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A designer’s portfolio is not something out of the ordinary. It is not extravagant or luxury. On the contrary, it is an ordinary thing that we meet on a daily basis while surfing the web. We are witnessing an era of personal websites that pop up here, there and pretty much everywhere.

Developers, designers, creative directors, photographers and other artists are eager to make a statement. And they want it to be bold. Communities such as Dribbble, Behance and Codepen are no longer enough to satisfy their needs.

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Everyone wants a personal portfolio because it gives you the freedom to be whatever you want, to show whatever skills you want, to use whatever tricks you want to win over clients. It is here where you can let your imagination run wild and create a universe where your genius will flourish and will be truly appreciated.

A personal website is a place to share your story. Some artists prefer to make their narration concise and businesslike. They opt in favor of traditional user interfaces that are filled with neutrality, time-proven tricks, and trendy solutions.

Still, others prefer to go off the beaten path and tell a story about themselves. And this story is not just an autobiography. In many cases, it is an adventure or exciting journey with a plot that is brought inside a skillfully recreated universe with proper illustrations, animations and interactions.

Moonfarmer

Here’s a website for a creative digital studio. The name of the agency sets the tone and theme for the site. There is a beautiful cosmic scene, lovely space-related logotype and illustrations. The navigation features such sections as mission and crew, each page is named as if it were from out of this world. In one word, there is a small cosmic journey that presents the company in the best possible “Moon” light.

Moonfarmer’s idea of storytelling is brilliant. It is unique, charismatic and of course alluring. Although there is no imposing interactive canvas or lavish experiments with high-end libraries, it is so absorbing that you cannot take your eyes off it. We all love good books with well-thought-out plots, and digital storytelling experiences are exactly the same. Though with just one exception: while in the case of books we need to imagine scenes in our mind, with websites we can enjoy the fantasy world thoughtfully created beforehand.

Jeremi Walewicz

Jeremi Walewicz stands behind this splendid personal portfolio. His take on a self-presentation is incredible. Everything here is corresponding to the theme. In some way, it even has a Star Wars-like quality, especially in the “Briefing” section. The website feels so real that you certainly believe this guy.

Niccolo Miranda

From high-tech reality to a low-tech fantasy world, Niccolo Miranda and his portfolio opens a series of illustrated storytelling experiences in our collection. Although the website is small (it just includes three sections), the home screen, as well as the way the artist presents his work and himself, is remarkable.

Fishfinger / The Insurance Experiments

Fishfinger is famous for their lavish, colorful and cartoonish website designs. Just look at The Insurance Experiments, it is fantastic. So it comes as no surprise that their website is no exception. It is simply awesome. From an idea to a realization: the team has put heart and soul into this project. Everything is well-thought out and made with particular attention to detail. The website will make you smile and leave a truly positive and long-lasting impression.

Digital Meal

Digital Meal has a fully illustrated website that uncovers the agencies’ sphere of expertise in a fancy manner. The theme is bizarre: it has the qualities and features of Minecraft, retro games and is a bit cosmic. Nevertheless, this peculiarity is skillfully mixed with brutality and produces an exciting effect that naturally lures us in.

Sido

Sido is an example of gamification in the storytelling experience. The portfolio is a classic browser adventure game where you can explore the universe and at the same time find out information about the artist. Although the graphics feel a bit dated, we have to give an artist credit for creating such a grandiose project.

Dara Sami

Dara Sami’s personal portfolio is another game-based storytelling experience in our collection that has a unique plot – a story about an ingenious game developer. The interactive setting invites visitors to explore all the details by hovering over objects and finding out some interesting stuff about the artist.

Hey, I’m Phil

Phillip Pastore took the idea of transforming a personal portfolio into a storytelling experience a little too literally. His website is just one page, or to be more precise one screen, where he displays a relatively short autobiography. However, give it a try since it is indeed worth your attention. The text features underlined words that bear some extra information that will be revealed upon hovering. Enjoy a short story about the artist spiced up with some hilarious accompanying visual material.

Mariano Pascual / Erik Bernacchi

Not all stories have to be fairy tales that are full of lovely illustrations. Sometimes they can be brutally honest and a bit crude. Mariano Pascual and Erik Bernacchi have a particular view on the storytelling experience. Both portfolios tell a story about the respective artists, but not in a traditional way. These two websites have a charisma of the 90s with rough aesthetics, rustic details and an authentic feel.

Storytelling: A Time-Tested Method

Thanks to present-day techniques and improvements in enduring instruments, artists are spoiled with options. They are able to bring any idea to life – however grandiose and bizarre it may be.

While some prefer to impress with ultra-modern action-packed solutions, others, like Moonfarmers, prefer to breathe a new life into old-but-good solutions like the storytelling experience. They take things to the next level, providing visitors not just with a “wow” masterpiece within the hero section. They instead try to keep the interest alive throughout the project, feeding visitors with exciting features and gradually bringing them to their side.

The post 10 Portfolio Websites that Tell a Story appeared first on Speckyboy Web Design Magazine.

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As web designers, we build sites for our clients based on our own expertise. And while there are tried-and-true techniques for placing items such as navigation and calls to action, other design decisions are more arbitrary. We often end up implementing features the way we think users will want them to be.

While this is challenging for all designers, it’s especially so for solo freelancers and small agencies. Why? Because we often don’t have the budget to conduct real user testing. If you work on a lot of smaller projects, you might have to venture an educated guess or two when it comes to building a great UX. That can lead to some underperforming features.

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Plus, there can also be times when our ego gets in the way. The more experience and success you attain as a designer, the easier it is to think that you know it all. This too can result in being out of step with what everyday users expect.

It’s not-so-ironic that I place myself in both of the above groups. Much of my career has been spent working with smaller clients who generally don’t budget for any extras. And, there was a time when I thought I really did have it all figured out (turns out I didn’t).

As such, I’ve tried to keep an open mind when it comes to the usability of my work. Here are a few things I’ve learned (and continue to learn) about designing with users in mind.

Always Choose the Simplest Path

It’s easy to get carried away with design. Sometimes we implement features because they’re part of a hot new trend or they help us show off our great skills. It’s also quite possible to, no matter how noble our intention, completely overthink the design process.

I think it’s a common occurrence to start of with a basic idea that, on its own, works well enough. But then we start layering on effects in an effort make things “perfect” in our eyes. What we don’t realize at the time is that we may actually be making this feature harder for users to digest.

For example, tweaking text colors until they look amazing could inadvertently degrade accessibility. Or a slick animation in a navigation bar might cause chaos for those using an older browser. Then there is that quest to preserve whitespace, sometimes at the expense of hiding important information.

Even talented designers are capable of taking a good thing and wrecking it. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to keep simplicity in mind. Fancy effects are great, but they should only be used if they actually enhance the user experience. In other words, they call attention to the right things.

The key is in thinking about what it is we want a user to do. What actions do we expect them to take? From there, it’s about creating something that makes carrying out those actions as obvious and painless as possible.

Get Clients on Board

User-centric design doesn’t always come easily. Sometimes, you have to fight for it. Or, at least plead your case.

Clients have been known to share their honest opinions about the designs we create for them. The trouble is that they, like us, are prone to having the wrong priorities.

We’ve all had experiences where a client insists on a feature being implemented in a certain way or with a specific placement. Sometimes, they hit the nail right on the head. Other times, the result is something that pleases them, yet makes the site more difficult to use.

The easiest thing is to defer to your client in this situation, but it’s not the right thing. This is where you’ll need to use your expert voice in a friendly way.

Explain your concerns as to why you would recommend doing something differently. For example, if the goal of the website is to get users to contact your client, show them the barriers that are getting in the way. Perhaps the call-to-action isn’t obvious enough or maybe contact information is too hard to find.

Quite often, clients don’t see things through the eyes of the everyday user. But once they do, they are usually willing to do whatever it takes to increase usability. It’s just a matter of speaking up when you need to.

Consider Your Own User Experience

Odds are that you’ve encountered plenty of good and bad experiences as a user. Just think about the websites you routinely visit (at least, the ones that you didn’t have a hand in building). How easy are they to use? What are the pain points that drive you crazy?

Each site, app or even operating system that you use can serve as a reference point. You can look back at them and say, “I love how that works” or “That made no sense at all.” That can and should play a role in your own projects.

For instance, one of my biggest frustrations is a banking site I visit at tax time. Once logged in, it doesn’t provide a clear path to the particular documents I need to access. I have to click around to various seemingly-unrelated pages before I can find what I’m looking for.

While I generally don’t design for banks, I do work on membership sites. This poor UX reminds me to make account information easier to find.

Of course, as professionals we won’t necessarily see the web the same way others do. But we can still apply our unique experiences in an effort to do better.

Learn and Evolve

Regardless of whether or not we have access to detailed user testing, it’s still possible to improve the usability of our work. Some of it is plain common sense. But it’s also about being in the right frame of mind when putting a site together.

The concept of progressive enhancement should always be at the forefront of what we’re doing. That might mean sacrificing a fancy, portfolio-enhancing effect in exchange for a feature that is easier to use. So be it. That’s what we’re paid to do.

And, even if we can’t perform formal testing, that doesn’t mean we still can’t ask a client, friend or colleague for an honest opinion. While this doesn’t provide the same depth of feedback, it is useful all the same.

Afterwards, we can analyze the results and see how effective our decisions have been. We’ll still make mistakes (even resource-rich companies are far from perfect). The important thing is that we learn from them and always strive for improvement.

The post Staying in Touch with What Users Want appeared first on Speckyboy Web Design Magazine.

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Making a Statement: The Use of Stacked Text Blocks in Web Design – It may not seem like much, but this design technique can have a large impact.

Amino – A live CSS editor for Google Chrome.

Text Distortion Effects using Blotter.js – Examples of distorting text upon scrolling and mouse movement.

The end of the celebrity designer – How “open” design leads to more collaboration.

Using the WordPress Classic Editor on New Websites – A look at scenarios where sticking with the Classic Editor makes sense.

UX microcopy: finding a balance between empathy and humor – Striking the right tone for your brand.

Promo Image Resizer – A browser-based image tool with handy presets for social media.

Intro to Font Metrics – Take an inside look at how fonts work.

HTML slides without frameworks, just CSS – How to create a presentation that doesn’t require outside dependencies.

18 Free High-Resolution Adobe Illustrator Brush Packs – Spice up your vector graphics with this collection of brushes.

Stisla – A beautiful, free Bootstrap admin template.

Not Paid – Have a client who hasn’t paid? Send a message with this JavaScript that decreases the opacity of their website each day until it fades completely.

Uppy – A sleek, modular file uploader that integrates with any website or app.

Bidirectional Scrolling is here to save Responsive Design – Can scrolling content in two directions make for a better mobile UX?

10 Free Instagram Story Templates – Share your story in a beautiful, consistent manner with these templates.

10 Insights on the State of Visual Storytelling in 2019 – Thoughts on creating the best storytelling experience.

An Introduction to CSS Exclusions – Learn what CSS exclusions are and how they could solve some complex layout problems.

New JavaScript Features That Will Change How You Write Regex – How ES2018 improves the text processing capabilities of JS.

TypeIt – A JavaScript typing library that is billed as the “world’s most versatile”.

Carbonize – Create beautiful images from your own code snippets.

Follow Speckyboy on Twitter or Facebook for a daily does of web design resources and freebies.

The post Weekly News for Designers № 475 appeared first on Speckyboy Web Design Magazine.

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If you can create a user login form for your product or app in minutes – and without coding – you must be doing something illegal or magical. Or, you could be using Mason, a feature-building platform designed for teams to work together to design, build, and deploy front-end features.

Let us first explain what Mason is. Then, we’ll show you how easy it is to build, design, and deploy a login form in mere minutes.

Mason is a front-end-as-a-service platform on which you can design, build, and deploy fully-functional features for software applications. You’re given total control in managing your front-end experiences in your codebase, making it possible to create a live feature in minutes.

Mason effectively eliminates the need to provide documentation for development and having to wait for the next deployment cycle; thereby eliminating weeks if not months from your work schedule. You’ll consolidate prototyping, QA, and engineering down to move at lightning speed.

Here’s how you use Mason:

  1. Pick a component or components from the platform that you will use to design the feature you wish to create; in this case either a single user login or a login flow with its various commands and options.
  2. Pick a template to work from or build your own. Either way, you can customize it down to the final pixel.
  3. Snag a developer for a few minutes, have them help you connect your API endpoints, hit “Publish” and your newly created feature is live in seconds. Now, you can export your feature and with a single line of code, drop it into your codebase.
How to Create a Login Form Without Writing Code

As you’ll see from the video tutorial, it’s not at all difficult. All you have to do is hit Play, sit back, and prepare to be impressed with how easy it can be.

Creating and Styling a Basic Form - YouTube

If you’d like to go through the instructions one more time to make sure you have them right, we’ll repeat them for your benefit.

You’ll be using Mason Canvas and Mason Builder to create the user login form.

Mason Canvas is a virtual whiteboard on which you visually create your front-end design. No coding is involved, and you won’t have to hand your design over to a development team.

Mason Builder enables you to create and customize features for a website or app and connect them to the already existing backend.

It’s important to note that whenever you make a change to a feature, it automatically translates into valid HTML/CSS; code that doesn’t require debugging that could slow the deployment cycle.

With these tools in hand, you’re ready to proceed by following these step-by-step instructions:

Step 1. Shape Your Login Form

When you log in to your Mason account you’ll see a “+New Feature” button. Clicking on it will present a variety of options. Click on the “Canvas” option.

+New Feature → Canvas

Next, click on the “Elements” tab (on your left), and go to the “Forms” section. Select a form and drag and drop it into the Container which already resides on the Canvas.

Elements → Forms → drag-and-drop form from Canvas

Click on the white space around the form to select the Container. Upon doing so, you’ll see a bar to your right. Important: Check the bar to ensure the height is set at 100% before proceeding.

You now have only 3 clicks to go to shape your login form! Well done!

Select the “Data” input form inside your form and click on the “Clone” tab at the top in order to add as many input fields as you’ll need. You’ll then want to toggle to the “Attributes” tab on the bar on your right to select the type of input you need for each field – text, number, URL, etc.

Data → Clone → add input fields

Data → Attributes → select type of input for each input field

Step 2: Customizing Your Form

Customizing a form using Mason is essentially a no-brainer. Select your form one more time and look for the “Styling” sidebar. “Styling” lets you style your form any way you want including changing colored editing borders, changing size or background, and more.

Once achieving the style you want, move to the “Submit” button, which by the way, you can also customize.

All that’s left is to hit “Publish”.

Don’t forget to hit “Save” periodically as well to save your work!

Step 3: It’s Time to Make Your Form Fully Functional

To make your form fully functional you need to go to Configure and select “Datasources”. This is where you fill in your API Endpoint. A developer on your team can help you with this in just a couple minutes if you’re not a technical product user.

In the event you’re not sure what an API Endpoint is, its an address (URL) that enables users to access your application (in this case, log in).

Datasources → fill in API Endpoint

Next Step: Go back to the “Forms” section and select “Post” as your submission method. All that’s left is to hit “Publish” and click on the “Preview” button to verify that everything is in order.

Forms section → Post → Publish → Preview

Step 4: Testing the Login Form

Since you followed these instructions, you can be confident that everything works, but it never hurts to check. You can do so by checking the network request with a Chrome’s developer tool.

Simply go to “Inspect – Network” where you can see requests the browser is making. By filling in a few test credentials you can verify that your form is working as planned.

Other Cool Things Mason can Do and Why You Should Try It

Where designing and building functional pieces for a UI can easily take weeks or even months, you can achieve the same result in minutes with Mason and test your creations in seconds – saving time, money, and resources in the process.

And, you receive these extra benefits as well:

  1. Lightning-fast turnarounds in delivering functional solutions will amaze your clients by far exceeding their expectations.
  2. You won’t be stuck on a single project for weeks. Instead, you can take on extra work and make room for new clients.
  3. The features you create will be consistent with brand style guides. If something changes, like a color or font, just change it inside Mason, hit Publish, and your changes will be pushed live to your already-functional front end feature.

Mason is team-oriented. By doing all the work on the front-end, your team members feel empowered, and collaboration between team members, clients, and other project stakeholders becomes second nature.

Best of all, downtime and deployment cycles you once had to endure can become history since any authorized individual can log in, make a change, and make the updated feature live.

Increase your team’s productivity by at least a factor of 10-Mason is open and ready for you, and it’s free to start, so click here to give it a go!

The post How to Ship a Custom Login Form in Minutes – Without Coding <span class="sponsored_text">Sponsored</span> appeared first on Speckyboy Web Design Magazine.

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If you’re a designer, you probably know that showing your clients that their website will be responsive can be tricky without doing the actual coding. Designing different device mockups and resizing your design each and every time takes time but with a little help, you can easily show how a website will look on different devices.

All you have to do is download one of these responsive website mockups and drop in your finished design.

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You might also like these free mockup templates: Scene Creator Mockup Templates, Poster Mockup Templates, T-Shirt Mockup Templates, Mobile Device Mockup Templates, and Branding Mockup Templates.

Modern & Minimal Free Responsive Photoshop Mockups (Free)

The first responsive mockup on the list is a great choice as it features a minimal design. This means the background of the mockup will not distract from the website design. The mockup includes a variety of Apple devices. You can use it in personal and commercial projects and attribution is required.

Free Responsive Mockups PSD (Free)

This mockup pack makes it very easy to focus on your finished website design. The pack includes different Apple screen sizes and can be used in both personal and commercial projects.

ScreenPlus – Realistic & Responsive Screen Mockups (with Envato Elements Subscription)

If you’re looking for a mockup that’s easy to edit, look no further than this screen mockup pack. You’ll get a total of 10 unique mockups all of which use smart objects for easy editing.

7 Free Smartphone & Notebook PSD Mockups (Free)

This pack contains 7 free smartphone and Macbook Pro mockups. All of the mockups make use of smart objects so adding your finished design is easy and quick.

Responsive Resize Kit for Adobe XD (Free)

If you prefer working in Adobe XD, then this responsive kit is the perfect choice. The kit contains different mockups for desktop, tablet, and smartphone devices. You’ll find 3 large desktop screens, 3 desktop screens, 1 desktop overlay, 3 tablet screens, 3 mobile screens and 1 mobile overlay screen template.

Responsive Screens Mockup by QalebStudio (with Envato Elements Subscription)

This mockup pack features a clean design style and includes 6 different mockups in high resolution. You’ll find different device sizes and the mockup contains smart objects for easy editing.

Responsive Photoshop Mockup Template (Free)

This free mockup template contains 4 different device sizes which include a desktop, a smartphone, a tablet, and a laptop. The template can be used for both personal and commercial projects and includes a high resolution file with smart object.

Dark Devices – Free Sketch Mockup (Free)

Try this template if you’re designing website in Sketch. This mockup features a dark style which is perfect for making your website design mockup stand out more. The template includes a desktop and a smartphone mockup.

Free Responsive Browser UX Mockup Kit for Photoshop (Free)

For a slightly different approach, consider using this free Responsive Browser UX Mockup kit. The kit includes a mockup of the Chrome browser in varying sizes. Simply drop your design into the smart object and watch the magic happen.

Responsive Web Design Showcase Mockup PSD (Free)

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Scene creators are a great way to present your designs exactly the way you want them. A great scene creator will have different elements as separate files or objects that you can place and arrange as you please.

You can then use them for design presentations but also as website hero images or section backgrounds. Check out the collection below with the best free hero and scene mockup creators for Photoshop.

The Product Mockup Toolbox
Unlimited Downloads: 500,000+ Mockups, Actions, UI Kits, Themes, Templates & Design Assets


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You might also like these free mockup templates: Responsive Website Mockup Templates, Poster Mockup Templates, T-Shirt Mockup Templates, Mobile Device Mockup Templates, and Branding Mockup Templates.

Pre-Made PSD Scene Creators PSD (Free)

The first scene creator mockup is the perfect choice if you need to present branding or calligraphy projects. The scene creator contains 11 unique, individual items, a pre-made scene and a background texture.

Free Coffee Scene Creator for Photoshop (Free)

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We seem to be surrounded by those who are obsessed with productivity. We want to or are pressured to do better and do more in less time.

We’re told that efficient work habits can eventually spill over into our daily living. This can allow us to harmoniously blend together work, fun, and family. There’s an element of truth to that.

Our message focuses more on ways you can be more efficient, and more effective in your daily work.

Tech advances can be both a blessing and a curse. While technology can help us do tasks better and more quickly it can also give us more tasks to do. Smartphone productivity apps can, for example, be used to manage our scheduling. You can organize our tasks, and access information on the spot.

Invest in a few of the tools we’ve selected here and follow our productivity tips. You’ll discover improving your productivity can become habit forming.

Mason

Mason isn’t your typical web design tool in that it allows you to consolidate steps in the design/build/deploy process that you probably thought could never be skipped.

Mason is a front-end feature building platform for product teams, where you can create, design and build functional digital and software features for websites, apps, and nearly any other digital product. Your final design, which you can view in the builder, is inserted into your product with a *single line of code*– skipping a need for prototyping, documentation, and QA inspection, and minimizing any need for expensive developer resources.

Mason also helps you save post-deployment time and money. It’s not only developers that can quickly make changes to their front-end experiences. Any authorized person, including website and business owners, designers, copywriters,a nd more can make changes to an active software application if they have a Mason account; shortening the deployment cycle, and reducing downtime to minutes.

If you’ve been looking for a UI/UX tool that’s fast, reliable, gives you precise results and is a time and money saver give Mason a look. You can start free today.

Proto.io

Proto.io is designed to satisfy all your prototyping needs along both the early and later stages of the design process. During the early stages you can use this intuitive tool for wireframing and for building low-fidelity prototypes to test your concepts and receive feedback.

Proto.io will also serve you well later in the design process with its ability to produce high-fidelity prototypes for user testing and design approval and signoff.

The Proto.io Editor does all the heavy lifting when you’re building a prototype, and the Player feature lets you view the results on your browser, share design information with others, and conduct user testing. Lastly, its Dashboard feature helps you manage your users and projects.

With this prototyping tool in hand you can build high-fidelity prototypes that give you the exact experience, look and feel you expect the final product to exhibit on a desktop or mobile device.

monday.com

The monday.com team management tool provides a centralized platform on which project leaders and teams can manage every aspect and detail of their work, from high-level planning to details of day-to-day tasks.

To effectively help teams make changes to increase productivity, the team members have to love the tools they’re expected to use, and more than 35,000 teams around the globe love what monday.com does for them.

monday.com shows who’s in charge of what, tracks time, promotes transparency, improves communication and collaboration, and since it can be seamlessly used on your computer or your phone, location is never a problem.

monday.com’s operation is simple but not simplistic and it is so easy to work with it’s become extremely popular with non-tech teams looking for a substitute to replace whiteboard presentations and excessively lengthy meetings.

In short, this project management tool offers an easy way to centralize and streamline your workplace flows and processes.

Active Collab

ActiveCollab is project management software designed for creative professionals and it lets you organize your entire work and deliver exceptional service to all your clients.

The new ActiveCollab features a completely redesigned interface, and a slew of visual and technical improvements, including a task rescheduling system that automatically manages task dependencies (e.g., parent and child tasks). There are also multiple task views that enable you to see project status at a glance.

Nutcache

Nutcache offers an excellent solution for team collaboration issues. Enhanced collaboration generally leads to improvements in overall project performance. This productivity tool will also help project leaders streamline workflows in ways that ensure tasks are completed on time and within budget.

This all-in-one project management software tool is ideal for design teams and project managers that subscribe to Agile principles and practices.

Lucidchart.com

Lucidchart’s use of visualization techniques helps its user do a better job of communicating, especially with complex ideas or subjects. An example would be explaining technical flows and processes to non-tech speaking clients.

Visualizing workflows and processes also helps you better organize ideas and goals; more effectively than lengthy textual material can ever do. Lucidchart is easy to use and features a custom shape library to help create outlines and diagrams.

5 Productivity Tips to Achieve More & Create Peace of Mind
  1. Write it down
    If it’s important, write it down. If you’re not sure of its importance, write it down. This applies to every commitment and every task you make. Doing so will free your mind from uncertainties associated with trying to remember.
  2. Do the Dreaded Stuff First
    Almost everyone has a tendency to put off a dreaded task as long as possible. This can come back to bite you when it’s a high-priority task. The good news is that when you tackle a task you dread or fear head-on, you’ll usually feel pretty good.
  3. Take Breaks
    According to the experts, taking a break about every 45 minutes is about optimum. That’s about the time you start to lose focus, and the law of diminishing returns begins to set it. Find an interval you’re comfortable with and try to make a habit of following it.
  4. Get Some Exercise
    Think “sound mind, sound body”. The two tend to go together. Exercise makes you healthier and keeps you that way.
  5. Learn to Say No
    Trying to please everyone or feeling a need to take on every assignment can lead to work overload. This is equal to the loss of control and productivity.
Conclusion

There’s a host of different things you can try to boost your productivity. But if you’re trying too many, you’ll reach the point of diminishing returns. You could actually find yourself or your team is becoming less productive.

Keep things simple with one or more of these top productivity tools. Make the productivity tips we’ve shared with you a habit. You’ll be amazed at how much more you can actually accomplish in a given amount of time.

The post The Six Best Productivity Apps for Designers <span class="sponsored_text">Sponsored</span> appeared first on Speckyboy Web Design Magazine.

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If you’re looking to add unique elements to your Illustrator designs or want to spice up your projects, you’re going to need a quality Illustrator brush pack. While Illustrator is a popular design program, you can’t find as many resources for it as you can for Photoshop.

That’s why we’ve decided to round up the best high-resolution brush packs for Illustrator so you don’t have to waste time searching for them online.

The Adobe Illustrator Toolbox
Unlimited Downloads: 500,000+ Illustrator Brush Packs, PS Actions, UI Kits, Themes, Templates & Design Assets


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You might also like to browse our collections of free Photoshop Brushes.

Free Floral Pattern Brushes For Illustrator (25 Brushes, Free)

The first brush pack on the list features a lovely collection of floral pattern brushes for Illustrator. You’ll find 25 pattern brushes and 25 individual illustrations that you can use in your projects.

Free Lipstick Vector Brushes for Illustrator (5 Brushes, Free)

If you need a unique vector brush for a fashion or beauty project, consider this free Lipstick Vector Brush Pack for Illustrator. The pack contains 5 individual brushes and is free for personal and commercial use.

Big Illustrator Brushes Pack (56 Brushes, with Envato Elements Subscription)

This brush pack contains a set of 56 varied illustrator brushes, including stipple brushes, chalk and pastel, ink, flourish, patterns, and more. The download also includes four distressed stipple seamless vector swatches.

Free Vector Dry Brush Stroke Illustrator Brushes (24 Brushes, Free)

Consider this pack of 24 dry brush stroke brushes if you’re working on a design project that needs a distressed look. Each brush stroke can be used as a standalone graphic or applied with the Brush or Pencil tool.

Rodeo Hand Drawn Rope Brush (Free)

This brush pack includes a hand drawn rope brush that’s perfect for any design. You can easily adjust the width of the rope and change its color. The brush is free for personal and commercial projects.

Pencilcraft Brushes for Adobe Illustrator (30 Brushes, with Envato Elements Subscription)

This brush pack is a perfect choice if you need to add a real-life hand-drawn feel to your illustrations. The pack contains a total of 30 brushes with infinite length.

Free Floral Watercolor Brushes Bundle (38 Brushes, Free)

Try this floral watercolor brush pack if you’re working on a wedding project. You can use these brushes to create unique backgrounds or trims for the wedding invitations. The pack contains 38 brushes that can be used in personal and commercial projects.

Free Doodle Brushes for Illustrator (4 Brushes, Free)

With the help of this doodle brush pack, you’ll be able to easily create unique wreaths and borders in your project. The pack contains four different brushes and you can easily change the colors to match the project you’re working on.

Watercolor & Black Pattern Brushes (42 Brushes, with Envato Elements Subscription)

This huge set of Illustrator brushes contains 42 watercolor brushes and a bonus set of 42 black pattern brushes. You can easily use them to create mandalas, wreaths, borders or in any other creative project.

Free Halftone Vector Brushes (5 Brushes, Free)

Consider this brush pack containing halftone vector brushes for Illustrator if you want to add a grungy feel to your design. The pack contains 5 brushes that can be used in personal and commercial designs.

Paper Tooth Free Line Brushes for Illustrator (Free)

If you’re trying to achieve a printed look for your design project, then this brush pack is the perfect choice. The pack contains 4 different brushes that give your artwork a “jagged edge” printed look.

Scribble & Scrawl Brushes (44 Brushes, with Envato Elements Subscription)

This set of 44 Illustrator brushes is perfect for any primitive-looking artwork or childlike drawings. You’ll find a variety of different elements that are easy to apply and edit to suit the needs of your project.

Free Brush Stroke Illustrator Brushes (12 Brushes, Free)

The Brush Stroke Illustrator Brushes set is perfect for anyone looking for different brush strokes for their digital illustrations. The pack contains 12 different brushes all of which were made by hand, scanned in, and vectorized. They are free to use in personal and commercial projects.

Adobe Illustrator Metal Gradients (140 Brushes, Free)

Finding great gradients for Illustrator can be hard. With this set, you will no longer find yourself lacking. The pack comes with 140 brushes which are free to use. Attribution is appreciated but not required.

Chemist Stipple & Grain Illustrator Brushes (35 Brushes, Free)

Working on a design project for a chemistry lab? You won’t want to miss this brush pack. In this set, you will get scatter shader brushes, textured and clear line brushes, grain and stipple brushes, and as a bonus, retro texture brushes for Photoshop.

Marker Pen Strokes AI Brushes (64 Brushes, Free)

This set contains 64 high quality brushes featuring marker pen strokes and scribbles. You’re free to use them in both personal and commercial projects and attribution is not required.

Free Natural Sketch Doodle Lines Illustrator Brushes (Free)

This is another great set if you want to add a hand drawn feel to your designs. You’ll find a variety of different doodle lines and you can freely use them in any personal project.

Free Hairy Fur Illustrator Brushes (Free)

This set of 8 furry brushes is perfect for any design project featuring pets and animals. The brushes are completely free for personal use and work best when you apply them gradually in different tones.

Free Urban Squares Illustrator Brushes (Free)

Spice up your designs with this free urban square brush pack. These brushes can be used in personal and commercial projects and attribution is appreciated but not required.

Free Illustrator Art Brush (10 Brushes, Free)

Try this brush pack of 10 calligraphy and brush stroke brushes for any design project that requires an artistic look and feel. The brushes are free for personal use.

Free Vintage Shading Brushes for Adobe Illustrator (30 Brushes, Free)

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It is so exciting to examine modern website designs and stumble upon tiny things that developers find adorable. “Tiny details make the difference” – we hear this a lot these days.

Indeed, it is true. These small unique solutions and tricks make projects stand out from the crowd. They make experiences original, and make user interfaces thrilling and unforgettable. These days, tiny trends prevail over the big ones.

Developers do not dwell on one big thing; they experiment with many smaller ideas. Therefore, we can witness stunning microscopic solutions that make the web diverse. One of those tiny trends is stacked text blocks on a homepage.

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More Than Just Words

Stacked text blocks can be seen everywhere. But, the problem with them is that sometimes designers can get carried away and include a wealth of information, resulting in TL;DR-like content. No one wants to read that. However, with two lines it is a different story. Brevity is the soul of wit. It always works. Just pick up the keywords, compose a catchy tagline and voila, you are ready to win over clients. It is so elegant, simple and effective. It’s no wonder that many designers fall for this trick.

However, artists do not just rely on smart phrases. They play with its appearance, spicing it up with interesting features and unobtrusively emphasizing it with clever tweaks. Various techniques are put into play, for example:

  • Different typefaces;
  • Different colors for each line;
  • Color that stands in contrast to the background or other content;
  • Big, almost overwhelming font sizes;
  • Bold typefaces;
  • Different font styles;
  • Typeface-based artworks;
  • Fully highlighted text;
  • And even the time-proven and unexpectedly not-as-dull-as-we-may-think underline.

We are going to examine all of these options, so that you can see the potential of each one and choose the best match for your particular case.

Denton Design

Let’s begin with one of the brightest representatives of this in the mainstream – Nathan Denton’s Denton Design. Created by Rene Hernandez and Ryan Haskell-Glatz, it is a true masterpiece that fascinates with originality and bizarreness.

“Creative Director” are the two words that meet the audience, marking the start of the dialogue. All of the letters are set in uppercase and a relatively big font size. They are painted in two primary colors: White and ruby red. Here, the two-line stacked block is not just a greeting. It is an integral part of the design that completes the ensemble and screams out Nathan’s occupation.

Multistampa

The team behind Multistampa goes for uppercase letters, large sizing and neutral colors that stand in contrast to the background. As a result, the phrase “Printing Life” is a natural focus of attention here that perfectly blends into the geometry-inspired aesthetics.

Spotify Wrapped

This is the big name in our collection. Spotify is famous for its pioneering solutions, proof that it is a trendsetter in the web sphere. This latest example shows that duotone and bright coloring still excite the minds of their creative department.

Once again, we can see a two-line stacked text block on their website. There are two blocks placed one above another. The first one is big and prominent, whereas the second is small. yet eye-catching. The beautiful yellow goes well with the Pantone orchid used as the background color. The tagline feels gentle and, at the same time, bold.

iFly KLM 360 degrees

The team behind iFly KLM 360 degrees’ design employs the beauty of typographic centerpieces that are unfortunately rare these days. “Round the World with Kiran Jethwa” instantly draws our attention. This artistic take on two-line stacked text is just incredible. Thin, elegant lines of letterforms, big size and intricate play with words make the phrase an absolute winner in our eyes.

Claudia Noronha

If you do not have typography artists at your disposal, Claudia Noronha offers a valid alternative – use a beautiful typeface. Her elegant, smooth and a bit fat typeface nicely interacts with the rest of the content. At the same time, it stays true to the UI’s lady-like aura – nicely contributing to the overall feminine atmosphere. Simple, beautiful and effective.

Heartbeat Labs

The team at Heartbeat Labs opts in favor of an old-timey solution that implies the underlining of words. It works great here. Although the size of the font is small, the bright thick line that shines out against a clean, monochrome, dark blue background puts the phrase in the spotlight.

SiR MaRy

SiR MaRy presents another absolute classic in our collection. Here, the catchphrases are highlighted with bold black lines. Although it may seem a bit brutal and crude in comparison to the examples featured above, nevertheless, the trick gives the slogan a solid base, delineating it effectively.

Elastos

The team behind Elastos shows us how to use a two-line stacked text block when you have a fancy background. Even though the phrase is set in an ultra-narrow typeface, it still catches the eye. There are several reasons for that.

First of all, the size of the font adds to its prominence. Secondly, the clean background and white space give way to everything on the fore. Third, the phrase is placed to the left – just where we naturally start to read. Finally, the graphics themselves literally point towards the text.

Andres Soler

Andres Soler, a multidisciplinary artist, breaks his name into two lines. The two-line concept remains on the smallest device screens as well, so that the first thing that you read on your cell phone is “Andres Soler.” Here, the phrase looks like a bold statement that does not require any visual “supports” or extra entourage.

When Two Is Better Than One

If you think that trends effect only the essential elements of design, think again. All the components of web design (whether small or large) are subject to the trends. You have to look carefully, paying attention to the most minor details.

Even a boring thing, such as a block of text, will undergo changes and improvements regarding design and user experience. Today, we witnessed a trend of using stacked two-line taglines that are beautifully emphasized.

They hit straight to-the-point and add to the general aesthetic. Most importantly, they correspond to a user’s preference of scanning text on a website rather than reading it. It is a trend that combines both pragmatism and creativity.

The post Making a Statement: The Use of Stacked Text Blocks in Web Design appeared first on Speckyboy Web Design Magazine.

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Unicons – A collection of free vector icons for your next project.

Graphic Design Archive – View key moments in the history of graphic design.

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30 Seconds of Knowledge – A collection of snippets to help you grow as a developer.

How to Report Errors in Forms: 10 Design Guidelines – Techniques for clearly identifying errors and allowing users to easily correct them.

Constraint Layout (for Designers) – A guide for handing off responsive layouts to your developer.

CSSans Pro – A free colorful and sassy font.

Code as an Ode to Hackers – A collection of code snippets that pay homage to hacker culture.

Custom Cursor Effects – Resources for creating amazing animated cursor effects.

SocialSizes – Download perfectly-sized templates for social media graphics. Available for Sketch, Adobe XD and Photoshop.

Google Takes Its First Steps Toward Killing the URL – Why long, unintelligible URLs are a security risk.

15 Free Bootstrap 4 UI Kits – Start your Bootstrap-based design right with one of these free UI kits.

Pure CSS lettering, a bad and fun idea – A look at how designers are creating their own fonts in CSS.

Exclusive Design – What if we created websites exclusively for people with disabilities?

CSS Position Sticky – How It Really Works! – An explanation of what position: sticky does and how you can leverage it.

Snippets That Celebrate Old School Tech – Modern developers demonstrate their soft spot for outdated technology.

Remix Icon – A set of free, neutral style icons.

Chinese Material Design – Taking a look at Ant Design, China’s Material alternative.

The Many Ways to Change an SVG Fill on Hover (and When to Use Them) – Apply interaction effects with SVG and a little CSS.

Textblock – A JavaScript tool for displaying continuously responsive typography.

Follow Speckyboy on Twitter or Facebook for a daily does of web design resources and freebies.

The post Weekly News for Designers № 474 appeared first on Speckyboy Web Design Magazine.

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