MyInkTrail: Best of the Design Community, August 2009

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MyInkTrail is a monthly roundup of the best from the design community. Here you’ll find my favorite articles, compilations, tutorials, freebies and sites from August 2009. It’s funny to how the path I track through the design community for a given month always seems to have a distinct theme. Last month I was really focused on CSS 3 and HTML 5, this month the roundup has a definite typography vibe.


web-design-depot20 Tips on How to Write for the Web

This is a quality list of writing tips for bloggers and content managers – sort of a mix between English 101 and simple web writing pointers.


david-aireyHiring a designer: a client’s perspective

David Airey often effectively takes a step back to look at things from the client’s perspective. This post focuses on the expectations of a client when hiring a designer.


design-cubicle10 More Typography Mistakes You Might Be Making

I always like reading posts like this, they remind me of things not to do, and things I could improve on. This post serves a helpful list of 10 common typography mistakes I should be avoiding.


net-tuts6 Ways To Improve Your Web Typography

This is an excellent resource of typography tips as they relate to CSS and webdesign.


cmd-shiftAsk A Freelancer #4: Dealing with Scope Creep

Liz from Cmd + Shift Blog is doing a series called “Ask A Freelancer”. This time the question explores the issue of scope creep. What should you do when a client’s expectations for a project continue to grow bigger than the original agreement?


grace-smithFive Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Be sure to check out this entertaining post from Grace Smith. She asks a bunch of folks in the design community to tell us 5 things you probably didn’t know about them.


css-tricksInappropriate Uses

A simple list of things you should not be doing in webdesign. Chris reminds us that databases are for content, HTML is for describing and displaying content, CSS is for design, and JavaScript is for functionality.


webitech5 Habits to Help You Complete Your Project in Record Time

Everyone in the field of design wants to be more productive. This post showcases five ways to get the most out of your time.



line-25Semi Web Safe Fonts to Spice up Your Web Designs

Unfortunately designers are generally limited to the 10 or so truly web safe fonts, but with a good font-stack you can experiment with semi web safe fonts. Chris of Line25 puts together this nice list of 13 such semi web safe options (try saying that five times fast).


wordpress-themes36 Beautiful and Free WordPress Themes

A huge compilation of 36 new, awesome free WordPress themes.


smashing-appsHow Popular Website Designs Looked Like In Late 90’s

Check out the look of some of the popular sites in the late 90’s. You’ll be amazed how far they’ve come in about ten years.


1st-web-designer65 Popular And Professional Free Fonts For Creative Typography

A huge compilation of professional looking free fonts. Definitely some good fonts to add to your collection.


design-shard16 Great Photoshop Light Effect Tutorials

A collection of 16 great photoshop tutorials to learn how to create cool lighting effects.



designm.agSticky (Fixed) SideNav Layout with CSS

A simple, but detailed explanation of how to create a sticky side navigation layout.


smashing-html5Coding A HTML 5 Layout From Scratch

This tutorial walks you through all the details of creating a website from scratch using HTML 5.


vectipsCreating Editable Letterpress Styled Text

Letterpress designs are still quite popular. This tutorial shows you how to create a sleek non-destructive letterpress design in Illustrator.


fuel-your-codingIn-Field Labels: A Better Way + jQuery Plugin

It looks cool to use in-field labels on forms, but sometimes the usability is poor when the user clicks on a field and the label disappears. This tutorials attempts to solve that issue with a little help from jQuery.


sprye-studiosHow To Create A Sexy Vertical Sliding Panel Using jQuery And CSS3

Be sure to check out this elegant tutorial which shows you how to code up a vertical sliding panel using jQuery in a fixed or absolute position.


woorkCSS3 rounded corners for every browser? An alternative quick solution without headache

The title pretty much says it all with this tutorial. You’ll learn how to add a quick javascript snippet to easily add rounded corners to your site for any browser.



smoke-brushSmoke Brush Set

You can tell by the thumbnail over there on the left that this is a really cool looking set of smoke brushes for Photoshop.


think-design-blogFree Vectors – 7 High-Quality City Skyline Vectors

Check out this set of 7 city skyline vectors. They are definitely a good addition to your designer toolbox.


Featured Sites

concept-feedbackConcept Feedback

Getting honest and helpful feedback is an invaluable tool for any designer. Concept Feedback is a free site that strives to help designers get feedback on their concepts.



I wrote about Redmark back when it was in beta mode. It is now officially launched and can boast an even better interface. Be sure to bookmark this handy free proofing tool.



Flickroom is an Adobe Air app that offers up a cool interface for you to browse your Flickr photos.



There are a lot of slicing services out there, so making a decision on that sort of thing can be incredibly difficult. Slicejobs offers a place to compare services and get testimonials of many of the top slicing service providers.



This is the latest addition to the tutsplus website family by Envato. Tutorials on all things photography” this should be a good one.


About the Author

Andrew is a primary contributer for MyInkBlog. He is a full time web developer for Niagara University. When he's not working there, he's a blogger, twitter'er, wordpress'er, silverstripe advocate, blessed father and husband.

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  • Matthew

    Love that jQuery effect for in field labels! I am using it in my post for tomorrow on UX Booth :). Thanks!
    .-= Matthew´s last blog ..Introduction to Product Usability Testing =-.

  • Tim Smith

    I really liked 20 Tips on How to Write for the Web. I’m really going to need that!! Awesome round-up as usual!!

  • john chen

    Nice wrap up, i’m lol’ing at the How Popular Website Designs Looked Like In Late 90’s post.

    .-= john chen´s last blog ..View my updated web design portfolio =-.

  • h1brd

    Awesome List here :) Really useful stuff around, keep doing these :)
    .-= h1brd´s last blog ..How To Work With The Batch Command In Photoshop =-.

  • Max Stanworth

    Great rondup, and thanks for including one of my posts.
    .-= Max Stanworth´s last blog ..25 Examples Of Light Effects In Web Design =-.

  • David Airey

    Cheers, Andy. That guest post by Aditya (about hiring a designer) proved a little controversial, which is always good for the prompting insightful debate.

    Gotta love the commenters in the online design community.
    .-= David Airey´s last blog ..When vanity is good for business =-.

  • Andrew Houle

    @Matthew – Yeah, I love that too. I’m definitely gonna look to add that in some of the future forms that I build

    @Tim – Glad you found that link handy. All of us can use those sort of reminders now and again.

    @John – I know, I can’t believe how far things have come. That being said, I’m still not a big fan of Google’s logo.

    @h1brd – Thanks for the encouragement. I definitely plan to continue my end of the month roundups.

    @Max – No problem, keep up the good work.

    @David – Yeah, a little controversy is always a good catalyst for good discussions.

  • Joni Geels

    This is a great list!!! I’m looking forward to what CSS3 rounded corners has to offer. Thanks!

  • Mars

    the “Coding A HTML 5 Layout From Scratch” make my day
    .-= Mars´s last blog ..My old adidas =-.

  • bp

    Look forward to these lists every month. Thanks!

    One thing to watch out for…the link:

    “Dress Your Screens With 53 Breathtaking Typography Wallpapers”

    has a warning page through Firefox and Google search results.

  • Andrew Houle

    @bp – Thanks for catching that. I took the link down for now.

  • Ben Rama

    comcept feed back i s great idea although how do you moderate sincerity and genuine ctitcisms maybe teh design comm is mature emough to run itself be good if it really works

    take it easy Andrew get that interview out next week : )
    .-= Ben Rama´s last blog ..An new site and design =-.

  • Grace Smith

    Andrew fab roundup, always love these creative best of lists each month as they highlight some great posts i may have missed! I also wanted to say a big thanks for including my 5 Things post, it proved to be my most popular post ever and was certainly a lot of fun to put together :-)
    .-= Grace Smith´s last blog ..Embrace The Web Community Wholeheartedly… =-.

  • Daniel (DesignPlusUltra)

    The article about website-design in the 90’s is my favorite. Really amazing to see how the web developed in the past years. Who knows how Web 3.0 will look like. :)
    .-= Daniel (DesignPlusUltra)´s last blog ..Can You Name All Logos? – Web 2.0 =-.

  • Luis Lopez

    great list of august articles, some information I’ve never seen really useful. Thanks Andrew
    .-= Luis Lopez´s last blog ..1000 Colorful Business Cards Giveaway =-.

  • Tim Read: Ripplenet web design

    I only just found this great list. Added the site to my RSS reader so I’ll get it earlier next time! Thanks Andrew.