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30 December 2011

12 Tips for Freelance Web Designers that Will Bring You to Success

It would really be satisfying if you could handle your time, express your creativity and still be your own boss. You might want to do some freelancing job as a web designer for it could give you these benefits. You might even earn more than what you are recently earning. Many freelance web designers even love this job more than being employed. But not everything about freelancing is good. There are still certain aspects in the job that is challenging like promotion and marketing. But still, with the right practice, being a freelance web designer can be truly fulfilling.
In this post, we will give you 12 tips to that will help you succeed as a freelance web designer. Since it is a challenging job, you really need self discipline and control in order to succeed. You also need to cultivate certain attributes like patience and understanding. But aside from that, there are still other things you need to take account of. Check them now.

1. Love your work.

Passion is very important. If you love what you are doing, you wouldn’t find it hard to succeed in the field. In the first place, you are there because of that passion. You will not find it hard to allocate time for it and you will also find it easier to deal with clients. If you really have the heart in your job, your clients will feel that and they would also love working with you.

2. Establish your reputation.

Having a good online reputation is a must. No one would opt to hire you as their web designer if you do not have a good reputation. Do this by asking for feedbacks from clients whom you had successful projects with. Blogging can also help you build a reputation by showing them that you are an expert on the field through your posts. You can also try guest posting on other’s site to expand your audience and to improve your reputation.

3. Practice blogging.

Since you are a web designer, make a blog that is related to web design. This way, you can inform your readers that you are equipped with enough knowledge on creating a website. You can have a separate blog from your website wherein you share different ideas and topics regarding web design. Having a blog gives you the opportunity to be more personal with your visitors.

4. Have a portfolio.

An online portfolio is a must for you especially that you are into freelancing. You need to make a portfolio so that your clients can see what you can offer them, the quality of your work, what kind of designer you are and all the other details about you that they want to know. Make sure to place all important things in it so that they will get what they need in just one stop and you will also get your clients immediately.

5. Learn SEO.

You are aware that SEO is important for every website to make a site truly successful. Start doing this with your own website. If you have a high ranking on search engines, clients can easily find you. Then, you really don’t need to go far in looking for clients because they will be the one to come to you.

6. Extend your network.

Do a lot of networking. Make use of social networking sites to promote your website and blog. But everything doesn’t just end on the internet. You also need to extend your network of friends and fellow designers by attending seminars, workshops and others. You might look at networking as a bit scary but it isn’t. It is as simple as hanging out with people from the same industry.
7. Use right typography.
Using the proper typography gives a good impression on you as a web designer. It shows how you can interpret a particular website. Also, start this by using good typography in your own website and blog. This could also be part of your brand. When they see your typography, they will know it’s yours.

8. Pay attention to details.

You can’t just make a website that is merely okay. You need to have a great website in order for your clients to know that they can really rely on you when they come to you for their sites. You can create a great website if you will look into the details of your site like optimizing your images and determining ways to improve promotion of your site.

9. Have easy site navigation.

It doesn’t mean that just because you are a web designer that you can over-do your site. Just make sure that your visitors can easily navigate it and look into some important points in it. The number of visitors would be useless if they cannot get what your website is trying to tell them. Make a good design but have a good navigation. Be sure your site can be understood by visitors.

10. Continue learning.

As you work on your website and in other people’s site, there are new things, ideas and techniques that you will encounter. Continue learning and asking questions so that you will improve as a web designer. You can even look for resource online that can also help you learn more about web designing.

11. Manage your time.

You can be successful if you know how to manage your time. Freelancing could give you the freedom to do what you want for a particular time because you are your own boss. But it doesn’t mean that you can disregard time management. This is even more important to make sure that you are able to do all the projects and you can also submit them before the deadline. You also need to have a good work-life balance for this greatly affects your work performance.

12. Always practice professionalism.

Remember that you are dealing with business here. So always be professional not just in your blogs and sites but also in dealing with clients. You should also see to it that you use the right words when you communicate with clients through email or in person. This way, you can easily gain the trust of your clients.

It’s Your Turn Now

These tips we have given you are merely guides for your success. It does not necessarily mean that following those will already bring you to the top. But if you will really be serious about succeeding as a freelance web designer, you will even do more than what we have stated here. How about you, what are your tips for freelance web designers?

28 December 2011

6 drawing tips from leading illustrators

Inkygoodness’ creative director Lisa Hassell asks six of her favourite illustrators to tell us how to get the most from drawing with real pens and pencils

Am I Collective

Pencil line work (such as above) can be a great tool for creating tone through manipulating pattern and texture. You don’t always have to work tone into the line itself. Rather, consider how repetition and accumulation of lines describes the form and shape. Giving specific personality to your line work is a good way to add character to an object.

Barnaby Purdy

The base for my Visitants characters is an intaglio ink. This doesn’t really like to be drawn on, so I gradually build up the shading with a 2H pencil. Varying the pressure with an HB creates the midtones and shadows, and then I use a 4B for punch in a few key areas. No patience for intaglio? Acrylic, Tippex and Poscas will give you a base to draw on almost anything.

Good Wives & Warriors

When it comes to pens, we buy the cheapest ones as they all seem to wear down at the same rate. However, we use Bic biros – they seem to offer the nicest range of tones and line

Florence Blanchard

I use a fine pencil to trace outlines very lightly, then I work on the details and shading with ink and a fine brush. I start with the lighter shades of grey and go darker, which allows any mistakes to be fixed as I go. I like to counterpoint graphic wavy abstract shapes with background clouds made by letting ink diffuse through wet paper, allowing random effects. Most of my backgrounds are painted with minimal planning in order to keep everything natural.

Sarah Coleman

The trick with dip pens is to use runny inks – not stodgy acrylic – and load the nib well. You can press hard on the paper at an angle of anywhere between 30 and 45 degrees, and the nib will obligingly split just far enough that surface tension will hold the ink together till it hits the page. I’ve created line widths of anything up to 3mm this way – and I get a rounded-end, fluctuating line of continuous thick-and-thin, rather than the solid and consistent line you get with a squared-off calligraphy nib.


I start by creating shapes with a 2B or 4B mechanical pencil and only ink when the drawing is 80 per cent there. This allows flexibility for creativity within the inking process. I use two or three Rotring Isograph pens of different sizes and Kolinsky Sable brushes, and I have Rotring ink that can be used with the brushes so the blacks match up. I like to mix up hatching and mark-making techniques to create texture and visual interest beyond the image itself.

25 December 2011

Master masks and selections in Photoshop

Derek Lea reveals ways to make compositing layers using layer masks, vector masks and alpha channels a doddle.

Add masks to groups

In Photoshop, each layer can have a single layer mask and a single vector mask. However, if you place a bunch of masked layers inside a group, you can add additional masks to the group. You can then edit the group’s masks without affecting the masks of individual layers. To take this even further, you can put this group within another group, add that to another group and so on, masking each group individually.

Mix your masks

As each Photoshop layer is allowed two masks, using them in conjunction with each other gives greater versatility. Use a vector mask to mask sharp areas and a standard mask for regions that require a softer approach. You can edit either mask at any point without affecting the other.

Fill layers are better

When building up regions of colour on a series of layers, use Solid Color fill layers rather than standard layers. You can easily define regions by editing the layer masks. Also, you can change the fill colour of a Solid Color layer at any point by double-clicking it. This non-linear approach lends itself to the intuitive back-and-forth nature of the creative process.

Swap black for white

When creating alpha-channel-based selections in black-and-white artwork, try inverting the colour indication to Selected Areas in the Channel Options (accessed via the Channels panel menu). This will result in selections based upon black areas (ie usually the drawings) rather than white (the backgrounds). You can then fill these selections with colour on a series of layers or, even better, use these selections to mask a series of Solid Color fill layers.

Target adjustments

Photoshop’s adjustment layers can be applied in a targeted way rather than image-wide. To make an adjustment to a specific layer-based component only, Cmd/Ctrl-click its layer thumbnail – this will load it as a selection. Creating an adjustment layer then affects only the selected region as a mask will be automatically created, excluding the adjustment from areas outside the selection.

23 December 2011

Website Design Ideas and Trends of 2011

There are various ways to make a website look captivating and stunning. There are also different design trends in creating them. Since websites are used by many people for their businesses and by others to get information, it is important that the design is appealing. It wouldn’t be nice to be staring for long towards a website that is poorly designed. One thing, once you own a website, you will certainly see to it that it has a professional design and it could achieve your purpose in creating it.
Today, we will give you web design ideas and trends used this year in creating most websites. For sure, most of these could be seen in existing websites and web designers out there are also thinking of using them in their future designs. Come and take a look.

1. Use HTML5 and CSS3.

Web designers gain more advantages with HTML5 and CSS3 for easier navigation and it helps them load the site faster. It also makes websites easier to build and link it with social media tools. Of course, to make it more effective, one has to learn to properly use HTML5 and CSS3. Aside from the design, it is very important that your website will really work.

2. Creative usage of typography.

Typography in web design has been widely used. But designs these days do not just use standard fonts but they use customized fonts. It makes the website more readable and attractive. The manner of using type in a creative way is indeed effective for the users can immediately get the message of the site especially if the font used is unique and the color choices are great.

3. Use of 3D effect.

Websites use 3D effects that give emphasis to dimension and depth. It gives captivating outputs and realistic designs. Flash, HTML5 and JavaScript are even used to combine with 3D effects to make it look great.

4. Use of large background image.

The use of big images is also a trend. These images are captivating and add appeal to the website. Although, it has been used before, it is still used these days with a more modern touch. Websites using this kind of design are also eye-catching especially if you have a great image choice. And you do not place just any kind of image. It should have something to do with the site.

5. Links to social media.

Social media is widely used these days and is even considered as one way of promoting a website. Place social media links in the sidebar, footer or anywhere that can immediately be seen by the readers. This way, other people can share your posts and could also increase the traffic of your website.
6. Single page layout design.
Designers can avoid putting unnecessary pages to a website through a single page layout which is more effective because the visitors can focus on the contents. This is applicable if you really do not have much to tell about you. This also became a trend due to the usage of touchscreens and smartphone apps that allows the use of varying screen sizes.

7. Use of attractive custom illustrations.

Web design looks stunning when illustrations are used. This makes it unique due to that personal and creative touch. It is also successful in getting the attention of the target audience. Just make sure that the concept of the illustrations fit to the website you are designing. Another advantage to this is that it can be easily remembered by the customers.

8. Use introductions.

Another way to present a website is by using introductions. This way, the readers can immediately know who you are and what you can do for them. This is usually used for portfolios and blogs owned by an individual who offer some services like designing and others. Using this kind of design will allow the reader to know you even just for a few seconds. Make sure your statements are not so long. It should be brief and straight to the point.

9. Websites for mobile.

With the release of smart phones, websites also adjusted to it so that people who use their phones to access websites can easily view them. Web designers have created sites that have smaller versions for mobile. This increases the number of users for the website. More traffic gives more revenue.

10. Websites with grid layouts.

This type of design has been used for long but it is still used up to this date for it is easier to use. This also allows placing more contents in the website. The site also looks organized and you do not have to think on where the next info will come out for they are merely in one line. This is usually used for simple layouts.
These web design ideas and trends have been effective and successful for many different sites. Since there are many manners of designing a website, there might be some trends that we failed to include. Have we missed something? We look forward for your additions in the comment section below.

21 December 2011

Take control with colour in digital art & illustration

Illustrator Dan Stafford shows how balancing colour is the key to amazing compositions.

Three golden rules

Colour is a slippery creature to wrestle, and there are three principles to be aware of when attempting to tackle this pig. Firstly, remember that individual colours aren’t as important as their relationships with surrounding colours. That’s what creates chemistry within an image. Secondly, juxtaposing colour with breathing space is essential for a well-balanced image. And lastly, a game of colour-picker-lucky-dip can sometimes yield fantastic results.

Choose a reaction, then a colour

Always remember that colour elicits a physical response in the viewer. Decide on the reaction you want, then choose a palette that you think will attack the right nerves in your audience’s eyes.

19 December 2011

Web design Ideas and Tips in Using Circles

When you were a kid, you were taught different shapes and various examples of each shape. You really know how circle was associated with the sun, a balloon, a smiley and others. Now that you have grown up, you make use of circles in different manners as you saw various usage of it. As a graphic designer and web designer, your use of circles even levelled up. You now use it to make great designs not just for your own use but for your clients.
Well, circles are just one of the many shapes that can be applied to a web design. As you look at the showcase of sites that uses circles, you will certainly be amazed on how well it is done. If you haven’t tried using it in your design, we will give you some web design ideas and tips in using circles. Take a look and encircle those that you find useful.

1. Use multi-layered circles.

Use multi-layered circles
Image:Matt Webb
Artistically combine different circles in various layers and you will get a stunning output. Along with this, you can use different colors to make it look more dynamic or you can opt to use only a single color for a monochromatic touch. There are various ways of using layers for your circle, if you use this technique, you can use as many layers as you want or lesser layers if you want it to look simpler. Place it as a background or in your headers or in other parts of the site.

2. Use semi-transparent circles.

Use semi-transparent circles
Many web designs use semi-transparent circles in their design. They either use colorful circles or some color choices only. Most of the time, it is used as a background. But there are also instances that it is used to highlight relevant parts of the website. This is an effective manner of drawing attention from the visitors.

3. Use large circles.

Extra large circles can also make your website look unique and appealing. It can be placed as a background of your site. It may use a color that could be an accent to your primary color or it can also bear your primary color. Some make use of large circles to illustrate something or to deliver a particular message. Circles are also effective for information and communication.

4. Use circles for navigation buttons.

Your navigation buttons will look unique if you have it done in circles. Although, circles occupy more space, it can still be effective for navigation because it is clear and can easily be seen. You surely won’t have a hard time leading your visitors in your website.

5. Use circles for headers.

Headers can look inviting if you use decorative circles in it. Simple circles can also do the job well. Depending on the website you have, you can make your circle suitable to its concept and design style. There are different ways to manipulate a circle that can titivate your header.

6. Use multi-colored circles.

A rainbow looks attractive. Same is true with using various colors for your circles. It can also look attractive. When used as a background, it draws the reader’s eyes towards the contents of the page. The page even looks more interesting if you use multi-colored circles.

7. Use circles subtly.

Circles can also look good when subtly applied to your site. Some even choose to use it on one area of the site only. Some use it for their logo or for their site name. But no matter how simply it is used, it can still attract the attention of those looking at the site because of the shape it used.

8. Use many circles on the background.

Use so many circles for the background of your website. It can look more appealing if you make it semi-transparent. You can also use various colors if it suits with the concept of the site. In whatever manner, you website will surely look great upon using many circles at the background. It can even emphasize the important contents of the website.

9. Use circles for galleries.

For a photographer’s website, instead of a grid style using mere squares or rectangles, you can use circles. Circles are great when used for galleries and categories of a site. It doesn’t need to be a photographer’s site all the time. It can be anyone’s site that can make use of this style.

10. Use creative circles.

Use creative circles
Image:Seb Design
Circles can be fancy and decorative. There are so many ways in adding a unique twist to your circle. Be creative in manipulating it so that it can add beauty to the site. You may add swirls, layers, textures, half-tones and others in order to make the circle beautiful. Some do away with the mere smooth-lined circle and choose to use the ones with an artistic touch.

11. Use retro circles.

Retro circles are great to give your site a vintage and retro look. You can even play with colors when you use it. Add other elements to your retro circles to make it look more attractive. Use it for the background of the site or as an additional decorative element for some parts of your website.

12. Use circles and textures together.

Textures alone look good. When you combine it with creative circles, it looks even much better. This is mostly effective when used as background. But you can also experiment different placements of the circles together with a particular texture that goes along with it.

13. Use circles for labels.

Circles can also be used effectively for labels. It can easily be seen and would best inform the visitors what you would like them to know. As a label, different colors could be applied to it but it will be more effective when a solid color is used.

14. Use circles for call to action.

Every website uses a call to action. Using a circle for your call to action can make it eye-catching. Use a color that is also attractive and would tend to encourage the readers to do some action in your site.

15. Use circle as a pattern and with patterns.

Use circle as a pattern and with patterns
Image:Hot Cake
Combine circles with some patterns, too. It looks pretty when joined together. Just make sure to use the right kind of pattern for your design. You can even use circle as a pattern in your web design. It also looks great when used as a pattern.

It’s Your Turn Now

Circles are indeed vital in adding a different touch to a particular design. But it actually depends on how your creative mind will work. If you will be able to come up with a great design and then add some circular touch to it, then it will certainly be appealing. Have you used circles for your site? Would you like to share your work with us?

Author: Ebrian Acebedo

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