Design & UX
Darin Dimitroff, Aug 03

UI vs UX: What is the Difference?

Try a quick search on the difference between UI vs UX yields ketchup bottles and grass lanes.
Design & UX
Marc Schenker, Aug 01

A Designer's Guide to Fast Websites and Perceived Performance

Perceived Performance is just as important as actual Page Speed. Marc Schenker explains why, and what this means for user interface designers.
Design & UX
Daniel Schwarz, Jul 26

How to Pick Stock Photos that Captivate Users

Daniel Schwarz looks at the factors you need to consider when choosing stock photography that increases conversions.
13 COMMENTs
Design & UX
James George, Jul 26

7 Super-Useful Chrome Extensions for Designers in 2017

James George lets us in on his 7 most-favorite Chrome extensions for designers, including a new design app called Gravit that works solely in the browser!
Design & UX
Gabrielle Gosha, Jul 24

4 Photoshop Styles to Lift Your Photos Above the Crowd

Duotones, Muted Black & White, Targeted Blur Effect, and more. Gabrielle has four fresh Photoshop styles to spice up to your repetoire.
Design & UX
Alec McGuffey, Jul 21

What Type of Design Education is Best For You?

Alec McGuffey looks at four types of design education, and helps you figure out which one is the best fit for you.
Design & UX
Nadya Khoja, Jul 18

7 Famous Design Hacks You Can Steal From Star Wars

For all its sci-fi modernism, Star Wars used a lot of classic methods. Nadya has extracted 7 sure-fire design hacks that you can apply to your projects.
2 COMMENTs
Design & UX
Daniel Schwarz, Jul 13

Punctuation & Grammar: Bridging the Gap Between UX and Copywriting

Daniel Schwarz discusses UX writing, why it's important for designers to be excellent writers, and how punctuation can make copy look and sound appealing.
Design & UX
Alex Walker, Jul 12

SVG Tip: Create a Bold Vector Halftone Graphic in Under 2 Minutes

This is a section from a 500 year old woodcut from perhaps the 'Andy Warhol of woodcut artists' - Albrecht Dürer. Woodcut is an old printing technique where the image is hand engraved into a wooden block by specialist blockcutters. Prints are then taken from the block.

[caption id="attachment_157164" align="alignright" width="187"]Dürer Dürer (Surprisingly, not the
guy from Nickleback.)[/caption]

Woodcuts are always bold and stark in nature because – unlike most painting techniques – there are no mid-tone colors or blends. The paper is either clean white or drenched ink black – there are no gray areas.

However as you can see, Dürer is able to mimic mid-tone grays by building up a fine rendering of linework. In his case, he uses parallel fill lines, but it's possible to get the same effect with cross-hatching, waves, ribbons, arcs, dots and other patterns.

Although it's a very old technique, we still see it everywhere today – from tattoos to beer labels to bank notes. Most of us have admired the beautiful, wavy ribbon linework used on paper money, sometimes called 'guilloché'.

Halftone examples

It also turns out to be perfectly suited to the mathematical precision of SVG – though hand rendering thousands of precision lines by hand may be impractical for many of us. There are professional options available if you're super-serious – Excentro is cool.

But if that's overkill, let's look at a simpler, more affordable solution.

How do I make a Halftone?

HalftonePro is an online service that converts photos into 'halftones' - what the printing industry calls these graphics.

Using this app is relatively simple but the results take some tuning.

  1. IMAGE: Upload your photo. If this is your first time, jump to the 'Preset' menu at the bottom, as it will give you a feel for the app faster.

  2. SHAPE: The 'Shape' menu lets you change the shape that makes up the image – circles, squares, lines, etc.

  3. PATTERN: The 'Pattern' menu is where things get complex. You can choose the grid that your shape adhere to. While I'm not going to bore you by explaining all the sliders here, the 'Vertical elements' slider is probably the most important. This sets the level of detail in your conversion. A setting of 25 is chunky – a setting of 150 is finely detailed. TIP: Don't set Vertical elements higher than about 150 as you'll be creating a HUGE SVG file and may even crash your browser.

  4. COLORS: Pick your palette.

  5. RESIZE: You can guess.

  6. PRESETS: The dozen or so presets provided give you a good sense of what this app can do. You can also save your own custom presets here.

Bowie - Before changes

High contrast images are likely to work best. I uploaded this classic black and white Bowie shot as a test and used the default 'Wave' preset with a 'Vertical elements' setting of 150.

5 COMMENTs
HTML & CSS
Giannis Konstantinidis, Jul 11

6 Free Material Design CSS Frameworks for 2017 Compared

Giannis Konstantinidis lists some great Material Design CSS frameworks and compares them to make it easier for you to choose what best fits your needs.
1 COMMENT
Design & UX
Tobi Abdulgafar, Jul 10

Here are the 5 Things Great Designers Do Differently

Web and interface designers are becoming a dime a dozen, Tobi explains what great designers do to stand out from the crowd.
Design & UX
Alex Walker, Jul 06

6 Clever SVG Pattern Generators for Your Next Design

Though SVG Patterns aren't super widely understood, they offer a lot of really interesting design options – once you get your head around them.
Design & UX
Ivaylo Gerchev, Jul 04

How to Optimize and Export SVGs in Adobe Illustrator

SVG is a powerful format but you need to make good decisions to get great results. Ivalyo walks you through exporting SVG in Adobe Illustrator.
1 COMMENT
Design & UX
Ivaylo Gerchev, Jul 04

SVG 101: What is SVG? (and what is it actually good for?)

Most of us have heard of it, but what is SVG and precisely makes it different from pixel graphics? And is there any reason you should care?
49 COMMENTs
JavaScript
Craig Buckler, Jul 03

Should Users be Permitted to Disable JavaScript?

Craig Buckler takes a renewed look at why, in 2017, some users might disable JavaScript and asks if progressive enhancement is still worth the effort.
1 COMMENT
Design & UX
Alex Walker, Jun 29

Podcast: Google Ventures on When Design Sprints Go Bad

Lots of companies talk about 'design sprints', but are we all talking about the same thing? Jake Knapp – the man who documented it – has some ideas on that.
14 COMMENTs
Design & UX
Daniel Schwarz, Jun 28

Fonts and Colors Used by Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and More

A cheatsheet of the fonts and colors used by Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest, with links to brand asset info.
Design & UX
Daniel Schwarz, Jun 22

How to Build a Virtual Design Team with 99designs

99designs is a marketplace for finding the best design talent, but did you know that you can curate your own on-call team of super-designers? Here's how.
Design & UX
Gabrielle Gosha, Jun 21

12 of the Best Dribbble Designers to Follow

Despite being invite-only, Dribbble is crawling with talented designers. Gabrielle narrows it down to the 12 best Dribbble designers to follow.
4 COMMENTs
Design & UX
Petras Baukys, Jun 19

The UX of the Zombie Scroller (and How to Cure It)

Have you ever been scrolling when you realized you didn't read anything in the past 10 seconds? That's 'Zombie Scrolling'! Petras can save you.
22 COMMENTs
Design & UX
Daniel Schwarz, Jun 14

25 Sublime Sites to Download Free Stock Images in 2017

All designers need a healthy supply of captivating stock photography to use in their day-to-day work, Daniel lists 25 websites to find free stock images.
Design & UX
Daniel Schwarz, Jun 12

4 Examples of Invisible UI to Boost UX Behind the Scenes

Invisible UI is shaping the future of UX, but it might not be what you think it is. Daniel Schwarz shows us 4 examples and explains why they work so well.
2 COMMENTs
Design & UX
Alex Walker, Jun 08

Podcast: Behind the Facebook Logo - A $100 Million Story

Getting paid for your design talents in equity is romantic – but rarely actually pays off. But what if you happened to design the Facebook logo?
3 COMMENTs
Design & UX
Gabrielle Gosha, Jun 07

8 Fresh Design Tools and Resources for Your 2017 Toolbox

Web design is a constantly shifting landscape. Gabrielle has assembled a list of 8 design tools and resources to spice up your repertoire.