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3 ESSENTIAL DESIGN TRENDS, NOVEMBER 2014

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by patrick

 

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Trends are the sort of thing that come and go, we all know that. At times we even start to consider the fall of a brand new design trend because we know the trend will eventually be a thing of the past. And yet, in the moment of the trend it would seem that it perfectly represents the time. I have been writing about web design trends since 2007, and I can honestly say that every trend seemed appropriate for the time. That is to say, trends never feel forced, they always feel great, like a perfect form that seems to represent the best that we have to offer.

And this brings us to today, not tomorrow, or yesterday. What is the state of trendy design as it stands today. I want to briefly look at 3 different visual design trends that are the “go-to” styles right now...

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The use of illustration in web design

Posted on: December 2nd, 2011 by patrick No Comments

 

llustration is an incredibly versatile tool that can find many different uses in design. And when it comes to web design we can find an extremely wide variety of implementations.

Today I want to dig into some key ways that this tool has been put to work so we can draw new ideas to inspire and challenge the designs we produce.

Let’s begin someplace I seldom do, with a basic definition: Illustrated: 1) To make clear; 2) To make clear by giving or by serving as an example or instance; 3) To provide with visual features intended to explain or decorate.

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Fixed position web elements

Posted on: September 7th, 2011 by patrick No Comments

 

The usage of fixed position elements has grown in popularity and become a common element on the web.

This technique involves fixing some element in the browser while the rest of the page scrolls. Most often we find this done on header elements including the main navigation for a site. This is also a popular approach on single page sites where the in page navigation needs to be ever present. We also find various elements of web pages locked in place using such techniques...

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Characteristics of a modern portfolio site

Posted on: August 31st, 2011 by patrick No Comments

 

Of all of the types of websites, the portfolio site has to overcome what might be some of the most difficult hurdles. Talk to almost any designer and they will agree, launching your own portfolio site is a painful process. Most frequently, this process includes numerous versions and, often times, a launch out of sheer frustration.

The upside to this in my opinion is that the portfolio site can be a window into the future of web design. I suggest this because when an individual designs their own site they are only under self-imposed limitations. There is no client to dictate things, no committee to destroy the design, and no approval process to drag things out and destroy momentum...

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From time to time, an industry experiences fundamental changes that radically alter it. Along with this comes an explosion of opportunity: opportunity for individuals to stand out, for new products to emerge and for entrenched companies to be replaced. Now is such a time in the web community.

For as long as I can remember, the primary focus in web development has been on ensuring that websites render the same across all browsers. We took great effort to ensure that a client’s website looked exactly the same in everything from old versions of Internet Explorer to the latest Firefox, all at once...

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Web design inspiration from modern art history

Posted on: July 28th, 2011 by patrick No Comments

 

In my previous article, I presented a brief history of art and how principles from it might apply to the modern trade of web design.

Here, I’ll continue the theme, but focusing on modern design movements (mainly 20th century) that have lessons to teach us and inspiration to offer.

The challenge with modern design is that there are dozens of movements, and they all overlap each other in a tangled mess.

Things are no longer as simple as a century-long Renaissance or Baroque period. To keep it manageable, I have selected a few movements to review here...

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Web design inspiration from the history of art

Posted on: July 21st, 2011 by patrick No Comments

 

When it comes to the creative arts, a fundamental way to better understand the trade is to look to the past.

People in every trade do this, including those in photography, painting, sculpture and architecture. Why should web designers be any different?

Of course, we look to the very recent past through our countless web design showcases. But we can go much further back for inspiration, to the masters of old.

Let’s review some key art movements and the fundamental design principles they embraced. Based on these, we can review current web designs for elements to apply to our own work.

We’ll focus on Western art before the 20th century, and we will highlight only a few movements from among the many that took place...

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25 examples of symmetry in web design

Posted on: July 18th, 2011 by patrick No Comments

 

Symmetry is an age-old device of the visual artist. The word refers to two halves that perfectly mirror each other. In design, symmetry is closely tied to balance. A perfectly symmetrical design achieves balance and a sense of stability.

There is also asymmetrical design, where the two halves are balanced but do not mirror each other perfectly. The majority of websites have an asymmetrical layout.

Most often we find the logo in the top left, balanced by some navigational elements on the right. In the body, the side columns are usually balanced by either the main content or other columns.

While perfect symmetry is certainly not new to the web, it is gaining momentum. Expanding screen sizes and the proliferation of platforms and viewing options are making it a more attractive option. By mirroring the halves of a design, you not only get a greater sense of balance, but also improve the flow from top to bottom...

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20 Fantastic pseudo-Flash websites

Posted on: July 6th, 2011 by patrick No Comments

 

A pseudo-Flash website is one that looks, feels and acts like a Flash website but is in fact built on good old-fashioned HTML and CSS.

There is usually also a dash of JavaScript to bring things to life and round out the interface.

The result is often beyond what we have come to expect of HTML and CSS, which is why we might assume the website is Flash-based. Right-click, though, and you will be pleasantly surprised.

I am keenly interested in pseudo-Flash websites, and I talk about the topic frequently. Flash has obviously lost some of its edge (though is by no means gone), and the focus has shifted to the core technologies of the web (HTML, CSS, JavaScript).

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Ribbons and tags in web design

Posted on: June 30th, 2011 by patrick No Comments

 

Trends can be born so silently and subtly that we seldom notice them.

And when you survey hundreds of websites, you often see patterns that you would otherwise miss. One such pattern is the frequent use of tags and ribbons.

These small flourishes have become increasingly popular. This article addresses the two elements because they are used together so frequently.

While ribbons are self-explanatory, by tags I mean the faux labels that hang down from the top of the screen, like a tag on a t-shirt.

The websites that use these elements are truly outstanding in quality. Putting together this gorgeous showcase turned out to be remarkably easy. Few trends are like this: one usually has to wade through many poor examples to find the tasty ones.

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