MyInkTrail: Best of the Web, January 2009

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Introduction

MyInkBlog’s redesign is moving along at a snails pace, but I’m still hoping to be ready in a couple months. I keep taking one step forward, then two steps back, but I know it will be worth it in the long run. As for this post… well it’s enormous and jam packed with great content from the design community this month. So let’s get right to it!

Articles

The best reads from the design community for this month!

ux-booth2

Are you Losing Traffic from Poor Findability?
A checklist of five things you can do to make your site more visible to your potential audience. Are you findable? This post should help.

 

net-tuts-css3 5 Techniques to Acquaint You With CSS 3
A list of some of the cooler features CSS 3 has to offer. Rounded corners, opacity, shadows, resize… it’s about time! Now if only everyone would upgrade to IE8.

 

spoon-graphics Business Card Design Project Walkthrough
Chris over at Spoon Graphics walks you through his design process for a business card project. The details and helpful tips are awesome, a great read for someone who is about to embark on business card design.

 

design-observer Designing Through the Recession
Some fantastic advice about how to survive the economic downturn from a designer’s perspective. The article is spot-on and mixes in plenty of experience and foresight.

 

freelance-switch Six Valuable Things Web Design Clients Won’t Tell You
An entertaining article that summarizes some things that your client may be thinking. I love articles that take a look at things from the client’s perspective, we can gain valuable insight by looking at things this way.

 

smashing 10 Killer WordPress Hacks
An awesomely helpful list to anyone running a wordpress powered site. This post is acceptionally timely to me as I’ll be adding a bunch of these features into my redesign.

 

smashingcss3 Push Your Web Design Into The Future With CSS3
Another CSS 3 inspired post, but at the rate at which new CSS versions come out, it’s no wonder us designers get so excited about it. With the use of CSS rounded corners, opacity drops, drop shadows, etc we are bound to see some incredible designs in the near future… and some horrifically bad ones (comic sans on a rainbow gradient bad!)

 

design-cubicle 12 Common Photoshop Mistakes and Malpractice
It’s funny when you first get started in Photoshop how many of these Photoshop crimes you commit. I was as guilty as anyone abusing gradients and drop shadows!

 

web-design-tuts Using White Space Effectively In Web Design
Here is another area that young designers tend to struggle with. How and when to use white space. This is a good article about how to do it right, and it’s filled with quality inspirational examples.

 

phire-design How Do You Blog?
AJ Troxell from Phire Design has started a series that is aimed at gaining perspective from those immersed in the field. In this post, he asks fellow bloggers about their workflow and habits. And I was asked to be included :)

 

web-designer-depot 6 Reasons Why Designers Should Code
A list of 6 reasons why designers would benefit from diving into the world of programming. Some pretty convincing arguments. I couldn’t agree more.

 

960 A Detailed Look at the 960 CSS Framework
This post convinced me to try out a CSS framework for the first time, and I’m very glad I did! It may not be perfect solution for every situation, but it sure has saved me a bunch of time recently.

 

smashing-trends Web Design Trends For 2009
Given that this is a best of, for the month of January, it’s a must that I include a trends for the coming year style post. Smashing takes a look at some that they foresee gaining momentum in this coming year. I think they are right on.

 

matt-wilcox The fundamental problems with CSS3
Sure, I may have gotten carried away with the CSS 3 theme in this roundup, but I think it is a very important topic in the world of design. Plus, this article plays more of the devil’s advocate. It’s a very interesting read through!

 

spoonfed 11 Essential Tips for Good Print Typography
Just in case you haven’t noticed yet, Matt at Spoonfed Design puts out some awesome articles on his blog. This one showcases 11 tips for good print typography. Grids, contrast, spacing, etc… definitely helpful stuff.

 

david-airey Logo design for Giacom
I’m partial to these David Airey logo design posts. As a designer, you can learn so much from his thought process and workflow. Plus I love the final result of this logo.

 

phire-design-manage How Do You Manage
Another designer question and answer style post from Phire Design. This one covers time and invoice managing from a designers perspective.

 

web-designer-depot-cms How To Choose The Right CMS
This is a topic that has been very important to me in the last couple of months. They do a great job of pointing out some of the things to look for, then recommend their top 5. The best line in the whole article though has to be, “Joomla is evil.”

 

Compilations

The best roundups, within a roundup… is that too much?

bison-logo 20 Weird Logos That Work (and Why They Do)
That title sure worked on me! It’s true though, these are some really creative examples of unique logos. One question though, from someone who lives there, how did the I love NY logo make this otherwise great list?

 

vandelay-design 35 Photoshop Tutorials for Realistic Results
A compilation of some of the best realistic photoshop tutorials. I’m happy to say that one of MyInkBlog’s tutorials made this great list!

 

minimalist-typography 70 Minimalist Typography Examples
These minimalistic typography examples make me smile, they are so good. Creative type, white space, good art… this is inspiring!

 

top-young-bloggers Top Young Bloggers, Young Entrepreneurs Making Money Online
Wow, I can’t believe all these guys/gals are under 21. I wish I started younger, oh well, I’ll have to make up for lost time :) There are some very familiar names on this impressive list.

 

design-cubicle-logo All the Logo Design Resources You Will Ever Need
That’s a bold title, but it’s certainly a nice start. This makes for a great bookmark that you can come back to when you need some inspiration.

 

abduzeedo 15 Awesome Free Fonts
I love free font compilation posts, I always find a font or two that are awesome that I don’t have on my system yet. I’m not sure if I’ll find a use for it, but how cool is the origami font?

 

2experts Improve Your Workflow: Creative and Inspirational Workplaces
Some of these workspaces are just incredible. I’ll be honest when I say this post gives me office envy.

 

texture 30 Most Incredible Textures for Vintage Style Design
This is another incredible useful compilation to store in your designer’s tool box. I’ve already found a couple of good uses for these textures.

 

green-logos 35 Green, Leafy Logos
The green, leafy logo trend has kinda gotten old for me, but some of these are just too good not to appreciate. I really like the Clean Integration logo.

 

abduzeedo-workstation 50 Cool Workstations
I realize I have two of these style posts in the same roundup, but I love looking at these. Plus the second workstation down from the top is how I’d love for my setup to look like!

 

nettuts-15 15+ Tips to Speed Up Your Website, and Optimize Your Code!
Any post that aims to speed up my workflow is ok with me! Some great advice here. I really need to utilize code snippets more.

 

Tutorials

The meat and potatoes of MyInkTrail reside here!

go-media Create a Furious Pink Panther Poster
Learn how to create a cool poster in this tutorial through drawing techniques and cool brush packs. Lots of great tips are shared in this one.

 

web-designer-wall Photo Strip (Photoshop Tutorial)
Web Designer Wall has some of the best tutorials on the net. The final result of this one is absolutely gorgeous. And best of all, the steps aren’t hard to follow :)

 

vectortuts Craft a Vector Collegiate Notebook Design
Combining a lot of shapes, gradients and blends can create some awesome vector work. Check out this well written tut for an example.

 

ordered-lists Sexy Ordered Lists with CSS
Lists in CSS are more versatile than they are given credit for. They are a great way to structure your content and they can be styled very elegantly as shown by this awesome tutorial.

 

perishable-press PHP and JavaScript Fallbacks for Your Public Feedburner Count
Feedburner often has the annoying habit of show 0 or N/A subscribers to your blog. Perishable Press shows you both a javascript and a PHP way to display an alternative for when Feedburner doesn’t want to cooperate. Something I really need to take the time to do myself :)

 

clean-grunge Making the ‘Clean Grunge’ Blog Design
I definitely agree with what Tom of PSDFan has to say in this post. ‘Clean grunge’ is gaining momentum as a current trend in web design. Which is cool with me, because when done right, it looks awesome. This tutorial steps you through how to mock up a cool clean grunge site in Photoshop.

 

Freebies

Hooray, for free stuff!

outlaw-design-blog-freebie Free Paint Textures: 2 Hi-Res Multi Color Paint Textures
I often have a need for these types of textures, so I was quite pleased to find this freebie. I load up on my textures library, they can add so much to my Photoshop designs.

 

twitter-icons Free Twitter Bird Icon Set
Well done Twitter bird icons. Wait… that sounds like I just ordered something at a restaurant.

 

grunge-texture High-Resolution Grungy Paper Textures
Another texture for the library. This one is perfect for any grungy paper theme.

 

stamps Freebie: 15+ Various Postage Stamps (Cutout)
This is a cool collection, I’m sure these will come in handy at some point.

 

fudge-graphics Sticky Tape: Free Hi-Res Photoshop Brushes + Textures
Another high quality resource from Franz at Fudge Graphics. More cool elements to throw in your designer’s toolbox.

 

arbent Freebies : Natural Grunge Texture Pack 1
Arbent puts out quality freebies month after month. Here is just one example of what they gave away this month.

 

Interviews

Learn some more about the design community that makes the web a nicer place!

colorburned Meet Jacob Cass from Just Creative Design
This interview feautures Jacob Cass, the very talented mind behind the sites Just Creative Design and Logo of the Day.

 

cameron-moll Chatting With Cameron Moll
Learn more about Cameron Moll, the author of Mobile Web Design, and CSS Mastery and creator of cameronmoll.com

 

david-legget Meet David Leggett from Tutorial9.net
Another good interview by Colorburned this month. This interview is a question and answer with David Legget of Tutorial9.

 

Cool New Sites I’ve Found

These may not be all new this month, but they are new to me :)

styles-inspiration Styles Inspiration
Another site to get your fix of website design inspiration. This site itself is nice and simple, I like that it doesn’t distract from the sites they are showcasing.

 

web-design-tuts Web Design Tuts
A new tutorial site designed by Brian Lovin of Elite By Design. Featuring tutorials and advice about all things web design.

 

rocket-dock Rocket Dock
For those of us Mac users stuck behind a PC this is an awesome little plug in that acts a lot like the Mac dock. Not perfect, but I’ve found it quite useful.

 

project-estimator Web Development Project Estimator
I found out about this nifty little project estimator right after I wrote “A Discussion on Web Maintenance Contracts.” It is awfully convenient to have this online and to not have to make something like this yourself in Excel.

 

font-squirrel Font Squirrel
A nice looking, easy to navigate font site. The best part is, they seem to filter out the average to bad fonts, and you are left with an excellent selection of free fonts.

 

card-observer Card Observer
A business card inspiration site, so glad to finally see one of these. Another good example of a nice design, not distracting from the cards they are showcasing.

 

Conclusion

That wraps up another great month in the design community. I hope you enjoyed this rather huge edition of MyInkTrail!

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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  • http://charanj.it cchana

    wow, now that’s what I call a comprehensive list! a lot of really useful resources, especially under the first two headings

  • http://www.psdfan.com Tom Ross

    Whoa this is a massive roundup Andrew! Lots of great material here. And many thanks for featuring my tut :)

    Tom Ross´s last post was… A Beginners Guide to Photo-Manipulation and Ani-Morphing

  • http://www.spoonfeddesign.com/ Matt

    Excellent resources!

    Thanks for including a Spoonfed Design article!

  • http://blog.designnerd.net DesignNerd

    One Word…..WOW

    This is an amazing round up Andrew! There are so many things to check out and i dunno when I’m gonna do it all!! Aaagh lol.

    DesignNerd´s last post was… 10 Incredibely Useful iPhone Apps for Freelance Designers & Bloggers

  • http://perishablepress.com/ Jeff Starr

    Well you certainly caught my attention! Thanks for this incredible collection of content, and thanks for including my article as well! :)

  • http://www.SohTanaka.com Soh Tanaka

    Awesome list! Gotta bookmark this for later use :-)

    Thanks for featuring my tutorial as well!

    Soh Tanaka´s last post was… Got Trolls? Give em the Boot with .htaccess

  • http://www.tutorialking.eu Thomas

    Great round up Andrew, Thanks !

  • http://www.joyoge.com/ joyoge designers’ bookmark

    Excellent resources! thanks..

    joyoge designers’ bookmark´s last post was… Free Web Templates

  • http://phiredesign.net AJ Troxell

    Thank you very much for including me in this list Andrew. Among some other very great/useful links!

    AJ Troxell´s last post was… Hand Drawn Elements for WordPress Comments

  • http://www.logodesignguru.com/A/Logo-design-Articles.asp Logo Design Guru

    great list. I do agree that these are the best. thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.webbydesignguru.com Webby Design Guru

    Awesome collection of useful resources. Excellent effort!!!