The Use of Filters and Transparency Layers in Website Design


It seems that with one trend in website design, designers almost have another trend pushed upon them. This is the case with large background images – using a slide show with a variety of different photographs means that whatever color text you choose it will show up better on some than on others, so the solution has been to place a filter or transparent layer between the image and the text, meaning that the text will show just as clearly on any image. This design trend does not only apply to photographic background images, some sites use halftones or transparency on solid color backgrounds, and the addition of a very small drop shadow makes white text look extremely crisp and sharp. Here we are showcasing a selection of websites that use this method to keep their text easy to read without compromising the quality of the images. How They Work I would imagine just about every designer knows how filters and transparency work when placed between an image and the text, but to show the amazing difference that such a layer can make, I have produced some images to prove it! Images with White Text Black Transparent Layer at 25%… Read More

Freebie: Round Flat Icons with Noisy Effect in Retro Colors


Today we are releasing a set of round, flat icons in retro colors. Flat design is a bang up to date trend that has brought with it a touch of retro in terms of color schemes, so we thought you might like some trendy flat icons with a little retro flair in the color. We have also included ‘noisy’ icons. Noise is really trending at the moment – it seems to be a knock-on effect of mesh transparencies, and is being used on background textures, especially in conjunction with pastel colors. The icons are presented in one .psd file, and all icons are 128px – they can easily be reduced in size. They come in purple, blue, orange, green, red, gray and black, with plain and noisy versions in each color. Free Round Flat Icons with Noisy Effect in Retro Colors This freebie includes 7 sets of 30 social media and application icons such as: YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Email, Dropbox, Dribbble, Digg, Delicious, DeviantArt, Blogger, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Pinterest, Picasa, Behance, PayPal, MySpace, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Forrst, Yahoo, WordPress, Twitter, Tumblr, Spotify, Vimeo, Skype, SoundCloud and RSS Feed. Download Round Flat Icons with Noisy Effect in Retro Colors Feel free to… Read More

Creating a Distinctly Vintage Feel in Modern Web Design


What is the difference between vintage and retro? It is almost an unanswerable question, or it is often a matter of opinion. I would suggest that the difference between vintage and retro is simply age. Vintage could be classified as anything up to and including the 1940s, and retro would therefore be from the 1950s onwards, probably currently ending in the 1980s. Of course, we have not taken into account the other classification: Antique! The technical definitions of these terms are as follows: Antique – anything that is over 100 years old; Vintage – anything that is over 50 years old; Retro – anything that looks out of style for the current time period. Here we have collected a selection of websites whose designs are (in our opinion), vintage, and for the purposes of this article we have included designs that reflect the 1800s to around the 1940s. Vintage Style in Website Design Passage On this home page vintage meets trendy – all of the images are in the vintage style, but there are small animations on the page, such as the downward pointing hand that moves up and down. The Barstow This company make goggles for motorcyclists. Their landing… Read More

The Missing Component of an Excellent User Experience

Using Laptop

When I first read these statistics, I didn’t believe it was real. Amazon could have lost $1.6 billion in annual sales if this issue had not been addressed. Likewise, Mozilla increased their conversion rate by 15.6% because they improved their user experience by focusing on this one specific area. Let me ask you, what comes to your mind when you think about the user experience? How do you go about tweaking, monitoring and improving how your web page performs and achieves your intended results? If you are in the business of building a website that not only looks pretty but drives key business goals, pay careful attention to what I’m about to share. Improving Your Site’s User Experience When you talk about improving the user experience of a website, what often comes to mind are the graphics, navigation and maybe its responsiveness across different devices. When I did a Google search on UI/UX design, what I found were fuzzy concepts like clarity, attractiveness and consistency, all of which hint at a solid principle but can’t really be tested objectively. When a user pulls up your website, a factor that most affects their experience might be something that has nothing to… Read More

Flat Design: A History, Past, Present and Future


Flat design has been a huge hit over the years. If you have not heard of the term, you would have certainly seen this style in the digital world. A leading trend in interface design, it is so popular that it is difficult not to see or hear about it on our screens today. There are many factors influencing design to become simplified. To get a full perspective of this trend, we need to delve into the history of minimal design before we can understand its popularity and correct use. The Hows and Whys of Flat Design What is Flat Design? Flat design is exactly what its name suggests – design that is flat. A term defined by user interface (UI) designers, flat design removes stylistic 3D components like gradients, bevels, drop shadows and textures. Basically anything that would create visual depth so a graphic has the illusion of “popping out”. But this trend didn’t gain popularity for no reason. In essence, flat design is a critical response to rich and skeuomorphic designs. It tries to argue that the most effective way to communicate a message is by removing all forms of visual dimension and unnecessary ‘fluff’. VS. Skeuomorphic: Skeuomorphism… Read More

Does Your “Brand” Help or Hurt You?


Every company, every public personality and every freelancer has a brand. It’s who we are and how we want to be perceived. How far can you push your brand and will people believe it, trust it and love it, or end up hating it? The answer is life and death for your career. Good Branding Personally, I’ve screwed up with my own branding and lived to tell the tale. When I was laid off from my long-time corporate position, I figured I could freelance and service the big clients I had connected with at my old position. A few phone calls and emails started my freelancing but as these corporations started dumping extra work on the designers left inhouse, essentially saving money but stressing the remaining creatives, I had to look elsewhere for clients. That meant branding a freelance presence. As a sick, inside joke, I decided on The Afterlife as my name and all branding was based on a Beetlejuice-type world of coffins and 18th century gravestone skulls with wings. My business card was die cut as an old six-sided coffin, my picture was Photoshopped with wings and a halo and my peers thought it was a brilliant commentary… Read More

Winter Holiday Presents from TemplateMonster: Win A Pebble Steel Watch Today!


Thanksgiving is on the doorstep and it’s just the start of the holiday season. That’s why TemplateMonster has decided to make some “festive moves”! The end-of-the-year lottery is a major giveaway of real-deal prizes like Pebble Steel Watch, Nexus 5, Nvidia Shield and iPhone 6! They are to be given to customers only, so make sure you buy a template from TemplateMonster during the holiday time. This will automatically make you a participant of the lottery. The more templates you get, the more chances you have to win! Winter Holiday Presents from TemplateMonster If you are new to TemplateMonster it is worthy of mentioning that it is one of the oldest providers on the web. Over the years the company has developed more than 46K products. There are lots of features that distinguish TemplateMonster from others, like 24/7 support, tremendous experience and exceptional variety of products! They are always ready to provide fresh designs and bright ideas! You must be wondering how to participate in the lottery? It’s simple. You just have to buy a template and wait till the winner is announced. Great prizes are waiting just for you! The offer is open until the end of January, so… Read More

13 Colors You Didn’t Know Existed And Where They Came From


People say men and women see colors differently. To women, lipsticks come in different shades of red—there’s scarlet, vermillion, crimson—but to men, they’re simply red. There’s an infinite number of colors and they can be very subjective; good thing there are authorities that dictate the names of every identifiable shade in the spectrum. Although names are provided, it doesn’t go that these names are commonly known by the average human. Switch on your color geekiness. Here’s over a dozen weird-sounding names you wouldn’t associate with colors and a short back story for each one. 1) Military Olive It’s easy to imagine the color our military men wear and naming a specific color after them was a great idea!   2) Daphne One can easily expect a shade of pink or soft yellow upon hearing the color Daphne. Daphne is a soft shade of blue but ironically, it’s usually used for industrial projects. 3) Amaranth It’s a cross between red and pink but you can’t tell whether it’s one or the other. It’s a very feminine color for a reason: it’s named after a flower! (Spoiler: most of the colors that will follow are named after plants, too!) 4) Bayou It’s a bluish-green color taken from a Franco-English… Read More

21 Amazing Illustrations by Ivan Belikov


“Beasts, feathers, and grass.” These are the elements that embellish this collection of illustrations by Russian freelance illustrator Ivan Belikov (pseudonym Further Up). I previously featured Belikov’s Social Networks project, a series of illustrations depicting interpretations of various social media sites based on his perception. Since then, he’s been illustrating more fascinating pieces and every time he shares a new work, I can’t help but to be awestruck; I think Belikov deserves another feature. Belikov’s body of illustrations vary from t-shirt designs, posters to cover art designs for bands like City of the Lost. Among all of his works, one prominent project is Herbariy: The Interpretation of Coat of Arms. The main concept of the project is to create an interpretation based on the general elements of different countries’/capitals’ coat of arms. This personal series of illustrations were made according to historical references and descriptions of each coat of arms. What I noticed about Ivan’s illustrations is his incredible attention to detail paired with his distinct stroke style to make his creations look as realistic as possible. This is why his works are equally astonishing even if you look at his illustrations as fragments or as a whole. Wander into the imaginary wildlife and environment of… Read More

20 Ways To Drive Graphic Designers Mad


Are you a potential client? A new graphic designer? Or someone who just enjoys annoying people? If you’ve never worked with graphic designers before or you simply want to tick us off, here are 20 ways to drive graphic designers mad. FORMATS 1) Send your images in MS Word format Seeing MS Word file attachments in our e-mails makes us want to pull our hair out, more so when you treat MS Word as a photo album. 2) Send low-res images Graphic designers are always asked to scale images and it’s hard to stretch a low-res file without sacrificing its sharpness. It’ll be hard for us to “make your logo bigger,” but we’ll get to that part later. 3) Ask us to edit flattened files Although it is possible on some levels, there is a limit to how much we can edit your flat files. Please make sure that you send us files with editable layers. Usually it’s the file with the blue Photoshop icon. BUSINESS 4) Ask for mock-ups before hiring us Nope, that’s as good as working for free. Mock-ups are submitted after we sign a contract and agree on the project details. We have portfolios that host our past works from which you… Read More