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UI vs UX Design: Side-by-Side Comparison

User experience design (UI design) quite simply stands for what it is – the whole experience of the user. It is a collection of interactions between the user and the company, its services, and products. In comparison, UX design measures or identifies the pain points of the user and uses this information to build a rough prototype to test these ideas from where the information is validated. UX focuses on the usability aspect of a product and there are many ways to build one that meets a need that is not currently being met in the market. A UX designer’s method of developing a valuable product starts with research and involves market analysis, developing user personas and testing out ideas throughout the life cycle of the product. To make the learning visible, designers usually create user flows and wireframes to test out ideas. UI design, on the other hand, is a mix of visual hierarchy and graphic design. It is what makes the interface beautiful. It focuses on the visceral experience of the user and helps convey a brands message, their product, value, and functionality. Although they might seem like two different entities, there are many common areas between UI and UX. Their explanation often changes depending on the perspective of the user. To elaborate these further, let us take a look at 2 big differences that separate UX and UI.

1. User Experience as the underlying structure.

UX designers consider the hows, whys, and whats of product use. This means that they rely heavily on data. This includes understanding their motivations, values, functionality, features, accessibility, and aesthetics. They put people first and collect necessary data that drive a user to perform the actions they do. It encompasses all the experiences of the user and strives to understand how the user chooses to interact with an overall design and functionality of a product. There are many facets to user experience design. Here are some basic tasks UX designers undertake:

  • Understanding the customer and their competition

    Knowing your target audience is key to creating a good user experience. Collecting data and analyzing it will help you figure out what the users want. This should go hand in hand with market and competitor analysis. Setting goals as to what you want to achieve in this stage will help you make better business decisions and help shed a light on how to make the product better and more useful for the target audience.

  • Wire-framing and Prototyping

    Once you have a basic understanding of your user personas and the market, you can start building your wireframes. They are nothing but simple outlines of your product. Organizing content this way will give you a reliable idea of what your final product will look like. It is also a great tool early on, as it will help you cement your idea before delving into the details. The simplicity of its structure also makes it easier to experiment.

This stage is often followed by pixel perfect visual mockups. Prototypes, on the other hand, help breathe life into your designs. By making a wireframe interactive, you are able to test your idea and get necessary feedback.

  • Development and Planning

    UX designers are not only responsible for creating a valuable and functioning product but also in managing the goals, performance, and development of one. According to ynd.co, a development company that specializes in application development, to improve an application it is important to implement strategies that focus on perceived and actual performance. A user should be able to navigate through a web page or an application effortlessly. Slower load times can lead to bounces and this will ultimately affect the overall experience of the user with the company and its product.

2. UI as the visceral experience.

UI Designers take the wireframes, prototypes and the data collected by UX designers to create visual representations that guide the user through the application. They are responsible for building a page that is able to engage the user and create a connection with the product. This is done through a mix of visual hierarchy and graphic design. User Interfaces act as the access point between the user and the digital world so they have to be designed with the utmost care. The following tasks fall under the category of UI Design:

  • Visual Storytelling and Content Design

    To design an effective interface, designers should incorporate the 4 basic principles of UI Design into their work — Clarity, Consistency, User expectations and visual hierarchy. The goal is to teach the user to use the application with a series of visual cues. The page should be structured to draw the user and keep them engaged long enough for them to come back for more.

  • Role of branding

    UI designers are often responsible for creating an overall image of the product. This means that they often set the tone of the app or website to convey the brand’s message. Your choice of words, typeface and image matters when trying to convey a message. Users often intuitively pick up on these nuances and can often influence their perception of the product.

  • Responsive Design

    Responsive web design is often preferred due to their low maintenance costs, higher conversion rates, improved SEO and browsing experience. Most companies are trying to incorporate responsive design as it eliminates the task of manually adjusting everything to fit your browser screen. There are a lot of benefits to responsive design and UI designers have to keep up with the changing times to be on top of their game.

We hope this article sheds some light on the basic differences between UX and UI design. This field is growing and has evolved over time.

  Image Inq   Dec 18, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

A Systematic Guide to Building a UI Design System

Developing and maintaining a UI design library/system for your product will help the user intuitively navigate through your web page. This systematic approach to building an interface library will bring in a visual and functional consistency to the overall design. This, in essence, helps brand your UI/UX and creates a sense of trust for the user.

In this article, we will be exploring how to develop a UI design that is both scalable and consistent across various devices. We will also learn how to build a: 1. Interface inventory that will help keep your content and designs consistent. 2. Develop a pattern library from your interface inventory to ensure that your designs are efficient and cost-effective and 3. Take a look at animations and how they can be used to effectively communicate a message. Creating a design system this way, with well-defined and reusable UI components improves the efficiency by minimizing unexpected and disjointed experiences. It also helps foster better collaboration and development that can allow your design language to evolve with time.

Building an Interface Library

An interface library is essentially nothing but bits and pieces of all the components that make up your web page/interface. Just as a content library would consist of images, words, and graphics, an interface library is a collection of UI components that can be used to keep the user interfaces consistent within a considered framework. If you are looking to design a new product, mapping out components and building a systematic approach to documenting your UI will help you get a feel for all the components you would need to consider before building that website.

You will have to define a style guide before building the interface library. All the design elements found in this guide will be re-introduced in your component library at a later stage. Mo new style is going to be added once you have an established style guide. Every style that is going to be mapped to a component should be taken from the pre-defined global style guide.

Next step of the process would require you to take screenshots of your designs and categorize them accordingly. This would impose an order for your designs and can help you catch any inconsistencies and fix them so they remain consistent across the platform. Important components to consider while defining your library are typography, images, media, and forms. Having your client or your team run through your content will help bring in clarity and a better understanding of the components, their use and function thereby increasing the overall efficiency of the design.

Building a Design Pattern Library

Once you have an interface library, you should be able to collaborate and identify shared design patterns. Design patterns are building blocks of an interface. They offer common solutions to recurring design problems.

Some examples of pattern libraries are:
-Slideshows
-Navigation
-Carousels

Organizing your interface components should have led you to identify inconsistencies in your designs. Addressing them and building a UI with these design patterns can help keep your designs stay consistent. It will also help you establish a visual vocabulary that can be shared globally, and improve the efficiency as the design language begins to evolve.

In most cases, the design pattern library comes as an afterthought when designing websites. Brad Frost talks about the importance of having a solid foundation from which the websites can be built upon. This means that instead of creating web pages in isolation, interfaces can be broken into smaller building blocks that can be used to not only help solve design problems but help maintain a consistent and scalable UI.

Brad Frost’s atomic design methodology can be used as a solid foundation to create a great design system. In his book, he breaks down the design process into 5 basic levels – atoms, molecules, organisms, templates, and pages. Working from the ground up, using this fundamental building blocks of design, you are able to build anything.

Another approach most designers tend to go for is to use pre-built UI kits. By referring to these ready-made templates, you are able to save time and effort by not having to re-draw basic components. There are many UI kits available on the internet for both mobile and web apps. However, a designer can easily fall into the trap of using a generic template only to have their design look and feel identical to another. To avoid this common problem, it is often advised to form your own element collages that can make your designs appear different.

Designing Animations

As web designers create designs for screen experiences, it is important to understand the medium on which the designs will appear. When we design for a screen, we are designing for a fluid medium. This means that as designers, we need to understand how the user will interact or experience the design. Your role is not limited to creating static pages but to design and understand how the elements on a page interact. This means that you have to consider page transitions and interactions on a macro and a micro level.

When designing an animation or a transition, you have to consider the following factors:

1. How to use a trigger to create a transition

2. What kind of transition you would like to use

3. The timing of the transition.
Your design choices will affect your animation journey. So it may be useful to set your narrative ahead of time so you can put some thought into them.
The same rule applies when designing an animation/interaction at the object level. Feedback is an important factor to consider when designing a micro-interaction as it puts the users’ mind at ease when they know that their actions have been acknowledged. A well-defined user interface will respond to users movements and is able to respond to their actions.

When designing a web page or an interface, it is important to have a design system in place. Having a solid foundation and accessible UI components can help you maintain a consistent and scalable design across different devices and platforms. So when it is time to build your next website, consider investing your time in building and establishing a design system.

  Image Inq   Dec 14, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

How Visual Design Affects Sales and Marketing

As graphic designers, we have to communicate the brand’s message across to its consumers. There are many ways to do this – banners, postcards, stationery design, logos, mascots, brochures, and information packs are a few nameable mediums. To create an effective design, you have to understand the nuances of the sales message and use this information to create a visual design that is able to engage the viewer with the design and call to action buttons. Rather than focusing on immediate sales, it is important to focus on building a long-term strategy that would bring value and high return on investment. People tend to buy products from a trusted source so being able to build a relationship with the brand collateral is as important as bringing in immediate sales.Marketing your designs effectively is a skill that can be honed with time, patience and effort.

When creating the look and feel of a design, designers study the layout, color, schematics, content, typography, patterns and repetition. Using these design elements they create a cohesive and harmonious content that is able to guide the viewer through the information. When done right, this can raise the brand awareness and in effect bring in a valuable revenue.

Content marketing usually incorporates infographics, images, and videos. Articles with imagery and videos get more appreciations and are shared more on social media when compared to the ones with fewer images. Here is an interesting analysis of how visuals affected the marketing strategies of online marketers last year:

1. About 90% of the online marketers said that they used about 50% of visuals for promoting their business.
2. About 40% of the online marketers said that original artwork/graphics were the most engaging.
3. All marketers (about 70%)unanimously agreed to the fact that they spent only 5 hours a week making their visuals
4. About 30% said that they worked with an in-house design vs about 24% used the services of a freelance designer
5. About 36% said that they had a hard time producing consistent engaging visuals.
6. 30% had trouble creating/sourcing well-designed visuals.
7. 60% marketers agreed to the fact that visuals played a huge role in creating an impact
8. Most marketers ended up spending about 10%-20% of their annual budget on visuals
9. 35% marketers said that they would spend about a third of their annual budget on visuals the following year

The role of visuals in a website can’t be stressed enough. In today’s populated and highly visual market, websites have to be designed well to be able to stand out. When it comes to web design, first impressions matter. When a user stumbles upon your web page, you have about 59 s to make an impact on them. In order to create this form of a connection, the web page has to deliver in its appeal, usability, and overall quality. Fonts, color, spacing, symmetry and various other design elements play a huge role in creating a harmonious, well made and usable design.

Here are some statistics on first impressions.

1. About 94% of the first impressions are related to the look and feel of the design. So it is crucial to be able to have the user’s eye rest on a professional, well-made web page.
2. About 75% of users make judgments about the company, its values and their credibility based on the web page.
3. About 80% of the users will not return to a badly designed web page.

Having an engaging and highly impactful web page is useful not only to drive traffic but to help the user further explore the other pages of a website. If the participant is not happy with some aspect of the design on a webpage, he or she is more likely to not want to explore various other sections of the website.

Technology has evolved to enable us to see real-time data to measure and see what is driving traffic. We are able to analyze a visual or a graphic by analyzing the number of likes, appreciations, saves and gauge what ultimately is more appealing to a wide array of audiences.

To wrap up, here is a list of top 6 visual content marketing strategies that designers should know this year. When compared to the data that was collected last year, we can see that businesses are starting to understand the impact of visual design and its role in sales and marketing.

1. About 32% of online marketers say that visual content is the most important form of marketing for their business, blogging being the second.

2. 11% more of B2C marketers say that visual content is the most important content for digital marketing.
3. Eye tracking studies show that humans spend more time looking at an imagery than reading a text on an ad. So the weight an image carries when accompanied by text is bound to create a huge impact even after days of its first viewing.
4. Infographics have a had huge impact on B2B marketers and can increase the web traffic unto 11%
5. Facebook and Twitter posts with images see double the engagement than those without images.
6. 67% of marketers see Facebook as the most important marketing platform.

Visual design is a necessary tool for creative expression and will continue to play an important role in digital marketing. As technology continues to evolve, designers will have to keep up with the trends and analytics to create visual content that not only adheres to the needs of the market but also successfully communicate an idea and keeps the user engaged. Effective visuals can be used to communicate ideas the right way can transform your business. We hope that this article combined with the collected statistics stated above encourages you to learn more and understand the power of imagery, its impact and why it may be wise to integrate visual content into your business marketing strategy.

  Image Inq   Dec 12, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

First Year of Design – What Should Be in Your Portfolio?

When you are starting out your career in the creative industry, it is important to showcase work that not only shows your talent and technical skills as a designer but also emphasizes your thought process and who you are as a person. A good portfolio often tells a story about design and your relationship with it. Employers come across a variety of portfolios on a daily basis, how are you going to make yours unique?

Your projects often speak for themselves when it comes to your abilities as a designer. It should tell the employer that you are capable of producing work that is at par with your peers when it comes to creating refined and down to the last detail work. Use ‘less is more’ approach when it comes to what you want to show. It would make sense to include 5 of your best work instead publishing all your projects just to fill up space. Employers would much rather see your best work and understand the hows and whys of each than 5 excellent work mixed in with 5 mediocre projects.

Besides including designs that would appeal to a professional clientele. It is useful to include projects that you are passionate about, it could be work that you have done outside of your design classes. This could even be an experimental project that you care about as long as it defines the direction you want to take in the next step of your career. It is important for your portfolio to showcase a clear vision of what you want to do as a designer. If you are looking to design websites, make sure to include samples of work you have done in this regard. Ultimately the employer must be able to get a sense of what matters to you.

# 6 simple tips to build a knockout Portfolio

1. Highlight the work you want to be noticed for

Curating your work allows you to showcase the type of projects you want to work on in the future. Your projects usually tell a story. It should reflect who you are as a person and what you are looking for. So if you are looking to design book covers, make sure to include artwork that reflects this interest. Choose projects that showcase your artistry, choice of materials and technique. Be selective with your designs and use this space to demonstrate the quality of your projects.

2. Tell the backstory

Once you have selected the kind of projects you want to show, start planning on how to tell the hows and whys of the project. Besides showcasing compelling imagery, take the viewer through each step of your concept development process. Presenting your process from start to finish will help the employer understand your thought process and get a sense of who you are as a designer.

Start with a title and small paragraph that tells the backstory, followed by an eye-catching imagery of the project. Your designs should speak about your process. Everything above the fold, the typography, imagery, and the content should be engaging enough to make the viewer want to learn more about the project. Here is a great example that showcases the design process of Sebastien Gabriel, a senior UI designer at Google.

3. Use the interface intelligently

When it comes to your portfolio, you want your work to take center stage. Having a distracting web page will not help highlight your work. Simplicity in the visual design of the web page will help bring your work forward. Designing the right visual environment for your work will help showcase your work effectively. So when looking for a portfolio template make sure to choose a site that is easy to navigate and has a layout that is best for your creative work.

4. Personalize your bio

As a creative, share your unique perspective that includes your point of view about design and your approach to work. To be able to tell a great backstory, designers have to dig deep into their experiences with design and how they developed their point of view that shaped their creative direction. Anchor your bio with real-world details, like the clients you have worked with and the publications you have been a part of. End your story with personal trivia. Talk about your likes and hobbies that you care about. By making your bio approachable and relatable, you are bound to connect with a wide array of clients.

5. Add your blog, achievements and share your work

Your achievements and merits sure shot way for you to gain clients trust. So make sure to include them as this will give you an edge. Promoting your blog on your website is another way to help you get noticed by professionals in the industry. A blog should add value to the overall site, so don’t include it if you think it will detract from the content you are looking to show.

6. Keep your web page and designs Consistent

As your designs and you evolve with time, make sure to update your site same diligence and careful curation to keep it consistent and cohesive with the overall theme.

Choosing the right typography and visual assets to selecting the perfect color palette can seem like a daunting task. But with the wealth of freely available information and resources on the internet, designers should be able to find elements and assets to add polish to their designs. Getting started in a creative career is tough. We hope that this article provides a little insight into what it takes to build a portfolio and in effect create a brand awareness in today’s populated internet marketplace.

  Image Inq   Dec 10, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

10 Creative Ways to Make Flyer Design Stand Out

Flyers are a great and easy way to promote your business. A well-designed flyer can grab the users attention and hold it long enough for them to act on it. It is an important part of marketing strategy and when done well can bring in immediate sales and brand recognition.

For a flyer to stand out in a crowded marketplace, it has to be well designed— this would mean that the designer has to be skilled enough to choose the right font, artwork, and color to create a compelling visual. If you are a business owner, you would want your customers to pay attention to the content on the flyer and take action.

Style of a flyer is usually determined by the designer. It would largely depend on the needs and goals of the client. It could be big, bold and vibrant or simple, with minimal use of color. We have accumulated a collection of flyers and 10 creative ways to make it stand out. Hopefully, this gives you the inspiration you need to make a flyer that would stand out for your next project.

1. Collage/ Mix

By mixing various design elements, you are able to create a flyer that stands out. Combining typography styles and playing with size combinations can help push your poster design to the surface. Take a look at the flyer above, you’ll see that the designer has played with mixing different textures and superimposing colors to make the design pop. This poster is designed by Austin Peralta.

2. Vibrant colors scheme

Sometimes all it takes is a bright, punchy pop of color to make the design stand out. This design by ONF showcases a great color palette and shows how using bold colors can make a big difference in your design. By sticking to just two brights, the designer is able to draw attention to the primary elements in the flyer.

3. Simplicity

Minimal designs create an impact of their own. Besides bringing clarity and legibility to the text and the content, they help draw the user to the primary elements of the content. This poster was designed for a bar in Montreal, Canada. Designed by the agency BZOING is a perfect example of a minimalist design.The use of simple foliage and beautiful type makes the design stand out.

4. Vintage/Antique effect

This vintage looking poster was designed by We print pancakes.This hand crafted poster features vintage typography and plays with form and content.

5. Pattern Study

The human eye is naturally drawn to patterns. As a designer, you may choose to use them throughout your design or use them just as an accent to enhance the look and feel of the design. However you may choose to use them, they are capable of making people looking at your flyer. Here is a beautiful poster designed by Matteo Vandelli ,Guilia Faini and Luca Sarti is a perfect example of an eye grabbing patterned flyer. The trio came up with 6 different patterns that could be mixed and matched to promote a street fair.

6. Seasonal inspiration

If you are designing for a particular season, make sure to use design elements that represent your theme. This will make your customers instantly relate to the idea behind it because of the familiarity of the elements within your design. Here is an example of a poster that illustrates this idea.

7. Photography

If photographs take center stage in your designs, then it is important to choose high-quality imagery that sets the tone of your work. Combining it with the right font should help convey the overall idea or the message behind the project. Here is a great example of a poster where photography takes center stage. Combining it with unique typography and colors, the designer is able to make this poster visually engaging.

8. Layers

This poster shows how to layer different design elements effectively to create an eye-catching style. This design is able to mix/match and layer typography, colors, and photography without compromising the integrity and readability of the content. This design Steve Wolf showcases this idea. By layering typography, photography and other design elements, he is able to create an eye-catching layout.

9. Think outside the box

One of the best things about designing a poster is that you have the creative freedom to take it any direction you chose. This is where your creativity can shine. So make sure to think outside the box, and make something unique and eye-catching. Here is an example of an amazing poster that was designed for the Wing Sydney opening. Carmen Zeng is the designer behind this flyer. She was inspired by origami and wanted to translate the idea into her design. By using ripple effect as a decorative element, contrasting typography and color, she was able to create flair and movement to her design.

10. Layout and composition

Choosing to display your content in a creative way helps your poster get noticed. It is easy to create a unique visual experience by filling up space in a creative way. This poster was designed by Oguzan Pelit. He experiments with layout, and places his text inside the shape of a shoe to create a compelling image.

Lets take a quick look at some of the elements that make or break your flyer design.

Typography

Make sure you choose a font the represents the style or theme you are going for. Typefaces  usually have the power to convey an emotion or an idea just by their presence. So if you are looking to portray a musical nuance, make sure to go with a typeface that has rounded edges /cursive style to represent this feel.

Color and Layout

Choosing a color palette for your flyer is tricky. It take some time, patience and research to come up with a color scheme that would represent the feel you are going for. Starting from the color wheel and studying different color schemes should help you pick out a color that can set the tone for your project. Layout is another important aspect to look out for when designing a flyer. You can add polish to your designs by paying close attention to alignment, spacing and balance.

  Image Inq   Dec 06, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

Growing Your Business as a Freelance Designer

As a freelance designer, you don’t get a job – you have to make one. It is a challenge to build your personal brand and stand out in a crowded internet marketplace. Here are some ways designers can find freelance clients and build their personal brand on the side.

Online portfolio

You should be able to showcase your work as a designer. Building a professional online portfolio is the first step to being an independent artist/ entrepreneur. The credibility and quality of your work are often gauged through this portal so it is important for it stands out. Linking your portfolio to your email, social media channels and business cards increases the exposure of your work and the more people see the better it is for you and your business. Adobe Portfolio is a great platform to showcase your work. Its seamless integration with sites like Behance, Lightroom, Photoshop, and illustrator makes it easier for you to quickly and simply build a website.

Dribble and Behance were built for designers who want to showcase their work and get feedback from a creative community. They are an excellent gateway to reach professionals in the industry and have your work seen by thousands of people who may eventually refer you to their peers, colleagues or others.

Have your designs speak for you. So when you fill up your public portfolio, make sure you showcase your best work. Once you are able to create an impact on the viewer, you will notice a significant rise in the number of inquiries about your work.

Freelancing is one of the career paths that rely heavily on referrals. Good designers who are able to produce high-quality work and who are reliable usually gets referred.

Here are a few good portfolio examples for you to get you started

Lotta Nieminen

Kimi Lewis

Marketplaces

Internet market-places such as Upwork, angel list, design inc. etc connects freelancers with clients from all walks of life. Having the flexibility to bid on contracts and set your terms makes it easy for designers to find projects that interest them. Most clients prefer to work with skillful workers within the country they reside in. To have a higher chance of success, it is useful to write a proposal that tells the client about the kind of work you do and what you are able to offer to them. Working towards a top-rated status can also help you get access to the best paying jobs in the internet marketplace.

Building an online presence – Create content, start blogging!

Writing thoughtfully about your work and about the topics you are interested in is a quick way to garner credibility, awareness, and understanding viewpoints about your brand. This will also help you position yourself as an expert in your field. When you write about things you are passionate about, you imperatively are able to offer insights, opinions about the subjects you care about. Clients like to work with interesting people and having your personality shine through your posts is a sure shot way to gain their trust.

Building an audience takes time. Being patient, consistent and thoughtfully marketing your viewpoints are often encouraged when starting a blog. You work doesn’t end when you publish a post. Promoting your blog and posting it on various social channels will help you get noticed by professionals in the industry.

Networking – Find the type of people you want to work with and find ways to socialize with them. The best way to seek out clients is to go out to events and meet people. Socializing helps you make real connections with people that may turn into successful leads. Most organizations are looking to hire skillful workers they can trust and relate to so never underestimate the power of human connection.

Here are some places to start meeting people:

• Meetups

Online communities

• Classes

• Cafes

• Parties

• Slack groups/ Twitter

• Conferences

Once you are able to build connections and secure a client base then word of mouth comes into play in sustaining your business. This takes times, effort, great work and paying attention to the quality of your interactions.
With a combination of networking and word of mouth, you should be able to start getting offers that drive you and your business forward.

Getting freelance clients and building your personal brand takes time, effort and patience. But it is a highly rewarding career option if you chose to make it one. Here is a summary of all of the steps you can take to turn this idea into a reality.

• Build your portfolio: let your work speak for you. Make it as visually interesting as possible. Share it everywhere.

• Create a public profile on web spaces that help you drive traffic to your site. A few examples are Behance, Dribble, Red bubble etc

• Learn how to use and navigate your way through the internet marketplace. Use Upwork, angel list, and design inc to your advantage. Use these platforms to showcase your work and find clients that you want to work with

• Start meeting people. Go to events, Meetups and make connections

• Start blogging: write about things you are passionate about. Create content that inspires and educate audiences.

  Image Inq   Dec 04, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

16 Books Every Graphic Designer Should Read

As graphic designers, we are constantly looking to learn and refine our skill sets. The wealth of inspiration and knowledge that can be found in a good book is usually incomparable to the readily available content on the internet. Whether you are an established design professional or a beginner who is looking to learn new skills, we recommend this list of 12 inspiring graphic design books to fuel that creative spark.

This book is by Adrian Shaughnessy. This legendary graphic designer is able to provide his insights and valuable advice through this book. This book can be used as a guide to get you through this profession. It also covers a series of topics including how to establish your design career, insights into the creative process, how to run your business and on how to become a better designer.

This book encourages you to take a look at typefaces with scrutiny. Understanding their rich history, learning about their power and how it can make or break a design are a few topics that are covered in this book

This book is one of Alan fletchers best-known work. He offers his take on how to think about everything from color to composition. His remarkable thought process is examined in this prose and it also includes a series of mind teasers, names and visual puns assembled from his personal notebook and diaries.

4. How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and every once in a while change the world by Michael Beirut

This book demonstrates the author’s eclectic approach to graphic design. Inspiring and informative, authoritative and liberating – it has become the graphic design bible for most designers today.

This book looks at visual communication solutions based on a vibrant palette. Our eyes are naturally drawn to colors and they have the ability to invoke a broad range of emotions. Through a colorful showcase, this book is able to take the reader on a journey into what makes a color a powerful tool that is able to catch the viewers eye and create compelling sensations from near and far.

Fonts and typefaces are designed with tiniest details in mind. They have an emotive quality that is usually associated with its form and function. Just like an illustration is able to capture an intangible experience, fonts have personalities that create trust and confidence. This book by Sarah Hyndman talks about the science and art behind how fonts influence you and explains why certain fonts evoke particular experience or associations.


How do you forge your own path after graduation? This book delves deep into the various strategies that students and graduates are taking to succeed in their design careers. Available in both Kindle and hard cover.

This book gives us a peek into the world of graphic design students and how they feel about their education and profession. About fifty influential designers share their experiences about their student and professional lives

This book offers a beautiful visual representation of the graphic culture from North Korea. Print materials from packaging to hotel brochures, luggage tags are showcased in this book. Nick Bonner is an avid collector of North Korean graphic ephemera and has collected thousands of items that provide a rare insight into the state-controlled graphics output.

This book revolves around 21 thought-provoking phrases transformed into typographic works for clients around the world. Available in Kindle, hard cover and paperback.

This book covers all the key elements that make a great design. It features work from designers such as Paul brand, Stefan Sagmeister, and Neville Brody. Available in Kindle and paperback.

This book showcases the best of editorial and newspaper graphic design. In addition the beautiful display of editorial illustrations, this book discusses the daily challenges of journalists and editorial designers.

This book explores the power of graphic art and illustrations and its importance in our everyday lives. It is a compilation of T-shirt graphic, toys, shoes, signs, everyday objects and ephemera. The cover of the book itself draws the reader into the beautiful, special and intriguing graphic that is individually stickered by hand.

This explores comical questions and attempts to find ways to answer them via an array of graphical infographics. This book is adventurous and inspiring at the same time. It is filled with heroes and villains. This book offers a rare glimpse into the world of most popular and long-running comics and graphic novels out there.

This book delves deep into the process behind graphic design, its impact on society, what works, what doesn’t and most importantly why. It is a collection of Rands best graphical work from the thirties to the present. It starts with his thoughts on design moves on to his work with packaging, advertising, branding, and typography.

This book provides an in-depth analysis of the process of brand development and implementation. It is divided into three sections, covering topics about brand fundamentals, process basics, and case studies. This best selling guide to branding includes 100 branding subjects, checklists, tools, and diagrams, 50 case studies that describe goals, process, strategy, solution, and results and over 700 illustrations. Available in Kindle, hardcover and digital format.

  Image Inq   Nov 30, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

Slow Website? How to Improve Site Speed

The speed of your website means more than just convenience for visitors. Site speed can make or break the success of your website. Without acceptable page load times, visitors will become impatient and leave your site, or worse yet, not hang around to give you a first glance.

Slow site speed is seen as a major red flag. So much so that search engines, like Google, will drop your site down in rank to provide their users with a quicker solution to the information they are seeking. Beyond simply inconveniencing visitors, slow site speed may significantly affect many related factors like UX, bounce rates, SEO and overall site traffic.

What can you do to identify areas for improvement for your site’s load speed? It all starts with understanding the factors that impact site speed.

Factors That Affect Site Speed

how to improve site speed

how to improve site speed

Server or Hosting

The web hosting company and its accompanying server capacity for your website will have a direct impact on the speed of website loading for visitors. Small websites might use shared hosting while larger websites may need to use a virtual private server to maximize the benefits of shared hosting. Sites that are larger yet will need to have private dedicated servers to support the necessary file storage and daily traffic. Choosing the right hosting provider, package and server solution will set the entire ground floor for your site’s performance, especially in terms of page load speed.

File Storage

The larger the size of your files the more that is required of your site to load each page. Keeping your files stored efficiently will reduce unneeded files, large files and therefore limit the overall requirements on your site’s server. By reducing the number of unnecessary files and compressing larger files such as images, videos and other graphics, you place less strain on your site to quickly load pages.

Plugins

Plugins that need a lot of assets to load will make your website slow. Make sure that clean code is doing the heavy lifting of site performance as much as possible as to not rely on plugins. Deactivate and remove all unnecessary plugins.

Browser Compatibility

Older types of browsers may have compatibility issues with certain HTML strategies. Catering to older browsers by implementing antiquated coding tactics will greatly hurt your site speed.

The volume of Traffic

High traffic translates to higher bandwidth use. If your site is not equipped with sufficient bandwidth, it could lead to slow site performance. Make sure your hosting service offers the necessary bandwidth to support your site traffic.

Methods of Speeding Up Your Website

is my site slow

is my site slow

Minimize and Combine Files

Meticulously comb over your code to ensure that there are no opportunities eliminate unnecessary files or combine code to perform more efficiently.

Use Asynchronous Loading for JavaScript and CSS Files

These scripts can be loaded in two different ways. Traditional HTML practices tells you to include JavaScript in the head. This creates an initial delay to the rest of the body. By implementing asynchronous loading, you allow for Java and CSS to begin loading simultaneously with the rest of the HTML. It requires proper ordering of code. This can be challenging but is the new standard in modern site development and will greatly increase your load speeds.

Delay JavaScript loading

This means that you stop the loading of external JavaScript files until the entire site page has loaded. If you can start to convey your message through body text, it may provide the necessary information visitors need to stay through the rest of the loading.

Reduce the Time for First Byte Loading

This is the time that a website takes before it starts loading. This initial loading paves the way for a either an acceptable or unacceptable load speed. This often comes down to the hosting provider and package that you have chosen for your site.

Reduce Time for Server Response

The amount of time that your DNS takes to be found is a factor to be considered. This depends on the speed of your DNS service provider. Therefore, choose DNS service providers with higher speeds.

Reliable Hosting Provider

It is essential to choose the right hosting provider for your specific needs. With the increase in the traffic of a website, there is a need to move from a shared host to VPN and then to a dedicated server. This reduces the number of shared parts of the server thus increasing load speeds.

Run a Compression Audit

The smaller the size of your files, the faster your site will load. This is especially the case for sites with heavy media use. By compressing files, the upload time is reduced significantly. Periodically investigate the size of your files while also maintaining file size best practices when uploading content to your site.

Enable Browser Caching

This is done to second and subsequent visitors to a website. The information is stored in their respective hard discs so that in the second and any subsequent visits, some info can be fetched directly from the hard disk. This reduces the time needed for loading.

Reduce the Size of Images

By reducing the size of images, this reduces the time required for them to load. This makes the browser load faster as the data for the image is minimized.

Use External Hosting Platforms

Large files, like videos, can be hosted externally from the CDN server that you are using. This will reduce the data in your server and result in improved load speeds.

In a busy online landscape, you need to take every step to achieve a competitive advantage over rival sites. Forcing new site visitors to wait through a slowly loading page, is a surefire way to skyrocket your bounce rate and send potential leads to the competition.

Leave no stone unturned, especially in terms of site speed. Regularly audit your website’s load speeds to ensure it’s up-to-par as you continue to add new content and files to your site. Make the necessary changes to your site to maintain optimal site speed.

  Image Inq   Nov 28, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

The 10 Most Popular Google Fonts of 2018

Google Fonts is an open source collection of nearly 900 font families that are used by graphic designers, web designers and content specialists for both digital and print design projects. Google Fonts have been downloaded over 19 Billion times by users. All the fonts are available for download from the Google Fonts GitHub repository or you can download the font library into your server. While companies like Adobe and others have followed suit and built their own font directories, Google Fonts remains the top choice for personal and professional use due to its breadth of quality open source font options.

As content controls your messaging and the purpose for your advertisement, blog post, logo or general brand communications, it’s important to pick the right font. Without a personal representation or auditory source for context surrounding a message, font style can help establish tone and create an immersive experience for visitors. This helps to create a connection and establish brand identity.

There is no detail too small to overlook. Selecting the default font in any scenario is a surefire way to blend in with the rest of the buzz on the internet. If you want to stand out and truly represent your brand properly, you need to carefully select a font that meets the need of the moment. Whether that moment is a sales page or a header picture, a font can make or break the user perception and engagement with your content.

There are a number of font varieties within Google Fonts, therefore, finding the right font for your website or graphic designs can be tedious. Establishing a few go-to fonts can make decision making more efficient for marketing and creative teams. For your convenience, we’ve put together a short list of 10 of the most popular Google Fonts for graphic designers, web designers and marketing professionals.

10 Best Google Fonts for Designers This Year

#1 Open Sans

top free fonts

top free fonts

It’s one sans serif typeface font mainly optimized for web, print media and for mobile to make characters appear bold and legible. Open Sans is more of a professional and clean looking font. There are 10 different styles of Open Sans font – from light to bold.

#2 Roboto

best free fonts

best free fonts

Roboto is also a sans-serif font which is has been popularized as the standard font for the Android operating system. Similar to Open Sans, Roboto font has 12 different styles – the standard Roboto family of fonts can also be used along with Roboto Slab and Roboto Condensed family. Roboto font is used across 20+ million web pages online today.

#3 Lato

graphic design fonts

graphic design fonts

In Polish, Lato means “Summer”. Lato font was developed by a Polish designer. When he started his work, it was initially designed as a set of corporate fonts for a client. Later, the designer gave the font a different style and made the font publicly available. The font contains a combination of strong characters and semi-rounded details around the edges of the letters. Lato font is used by 9+ million web pages on the internet.

#4 Raleway

best fonts for websites

best fonts for websites

Raleway is a font specially intended for large size text and headings. Raleway has 9 different font types varying based on the weight. The Raleway font is used across more than 8 million websites as of today. The download offers both TrueType and OpenType formats.

#5 Montserrat

free google fonts

free google fonts

The Montserrat font was designed by Julieta Ulanovsky from Buenos Aires after finding inspiration from the old posters and signs in the Montserrat neighborhood. Montserrat has a classic urban style and well designed for making body text and headline content. Montserrat has 18 different font types and the font has two sister families called Alternates and Subrayada. Montserrat is also used in about 9 million websites as of today.

#6 PT Sans

top google fonts

top google fonts

PT, the short form of ParaType, started in 1998 as a project for the “Public Types in Russian Federation.” In addition to PT Sans, there is also the PT Serif font. Most of the PT Sans font usage comes from Russia.

#7 Source Sans Pro

best google fonts

best google fonts

The Sans Pro is amongst the most commonly used fonts for application user interfaces. Using this font makes the text highly readable in the user interface. A sans-serif typeface font, the font has 12 different style variations. This font is the first ever developed open source typeface font by Adobe. More than 4 million websites feature the Source Sans Pro font.

#8 Oswald

free fonts for designers

free fonts for designers

The main intention of the Oswald font is its ability to be used across web browsers of all devices such as desktops, laptops and mobile devices. The Oswald font is known to have replaced the historic Alternate Gothic’ sans serif font. Over five and a half million websites on the internet make use of the Oswald font today.

#9 Lora

graphic design fonts

graphic design fonts

Lora is one of the best suited fonts that will work perfectly on multiple screens as well as in print mediums. Lora font has 4 different styles and the font is best suited for the body text content in web pages. The curvy nature of the font with the serif makes this font look different and elegant when compared to other fonts. Over 1.5 million websites use the Lora font to showcase their content.

#10 Work Sans

fonts for designers

fonts for designers

Work Sans is a font best suited for websites and web page content (on-screen content). This font comes with 9 different styles. The best recommended size range is between the 14-48px for the Regular and others in the middle of the family. The boldest fonts can be best suited for print as well as web.

These are just a few from the vast list of the fonts that are available under the Google Fonts brand. Each font has its signature look and can apply to different purposes according to each brand’s specific needs. As with all graphic design projects, it comes down to what suits a brand’s identity and the purpose for each particular marketing campaign, social post, online page, etc.

Find the fonts that work for your purpose and explore the ways in which that font can help tell your story.

  Image Inq   Nov 26, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

The Nuances of Typography: Ligatures, Diphthongs, Swash Characters & Variables Fonts

Typefaces are designed keeping the tiniest details in mind. It is also the emotive quality of these individualistic typefaces that help us express and communicate ideas with clarity. Our fascination with letterforms and typography and using it as a tool for expression has evolved with time. So has the typefaces and how we use them today. Here are some examples of typographic elements and nuances that are quite often overlooked by designers but their relevance and importance haven’t changed.

1.  Ligatures

Ligatures are two or more intersecting characters fused to form a single character. Here is an example to illustrate this idea. Here, by combining e and t, we form a Latin word “et” meaning “and”

Ligatures are a response to a design problem. Colliding characters may find relevance in certain aspects of design but does not support in communicating a brands message with clarity. When working with serif types, it might make sense to turn on ligatures. When using Photoshop, they can be turned on from the control panel or in the basic character formats.

2.  Diphthongs

Diphthongs are ligatures in their decorative form. They visually represent the pronunciation of a combined vowel. They can be applied through the Glyphs panel.

3.  Swash characters

Intended for use at the end of a word or a line, when used sparingly they can add a flourish to headlines, titles and chapter headings. Some italic styles have swashes and can be checked opening the glyphs panel, under the show menu.

In the world of typographic experimentation, we come across a variety of styles of form and function. Here are a few font styles that have made an impact in the world of web type.

4.Variable fonts

Variations in weight, width, and height and its ability to act as multiple font styles has helped improved page load times and the reading experience of the visitor. Variable fonts such as the one above by D-stype foundry, which lets you control the size of its Serifs. By playing with serif and sans serif styles like the gif below, you are able to create a unique reading experience.

Typography Examples:

Anurati

This is a futuristic typeface by Emerson Richard. He adds visual interest to his forms by playing with the idea of the law of closure. Set against this backdrop this font is able to instantly take us on a futuristic ride.

Click here to download Anurati

Blanka

Blanka is another font type designed by Emerson Richard. The form follows a similar theme with its structural geometry and bits of missing pieces.

Click here to download Blanka

Elixia

Elixia is a typeface built using hexagons. It’s a decorative display font that comes in both upper and lower case. The style creates a futuristic feel without losing touch with its archaic form.

Click here to download Elixia

Luciana

This is a monospaced font with light strokes coupled with a set of swashes to give it a feminine and dynamic feel.

Click here to download Luciana

Stellar

The versatility of this font makes it one of my favorites. By pairing it with the right type and treatment you are able to change its look and feel dramatical.

Click here to download Stellar

Arkhip

This font features letterforms with wavelike curves. This creates a sense of movement and visual interest to this typeface.

Click here to download Arkhip

Tuesday Night

This font by Font Forestry is perfect for designing invitations. With its extra large, flowing capitals, this beautifully handcrafted font is a great addition the script typeface category.

Click here to download Tueday night

Mindfully

This beautiful and elegant font has a calligraphic feel to it. This typeface can be used for more than just invitations and would work great when designing custom postcards with a hand-lettered feel.

Click here to download Mindfully

Halogen

This structured typeface comes in both all caps and small caps. With an industrial feel to it, this futuristic font style is often used in designs that need to stand out.

Click here to download Halogen

Rustico

An easy font choice for web design, branding and social media banners. Rustico is the go to typeface for when you are looking for something bold with a hand-lettered feel.

Click here to download Rustico

Hanseif

Another bold sans serif typeface with a great vintage feel to it. Comes in two different styles — regular and rough. If you like texture, you’ll like this font. This is a versatile font and when paired with a complimentary style is makes the design pop.

Click here to download Hansief 

In addition to these futuristic fonts, Adobe just added 665 classic faces from 41 font families to its type kit library. ITV Avant- grade gothic, ITV Benguit, gill sans, Nova, plantain, Rockwell nova, trade gothic next and Sabin to name a few.

Not all typefaces are created equal. You can find thousands of typefaces on the internet. Finding the perfect typeface that both deliver in aesthetics and function is not an easy task. Text being one of the primary ways for communication, designers often devote their entire careers to type. With well documented online resources for typography, exploring fonts and font combinations have never been easier.  Before choosing a font style, it’s important to identify the purpose of your design. As typography is key to setting the mood, tone, and the style of a design, it would have to align with the purpose of the project.

Information about your user’s interests and cultural upbringing could influence decisions you make for your type. Identifying your audience is important as their attributes will influence your font options. Understanding the motivations behind each font and pairing it with well-researched design elements will help you create designs that are engaging, meaningful and relevant.

  Image Inq   Nov 22, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More
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