I wonder about app design frequently because I think that one day everything will be on our phones. Since everything is becoming more and more fast-paced, I researched the best design tool apps, in case I want to follow a career path in designing them.
First, there is Evernote. Evernote is one of the all-time best apps out there for keeping organized. It works across devices – smartphone, tablet and desktop over the cloud, so once you save something you can retrieve it anywhere. And with extra add-ons like Web Clipper and Skitch you can “save” webpages to a personal file and then mark them up for reference. It is a great way to bookmark and create reading lists that you can go back to at any time. Evernote also offers a paid, premium account that offers added functionality such as shared notes and files. Evernote is available for desktops (Windows or Apple), iPad/iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
Photoshop Express sounds perfect! We can all agree that very little intense editing is being done on tablets and phones right now. But for simple touchups and edits, Adobe Photoshop Express is a great tool. For those already using Adobe products, there is a very small learning curve and it looks and works as you would expect. Simple tools are included with the download and a few more advance features are offered in-app. There are fun tools for added effects, giving you more control than Instagram and sharing is made easy too. Adobe Photoshop Express is available for iPad/iPhone and Android.
Beehance is a familiar name. I didn’t know they had an app! The Behance app allows you to have your portfolio at your fingertips. Show off your portfolio in seconds and use the app to browse for ideas. It has all of the functionality of the full website in a portable format.
And of course, how can I live without a color palette generator? The Color Schemer app is a fun little tool that lets you create color palettes or browse some of the ones created by other users. The app helps you create great RGB or HEX color pairings using photos, or with the built-in color wheel.
Previously, I talked about the best SquareSpace websites out there. Now I am going to talk about the best weebly websites. I have had experience in designing a weebly site but it has always been difficult to find a design I like and can stick with because of the wide variety of options that it has.
This site is a snowboarding business that sells skiing equipment. They have their logo set at the top of the page, right above the navigation bar (see figure 1).
(figure 1) source: http://www.douksnow.com/#
Although it has a lot of options, the design is simple and easy to read. You can tell the difference between this site and Squarespace’s websites because it has the option to include a parallax feature, something that is trending today in design.
This website also has the parallax on the top part of the homepage. However, what separates this website from the squarespace websites is the use of color. On Squarespace, there is only a select few colors you can choose from, whereas this user has decided to use different colors because of the whimsical theme of events such as circuses and escape artists. I can see why someone would choose weebly over squarespace in terms of what their business is. Clearly, Squarespace is better for portfolio purposes, whereas weebly can provide for all sorts of businesses and people.
This article on Behance.com discusses the newest trends in this early 2017 year. Apparently, design trends are influenced by media, technology, the fashion industry and lately more on usability. The first on the list is Semi Flat Design with the use of light shadows. Smooth shading adds a depth and complexity without destroying the flat design feeling. Semi Flat Design is considered a minimalist style that looks clean and slick for any business type. Something I LOVE that they talk about next are cinemagraphs. This is similar to a gif but is considered a still image with minor elements moving in them (image below).
Next to cinematography there is animation, something that continues to be a trend on web design and across other types of media. Geometric shapes, patterns, lines and circles are also trending that are usually edited to have a flat or soft shadow.
I’m happy to see that “courageous colors” are on this list. The author encourages us to use bold colors to make a statement, especially with flat design.
This site helped me in finding the name for what I thought was multiple layers on a site that creates a three-dimensional look to the page. A parallax can have infinite layers to look like it’s moving on the page. This is a WordPress Plugin that allows sections to have more than one layer (image below).
Color transitions is considered to be a big trend for 2017. The site uses Instagram as an example of a multi-colored transition that has pinks and purples. Also, the site discusses the use of neutral space and grids, something I have used in past projects because of it’s modern look.
I wanted to see what else there was out there on the web that can help me to become a freelancer in web design. What skills should I know? What tricks can make me stand out? I checked out the webdesignerdepot and found out that there are several things I need to “master” before I can go on. It’s important to know the basics, which is how to properly use color, flow, balance and proportion, and spacing. Color is crucial because it creates a message all in itself. “It works on the psychological, where colors influence how a site visitor views his user experience.” Flow is related to movement, and balance and proportion means stability, or if everything is consistently symmetrical or asymmetrical. Spacing is necessary to make the elements look like they are able to “breath” so to speak.
The list goes on to knowing HTML “like the back of your hand,” which I’m currently learning in our Online Design class. A tip I like the best is “committing to constant learning.” I believe there are always new things to learn in this field. By learning more, I have something greater to offer as an artist. It’ll allow me to expand my creativity and skills to improve. This makes sense because there are always new design trends that businesses want to follow.
In the end, the author reminds web designers to stay true to our passion and reach our “zen.” “The more you work on things that go beyond merely just design, the more you become a much, much better web designer. And that’s when you start to penetrate through to master status.”
According to webdesignerdepot.com, Adobe Kuler can be a great addition for web designers to learn. This allows designers to upload, create and edit color schemes! Another program is Pictactulous, a free palette generator that takes colors from uploaded images that can create a color scheme.
Google Webfonts is an easy and free place to get web fonts, as well as font squirrel.
But here is where it gets cooler, GuideGuide is a free photoshop extension that allows you to create grids on the fly. “By using GuideGuide you can create more accurate columns,rows, midpoints, and baselines with one click.” Then, there are code editors like CODA 2 that can make coding for the web a breeze.
I also want to consider FTP clients, and according to webdesignerdepot, the best is CYBERDUCK at $23.99. It is a platform that has ways to connect web servers, local servers, and more.