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Launching Sketch 101!

Tools

Visual Design

Creativity

Launching Sketch 101!

To celebrate our 2017 Best Bootcamp Award from SwitchUp, we’re excited to launch our brand-shiny-new (and free) Sketch 101 email course today! Sketch has become popular in the design world over the past few years, and like Adobe’s Illustrator package, it’s a vector-based image editor. What makes Sketch unique though is that it’s a much more lightweight product than Illustrator, and is optimized for quickly creating wireframes, web layouts, and exporting files to use in digital prototypes.... Read more

How The Thanksgiving Covers Of These 3 Magazines Show 110 Years of Social Change

Visual Design

Creativity

How The Thanksgiving Covers Of These 3 Magazines Show 110 Years of Social Change

If you’re anything like me, over the past few days you’ll have grown pretty tired of the promotional visual language around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But a look at history proves that these kind of informal, throwaway graphics can serve as significant documents of the times in which we live. In this piece, we’re taking a look at the cover designs of 3 twentieth-century magazines — Good Housekeeping, Saturday Evening Post, and American Weekly. You’ll be fascinated not only by the evolution of their graphic language, but also by how they reflect changing social norms around the family and gender roles.... Read more

How a mentor can help you master design faster

Creativity

Mentor

How a mentor can help you master design faster

As a fumbling art student during college, I used to create installations out of ephemeral and toxic materials, like resin, eggs, fiberglass insulation, and dead bees. It was during this time of messy (and smelly) experiments that I encountered a life-changing mentor — sculptor and art professor, Ed Love. While mentors are referred to in multiple ways — coach, advocate, guide, facilitator, adviser, guide, guru, counselor, tutor, consultant — a common thread of approach is highlighted in this quote by the poet Robert Frost about mentoring, “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” ... Read more

How Do Designers Come Up With Ideas? 9 Ways To Get Unstuck

Visual Design

Creativity

How Do Designers Come Up With Ideas? 9 Ways To Get Unstuck

One of the mysteries of design for newcomers is how ideas get created in the first place. A lot of the time we see beautiful end results in people’s portfolios, looking all polished and shiny. Although portfolios do occasionally gives some insight into process as well, what professional designers usually don’t like showing us are the messy early stages. But the truth is that amazing ideas usually evolve from pretty unpromising, or even downright ugly early sketches.... Read more

Halloween special: the tricks and treats of UX design

UX Design

Visual Design

Creativity

Halloween special: the tricks and treats of UX design

In the midst of the strange celebration that is Halloween, it seems fitting that we take some time to consider the ways that designers are also engaged in the business of disguise and deception, of tricks and treats. In this article, we’ll first ask how designers are called upon to trick their audience – whether by designing seductive packaging, choosing attractive typefaces, or crafting addictive apps. Then we’ll examine some examples from history, where the manipulative capacity of design has been used to glorify war, sanitize scandal, and draw people in with promises of meaning and belonging. Finally, we’ll look at 10 of the most common tricks and treats in user experience (UX) design today.... Read more

Am I Too Old To Switch Careers?

UX Design

Careers

Creativity

Am I Too Old To Switch Careers?

Does this story feel familiar? You once had your heart set on getting that perfectly-chosen degree, pursued what you thought was the perfect major for yourself, and then landed what seemed like the perfect job, only to discover — either immediately or after several years — that your career didn’t bring you the joy or sense of fulfillment you thought it would. At times (okay, maybe often) you actually dread going to work, you feel stuck, and find yourself fantasizing about doing something else. Well, you're not alone.... Read more

15 More Quotes To Inspire UX Designers

UX Design

Creativity

UX Academy

15 More Quotes To Inspire UX Designers

We've put together 15 more quotes from design greats like Paul Rand, Lindon Leader, and Paula Scher to inspire you in your work.... Read more

12 Amazing Books To Get You Started In Design

UX Design

Careers

Creativity

12 Amazing Books To Get You Started In Design

There are thousands of great books out there covering every imaginable corner of design. So, as a beginner, where should you start? Read on for our list of 12 essential books to kick off your learning. They include introductions to visual composition, color, typography and user experience – as well as helpful guides to working in the industry.... Read more

The Picasso You Didn't Know: Pablo Picasso's Illustration and Design Work

Visual Design

Creativity

UX Academy

UXA Cohorts

The Picasso You Didn't Know: Pablo Picasso's Illustration and Design Work

As the Picasso Cohort of UX Academy get started this month, we thought we’d take a closer look at the story of Pablo Picasso’s life and work, and pay tribute to his extraordinary range of talents. Primarily famous as a painter and sculptor, he also left a lesser-known body of work as an illustrator, graphic designer, and political activist. In this piece, we briefly tell the story of Picasso’s career, present a showcase of some of his book illustrations and poster designs, and provide a heap of links to more of this great artist’s prolific output.... Read more

Great Design Thinkers: Frank Chimero on The Shape Of Design

UX Design

Creativity

Great Design Thinkers: Frank Chimero on The Shape Of Design

This is the second in our series on contemporary design thinkers. In the first article, we explored how Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO, developed the idea of “design thinking”. This time, we’re taking a look at the ideas of Frank Chimero, who describes himself as a multi-disciplinary designer, accidental writer, and lapsed illustrator. He’s best known for his beautiful and insightful book The Shape of Design, which has recently been reissued in paperback and is also available to read online for free. In this article, we’ll explore 4 key lessons from Chimero’s work.... Read more

What On Earth Is A Brutalist Website? 5 Things Today’s Designers Can Learn From Brutalism

UX Design

Creativity

What On Earth Is A Brutalist Website? 5 Things Today’s Designers Can Learn From Brutalism

Last year, the Washington Post reported that “the hottest trend in Web design is making intentionally ugly, difficult sites”, an approach which they called “web brutalism”. Since 2014, the site Brutalist Websites has been collecting examples. But is this what Brutalism, a twentieth-century architectural movement, was really about? In this article, we’re going to take a look at the history of Brutalism, examine the principles behind the movement’s architectural designs, and see how those compare. To round up, we’ll set out 5 key lessons that Brutalism could offer to today’s designers.... Read more

Great Design Thinkers: Tim Brown on Design Thinking

UX Design

Creativity

Great Design Thinkers: Tim Brown on Design Thinking

This is the first in a new series of articles on contemporary design thinkers. We begin with Tim Brown, who is CEO and President of IDEO, a global design and innovation firm founded in 1991. He is best known for his work advancing user-centred design – and in particular for developing the idea of “design thinking”.... Read more

Watch John Berger’s Amazing “Ways Of Seeing”

Creativity

Watch John Berger’s Amazing “Ways Of Seeing”

John Berger was an English artist, writer, novelist, and critic whose 1972 TV series and accompanying essay, both entitled Ways of Seeing, became essential reading for students of art and art history. In Ways of Seeing, Berger presents an analysis of our cultural relationship to art and advertising. He argues that high art is characterized by subliminal themes of male dominance, female objectification, personal property, landowning, and social power.... Read more

7 Must-See TED Talks For Designers

UX Design

Creativity

7 Must-See TED Talks For Designers

It’s over 10 years since TED Talks first appeared online, bringing expert research, wisdom, and inspiration in just about every discipline. We’ve gone through the archives, and picked out 7 of the best and most relevant talks for designers. Do you have another favorite TED Talk? Let us know in the comments!... Read more

15 Quotes To Inspire UX Designers

Creativity

UX Academy

15 Quotes To Inspire UX Designers

We've put together 15 quotes from design greats like Dieter Rams, Jony Ive, and Massimo Vignelli to inspire you in your work.... Read more

11 Tips For Building Great Color Palettes

Visual Design

Creativity

Sketch

11 Tips For Building Great Color Palettes

Whether you’re a novice or an old hand, how to use color is one of the most contentious and elusive questions in design. Colors have myriad cultural, social, and emotional meanings, and the complexity of choosing a palette isn’t made any simpler by the fact that a designer’s options are practically infinite. In this week’s article, our in-house design guru, Patrick Multani, shares his tips for how to build great color palettes. Let us know what you think in the comments – and feel free to share any other tips that you use in your work! ... Read more

7 Reasons We Love Hayao Miyazaki — Introducing the UXA Miyazaki Cohort

Creativity

UX Academy

UXA Cohorts

7 Reasons We Love Hayao Miyazaki — Introducing the UXA Miyazaki Cohort

Each of Designlab’s UX Academy intakes is named after someone who inspires us. Our April cohort is named after the great Japanese animator and film director, Hayao Miyazaki (born 1941), celebrated for films such as Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro and The Wind Rises.... Read more

Sketch Tips To Maximize Your Productivity - Part 4: Symbols

UX Design

Tools

Visual Design

Creativity

Sketch

Have you ever decided to make a change in a design project, and found yourself working your way through a screen full of artboards updating Every. Single. Button? Chances are you could have saved yourself a lot of time and frustration – and got a better result – by using the Symbol function in Sketch. In Part 4 of our series of Sketch tips, we’ll give you the lowdown on how to get the most out of symbols.... Read more

Netflix’s Abstract: The 3 Must-See Episodes

Creativity

Typography

If you hadn’t heard yet, Netflix recently released a series of eight 40-minute documentaries entitled “Abstract: The Art of Design”. While the show has divided critical opinion, there are 3 episodes that graphic designers must see: those about Christoph Niemann (illustrator), Paula Scher (graphic designer), and Platon (photographer).... Read more

User Personas: What Are They And Why Use Them?

UX Design

Creativity

When I started learning design, I had never heard of a “user persona”, and certainly had no idea how to research them or use them effectively in my projects. In this article, I’m going to summarise what I’ve learned since then about what a user persona is and why they’re important not only to experience, interface, and interaction design – but even to visual and branding design. ... Read more

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started In Sketch (With Free 99-Point Cheat Sheet)

UX Design

Tools

Visual Design

Creativity

Sketch

Whether you’re a total novice, a designer in training, or a seasoned pro switching from another product, this article is for you. First, we’ll introduce Sketch — what it is, why it’s popular, and how to claim a free trial and install it on your Mac. Second, we’ll explore Sketch’s user interface, explain the basics, and walk you through some tips and tutorials. Third, we’ll take a look at some of the app’s more advanced features (Bézier curves and blending modes are especially fun). And finally, we’ll point you to a heap of quality Sketch resources, and link you to our free 99-point Sketch Cheat Sheet to download and refer to as you learn. Sound good?... Read more

Sketch Tips To Maximize Your Productivity - Part 3: Composition, Light, and Shadow

Tools

Visual Design

Creativity

Sketch

Welcome to Part 3 of our series of tips to help you use Sketch more productively. In Part 2, we looked at useful techniques for editing objects and exporting graphics. This time, we’re going to focus on how you can apply your skills in Sketch by managing light and shadow in a composition.... Read more

7 Inspiring Facts About Nicolas Jenson — Introducing the Jenson Cohort

Creativity

UX Academy

UXA Cohorts

Each of Designlab’s UX Academy intakes is named after someone that inspires us. January’s cohort is named after the type designer Nicolas Jenson (b. 1420, Sommevoire, France; d. 1480, Venice, Italy).... Read more

12 Days of UXmas: Day 12 - Iterate, and take stock

UX Design

Creativity

On the twelfth day of UXmas, Designlab sent to me... congratulations on completing all the challenges!... Read more

12 Days of UXmas: Day 11 - User Testing

UX Design

Creativity

On the eleventh day of UXmas, Designlab sent to me... user testing tips... Read more

12 Days of UXmas: Day 10 - Prototyping

UX Design

Creativity

On the tenth day of UXmas, Designlab sent to me... some prototyping funtimes... Read more

12 Days of UXmas: Day 9 - Sketching

UX Design

Creativity

On the ninth day of UXmas, Designlab sent to me... a sprinkling of inspiration... Read more

The Gift Economy and What it Means for Designers

Careers

Creativity

The holiday season is traditionally a time to give and receive gifts. But what are the origins of this custom, and why do we observe it? In this article, we’re going to take a look at the cultural significance of the gift, and explore how creative vocations, including design, are wrapped up in the gift economy.... Read more

12 Days of UXmas: Day 8 - Sitemap & User Flow

UX Design

Creativity

On the eighth day of UXmas, Designlab sent to me... a shorthand way to design user flows... Read more

12 Days of UXmas: Day 7 - Brainstorming

UX Design

Creativity

On the seventh day of UXmas, Designlab sent to me... new year greetings... Read more

12 Days of UXmas: Day 6 - Point of View Statements

UX Design

Creativity

On the sixth day of UXmas, Designlab sent to me… some how-might-we questions... Read more

12 Days of UXmas: Day 5 - Map Out Scenarios

UX Design

Creativity

On the fifth day of UXmas, Designlab sent to me... five gold user scenarios... Read more

12 Days of UXmas: Day 4 - Outline Some User Personas

UX Design

Creativity

On the fourth day of UXmas, Designlab sent to me... instructions on how to make user personas... Read more

12 Days of UXmas: Day 3 - Create an Affinity Diagram

UX Design

Creativity

On the third day of UXmas, Designlab sent to me... something about post-it notes... Read more

12 Days of UXmas: Day 2 - Make a Research Plan

UX Design

Creativity

On the second day of UXmas, Designlab sent to me... a user research challenge... Read more

12 Days of UXmas: Day 1 - Choose a Project

UX Design

Creativity

On the first day of UXmas, Designlab sent to me... the first challenge... Read more

Are You Ready For 12 Days Of UXmas?

UX Design

Creativity

For 12 days starting on December 26th, we’re going to take you through the user experience (UX) design process from beginning to end. Each day, you’ll have a choice between a 5-minute and a 30-minute challenge.... Read more

Sketch Tips To Maximize Your Productivity - Part 2: Editing And Exporting In Sketch

Tools

Visual Design

Creativity

Responsive Design

Sketch

Welcome to Part 2 of our series of tips to help you use Sketch more productively. Last time, we looked at how to work with objects, layers, and artboards. In this installment, we’ll explore some useful shortcuts for editing elements, and offer advice on exporting graphics. ... Read more

Sketch Tips To Maximize Your Productivity - Part 1: Getting Started In Sketch

UX Design

Tools

Visual Design

Creativity

Sketch

Welcome to Part 1 of our new series of tips to help you use Sketch more productively. In this installment, we’re going to look at some shortcuts to working with objects, layers, and artboards quickly and efficiently. ... Read more

9 Reasons We Love Zaha Hadid — Introducing the UX Academy Hadid Cohort

Creativity

UX Academy

UXA Cohorts

Each of Designlab’s UX Academy intakes is named after someone that inspires us. November’s cohort takes the name of Zaha Hadid, the British–Iraqi architect who passed away earlier this year at the age of sixty-five. ... Read more

Learning in the Bauhaus School: five lessons for today’s designers (and five ways the web still is Bauhaus)

Visual Design

Creativity

The news that Harvard University has put over 32,000 digitised Bauhaus School works online set the creative world buzzing recently. In the 1920s and 30s, Bauhaus teachers and students challenged the conventions of fine art, architecture and design by advocating a return to individual craftsmanship, and seeking designs that were simple, rational, and functional. In this article, we’ll explore what the movement was about, outline five lessons the Bauhaus School can offer to today’s designers, and demonstrate how contemporary web design continues to show Bauhaus influences.... Read more

How To Give And Receive Design Critique Well

Tools

Visual Design

Creativity

Mentor

UX Academy

It’s pretty unusual to find someone who enjoys critique. In this article we’ll look at what critique is, why it matters, and why we should all learn to love and cherish it. We’ll explore what is involved in conducting a good design critique, and outline some key principles for how to give good feedback to others. In conclusion, we’ll offer a few words on how to receive critique well, and look at a 10-point checklist to help you next time you’re invited to comment on somebody’s work.... Read more

How to Get Hired: Understand If You’re an I, T, or X-Shaped Person

Careers

Creativity

Do you and your organisation have strength in breadth as well as depth? In this article we explore how important “T-shaped” people are to effective collaboration, and suggest some ways to expand your own set of skills.... Read more

Sketch vs Illustrator: which one should you buy?

Tools

Creativity

Sketch

It’s six years to the day since Sketch first launched. But how does it stack up against Adobe’s Creative Suite workhorse, Illustrator?... Read more

Why Design II: Problem Solving in New Ways

Careers

Creativity

Learning design can definitely impact how you’re perceived on the job – but maybe not in the way you think! ... Read more

The History of 5 Well Known Icons

UX Design

Visual Design

Creativity

What is an icon? Icons are visual representations of objects, concepts or ideas. When used correctly, they can educate, communicate and increase usability. The most successful icons are those that are universally recognized around the globe. But here is the thing?—?the most widely recognized icons and symbols are rarely looked at for more than 2 seconds before understanding what the intention is. Meaning, people don’t give much attention or thought to them because they naturally blend in. In my opinion, a symbol that has become so embedded in mankind's everyday life deserves some attention! So let’s look at how these icons were born. ... Read more

From Seed to Story

Creativity

When setting out to begin a new story, I start with a seed. Some idea has struck me as an intriguing possibility, one that sticks in my brain and won’t pass until I write it down. I try to keep a notebook on me at all times for such moments, such as the Field Notes notebooks. In a pinch the notes app on my phone works perfectly.... Read more

Learning to Solve

Creativity

Why do we create? Creativity, at its foundation, comes from a simple need: to solve. Let us explain. On the surface, this may seem like a simple answer to a complicated question. What does a painting solve, for instance? Or a novel? Or a streamlined website user interface?... Read more

Unmasking Myths of Creativity

Designlab

Creativity

Creativity is a defining feature of what it means to be human. Yet modern concepts of creative people—and the process of creativity—remain off-kilter because of popular myths. Why is something so important to human nature so frequently misunderstood?... Read more

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