MyInkTrail: Best of the Web, December 2008

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Happy 2009!

First off, a quick thanks to everyone who helped make 2008 an awesome year. Thanks to my sponsors who make this blog possible, and to the design community who are always their to lend a hand.

What’s on the Way

I have a bunch of plans for 2009. In a previous post I mentioned I’m in the early stages of a redesign. Things will be a little more aesthetically pleasing and more functional. If you have any ideas for what you would like added in the redesign I’d love to hear from you, drop me a comment. Also, May of 2009 will mark the 1 year anniversary of this blog. I more than likely will celebrate with my second contest. Those details I’ll save for a later date.

Intro to MyInkTrail for December ’08

This is by far, the biggest MyInkTrail compilation thus far. I found so many helpful posts this month, I could have actually added even more. I hope you find this list as useful as I did. Take a look…

1. 10 Usefull RSS Tricks and Hacks for WordPress
A compilation of 10 fantastic RSS tricks that will revolutionize the way you handle your RSS feed.


2. Geometric Background Patterns
24 Ways is an awesome advent calendar for techy geeks. This article by Veerle Pieters of looks into making seamless background patterns in Photoshop.


3. 8 Ideas, Techniques & Tricks for Your Web Design Toolkit
PSD Tuts had a bunch of excellent articles during their Web Design Week. This one provides a lot of great tips for improving your designs and workflow.


4. How-To: Taking WordPress One Step Further
A fantastic article by Liam of Function in which he shows some techniques to improve and customize your WordPress blog.


5. Ethical or Unethical?
A design community discussion on the ethics of using a personal portfolio to benefit a design agency.


6. 10 Characteristics of Excellent Portfolio Sites
This is an excellent look at 10 characteristics of good designer portfolios.


7. How Not to Sell-Out
A unique article on why creative blogging is more effective long term then chasing peaks. It’s something that has really made me think about the direction of my own blog.


8. Four Resources to Consider When Starting a Project
Cameron Moll takes a look at four things to think about before embarking a new project.


9. Value Your Design
A well-written post that shares some advice on how to make your work more enjoyable and rewarding.


10. 10 Ways to Cut Down Web Development Time
Ways to cut down on development time, sounds like a good thing to me :)


11. Why Exactly Designers Hate Comic Sans
I’ve tried to explain this to some of my friends before, it’s funny seeing an article written about it.


12. Absolute Columns
Until the day css3 columns become widely usable designers will be searching for ways to handle columns using css. This article showcases one such option.


13. Don’t Give Excuses. Just Blog.
I’m guilty of making a post that just updates why I haven’t or won’t be able to blog much in a given week. This is perhaps a mistake and not worth the effort, at least that’s what this article suggests.


14. 15 Minimalist Designs That Inspired Me
I love when minimalist designs are done right, some of these are very inspiring.



1. Brand New: Best & Worst 2008
The best and worst logo redesigns for 2008. A very interesting list.


2. 40 Plus Colorful Logo
An A bright and colorful list of 40 beautiful logos.


3. 63 Extraordinary Companies That Support The Design Community
These companies are awesome, some have supported MyInkBlog, and all of us in the design community should all be very thankful for their help.


4. 50 Most Fresh and Inspirational Favicons
These often overlooked small logos can really help with branding and the overall look of a website.


5. Best of CSS Design 2008
Their were quite a few best of 2008 type posts this month. Web Designer Wall always produces top notch content and this post is no different.


6. Designer Tees: 40 Creative Shirts for Webworkers
Gotta love these shirt designs for techy types.


7. 50 Excellent Digital Photography Photoshop Tutorials
Nice compilation from Smashing of 50 digital photography tuts.


8. 15+ Amazingly Clever Logos
Great list of 15 cleverly designed logos. Am I the only one who didn’t realize there is an arrow in the FedEx logo?


9. 40 Creative Business Card Designs
I love creative business cards, these rock!


10. Web Picks #3: GRASS
Some great picks here, and it doesn’t hurt that one of the choices is a MyInkBlog tutorial ;)


11. The Beauty of Street Photography
I love good photography, some of these are awesome.


12. 10 Places to Sell Templates
Selling templates is a good way to make a couple of extra bucks, here’s a list of 10 sites you can do just that.


13. 45 Beautiful Free Fonts for Modern Design Trends
I’m always on the hunt for useful, free fonts, this list is handy.


14. 2008 Most Beautiful HDR Images
HDR Images were one of the most popular image manipulation techniques this year. Here’s a cool list of some of the best.


15. 26 Creative Texture Arts
This is a very inspirational compilation of digital art.



1. Five Looks, One Layout: How to Develop a Library of Web Design Styles at Your Fingertips
Another good result from PSD Tuts’ Web Design Week. This article showcases how to design five looks in photoshop for one layout.


2. Photoshop Paper Texture from Scratch
I’m often in need of a grungy paper texture background, this is a handy technique to know.


3. How to Setup a Dedicated Web Server for Free
I always wanted to know how to set this up, so this tut was very interesting for me.


4. Sitewide Search on a Shoestring
A look at how to build a search for your site.


5. Beautiful Fluffy Clouds in Photoshop – Christmas Tutorial
These clouds are so awesomely realistic.


6. How to Create an Ice-cold Poster with 3D Text
Cool final result and all kinds of useful techniques learned.


7. Tutorial: How to Make Retro/Futuristic Curves in 10 Steps
This is Fudge Graphics first tutorial and it’s a good one.


8. Tiny Tutorial: Improve Justified Type Settings
Awesome tutorial and advice on how to improve your justified type.


9. Visual Guide to Layer Blending Modes in Photoshop
A nice visual guide to bookmark and keep in your designer toolbox.


10. 24 Ways: A Festive Type Folly
Another great post from 24 Ways, really all 24 are great. This one I was simply amazed that all this typography was achievable with pure CSS.



1. Free High Quality Icon Set: Wall-E
Awesome Wall-E icons. These are so well done!


2. Freebie – Grunge Corners and Edges Photoshop Brush Pack
Arbenting has been providing a ton of good freebie resources lately. These grunge corners are awesome to have in your arsenal.


3. 10 Scribbled Snowflake Vectors
Grant did a great job with these, I love the small details.


4. Free Grunge Style Social Bookmarking Icons
These are cool grungy bookmarking icons.


5. Army Shoe
I can’t see any great use for this, but it’s just so awesomely done, I wanted to feature it here.


6. 92 Free Exclusive Icons: Ravenna
I can’t get enough quality icons in my design toolbox, these are good to have.



1. Six Questions: Eric Meyer on CSS3
Eric Meyer is a notable expert on CSS and HTML. This is a very informative interview about the future of CSS 3.


2. Braintalk with Aaron Irizarry
A good interview with Aaron of This is Aaron’s Life.


3. Meet Andrew Houle, Founder of
A little shameless promotion of an interview with yours truly over at Colorburned.


Cool New Sites I’ve Found

1. PSD Vault
A newer site with fantastic Photoshop inspiration, tutorials and resources.


2. Thought Pile
This site is so creatively awesome. A lot of fun to browse, and I’m so impressed with how intuitive it all is.


3. Logo Moose
I like Moose and logos, so naturally I added this site to the list :)


4. HTML Lipsum
Dummy text for web design comes in all shapes and sizes. This will help add some order to what you need, by offering lists, paragraphs and so on.


5. AETuts
Anytime Envato adds a new tuts site to its family, it’s news worthy.


Design News

1. Design Community Twitter Hours
Although this is not a new site, it is an awesome idea that I’d like to share with you. Chad Engle has designated a two hour period weekly for the design community to get together using twitter to discuss and learn things from one another.


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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  • Matt

    Great list! Thanks.

    Matt´s last post was… How To Succeed As a Freelancer In 2009

  • Brian Hoff

    Great round up! Thanks for including the DesignCubicle!

    Brian Hoff´s last post was… 50 Brilliant Design Articles of 2008 in 23 Categories + 40 Reader Submitted Posts

  • Angie Bowen

    Great round-up Andrew, seems xl this month. Thanks for the inclusion :)

    Angie Bowen´s last post was… Arbenting Goes Dark : Dead Wings Designs!

  • Jim MacLeod

    This is a great list. Thanks for collecting it.

    Jim MacLeod´s last post was… Envision Radio website

  • Joefrey Mahusay

    Thanks for including my site. :)

    Joefrey Mahusay´s last post was…

  • Franz Jeitz

    wow this is a great roundup. some articles i did not know about. thanks for including fudgegraphics!

    Franz Jeitz´s last post was… Dark Matters: Free January 09 Wallpaper

  • Zach Dunn

    I absolutely love 24 Ways. Nice to see it represented so well on this list. Also, it’s design is something fascinating.

  • Aaron Irizarry

    Thanks for the mention!
    It is awesome to be on the list with so many other inspiring individuals and blogs.

    Looking forward to more great things in 2009

    ~ Aaron I

    Aaron Irizarry´s last post was… Looking Forward

  • Andrew Houle

    Thanks for all the kind words about this post! @Zach I agree 24 ways has an awesome design, I was so impressed with the redesign for this year.

  • Gardener

    Nice round up.
    Thank you for including Kreative Garden in your list.

    Gardener´s last post was… 20 Dashing Dashboard Designs

  • Tanaka13 – Créations du Net

    great round up! and a Happy new year 2009!

    Tanaka13 – Créations du Net´s last post was… Equilibrium Vision 2009

  • James

    Hi Andrew! thank you so much for having my site PSD Vault here on the list, and thanks for having my link on your site! All the best with the re-design!

    PS: i did a bit of re-design for my header image yesterday so it looks slightly different :) you may want to

    James´s last post was… Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

  • AJ Troxell

    Great list. I’ve watched this blog all of 2008 and it has grown so much. It’s really inspiring. Keep it up Andrew.

    AJ Troxell´s last post was… 15 New Year Resolutions for Designers

  • chadengle

    Nice wrap-up! I am really diggin the massive amount of content you pulled together for this post! Thanks for the shout out on DCTH as well!

    chadengle´s last post was… Icon for Fluid App

  • Rob

    As always, a great wrap-up! Thanks for the Arbenting Freebie feature!

    Rob´s last post was… Freebies : Barcodes Vector Pack

  • Colorburned

    Whoa! Thanks for the three mentions!

    Colorburned´s last post was… Meet Ryan Putnam (AKA Rype) of Vectips