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Topic: Graphic Design

  • Contrast is King

    by Leslie Jensen-Inman · Issue 303 ·

    Being colorblind doesn’t mean not seeing color. It means seeing it differently. If colorblindness challenges the colorblind, it also challenges designers. Some of us think designing sites that are colorblind-friendly means sticking with black and white, or close to it. But the opposite is true. Using contrast effectively not only differentiates our site’s design from others, it’s the essential ingredient that can make our content accessible to every viewer, including the colorblind. By understanding contrast, we can create websites that unabashedly revel in color.

  • Using SVG for Flexible, Scalable, and Fun Backgrounds, Part II

    by Shelley Powers · Issue 299 ·

    In Part II, dig deeper into the technology behind using SVG for your site design. Explore how to incorporate SVG in a cross-browser friendly manner, including using SVGWeb to ensure that the SVG shows in Internet Explorer. And discover the unique characteristic that makes SVG ideal for page backgrounds: scalability.

  • Using SVG For Flexible, Scalable, and Fun Backgrounds, Part I

    by Shelley Powers · Issue 299 ·

    Many of us think of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) as an also-ran: fine for charts and tables, but not much else. Yet SVG can actually enhance a site’s overall design, and can be made to work in even the most stubborn browser. In Part I of a two-part series, Shelley Powers covers important basics of working with SVG, including browser support and accessibility.

  • On Web Typography

    by Jason Santa Maria · Issue 296 ·

    Until now, chances are that if we dropped text onto a web page in a system font at a reasonable size, it was legible. But with many typefaces about to be freed for use on websites, choosing the right ones to complement a site's design will be far more challenging. Many faces to which we'll soon have access were never meant for screen use, either because they're aesthetically unsuitable or because they're just plain illegible. Jason Santa Maria, a force behind improved type on the web, presents qualities and methods to keep in mind as we venture into the widening world of web type.

  • Redesigning Your Own Site

    by Lea Alcantara · Issue 289 ·

    Redesigning your freelance website is an exercise in masochism. There are no colleagues to share the pain: It’s just you. As the designer who wrote The Art of Self-Branding, freelancer Lea Alcantara knew her site had to be just right. People were bound to scrutinize any update to the design, and she couldn’t afford to damage her credibility. Follow her process as she experiments to find the perfect balance of change and consistency.

  • Visual Decision Making

    by Patrick Lynch · Issue 286 ·

    If it takes only 50 milliseconds for users to form an aesthetic opinion of your site’s credibility and trustworthiness, are designers who create visually compelling sites simply wasting time and treasure on graphic indulgences? Patrick Lynch doesn't think so.

  • Taking the Guesswork Out of Design

    by Daniel Ritzenthaler · Issue 283 ·

    Clients, like other humans, often fear what they don't understand. Daniel Ritzenthaler explains how sound goal-setting, documentation, and communication strategies can bridge the gap between a designer's intuition and a client's need for proof.

  • In Defense of Eye Candy

    by Stephen P. Anderson · Issue 282 ·

    Research proves attractive things work better. How we think cannot be separated from how we feel. The next time a boss, client, or co-worker scoffs at the notion that beauty is an important aspect of interface design, point their peepers here.

  • Fluid Grids

    by Ethan Marcotte · Issue 279 ·

    How awesome would it be if you could combine the aesthetic rigor and clarity of fixed-width, grid-based layouts with the device- and screen size independence and user-focused flexibility of fluid layouts? Completely awesome, that's how awesome. And with a little cunning and a tad of easy math, ALA's Ethan Marcotte gets it done. We smell a trend in the offing.

  • The Details That Matter

    by Kevin Potts · Issue 277 ·

    We no longer lay out pages with composing sticks and straight edges, and design is no longer a trade position requiring a lengthy apprenticeship, but an eye for details is every bit as important today as it was in the early days of graphic arts. Learn the habits of successful designers, who think critically as well as creatively, and who see the forest while never losing sight of the trees.

  • Faux Absolute Positioning

    by Eric Sol · Issue 261 ·

    CSS layout is awesome, except when your layout calls for a header, a footer, and columns in between. Use float, and content changes can cause columns to wrap. Use absolute positioning, and your footer can crash into your columns. Add the complexity of drag-and-drop layouts, and a new technique is needed. Enter "faux absolute positioning." Align every item to a predefined position on the grid (as with absolute positioning), but objects will still affect the normal flow (as with float).

  • Saving the Spark: Developing Creative Ideas

    by Mark Boulton · Issue 260 ·

    Ideas are at the heart of every creative process. However, coming up with them can be hard work. Mark Boulton arms us with tools to meet this challenge.

  • Writing an Interface Style Guide

    by Jina Bolton · Issue 260 ·

    Ever designed or developed a beautiful interface only to find your hard work ruined months later by gaudy graphics or invalid markup? With proper documentation you'll have a better chance at seeing your interface stay beautiful. Jina Bolton guides us through the process of developing an interface style guide.

  • Zebra Tables

    by David F. Miller · Issue 173 ·

    While misused tables are becoming increasingly rare, the table retains a legitimate role in data formatting. A little CSS and JavaScript magic can make tables better at what they do best: displaying tabular data.

  • Design is in the Details

    by Naz Hamid · Issue 254 ·

    Stop worrying about how good a designer you are, and start worrying about the myriad tiny details that can elevate your work from passable to near-perfect.

  • Designing For Flow

    by Jim Ramsey · Issue 250 ·

    Ask a web designer what makes a site great, and you're likely to hear "ease of use." Jim Ramsey begs to differ. Web applications in particular, he tells us, work best and engage most profoundly when they challenge users to overcome difficulties.

  • Understanding Web Design

    by Jeffrey Zeldman · Issue 249 ·

    We'll have better web design when we stop asking it to be something it's not, and start appreciating it for what it is. It's not print, not video, not a poster—and that's not a problem. Find out why cultural and business leaders misunderstand web design, and learn which other forms it most usefully resembles.

  • Staying Motivated

    by Kevin Cornell · Issue 243 ·

    Been stuck in a creative rut so long so you've started to decorate it? A List Apart’s Kevin Cornell drops his crayons to share tips on developing and maintaining a productive creative routine.

  • Design by Metaphor

    by Jack Zeal · Issue 243 ·

    Sometimes the best way to understand a client's needs is by comparing their project to an existing site or service. The site should feel "like eBay" and work "like Expedia." But what do such comparisons really mean? Learn to master the metaphor while avoiding unrealistic goals and expectations.

  • Human-to-Human Design

    by Sharon Lee · Issue 240 ·

    Help your audience fall in love with you by moving beyond human-to-computer interfaces and embracing human-to-human design.

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