Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: November 2012 | By Smashing Editorial


Smashing Magazine

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one—desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for over four years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

November Desktop Wallpaper

We continue to nourish you with a monthly spoon of inspiration. This post features free desktop wallpapers created by artists across the globe for November 2012. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free. It’s time to freshen up your wallpaper!

Please note that:

  • All images can be clicked on and lead to the preview of the wallpaper,
  • You can feature your work in our magazine by taking part in our Desktop Wallpaper Calendar series. We are regularly looking for creative designers and artists to be featured on Smashing Magazine. Are you one of them?

Read more…

 

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Useful Print And Online Magazines For Web Designers


 

By  | smashingmagazine.com

One of the advantages of working in a creative industry is the number of designers and developers who take their craft seriously. The design community shines in one regard in particular: the design community seems to be less willing to hoard knowledge and skills. Instead, we present them, elaborate on them and keep improving on each other’s techniques — among other media — magazines and books.

In this overview of useful magazines you’ll find everything from purely online publications to monthly, glossy print editions, where all subjects relevant to art and design are being investigated in colorful, eloquent detail.

(Smashing’s side note: Have you already bought the brand new Smashing Book #3? The book introduces new practical techniques and a whole new mindset for progressive Web design. Get your book today!)

Print And Digital Indie Publications

The Manual
Three beautiful A5 handcrafted hardback books-magazines a year, each one with a bit over 100 pages. The Manual delivers intelligent and critical thinking, and voices on the “Why?” of Web design, taking the reader to a deeper and richer level of work. Published by Andy McMillan, edited by Carolyn Wood, and designed by Jez Burrows, you can get it for 25$.

CODEX, The Journal of Typography
An infrequent 164 page magazine with feature articles, book and typeface reviews, interviews, type history, essays and type design — from typography experts. The first issue was released in spring of 2011, the second one is coming out in summer of 2012. The Codex magazine is only available in print and PDF version (8$).

Offscreen Mag: The People Behind Bits & Pixels
Offscreen is a high-quality print magazine created, edited, designed and published by Kai Brach, issued three to four times a year, and available online for 17,90$. With each issue built around six lengthy interviews, it explores the off-screen life and work of people who create websites and apps, and tells their stories of creativity, passion and hard work.

Offscreen Magazine

TYPO
A magazine dedicated to visual communication, graphic design and typography. It is aimed at both professionals and beginners in typography, font design, graphic design and education, as well as marketing and visual communication specialists. The magazine is published quarterly. All 34 issues between 2003 and 2008 are also available in PDF.

Leer más “Useful Print And Online Magazines For Web Designers”

Redesigning With Personality

A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY
It wasn’t that long ago when those of us publishing on the Web felt compelled to inflate ourselves for the public. Did you have a website in the late 1990s during the dot-com boom? I did, and like so many others, I wrote copy for my websites in the royal “we” to give the impression that I had a corporation as big as iXL or Razorfish (kids, go ask your parents). Throw in stock photography of fictitious partners and meetings, and you’re on your way to transforming a one-man show operating out of a bedroom into a global corporation.
It was a facade I had created because I believed no one would take me seriously if I was honest. I wasn’t the only one duping my audience. At the time, most small businesses and freelancers were painting a picture of corporate grandeur when there was nothing but one or two individuals behind the curtain.
Things are different these days. We’ve opened up our lives to the world on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. We no longer maintain separate personas for our personal and professional lives. The line that once separated them is now blurred, and we now offer one authentic personality for the world to experience, for better or worse.
Because we’ve opened ourselves up to one another, we have come to expect the same of the brands we interact with. In a consumption-centric world where products are pushed on us and companies are always taking instead of giving, we crave real human interaction that is reciprocal and respectful.
A few companies have figured this out and are forging emotional connections with their customers by sharing their personality. We have now come to expect this of small startups, such as Carbonmade, a zany Web app that helps designers create a portfolio, and Photojojo, a playground for photographers. These companies are free of corporate constraints and brimming with youthful creativity. Their design and marketing are filled with wit that sets them apart from competitors. But personality is a powerful design tool that works even with gigantic conglomerates.


We are very happy to present a sample chapter from the upcomingprinted Smashing Book #3, written by Aarron Walter. In this chapter, Aarron explains how sharing our personalities can help us create lasting relationships with users, and how it can improve the bottom line of our business. The sample is also available for free download in PDFEPUB and MobiPocket. —Editorial Team

Written by Aarron Walter, reviewed by Denise Jacobs.

Redesigning a website can be the seven-layer taco dip of hell. You’ve searched for inspiration on dozens of websites, captured screenshots, jotted down notes, consulted friends and colleagues, maybe even interviewed users. But despite your due diligence, your vision for the new website remains unclear.

I feel your pain, my friend. I have been there many times. A redesign brings with it the pressure to innovate, to reimagine, to make a better version of the website so that it lasts for years to come. It can be paralyzing.

Redesigning With Personality, by Aarron Walter
The cover image from Aarron Walter’s chapter in the printed Smashing Book #3. Designed by Kate McLelland.

Whether the website is for a client or for yourself, if you’re struggling to find your way, it’s probably because you are starting from the wrong place. The inspiration you seek is not where you think it is. It’s not in a blog post entitled “25 Amazingly Beautiful Websites.” It’s not in your Twitter stream, nor on Facebook. It’s not even on the Web. It’s right there on your seat. It’s you.

Just for a moment, stop thinking about HTML semantics, CSS magic and jQuery tricks. Instead, ask yourself, “Who am I, and what do I want to say?” What do you stand for, what’s important to you, and who are you speaking to? Let’s make the answers to these questions the trailhead of your redesign journey.

We Web designers have many tantalizing tools at our fingertips, and because the Web is a large community centered on sharing, new ideas and fancy techniques enter our field of vision daily. But in this chapter, I would like to turn your gaze from those shiny objects and focus it on what we’re really trying to do with our medium. Our true aim is to communicate clearly and to create human connections.

We achieve that goal not by collecting bells and whistles for our next project, but by discovering who we are and what our message is. The interfaces we design are not walls upon which our users click and tap. They are windows through which we show the world who we really are. As we will see in the principles and examples to come, sharing our personality can help us create lasting relationships with the people who use our websites, and it can improve the bottom line of our business.

Personality will set your brand apart from competitors and help you connect with a passionate audience. Making personality central to the ethos of your redesign might sound scary, especially if you’re working with a big corporation accustomed to speaking like the Borg. But even the biggest corporations can communicate with a human voice.

Who Are “They”?

Big redesign projects often begin by researching users. We sit down with people to discuss their goals for our website and the expectations they have; we look at demographics, analytics and search logs. It is a lot of data to sift through, but it’s not idle footwork. From this research we can create portraits of our archetypal users. This dossier on individuals in our target audience is called a user persona. It answers an important question in the redesign process: who are “they,” the people we’re communicating with, and what do they expect of us?

Chances are, if you’ve spent even a little time working in Web design, you have probably heard of user personas. Maybe you’ve even created a few. We have been asking ourselves “Who are they?” since Alan Cooper introduced user personas to interaction design in 1995, and they have been a staple of user-centered design ever since. If personas are new territory for you, you will find a concise introduction to the topic in The Project Guide to UX Design[1] by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler. If you would like to dig deeper into user research, check out Alan Cooper’s industry-changing book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum.[2]

With personas in hand, we have a solid starting point for a redesign. But something is missing. Personas show us only half of what we need to see. Truly effective communication is bidirectional. We now know who “they” are, but who are we? If we share a bit of ourselves in our design, we cannot only gain the trust of our audience, but also inspire impassioned users.

PERSONALITY

Lasting relationships center on the unique qualities and perspectives we all possess. We call this amalgam of traits personality. Through our personality, we express the entire gamut of emotions. Personality is the mysterious force that attracts us to certain people and repels us from others. It is like a signpost for compatibility, stirring an emotional response that we cannot ignore.

We have all experienced the magic of meeting someone whose personality captivates us. A chance encounter brings us together, and the magnetism of our personalities keeps us together. Personality helps our brains perform a simple cost-benefit analysis when we meet someone.

A persona paints a portrait of an archetypal user in our target audience and informs our design decisions. This one was created by Todd Zaki Warfel of messagefirst.com
Figure 8.1. A persona paints a portrait of an archetypal user in our target audience and informs our design decisions. This one was created by Todd Zaki Warfel of messagefirst.com

Though we may not always be conscious of it, we evaluate the world around us with a simple question, “Is this good or bad for me?” Personality provides us with all of the cues we need to determine whether a relationship with a new acquaintance is in our best interest or could be harmful. Because personality plays such an important role in our decision-making process in our social circles, it can be a powerful tool in design as well. Leer más “Redesigning With Personality”

Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: April 2012 | Varieté de Abril, pasen y vean


 

By  | smashingmagazine.com

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one — desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for over four years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

We continue to nourish you with a monthly spoon of inspiration. This post features free desktop wallpapers created by artists across the globe for April 2012. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free. It’s time to freshen up your wallpaper!

Please note that:

[Note: Have you already pre-ordered your copy of our Printed Smashing Book #3? The book is a professional guide on how to redesign websites and it also introduces a whole new mindset for progressive Web design, written by experts for you.]

Noisy Neighbors

Designed by Katerina Bobkova from Ukraine.

Smashing Wallpaper - April 2012

Bird Songs

“”Spring would not be spring without bird songs.” – Francis M. Chapman.” Designed by Raymond Lopez from USA.

Smashing Wallpaper - April 2012

Bear On The Moon

Designed by Oxana Kostromina from Germany/Russia.

Smashing Wallpaper - April 2012

Retro Light Wall… Leer más “Desktop Wallpaper Calendar: April 2012 | Varieté de Abril, pasen y vean”

The Art Of Content Marketing

Before creating content, you need to prepare. Think about your tone and style, where to find the best writers and how to organize your workflow.

TONE AND STYLE

Too many companies start writing content before their brand has a defined voice. This leads to inconsistency. It’s like using one logo in your brochure, another on your website and another on your blog.

When speaking with people, you see their expressions and you adjust your tone accordingly. In a meeting, when you see that someone is confused, you clarify meaning, simplify sentences and speak reassuringly. The Web offers no feedback until your content is published, and then it’s too late.

To get the right tone, think of the person who best represents your brand. The person could be fictional or real, and they may or may not work for you. Now think of adjectives that describe them. Once you know what you want, provide clear details and practical examples.


http://www.smashingmagazine.com  By: 

A few months ago I went to collect a friend from hospital. Arriving early, I entered the waiting room and noticed in-house magazines stacked by the door. I picked one up, grabbed a coffee and took a seat.

The magazine read like a very long press release, blabbering on about patient-centric care and employee awards. I was quickly bored, so I read from my phone instead. The magazine failed in its purpose.

Effective content marketing holds people’s attention. It gives you a distinctive brand, loyal fans and increased sales. You don’t need a big budget to succeed, which is why good content marketing is the single best way to beat bigger competitors online.

Content marketing used to be about customer magazines and mailed newsletters. Now it covers blogs, email newsletters, eBooks, white papers, articles, videos and more. In this article, you will learn about content marketing techniques that you can apply to your business.

[Note: A must-have for professional Web designers and developers: The Printed Smashing Books Bundle is full of practical insight for your daily work. Get the bundle right away!]

Prepare >>> Leer más “The Art Of Content Marketing”

Respect Thy Typography

It’s fair to say that the global webdesign community is experiencing a typographical renaissance. Revolutionary technologies like Typekit, Fontdeck, the introduction of the @font-face tag, and online licensing for professional typefaces are all encouraging type enthusiasts around the Web to transcend the shackles of common type. Furthermore, clever use of CSS and JavaScript are allowing us to mimic a range of typesetting techniques (though admittedly some basic typographical controls are still frustratingly infantile).

But with such power comes great responsibility. And even though modern tools give us the opportunity to do so many things, doing a great deal of these things isn’t always a recipe for beautiful design. Just because we have many options opening up to us doesn’t mean we need to employ every single one of them in the hope of developing a design that stands out—and most likely for all the wrong reasons.


 By  | http://www.smashingmagazine.com
Smashing Books Bundle - only $49.80 - Buy now!

Good typography shouldn’t have to rely on ornamental crutches to stand tall. Yet despite all the tools and knowledge available to us, we readily embrace a flourishing, decorative typography, with cheap tricks used in a misguided attempt to make it “pop”. This ancient art may rapidly be gaining popularity, but are we paying it the respect it deserves?

Take a snapshot of the visual culture that surrounds you—magazines, movie posters, packaging, websites—how much of it relies on typography? How much of the typography around you is actually well considered? Chances are you’ll find a handful of beautifully crafted typographical designs competing with an avalanche of visually “rich”, image-heavy creations. Typography is then relegated to the role of “necessary evil” in order to display text, or ill-considered typographic pieces, where the meaning of MS WordArt has been interpreted a smidgen too literally… Why?

[Note: A must-have for professional Web designers and developers: The Printed Smashing Books Bundle is full of practical insight for your daily work. Get the bundle right away!]

Looking Back >>> Leer más “Respect Thy Typography”

Proposal Writing

I work at a Web development company and we’ve experimented with proposal writing a lot over the years. We’ve seen the good and the bad, and we have found something better. In this article I will share the pains that we have experienced in the proposal writing process, the solution we adopted, and our process for carrying out that solution. I’ll also give you guidelines to help you know when this solution is and isn’t appropriate.

Proposal Writing Causes Pain
After several years of writing proposals, we began to notice that something wasn’t right. As we considered the problem we noticed varying levels of pain associated with the proposal writing process. We categorized those pains as follows:

The Rush
Getting a proposal done was usually about speed. We were racing against the clock and working hard to deliver the proposal as efficiently and as effectively as possible. However, sometimes corners would get cut. We’d reuse bits and pieces from older proposals, checking and double-checking for any references to the previous project. While the adrenaline helped, the rush gets old because you know that, deep down, it’s not your best work. Besides, you don’t even know if you’re going to close the deal, which leads to the next pain.

The Risk
Our proposal close ratio with clients that came directly to us was high. We’d work hard on the proposals and more often than not, we’d close the deal. The risk was still there, however, and I can think of several proposals that we had spent a lot of time and effort on for a deal that we didn’t get. Not getting the deal isn’t the problem — the problem is going in and investing time and energy in a thorough proposal without knowing if there is even the likelihood that you’re going to close the deal.
The Details
The difference between a project’s success and its failure is in the details. In proposal writing, the details are in the scope. What work is included, what is not, and how tight is the scope? Now, this is where the “rush” and the “risk” play their part. The rush typically causes us to spend less time on details and the “risk” says: “Why spell it all out and do the diligence when you might not even get the project?” A self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps, but a legitimate concern nonetheless. Selling a project without making the details clear is asking for scope creep, and turns what started out as a great project into a learning experience that can last for years.
Now, writing is an important part of the project and I’m not about to say you shouldn’t write. Having a written document ensures that all parties involved are on the same page and completely clear on exactly what will be delivered and how it will be delivered. What I’m saying, though, is that you should stop writing proposals.


By  | http://www.smashingmagazine.com

After several grueling days I had finally finished the proposal. I sent it off and waited for a response. Nothing. After a few weeks, I discovered that they were “just looking”. Despite the urgency and aggressive timeline for the RFP (Request For Proposal) plus the fact that we had done business with this organization before, the project was a no-go. My days of effort were wasted. Not entirely, though, because the pain of that loss was enough to drive me to decide that it wouldn’t happen again.

I work at a Web development company and we’ve experimented with proposal writing a lot over the years. We’ve seen the good and the bad, and we have found something better. In this article I will share the pains that we have experienced in the proposal writing process, the solution we adopted, and our process for carrying out that solution. I’ll also give you guidelines to help you know when this solution is and isn’t appropriate.

Proposal Writing Causes Pain

After several years of writing proposals, we began to notice that something wasn’t right. As we considered the problem we noticed varying levels of pain associated with the proposal writing process. We categorized those pains as follows:

  • The Rush
    Getting a proposal done was usually about speed. We were racing against the clock and working hard to deliver the proposal as efficiently and as effectively as possible. However, sometimes corners would get cut. We’d reuse bits and pieces from older proposals, checking and double-checking for any references to the previous project. While the adrenaline helped, the rush gets old because you know that, deep down, it’s not your best work. Besides, you don’t even know if you’re going to close the deal, which leads to the next pain.
  • The Risk
    Our proposal close ratio with clients that came directly to us was high. We’d work hard on the proposals and more often than not, we’d close the deal. The risk was still there, however, and I can think of several proposals that we had spent a lot of time and effort on for a deal that we didn’t get. Not getting the deal isn’t the problem — the problem is going in and investing time and energy in a thorough proposal without knowing if there is even the likelihood that you’re going to close the deal.
  • The Details
    The difference between a project’s success and its failure is in the details. In proposal writing, the details are in the scope. What work is included, what is not, and how tight is the scope? Now, this is where the “rush” and the “risk” play their part. The rush typically causes us to spend less time on details and the “risk” says: “Why spell it all out and do the diligence when you might not even get the project?” A self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps, but a legitimate concern nonetheless. Selling a project without making the details clear is asking for scope creep, and turns what started out as a great project into a learning experience that can last for years.

Now, writing is an important part of the project and I’m not about to say you shouldn’t write. Having a written document ensures that all parties involved are on the same page and completely clear on exactly what will be delivered and how it will be delivered. What I’m saying, though, is that you should stop writing proposals.

Write Evaluations, Not Proposals

Write Evaluations, Not Proposals — And Charge For Them… Leer más “Proposal Writing”