Popular design news of the week: September 19, 2016 – September 25, 2016

September 25th, 2016 No comments

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers.

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

36 Brilliant User Interface Animations

Want to Get Better at Coding? Play this Game

Google Launches Allo

Oh S***, Git.

15 Must-have Chrome Extensions for Web Designers

CSS Grid Layout: Fluid Columns and Better Gutters

Reimagining Dreamweaver: Creating the Ultimate Modern UI for Web Design

WordPress Takes a Leap with Desktop Application, Calypso

Thimble by Mozilla: An Online Code Editor for Learners and Educators

Rob Janoff on his Logo for Apple

Designing Experience

Why your Client Needs a Responsive Website — not an App

CSS Grid Layout: A Quick Start Guide

21 Things that Won’t Help You Become a Better Designer

The Age of the Wordless Logo

BYOR – Upload your Resume and Have AI Analyze it

Simple Design is Making us Dumb

Inspirational Examples of UI Style Guides

Google Design – Making Motion Meaningful

Snapchat Releases First Hardware Product, Spectacles

What’s the Greatest Logo of all Time?

How to Think like a Hacker

Here’s your First Look at Tesla’s New Autopilot and UI

Site Design: Bricklane.com

5 Things I Wish Google Allo Could do

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.

LAST DAY: FUNKYDORI – A Groovetastic ’70s Themed Font – only $17!


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Comics of the week #358

September 24th, 2016 No comments

Every week we feature a set of comics created exclusively for WDD.

The content revolves around web design, blogging and funny situations that we encounter in our daily lives as designers.

These great cartoons are created by Jerry King, an award-winning cartoonist who’s one of the most published, prolific and versatile cartoonists in the world today.

So for a few moments, take a break from your daily routine, have a laugh and enjoy these funny cartoons.

Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below as well as any related stories of your own…

In a manner of speaking

Appearance counts

Don’t confuse the two

Can you relate to these situations? Please share your funny stories and comments below…

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LinkedIn announces a new online platform

September 23rd, 2016 No comments

Hot on the heels of the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft this year and the redesign of the company’s iOS and Android apps last year, LinkedIn will be debuting a new desktop experience. In a recent press event, the company also unveiled LinkedIn Learning, a platform designed to help its users discover and develop various skills by way of a data-driven and personalized learning experience.

In a recent blog post, LinkedIn’s VP of Product, Ryan Roslansky, established that LinkedIn’s redesigned desktop interface will take inspiration from its flagship mobile app that came out with a new design last December. The app’s redesign was met with a generally positive response, so it makes sense for the company to try and duplicate what it did right with its mobile app for its desktop, too.

The redesigned desktop experience will rely on minimalistic touches to bring users a cleaner, more intuitive, and simpler approach for users to efficiently access their jobs, insights and info that they require. As a result, the user experience should see a noticeable boon as well: Thanks to the redesign, professionals can go into their daily meetings with better preparation or, alternately, easily learn more about a new business skill that they’re interested in mastering.

the largest redesign since LinkedIn’s inception

Roslansky is calling this desktop redesign “the largest redesign since LinkedIn’s inception,” so it will be interesting to see just how far the company will go to give users a better UX while still staying faithful to the LinkedIn brand.

In tandem with this, the company’s messaging feature gets an upgrade as well as it gets more intelligent and gets more consistent with the experience offered on the company’s redesigned mobile apps. How does this look on desktop? The revamped Messaging approach bears a remarkable resemblance to Facebook’s chat feature. LinkedIn also revealed the integration of a bot platform that could conceivably be utilized for various purposes, such as scheduling meetings.

LinkedIn also revealed the integration of a bot platform

As for the new online platform, LinkedIn Learning will bring together content from Lynda.com, which LinkedIn owns, and the company’s own professional network and rich data. LinkedIn is uniquely positioned to provide its users with this service designed to appeal to their thirst for continuing education and knowledge.

LinkedIn says that it can leverage its own knowledge of how jobs and skills evolve over a period of time to identify various skills that its users require and then offer expert-led courses that allow them to acquire said skills.

LinkedIn Learning is envisioned as a freemium service, yet all of the company’s users will have the chance to try the new service free for one month. LinkedIn will also continue with its goal to constantly keep enhancing the content on Lynda.com as part of its broader ambition to create opportunities in the global workforce. In the end, the launch of LinkedIn Learning is consistent with Microsoft’s (LinkedIn’s new owner) mission to empower professionals, businesses and organizations to achieve and earn more.

With the company’s desktop redesign and debut of its new learning platform, it’ll be interesting to see how well-received LinkedIn’s new look and features will be.

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Sword Spark Effect in Photoshop

September 23rd, 2016 No comments

In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to add a sword spark effect in Adobe Photoshop.

The Steps (1-6)

1. Open your main image in Photoshop.


2. Source an image of some sparks on a dark background and open this image in Photoshop. Press Cmd/Ctrl + A to select the entire canvas, and go to Edit > Copy, to copy the sparks image to the clipboard. Switch over to your main image and go to Edit > Paste to add the sparks into the image on a new layer.


3. With the sparks selected, go to Edit > Transform > Free Transform to adjust the Size, Rotation and Position of the sparks in relation to where you would like them to appear within your main image.


4. Double-click the sparks layer, give it a name of your choice, and set the Blending Mode to Screen.


5. Create a New Layer and position this layer underneath the sparks layer. Next, select the Brush Tool and choose a large feathered brush with a Hardness of 0%.


6. From the Colour Picker select a yellow/orange similar to the colour of your sparks, and Left-click to start adding the brush effect over your main image. Set the Blending Mode to Soft Light and adjust the Opacity as desired. This effect simulates a glow coming off of the sparks.


Download Adobe Photoshop.

Read More at Sword Spark Effect in Photoshop

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System Fonts in SVG

September 23rd, 2016 No comments

There was a time when the smart move in picking fonts for a website was to a font-family that was supported across as many platforms as possible. font-family: Tahoma; and whatnot. Or even better, a font stack that would fall back to as-similar-as possible stuff, like font-family: Tahoma, Verdana, Segoe, sans-serif;.

These days, an astonishing number of sites are using custom fonts. 60%!

No surprise, there is also a decent amount of pushback on custom fonts. They need to be downloaded, thus there are performance/bandwidth hits. There is loads of nuance on how you load them.

Also no surprise, there is some advocacy for the return to local fonts. Fast! Good enough! Let’s look at that for a sec, then also look at using them within SVG.

The trend isn’t just a return to local fonts but to what are being dubbed “system fonts”. The point isn’t so much a single font stack that looks consistent across browser/platform/version, but a single font stack that matches what that OS uses.

If the OS uses “San Francisco” in the UI, the font-stack should display San Francisco. If the OS uses Roboto, so it shall be. The actual font stack to do this is fairly thick. But that’s the point, just list a bunch of fonts in the order you want to use them and CSS will fall down the stack until it finds one it has.

Here’s what GitHub uses:

body {
  font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "Segoe UI", Roboto, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, "Apple Color Emoji", "Segoe UI Emoji", "Segoe UI Symbol";

The WordPress admin and Medium interface are currently using this:

body {
  font-family: -apple-system,BlinkMacSystemFont,"Segoe UI",Roboto,Oxygen-Sans,Ubuntu,Cantarell,"Helvetica Neue",sans-serif;

The title of this post is about using these font stacks in SVG. There is nothing special or different or particularly interesting about this. You can apply that font stack via CSS inside the SVG, or just put it right on a text element:

<text font-family='-apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "Segoe UI", Roboto, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, "Apple Color Emoji", "Segoe UI Emoji", "Segoe UI Symbol"' font-size="18" font-weight="400" fill="black" x="50" y="50">
  Some Text

Setting text in SVG is kinda awesome, as it retains its accessibility and is ultra-flexible.

Again, the point of all this is to match the font used by the OS, so let’s take a look at that. OS X is particularly interesting as the system font has changed several times in the last few years.

OS 10.0 – 10.9 – Lucida Grande
OS 10.10 – 10.11 – Helvetica Neue
OS 10.12 – San Francisco

Chrome DevTools will not only show you the font stack when you inspect an element, but also the Rendered Fonts.

OS 10.7 Showing us Lucida Grande

OS 10.10 showing us Helvetica Neue

OS 10.12 showing us San Franscisco

And here’s a totally different operating system:

Ubuntu 15 showing us Liberation Sans

Here’s a bunch of screenshots

Of this demo.

Windows 7 – Firefox

Windows 7 – Chrome

Windows 7 – IE 9

Windows 10 – Chrome

Windows 10 – Firefox

Windows 10 – Edge

Ubuntu 15 – Firefox

Ubuntu 15 – Chrome

The metrics of the different fonts are a bit different. The text fits a little tighter and looser depending on what renders. But it’s not too far off. You might not set a typographic lockup with system fonts, but all in all, very usable.

System Fonts in SVG is a post from CSS-Tricks

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Launch Your Own Web Studio in 61 Days!

September 23rd, 2016 No comments
templatemonster marathon

You know what? We have got a bit of great news for you. In fact, it’s just something sensational.

We have been planning for this day carefully, and finally this day has come. TemplateMonster welcomes everyone who wants to change their life for better to join our Marathon, called “Your Own Web Studio in 61 Days”.

Everybody is free to take part in this Marathon and start a successful business in the web design industry.

Ready For The Marathon?

If you want to get in, pay attention – the enrollment is open till the 25th of September.

What we need from you is the desire to learn and create something new, and the ambition to make more money. The Marathon is absolutely free, and it begins on the 26th of September.

What will you get? A free online course full of smart hints, tips, and tricks which will enable you to create your own web design studio.
Forget about all those “How to Make 1,000,000 Online” articles! What we offer you instead is an actionable step-by-step guide for those who are ready to work hard and achieve their goals. There is the only point we’d like to mention: it’s obligatory to follow and complete all practical tasks of the course.

templatemonster marathon

In 61 days, we will reveal all of our hidden secrets which will help you set up a great website and learn how to sell it. As soon as all the necessary tasks are fulfilled, you will get your own web design studio, and, what’s more, you will gain an opportunity to work from any corner of the world.

The greatness of our Marathon will knock the socks off every participant, for sure. In addition to design and development, you will learn about creating budget plans that actually work.

templatemonster marathon

Give it your best shot, follow the guidance of our experts, and complete all of the lessons on your way to building your private business.

One more thing, all the participants who reach the final will get a valuable prize from TemplateMonster. Great news, isn’t it?

So, are you ready for our Marathon? If the answer is a firm “yes”, join us in our quest to make the Web more beautiful. Determine what it is that you want to achieve and design your success with TemplateMonster.

Read More at Launch Your Own Web Studio in 61 Days!

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Free download: Citysets icons

September 23rd, 2016 No comments

There’s something about the world’s greatest cities that makes them instantly recognizable. Whether it’s a red double-decker bus or a yellow taxi cab, whether it’s an iconic opera house or a unique pastry; a simple glimpse and you know exactly where you are.

Citysets is a personal project by Bryn Taylor that tries to capture that essence by producing a unique set of icons tailored to each city experience.

The first four cities to be represented are London, New York, Paris, and Sydney. There are 79 icons in total, divided over the four cities. Some of our favorites include: From London, the Underground sign, St. Pauls, and a phone box; from New York, the pizza slice, the pretzel, and the Chrysler building; from Paris, the croissant, the chef’s hat, and the Eiffel tower; from Sydney, the cork hat, the shrimp, and the koala.

We can’t wait to see what Taylor comes up with next! Sure, these four are great cities, but what about New Orleans? Barcelona? Amsterdam? Tokyo? The possibilities are endless for this exciting project…

Each city’s icon set comes in .ai, .sketch, and .svg format. And they’re free for personal and commercial use. Download them all beneath the preview:

Please enter your email address below and click the download button. The download link will be sent to you by email, or if you have already subscribed, the download will begin immediately.

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Stretching The Limits Of What’s Possible

September 23rd, 2016 No comments

Designing with “big data” is a challenging task. Matan Stauber, however, took it to the next level. With an impressive outcome. Having studied Visual Communication at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Israel’s national school of art, Matan realized a very ambitious final project: an interactive timeline of our galaxy’s history — 14 billion years, from the Big Bang to today.

We talked to Matan about Histography, about the idea behind it, and how he managed to bring it to life. An interview about stretching the limits of what’s possible.

The post Stretching The Limits Of What’s Possible appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Fall 2016: New Animation Tools With and Without JavaScript

September 23rd, 2016 No comments
Granim.js Animates Color Gradients in Many Different Ways. (Screenshot: Dr. Web)

The two animation tools that I would like to introduce you to today are not of the run-of-the-mill kind. They are not animation generalists, but rather specialists for small application areas. The JavaScript Granim.js allows you to create animations with color gradients, while Radiobox.css is all about the looks of your radio buttons.

Granim.js: Simple Gradient Animations With a Large Impact

Granim.js is a fresh JavaScript penned by the Parisian developer Benjamin Blonde. This tiny script lets you animate gradients in, on, and around anything that can be displayed in a canvas element.

Granim.js Animates Color Gradients in Many Different Ways. (Screenshot: Dr. Web)

Using it is Simple:

<!-- Create a <canvas> element -->
<canvas id="granim-canvas"></canvas>
<!-- Call the script -->
<script src="granim.min.js"></script>
<!-- Create a Granim instance --> <script>
var granimInstance = new Granim({
   element: '#granim-canvas',
   name: 'granim',
   opacity: [1, 1],
   states : {
       "default-state": {
           gradients: [
               ['#834D9B', '#D04ED6'],
               ['#1CD8D2', '#93EDC7']

As the JavaScript only weighs a meager 10kb, the overhead can be neglected. This also justifies the application in the smallest possible way, like animating a page logo with a color gradient, as it can be seen on the project’s demo page. Pay attention to the Granim.js logo in the top left.

This example also shows you that the JavaScript can not only create simple gradients but is also capable of working with image masks. Launching gradients works via click or event, which is shown in a very impressive way on this page. Just move the mouse over the ghost buttons and you’ll surely get to like Granim.js very quickly.

The script is available for free download on Github. It is equipped with the very liberal MIT license, so you also get to use it in commercial projects, like customer websites.

Radiobox.css: Animated Option Choice

720kb has created a small collection of CSS animations that are supposed to free radio buttons of all the boredom. There are 12 variants available in total. The effect is triggered when the respective radio button is clicked. Depending on the effect, the button will then start bouncing, rotating, growing, and so on.

Radiobox.css is a Collection of 12 Small Stylesheets for Radio Button Application. (Screenshot: Dr. Web)

Radiobox.css is a Collection of 12 Small Stylesheets for Radio Button Application. (Screenshot: Dr. Web)

Just try it. Radiobox.css provides interesting effects for one of these buttons that get ignored design-wise most of the time. Radiobox.css works with CSS3 and requires a modern browser to function.

Getting it to work is very easy. Just assign the class to your radio button that represents the desired effect, for example:

<input type="radio" class="radiobox-boing"/>

Radiobox.css comes, like the previously presented Granim.js, under the MIT license, and can thus be used commercially as well. Download it via Github.

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Vectr 1.0: Free Vector Graphics App for Everyone

September 22nd, 2016 No comments

Vectr is a brand-new graphic software from Taipeh. The founders have been secretly working on the ambitious project for almost two years. Two days ago, they ended the beta stage and released the software into the wild.

Vectr: Platform Independent, Free, Powerful

Vectr does not aim to be less than the Google Docs of vector processing, and a superior rival to Inkscape. In fact, the feature set is impressive. Vectr can be used as a web app, or as a downloadable app for Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. The functionality is identical. Under Chrome, the web app is capable of working offline.

The team is currently working on the creation of integrations with Slack and WordPress. Then, Slack can be used for visual communication. Via plugin, you’ll be able to edit graphics directly within WordPress.

Generally, Vectr is suitable for any 2D graphic, making it a rival to Canva, which we introduced you to here. Similar to Canva, you’ll find predefined layouts of the large social networks in Vectr, and all that’s left to do is fill them with content. However, Vectr is far more capable than Canva, which is impressive, especially considering that it’s free.

In contrast to Canva, Vectr does not only aim for the group of presenters, bloggers, and social media users. Vectr is even powerful enough to solve complex tasks.

Vectr's UI Seems Familiar. (Illustration: Vectr)

Vectr’s UI Seems Familiar. (Illustration: Vectr)

For web design, the ability to directly implement Vectr graphics into your designs is fascinating. When you then edit it with Vectr, changes made are automatically updated on the website that uses the graphic. Handy, right?

As you probably already thought, the name lets you draw a conclusion regarding the used technology. Vectr works based on vectors, and not on pixels, putting it on the same line as Inkscape or Illustrator.

One of the nearly finished core features is the option to work on the graphics in teams. This is supposed to work in real time, just like Google Docs.

Vectr: Where is the Business Model?

Vectr wants to stay free forever. There is no way to know if there will be charged extras in the future. Vectr already successfully completed the first round of seed funding. This brings up the question about the business model sooner rather than later.

Thoughts on this are already coming up. Shortly, there will be a marketplace in which you get to share, sell, or buy designs. The marketplace will be fully integrated into the editing interface so that the buying process can run smoothly while editing a project.

Overall, the team behind Vectr is very ambitious, as you can tell from the massive roadmap, which lists 55 very demanding features, that will supposedly get taken care of anytime soon.

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