Big Design in Small Spaces

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It’s easy to get caught up in the big picture sometimes – what your whole site looks like or the message it conveys. Just as important though, are the small spaces. The look of your banner, sidebars and even the dreaded-in-some-circles above the scroll presentation can bring people into or turn people away from your site.

Effective design in restricted, and even constricted spaces can be the key to adding just the right flair to your site. Simple design tools such as cropping, color, text display and contrast can make all the difference when planning the design for the boxed-in spaces of your next project.

Cropping

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A tight crop can give a small image the feeling of being much larger than it is. In small spaces, it is best to stay away from wide angle images where faces are unidentifiable. People like to see other people in photos, so crop your images so that faces are clearly visible and identifiable.

Keep the same idea in mind when using images of objects. Can you tell what you are looking at from a distance? Take a few steps back from the monitor or zoom out. Does the image still make sense? If not, it might be time to reconsider the crop or pick out a new image.

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handsome things

Handsome Things chatted to young Interior designer Shara-Lee Mordt about Design. Mate, her new line of wallpaper designs.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Shara-Lee Mordt, I’m 23 years of age.

I qualified as an Interior designer in 2009 at the University of Johannesburg. After my studies, I was lucky enough to get an internship at Elle Decoration magazine, where I learnt a great deal about design and specifically all the great designers that SA has to offer.

How did you get started?

So, after working at Elle Decoration, I worked at various design companies but then decided that I was going to take my studies further. I started studying Chemical Engineering at Wits (I really don’t know why and how I thought this would be for me) where I was not happy at all:)

My uncle who is in the printing business let me use one of his older printers, so…

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Photoshop CS6: 10 things you need to know

Photoshop CS6: 10 things you need to know

Photoshop CS6 is finally available as a public beta – and it’s packed with dozens of new features to enable you to do more than ever before. We’ve picked out 10 of the best for designers

Photoshop CS6 has been released as a public beta today to give designers a chance to integrate the new version into their creative workflows – and so Adobe can gauge user reaction to the changes, new features and enhancements that have been included in the upgrade.

Photoshop CS6 beta will be available as a free download from Adobe Labs until the program gets an official release sometime in the first half of 2012. Pricing has yet to be confirmed.

Commenting on the launch of Photoshop CS6 beta, Winston Hendrickson – vice president of products at Adobe’s Creative Media Solutions division said in a press release: “Photoshop CS6 will be a milestone release that pushes the boundaries of imaging innovation with incredible speed and performance.”

And to find out whether that’s true, just take a look at our round-up of the 10 biggest changes, features and enhancements:

1. Text style sheets

With Photoshop CS6 designers can now define text styles, both on a paragraph and character basis, in much the same way as in InDesign. Each style can store font, size, leading, justification, hyphenation and other information about the text structure.

Changing a style definition will change every instance of the style used in the current document, and a button on the Style panel allows styles to be change to match the current instance.

2. Better Lighting Effects

 

Photoshop CS6 lighting effects

 

The Lighting Effects filter has had a major overhaul and now shows a full-screen preview of the effect – which means using an Alpha Channel as a bump map is now more predictable than ever.

As well as being able to move the lights, focus, size and arrangement directly on the artwork, you can now adjust the intensity as well using the rotary dial in the centre of the light.

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Product Design Inspiration

Most designers are happy to find inspiration in various forms of daily life. Product design can be an interesting source of inspiration, as there are creative and well-designed products all around us. The products featured here may not be common things that you see everyday, but most of them are fairly typical products designed in a unique way. (Click on the photos to see more from Behance.)

product design inspiration

product design inspiration

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20+ examples of beautiful and inspiring fonts

Choosing fonts for design projects can be a daunting task because there’s thousands of fonts out there all over the web that you could use.

Whether you’re looking to create a big, bold logo for your business or work on a poster for an event here’s a collection of inspiring fonts that are perfect for use whatever your project may be.

The collection covers a variety of themes from vintage to clean and simple.

Remember to check the license before using any of these fonts commercially and any restrictions on use.

Neo Deco

Neo Deco is a beautiful, professional font that works well for logos. It’s clean, simple typography in action with a real sense of style.

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Daydreaming Can Be Good for Your Brain

Daydreaming gentleman in 1912

Letting your mind wander from time to time can actually help your brain process information, and can serve as a workout for your “working memory,” or your mental capacity for handling multiple thoughts and dealing with competing issues simultaneously. In fact, a new study published in the journal Psychological Sciencesuggests that if you frequently catch yourself daydreaming, you may have a strong working memory—meaning you can focus on multiple things and daydream without forgetting the things you have to work on.

Granted, the study draws the line between people who daydream because they’re bored and subsequently forget everything they were doing before they started daydreaming, and people who daydream because the things they’re working on simply doesn’t require their full attention. “Working memory” is that ability to process multiple things in your head at once—or in other words, what you’re using on the long commute home when you’re thinking about what you’ll make for dinner when you get home, whether you’ll have time to play a few video games or fire up a movie, when you should check in with the office again, if you have any chores to do when you get home, all while you’re trying to safely drive through rush-hour traffic.

To support the conclusion that daydreaming may be actually mental exercise for your working memory, researchers asked groups of people from 18 to 65 to do simple tasks—so simple their full attention wasn’t required—and then followed up with some light cognitive tests to have participants remember letters while doing simple math equations. In almost all cases, the individuals who admitted to their mind wandering during the simple tasks did better on the cognitive tests. The researchers concluded that while everyone did well on the tests, those people with more working memory are likely to use it to do more mentally even when they’re supposed to be doing something else—effectively daydreaming.

This isn’t the first research to indicate that daydreaming can be good for your brain. So if your attention tends to wander a bit while you work on other things, don’t feel too bad about it. As long as it doesn’t make you less creative and productive, you could actually be getting more done with the brainpower you have.

Do you catch yourself daydreaming from time to time? Do you feel like it helps or hurts your productivity? For more information on the study—which was published in the March 14th edition of Psychological Science, hit the link below, and let us know what you think in the comments.

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17 Tips for Designers on Starting a Freelance Business – DesignM.ag

17 Tips for Designers on Starting a Freelance Business – DesignM.ag.

As I interact with readers of my blogs, I continually encounter designers who are just getting started in the world of freelancing. In some cases they are very experienced designers/developers who are going out on their own for the first time. Others are trying freelancing part-time to see how it will work for them, and some are planning for a transition process but have not yet started to freelance. Since a large number of readers are facing issues that go along with getting started as a freelancer, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips from my own experience.

The tips in this post will cover all aspects of freelancing and the lifestyle that comes with it. In many cases unexpected issues and adjustments are what new freelancers struggle with, so hopefully this article will help to prepare new freelancers to meet the challenges that will be presented.

1. Make Sure You Have Some Experience

It’s very easy to get started as a freelance designer. There’s no need to have a particular education (although it can certainly be helpful) and there is no governing body or licensing that requires freelancers to be experienced. For these reasons there are a lot of freelancers out there, so you will need to be good at what you do in order to be successful.

If you have several years of experience working for a design studio or in-house somewhere, most likely you have many of the skills that you need to be successful as a freelancer. However, if you are just getting started as a designer there is a need to gain valuable experience. Getting experience doesn’t mean that you have to land work with high paying clients. You can gain a considerable amount of experience by working on personal projects or by taking some work for a non-profit organization that may be looking for a lower-priced alternative. Look for opportunities to take on work where you can stretch your skills and make yourself as valuable as possible to future clients.

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