Articles tagged as ‘Tools’

Ultimate Collection of Free Photoshop Styles

Photoshop users can save time during the design process by making use of layer styles. Whether you are saving your own custom style to be used multiple times throughout your design, or using pre-made styles created by other designers, taking advantage of this feature in Photoshop can greatly speed up your workflow.

In this post we’ll link out to hundreds of useful Photoshop layer styles that can be downloaded for free. Many of them have been created especially for text, others for buttons, and some are more general. Download the styles and apply them to your layers for instant results.

8-Bit Photoshop Styles

8-Bit Photoshop Styles

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Does Your Design Blog Need a Podcast? Plus, 8 Free Podcasting Software Tools

Blog content is important, right? If you have a web design blog for your freelance web design business, you already know how having a blog can help you attract traffic and establish yourself as an expert. (If you don’t have a blog on your freelancing website, why don’t you?)

Blogs need content, but not all content is writing. Podcasts are an important type of content that is often overlooked. Consider adding a podcast to your freelancing blog to give it more variety.

Podcasts are audio or video files that you add to your blog. You can also submit your audio file podcasts to iTunes. While some podcasts contain music, many successful bloggers present informative material with podcasts and you can too. For the purposes of this post, we’ll be discussing audio podcasts.

Podcasting is not for everyone. But adding a podcast to your blog may be just the thing you need to set your web design business apart from the rest.

In this in this introduction to podcasting, I’ll explain how podcasting can help you promote your web design business. I’ll also identify some tools to help you to get started with podcasting. Finally, I’ll include some tips and tutorials so that you can learn more about podcasting.
podcasts1
Image Source: ON THE AIR by Rochelle Hartman CC by 2.0

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Shopify Toolbox: Resources for Shopify Users and Designers

Shopify is one of the leading e-commerce options for companies and individuals who want to be able to quickly set up a feature-rich online shop. All Shopify users have access to free templates that can be used, plus a large and growing selection of beautiful premium templates that can be purchased for affordable prices. Shopfiy is a hosted system, so you won’t have to go through a complicated installation process on your server, and support and billing for e-commerce functionality and hosting is combined and managed in one place.

Many designers and developers love Shopify because it’s a great system to use for client projects. You can create custom themes for your clients, or even make money by selling your templates in their theme shop. Developers can also create and sell apps in the app shop. Shopify has a partners program that allows designers to earn a commission by referring clients, and they also have an experts section where you can get listed so Shopify users can easily find you for custom work.

In this post we’ll highlight a number of resources that will be very helpful to designers/developers who want to learn more about Shopify, and also for shop owners who want to find some great resources to make their e-commerce site even better.

Shopify Ecommerce

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Social Media: Finding the Balance Between a Waste of Time and Necessary Networking

Ah yes, the all too constant struggle of networking with social media. It’s one of those necessary evils that everyone, from job seekers to freelancers to name brand companies, have to rethink constantly. This is why it is one of the most commonly discussed topics across multiple industries. We all know just how important social media is, and most of us continue to struggle between making it a successful marketing avenue and a waste of time.

As a freelancer who has struggled with wasting hours on social media and completely ignoring it for a month (or more) at a time, I have learned a few ways to help me narrow this gap between the two extremes. Now, have learned how to better focus my efforts with social media. It’s still not perfect, but I am on the road to tightening down my efforts and am already seeing results. And for those of you social media skeptics, even when I was only flailing along with social media, I gained enough clients through my exposure via Twitter and Google+ that I haven’t had to search for clients since I became active in several social platforms.

If you are a business owner, freelancer, or even an individual simply looking to build up a strong network in your search for a career, you may find the following tips to help you better take advantage of the benefits that social media has to offer. Hopefully, some of the resources below will help you greatly reduce the time-suck trap many fall into with social media. Use your own experience in combination with these tips, and like me you may find clients knocking down your proverbial door.

So, take a look at the following 10 tips and resources and get ready to re-adjust your social networking plan into one that will waste less time and build more positive results for you and your business ventures.

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Free Resources for Creating a Flat Design

Flat designs are taking over quite quickly it seems. I doubt anyone could argue against it being the latest and greatest for (fairly) new trends on the web, in mobile devices, and even in print. The simple description for a flat style of design is one that lacks 3D effects, such as bevels or drop shadows.

The stylistic details of a flat design can vary somewhat, just as with most design styles. Usually, though, a flat design is quite minimalist with primary-ish colors and lots of “white space”. The font is usually thin without too much flare. Boxes and buttons are, of course, without strokes or 3D effects. Some flat designs do contain shadows, but these are usually flat-ish as well.

Whether you are new to flat design or simply need some fresh, new resources for your next project, most should be able to find a few items below to help. The list below is divided into 5 categories: UI kits, icons, templates, WordPress themes, and tutorials. The best part? All are free. The ones that specifically mention “free for commercial use” are noted as well. Have fun browsing and be sure to let us know of any other amazingly free flat resources.

UI Kits

A UI kit is a user interface collection that comes with all the parts and pieces you need to design your own website. Usually they are PSD but sometimes will come with other components as well. While you can use the color scheme in the file, you can create your own color scheme. They also come with patterns, brushes, and much more. Hence, UI kits save a web designer a lot of time, improving workflow and decreasing time spent on projects.

DesignModo Flat UI

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45 Amazing and Free Photoshop Actions

This post was originally published a few years ago, and many of the actions originally featured are no longer available. The post has been edited to remove the dead links and to improve the quality of the actions featured. Some of the actions originally included still remain, but you’ll now find a better selection and better quality.

Photoshop actions allow designers and photographers to automate common sequences for increased efficiency. If you do much work with photo editing you can certainly benefit from the time saved by having a good library of Photoshop actions. There are so many different types of actions that you can use from vintage effects, to black and white, to HDR and much more.

There are countless actions available that can be downloaded for free, and in this post we’ll feature 45 of them. Some of these are individual actions and others are sets that include multiple actions. These actions have been created by various designers and photographers and have been made available for free download.

Keep in mind that while Photoshop actions can be extremely useful and helpful, the results will vary from one photo to the next. Not every photo will look great with every action. Experiment with them and you’ll get a good feel for which actions work best with certain types of photos.

Vintage Pro

Vintage Pro

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Website Builders: A Complete Guide to WYSIWYG and Drag-and-Drop Options

Drag-and-drop WYSIWYG website builders have always been a topic of mixed opinions, and strong feelings, in the web design and development industry. While WYSIWYG editors and builders have been popular for quite some time, in recent years new options have emerged and in some cases the quality of code produced has improved. With the massive numbers of users that industry leaders like Wix have been able to amass, it’s not a wise decision for most designers and developers to simply ignore WYSIWYG website builders.

If you’re a designer or developer that focuses on larger, more costly projects it is highly unlikely that your clients will decide to build their own website with a drag-and-drop editor. However, the vast majority of freelance designers and small studios work with many clients on small projects with very tight budgets. In these situations the clients may be looking at do-it-yourself options as real alternatives to hiring a designer/developer to create the site for them.

The potential of losing clients to do-it-yourself alternatives isn’t the only way that these website builders can impact designers. Some of the options are created specifically with designers in mind, with the goal of allowing designers to be able to create websites for clients in a more efficient way that will lead to better profitability for the designer. Because the quality of these options, for example Squarespace, have improved in recent years, a growing number of designers are using these drag-and-drop builders to create websites for clients rather than coding everything from scratch. With small projects and limited budgets, these options may allow a designer to turn a profit on a project that would otherwise not be worth their time.

Additionally, other website builders exist specifically to allow designers to create their own portfolio website and show off their work. These options can be great for designers that don’t code, for students who want to show their work to help land a job, and for designers who need to get a portfolio online quickly.

In this article we’ll take a detailed look at the topic of website builders. We’ll look at 13 of the leading options, along with pros and cons of using a website builder. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of every website builder that is available. There are literally hundreds of options out there. In this article we’ll look at some of the most popular options, and we’ll also look at some that are created and marketed more towards designers. Of these options 3 of them work with WordPress and 2 of them are specifically for creating portfolio websites.

Leading Website Builder Options:

Wix

Wix

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How to Take Back Your Time & Increase Your Productivity — Plus 11 Great Productivity Tools

Did you ever finish a day of hard work and feel like you got nothing done?

Believe me, you’re not the only one. Time management is a challenge for many professionals, and web designers are no exception.

If you’re also a freelancer, how well you manage your time may also affect how much you earn. So, it’s important maximize your productivity whenever you can.

Unfortunately, we all have many demands on our time. Often, it’s the little things that slow us down the most–things we might not even think about.

productivity
Image Source: lett -/=

In this post, I’ll show you how to increase your productivity by identifying three common problems that keep us from being as productive as we should be. I’ll also share 11 productivity tools to help you get better control of your time.

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50 Bootstrap Themes for Responsive Websites

Twitter’s Bootstrap framework has become incredibly popular since it was initially released in 2011. If you’re looking for a way to quickly build and deploy responsive websites, Bootstrap is a great option. While using any of the popular frameworks will involve a little bit of a learning curve, once you have adapted your process it can be much quicker for you to complete web design projects with the help of Bootstrap.

Another good thing about using Bootstrap is that there are loads of tools and resources available thanks to a growing community around the open-source project. You can purchase a great-looking template or theme built on Bootstrap for less than $20. Here we’ll take a look at 50 well-designed, and affordable, templates for Bootstrap.

Myway - $13

Myway

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10 Helpful Resources for Testing Responsive Web Design

Testing is a critical part of the responsive web design process. The purpose of using a responsive layout is to make the website useful on any type of device, but without extensive testing it’s not possible to know for sure how the site is behaving in different situations. Fortunately, there are a number of different tools and resources available that can help you to test your responsive designs. In this article we’ll take a look at 10 helpful tools that you may want to try for yourself.

Respondr

Respondr is a simple, but helpful, tool. You’ll just enter the URL of the site/page that you want to test, and then select the device of your choice. You can select an iPhone, iPad, or desktop. It then previews the page at the appropriate width.

Respondr

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