The practical side of web designing

You’re talented, you’re highly skilled, but things aren’t working out as you thought they would. Ever wondered what it is you’re doing wrong as a web designer?  There are no guarantees in this business (or any other business, for that matter), I’m sure you know that by now. But you can always try. 

6 Not-So-Obvious Mistakes Freelance Web Designers Make 

6mistakes03

So, going forward, the specific kind of mistakes I’m on about today are mistakes made by freelance web designers. But there’s no standard basic stuff here, like: not charging enough, missing yet another deadline, not responding to email in time, not doing any marketing, not being present on social media, and so on. We all know what causes those and, to some degree, we know how to fix them as well.

The following mistakes are therefore not that obvious, but they still have a significant impact on your design business. And I’m speaking from experience unfortunately. I used to own a web design business a couple of years ago and I don’t feel very proud admitting that we were guilty of doing a number of the following things.

Read these ‘not-so-obvious mistakes freelance web designers make’ here.

There’s something incredibly sweet and almost romantic about using a handwritten font for design projects. Handwritten fonts add an extra ounce of personality, and give me a feeling similar similar to a homemade apple pie from my mother that would be waiting for me when I came home to after school.

12 Hand Written Fonts for Designers

handwritten04

There are a variety of decorative fonts and script fonts that are commonly used for design projects like wedding invitations, greeting cards, paper projects, graphic design projects, and web design, but today I wanted to showcase handmade fonts because of their ability to elicit emotions with people.

You feel an instant connection with a design that features handmade elements, simply because they are something we, as humans, can relate to.

We like things that feel real to us, that we’ve experienced or seen in real life. With advances in technology and the world constantly changing around us, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of home even if its only in the form of something “handwritten”.

See more ‘samples of hand written fonts’ here.

Complete Website Design

winters des

A complete website design package gives small and medium businesses a fixed-price solution to make the most of online opportunities. With contemporary design and easy navigation we focus on the purpose of your website within your business.

All our package websites by default are now made with a mobile-friendly “responsive” design.

This means that your site will seamlessly re-arrange and resize itself to fit the size of the device it is being view on. So no more squinting or “pinching” to see your website properly on small devices!

Want a responsive website done? Go here.

Web Design Tips for Older Users

65 years

People over sixty-five are the fastest growing group of internet users. They find the internet useful for sourcing information on anything from health through to finance. They also like to play games as much as younger generations and use the internet for booking travel and shopping.

People in this age group are more than capable of using the internet, but often find that, as they get older, they can encounter age related problems such as reduced text comprehension or poor eyesight. They might also find that their ability to accurately click on a single word or target is not what it used to be.

Amy Harris, Web Manager for Photocopier Experts offers you five simple principles when designing a website for an audience over the age of sixty-five.

Continue to ‘web design tips for people 65 and above’ here.

I don’t know about you but for me, just the thought that when I’m 65 I may no longer be able to do things that I’m doing right now on the computer –that sucks! I mean, I plan on learning for a very long time, so perhaps now I do my part and hope that others would follow suit. After all, most of us will get old.

Beautiful images

beautiful image6 Branding Basics that Web Designers Can’t Ignore

Does your web design business have a brand?

Even if you haven’t put much thought into branding your web design business, your clients probably already have an opinion about your business. You may even already have a reputation for doing a certain type of work. That reputation is one of the branding basics that you should manage.

Branding is important for web designers. Not only must you develop a recognizable brand for your own web business to stay competitive, but often clients expect branding help from their designer. If you can’t help your clients with branding, they’ll find someone else who can.

Read why you can’t ignore these ‘branding basics’ here.

18 Examples of Beautiful Image Usage in Web Design

We can say that lately images are taking center stage in web design. And thanks to that, we’ve been seeing some really beautiful websites where sleek images are the focal point and the “attention grabber”.

From minimalist concepts to full background images, there are several different approaches to image usage in web design. So today we will show you some inspiring examples.

The websites we gathered here will demonstrate that a beautiful and high quality image can go a long way in conveying a message, adding tons of personality, and delivering that eye candy which users love.

See examples of ‘beautiful image usage’ here.

Are you ready for mobile?

It’s not hard to make your website look and work the same on a mobile device as it does on a desktop PC. Most modern websites can achieve that.

But it makes more sense to offer a different experience to mobile viewers in many cases.

Why? It’s not just the screen size that is a factor. Mobile users often have different motivations and are in a different environment.

Read more on being ‘ready for mobile’ here.

branding-presence

All About Grid Systems

Grids enable you to build solid structure and form into your designs. Much like we looked at typographic hierarchies and rhythm, we can effectuate the same feelings through using a grid structure. Just as with coding, there are recommended ways to organise modules and sections of code, and a grid system can help similarly when designing for the web.

Grids aren’t just useful for us as designers or developers – they’re good for the user, too. All through this session I’ve emphasised the importance of creating a good user journey and a good user experience through your designs – after all, the user is there to consume your content and you want to make it as good an experience for them as you can. Having a solid grid system to use in your designs (and then carry through to the development phase) will allow you to do just that, by creating consistency and familiarity (and thus building trust) in your design.

If your website is well designed, a grid will help you to project that confidence further to your users – however consciously or sub-consciously that projection may be. Using a grid system doesn’t mean that your designs need become boring or boxy, either. Just like it has been said with responsive web design, the responsibility is with you to create a design that is unique and has something different to it – and a grid system should be seen as something that will enable you to do that, rather than restrict you.

Continue reading about ‘grid systems’ here.

By the way, do you want to learn how to make GIFs? Here’s a great video tutorial:

How to make an ANIMATED GIF from VIDEO for FREE 

Personally, I think GIFs are awesome. Many people use it to make silly images but once you get how powerful that short action is, you just might come up with something much more than what’s worth a few ha-has.

(via Vandelay Design)

Non-profit organizations now have a better way to reach out to millions of people all over the world and bring them over to their cause because of the power of the internet. It’s really not about impressing people but using it as a medium to communicate their cause to others. Here are some examples of extraordinary websites of non-profit organizations:

25 Exemplary Websites of Non-Profit Organizations

Dadaab

For non-profit organizations having an effective web presence is important for a number of different reasons, including communicating with donors and volunteers, encouraging gifts and donations, explaining the mission and services of the organization, promoting events, and simply for providing basic information about the organization and reaching new people.

Like any other business or organization, the content is ultimately more critical than the design of the website, but having a great-looking website can help the organization to portray a professional and established image. And a well-designed site can also help to improve usability and make it easier for visitors to find that important content.

See the list of exemplary websites of non-profit orgs here.

Everyone’s writing a book nowadays. Jamie Lee Curtis, Steve Martin and Tina Fey had done it. But I browsed through the internet and found out that there are a lot of unfamiliar names making good money out of writing eBooks. If you’re thinking of getting into it, this may help:

How To Create an eBook Template for Internet Content Marketing

Ebook

With the rise of eReaders like Nook and Kindle and the explosion of mobile device usage, ebooks are taking the market lead. In 2011, Amazon ebook sales overtook print book sales. It is estimated that by 2016 ebook sales might be a $10 billion per year market.

According to Hubspot (an automated marketing solutions company), “Marketing ebooks are a key component of powerful lead generation”. In this article, I discuss the reasons your business should create ebooks and provide some helpful tips to get your team up and running.

Continue reading on ‘how to create eBook Template’ here.

Here’s a video on Kindle eBook template:

You can turn the web into good use by it as a platform for your business or services and lead people to it. Let’s face it, there are tons and tons of people who offer the same expertise, but give people a reason to sign up with you by making your portfolio shine like a diamond:

35 Portfolio Websites to Spark Your Inspiration

The 1st Movement

Every designer and design agency wants to have a great-looking portfolio site that makes an impact on visitors and potential clients. An effective portfolio website can be one of the most valuable marketing tools that helps to bring a steady flow of inquiries from people who are interested in your services.

When it comes to portfolio sites there are a lot of different possible design styles and approaches. Some are clean and minimal. Others use colorful illustrations. Some use big, bold images or video. In this showcase you’ll see 35 different portfolio websites that can provide some inspiration. Many designers find it more challenging to create their own portfolio site than to work for clients, so if you’re stuck and looking to spark your creativity, hopefully these examples can help.

. choc chip edit

What Will A Great Website Do For You?

In short – a great website will make your business perform better. Your website can: Lead new customers to your door Increase sales Extend your brand reach and recognition Decrease customer service time Become a “hub” for communication and social media.

A complete website design package gives small and medium businesses a fixed-price solution to make the most of online opportunities. With contemporary design and easy navigation we focus on the purpose of your website within your business.

Get in touch with a brilliant team of web devs here.

The internet is a powerful tool if you use it accordingly. You need to be smart about it since everything now goes up on the net. Make sure that when someone types in your name, they’re going to be impressed by what list Google comes up with.

Flat Designs and Retros and that coding thing for designers

Clients come in all shapes and requirements, if I may be accurate. They usually have no idea on what they want to include in their websites, and when they do, it’s usually an overload of functionalities or the opposite, when they want it dressed down and simple but have no idea how to do that.

Flat Design Easily Explained For Everybody

flat

In a nutshell, flat design can be summed up by the old proverb K.I.S.S. or “Keep it simple, stupid.” Flat design is based on the principle that web design must be simplified and return to a more classically digital look. Some have even called flat design so friendly to users that it’s user-centric…as in users are first and foremost in mind with this design approach.
Flat design, therefore, is a reaction and even a rebellion of sorts against excesses in web design. These excesses came from a mentality among some designers that they had to really wow their site visitors in order to keep them interested. As a result, they’d incorporate all sorts of gimmicky (though not necessarily useful) things into a site, such as flashy animations and illustrations.
From there, skeuomorphic design entered the fray, which, despite good intentions of bringing the familiarity of real life to the screen, actually incorporated more gimmicks in the form of drop shadows, falsely realistic textures and even real-object properties.

16 Inspiring Examples of Retro and Vintage Elements in Web Design

retro04

Sometimes it’s a texture, a type, a background image, a color scheme or even an icon. There are a lot of elements you can add to a web design to give it a retro or vintage feel. For this post, we’ve gathered a collection of sites that use this design style. So if you’re next project calls for a retro or vintage look, you should find plenty of inspiration here.

Web design and content go hand in hand

clark homes portfolio

Can a web designer create a website without having sufficient knowledge of the content? The more important question is, will they be able to make the best website design for you?

Without content, the website layout and design will be based on assumptions and guesswork. If your intended content does not match the layout your web designer came up with, huge changes will have to be made to accommodate it.

On the other hand, you may choose to keep the design but revise the content. In this case, the design will be the factor that dictates the content of your website.

clark homes 2

“Designers Shouldn’t Code” is the Wrong Answer to the Right Question

A new spin on an old chestnut. In Designers Shouldn’t Code” is the Wrong Answer to the Right Question, designer Joshua Seiden succinctly articulates why some professionals fear that too much knowledge of code will lead to designs being based around implementation models instead of a user’s mental model; why that concern is overblown; and why having HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in the design workflow can make for a much better end-product.

Here at ALA, of course, it’s preaching to the choir. But Seiden’s quick, clear framing of the case makes it a fine article to share with colleagues who believe front-end code doesn’t belong in a “real” designer’s practice.

So, should designers stop coding? There’s a bit truth to the observations, what you do learn influences how you work. But to stop designers from furthering their knowledge on coding is a totally different thought process and arguably relative.

(via Choc Chip Digital)

Paying close attention to logo and character designs

8 Faces gives me one the best magazine experiences online! In my humble opinion, it’s become a formidable force in the design community. Now that they’ve improved on the site, it’s only right that I share it and have everyone take a closer look:

How they did it: Rebuilding 8 Faces

8 faces8 Faces was launched in 2010 by Elliot Jay Stocks – a UK based web designer and self-confessed type nerd. Since then it has grown steadily and has become a business in itself with an expanding list of contributors and a very active Tumblr community.

 Issue one sold out in under one hour and subsequent releases have fared just as well. The range of 8 Faces products has also grown and now includes a limited edition range of type posters and a soon to be launched “read online” feature.

 In mid 2012 Elliot commissioned Paravel, Inc to redesign the 8 Faces online experience. Consisting of Trent Walton, Dave Rupert and Reagan Ray, Paravel have forged a strong reputation for creative, type-driven and responsive web sites including the DO lectures and one of the most visited sites on the internet,microsoft.com.

Read more on ‘rebuilding 8 faces’ here.

 Speaking of revamps, a friend of mine has been going back and forth on her company logo as she should be. Your logo is you. How about checking out these samples while you give that thought a go:

Inspiring logos for your delight

tea4teaWell designed logos are always a good source of inspiration. It’s amazing how many ideas we can get just by browsing logo galleries. From color palettes and typography, to textures and shapes, there’s plenty in a logo from which to gain inspiration.

Designers do a brilliant job on delivering logos that convey the personality of a company, and this is certainly no small task. So to keep your ideas flowing today, we gathered some examples of inspiring logos to get you inspired. Remember to click on the images to learn more about each logo and its designer.

And since we’re into logos, might as well touch on character design since character has been a familiar element for branding for ages:

30 Outstanding Tutorials for Learning the Art of Character Design

Characters and mascots are often used by brands, products, and websites to help with identity and communicating a specific message to customers/visitors. For many web designers character design is not an area of particular strength. Fortunately, there are a lot of quality tutorials that are readily available to explain the ins and outs of character design and to lead you through the process of designing a sample character.

Being able to design characters and mascots for your clients can be a great way to allow your services to stand out and to offer something that can make a big impact for your clients. If you’re looking to get started with character design or to improve your skills, here is a collection of 30 tutorials on the subject. This collection includes tutorials for Illustrator and Photoshop, and CorelDRAW is even represented.

character

More on 30 outstanding tutorials on character design here.

What Will A Great Website Do For You?

leaf tea ccd

A complete website design package gives small and medium businesses a fixed-price solution to make the most of online opportunities. With contemporary design and easy navigation we focus on the purpose of your website within your business.

In short –  a great website can make your business perform better.

There’s more to design than meets the eye. Seemingly minute things like logos and characters, they speak you. When it comes to these things, bring it!