Articles by ‘Steven Snell’

Learn Photo Manipulation with these Photoshop CS6 Tutorials

Photoshop CS6 is the last fully-purchasable version of Photoshop without a recurring fee. It’s still my preferred version and has received excellent reviews from designers and photographers. CS6 brought significant changes and new functionality that offered even more potential than previous versions. Although improvements and new features are what users want, it does require some […]

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7 Tips for How To Prioritize Tasks Effectively

Most designers, regardless of whether you are self employed or an employee, have a to-do list full of all kinds of different tasks that are fighting for attention. It may include finalizing a project for one client, working on an estimate for another client, responding to emails, recording payments and working on financials, etc. With […]

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Exclusive iStock Promo Code: February 2016

A few years back I launched what was called “Vandelay Premier” to test my ability to sell “premium” stock graphics. While I would only consider it a moderate success, one main thing I quickly realized was that it was nearly impossible for a blogger like myself to provide enough specific content to make everyone happy. I still get emails every week from our members requesting specific items that I just don’t have the time or resources to provide.

My goal with this website has always been to create enough quality content to keep my readers engaged, happy, and coming back for more. Since it is impossible for me to provide millions of stock photos and graphics in our shop, I might as well send you off to a place where you have a much higher chance of finding what you need…

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35 Logos Inspired by Nature

When it comes to company identities and branding, elements from nature are often used in the design. In certain industries the natural element is a result of the product or service that the business offers (such as a flower in the logo of a florist). However, in many cases the element from nature is not directly related to the product or service of the company. Using nature in the logo may give a more eco friendly feel that the company wants to convey, or it may be chosen for some other reason.

When you are working on logo designs of your own, you may find it to be helpful to see how other logo designers are using nature in their work. In this post we’ll showcase 35 logos created by a variety of designers. Hopefully this collection can serve as some inspiration for your own work.

Shamrock Glass Company

Shamrock Glass Company

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50 Retro Vintage Logos for Inspiration

Vintage and retro style is a popular choice for web and graphic design. While we’ve showcased vintage web designs in the past, we’ve never focused on vintage style logos. Well, that vintage and retro feel can be an excellent choice for logos as well. Vintage-style badges are especially popular elements to use in logo designs. […]

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40 Free Serif Fonts for Digital Designers

Having an arsenal of quality fonts is essential for web and graphic designers. In this post we’ll feature 40 free serif fonts made for web and graphic design projects. Browse through these featured fonts and click on any of the thumbnails be led to the font source for download. As always when you are using […]

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30 of the Best Photo Editing Websites

Designers and photographers have a number of options when it comes to photo editing. Of course, Photoshop is the most popular software, but there are a number of websites that allow you to edit photos online. Depending on your needs the full version of Photoshop may not be necessary. Many times free web applications can do […]

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WPZOOM Coupon Code

It’s not always easy to find a WordPress template that you love, but WPZOOM makes it easier to find a sleek and professionally designed theme to fit your website perfectly. Be sure to take advantage of this awesome WPZoom coupon before it’s too late!

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Blog Design: What Should Be Above the Fold?

When designing any type of website, you need to keep in mind what visitors will see immediately upon arriving at the site. Whatever is visible without scrolling down is said to be “above the fold.” The content and design elements that are above the fold will of course draw the first attention from visitors, and […]

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Template Monster Coupon

If you’re searching for a high quality pre-designed template, instead of the more difficult way of creating a template from scratch, Template Monster is a good, simple, and affordable solution. This exclusive Template Monster coupon code will help you save money on your next purchase…

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Having a Long-Term Purpose as a Freelance Designer

Freelance designers are often so focused on the present and the immediate future that a long-term career plan is non-existent, or at least under appreciated. What needs to be done in order to complete that big project? Where will the next client come from?

Many don’t want to deal with the stress and unpredictability of freelancing forever. Without a long-term plan you may earn a decent living, but down the road you’re likely to find yourself wishing you had been more prepared. Some freelancers are comfortable enough in their careers that they would like to continue to freelance for the foreseeable future. Others would like to eventually expand their business and limit the amount of client work that they must do.

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10 of the Leading WordPress E-Commerce Plugins

In the past we’ve published a post that showcased many of the best WordPress e-commerce themes. If you’ve been thinking about using WordPress for an e-commerce website you may be wondering which e-commerce plugin is the best fit for your needs. There are several different options available, and in this article we’ll look at 10 of […]

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The Anatomy of a Minimalistic Web Design

Judging by the amount of interest created by two galleries, 25 Beautiful, Minimalistic Website Designs and 25 Beautiful, Minimalistic Website Designs – Part 2 , many of you have an appreciation for an attractive, yet simple, design. As a result, I’ve taken a look at what makes minimalistic designs successful and I’d like to share my thoughts here. I know that not everyone likes these types of designs, so your opinions of what is good design may differ from mine.

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50 Top Quality After Effects Tutorials

After Effects is Adobe’s product for creating motion graphics and visual effects. It’s amazing what you can make with After Effects and some knowledge, or in this case a little help from some tutorials. In this post we’ll feature 50 of the best After Effects tutorials for creating amazing work with After Effects. No prior […]

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Vandelay Design’s Best Deal Ever

Get a jump start on your designs in 2016 with this never-before-seen offer from Vandelay Design!

Let us help you save time and money when you purchase a membership to our Vandelay Design shop. With a membership, you’ll have unlimited access to thousands of professionally designed, high-quality graphics and business resources.

For a limited time, we’re offering you exclusive coupon savings on ALL of the Vandelay Premier plans! So here’s what we’re offering…

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9 Ways to Gauge Your Visitors’ Experience

One of the most important factors in the success of a website is the visitors’ opinions and experiences. A site that is liked by visitors will typically be successful, while those that aren’t liked by visitors will struggle. A challenge that all website owners face is determining how visitors feel about their experience on the […]

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75+ Sets of Free Photoshop Brushes

Photoshop brushes can be extremely useful for designers who need to implement different effects, textures, and elements into a design. There are lots of brush sets out there but sometimes it can be difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. To help narrow the search I’ve collected over 75 sets of free Photoshop brushes categorized […]

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Common Reasons a Website is Unsuccessful

If you are planning or building a new website, you are obviously hoping for some type of success. Of course, success can mean any number of things, and each website’s success should be determined by the needs and desires of its owners and creators. Some websites exist strictly to provide information to visitors. Others aim […]

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Guide to Completing Projects On-Time

Part of being a web designer (or any other type of service provider for that matter) is dealing with the reality that deadlines are going to be a part of your job. Deadlines often have a negative stigma, but they actually freelancers and independent designers to keep themselves on track and to promote efficiency and productivity, which will lead to a profitable business.

Last week I wrote about some various steps to achieving a productive workday, and in many cases your days will involve the need to meet deadlines, or at least to make progress towards meeting the deadlines at a later date. In this article we’ll take a look at 10 different things that you can do to help yourself in terms of meeting deadlines on client projects.

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Best Thunderbird Addons to Improve Productivity

Thunderbird is a popular free email application from Mozilla, the people behind Firefox. And just like Firefox, one of the reasons for Thunderbird’s popularity is the number of quality add-ons that are available for download. While Thunderbird includes all of the necessary features for managing your emails by default, there are tons of add-ons that […]

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15 Steps to a More Productive Workday

Freelance designers, as well as those who work for small design studios, often face the challenge of getting the most productivity out of their time and achieving maximum efficiency. While this can be a struggle for anyone in a more “typical” job, freelancers have added distractions, unique challenges, and no one to hold them accountable. To be a successful freelancer you’ll have to place a priority on productivity and find ways that work for you.

Each of us is unique and no process will work for everyone, but all of us have plenty of things that we can do to improve our workflow. In this article I’ll cover some of the lessons that I have learned through my own experience. For me, productivity is a constant goal, and always interested in finding new ways to get more out of my time. I’m far from perfect in these areas, but making consistent improvements. Hopefully some of these things will help you in your own work.

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Developing a Client Process from Inquiry to Project Completion

Efficiency and effectiveness are equally important to freelance designers and small design firms (and large ones as well, but that won’t be the focus of this article). There are obviously any number of different things you can do to improve your workflow or to produce a better end result for your clients. One area for potential improvement is systemization or standardization of process.

The process of designing and developing a website for clients is rather complex and involves a lot of different steps. First, there is the initial contact either through an online inquiry or maybe a referral. Then comes a quote for service, a contract, the opening stages of the design, client feedback, revisions, development, completion, final billing and record keeping. Of course, the exact steps may vary from one designer to another, but the point is that a lot goes into the complete process of taking a client from inquiry to the completion of the project.

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Goals of the Re-Design Process

Re-designing a website is more than just giving it an improved new look. The successes and shortcomings of the existing site are invaluable in knowing how to truly improve the site and make the re-design worth the time, effort, and cost. Like any site design/development, a clear set of goals and purposes should be established […]

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21 Ways Websites Communicate with Visitors

One of the most important responsibilities of a website is to communicate with its visitors. Regardless of whether the site is a blog, a portfolio site, a corporate site, or an e-commerce site, it exists to communicate with visitors. The communication in some cases is two ways (blog comments are an example), but in many […]

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Signs that a Website is Underperforming

Every website will need at least some occasional analysis and maybe a few tweaks to keep it performing as it should. Fortunately, there are some typical signs that can indicate trouble and less-than-stellar performance. All of these items can be fixed or improved in order to give the site a boost and to generate better results.

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Communicating with Indecisive Clients

Web designers will get to work with all different types of clients. While that’s one of the nice things that keeps the job from getting too monotonous, we also have to be able to communicate effectively with people who are coming from a variety of circumstances.

Some clients will know exactly what they want and they’ll communicate it to you clear and up front. Others will struggle to give much input on your ideas and they may have difficulty making certain decisions about the direction of the project. From my experience this is much more common among clients who just don’t have much knowledge of web design or how websites need to function. If you’re dealing heavily with small businesses this could be a big portion of you clientele…

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Ultimate Roundup of Photoshop Custom Shapes

Photoshop presets like brushes and patterns get plenty of attention, but custom shapes can be equally as useful. Because custom shapes are vectors they can be scaled to larger sizes with no decrease in quality. In this post we’ll cover some of the best Photoshop custom shapes that you can download for free. As always […]

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50 Awe-Inspiring Portfolio Websites

Portfolio websites are often excellent sources of design inspiration because every designer and agency wants to create a great impression with a quality design. The absolute best portfolio sites showcase creativity and innovation that might not common with other types of sites. While browsing through portfolio sites of other designers can provide inspiration for your […]

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