Articles by ‘Tara Hornor’

Social Media: Finding the Balance Between a Waste of Time and Necessary Networking

Ah yes, the all too constant struggle of networking with social media. It’s one of those necessary evils that everyone, from job seekers to freelancers to name brand companies, have to rethink constantly. This is why it is one of the most commonly discussed topics across multiple industries. We all know just how important social media is, and most of us continue to struggle between making it a successful marketing avenue and a waste of time.

As a freelancer who has struggled with wasting hours on social media and completely ignoring it for a month (or more) at a time, I have learned a few ways to help me narrow this gap between the two extremes. Now, have learned how to better focus my efforts with social media. It’s still not perfect, but I am on the road to tightening down my efforts and am already seeing results. And for those of you social media skeptics, even when I was only flailing along with social media, I gained enough clients through my exposure via Twitter and Google+ that I haven’t had to search for clients since I became active in several social platforms.

If you are a business owner, freelancer, or even an individual simply looking to build up a strong network in your search for a career, you may find the following tips to help you better take advantage of the benefits that social media has to offer. Hopefully, some of the resources below will help you greatly reduce the time-suck trap many fall into with social media. Use your own experience in combination with these tips, and like me you may find clients knocking down your proverbial door.

So, take a look at the following 10 tips and resources and get ready to re-adjust your social networking plan into one that will waste less time and build more positive results for you and your business ventures.

Read More »

30+ Yummy Dessert and Candy Website Designs

There’s nothing like looking at pictures of candy or desserts to get the mouth watering. For designers, viewing creative designs can have a very similar affect! Sometimes just even the sight of a unique font or clever use of texture can cause a creative mind to start “watering” with ideas.

The following list of websites are all dessert, bakery, or candy websites – and all are designs that have more than a few inspiring aspects. A few are amazingly easy to navigate along with a clever design. Others have a beautiful home page, while some are creatively interactive. A few contain photography too brilliant to pass up. Some of the best below will get both your saliva and creative juices flowing, so you may want to have your favorite treat to munch on as well as a pen and paper handy for phenomenal design ideas that appear due to inspiration.

Be sure to share which are your favorites or even those you think are not worthy of inclusion in this collection. If you have a favorite dessert or candy website design that’s not included in this list, tell us about it!

Wonka: Feed Your Imagination

Read More »

25 Incredible Examples of Flat Design

It almost seems that this year flat designs have taken over the world of graphic design by force, but especially in the arena of mobile apps with the first industry-shaking flat design being for the iPhone5. Reality is that flat design has been around longer than the emergence of the iPhone5, but of course it was Apple that helped to bring such cross-industry awareness to the design style.

You ask almost anyone who owns an iPhone5 or who has read about the design in the news, and they’ll describe flat designs as, well, flat. In the design world, flat indicates a design style that avoids 3D effects, animation, and other bling-bling. Most flat designs also include lots of illustration, bold use of colors, and fairly minimal layouts. Just as with any style in graphic design, however, most flat designs do not include all of these aspects. A design can be usually agreed upon as flat if it includes more of these minimal aspects and less of the “extras”.

As mentioned beforehand, you can find flat designs in almost every area of graphic design. The list below includes websites, icons, and mobile apps that most would agree fall under the “flat design” category. Most very clearly follow the guidelines, if you will, for flat, but please feel free to share in the comments below if you have found a better example.

Websites

The following flat website designs use several flat aspects in a large part of the design scheme. A few do include a bit of animation, but were so minimal that they still fall under the flat design category.

Operativnik Website Design by Felix Baky

Read More »

Know How to Recognize Scam Jobs as a Freelancer


Photo Credit: Ivy Dawned via Compfight cc

For many freelancers, especially beginners, a very real fear is to fall victim to a scam job. Once you have been around awhile, you automatically can recognize scams. In fact, freelance graphic designers and web developers can get to a place in their career in which they acquire most of their work by referrals, and the freelancer is almost the one who does the "interview" to see if this is a client worth their limited time.

However, you could be a seasoned freelancer whose client list has become stale, which finds you looking for jobs to bid on in the marketplace – you may have forgotten what scam jobs look like in this case. And, of course, for very many graphic design freelancers new to the business, scams can be quite common.

Read More »

10 Humorous Infographics Beautifully Designed

Like many web surfers, I could waste a lot of time browsing through infographics, especially if they are insightful or funny. In fact, infographics are becoming a popular way of providing information, creating awareness, or simply attracting attention with some humor. As such, infographics are a design speciality that should be added to any designer’s list of skills. The benefit? You will always find businesses needing an infographic for their blog. The drawback? Infographics can take a long time to create.

However, just as with any other design skill, becoming faster and better at creating infographics is as simple as researching and practicing. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a little fun along the way. So, here for both your entertainment and education are 10 humorous infographics that are quite beautifully designed. Some are thigh-smacking hilarious, a few clever, and others a little odd in a funny way. Take a look, enjoy, and be sure to let us know which of these are your favorite.

Thirteen Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics

This incredible web-based infographic designed by NeoMam Studios presents reasons why infographics are so popular in a brilliant paralax scrolling effect. The team designed the entire infographic using HTML5 and CSS3, and while more informational than humorous, it still includes some funny illustrations that will produce at least a giggle in most viewers.

Read More »

Free Resources for Creating a Flat Design

Flat designs are taking over quite quickly it seems. I doubt anyone could argue against it being the latest and greatest for (fairly) new trends on the web, in mobile devices, and even in print. The simple description for a flat style of design is one that lacks 3D effects, such as bevels or drop shadows.

The stylistic details of a flat design can vary somewhat, just as with most design styles. Usually, though, a flat design is quite minimalist with primary-ish colors and lots of “white space”. The font is usually thin without too much flare. Boxes and buttons are, of course, without strokes or 3D effects. Some flat designs do contain shadows, but these are usually flat-ish as well.

Whether you are new to flat design or simply need some fresh, new resources for your next project, most should be able to find a few items below to help. The list below is divided into 5 categories: UI kits, icons, templates, WordPress themes, and tutorials. The best part? All are free. The ones that specifically mention “free for commercial use” are noted as well. Have fun browsing and be sure to let us know of any other amazingly free flat resources.

UI Kits

A UI kit is a user interface collection that comes with all the parts and pieces you need to design your own website. Usually they are PSD but sometimes will come with other components as well. While you can use the color scheme in the file, you can create your own color scheme. They also come with patterns, brushes, and much more. Hence, UI kits save a web designer a lot of time, improving workflow and decreasing time spent on projects.

DesignModo Flat UI

Read More »

32 Stunning Creative Commons HDR Photos

One of my favorite photo manipulation effects is High Definition Range, better known as HDR. The colors this effect brings out along with the depth created through unusual lighting tricks adds an almost magical look to any subject. HDR photos work for unique product photos, landscapes, waterscapes, stills, and occasionally portraits.

However, most photographers lock down their HDR photos with a firm copyright, and with good reason. Anyone can create an HDR photo, but not everyone can create one that is truly stunning. Sometimes, though, an artist will provide a few creative commons HDR photographs simply as a way to get noticed. If people can share in the right way (i.e. by attributing the work to the artist with a link to the source), the more willing photographers are to provide photos for us to use.

Mai 2013 - Débordement de la Seine à Marnay sur Seine (Aube)
Mai 2013 – Débordement de la Seine à Marnay sur Seine (Aube) by B@rberousse
Attribution

Read More »

30 Fresh Websites with Modern, Clean Design

So much is possible these days in web design with CSS3, jQuery 2.0, etc, which is why so many websites include animated imagery. You can design a website with all of the bells and whistles and it can still be mobile-friendly, most of the time.

However, my favorite designs still tend to be the ones that have a clean, modern look to them. Clean design doesn’t necessarily mean minimalist, although many are to a certain degree. A clean website often has simple navigation and well-organized elements on a page. The content is easy to read, find, and browse. Some clean websites include minimal animation. Many have a single page design, while many more include several pages, all with a clean look and feel.

What do I define as both clean and modern? By modern, I included the latest trends of this year. Parallax scrollling, full-page images, retro illustrations, and creative typography are all modern trends you’ll find in the collection below.

Very often, a clean design is used by design agencies, freelancers, photographers, artists, bloggers, and other creatives with limited content. The amazing feat is when a website with tons of content is cleanly designed. The list of modern, clean website designs include those with brief content and a few of the awe-inspiring ones with a plethora of content organized incredibly well. Keep in mind that for many of these, you will need to visit the site to get the full affect.

Playful – New Finnish Design

Read More »

Best LinkedIn Tips for Creative Professionals

linkedin logo

In the creative world, it can be quite difficult to find time to market yourself. Many of us spend every moment of our free time simply trying to get a project time within the timeframe we promised. Some of us work from home with kids and a spouse often causing distractions. Some of us spend all day at a job then come home at night to our freelance work. As such, most creative professionals have very little time to spend on social media, even if it is a key way to market yourself.

This being said, social media marketing is still an important part of gaining new clients, making a name for yourself, and building valuable connections. You simply need to set aside time each week for social media. And one of the most important social media accounts that a web designer, graphic designer, musician, fine artist, photographer, or even a craft artist can have is LinkedIn. While Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or other social sites are definitely important, a LinkedIn account is where you can really show your professional side. And it’s important for connecting with other professionals looking for your services.

Read More »

Some Interesting Possibilities with CSS4

CSS4 is definitely still a work in progress, meaning that many of the new features that the WS3 editing team is working on still have the possibility of removal and others may be added on. Does this mean it is time to quit working with CSS3? Of course not! CSS4 builds on CSS3, so certainly continue your path to becoming a master CSS3 developer. In addition, CSS4 is still a long way from being released and implemented on browsers. So why are we even reviewing this futuristic version?

For one, taking a look at some of the possibilities with CSS, Level 4, is quite exciting. Two, you may be more encouraged to hang onto some designs that seem utterly impossible right now. And, three, maybe it will give you a head start on learning CSS4 so that it doesn’t seem too overwhelming when it is finally released.

The WS3 folks have edited drafts available for preview for both Selectors and Media Queries. You can view the Media Queries Level 4, Editor’s Draft 30 August 2013 and the Selectors Level 4, Editor’s Draft 21 August 2013, which is pretty cool of the team to let us in on the work in progress. The team is a bit farther ahead on Selectors Level 4, with a latest working draft of Selectors Level 4, released on 2 May 2013. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

Media Queries Level 4

Simply put, media queries allow for responsive design. Media queries were first introduced to CSS in version 3 and allowed developers to create styling decisions based on the browser on which the web page loaded. Level 4 queries are very new, as in less-than-a-month new. You may not have even known that the WS3 team publicly released their editing draft. Some of the changes being made to existing CSS3 features are as follows:

Read More »
Page 3 of 41234