freelance cartoonists for the “New Yorker” submit their weekly batch of drawings for publication consideration. Some email them in and others travel to the magazine’s office at One World Trade Center to personally hand in physical copies. But all of the cartoonists have one thing in common: They’re facing terrible odds of success.
 

Each cartoonist submits up to 10 sketches, so there can be 500 entries competing for approximately 12 spots in the magazine. “On a good week, you might sell one of your batch of 10,” says cartoonist Matt Diffee. “That is 90 percent rejection.”

This is the same problem every creative faces—on steroids: tight deadlines, a crazy competitive environment, a discerning audience, and uncertain pay. If a cartoonist fails to impress, he will miss out on a high three- to low four-figure payday.

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Read the article at 99u.com

The Merits of Giving Up on Your Ideas

By 

Don't judge your ideas through a lens filled with beat-tired late nights, sacrificed paychecks, and all the other trademarks of building something from scratch. Instead, view them as investments, so you can better gauge when to move on from a loser.

Read the article at 99u.com

Branding & Corporate Identity

Suppose someone told you that you have 30 minutes to create a perfectly-cooked Beef Wellington.

If you’ve never heard about it before, a Beef Wellington is a filet of beef tenderloin that’s carefully assembled with liver pâté, mushrooms and onions, then wrapped in puff pastry. Yeah, you’re going to need a recipe. And once you have that, you’ve got to make sure that the ingredients are just right.

Creating brand communications pieces is kind of like cooking such a multilayered dish. You’re constantly going to need a set of rules, instructions, and a complete set of assets (ingredients) to make sure that the flavors stay true. That’s where the brand style guide comes in: it provides a clear handbook to share your brand’s visual symbols, value story and communication strategy.

I’m going to walk you through how to navigate it. In the meantime, here’s a handy checklist you can use to get your branding materials in order once you finish reading.
 

Style guides are not just for corporate brands.

Your personal brand can benefit from establishing consistency, and this document helps achieve just that.

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

Confessions of a part-time type designer

By Terri Stone

Creative director Bruno Sellés is a co-founder of the renowned Barcelona design firm Vasava. In his twenty-plus years as a graphic designer and art director, he has been responsible for many projects, including covers for Variety, Computer Arts, and Nature magazines; packaging for Hennessy; and hundreds of graphics for Nike apparel. Less well known is that Sellés is also a typeface designer. He recently spoke to Create about that side of his career, including his advice for aspiring type designers.

Create: Do you have formal training in type design?

Bruno Sellés: I am self-taught in mostly everything. I learned from my dad, who was a design teacher, and I’ve worked with many talented people who specialize in type design. I get obsessed with things and I manage to get the knowledge I need to make it work. I’ve spent endless hours reading, drawing, observing, and looking online for technical info.

I did start very early. My first font was designed in the end of the 1990s. [Sellés was born in 1976.] I’m really embarrassed by it now. It was a learning; you have to walk the first steps of the ladder before going up. I gave it away for free as a download.

The most recent fonts I’ve released are more professional. They are more complex fonts with OpenType features and character sets that cover more languages. 

It took a long time to get there. I was designing fonts for the last six years without releasing anything. I would do it, give it a rest, take it up again and revise it. I don’t work full-time on typeface design. I have to find my spare moments to do it.

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Read the article at create.adobe.com

What do art directors want?

By Jenny Carless

Across the spectrum of print and online publications, art directors rely on illustrators not only to create beautiful and attention-getting images, but also to help impart information and express complex ideas. Editorial illustrations bring stories to life and entice readers to engage with content. It’s bread-and-butter work for many illustrators, and many find it extremely satisfying. The first step? Getting the attention of an art director.

THE MAGIC OF ILLUSTRATION

Art directors and illustrators work together to craft the best possible visual to tell a story or illuminate a concept. There’s a magazine or newspaper out there to suit just about every illustration style, and publications frequently play with many varied aesthetics. For instance, think of Sierra magazine, and you may think of stunning nature photography. But Sierra also tackles conceptual political and environmental stories that don't lend themselves to photos.

Sierra art director Tracy Cox gives one example of a tricky concept he turned to an illustrator to express: a recent story about the United States’ penchant for touting its environmental progress while at the same time being one of the world’s largest exporters of natural gas, oil, and coal.

On the other hand, sometimes he wants a representational illustration.

“For a more mainstream story—for instance, the best sushi to eat and help the environment—we may hire someone to create beautiful pictures of fish,” Cox says.

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Read the article at create.adobe.com

16 Famous Designers Show Us Their Favorite Notebooks

By John Brownlee

Designers from Ikea, Pentagram, Ideo, and more tell us what makes a great notebook.

Sure, digital design apps might be finally coming into their own, but there's still nothing better than pen and paper. Here at Co.Design, we're notebook fetishists, so we recently asked a slew of designers about their favorites—and whether they would mind giving us a look inside.

It turns out they didn't. Across multiple disciplines, almost every designer we asked was thrilled to tell us about their notebook of choice and give us a look at how they use it. Our operating assumption going in was that most designers would probably be pretty picky about their notebooks, but this turned out not to be true: While Muji and Moleskine notebooks were the common favorites, some even preferred loose paper.

But what makes the notebooks of designers special isn't so much what notebook they use, as how they use them. Below, enjoy a peek inside the working notebooks of some of the most prolific designers today—as well as their thoughts on what makes a great one.

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Read the article at fastcodesign.com

The 9 Graphic Design Trends You Need to Be Aware of In 2016

By

More than the patterns that emerge from the Popular feeds on Dribbble and Behance, design trends can be a mysterious thing.

They’re influenced by culture and media, past and present, technology, fashion, and other industries.

Madeleine Morley at The American Institute for Graphic Arts (AIGA) says:

“A trend never simply emerges for a single year and then disappears in a puff of smoke. Instead, an aesthetic becomes popular gradually, even mysteriously, over time before fizzling out slowly without much notice at all.”

The design trends we’ll be covering here didn’t magically materialize in late 2015; trends take time to peak, and you’ve likely seen many of them in one form or another during the last couple years.

But even if you’re not one to follow the trends, as a designer, it’s smart to be aware of the shifts going on in your industry—if only to avoid them before they become overused, or to have the opportunity to twist them into something new and interesting.

While forecasting trends with any certainty is a tricky business, many members of the design industry seem to have developed a consensus as to what styles and approaches are most likely to take off in 2016.

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

16 Images Inspired by Pantone’s 2016 Colors of the Year: Rose Quartz & Serenity

This December, Pantone changed up its Color of the Year tradition with not one, but two hues for 2016: Rose Quartz, a sophisticated pale pink, and Serenity, a delicate light blue.

This calming duo is Pantone’s response to the increasing stress of modern life — an encouragement to slow down and soften, but also an acknowledgment of changes in our society. These shades traditionally symbolize masculinity and femininity, but in a changing landscape of traditions and identity, Pantone urges us to find new meaning.

While these shades are most reminiscent of springtime flower buds and sweet sundresses, their combination is reflective of a stunning sunset at any time year. Explore some of our favorite Rose Quartz and Serenity images below, then take a look at our Color of the Year collection to see 75 more.

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See the images at shutterstock.com

23 Gift Ideas for Designers, Writers, & Creative People

by Sharon McElwee

From Photoshop throw pillows to the newest tools of the trade, our 2015 gift guide has just the thing(s) for your favorite creatives.

Some of these are pretty awesome, so you might want to pick up an extra one for yourself. Who says you can’t put something in your own stocking, too? :)

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Read the article at millo.co

Profile: Etsy’s Julia Hoffman on Setting & Leading the Creative Direction

What is it you’re after? Maybe it’s a roast dinner on a plate on a ring, or a headband made entirely of eyes, or it may well be a taxidermy chicken doing a handstand; whatever you’re looking for, chances are you may be able to find it on Etsy.

So, when I was told I had the opportunity to speak with their Creative Director, Julia Hoffmann, I jumped at the chance. After gaining her design chops at the likes of PentagramCPB, and MoMA, Julia’s decision to move on was cemented by the ‘Hand Made Portraits’ video series. She now finds herself at the creative helm of a globally recognised brand.

First thing’s first: what’s your backstory?

I run the global brand design studio at Etsy. I started two years ago when I moved back to Berlin. I was born in Frankfurt, Germany, but lived in the states for 16 years. I moved there in 1999 to start my career, went to school and studied graphic design. I worked at agencies and design studios and then was the Creative Director at the MoMA for five years – that’s when I made the move to in-house.

My husband and I were sick of New York and said, “What are we going to do?” I was six months pregnant and we decided to move to Berlin. “We can have that as our home base and travel around the world!” We thought. Literally, two months later, we arrived in Berlin. A week after that, I started working in Etsy. So our travelling plans obviously fell through…

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Read the article on MOO.com

Design Principles FTW

Design Principles FTW is a collection of the world's most successful Design Principles. Read them, use them and let them inspire you to create your own sets of principles.

Design Principles FTW is a free resource for the design community. It's maintained and curated by Gabriel Svennerberg and Marcela Machuca.

The purpose of the site is to provide information and inspiration for anyone involved in designing digital products. Whether you're an established professional or aspire to become one, we hope that you'll find something of value.

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See the collection at designprinciplesftw.com

Top 10 Websites: Graphic Design Tools + More

This month’s  “Top 10″ websites for designers is full of sites that either explore, enhance or function as graphic design tools. You’ll also find a wealth of design principles from the greats, a site for a cool new typeface, and a couple websites that are just for fun. 

Read the article at howdesign.com

The 3 traits of Digital Agency Designers, and Why Having a bit of all Three Traits are Important.

By 

1. The Trender

The upside: Trenders are typically great layout, production and UI designers and their aesthetics are top notch. They are always up-to-date on not only the latest typefaces and hottest button UI styles; but also street fashion, music and are often "gadget geeks". Trenders make great art directors later in their career, bringing their visual sense of style into large budget photo and video shoots. They are detail focused and will take the time to polish their designs to pixel perfect. There is always a strong “cool factor” to their final design. Their work is typically in very high demand for millennial focused brands and media.

The downside: Sometimes Trenders can focus so much on aesthetics and details of their craft that they lose the message and proper tone for the target demographic they are designing for. They have tendency to over complicate a user experience in some cases.

Trenders take pride in designing for style and the cool factor.

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Read the article at linkedin.com/pulse

10 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

By 

The architect Le Corbusier is a great example of how the creative mind does things.

He shunned the regular working day, choosing instead to split his day into his own regime, working alone on his own ideas, drawings and contemplations in the morning, and then collaborating with his team of skilled employees and draughtsmen in the afternoon.

Through years of work, he knew that this was the way he produced his best designs, and woe betide anyone who got in his way – if you were a minute late for the afternoon meeting, you were severely reprimanded. He was then home by early evening, ready for some relaxation and socializing with family and friends.

Le Corbusier know what worked for him, and exhibited a number of traits that are frequently seen in highly creative people. He chose to design his life around the creative process so he could get the most out of it, but also understood that he could not do it alone, and knew that thought, rest, and play were as important for creativity as work.

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

10 Best Email Signature Design Case Studies [With Tips On How To Create Your Own]

By 

They say first impressions are important, but what about last impressions?

If you conduct business via email, your email signature is often one of the final points of communication a consumer has with your service/brand.

A good email signature is simple, informative, professional, and puts the information in the forefront. But, this doesn’t mean your signature has to look dull or boring. There are many ways to get the most out of your email signature, so let’s run over 10 easy tips and look at somebeautiful examples.

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

Most Brilliant Print Ads

By 

Break through the advertising clutter with a solid concept and creative design.

We are constantly exposed to advertising in our daily lives, be it online, in print, on billboards or through our television screens. In fact, research suggests we are exposed to, on average, 362 ads per day (not including brand exposures) but only 3 per cent of these will make an impression. That’s just twelve ads a day that actually engage us.

So how do you break through the advertising clutter and make a memorable advertisement for your audience or target market? First come up with a solid conceptand then consider your design. Attention to layout and presentation will help your ad get noticed; but attention to concept and creativity will help your ad be remembered.

Here are fifty print ads that are creatively brilliant. They have a solid concept topped off with great design.

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

How Web Designers & Developers Work Best Together

By 

The process of becoming a designer and developer can be excruciating and quite exhausting. Each of these fields has such a depth of study with a lot to earn. And becoming proficient in just design or development can be hard enough. Often times it is easier to pair up and work with a designer/developer for your own projects.

But what are the easiest methods for handling such a relationship? I want to share just a few ideas on how designers and developers can work best together. If each person at least has an understanding of what the other needs to do, it will become a much simpler experience. These two job types should be guiding each other down the path towards creating a wonderful final product.

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Read the article at webdesignledger.com

MOO’s Keri Lambden discusses Designing Delightful Experiences

It’s often said that your website is like a shop window into your business. Just as you would design your shop to offer a comfortable space and great experience, the same applies to your online visitors too. Creating a delightful environment online means that people will enjoy the time they spend on your website and ensure they keep coming back. That’s what our lead UX designer, Keri Lambden, does for us, and wants you to do it too.

At MOO we combine the two disciplines of UI and UX together. UI is focused on interface design, stuff like the colours of the website, the buttons, the placement of the buttons and so on. UX is about the user’s experience. So, when they go to MOO, how do they feel when they get there? Are we helping them accomplish their goals? That’s the most basic explanation, but it’s much more than that.

Our main focus is our customers: who they are, what their goals are and what they expect us to do for them. We’re more focused on the digital aspect of the product, not necessarily the printed product. We look at the experience that the person has when they’re creating their product.

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Read the article at moo.com

50 Brilliant Billboard Ads That Will Stop You In Your Tracks (And What You Can Learn From Them)

by 

With digital ads taking over our lives, it’s easy to start questioning how long other forms of advertising are going to last.

Oh, rest assured: billboards are going nowhere. They are alive, well and getting increasingly creative.

Here’s a scenario: you’re cruising on the highway, pretending to be focused on your driving, blasting some nostalgic hits as loud as it gets. It’s going to take some serious interruption to steal your attention. All of a sudden there it is: an irresistible, overwhelmingly cheesy pizza the size of your car. You *suddenly* remember that you are starving. (Are you really?). Next up you’re looking for an exit number, address, website, coordinates…something! You really do need to get your hands on that pizza. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the magnetic power of a brilliant billboard ad.

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

How to Pick the Right Colors for Your Brand

By Ashley Hefnawy

Composition, color, and light are just a few of the factors that come into play when our brains evaluate something visual. Every detail has some influence, depending on the context, on our love of design, art, and imagery. Color plays an especially important role, however — it’s one of the first things our brains process when we register an image. So it’s no wonder companies put so much thought into the colors they choose to represent their brand.

Whether you’re working on a major rebrand or just getting started at a new company, the impact that color has on your logo and brand guidelines can make a huge difference. In order to understand how an audience will see your brand, you might want to first consider the way your viewers will interpret different colors.

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Read the article at shutterstock.com

Four Examples of Great Interactive Annual Reports

As more companies begin to go beyond print-only and compliment their annual reporting by presenting this information online, one of the first questions that may come up is "How do you make an interactive annual report?"

Many companies—from Facebook to Proctor & Gamble—host their annual reports online in straight-forward, archival pdf format. This direct strategy makes annual reports easy-to-download and simple to search; however, going with the pdf format limits what can be added with ease in the future and many times it doesn't taking advantage of the Web's interactive capabilities.

Some innovative companies incorporate online technologies to create engaging presentations of their annual report content, often creatively using responsive designs and embedding video. This trend is growing. According to Savage Brands, "electronic/online annual report budgets increased 30% over 2010," and "online tracking of [annual] reports has increased 60% between 2008 and 2012; 80% of those that track do so to improve the follow year's budget."

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Read the article at blog.tbhcreative.com

How to create a design style guide: 25 pro tips

By Paul Wyatt

A style guide shouldn't read like the work of a control freak, but nor should it be vague and ambiguous. Paul Wyatt explains how to strike the right balance.

When handing over a creative project, most agencies for freelancers include a document known as a style guide. This not only adds an additional air of professionalism to the work but rationalises to your client the creative choices you made and that there really was method behind the madness of the creative journey you took them on. Here are 25 tips for ensuring your style guide does the job right in ensuring others do it right.

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Read the article at creativebloq.com

24 pro tips for creating inspirational mood boards

Mood boards can be a great way to convey your design idea, win pitches and get an early sign-off. Follow our expert advice on how to create them.

Here we explore mood boards – what they are, how can they help, and how you make one. When trying to convey a design idea, moods, feelings and fluffy stuff like that are hard to communicate. So professional designers will often use mood boards: a collection of textures, images and text related to a design theme as a reference point.

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Read the article at http://www.creativebloq.com

Design Resources

Are you looking for the ultimate list for design resources online?

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect pattern, the finest font, and the coolest color combo. What if you could bookmark one page that contained all of the design resources and references you’ll need?

That’s this page. Don’t worry, Princess, you won’t have to kiss any frogs here. On this page, you’ll find the best resources on the web (and we’ll continue to update this list and keep it fresh). Whether you’re looking for podcasts or image inspiration, YouTube videos or design communities, we’ve got you covered. We scoured the ‘net to find the best and brightest resources available.

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

Color Theory

Remember back to your early school days, when having a 64-count box of Crayola crayons to choose from was the ultimate in creative freedom?

Well, as a designer in the digital era, you certainly don’t have to stick to the colors available from paints, inks, or other pigments, though there’s a lot we can learn from fine art’s approach to color. In fact, the human eye can see millions of different hues — but sometimes, choosing even just two or three to use from those millions can seem like a daunting task.

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

For Designers: Awesome Icons To Use For Free By ‘First-Class Designers’

By Valerie Chang

Need icons for your web projects? IconStore is just what you need. 

Touting to stock ‘free icon packs by first-class designers’, you’ll be spoilt for choice at the variety that’s available.  From full colored graphics to minimalist icons made from thin lines, each icon pack is free for use without attribution. 

 

Read the article at designtaxi.com

A designers guide to creating logo files

So you’ve designed a logo and your clients agreed the design too. Excellent! Now we save and send the file and we’re done? Not quite…

If you want to do a professional job, there’s a little more work you need to do.

The logo will be used in different situations. Be it large or small, black or white, print or web. Whatever the situation, as a professional designer you will want to do all you can to ensure it looks good in every one of them.

You will need to send a number of different files, each intended for a different purpose, so it’s important to know what files you’re sending and why.

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Read the article at medium.com

How mobile photography has shifted what pics your customers want to see (and 5 on-trend tips)

by Rebecca Swift

Today we’re in an all-consuming visual interchange, where visuals rule as the language of the 21st century. Photos, graphics and videos are now integral to our daily life, led by smartphones, and fueled by the changing way we consume and interact with media.

The main catalysts for change have come through social sites and apps such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram where consumers spare time endlessly scrolling and browsing photos and videos.

As a result, expectations for how images look has shifted, and consumers now seek out authenticity in images, by way of photos that feel real, relatable and regional.

Brands and content marketers globally are taking note. Campaigns are becoming more authentic and real, “street casting” is used more often (as opposed to hiring professional models) and more photographers are shooting with a reportage-style candid aesthetic.

What does this mean for brand imagery?

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Read the article at istockphoto.com

6 Design Tips for Marketers

As a marketing designer at AddThis, I work with designers as well as with non-designers. Sometimes with the overload of requests, I can’t get to everything, which means my non-design co-workers have to create their own images or landing pages. Because I know others out there may be in similar positions, I put together a list of best practices for all the non-designers who may need to design something on their own every now and then.

Here are 6 things you should keep in mind while working on your next design project:

Typography Fundamentals

Typography plays a big role in creating visual hierarchy and contrast. One quick tip is to use multiples sizes. Pick your lowest font size first and go from there. If your smallest is 12px, which is the body copy, then use 24px for the heading and 48px or 72px for the title.

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Read the article at addthis.com

5 Striking Trends in Web Typography

By: Patrick McNeil

Web typography is a hot topic that demonstrates how a very old dog can certainly learn some new tricks. While much of the buzz surrounds the technical developments of type online, there are ever changing stylistic trends as well. The technical aspects are indeed important, and at times drive the creative side of things. But as any technology matures, it goes from being a novelty that’s acceptable in almost any form to a more mature state in which its usage grows more sophisticated. Web typography has certainly gone through this change. The initial overuse of certain fonts has led designers to develop more creative type solutions. 

Here I will present and discuss a variety of trends at work in the realm web typography. These are visual trends, presented void of the technology used to make them happen. From the designer’s perspective, each choice is more about what each typeface communicates and less about how the website was built. The creative application of web type is nothing new, but as with any design fundamental, it’s being applied in unique and interesting ways today...

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Read the article at howdesign.com

50 Of The Most Beautiful Twitter Banners Of 2015 So Far

By 

Do you like free stuff? I think the better question is, who doesn’t like free stuff?

The next question: do you realize you have a plethora of free advertisement right at your fingertips? Social media gives you the option to plaster your brand all over your page and completely customize your look. You have profile pictures, headers, and banners galore, but are you utilizing them to their full potential?

Let’s talk Twitter, and how you can customize your banner to best suit your brand and get the most bang for your (free) buck.

See the gallery at designschool.canva.com

71 Brilliant, Clever and Inspirational Ads That Will Change The Way You Think

By 

Eye-catching advertising is a must when you’re trying to capture even the slightest sliver of attention during today’s digital 140 characters or less attention span world.

Finding the right elements to make your product or brand stand out in a sea of sell, sell, sell can be difficult to say the least. We’ve curated some of the best attention-grabbing campaigns to  inspire you when you’re tasked with creating your own advertisements and marketing materials.

The 71 brilliant advertisements featured in this article represent some agencies and designers that have flexed their creative muscles to get it right. As you can see, the tactics that these creative teams used to deliver their messages varied greatly, but they have at least one thing in common – stellar storytelling skills.

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Read the complete article at designschool.canva.com

50 Creative Facebook Covers to Inspire You (2015 Edition)

By 

Imagine you wake up one morning to a phone call where somebody informs you that you have been given a small free billboard.

On this billboard you can put anything you like; showcase your latest artistic creation, throw up a link to your blog, make a bold statement, whatever your heart desires. Now, let’s step away from this hypothetical situation a little bit so that I can tell you that you have in fact been given your own personal billboard. In fact, we all have.

Your Facebook page cover photo is a small but powerful tool when it comes to promoting yourself, your services or your business. It’s the first thing seen by anybody who visits your Facebook page and you have the power to decide whether they just scroll past it or stop and have a proper look. Have a look at these creative examples to see how you can make the most out of your Facebook cover!

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

Your Brand Needs a Visual Style Guide: Here’s How to Create One

By 

One of the most essential documents any business can have is a brand style guide, yet many don’t have one.


Why are style guides so important? They ensure brand consistency throughout any collateral you produce – no matter who created it.

Style guides (or brand bibles) contain all the necessary information to create whatever your company needs. Whether it be a website, advertisement, internal memo, or whatever else, this little document will make your life a breeze. So, if these guides are so important, why isn’t everyone on the bandwagon?

The biggest reason is time. Style guides don’t just magically appear. They take time and effort to create, and time is a precious thing. But how much time does it take to explain to a designer how much space you need around your logo at all times? And how they’re not supposed to change any of the colors? What about finding every font you use and having to relay that to them as well? Not to mention any iconography you’ve got circulating. Then when you hire a second designer since your business is booming, you’ll have to explain it all over again.

Do yourself a favor. Create a style guide now and save yourself a lot of time and frustration down the road.

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Read the complete article at designschool.canva.com

Illustrating Uncle Ivan

In the early 90’s I left illustration because I didn’t take it seriously enough. Actually nobody took anything seriously back then — remember MC Hammer? I didn’t think illustration could provide a stable career so I went into design and art direction. But as much as I enjoy advertising and design, an outright fondness for illustration brought me back to it as a fulltime job.

Like me, my work is uncomplicated. I learned very early in ad school to create simple concepts and I strive for that with my illustration work. My philosophy is to deliver an idea as simply as possible, whether it’s an editorial spot for Wall Street Journal, a TV commercial for Vodacom or packaging for the Natural Confectionery Company.

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Read the complete interview at blog.hightail.com

10 Exceptional Promotion Design Projects

By: Natalie Boyd

Over the years of HOW’s Promotion & Marketing Design Awards, we have seen some brilliant and stunning work. The multitude of talent represented in the competition is mind-boggling, and we are proud to showcase the winning designs.

See the award winners at howdesign.com

New Logo for Toronto Raptors by Sid Lee

RIP goes the Dinosaur

Established in 1995 as an expansion team, the Toronto Raptors are the only Canadian professional basketball team in the NBA, playing in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors’ best years came during the late 1990s and early 2000s when Vince Carter was their star player. After plenty of dubious seasons, the team is back at the top of its division with a current 25-12 record. This past December, the Raptors announced a new logo that they will begin using in the 2015 – 16 season, designed by local firm Sid Lee, who were also responsible for the “We The North” campaign launched during last season’s playoffs.

Although the Raptors’ primary logo is the raptor dribbling a basketball, almost anywhere you look it’s the alternate ball-and-claw logo that is being used the most. It’s no surprise. In part because it’s a much simpler and efficient icon and in part because a dinosaur in a jersey and shorts dribbling a basketball is stupid. I bet it’s sold great as merchandise but, really, look at it. Nothing says fierce like a steroid-pumped dinosaur with shoes that have holes for its claws. Point being: moving away from that logo is a good thing, and creating something that ties in with the more aggressive and street-wise We The North campaign is a smart approach.

From the reactions I’ve read online, the logo hasn’t been too well received and the main complaint is that it looks too much like the Brooklyn Nets’ logo, because it has a basketball with type in a circle around it. My disdain for the Nets logo is well documented, so no point in rehashing old stuff. What I will say is that the Raptors logo is far better than the Nets. Mostly because there is at least an idea behind it. And it’s a good one, building on the legacy of the team’s logo over the years and its name. There is no need to show you a dinosaur. We’ve seen the dinosaur handle that ball for years. Now we only see the effect a dinosaur would have on a basketball. It would rip it. I think it’s a great logo that works perfectly with the name and is an even better evolution of the existing alternate logo, removing the actual claws that you still “see” implied in the new one. We don’t need to see a raptor either, we can imagine it — thanks mostly to Jurassic Park. While the execution is a little simplistic — those torn edges could be more convincing — the approach is very right. The typography around the ball is a welcome change from overwrought and spiked sports typography.

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Read the review at underconsideration.com

Insights from your favorite designers

Campfires.io brings you tips, insights, war stories, and more from your favorite designers. They've interviewed a ton of popular and well-known digital designers, including Jacob Cass (founder of JUST Creative), Mig Reyes (designer at Basecamp), Ethan Marcotte (founder of responsive web design), Cap Watkins (design lead at Etsy), Alli Dryer (designer at Twitter), and Eric Eriksson (product designer at Facebook), among many others.

Read the interviews at campfires.io

25 Epic Graphic Design Tips for Non-Designers

by Poppie Pack

Get your graphic design game-face on with these inspiring tips!

Whether you’re a creating graphics for social media or designing an invitation for an upcoming event, the application of graphic design is vast and versatile.

From font pairing and scale, to alignment and white space, the facets of the design world are complex. Let these twenty five epic design tips help you through the pits and the peaks of the creative process.

Read the article at designschool.canva.com

8 Design Trends for 2015

Hold onto your pixels. New design trends are here, pushed into play by changes in culture and technology. 

From sensory immersion to super still, these are the gems that are calling the creative shots in 2015. See how they’re swaying the brainstorm and helping your designs rise above the rest.

from istockphoto.com

  1. Dynamic Women
  2. Letterbox Look
  3. Monochromatic Colour
  4. All Kinds of People
  5. Point of View
  6. Sensory Immersion
  7. Super Still Life
  8. Busy with Boxes

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Read the article at istockphoto.com

Creatives Choose: Best work of 2014

With 2014 in the books, it’s time to look back at the year that was. For our roundup of the best work of 2014, we turned to a roundtable of Canadian pros to pick their favourites from around the globe.

Best-of-the-year projects could be anything: a wayfinding system, a logo, a magazine spread, a beer can, an app, a product, a video game title sequence. The only restriction was that participants could not choose their own work, or the work of their studio/agency.

The choices reflect the breadth of sensibilities that inform our country’s talent pool. From comic books to vodka bottles, here is what inspired Canadian creatives in 2014.

See Gallery at designedgecanada.com

Mighty Deals

A daily deals site dedicated to massive discounts for web and creative professionals.

This is a legitimate Daily Deals site that offered huge savings on products we'd actually want as web professionals. Products that we'd actually use on a regular basis. 

Customers can save from 50% to 90% off on things like design tools (royalty-free vectors, PhotoShop actions, etc.), professional templates (WordPress, Drupal, Facebook), Mac toolkits, web development lessons and more. Deals are professional products and services heavily discounted for a limited time.

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See it on mightydeals.com

Back to Bricks and Mortar - Creative Packaging Trends

Over the last few years, in response to the growing popularity of online shopping, many retailers seemed to be downsizing and moving more into the online world rather than dealing with bricks and mortar locations. The lure of being able to comfortably shop in your pajamas without having to worry about people wondering if you are sleepwalking has tempted many to turn to their computer screens when in need of something. But wait – apparently this trend isn’t as completely change-inducing as originally thought. Apparently bricks and mortar locations are making a come-back!

A recent study done by Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI) found that 76% of buying decisions are happening in-store, up from 70% a few years ago. Clearly there is still something to be said for trying before buying.

So, knowing that bricks and mortar stores are making a come-back, how then does this impact you and your marketing strategy?

There is significant value in investing in unique and innovative creative packaging that grabs the attention of those customers visiting a retail location.

Think outside the box: does your packaging speak for itself? Does it make use of colour psychology (what’s that?)? Are displays mixing technology and interaction to make customers stop and think? What about print quality – does the colour stand out? Is the image striking and clear? These are all things that you should be considering when it comes to print design and marketing strategy in order to compete.

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Read the Article at ptibox.com

The Year Ahead: Creative Packaging Trends 2015

We are getting close to the end of the year, and that means it is time to make our annual predictions for the year ahead. 2014 was a big year in the packaging industry, both as far as new, emerging trends and the continued importance of some old-time players.

Check out our list for creative packaging trends for 2015!

Read Article at pit box.com

45 top examples of letterpress business cards

Stunning and memorable letterpress business cards could help beat off the competition. Here are some examples of what can be achieved.

Known for producing a clean and elegant style, the letterpress technique is favoured by many designers for creating unique and creative business cards. Here we've picked 45 brilliant examples of letterpress business cards to inspire your designs.

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View gallery at creativebloq.com

5 Graphic design tips to shave hours off your work week

If you work in graphic design, you’re probably only too well aware of the value of good time management.

 

Graphic designers are required to work tight deadlines and navigate around very busy schedules to get projects completed. Shaving even a couple of minutes off design time here and there can benefit your ability to apply yourself fully to a project.

What if we were to tell you that there are ways of shaving a couple of hours off your busy schedule every week?

We’ve got five great graphic design tips that could end up saving you hours – take a look!

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Read Article at GraphicDesignBlender.com

2014 in Hightail illustrations

It is December, a time to look back on the year that was. Everywhere you look will be lists of the 50 favorite songs, top 10 movies and 47 best Buzzfeed listicles. So we decided to do our own review and revisit our fab Hightail illustrations.

very week, we email our regular users and the message often features a custom-created image illustrating the feature we’re explaining or offer we’re promoting. Thanks to the creativity of our 2014 illustrators, Austin Petito and Dominic Flask, we can look back at vintage year of funny, stylish and smart images. Enjoy.

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See the Gallery at blog.hightail.com

Marsala - Pantone's newest color of the year

Pantone's Color of the Year 2015 is a sophisticated new wine hue called Marsala. It has an elegant, grounded feel, a departure from some previous years that used brighter, funkier colors. It's also warmer than last year's Emerald, and a more nurturing color in general.

Read Article at pantone.com

Holiday Design Gallery

Oftentimes design will celebrate a holiday or special event, and here at Print we like to, well, celebrate that. After all, that’s why we created Print Celebrates Design, a competition for your cards, gifts & invitations.

In honor of all that is festive, we rounded up some holiday design for you to feast your eyes on

See Gallery at printmag.com

Infographic: The Top Color Trends of 2014

Using data from our collection of 40 million images and our 400 million all-time downloads, we analyzed which popular colors are set to dominate design in the coming months.

We know how important color is to design — that’s why we created two innovative color search tools, Palette and Spectrum. Color impacts everything: web and graphic design, fashion fads, even home decor. Some of the trends we saw this year, like a change from natural palettes to gray tones, reflected similar trends seen on Fashion Week runwaysand in home design. Others were influenced by global events like the World Cup, the continued rise of social media, and Pantone’s Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid

Check out the infographic below to discover which colors are en vogue around the world, then scroll on to see which images we used to create it, and to explore six colorful image collections inspired by the 2014 Color Trends infographic.

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See the infographic at batemandesigngroup.com

5 Fall Inspired Color Palettes

By Julya Buhain

Fall is here! ‘Tis the season for crunchy leaves, sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes. When it comes to design, you need to make sure your brand stays on top of seasons and holidays. Show your audience you’re paying attention and are on top of the freshest trends. Color is a good way to stay on track. Put a Fall flair on your design with these color palettes!
 

Read the Article at blog.canva.com

Be On The Lookout: The importance of observational skills

by Bob Hambly

Excellent observational skills make us better designers—but like most things, they need practice. One hour into my very first drawing class in my freshman year at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, the instructor asked us to put down our pencils. “You all should know,” he said, “I can’t teach you how to draw.” We all sat stunned. Did we hear that correctly? He then added, “But, I can teach you how to see!”

We had been drawing a stack of wooden drafting tables that were haphazardly piled in the middle of the studio, trying to impress one another with our talent. The instructor informed us that all 24 of us spent more time looking at our own drawings than we did looking at the subject matter. And he was right. “You were drawing what you wanted to see, not what was there.” It was a memorable way to kickoff my four years of art education.

Several weeks later he assigned us with a challenging project—one that involved a block of styrofoam the size of a case of beer. All six sides of the cuboid were marked with a series of connecting lines, both straight and curved. In one week the instructor told us he would cut along all of the lines with a bandsaw to reduce the solid shape into a pile of irregular pieces. It was our task to draw what each of those pieces would look like. The assignment was a true test of our observational skills. Over the course of that first semester, our instructor proved true to his word—he taught us how to see.

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Read the article at http commarts.com

5 Timeless Marketing Lessons for Today's Brands from Visionary Designer Paul Rand

By Hugh Hart


On the re-issue of Thoughts on Design, Pentagram's Michael Bierut outlines some of Paul Rand's key lessons--still blindingly relevant for brands.

"For an advertisement to hold its own in the competitive race, the designer must steer clear of visual clichés by some unexpected interpretation of the commonplace." That's legendary designer and art director Paul Rand writing in his remarkably prescient 1947 book Thoughts on Design about the value of surprise in marketing. A master of advertising, editorial design and brand identity--his logos for ABC, IBM, UPS and Westinghouse are still in use some five decades after their creation--Rand inspired and influenced everyone from George Lois to Steve Jobs and Jonny Ive. And after a long period out of print, his seminal book, which captured his design philosophy and approach, is available again.

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Read Article at fastcocreate.com

Want To Be Less Stressed And More Creative? Make Time For A Hobby

The Huffington Post  | By 

Children naturally love to play and explore and use their imaginations -- but as adults, we often get so sucked into work and the demands of daily life that hobbies and creative outlets completely fall by the wayside. When you ask the average working adult what their hobbies are, there's a good chance they'll say "none." But in forgoing hobbies and personal creative projects, we may be doing ourselves a major disservice.

"Finding time for ourselves is key to our own sanity," Joyce E. A. Russell writes in a "Career Coach" article in the Washington Post. "It can actually improve all the other aspects of our lives. Having a hobby may be even more important to people who lead very full and busy lives."

Creative hobbies or side projects -- whether it's gardening, journaling, taking up a new instrument, or experimenting with French cooking -- can help us to tap into a sense of play and boost our powers of creative thinking. And regardless of whether your day job is creatively fulfilling or not, a creative side hobby that's fun but challenging can be beneficial in a number of ways.

Having an outside-work hobby you enjoy (and that also challenges you and keeps you feeling engaged) can relieve stress and give you a new way of thinking -- and it's a good reminder that work isn't everything. Some of your best ideas for a new business plan may not come while you're sitting in front of the computer with the cursor blinking, but instead when you're in a completely different headspace while engaging in a fun creative activity.

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Read the Article at huffingtonpost.com

Inspiration: Logo Design
Logo Design Gallery on Pinterest, selected by Julie Bateman

See Gallery on Pinterest

Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming

 Paperback – Jul 13 2011 by Ellen Lupton (Editor)

Creativity is more than an inborn talent; it is a hard-earned skill, and like any other skill, it improves with practice. Graphic Design Thinking: How to Define Problems, Get Ideas, and Create Form explores a variety of informal techniques ranging from quick, seat-of-the-pants approaches to more formal research methods for stimulating fresh thinking, and ultimately arriving at compelling and viable solutions.

 

In the style with which author Ellen has come tobeen known hands-on, up-close approach to instructional design writing brainstorming techniques are grouped around the three basic phases of the design process: defining the problem, inventing ideas, and creating form. Creative research methods include focus groups, interviewing, brand mapping, and co-design. Each method is explained with a brief narrative text followed by a variety of visual demonstrations and case studies. Also included are discussions with leading professionals, including ArtChantry, Ivan Chermayeff, Jessica Helfand, Steven Heller, Abott Miller, Christoph Niemann, Paula Scher, and Martin Venezky, about how they get ideas and what they do when the well runs dry. The book is directed at working designers, design students, and anyone who wants to apply inventive thought patterns to everyday creative challenges.

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Buy the Book at Amazon.ca

Inspiration: Pull Up Banners

Pull Up or Pop Up Banner Design Gallery on Pinterest, selected by Julie Bateman

See Gallery on Pinterest

This painful, terrible, amazing exercise forced me to become a better designer

By David Tendrich

This exercise teaches you that you can always do better. When you create something that you think is amazing, and you throw it in the trash, it’s a statement to yourself and the universe that says,

“Wait till you see what’s next.”

Because the truth is, the moment you create something, your skills evolve beyond it. You really can do better the next time.

Read Article at GraphicDesignBlender.com

100 Unused Logos and What they Reveal about my Design Inclinations

This past Wednesday I gave a presentation at the HOW Conference in Atlanta, GA. As a respite from the pristine show and tells of finished work sprinkled with anecdotes that support the fabulous work on screen I wanted to focus on the unglamorous side of graphic design. The endless revisions, the variations, the changes, the odd requests — “I like turtles, can my logo have a turtle?” — and the inevitable doom of much of the work we do as bezier- and pixel-based compost for piles of archived CDs, DVDs and 200-gigabyte hard drives.

For my slide show I went through almost ten years of archives looking for all the files that never quite made it… the good, the bad and the ug… nay: The tired, the poor, the huddled files yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse, the homeless and, yes, even the tempest-tost. (With apologies to Miss Liberty).

For a section called “75% of your files are trash” I specifically looked for 100 logos that were never selected — or never actually used if they were selected. This is not a Best Of selection. Some of the logos are embarrassing: Half-cooked, half-assed, off-topic ideas with sloppy kerning and poor execution. Equally, there are some very competent logos in there, ready to be printed and shipped. Most of these, if not all actually, were shown to a client. Some were mocked, others praised and a few more ignored.

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Read Article at underconsideration.com

Papirmass - Art in the Mail

We are run by artists who are obsessed with quality. Join us and we will send you an exciting range of art and literature. 

Read more at papirmass.com

Nescafé Reknits Under Rebrand

By Cathy Lane

CBA has worked with Nescafé for the past three years to reunify a brand that has splintered into many personas around the world in the past 20 or more years. The new logo and brand identity still hearkens back to Nescafé’s original mark, but capitalizes on some specific, long-standing devices.

From the CBA website: “The first, the classic red mug, is an historic landmark for the brand and a symbol with a long and positive association with Nescafé. Previously linked with the classic ‘Original’ variant, it has been modernized and ‘iconized’ for use across the widest range of touchpoints.

“For the second evolution, the final accent on Nescafé has taken off and become red. The accent takes its place in an evolved logotype that allows the brand to better express its warmth and conviviality and symbolizes the inspiration that the brand seeks to bring to its consumers.

“The final new element of identity is ‘the hub,’ a simplified top down view of the mug that acts as a window into the world of Nescafé, a place to express brand stories and emotions.”

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Read article at LogoLounge.com

2014 Logo Trends from LogoLounge

By Bill Gardner

If home is our first place, and work is our second place, then mobile screens have definitely become our third place. Smart phone use has increased from 21 percent in 2010 to more than 63 percent today, and with 83 percent of all Americans online regularly, that percentage of mobile users is bound to keep edging up.

The fact that so many people now view the world through a window the size of a business card has spelled an inevitable change in logo design. It used to be that minute favicons had to be kept extremely simple: Now, as a rule, logos must be as well, but that doesn’t mean boring. Designers continue to push back and evolve the meaning of “simple.”

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Read Article at LogoLounge.com

8 steps to designing the perfect infographic

by Jessica Draws

Last month, while happily nibbling on a canapé and sipping a cocktail at the monthly I Am Woman networking event I was chatting away to some businesswomen and the obvious question was asked: "So, what do you do?" I launched into my usual explanation of some of the services I offer including print/web design, illustration and infographic design and I noticed a couple of blank faces among the ladies. "What's an infographic?"

It occurred to me that this is the most common question I get asked – even when I've been approached by a new client wanting an infographic! Quite often they're even unsure of what exactly one is but have heard that it's a great marketing tool for businesses and so are keen to commission their own.

So, in the hopes of demystifying the infographic design process and hopefully sharing some tips on how to create great infographics I introduce my guide to infographic design. Enjoy!

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Read Article at creativebloq.com

Pixar: How to Create a Creative Culture

by Stephanie Kaptein

Ed Catmull, cofounder of Pixar, shared with Harvard Business Review how to create a work environment that encourages creativity in everyone. The interview is long, and well worth the read, but his three main takeaways are:

Anyone can talk to anyone: Individuals from every department should have the ability to speak with each other without having to ask for permission. Keep the communication lines open so people can learn and be inspired by each other.

Everyone has ideas: Learn to give and receive feedback in a positive way on unfinished work. Early criticism provides the freedom to try new things because it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. Ensure that every department, regardless of discipline, has the opportunity to comment.

Build subcultures: Break up formal departments by creating new ones. Pixar University offers classes for people to try a new discipline or something unrelated (like pilates or yoga). You never know what may come from a chance encounter with another department.

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Read Article at 99u.com

7 Ways to Boost Your Creativity

by Gregory Ciotti

Creativity can seem innate, but like many things, it is actually a delicate balance of nature and nurture. In other words, creative thinking can be enhanced by external forces, and isn’t necessarily reliant on “good genes” or natural ability.

Luckily, new research points the way to a variety of mental and environmental approaches that can help us improve our creative output

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Read Article at 99u.com

A Look Inside Design at Houzz

By Amanda Hackwith

We're tracking down InVision users inside the world's most amazing companies to discover their favorite tools, inspirations, workspace must-haves, and the philosophy behind what makes them so awesome.

This week, we chatted with David Anderson, UX Designer at Houzz, the popular home remodeling and design platform that CNN calls the “Wikipedia of interior and exterior design.” Its founders were frustrated by the lack of resources and inspiration available to help them articulate a vision for their home and to find the right professionals, so they created Houzz to help make the building, remodeling, and decorating process more fun and productive.

Today, 200 employees power Houzz’s apps, website, and online community, which cater to more than 20 million monthly unique users interested in architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape design and home improvement as well as over 400,000 home remodeling and design professionals.

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Read Article at blog.invisionapp.com

10 Creative Rituals You Should Steal

by Sean Blanda

Benjamin Franklin made sure to end every day by asking “What good have I done today?” Maya Angelou only wrote in tiny hotel rooms. Jack Kerouac made sure to touch the ground nine times before writing.

Sustained creativity doesn’t come from a flash of brilliance or a single afternoon of inspiration. It comes from a consistent routine that serves as the bedrock for getting things done. At 99U we’ve spoken with dozens of entrepreneurs, researchers, and creatives about their unique routines. Below are some of our favorites.

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Read Article at 99u.com

The 43 Best Photoshop Plugins

By Sam Hampton-Smith

Create amazing images and designs with this selection of the most creative, useful, time-saving and powerful Photoshop plugins available.

In this article we've lined up some of the best Photoshop plugins available for Adobe's photo editing giant today. Photoshop is an amazing tool - capable of producing sublime images, high-quality video and even create very passable 3D renders.

All this power offers a world of possibilities - but occasionally it's worth adding a few optional extras to get the most out of your investment.

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Read Article at creativebloq.com

A Look Inside the Design Team at Happy Cog

By Amanda Hackwith

We're tracking down InVision users inside the world's most amazing companies to discover their favorite tools, inspirations, workspace must-haves and the philosophy behind what makes them so awesome.

This week, we chatted with Jason Dziak, design director at Happy Cog, an award-winning web design, development, and user experience consultancy with offices in New York, Philadelphia, and Austin. Founded in 1999, Happy Cog now has 30 employees working on clients such as MTV, Ben & Jerry’s, and AMC Theatres.

What separates a good designer from a great one?

It’s important to understand and accept the contrasts that exist in design. Right now there's a big trend towards patterns and using frameworks, and there's a lot of efficiency in that, but I think that can be at the cost of innovation. Relying on design patterns leaves no room for true innovation. You have to balance that and figure out ways to use that to your advantage. Innovation is as important as pattern, emotion as important as logic, dark as important as light, variety as important as consistency. Design should be logical, but it also should connect with people on a human, emotional level.

As a designer, you can’t be afraid to completely start over when something isn’t working. Sometimes to get to the right solution you have to throw out things you thought were really important but at the end of the day were becoming a roadblock.

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Read Article at invisionapp.com

Graphic Design Glossary

Your free guide to graphic design, web design & development and internet terminology

See Glossary at batemandesigngroup.com

4 Myths About Apple Design, From An Ex-Apple Designer

by Mark Wilson

Apple is synonymous with upper echelon design, but very little is known about the company's design process. Most of Apple's ownemployees aren't allowed inside Apple's fabled design studios. So we're left piecing together interviews, or outright speculating about how Apple does it and what it's really like to be a designer at the company.

Enter Mark Kawano. Before founding Storehouse, Kawano was a senior designer at Apple for seven years, where he worked on Aperture and iPhoto. Later, Kawano became Apple's User Experience Evangelist, guiding third-party app iOS developers to create software that felt right on Apple's platforms. Kawano was with the company during a critical moment, as Apple released the iPhone and created the wide world of apps.

In an interview with Co.Design, Kawano spoke frankly about his time at Apple--and especially wanted to address all the myths the industry has about the company and about its people.

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Read Article at fastcodesign.com

Why Branding Is An Artifact Of The Past

By Brian Millar

A short while ago, I wrote an article on this site suggesting that you can’t build a brand simply by setting out to build a brand. And in fact, thinking too much about brands can actually get in the way of the real business of your company. I suggested that you try an experiment: Stop talking about brands for a month, and see what happens. The article got a lot of attention on Twitter, and provoked a lively debate in the post’s comments section.

Read Article at fastcodesign.com

Act like an expert, not a designer

by Mark Busse

As a young design producer I was convinced my job was to keep clients happy. To service them to death. To deliver what they asked for on time, on budget, and with a smile. I also thought it wasn’t my job to do sales. I was wrong. 

I recently read a powerful book called The Challenger Sale and attended a workshop presented by the author Matthew Dixon, executive director of strategic research at the business performance consulting firm Corporate Executive Board. Based on extensive study of sales professionals, their customers and the buying process, Dixon has turned the conventional view of business development and sales on its head. Turns out most of us have it all wrong.
 
 

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Read Article at designedgecanada.com

10 Twitter Header Images Done Right
By Bob Al-Green
 
Since Twitter CEO Dick Costolo revealed the site's design updates Tuesday morning on The TODAY Show, users have been testing out the new header image feature — with varying degrees of success.

Twitter has adopted a Facebook Timeline-like cover display for main profile pages, opening up a new avenue for visual creativity. Early adopters of the header image include Ryan Seacrest and The TODAY Show's own Al Roker.

In case you're feeling stumped, visually challenged or just weary after updating your Facebook cover photo, we've compiled a slideshow of 10 Twitter users who are already doing it right.

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Read Article on maskable.com

Optimizing UI icons for faster recognition

by 

What makes an icon a valuable addition to the interface, rather than a mere decorative element? Intuitiveness, aesthetic value, memorability, intercultural perception? While an effective icon would combine many of those characteristics, I’d like to focus on one measure–speed of recognition, or how fast a specific icon can be discovered and identified.

In a simple leisure app, the difference in speed of recognition may be too subtle to have any noticeable effect on the overall experience.

This may be different for a complex trading application: The requirements for iconography here are more likely to prioritize speed, since every second spent on processing individual elements can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the overall interface.

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Read Article at boxesandarrows.com

60 Brilliant Typefaces For Corporate Design

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Typography is more than being legible and looking good. Among other things, effective typography manages to achieve two important objectives: a) to create an appropriate atmosphere and enable users to develop trust toward the site and b) to make sure visitors get the main message of the site and (if possible) become interested in the services offered on the site. Since written text is the most efficient instrument to communicate with visitors precisely and directly, the power of typography shouldn’t be underestimated.

To communicate effectively, typography requires appropriate typefaces. Last year we’ve presented 80 Beautiful Typefaces For Professional Design, a selection of excellent typefaces one should be aware of when developing web-sites. Now it’s time to update our selection with typefaces we’ve missed then and new typefaces which have been developed over the last year.

Below you’ll find over 60 first-class typefaces for corporate design. Please notice that they are not free; however, we’ve focused on typefaces which are definitely worth spending money on. So which typefaces are “bulletproof”? What fonts can be used effectively in almost every Corporate Design? And what are the options for unique, but still incredibly beautiful typefaces? Let’s find out.

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Read Article at smashing magazine.com

The Best 65 Business Cards Of The Year

Here you have the BEST and just the best 65 business cards of the year hand picked directly from my most famous posts and from behance, flickr and OMG it even has a watermark.

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3 Easy Exercises to Boost Your Creativity

By Nadia Goodman

As an entrepreneur, your job is to be one step ahead of the market, always ready with the next big idea. Whether you want to design a new product or disrupt a market, you need to be able to come up with creative solutions for problems of everyday life.

Creativity often eludes us because we're accustomed to certain norms. "We're highly socialized and have fixed assumptions about what the world looks like," says Barry Staw, an organizational behaviorist at University of California, Berkeley. "You have to try to envision another world."

To do that, Staw suggests a series of exercises, all designed to help you consider a wider range of options as you brainstorm.

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Read Article at entrepreneur.com

Design trend predictions for 2013

By Rob Carney

When some creatives hear the word 'trend' they back into a corner, refusing to acknowledge these 'trends' dictate what they do. And it's true that following trends consciously can be a bad thing to do. After all, if you're not innovating and pushing yourself, your own work will never reach its full potential.

But at the end of the day, clients want your work to be at the height of trends - so having a handle on what is going to be a popular style, or way of working over the next year will only improve your chances of getting better client work.

We've asked a number of top creative professionals, from animators to illustrators to app and editorial designers, to see what they predict for 2013. 

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Read Article at creativebloq.com

10 Imaginative Annual Report Designs

Annnual report design doesn't have to be drab and boring. Here are 10 awe-inspiring examples of designers who've taken the format and let their imaginations run wild.

They're part of the staple diet of design work the world over, seen by many as just part of the dry, bread-and-butter grind that pays the bills and paves the way for more exciting, imaginative work. But annual reports don't have to be dull, as these beautiful examples show. From cutting-edge print techniques to stop-motion animation, artful infographics to bold use of colour and integration of classy free fonts, it's all here on display to inspire your own daily work.

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Read Article at creativebloq.com

36 Stunning Magazine and Publication Layouts for your Inspiration

By Tom White

Here I have compiled a fine collection of magazine and publication layouts to help inspire and motivate you throughout your projects. 

When it comes to creating a new, unique and creative publication or magazine layout it can quickly evolve into something screen smash' worthy, which is why it is often a good idea to sit back and look at how other people approach the same dilemma.

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Read Article at inspirationhut.net

Colour of the Year 2013

"Lively. Radiant. Lush… A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony."

PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, a lively, radiant, lush green, is the Color of the Year for 2013.

Read Article at pantone.com

Typographical twins: 20 perfect font pairings

by Nick Carson

We reveal 20 font duos that are made for each other. Ideal for your design projects, some may surprise you!

It's a classic conundrum for any graphic designer: picking two (or more) typefaces that set each other off, don't fight the eye for attention, and harmonise without becoming homogenous and dull. The age-old rule goes as follows: concord or contrast, but don't conflict.

The easiest way to achieve 'concord' is by using different fonts within the same overarching typeface family. Find a so-called 'superfamily' and you'll have a ready-made range of weights, styles and classifications that are specifically designed to work together.

A good superfamily will include serif and a sans serif version of the same typeface: famous examples include Lucida/Lucida Sans and Meta/Meta Sans.

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Read Article at creativebloq.com

17 Examples of Beautiful Typography in Web Design

By 

Back in May we showcased here 19 Inspiring Examples of Text Over Images in Web Design and we had a really good response on the designs we featured. So for this post, type will take the center stage again. This time showing you beautiful ways to draw attention to your text.

We will show you more examples of text over images, and also other approaches to making beautiful typography choices in web design. From pretty clean and simple designs to colorful and bold ones, there are certainly some good type inspiration here to spark your imagination.

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Read Article at webdesignledger.com

2013 Logo Trends

Current Logo Trends By Bill Gardner

Forecasting the near future in design is a reflection of society’s concerns. With such rapid shifts in technology and social media, consumers react to a fear of being left behind. At one time, keeping up with trends meant reading a monthly journal. Now, not only do we have to read daily blogs, but we are expected to contribute as well. Consumers who are not participating are growing ever more anxious about the specter of being technically eclipsed.

This chasm is revealed in the decisions made daily by brand designers. More and more identity design is trying to find a way to span the gap or choose a side. This carries forward to products and services that we build affinities with. Sports teams find themselves inventing updated generations of mascots. Long standing consumables are reinventing themselves with new packaging and product design.

Digital products and their user interfaces—UI—have become major drivers in the identity field. Consumers are predisposed to transfer confidence from one app or product to another if the experiences share a visual vernacular. Flat solid color is edging forward with momentum over images that mimic three-dimensional surfaces like glass, leather, or metal, for example. Simulating surfaces like these in an environment out of context is referred to as skeuomorphism. Though it is losing its grip, it is not going away: Clichés work because they are clichés.

Smaller companies are not afraid to adopt a logo that shows them at the size they are. More approachable is a good thing, if it is authentic. Larger companies are tending to loosen up a bit to avoid pretensions and work multiple generations. Ebay, USA Today, Windows and many more over the last year have adopted wordmarks and logos that eschew styles with shorter expiration dates.

Increasingly, consumers have become comfortable in their role as contributors and not just spectators. There is a universal desire to identify even the most niche elements. The ubiquitous profile pictures on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter have turned into an opportunity to identify one’s self. Personal logos and monograms have reached epidemic proportions. Avatars allow us to self-edit and reinvent ourselves visually. This has become the micro-world of self-identification.

Designers are experimenting and making smart decisions for smart clients.

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Read Article at LogoLounge.com

24 Elegant and Colorful Logos

By 

I’ve always found logo design to be one of the most challenging things to get right. There’s so much that a logo can say about a brand without actually saying it.

The tone, style and overall fit and finish of a logo can reveal a lot about the feel of the brand too – from elegant, professional and refined brand identities to fun, colourful and quirky (and everything in between). It’s also possible to create logos that fit right in the middle, matching elegance and colour to create a feel that’s professional, but slightly playful.

I’ve collected some examples of my favourite logo designs that all pair colour with elegance. Some of these are bold and bright, while others make use of more muted colours, but each of them have been designed beautifully with real care and attention taken. There’s something quite fun and invigorating about a design that isn’t afraid to use a plethora of colours, and so I hope you find the collection inspiring and interesting too.

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Read Article at webdesignledger.com

Is following design trends good or bad for business?

By Ben Brush

Design, like most everything else, changes with the times. There are landmark art and design movements that we are taught about in school. These come about as there are massive shifts in technology and popular culture.

There are also more fleeting, yearly and even monthly design trends that can be a lot tougher to keep up with.

So should you even try to keep up with the latest trends?

Keeping up can be a very positive thing. It makes the work you do seem cutting edge. This in turn keeps your clients on trend which will no doubt keep them happy.

That being said there are a few things to keep in mind before trying your hand at the latest and greatest design trend.

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Read Article at GraphicDesignBlender.com

Top 10 Most-Talked-About Logo Redesigns Of 2013

By Jillian Wong & Kelly Koo

To kick off our ‘Year in Review’ series, we have selected 10 of the top logo redesigns of 2013. From the subtle changes of Instagram’s logo to Yahoo’s complete design overhaul, it seems like brands tend to favor the ‘minimalistic’ look.

 

Read Article at designtaxi.com

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