Friday, December 4, 2009

Freelance Switch

Yet again I found a "design inspiration" site. This one is called Freelance Switch. Where I found inspiration was in one of their blogs called "34 Places to Get Design Inspiration Online & Off". The listed 15 websites, 10 books, and 9 things to do – all for the person with designers block (which is every designer at some point in time)! I have even blogged about a couple of the sites they list and have come across a few others as well, such as Kuler, The Best Designs, and Smashing Magazine. They list a site called Deviant Art and I have actually used some of their brushes. The first book the list is called "1000 Graphic Elements" which is part of the "1000" series and this is definitely a really good book. A previous co-worker of mine has a few of these books and uses them all the time. Basically, they list a lot of good places to get inspiration.

The site's design itself isn't as inspiring. It's very industrial looking and not very creative except for their little mascot person. I guess the only thing that is fun about the site besides the mascot is the green color they use. There could be a reason behind this design. Maybe they didn't want to compete with the sites they were listing as inspirational. I don't know. But what I do know is that if I was making a site about inspiration I would want my site to be inspirational as well, but I am not inspired by the design of this site. I am, however, inspired by the content the present. What do you think?

Another feature about their site their Jobs page. What's great about this is that people and companies post job positions that are available for those who are in the design world. You click any job you happen to be interested in and it gives you a description of the job, etc. At this point you have the option of applying for this job right from the site. The downside is you have to be a current member of Freelance Switch to apply for jobs, however, it's a good thing if you ARE a member because these jobs are exclusive to you and other members (minus any other advertisement of the jobs).

All in all, I think this site has great content, but needs to amp up their own site.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Hardest Game Ever

So I got bored one day.... yeah, somehow I got bored even with all the work I have to do with finals coming up... and came across a game called The Hardest Game Ever. When you first look at it, it doesn't look hard at all, but you will soon realize it is in fact the hardest game ever. There are 30 levels and each lever gets harder and harder.

The object of the game is get from one end to the other. You are a red square and you must avoid the blue balls. Also, you must collect the yellow balls on your way. You must make your way from the green area you start at to the last green area. Some levels have multiple green areas (these are considered safe zones). If you touch the blue balls, you die and start at the beginning of that level. However, if you reach a green area and then die, you start at the last green area you reached (kinda like checkpoints). You are not given a certain amount of lives, the game just keep track how many times you died, because the amount of deaths you rack up will surprise you.

The furthest I made it was level 10 and had over 700 deaths. I was unable to beat level 11 and by the time I reached it I had spent too much time on the game. I wasn't bored that's for sure, but you will get very frustrated. I'm sure if I went back and played the game again I would have less deaths because I would know how to beat the levels and I would get through them more quickly. You definitely have to have patience with this game and strategize each level before diving in.

I found this site a bit inspirational because as simple as the concept is, it is a very complex game. Plus, I never lost interest which is something artist aspire to get from their work.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

lounge lizard

I was just browsing the internet looking for some inspiration for my final project in my Flash class and I came across a cool site called Lounge Lizard. I actually found a link to it off another site called The Best, from their featured designers page. Anyways, what I liked about the Lounge Lizard website right off the bat was their "loading page" bar. It was a beer mug being filled with beer corresponding to the percent the page was loaded to. It didn't take very long to load so the animation was very clean and smooth. On the home page you are looking at a table, from birds eye view, with various objects on it (many of which are costers). Some of the object are links and when you rollover them they rotate a bit. My favorite rollover is the candle, which has a flame animation on it. When you rollover it, the flame goes out. When you rollover it again, your mouse becomes a lit match and the candle relights. Saaaaweeeeeet!

When you click on one of the links (a coster) your taken to that page. Another scene is given to you. A book lays closed on the table and list of the other links is on a piece of crumpled paper (web link). When you click on the book it opens to their portfolio for that link and you can flip through the pages. All the other links have different ways to look at their portfolio (i.e. their print link has pages laid out with images on them and they have their crop marks as well. Each crop mark is distinct to each piece you see.

I just think this is a really cool site all together, even if your just browsing through. This site gives me a lot of inspiration for my online portfolio project. Anybody who wants to include flash or build their site in flash should take a look at this site. It's put together exceptionally and the whole look and feel of the site works great. It's seldom you come across a website that was built really well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Designing iPhone Apps

My class has recently started a new project in which we are to develop an idea for a new iPhone App. It does not need to be functional, but just illustrated in how it will work and look. While I was researching on how to design iPhone Apps I came across a website that pretty much lays it out for you. The site is called Smashing Magazine and the article is called "iPhone Apps Design Mistakes: Disregard Of Context". It pretty much spells out what you should be looking at when designing an application for an iPhone.

Many designers don't look at how consumers will use the apps or where they are when they use them. This article basically tells the designer to step back from the phone/design and put yourself in the users shoes. Think how they would think and design around that.

Designing an iPhone App can be a lot of fun, but it's also a lot of hard work. Research is key when designing a app because you're not designing for one person or one client, you're designing for a numerous amount of people with all different life styles. And being able to cater to their needs through your app isn't an easy task. If you do your research and execute successfully, you'll be raking in the dough!

I would definitely recommend this site/article to anyone beginning in the field of designing phone apps.


Anybody who like the new iTunes Store design raise your hands (raising hand!). I absolutely love the new version of iTunes and am so glad they finally got rid of their last design. It was definitely time for an upgrade. Their new design looks more like the times now. It's much more sleek and clean, which is my style. The format is basically the same, but they did move some stuff around so that will take a few days to get used to in order find things.

One thing I noticed every time I opened the iTunes Store was that text would overlap when the home page was loading. Not a big deal because once the page is loaded its fine, but kind of annoying. Other than the design of the store, one big thing they changed was the format of the list of songs, movies, apps, etc. you get when you search something. It's not at the bottom like it used to be and instead of having to go to the top to preview the song, they have a play button the pops up next to each song when you roll over that area. It's a nice feature, however, first time users don't know the roll over play button is there until they "accidentally" roll over that area. It took me a couple minutes to catch on.

Also, they changed the feature of being able to extend the area where the songs are listed to see the entire song, artist, album, etc. Instead, if the box isn't long enough to show the entire album for example, the album is linked and once you click on it, iTunes will take you to a list of songs on that album. That's nice, but sometimes I just want to read the album. To fix this, when you place your mouse on the text, a window will pop up and show the entire text. This happens because of the link. This is kind of a pain in the butt. I think I preferred the old version over this one for this feature, but they had to change it because of the new design.

Other than that one change (I guess I'll have to get used to it...) I really like the new version and design of iTunes. The changes they made were good because they weren't so drastic that users wouldn't be able to find anything. When revamping or redesigning a designer always has to take into consideration the customers and/or users and how the changes will effect them. Just because something looks "pretty" to you, doesn't mean it's a good thing for everybody else.

Friday, November 13, 2009

CG Textures

Our Adv. GD class was giving presentations on our design concepts for our final projects when another professor mentioned a site called CG Textures. At first I wasn't interested in it because I don't like using textures in projects, but I checked out the site and they have a lot of cool textures to choose from. And the best part is.... it's FREE! They have all sorts of textures to choose from. I'm not saying I use them all the time, but it is a good resource for those who like to use textures or just need a quick find. I haven't needed to use any textures yet, but I still keep in mind this site just in case I should ever need a texture.

This is a good site because on the home page it showcases a wide variety of textures so that the visitors are given an idea of what type of products they have to choose from. They have 2 navigations: one at the top which includes about, textures, tutorials, and members. The second is on the right which lists all the different categories of textures they have. I think this a good way to separate the navigation and keep like items together.

Although the design of the site isn't great, it's still a good site and does just enough to keep visitors in their site browsing.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Design Inspiration

I was searching the web for some general design inspiration when I happened to come across a really cool site called The Design Inspiration.... fitting name if you ask me. They have categorized their stuff into sections such as Logo design, Illustration Art, Website Showcase, Fonts, Photos, Patterns, and Inspirational Articles. Plus, they are updated daily so there is something new everyday. For each section they give you a handful of thumbnails to allow you to preview what type of art they have. So, if you want to view all of their fonts for example, you can choose "view all" and you will be given all the fonts they have (to view that is).

When you click on a specific thumbnail you are then given a larger view of that example along with who posted. There is even a section where visitors can post their thoughts or comments about the selected font, photo, etc.. The site also gives you related fonts, photos, etc. to the one that was selected, which I think is a good feature because you could be looking for a specific look and feel, but the font you chose wasn't exactly what you were looking for, so now with this feature, you can check out what else they have that has the same look and feel without having to search through the entire stock. This saves a lot of time.

The fact that artists can post/submit their own work onto this site is good because it gives them recognition for their work and exposure for their career. That's always something to think about.... how to market yourself.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Again me and Kristy found a great site for inspiration for our e-commerce site we are currently working on in web design 2. The site is called Minted. This is a great site and what I like about this site is, like Wedding Paper Divas, they have images fading in and out to showcase their products. I absolutely love this feature. Like other websites I've come across with card products they have a drop down menu in their main navigation. I want to incorporate this feature in our site as well.

They have a section called 'Design Challenge' which is similar to what we want to do, but not quite. We want to allow members only to submit their designs to us in which we will buy them if we feel they are something we want. What they have is like a competition, which is fun, because the winners get money and everybody gets recognition and exposure. We might do something like this later, but for now were sticking with our first idea.

The color scheme goes well with their company name and it's not overpowering. The overall design of the site is professional and easy to navigate. This site is something to aspire towards.

Wedding Paper Divas

So me and Kristy came across another card website that we liked for our project as inspiration. The site is Wedding Paper Divas. What I like most about the site is that on their home page they have an area that highlights their products. Basically they're just pictures, but the images changes every few seconds so that the consumer gets an idea of all the different layouts and designs they have. I like this because a lot of people will look at the overall look of the site and think they know what kind of cards this company designs. This way they can see all the different styles without making assumptions.

I also like the color scheme they use. It's not in your face, but it's not dull either. It's warm and inviting. Also, they have an area to narrow your search, which is something we want to do for our site. It only appears once you have chosen an area in which to look (i.e. wedding invitations). It's not on the home page, which it wouldn't make if it were on the home page. So that's good.

One other thing I like what they did with their site was using 'breadcrumbs'. It's a really good idea to use these in such a complicated site so the consumer doesn't get lost and decide to leave the site altogether. Losing a customer is never good.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


So we started a new project last week and we are developing an e-commerce site. Me and Kristy are working together on this project for which have decided to do a site for invitations and whatnot. The idea behind it is to have pre-made templates and to allow the customer to personalize the cards. While researching for this project we found some pretty cool sites to give us ideas on how to structure the site and what type of content we want to include.

One great website we came across was Inkd. They don't sell the same stuff as we want to sell, but the look and feel of the site is very professional and I like the way they have it structured. It is very easy to navigate through. We have decided to include a feature that allows designers to submit their own designs/templates to us in which we would buy (if we liked the design or didn't have one like it already) and they would get a certain percent commission for every time someone used their design. Inkd has this feature as well and I like how they have set it up. It is not structured the same as the rest of the pages, which helps distinguish this section from the rest of the site.

Our site will be slightly different, other than the content, with how customers will be able to customize the design. Inkd provides a set look with a template and sells that template. We want to allow our customers to change colors, amount of photos used, style, etc. to what they want and not be restricted to a certain look.

Inkd is a great site for businesses looking to create a look and feel for their company.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I have been using a site I was introduced to at the beginning of this semester and it's called Kuler, which is by Adobe. This site provides color themes that can be used for any project. Kuler is a great site because it provides you with a color scheme instead of you going through your color swatches trying to find just the right colors that go together and illustrate the feeling you are trying to achieve. It saves a lot of time, especially for me because I'm the type of person that would go through my entire swatches palette and not be satisfied with the colors I've chosen and end up starting all over. Kuler does that process for you, all you have to do is pick the color theme you like best. Even then, you don't have to go with the exact colors they give you. You can easily adjust the colors to your liking.

Kuler doesn't just give you a list of color schemes, it categorizes them for you, from most popular, newest, highest rated, and random. Also, if you search a color, it will give you a lot of themes to choose from that have that color in it and all variations of that color. ( i.e. if you search red, you will gets results like hot red, vintage red, or spice cabinet). Even cooler is if you search multiple colors at the same time because it will give you those colors in various shades and tints that compliment each other.

So, if you're ever having trouble deciding on colors or can't find just the right match, visit Kuler.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Minimal Exhibit

I was looking on Vandelay Design again looking for inspiration the other day and came across a list of other sites in which they share a network together. One of the sites was Minimal Exhibit and I was really drawn to their site because they have compiled a collection of the best sites that have a minimalist design. I personally love sites that are very minimal and have a lot of white space, so I thought this would be a great site to turn to for even more inspiration for designing websites.

Straight from their website, "Minimalism can bring great elegance, beauty, and usability to a website...". This is very true. White space is just as powerful if not more powerful than space that has been filled. Not many people outside the design world would agree, but that's because they don't know what they are talking about! White space is essential for good design and usually clients want to just fill up every space with something. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT let them do this. It's a bad idea. Minimal Exhibit showcases this idea with all the websites they have compiled.

Another great thing about this site is that designers can submit their own sites to the site and visitors to the site will be able to actually visit that site, so you can get the full gist of the site, rather than just seeing a picture of it. This is great for the designers/owners of the site, because in turn they are getting exposure to their site.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Design Flavr

I found this site when I was searching for some design inspiration and I didn't leave dissatisfied. Designflavr is a good site to get inspiration for any type of work whether it be for a website, typography, digital art, or just random artwork. This site breaks down the artwork for you so you don't have to search forever for something; you can go right to what you are looking for. Or, just browse the entire site, because even if you are looking for something for a website, you might find inspiration from another piece of art that isn't web based. Also, when you click on a piece of art work you like, it gives you the entire piece and who it was created by. AND.... it gives you a list of other artwork you might like based on the piece you clicked on. AWESOME!!! This way you don't have to keep searching for the same look and feel, it just gives it to you. I like this feature because there is nothing worse than finding something you like, but then having to keep searching for another work that's similar; this makes that process much faster.

Also, for you people who like to say something about everything, there is a comment section. I don't post comments myself, but I do like reading what other people have posted and what their thoughts are about the art.

I'm not only inspired by their site and what they provide, but I'm also inspired by their logo. I'm in a Corporate Identity class right now and we are redesigning logos and designflavr's logo really caught my eye. It has a retro feel and its fun and playful. It works well with their overall design of their website.

I hope you visit their site, because I think you will be inspired too!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vandelay Design

My friend showed me this site called Vandelay Design and I really found it useful and inspiring. They have a lot of photoshop tutorials and links to other sites that can be helpful, such as getting free photoshop brushes or free vector art. I have already gone through some of their photoshop tutorials and used the techniques for a couple of my projects. It's a good site for future reference because they are constantly updating their site and the tutorials, so there is always something new to learn.

They also have links that show the top websites in certain categories, such as best Church websites and best non-profit websites. There is so much to look at. What I like about this site is primarily the tutorials because there are so many and they give you a lot of different looks and feels that you might be trying to create. The tutorials are really easy too, because they go step by step on how to create that particular look. Obviously, as designers, you don't have to use exactly what they are showing you to do in the tutorials, but at least you know how to create that look now and can do variations of it yourself.

So, if I'm ever having a designer's block, I'll go this site to find inspiration.

To get to the tutorials and the cool stuff on their website, you must access their blog page, which can be found at the bottom of the home page.