Don’t Explain: Web Design that Puts Engagement First

What do an online game start-up and an email marketing service have in common? Representatives from both did speak at the In Control Web Design Conference, but their similarities stretch beyond their mutual attendance and into a shared goal: to create more playful online experiences.

As Daniel Burka, design director of Tiny Speck and former design director of Digg, highlighted in his keynote address, advancements in web browsers have made fun more possible than ever. Gone are the days of limited table-based sites, and now designers can use almost any font, color, or device they want. With this increased flexibility, designers should focus less on explanation and more on engagement, he said. To do this, Burka urges them to “play right away.”

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What is Copywriting and How is it Important for a Designer?

Copywriting refers to the use of written copy to promote a business or entity. The ultimate purpose of copywriting is to expand the client base of a business. Multinationals and businesses are now promoting themselves globally, with a worldwide audience at their disposal, which has led to an unprecedented rise in demand for copywriters. Advertising and marketing campaigns are increasingly web-based, further raising the demand for creative writers who can get the job done on a tight budget.

Copywriting has nothing to do with the legal term “copyrighting,” which refers ownership of intellectual property. In this article, we will explore copywriting from a designer’s point of view, with a focus on tips of the trade.

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Things to Remember Before Launching a Website

Effective web-browsing experiences are absolutely necessary in this climate of competitive business and advancing technology. Finding a niche, making a good first impression and staying fresh are among the website owner’s goals. Maybe you’ve got a great concept, selected the perfect designer, brainstormed about design ideas, made decisions and worked hard to get great images and content onto a website.

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Why Designers Should Learn How to Code

There’s a never-ending debate about whether web designers should be able to code. Web designers who can’t code their own designs still exist. When the web first took off, the designation “web designer” was limited in scope. Technological developments led to an ever-growing demand for web designers, and now the field is open to unlimited possibilities for specialization.

If you are talented with graphics yet clueless when it comes to coding and the back end, then you will most likely be the first who a firm that is tight on budget lets go. Does splitting your share with another coder make sense as a freelancer? It’s simple: the more skilled you are, the more valuable you will be.

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How to Use LinkedIn for Your Web Design Business

Maybe you’re already one of the 85 million users on LinkedIn, or perhaps you’re just getting started. Regardless of where you fall on the social networking spectrum, LinkedIn has a number of new applications and features to enrich your experience.

In this post, we’ll look at ways to beef up your profile as well as use new applications and sections to optimize your networking with clients, prospects and others in the design community. We’ll also cover how to find design-related groups on LinkedIn, exploit the new features of company pages to showcase your design work and keep up with developments on LinkedIn.

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How to Get More Design Referrals

Freelancers and small design companies do not have large marketing budgets. There may be a few dollars here or there to spend on Google AdWords, Facebook ads or perhaps a small print campaign, but by and large we survive on one things: referrals.

When someone begins his/her freelance design career, all we have are referrals: from our friends, schoolmates, even our parents and family. As we land our first clients and complete our first design jobs, it’s important to realize the importance of referrals and think about how to maximize them. The more clients we get, the more opportunity for referrals, which brings in more clients, and so on. It grows exponentially and, if you take steps to ensure you get more referrals, you may not have to spend a cent on advertising. Ever.

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An Introduction to Color Theory for Web Designers

( – Today we’re going to learn the importance of color in Web Design and how to choose a pleasing color scheme. This article is part of our Basix series, which is aimed at providing practical and concise explanations of design principles for those with little design experience… let’s get started!

Who this Article is Written for:

This article is written for people that are just starting to learn formal design principles. It is not meant to be a comprehensive study of how to apply color to a design (we’ll have plenty of those in the future), but rather, it’s an overview for those looking for practical advice that will help them approach color theory within the context of a web design project.

I’m writing this because I’ve always found it difficult to decide on a color scheme that works well for a project; it’s probably one of the toughest decisions that I have to make as a designer. However, by learning the basics of Color Theory and some excellent tools available on the web, I’ve been able to strengthen my designs and account for this weakness.

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Get a Design Job!

( RitaSue Siegel’s Get a Design Job, now in its third edition, is available to the AIGA community at no charge. Originally written for Innovation, the quarterly publication of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), Siegel offers advice to emerging designers looking to break into the world of design, designers eager to improve their positions, as well as recently downsized managers and executives.

From performing a self-evaluation on the core design competencies that can add value to a wide range of businesses, to navigating different types of interviews and networking situations, Get a Design Job offers practical advice for the changing roles of today’s designers.

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How Can Designers Make the Most of Their Workdays

Workdays matter a lot in your professional life when you take and overview of all of them. It is important that a professional makes the most out of his workdays in order to succeed in his career. Same goes for the designers. Either you are a salaried designer working for a design house or a freelance design business owner working from home, spending your workdays effectively is the actual key to success. There are some key-points to be remembered by both these individuals.  This article focuses on freelance designers only however, I am going to discuss salaried individuals in my next posts.

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Get More Out of Your Fonts

It’s a text-based world. Everywhere you look, there’s a sign, an ad, or a screen relaying information. The hand-lettered signage at your mom-and-pop corner store aside, most of the messages you see are set in familiar fonts.

You’ll find plenty of tips and tricks on using type elsewhere –- and far more technical ones, at that –- but here are some select ideas and advice that will put you (and your online presence) on the path to becoming a font savant.

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20+ Infographics to Help Web Designers and Developers

( – Infographics are a great, creative and concise way to present vital information in a visual and interesting way that’s easy for most people to understand.   There are many of us that learn visually and be presenting data in graphic format is more useful.

Today lets take a look at 20+ Infographics with concepts important to Web Designers and Developers that could perhaps provide them the information they need to get their jobs done quicker.

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Logo Design Trends for Big Companies

( – Logos are one of the most important components of a brands identity which promotes instant public recognition. Although logos are designed to be instantly recognizable, they don’t always remain the same.

Some modifications are minor; others can result in an almost entirely different logo. In this article, we will look at some logos from well known companies and see how they have changed throughout the history of the company.

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Important Factors of Minimal Web Design

( – Less is More’, an aphorism coined by the German – American architect for Coining suits the term ‘Minimalism’ in an apt way. In today’s world where everything is growing in a fast paced manner, we have to compromise somewhere to catch up with the speed, like a skyscraper cannot be constructed with all the architecture and the fine details as in case of a palace, but a skyscraper does justice to its part and everybody accepts this. In the world of darkness, a simple candle can light the whole place rather than a chandelier or heavy lightings. Similarly a minimalistic design is created to justify its purpose rather than incorporating all the materials and create a chaos.

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Has Sharing Gone Out of Bounds?

( – Designers like to share. If we were honest, many of us would admit we also love to brag. Sometimes a tool comes along that enables us to do both simultaneously. Brilliant.

What is Dribbble? You likely have a Dribbble account, are desperate for an invitation, or have elected to turn a deaf ear to the latest online-community-sharing-feedback-design-tool. If you use Twitter, you have almost certainly had a “sweet shot”—a screenshot in Dribbble’s basketball-themed parlance—come through your stream.

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50 Startup Logos from 2010

( – Startups have flourished in 2010. The last 12 months have yielded some fantastic success stories. Groupon is a standout and is currently receiving a lot of attention, buzz and press. Some believe the latest wave of start-ups are driving a dot-com recovery. Either way, as designers, it is interesting to reflect and see what design trends and styles are used by some of the world’s newest and most innovative companies.

Below are 50 logos for tech start-ups that were launched in 2010 or that came to prominence in 2010. We’ve categorized them into 3 groups: “The Good”, “The Average” and “The Ugly”.

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Quote of the Day

The designer is a visually literate person, just as an editor is expected by training and inclination to be versed in language and literature, but to call the former an artist by occupation is as absurd as to refer to the latter as a poet.

— Douglas Martin

Quote of the Day

Design is an opportunity to continue telling the story, not just to sum everything up.

— Tate Linden

Quote of the Day

Design is the search for a magical balance between business and art; art and craft; intuition and reason; concept and detail; playfulness and formality; client and designer; designer and printer; and printer and public.

— Valerie Pettis

Beauty Matters

(Mark Cook on – I recently acquired a bottle of Method hand soap. I spent two dollars more than I would have on the generic brand—why?—because I liked it. I liked the bottle shape, the minimalist design aesthetic, the embossed brand mark, the color palette. The fact that Method produces a responsibly made product was a perk, but (please don’t judge me) this wasn’t the foremost factor in my decision to make the purchase. I simply wanted something I liked. As you might have guessed, this decision was driven primarily by formal design considerations.

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