May 2009

The great wide hope.

When you’ve got a brilliant scene before your eyes, sometimes a wide angle lens just doesn’t cut it. You want a big, bold panorama. In the old days, this meant purchasing a very expensive specialist camera. No longer! In this digital age, any camera is able to achieve gorgeous results. The Digital Photography School tells you how to get the best results.

Brushing up with Illustrator.

Good Illustrator brushes are a little bit harder to find than good Photoshop brushes, but there are some quality, free sets out there. DesignMag has a collection of 30 sets that you’ll find very useful.

I heart grunge.

Grunge design elements are a great way to give a design a worn and weathered look. Since it’s a popular style in modern web design, there are plenty of resources out there, but sometimes it’s difficult to find the ones that are the highest quality. The Web Design Ledger has compiled an excellent collection of grunge textures and brushes.

And if you need the fonts, InstantShift provides 105 free grunge fonts. Grunge rules.

Dedicated to the public domain.

This site features thousands of high quality public domain photographs, well categorised and easy to search. All photos on are public domain so you can go nuts.

Do this, don’t do that.

When it comes to designing websites, we can occasionally slip into some sloppy or shoddy habits. To ensure that your website is clean, well written and conform to best practice, it’s useful to have some clear guidelines. At, they have collected this information and set it out in a very clear DOs and DONTs format. It’s aimed at everyone, from novice to ninja. Stay clean.

Let there be light.

I’m a huge fan of abstract photoshop effects that play with light. Whether it’s a glow, fire, smoke, swirls or sparkles, abstract light patterns can be quite dramatic. If you’re a fan too, Creativenerds have 45 photoshop brush sets for you to play with. Oh yeah, they’re free.

Spec-work. Bah, humbug!

In an effort to educate Visual Communication Designers and those who use their services, on the damaging effects caused by spec work and spec-based design contests, a group of designers from all over the globe banded together, fueled by passion and a lot of caffeine, to bring NO!SPEC to the public. Be a part of a worthwhile cause.

Business is business.

We all enjoy making pretty pictures on our computers. But if you’re a professional graphic designer, the big, bad world of business is part of your daily life. BoDo (Business Of Design Online) blogs about the business of design including: starting your own design business (online or off); marketing; dealing with clients; working with printers, photographers, copywriters and other surrounding industries; pretty much anything to help a design business grow.


Smashing Magazine has looked at recent developments, new design elements and new graphic approaches in web design. Whether for research, inspiration or pure curiosity, these reviews (Part One) (Part Two) are useful points of reference.

Angie Bowen at has compiled a similar list that’s worth checking out.

WordPress rocks.

If you’re going to set up a blog, you’re probably going to be setting it up in WordPress. It’s the most popular software for this purpose by a long shot. Which means that there are lots of designers out there wanting to showcase their talent. Once again, Smashing Magazine has an excellent compilation for your consideration.

And if you need some WordPress plugins, head on over to Howtomakemyblog where they provide the 18 most popular plugins. Each one has been downloaded a minimum of 200,000 times.