Designlab Blog

Posts on UI/UX design education, career development, and more.

Stay in the loop! Sign up for new articles, updates, and goodies. Got it! We'll keep you in the loop.

10 Steps To Outstanding Artwork With Illustrator's Image Trace Function

Tutorials

10 Steps To Outstanding Artwork With Illustrator's Image Trace Function

Ever wanted to turn your hand-drawn artwork into scalable vector graphics? The Image Trace tool in Adobe Illustrator allows you to do just that! Whether you’re working on a dubious doodle or a major masterpiece, just follow this 10-step guide to digitize it. You’ll need a copy of Illustrator for this tutorial. If you don’t already have a subscription, you can get a free trial here.... Read more

Draw a Heart in Sketch Using Only 2 Vector Points

Tutorials

Draw a Heart in Sketch Using Only 2 Vector Points

In the past few years, Sketch has become a crucial tool for digital designers, often enabling quicker workflows than older packages. In this Valentine’s Day special, see how you can use Sketch’s Vector tool (aka the Pen tool) to create a heart shape from scratch using just two vector points. That’s the same number of points as a straight line!... Read more

11 Tips For Designing High-Converting Landing Pages

Tutorials

11 Tips For Designing High-Converting Landing Pages

A landing page is any web page that a user might “land” on – it could be the homepage of a whole site, or a page that presents a specific product or event. Generally the purpose of a landing page is to rapidly introduce a product through concise text and clear images, and then invite the user to take a specific action – perhaps to sign up for updates, or to make a purchase. In this piece, we take a look at how you can create a high-converting landing page design of your own.... Read more

Why you need to learn the difference between urgency and importance

Tutorials

Why you need to learn the difference between urgency and importance

We live and work in a world of constant, competing demands. Even those of us who don’t have the responsibilities of providing for a family and raising children can feel overwhelmed by the need to balance work and life — getting stuff done, maintaining our energy levels, exercising, looking after our relationships, taking time off, and so on. So, how do we get organized, and become productive without succumbing to overwork? For many, their first instinct is to create a to-do list. This is a great first step – but we can go further. If you’re someone who always has too much to do, and who periodically gets stressed out because they’ve constantly got projects due yesterday, then this article will tell you how to create a better system for managing your tasks.... Read more

17 Principles For Giving Highly Valuable Design Feedback

Tutorials

17 Principles For Giving Highly Valuable Design Feedback

Whether it’s hearing comments from a client or contributing to a design critique with colleagues, receiving and offering feedback is a crucial part of any good designer’s daily work. The most effective people in our industry know that cultivating feedback skills is key to improving their own design work and enhancing their team’s creative output. That said, giving valuable feedback can sometimes feel like an elusive process. To supplement our checklist on how to give critique, we’ve put together a checklist below on what to look out for when you’ve been asked to give feedback on someone’s work.... Read more

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

Tutorials

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

12 Writing Tips For Non-Writers

Tutorials

12 Writing Tips For Non-Writers

Writing is becoming an increasingly important skill for designers, whether it's creating meaningful copy to use instead of placeholder text, writing on the company blog, or creating snippets of text for use in email campaigns or UI mockups. The good news is that you’ll be familiar with many of the skills needed for good writing from your work as a designer. In this post, Andrew Wilshere, who heads up Designlab's content team, gives his personal tips on creating blog posts and long-form articles.... Read more

Building Your Design Portfolio: 10 Dos and Don’ts

Tutorials

Building Your Design Portfolio: 10 Dos and Don’ts

Preparing your portfolio is exciting, but it can also be agonising. What should you include? Which layout should you choose? How do you keep it fresh? For help with these questions and more, check out our top 10 portfolio tips. Coming soon: 10 more tips for your UX design portfolio!... Read more

11 Tips For Building Great Color Palettes

Tutorials

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

Sketch Tips To Maximize Your Productivity—Part 4: Symbols

Tutorials

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

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

Tutorials

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

Tutorials

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

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

Tutorials

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

Tutorials

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

12 Days of UXmas: Day 10—Prototyping

Tutorials

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

12 Days of UXmas: Day 9—Sketching

Tutorials

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

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

Tutorials

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

Tutorials

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

Tutorials

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

Tutorials

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

Tutorials

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

Tutorials

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

Tutorials

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

Tutorials

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

Are You Ready For 12 Days Of UXmas?

Tutorials

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

Tutorials

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

Tutorials

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

How To Give And Receive Design Critique Well

Tutorials

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 Start Implementing Responsive Images On Your Website

Tutorials

Screens rule our lives - and that’s why responsive sites matter. When you switch from your cell phone to your tablet to your laptop, you want a design experience that looks best at each display size, and is flexible enough to adjust seamlessly. You’ll also want to deliver the smallest, best-resolution image to the user to ensure that images load faster with higher quality. If you deliver too large of a file size....... Read more

Get Started with Responsive Images

Tutorials

Screens rule our lives - and that’s why responsive sites matter. When you switch from your cell phone to your tablet to your laptop, you want a design experience that looks best at each display size, and is flexible enough to make it happen. For a seamless experience on any device, your code has to be flexible enough to make it happen.... Read more

4 Fast Ways To Level Up Your Typography Game

Tutorials

When you’re first discovering the world of type, the amount of typefaces to learn and recognize can be overwhelming! Here are four techniques for you to use to start to recognize, correctly identify and even pair different typefaces:... Read more

How To Choose The Right Font For Your Design

Tutorials

Choosing the “right” font for your design determines how well your designs are perceived. The title of this article should actually be “How To Choose The Right Typeface For Your Design” because the choice you’re making is about typeface and not font. Let’s not get bogged down by the minor details just yet though. First, let’s talk about shoes and how they relate to typography...... Read more

16 Vital Typography Terms To Learn To Start Enhancing Your Designs "Invisibly"

Tutorials

Did you know nearly 95% of all information on the internet is type? We’re not saying that 95% of designs are pure typography but it’s a high leverage aspect to design that can create positive perception for your designs OR degrade your designs. The Pareto principle states that 20% of our efforts produce 80% of our results...... Read more

Make Your First GIF

Tutorials

There’s an app for everything GIF related. GIF keyboards, searches and extensions to easily add GIFs to your e-mails. So why would you want to make a GIF yourself? Because while you make you’re first GIF, you’ll be on your way to learning just how versatile Photoshop CC really is.... Read more

How to Design a Great Landing Page

Tutorials

Landing pages. The chance to make a great first impression on a visitor to your site. Done right, a good landing page can have a multiplier effect on your user acquisition strategies and convert all your visitors into registered users/emails; done poorly, a bad landing page can cause your efforts to fall flat... Read more

Get the syllabus & take a tour