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Web Design

The Best Content Dense Online Magazine Website Layouts

If you have a goal to start a blog that’s going to be content dense, you have to put a lot of thought into the layout. The challenge with content dense sites is that it’s hard to make sure that all of your latest content and popular gets read. Instead of trying to solve this challenge on your own, take a look at these online website publications to study their magazine style layouts.

Economist:

Economist

The Economist has a great layout that uses multiple layouts throughout the site. It starts with standard featured posts and transitions into a menu layout to help users browse through to the top stories in their current issue. Each section uses a good amount of white space to help draw the eye from one section to the next and delivers an excellent browsing experience.

The Wall Street Journal:

The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal uses a layout that looks exactly like a print newsletter. It also uses a classic times new roman font which works well with the theme of the web design. The layout also displays different forms of content which works to ensure that all of their content gets enough visibility.

Boston Review:

Boston Review

The Boston Review uses a very simple and minimalist layout. It only highlights one featured post on the very top. The rest of the content is laid out in a three-column layout for around half of the page. You’re only given a different layout near the footer of the site where less popular content is shown to the users that are interested.

Reader’s Digest:

Reader's Digest

Instead of using a standard magazine style layout, Reader’s Digest uses the classic blog format for their site. The only thing that makes it different from a blog is that the side bar column has links to top stories, trending topics and different categories interspersed as you scroll down deeper into the site.

Relevant Magazine:

Relevant Magazine

Relevant Magazine succeeds with a professional looking layout that makes it seem like you’re reading through a stylish magazine. The layout uses a two-column layout but has graphical cues and labels that separate different sections. This allows the reader to scan through the website and understand what section they’re currently on.

NY Mag:

NY Mag

NY Mag is one of the most content dense layouts you’ll come across. It seems like the designers tried to use a horizontal version of the card based layout. However, if you look closer into the layout, you see a clear grid design. There isn’t a dominant pattern to the layout and it seems the idea is to get the user to click on the headline and images that draw the most attention and interest.

Vanity Fair:

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair uses an interesting three-column layout that resembles the cover of a glossy celebrity magazine. They have a very clean grid layout that makes it easy to distinguish the different content blocks. There are also many graphical cues like arrows, wavy lines and slash marks to indicate where one content ends and where another begins.

The New Yorker:

The New Yorker

The New Yorker has a very content dense layout like other news and culture publications. However, they different in that they focus on selling the headline and the preview rather than using the layout and images to draw clicks. This results in a presentation that’s very laid back and focused on letting the reader’s interest drive clicks.

Wired:

Wired

Wired is a popular tech magazine that uses a card-based design in their layout. Instead of letting the card based design get out of hand, they use a grid to keep it clean and use contained content boxes for each different section. This allows readers to keep track of what they’re looking at while the layout engages them.

New Scientist:

New Scientist

This magazine uses a very image preview driven presentation for their layout. It uses a three-column setup with a sidebar that takes up a third of the horizontal space. This creates a look that feels like you’re browsing a thumbnail preview on the content section and a magazine table of contents on the sidebar. The really impressive part of this site is that it has an excellent responsive design that uses a drop down hamburger menu for the navigation.

Esquire:

Esquire

Esquire uses a standard blog layout but mixes it up by integrating slideshow style links throughout the page. This allows the magazine to feature full width blog preview posts while still providing navigation to different articles throughout the browsing experience. This works well because they use a sticky top navigation menu that the user can always refer to.

UGS Mag:

UGS Mag

This funky online publication uses a three-column card based design accompanied by a side bar. This unorganized layout works with the look and feel that the magazine is going for. The side bar stands out from the rest of the design due to the different background colors used for each widget. They also have set up infinite scrolling to remove pagination for a fluid experience.

Mental Floss:

Mental Floss

Mental Floss starts out with a large hero image for their featured post. This helps create the look of a magazine cover. This transitions into two-column layout – one left hand sidebar and one content section. The content section uses a varied layout that is unpredictable but very engaging. For organization, visual cues and labeling is used to categorize the content.

Forbes:

Forbes

Forbes Magazine starts out with a large featured story. Then, the website layout uses a varied thumbnail style that reminds you of photo collages. The thing that makes it works is the fact that they build a visual hierarchy to make sure you pay attention to the important stories. Important stories are bigger in size and are trailed by less important stories which have smaller image thumbnails.

If you’re looking to start a blog that’s content dense, these examples should give you some great ideas on how to set up your layout. While you want these examples to influence you, you should have some trepidation about copying them blindly. You need to find a layout that works for your audience, so it’s more about testing different layouts than just picking a look.

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Web Design

Tips and Rules for Designing The Best Labels

As a graphic designer or marketer, you may find yourself in need of custom labels for products and marketing materials. Creating your own labels can help give your products an edge in the marketplace and enhance your overall branding strategy. Consumers will often see your labels before nearly any other design related to your company so label design is a great opportunity to make a solid first impression. Knowing the right tools and methods, along with some important rules and field-tested tips will ensure your company labels look professional and effectively grab your potential consumer’s attention.

Designing The Best Labels
Image by Pexels

Choosing Label Design Applications:

Perhaps the most commonly used application for creating labels is Adobe Illustrator. This professional design program allows you to create scalable vector graphics that can be resized to fit on any surface without loss of quality. Adobe Illustrator works by plotting points and lines on a canvas that can be reduced to a mathematical formula and replicated on various scales. This differs greatly from standard raster image types most often used by Adobe Photoshop and other applications. If your label will contain photo-realistic images and graphics, you will want to have access to Photoshop as well, as it’s better for details like those found in common photography. Using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop together is a great way to create scalable label designs for any product. If you need a free alternative to Photoshop or want to make your labels in open-source software, try GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) for your vector or raster designs.

How To Best Make Label Backgrounds:

One of the best ways to get started making your label is to find a stock graphic online with free commercial usage rights. Freepik is a popular source for these types of graphics. Download or create a basic vector background that reflects the tone of your product and company. Many backgrounds are available on this site and others contain embellished borders, drop-shadows, and textured canvas areas that can give you a great head-start on your label.

Label Fonts and Typography:

If you already have WordPress hosting then you may be familiar with plugins like WP Typography that can allow you to import fonts and another typographical styling to your interfaces. Use the same fonts and typography that you generate for your website on your label to give your company a coherent and uniform branding. Make sure all the fonts on your label are well legible, as many consumers want to read even the smaller print before making a purchase or consuming products. Limit your font variety to no more than three fonts per label to avoid looking out of sorts and unorganized.

Matching Colors for Labels:

Another important aspect of your label is the coloring. All colors found on your product label should match or at least be compatible with the colors on your website and printed marketing materials. This will help keep your branding recognizable and make it appear that your product line is well established. WordPress hosting users can use the TinyMCE Color Picker tool to select the best colors for their site and labels. The colors that sit opposite each other on the color wheel are usually great matches, so if you get stuck just match two colors like Yellow and Purple or Green and Red.

Content for Labels:

Don’t forget to add all the content to your label that consumers will be looking for as they shop. This includes ingredients and allergy information, contact information for your company, as well as branding and a short marketing pitch. Try to sum up why your product is a great choice for two or three sentences that engage the potential consumer without confusing them. Some humor may be appropriate depending on your product type. Use a sharp and easy to read font for the smaller text on your labels like your company address and any copyright information so that users can quickly decipher this information.

Creating your own labels is rewarding and gives your products a custom and professional feel. Make sure to use colors that complement not only each-other but the general color schemes used on your website and other marketing papers. Select fonts that reflect the mood and tone of your company but make sure they are easy to read while on the go such as for someone who is shopping in a store or glancing at your product on a shelf.

Add in all relevant information to your label so you don’t leave consumers confused, but keep your product description and sales pitches to a minimum to avoid frustrating potential customers. Consider combining design applications like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to make the most of your canvas and incorporate vector and raster images and graphics. Tools like typography plugins for WordPress and Color Selectors that you may already be using for your websites can also be used to make sure your labels look great and conform to your company branding and style guides.

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Business Web Design

Top Business Card Templates for 2018

Business cards are often the first tangible product your potential clients will see and associate with you or your company. Having a small, neat stack of business cards on hand can do more for your business than nearly any other marketing or contact information materials. With several trends emerging in business cards as of late, it’s a good idea to use a template to make sure you’re giving a modern and professional impression on your card stock.

Business Card Templates

Download some of these top business card templates to turn a brief meeting into a solid sale or business relationship.

Corporate Business Card

1) Corporate Executive Business Card Template:

This powerful template uses a solid-colour dark background selection with red or blue font options to convey a professional, corporate look and feel. This is a great choice for upper management and company owners who want to make a strong impression.

Business Cards with Images

2) Business Cards with Images:

Printing a background image on your business card is a great way to show you put in the extra effort. Adding a cityscape, product image, or other graphics to your card can help make a bold impression or encourage your customers to associate your name with the product or service you’re offering.

Download this template along with its stock photo or replace it with your own graphic for a more customized card.

Photography Business Cards

3) Photography Business Cards:

A well-designed business card can be a photographer’s best friend and ally in business. This amazing card template allows you to use one of several high-quality stock photos, or swap with your own photography sample for a well-crafted business card. Print this high-resolution business card template on a commercial printer for best results.

Digital Business Card Templates

4) Digital Business Card Templates:

While you still have the option to print the digital business cards you design with Haystack, you’ll have a great digital version as well. This is the perfect choice for modern businesses who want a classic appearance on the web reminiscent of traditional business advertising. To make and utilize this digital business card maker simply download the app and enter your contact information into one of the included templates. Purchase Joomla hosting to share your card with others through a personal or business website.

Rounded Corner Business Cards

5) Rounded Corner Business Cards:

If you’re looking for a way to add spruce of creativity to your business card while keeping the classic white and black format, this rounded-corner template is perfect for you. This is an ideal card for those with artistic businesses like Etsy shops and bakeries. This card template costs $6 and is downloadable in PSD (Adobe Photoshop) format.

Monochrome Business Cards

6) Monochrome Business Cards:

Monochrome business cards match nearly any colour scheme and business theme. This monochrome card design is super easy to make your own by adding a few lines of contact information and printing. The grayscale scheme on this card offers a neutral platform, suitable for all business types.

Watercolor Business Card

7) Watercolor Business Card:

This watercolour style business card is a must-have for anyone in a style-based industry like florists, bakers, artists, fashion, and store owners. The card contains a pretty, appealing watercolour-like background splash with plenty of room for a name, address, and contact number. This is a double-sided business card, which looks expensive and classy when printed on heavy card stock paper.

Vertical Business Card Templates

8) Vertical Business Card Templates:

This vertical business card template is rated as one of the best card designs for 2018 by Envato market customers. Not only does this card break the monotony of traditional, horizontal cards, but it also comes with a back-facing design to further enhance your card’s aesthetic. This tech-savvy card can also be used digitally if you wish to post a copy on your website or blog. All you need to share your card digitally is a web host and website URL. Getting Joomla hosting is a great way to start an online business without paying CMS fees and make use of your new high-tech card.

Black Business Card with White Font

9) Black Business Card with White Font:

Inverting the white space on your business card to use a white font over a black background is a great way to make your business stand out. This card is perfect for those in the arts, technology, entertainment, and foodservice industries. Keep your text minimal and typography clean to capture the intended sleekness of this card’s design.

Minimalist White Business Card Template

10) Minimalist White Business Card Template:

Sometimes going with a clean, simple business card is best. This downloadable minimalist business card template makes use of white space to get right to the point. If you’re looking for something a little less flashy, you can feel comfortable handing this business card out in any setting.

Whether you want a graphical, high-tech looking business card or need to keep it simple and straightforward, these templates will help you create a professional card stock communication for any business person, artist, or expert.

Download one of the templates listed here to save money on the design and printing your business cards.

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Web Design

The Evolution of Logo Design

Logos have been around for centuries. If you do not believe this, think of the show ‘Game of Thrones’. This is a medieval fantasy that was based on real events during the Middle Ages, specifically, the War of the Roses. In the show, and even in our own history, the way people show their allegiance is through brandishing their lord’s arms or family crests. You can go as far as to say that their house words work like a brand tagline. Fast forward a bit to the Crusades – soldiers chosen for the Knights Templar who wears a big red cross on white and on their shields. And that cross has become a marker that this knight works for the interests of the church.

Evolution of Logo Design

Recounting the history of logo designing:

In a more related commercial context on how we use a logo design now, it used to be a way to differentiate merchant shops from each other. Remember that trading was the norm, and the game involves carrying exclusive items like spices, silk, and other rare goods.

It was not until the mid-20th century that logos started to become part of building an identity. Designers started thinking about how to communicate with buyers through the logo and how they can encapsulate company values and its essence through it. This produced some of the cleanest and modernist designs that have become iconic today, taking into account the following elements: simple, memorable, and no frills. And you can see this practice today through logos from Apple, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Nike.

Smartphones and its influence on logo design:

Smartphones and its influence on logo design

At present, designers are not just creating logos for classified ads or posters, they are creating distinct icons for the digital platform. The rise of smartphones has also brought with it the minimalistic style. In this new logo trend, companies do not just want to make it memorable and simple, but that it has to be flexible enough to be redesigned for smartphone interface. If you look at your phone’s home, all those icons you see are not merely made for you to know which app you are using. You are literally carrying and interacting with brand logos in a way that was not as personal before.

And if you still don’t know yet, brand logos used to come with a manual detailing how to use it for different means. For instance, if you have a firm that distributes collectibles to retailers called Pop Culture Central, firms will not just create a logo for you, but they will tell you how you can position that on your trucks, and the dos and don’ts on using it on paper.

But the digital culture made that a little irrelevant. Let us take Nike as an example. Their famous check or “swoosh” mark did not actually get the attention that it was gunning for back then. In fact, people were a just “meh” about it. However, incessantly marketing it and channeling tons of creative power to it has made it one of the best examples of a simplistic logo that is globally recognizable.

Another example would be the Snapchat logo – A white ghost drawn in a scrawly manner, on a yellow background. The story was that the founder drew that ghost himself and chose the color yellow because there are not a lot of apps that are colored as such. Together with the app’s capabilities to share ridiculously filtered video and photo messages with friends and marketing power, the Snapchat logo has earned a universal reputation. Right now, once you see yellow, Snapchat would be one of the first things you will think about.

When it comes to logo design, it is not only about using it as a visual communication tool. Yes, it is important that designers are able to get a brand’s values and essence and turn it into an icon. But with the marketing platform perennially changing, it is also important to create marketing strategies that will not only help make the logo memorable, but also to give the company a feeling of ownership towards it.

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Web Design

Tips For Hiring A Good Web Design Agency

Hiring A Good Web Design Agency

Hiring a web design agency is no easy feat because there are many pitfalls. You need to avoid hiring an agency that seems experienced but actually outsources cheap and ineffective labor. Here are several tips that will help you to hire a good web design agency:

Ensure that they have a full development team

If you need web design services, make sure that you hire a web team. Many web design agencies have a portfolio that is full of business cards, logos, and letterheads. You should not base your opinion on just that.

If you want a redesigned front-end Word Press site, experience will not matter. However, if you want to build a website from scratch, make sure the agency that you hire has enough knowledge to do it.

Hiring A Good Web Design Agency

Make sure their marketing goes beyond development and design

According to Colby Richards, the owner of a web design agency in Portland, most people who have businesses on the web know that SEO, or search engine optimization, is essential to promote your site properly and get it to the top of the search engine results.

If you do not want to spend a fortune on Google Adwords for every lead, SEO is the best option.

If a web team builds a wonderful site that is aesthetically appealing and functional but lacks metadata and picture descriptions, what good is it?

You can avoid this scenario by hiring a design agency that has enough tools to make your site searchable. Moreover, you should not believe any agency that tells you they provide SEO services without going into details.

Ask about their testing platforms

There is nothing as annoying as spending a lot of money on a website only to realize that it is full of bugs. You need to ask the agency that you want to hire how they perform testing before completing their projects. What support do they offer for making changes to the site once it is complete?

The client should not be tasked with looking for oversights and bugs. This job belongs to the web design agency.

Ask for references

Just because a company claims to have done work in the past does not make it true. Can their previous clients vouch for them? Make sure that you get several references to ascertain that you are hiring a capable team.

Look at their corporate website

Is there anything about the agency’s website that you do not like? You should bring it up with them before you make any final decisions. If their website is poorly built, what makes you so sure that yours will be any better?

Consider the budget information, deadlines, and cost

Asking for cost information in advance is a wise move. Most companies might hesitate to hand over this information right away, but you have to insist. A good web design team should be able to work with your budget.

If you provide a deadline, the agency needs to meet it. If they can work with the set parameters, you should consider hiring them.

Ask about their process

Asking the agency about their action plan is a good starting point. The process varies from one company to the next. While some have flexible steps, other companies have a more stringent module. The key lies in finding out what the process is and how they plan to implement it. What overall impact will it have on the overall project?

Choosing a web design agency that fits your set criteria can be very useful if the right questions and areas are explored. Although the process of choosing a good web design agency takes time, it will be worth it in the end. However, you need to be careful, especially if it is your first time choosing a web design agency.

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Web Design

30 Tools That No Designer Can Live Without

Designers are extremely busy people. Fact. Not only do they have to make time to find inspiration for their next project, manage feedback, attend meetings, and communicate with their clients, they also have to find the time to actually sit down and do the work.

Designers are extremely busy people
Image by pixabay

Let’s not forget the time and effort they have to put into mocking up an idea, creating a visual for sharing or keeping abreast of modern design trends. The role of a designer is so much more than just ‘colouring-in’.

To ease the workload of time-poor designers, Precision Printing has compiled a list of the best software, apps, tools, skills, websites and resources that no designer can live without. Each of these tools has been carefully selected for its ability to help you streamline your work, find inspiration easily, show off your amazing design skills, and make collaboration easier.

Check out Precision Printing to find the list of all of these software, apps, tools, skills, websites and resources that are essential for every designer.