Graphic Design & Layout

Graphic Design Articles

Another Redesign for Impressive Webs

Another Redesign for Impressive WebsI don’t know how many times I’ve redesigned this site over the past 4 years, but here’s another one, just launched this morning.

Layout-wise, there’s nothing really all that different. It’s more of a different skin than anything, and (out of sheer laziness) the comments and footer area have pretty much remained the same. Basically, I got tired of the dull looking header/sidebar in the previous design and wanted something cleaner and with a little more color.

What is “Good Design”?

What is Good Design?Aesthetics, organization, structure, compatibility, mobile-friendliness, best practices, minimalism, typography, color choice, drop shadows, rounded corners, responsiveness, usability, user experience, CSS3, HTML5, jQuery — none of those things is integral to what ultimately falls into the category of “good design”.

What matters the most — that is, what truly puts anything in the category of “good design” — is whether or not the thing you’ve designed achieves the end result you desire.

Illustrating the Potential Power of Design

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Illustrating the Potential Power of DesignIn our industry, those who are well-trained in the principles and strategy of design (no, I don’t think I fall under that category) put much emphasis on the potentially powerful effect that a good design can have.

Design that is arbitrary and unplanned might succeed simply because of its ease of use, or its familiarity. But design that is well thought out and planned with specific goals in mind has the potential to cause users or customers to make decisions that they might not normally make.

Yes, I suppose this is a form of manipulation and some people might not agree with it. But I think as long as you stay within certain boundaries, manipulation through design doesn’t cross any lines, and it’s really just a tool at the disposal of the website/owner/designer.

Response to “In Defense of Vertical Navigation”

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Response to In Defense of Vertical NavigationIt’s been quite a start to this week since the publication of my article on Smashing Magazine called The Case Against Vertical Navigation. I really didn’t expect this type of response. I assumed that what I was stating was a fairly commonly held view among designers.

Since there have been a lot of criticisms of Smashing Magazine over the past year (mainly because of endless “list” posts), Vitaly Friedman was more than happy to publish an opinion piece on a specific aspect of design. So, if you haven’t read the original article yet, please do. And please read Kyle Meyer’s response to my article, which I will be responding to here.

I’m glad Kyle posted his response; as Jacob Gube mentioned in both SM’s comments and on Kyle’s site, this type of discussion is good, regardless of who is right and wrong.

Impressive Webs Redesign

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Impressive Webs RedesignOver the weekend I rolled out a new “skin” for Impressive Webs, which I think improves the site’s design quite a bit. There’s more contrast, which creates a more distinct experience. And I finally have a logo that I’m satisfied with.

The layout of the site remains virtually the same, so, like I said, it’s not as much of a redesign as a “skinning”. I did change the height of the top navigation bar, and added some new graphics.

Will EOT Become the Standard for Font Embedding?

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Will EOT Become the Standard for Font Embedding?If you’re at all familiar with the various methods in use today to embed custom fonts in web pages (sIFR, Cufon, @font-face, etc), then you also may have heard of a font format called EOT. Well, if Microsoft has it their way, EOT will become the standard, allowing web developers — with permission from font vendors — to be free to use virtually any font in a text-friendly manner in their web pages.

So what is EOT, and how has Microsoft pushed to standardize this method? Embedded OpenType fonts are compact OpenType fonts designed by Microsoft for use as embedded web fonts. They are recognizable by their “.eot” file extension. By means of data compression and removal of superfluous data, EOT files are made small in size and include features that protect the fonts themselves from being copied and used in unauthorized ways.

10 WordPress Tips to Make Your Blog Look Like a Website (for Beginners)

WordPress Tips - Make Your Blog Look Like a WebsiteWhatever industry you happen to be in, you want to stand out from the crowd and be unique, and not give the impression that your online presence is just a slightly modified cut and paste job. Of course, if you’re depending on a pre-built content management framework like WordPress for the core of your blog or website, then that could prevent your online presence from truly standing out.

So, in this article I’ll run through 10 fairly straightforward ways that a beginning developer or blogger can customize their WordPress theme to ensure it doesn’t “look like a blog” — at least to a certain degree. Keep in mind that the goal here is not to hide the fact that a website is using WordPress — that’s quite difficult, if not impossible. The ultimate goal here is to help your website have a seamless, consistent, look and feel that does not necessarily scream “WordPress-driven” from the instant the home page loads up.

New Features of Adobe’s Creative Suite 4 (CS4 Webcast)

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Tuesday morning, Adobe followed through on a webcast that was alerted via email subscribers informing previous Adobe software customers of the newest release of Adobe Creative Suite, specifically CS4. The graphic designers and front end developers at the company I currently work for got together to watch the web cast. Here is my summary: It […]

Easy Equal Columns with CSS

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In a previous article I described (in principle) a method using JavaScript to get equal columns in a two-column layout. Of course, that’s not always the most elegant solution. Another solution, which is much easier to implement is completely CSS based. I’ll describe briefly how this is done and what possible effects it could have on your site’s layout and code. Here is the demo page, if you want to jump ahead.

Equal Column Height Using JavaScript

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I’m currently working on a project that requires that I use either some very tricky CSS or else JavaScript to make a left column div expand automatically to fit its parent container. The parent container and left hand nav appear on multiple pages, and there is different content, including that which is dynamically generated, so I cannot just add a height to both elements in the CSS.