Archives for posts with tag: design

Walter Luthorberg

Just my showing my excitement on the epic news of Bryan Cranston (hopefully) being cast as Lex Luthor in the next Man of Steel

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‘Almost Flat’ design is officially all the rage. But how close to flat do your UI elements have to stay to be considered ‘Almost Flat’?

About 2-8% away from flat.

I’m not going to go into the benefits of Almost Flat, but rather show my preferred method to creating almost flat assets.

Start with a flat shape of your desired color and create a duplicate shape on top. Set the duplicate shape color to white, the blend mode to multiply, and then add a gradient overlay in the blend options. Adjust the opacity to between 2 and 8 percent, and voila! Behold your gorgeous subtle gradient.

Almost-Flat-PS

Another element that can be included is a subtle shadow. Shadows are used to reduce confusion when you have overlapping elements or want to create an ever-so-subtle ‘pop’ on a specific element.

Remember, it’s an ‘Almost’ shadow. Turn that opacity way down, try %20 to start. Check out the difference in shadow blur: with 2px offset, no blur produces a sharp look and a 6px blur adds subtle depth to your design.

Possible Shadows on Almost Flat Buttons

Boom shakalaka. That flat shape is now ‘Almost Flat’. Pat yourself on the back for joining the movement.

Download the PSD used in these screenshots here!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Dribbble & Hunie!

Image

Well, they’ve finally done it.

Adobe has gone about making the change from being able to purchase software upgrades at one’s convenience to having to pay a monthly subscription to be able to use the programs. Development of the next iteration of the Creative Suite has been cancelled in lieu of this new cloud-based subscription model, which is sure to upset many.

Allow me to explain.

The common equivalent would be owning a house and the bank saying, “Well, we know you’ve already bought it, but how would you like to rent your house instead?” It’s outrageous.

Adobe claims that this will allow them to more easily implement updates to the software and prevent piracy. But it also makes those of us who didn’t feel the need to purchase every new iteration of the product (unlike certain smartphone enthusiasts) forced to do so.

The move wouldn’t be as heinous if there were another real alternative to the Creative Suite. There are other text editors to replace Dreamweaver (Aptana, Sublime Text), but what of Photoshop? And Illustrator? Sure, there are programs such as GIMP or Krita, but, honestly, I hadn’t heard of them before a cursory Google search.

Even though the monthly fee isn’t that steep (yet), what’s to keep Adobe from raising the price whenever they were so inclined? The change also allows them to decrease their efforts on each of the following updates/iterations. Gone are the days where they would have to make significant improvements to the software as a purchase point.

It also means that access to your ACS files is always dependent on your payment for that month. If you miss one month’s dues, all of your files exclusive to those programs (PSD,EPS,INDD, etc) will be rendered useless until payment has been resumed (most likely with an additional late-payment fee).

It’s not too late!

This subscription-based access hasn’t been enacted yet, but it appears that the event horizon is fast approaching. CS6 will be the last purchase-to-own version of the Adobe Creative Suite before switching over to their new business model.

A difference can be made! Sign the petition linked below and we can influence the change!

Adobe Anti-Subscription Petition

Thanks to Stephanie Cunningham for posting the rant that I shamelessly regurgitated for this blog post.

The most fun a designer can have in their early careers is working at a bootstrapped tech startup.

It’s really a blast building a product from the ground up. As the company’s sole designer, it’s your responsibility to make sure what you ship is beautiful and intuitive. But when you’re the only artsy kid in the room, things can get tough. Here’s some hard-learned tips that have kept me going through the ups and downs.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, Don’t Stop.

If you work at a startup, don’t let me catch you at the coffee shop without your moleskine. A doodle a day keeps creative block at bay. Keep pushing, iterating, and thinking of how to do it better.

Stuck? Ask for feedback from your coworkers. Hit print, make four copies: one for yourself, two for sharing with coworkers to take notes on, and one for the final decisions after you’ve synthesized the results.

Once you’re done with paper, pencil, and photoshop mock-ups, it’s time to prototype, get feedback, iterate, and repeat. Don’t ever stop. If your product is still under development, everything can change completely at any moment. Being able to throw your designs away and start over is essential to your success.

Go Outside Your Comfort Zone.

Learn a new thing or two, balance your visual design with interaction design. Codecademy and Code School are great places to learn some javascript and jQuery. If that’s over your head, Jessica Hiche’s Don’t Fear the Internet is an amazing resource to learn some HTML and CSS basics. Need a text editor? Go with Sublime Text. If your pixel polishing is lacking spend some time on Dribbble and Behance. Whatever you do, don’t get trapped in your own little design bubble—push your own limits and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your skills improve! Which leads us to…

Challenge Yourself When Others Don’t.

The hardest part is that your decisions will never be challenged enough. There’s no senior designer or creative director who will throw away your designs and tell you to start from scratch.

Sometimes, the team will be enamored with your very first version of a design. Don’t let it go to your head—you’re not done just yet. The only person who is able to really keep refining the design is you. And you need to. If you don’t, mediocrity will result. Great design doesn’t happen on accident. It doesn’t happen on the first try, either.

iterate

When you’re pushing a design, wherever you stop—that’s what the product will look like. Sometimes feedback from your non-designer coworkers is not enough. This is why user feedback is so important. There’s no better way to tell if your designs work or not then to test them on real people.

Some days, the juices are flowing, the team is mind-melding, and everything falls into place. Engineers are executing perfectly, and you feel a sense of wonder at how much your team can accomplish in just one day.

Some days, there’s simply no wind in the sails. Go for a walk, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and draw it up again from scratch.

Startup Life isn’t easy, but it’s definitely worth it.

—Will

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, and on Dribbble too!

What do you think? How do you go about being the sole designer at your company?

Ever have a grand idea for an app or navigation scheme but just couldn’t get the point across?

Say goodbye to the days of having to painstakingly explain your app to the visually/spatially challenged.

POP, or Prototype on Paper, is an amazing tool that you can download and use for free that allows you to link wireframes (or high fidelity mockups) together into a navigable ‘faux-app’.

Here I have mapped the tappable areas of my sketch to link to other views. You can literally mock up an entire navigation using this tool.

Here I have mapped the tappable areas of my sketch to link to other views. You can literally mock up an entire navigation using this tool.

POP stresses using photos of wireframes to create your mock apps — but what if you used high-fidelity mock ups created in photoshop instead? This takes making ideas visible to the next level.

Be sure to pick up your FREE version of POP from the App Store, and hurry— because they’re giving away 10 projects for free in exchange for a tweet while they develop their pricing model!

Happy prototyping 🙂

—Will

Follow me on Twitter & Dribbble!

Movember Commemoration

In commemoration of all of the mustaches lost last November.

I do. Well, not really, but I feel like I invoked one during this project. For those of you who don’t know what that means or who the subject matter is, you need to watch Dexter on showtime. It really is a great show. In order to quell my desire for the upcoming sixth season, I decided to digitally paint the enlightened serial killer. I’m debating on whether to make a tutorial on how to do this, it really depends on how people respond to it. Enjoy!

Truth be told, I’m tired of girls going on about how all guys are assholes. They claim to want the nice guy, then go out and date another fist-pumping douchebag. Rinse, lather, repeat.  I figure if I brand this on my body somewhere, maybe the ladies will realize the error of their ways and start practicing what they preach.

So say hello!