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Website Design

Copyright Office Closed for Government Shutdown

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 02, 2013

Because of the Government shutdown, the Copyright Office is closed as of October 1st, 2013. While you can continue to use the online electronic copyright registration system, your copyright registrations will not be processed until the Office reopens. We'll keep you posted on when that happens.

Pushing Pixels: A Fresh Approach to Incorporating Photoshop into Web Design

Posted by Rebecca Blake on September 27, 2013

Photoshop workflowIn the past couple years, since web developer Ethan Marcotte’s call for responsive web design, web design has seen significant changes. For designers coming from a traditional print background and accustomed to working within fixed dimensions, the developments in web design have posed a significant challenge to their traditional way of working. Web designer and educator Ian Yates addresses the limits of developing website layouts within Photoshop in his article, Photoshop's Role in a Web Design Workflow.

In the early days of website development, Photoshop, with its robust tools for building layered graphics from scratch and its familiar interface, was the natural software choice for designers. With a limited choice of screen resolutions current, many designers worked assuming a fixed dimension based on the most common screen size. The workflow went from presentation of a static comp, rendered in Photoshop, incorporation of client feedback into the comp, and development of the website based on the final approved design. This workflow wasn’t perfect in that it ignored the inherent fluidity of websites and range of browser window sizes, but it functioned well enough.

With the advent of mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, a workflow that begins with the dimensions of the website – what Yates termed “establish a fixed canvas and work inwards.” Responsive design requires “thinking from the content outwards, not the page boundaries inwards.” Additionally, working from a static Photoshop layout gives clients the expectation of pixel-perfect fidelity, and doesn’t take into account the flexibility of web typography and browser-rendered page elements.

Instead, Yates proposes a fresh approach to web design which incorporates Photoshop, but isn’t reliant on it. In his workflow, the designer begins with a planning stage in which the relationships between content are sketched out and further developed in wireframes. Photoshop is utilized to develop the colors, textures, and visual elements of the website. The final step is to develop a working prototype of the website. Yates includes several links to resources for each step in this workflow process.

Yates’ article appears on the website, Tuts+, a hub of articles and tutorials on design and illustration, #D and animation, game design, development, audio and video production, and more. Tuts+ offers a wealth of resources for creatives at no cost – many of their articles and tutorials are openly accessible. More extensive tutorials are also available on Tuts+ Premium at a cost of $19 per month.

The Interaction of Color: Truly Interactive

Posted by Rebecca Blake on September 17, 2013

Interaction of Color iPad app and book, © Yale University PressDesign students (particularly those of a certain age) are familiar with Joseph Albers’ tome, The Interaction of Color, published by Yale University Press. The popular reference is an explanation of Albers’ complex color theories, first published in 1963 and illustrated with 150 rich color plates. The Press recently released The Interaction of Color as an iPad app. The app contains the full text of the original book, including 125 color plates and 60 color studies. It’s enhanced with over 2 hours of video commentary and an interactive feature that permits the user to move and overly color swatches. Users can also create and save designs and color palettes into a format read by vector-based design software, such as Illustrator.

For those who prefer the feel of paper (and want to experience Albers’ work in the medium for which it was intended), the Press is also selling an affordable paperback release of the book, released in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the original publication date.Those with deeper pockets can purchase the complete edition as a two-volume set, including lush silk screens of the color plates.

Joseph Albers (1888 – 1976) was a Bauhaus-educated stained glass artist, designer, printmaker, and painter. In 1933, under pressure from the Nazi regime, Albers and his wife Anni emigrated to the United States. Albers became a noted teacher at Black Mountain College in North Caroline; his students included Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, and Susan Weil. In 1950, he headed the newly-formed Department of Design at Yale University, where he remained as a Fellow after his retirement. Albers is most noted for his work as an abstract painter and color theorist, particularly for his extensive series, “Homage to the Square.” During his diverse career, he created stained glass, designed furniture, printed woodcuts, and produced reliefs in rock and steel.

Below: The app includes interactive color-swapping and video commentary.
Images © Yale University Press.

Interaction of Color iPad screenshots © Yale University Press

Web Designer Excuses

Posted by Rebecca Blake on September 13, 2013

DesignTAXI recently reported on a website every web designer will want to bookmark. “Excuses for Lazy Designers” projects fresh excuses for why a web design project is off track. The excuses range from the obvious (“No-one uses IE anyway”) to the insider (Josef Müller-Brockman”). The site was created by Cole Peters, digital designer for Future Workshops, an app development firm in the UK. Peters was inspired by the equivalent website for developers, “Excuses for Lazy Coders.” The DesignTaxi article is especially amusing for the typographic smackdown of Cole’s designs in the reader’s comments (“It’s a typographic thing.”). Designers are a tough crowd all around.


Brought to our attention by @designTAXI

The excuses provided range from the obvious (top), to the trendy (middle), to the insider (bottom).

Photoshop App Slicey: Best Thing since Sliced Bread?

Posted by Rebecca Blake on August 23, 2013

Slicey © MacRabbit Web designers still working in Photoshop: rejoice. Begian app development firm MacRabbit has created Slicey (formerly Layer Cake), an app which exports layer groups from Photoshop files as independent images. The app works as a drag-and-drop: users drag an existing Photohop document to the app to have the layers exported. The app even recognizes tags, permitting the user to label a group with the appropriate tag (such as PNG). Slicey even trims the transparency of the exported image. Even better, Slicey can export Retina 2x versions of graphics created from vector shapes and effects.

The app is easy to use, and MacRabbit’s website includes downloadable PSDs which demonstrate the various export effects.  MacRabbit and Slicy have a friendly, informative interface – just what you’d expect from a company which derives inspiration from its pets.

Brought to our attention by @aisleone

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