A few months ago we launched a network of five niche gallery sites. For a long time this blog has included inspirational posts that showcase the work of various designers, so it seemed like a natural extension to launch the galleries. During the past few months the archives have been growing at each of the galleries, and they are becoming more valuable resources for designers who are looking for inspiration. Each gallery now includes between 185 and 350 items on display.
In this post I’d like to showcase a brief sampling of the inspiration that is available at each of the galleries. There are ten items shown from each gallery. The text links will lead you to the source, and by clicking on the images you will be led to the pages on the galleries.
Folio Focus currently includes more than 300 portfolio sites on display from various creative professionals. There are around 20 new sites added each week. To stay up-to-date with Folio Focus you can subscribe by RSS, email, or follow on Twitter.
Posted on 24 April 2009
I’m looking for a designer who can create a new blog theme/website design for my blog. The website is a personal development/productivity blog with over 10,000 subscribers. The tagline is, “Get more from life” and has been active for over three years.
I need a creative designer who is familiar with creating WordPress themes. I am not looking to purchase stock themes, or pre-designed themes, only a new, unique design for exclusive use with my website.
Please include with your application:
-Links to other WordPress blog themes you have designed. Preferably for other clients.
-Your fee for completing the contract (payment is made for the completion of the project, not per hour for budget reasons)
-Your time estimate for when you can begin/complete the design.
I also suggest taking a look at the current website, you may include some ideas for redesign/artistic direction along with the above requirements.
Everyone loves finding new sites with great content, so I’ve made it a little easier. Here is a collection of new websites and blogs with quality content. I’ve chosen these blogs based on the quality of their posts & resources and not the design. At the bottom there is all of the RSS feeds, so you can keep yourself updated with all of the sites featured.
1. Design Shard
From what I can see, this site only went live on July 25th, and it’s already had some popular content. I suggest you check out the 300+ Free Hi-Res Grunge Textures, as it’s my favourite at the moment.
2. My Ink Blog
A very well organized and well focused blog with some brilliant tutorials, links, resources and articles. So far there has been a lot of great posts, and I don’t see any signs of this changing. I was really impressed with the tutorial on Designing with Swirls & Flourishes, really top notch tutorial.
3. PSD Fan
Quickly becoming one of my favourite tutorial sites. The site offers not only tutorials, but resources, which are both of very high quality. Looking at the amount of content it’s hard to remember that it’s only 2 months old. My top pick: Design a Unique Grungy Website Layout, a tutorial on a whole new level of great!
This site is probably the most useful in terms of keeping up to date. It’s sort of beginning to replace my RSS feeds, I now always check this site first as it’s always got regularly updated web/graphic design news. Launched on the 5th of July it’s quickly become one of my favourite places to browse, and our Icon set was their first ever post. Highly recommended!
Another regularly updated blog, which is brilliant! Especially when you consider how good the content is, I particularly enjoy their interviews. The ones with Jon Phillips & Steven Snell were my favourites. Keep your eye on this blog for sure.
6. Design Blurb
This site was recommended to me by Andrew Houle and after browsing through the content I was impressed. And they even have their own collection of “New Design Blogs,” which was a bit of a bummer as I thought I was onto something which I hadn’t seen before. Anyway, great blog & content, check it out.
Now I know for a fact this one is not new, but it’s new to me, so I felt it deserved a feature. It is a brilliant site bringing you the best Tech Design & Blogging related content which I’m very new to. The thing I like most on this site is the wide range of content topics, there’s always something new and different. I really love their 50+ Nice Clean CSS Tab-Based Navigation Scripts – Be sure to have a look.
8. Graphic Design Blog
There’s a good number of posts on this blog, and I like each and every one of them. I’m looking forward to seeing more!
I couldn’t include this one for the design alone (as much as I wanted to), fortunately the blog posts & resources that I’ve seen so far made me want to include it for another reason, the content. To see what I mean just have a gander at the free Old News Theme. I predict great things for this blog, its one of my favourites at the moment.
10. Digital Artists Toolbox
I stumbled upon this website through the brilliant 41 Amazing Tilt-shift miniature faking photographs post and I’ve been checking back ever since. A wide range of content topics, from resources and freebies, to interviews and amazing collections. One to watch for sure.
Niki runs a blog which again has a wide variety of content, although being focused around design and the internet I love blogs like this, she clearly has a great eye for interesting stuff and a good sense of humour, also offers some very useful content. Great blog to follow.
12. Brush King
I’ve always gone for Quality over anything else, which is why I’m really liking Brush King. The collection of Photoshop brushes they’ve got at the moment are truly impressive, it’s clearly being run by someone who can spot quality brushes. My top pick, Flowers First.
13. Script & Style
This new website put together by Chris Coyier which aims to bring you the best user submitted community news. So far so good, I’ve read a lot of interesting stuff which I found via the site. So be sure to give it a good old rummage though.
14. Dev Snippets
I love it when sites like this come along, I’m not really huge on web development, but I realise how useful these are and I like to browse demos of things like this to find things that would be useful for future projects. They’re also running a great contest too.
15. Pattern Tap
Pattern tap is a great idea, its a new site which allows you to find specific collections on certain web elements. I think it makes finding inspiration that little more effective, as usually it’s certain elements that I get stuck for inspiration on, rather than the overall concept.
16. We Are not Freelancers
These guys have got a really nice blog up and running, and its showing no signs of slowing down. The design (although this post is not about the design) is just absolutely amazing, I love every aspect of it. The posts that I’ve read have been very well written and informative, so all in all a welcomed addition to my RSS reader.
17. Design Feedr
Design Feedr is a blog which aims to showcase collections of top quality inspiration and resources. They have a great eye for what looks good and similar tastes to my own. One of my favourite posts of theirs is the Masters of Digital Paintings collection which I really love!
18. Inspiration Up
There’s that word again; Quality. I really like this site because they seem to think a little more than certain CSS galleries about their entries, so overall I’d say there is a better quality of sites on display.
19. The Dieline
Here is another site which I know is not new at all, but I’ve only recently been introduced to the amazing collection of packaging design inspirations that they offer. If you have not yet come across this site, prepare to be amazed.
20. Color Burned
A talented designer sharing various sources of inspiration and freebies. It’s always reassuring to receive resources off a guy who you know, knows what he is talking about. I really love the guy’s work just as much as the posts he shares, so a great experience all round.
Probably not the easiest domain name to remember in the world, but thankfully the posts and quality of the work is a lot more memorable, the post on Ian Francis‘ work for example is amazing! The site is based around art, design, photography & culture etc. This is a great site to spend some time exploring.
22. Apps Mania
The basic concept of the site is a gallery of web applications, it has a small ammount of information, ratings and tags. Making it a great place to browse if you’re on the look out, or need some inspiration for, a cool new web app.
I can’t remember how I came across this site, but its been in my favourites for a few weeks and I’m really impressed with the postings. Its quite a fun little site, sharing lots of doodles/sketches/drawings and is a great source of inspiration.
Social Bookmarking for images. It’s that easy. A simple great idea.
25. Coded Preview
For a better way of presenting your design mock-ups you can use Coded Preview, it allows you to modify the settings such as a background image, alignment margins etc. To give you an idea of how this can help, take a look at this example; Single Image compared to Image on Coded Preview. I think its a great idea, probably the best place you could upload your designs for presenting mock-ups.
26. High Resolution Textures
Textures, a vital ingredient in so many forms of design. Textures are becoming more and more popular in web design, so that makes this an ideal website for you to add to your RSS reader. There really are some great textures on display here, and regular updates mean you’ll never be short of textures.
27. Lines and Colours
Another art and design blog. This one again has been around for a long time, since 2005 in fact. But its another of those which is fairly new to me, and I’m hoping will be new to a lot of you guys. A wide range of art is covered and as with all of these blogs I’m posting, the quality of the content is spot on.
I’ve not strictly been following this site, but it keeps popping up here and there and each time I visit I am impressed, so It’s long overdue but I’ve added it to my RSS reader now. I particularly love their Ultimate Collection of Free Textures on the Web.
A user submitted list of design/web related resources. A wide range of categories, resources and inspirations. One of those sites where you can lose a good couple of hours and not realise.
30. Usability Post
So far the posts on this site have impressed me, the blog talks about aspects of interface design, which means not only the way things look but how they work and how the function. I’m looking forward to reading more here.
Knowtebook brings you the best news about design, ideas, web trends, technology & more. The usefulness of each post cannot be questioned, each and every post I find very useful, so that’s why it had to make the list, this web-based business collaboration tools post is a great example of that.
This latest project by Steven Snell is already off to a great start. A very community focused design blog with community feeds, links, a gallery and of course some amazing posts, this blog really does look set to grow bigger and bigger, and with posts like this: Favorite Design-Related Sites of 21 Designers, its not hard to see why.
33. Fudge Graphics
Since April 2008 Fudge graphics has been making some amazing posts, and I’ve been completely oblivious. It’s strange how sites like this go on with such great content without me realising. This is just another one of those sites that I love, there is a good mix of links, resources, inspirations featured artists, that sort of thing. Good times!
Get the RSS Feeds
If you are using a RSS reader you can easily subscribe to all of the above RSS feeds (where possible) by downloading the .xml file. All you need to do is then import it into your reader. I use netvibes as my reader.
These architecture and interior design blogs offer amazing tips that will have your pad pimped out in no time.
Collection of the best and most useful design resources of 2008.
- 60 Brilliant Typefaces For Corporate Design [Smashing Magazine]
- 20 Free Handwritten Fonts And Resources [Fuel Your Creativity]
- 15 Beautiful High-Quality Free Fonts [Smashing Magazine]
- 21 Inspirational Typography Artworks from DeviantArt [Designflavr]
- Top 7 Fonts Used By Professionals In Design [Just Creative Design]
- 45 Beautiful Free Fonts for Modern Design Trends [Six Revisions]
We get better design when we understand our medium. Yet even at this late cultural hour, many people don’t understand web design. Among them can be found some of our most distinguished business and cultural leaders, including a few who possess a profound grasp of design—except as it relates to the web.
Some who don’t understand web design nevertheless have the job of creating websites or supervising web designers and developers. Others who don’t understand web design are nevertheless professionally charged with evaluating it on behalf of the rest of us. Those who understand the least make the most noise. They are the ones leading charges, slamming doors, and throwing money—at all the wrong people and things.
If we want better sites, better work, and better-informed clients, the need to educate begins with us.
Read more here
Everyday thousands of websites are being created based on the needs of website owners and not the needs of their visitors. Visitors are being ignored which is the biggest reason most websites are not successful; here are 5 ways to optimize your design:
- Become the visitor
Put yourself in the visitor’s shoes. What would a visitor browsing your website want? The goal of your website should not just be to fulfill your needs, but also fulfill the visitors needs. A good way to figure out what a visitor would want is to survey a few people who are interested in your products and services and adjust your design to fit their needs as well as your needs. This does not always have to cost money, no reason why you can’t just ask a few of your friends.
- Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
If you look at some of the most successful websites on the web such as Google, Flickr, and Blogger they are all simple. Why add bloated features to your website when 80 percent of your visitors will only use 20 percent of these features. Keep your goals as well as your visitors’ needs in mind when adding a feature.
- Content is king
Make sure the content on the website is laid out in an effective way. If you just concentrate on the look and feel of a website and ignore the content, how high of a conversion rate do you think you will have? You need a concise, convincing message and solid information architecture if you want your visitors to buy your product or service. And most importantly, make sure that the content is readable and easy to understand.
- It’s the little things that make a big difference
Every aspect of your website design needs to be thought out and scrutinized. Things such as colors, shapes and even gradients can make a big impact on the overall message. Using colors such as blue, green, turquoise, and silver can create a calm effect. Using rounded corners instead of hard edges within your design can enable a soft and personalized feeling. By combining color, shapes, pictures and effects together you can create a strong message that can help create a memorable experience for your visitors.
- Guide your visitors
You don’t want your visitors clicking all over your website just to find a product. Reduce confusion and guide your visitors through links, navigation menus, and call to actions. Show them the right path so they only have to make a few clicks instead of 10 to buy a product. By reducing the amount of clicks your visitors make you will decrease their frustration and increase your conversion rate.
These methods of optimizing your design may seem simple, but in most cases they are overlooked. Give them a try; you might be shocked on how effective they can be and how much you can save on advertising by maximizing your design.
This is where I try to sum up the current state-of-the-art in graphic design for web pages, and identify the distinctive features that make a web page look fresh, appealing and easy to use.
I’ll update this article over time as new features stick out.
I’m glad to say that web design in 2006 is better than ever. And it’s not just because there are more web sites out there, so more good stuff to look at. There’s still an awful lot of crud too. I just think that more web designers know more about how to design than ever before.
The examples below (which I’ll roll over time) show excellent modern graphic design technique. They all look good, and are clear and easy to use.
I’m not saying these are the very best sites out there, just that they’re typical of today’s best design.