Tuesday, January 26

Exclusive Freebie: 36 Hand Drawn Food & Drink Icons (PNG, PSD, AI, EPS)

Today’s freebie comes from our good buddies over at dryicons.com. With 6700 vectors and icons in their database, there’s no shortage of awesome resources for designers.

Today’s offering is a cool set of 36 hand drawn food and drink icons that is perfect for your next restaurant menu, cafe brochure or bistro website design project.

This exclusive freebie set includes a PNG file, a PSD file, AI formats and EPS files. It’s licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Check it out and share your projects with us if you use the icons. Direct download after the jump!

hand-drawn-food-and-drink-icons

feed me!

Monday, January 25

12 Must Read Books For Creative and Highly Ambitious People

As creative individuals we fantasize everyday about leaving our mark on this Earth when we checkout. It’s not an easy feat to accomplish, but we aspire in our own little way to satisfy our need.

Since creativity is ultimately the source of our existence, we operate on a high level of consciousness and are able to adapt to our surroundings with ease. To compliment this journey of creativity, this week we’ve compiled a list of great titles to help with your career and to give you some insights. If you’re looking to jumpstart your 2016 with some motivation, inspiration and empowerment, look no further, we’re sure one of more of these books will do the trick.

Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

12 Must Read Books For Highly Creative and Ambitious People

Austin Kleon shows readers how to master the next step of the creative journey―getting known. Show Your Work! is about why generosity trumps genius. It’s about getting findable, about using the network instead of wasting time “networking.” It’s not self-promotion, it’s self-discovery―let others into your process, then let them steal from you. Filled with illustrations, quotes, stories, and examples, Show Your Work! offers ten transformative rules for being open, generous, brave, productive.

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

12 Must Read Books For Highly Creative and Ambitious People

Ryan Holiday shows us how some of the most successful people in history—from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs—have applied stoicism – the ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience, to overcome difficult or even impossible situations. Their embrace of these principles ultimately mattered more than their natural intelligence, talents, or luck.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

12 Must Read Books For Highly Creative and Ambitious People

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives.

The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice

12 Must Read Books For Highly Creative and Ambitious People

Business creativity expert Todd Henry explains how to unleash your creative potential. Whether you’re a creative by trade or an “accidental creative,” this book will help you quickly and effectively integrate new ideas into your daily life.

Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius

12 Must Read Books For Highly Creative and Ambitious People

This book will inspire everyone to realize that we are capable of so much more than we have pre-conditioned for. Creativity is not in one special place–and it is not in one special person. Creativity is everywhere and in everyone who has the courage to unleash their creative genius.

Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice & Projects from 50 Successful Artists

12 Must Read Books For Highly Creative and Ambitious People

This chunky blockbuster of a book is chock-full of solutions for overcoming all manner of artistic impediment. The blogger behind The Jealous Curator interviews 50 successful international artists working in different mediums and mines their insights on how to conquer self-doubt, stay motivated, and get new ideas to flow. Each artist offers a tried-and-true exercise—from road trips to 30-day challenges to cataloging the medicine cabinet— that will kick-start the creative process.

Breakthrough! Proven Strategies to Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination

12 Must Read Books For Highly Creative and Ambitious People

From cleaning the house and eating spicy food to making a plaster cast of your hands and feet, Breakthrough! is rocket fuel for any creative individual in need of a catalyst to get ideas flowing again. This book is a compilation of strategies for combating creative block offered by a who’s who of leading graphic designers, typographers, cartoonists, photographers, illustrators, musicians, writers, and other creative professionals.

Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!): How To Unleash Your Creative Potential by America’s Master Communicator

12 Must Read Books For Highly Creative and Ambitious People

Take a look into the mind of one of America’s most legendary creative thinkers, George Lois. Offering lessons, practical advice, facts, anecdotes and inspiration, this book is a timeless creative bible for all those looking to succeed in life, business and creativity.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

12 Must Read Books For Highly Creative and Ambitious People

You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone.

Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

12 Must Read Books For Highly Creative and Ambitious People

Art & Fear explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn’t get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. Written by two working artists, the book offers insights and observations, drawn from personal experiences, and provides an incisive view into the world of art as it is experienced.

Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job

12 Must Read Books For Highly Creative and Ambitious People

Quitter is a book about how it’s possible not only to survive, but actually thrive in the tension between a day job and a daydream. If you’ve ever sat in a cubicle and thought, I don’t want to do this job for the rest of my life, this book is for you.

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

12 Must Read Books For Highly Creative and Ambitious People

There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people figure out what to do when there’s no rule-book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art. Seth Godin teaches you how to make a huge difference in whatever field you choose.

What other books do you think should be on this list? Leave your comments and happy reading!

Thursday, January 21

How to Keep Web Design Projects on Budget — Before They Even Start

As web designers, we understand that creating sites for clients is often a balancing act between giving them an attractive, functional site while keeping costs within budget.

There’s nothing more that will make clients unhappy than getting a bill that’s significantly higher than expected — and having to keep paying for more services as they upgrade and make changes.

Keeping design projects within budget doesn’t mean sacrificing quality, though. With the right approach, you can give clients exactly what they want while still keeping the costs down. The key, as with any small-business management strategy, is to have a plan and specific goals in mind before you even begin the creative and technical aspects of the project.

web design under budget

You might be able to stay afloat utilizing business credit cards, but if your projects routinely go over budget due to your grand vision for your clients’ sites, it’s time to rein it in.

Website Planning to Contain Costs

Consider your typical client meeting. Chances are your client comes in and starts the conversation with “We need a website. How much is that going to cost?”

Of course, this question is like walking into a real estate agency and asking “How much is a house?” There is a big difference in cost between a modest cottage in the suburbs and a mansion overlooking the sea, and the location, size, and features of a house all influence the price of house. The same goes for websites. The more features and complex the design, the more it costs.

That’s why a cost-conscious Web designer needs to focus on the company’s plan for the site to determine the budget. Just as you wouldn’t purchase a home that’s bigger or smaller than you need for the foreseeable future, you don’t want to develop a website that has features the client won’t use or lacks basic functionality. With a well-thought-out plan from the start, the job can be done efficiently and effectively.

So what goes in to a website plan? Before you even get into the quoting process, ask these important questions:

  1. What are you hoping to accomplish with the website? Is it simply informational, or do you need interactive elements like a shopping cart?
  2. What are your future plans for the site?
  3. What are your goals for the site, both short and long term?
  4. How often will you need to update the site?
  5. How will site updates be handled? Do you have the skills or team talent necessary to handle updates and changes on your own?
  6. How does the site fit in with your overall marketing plan? Will you need to make changes to align with your marketing; i.e., regularly refreshed landing pages?
  7. Do you have a branding strategy? How will the site align with that strategy?
  8. What do your competitor sites look like? What do you want to emulate or do differently?

By asking these important questions, you can work with the client to create a budget-friendly plan that actually addresses their priorities. By approaching the project as a member of their team, rather than just an order taker, the site won’t be bogged down by unnecessary features or have such limited or complex functionality that the business owners cannot manage the site themselves.

Building a Better Mousetrap

web design under budget 2

Often, website design projects go over budget because designers spend too much time building a better mousetrap. That is, they spend time developing technology for clients that already exists in a form that will be perfectly acceptable for the client. Again, this speaks to the common issue of giving clients “too much site.”

Sure, it’s exciting to develop a ton of cool features and make a whiz-bang website, but if that technology takes forever to develop, and is difficult for your not-quite-tech savvy client to use, you’re wasting time and money.

Therefore, once you have a plan in place, the next best way to save money is to use existing technology to power the site. This might mean using predesigned Web pages for those “quick and dirty” jobs, or incorporating open-source software that can be customized to the client’s needs. It’s possible that a client will come to you expecting that you’ll develop something unique for them, but if the product already exists, use it.

Keeping website design and development costs in check comes down to several factors, but planning and preparation along with using existing tools are the most important. Smart clients understand that a good website is going to cost them money, but by working with them to keep those costs in check, you’ll develop a loyal following and grow your own business as you help others grow theirs.

Tuesday, January 19

10 Freshest Portfolio Themes for 2016

So it’s the new year and hopefully it’s been a great one so far. As we gradually come out of the holiday season bubble and into reality, let’s look at what our workflow has in store for us this year.

Designers are busy, creative and highly curious creatures. This however, often times lead to being scatterbrained and disorganization. Unfortunately, this lack of time/attention always means our dear portfolios suffer in silence.

You know what I mean – that one piece of work that’s *almost* done.

If you’re the type who knows what I’m talking about, and constantly find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of stuff to get done, consider reading Jonathan Mead’s post on how to get massive amount of s**t done.

And once you’re motivated enough, consider adding some life into your brain-power eating zombie portfolios. If you need some help, check out these beautifully crafted themes that I guarantee will save you a massive amount of time to make your work stand out!

Industry – Modern Portfolio Theme

10 Freshest Portfolio Themes for 2016

Say hello to Industry – a modern and minimalist WordPress theme for today’s creative professional. Crafted for designers, makers, artisans and photographers, Industry is made for anyone with stunning work and a story to share.

Liquid – Responsive Portfolio Theme

10 Freshest Portfolio Themes for 2016

Liquid is a fully responsive, modern, and flexible portfolio WordPress theme for creative individuals. Liquid enables you to quickly build your portfolio in a delightful manner backed by robust coding.

Agency

10 Freshest Portfolio Themes for 2016

Agency is a perfect theme for the creative agency, freelancer, or business. A fullscreen homepage, two portfolio layouts, and strong typography offer flexibility and minimalism in this awesome feature-set theme.

Workality Lite

10 Freshest Portfolio Themes for 2016

Workality Lite is fully responsive WordPress Portfolio Theme for creative people and agencies. Great for building a simple portfolio website through portfolio post type with four grid layout options.

BASK

10 Freshest Portfolio Themes for 2016

BASK is a not so simple WordPress blog. And that means it’s packed with a ton of features! It’s a clean and responsive portfolio blog that’s perfect for any creative portfolio. Highlight your work or photography with beautiful parallax technology using masonry framework.

William

10 Freshest Portfolio Themes for 2016

A minimalist and simple portfolio concept for creative agencies and freelancers. William is a polished creative theme for WordPress. Absolutely unique and mature design is what You need to inspire your website visitors. Make it easy with your new modern theme! William is suitable for agency, personal, portfolio, freelancer, creative and simple blogging websites.

Uncode – Creative Multiuse WordPress Theme

10 Freshest Portfolio Themes for 2016

A pixel perfect creative multi use WordPress Theme designed with terrific attention to details and performance. Powered by Visual Composer, this theme takes building a website to a whole new level.

Kvadrat – Contemporary Portfolio

10 Freshest Portfolio Themes for 2016

This contemporary portfolio theme comes equipped with an easy-to-use and powerful admin Interface that features a one-click import that automatically loads the home and inner pages quickly. There’s a huge collection of custom short codes that you can use to customize layouts with sliders, animations, parallax, transitions, galleries and more!

Hyper-X The Portfolio Website Designer

10 Freshest Portfolio Themes for 2016

Forget the backend, Hyper-X let’s you design your website from the theme options, giving you the ability to Live Preview all changes in real time! Responsive and retina ready, the theme comes with 3 premium plugins including Visual Composer, Ultimate Addons and slide Revolution!

Empire – A Fullscreen Portfolio Theme

10 Freshest Portfolio Themes for 2016

Empire is an easy-to-use fullscreen portfolio WordPress theme for freelancers and agencies. Graphic designers, illustrators, photographers or any type of creative is now easily able to create a quick & easy portfolio to showcase their work with a unique and creative touch.

Friday, January 15

CLD Exclusive Freebie: Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics Set (Vector)

Today’s awesome freebie comes from our good buddies over at Freepik. With the best collection of free resources on the web, here’s another addition to the lot.

Hieroglyphs were called, by the Egyptians, “the words of God” and were used mainly by the priests. Hieroglyphs are written in rows or columns and can be read from left to right or from right to left.

Today’s freebie is a collection of intricate hieroglyphs that can be used stand alone or together to form your own Egyptian messages. Available in color and line art, these unique icons come in SVG and PNG. Get your mummy’s tomb after the jump!

cld-freebie-egyptian

egyptian

Thursday, January 14

Flash is dead! Here’s 10 Places to Learn & Master HTML5

When the big G announced last year that internet ads using Adobe Flash would be blocked/paused on Chrome, it became the nail in the coffin for the multimedia platform.

All good things must come to an end, but in a way, we couldn’t be happier. Good riddance to heavy interactive files that would increase load times and affect user experience.

So with HTML5 being recommended by both Google and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, it proves that this is the time to welcome a new learning challenge. If you haven’t caught on yet, shame on you. Not only is HTML5 a versatile language that works on all browser platforms, allows you to create more engaging and interactive content that mirrors Flash with more efficiency, but it’s going to increase your payday by a few more zeros.

To kick up your HTML skills a notch, we recommend checking out these places. Most are free resources, some are paid but offer a trial. Let’s get down to business shall we?

Udacity

Flash is dead! Here’s 10 Places to Learn & Master HTML5 Udacity

An online teaching start-up, Udacity offers “nanodegree” programs, which are both affordable and accessible. These programs are tailored to match your skills and availability so you won’t need to interrupt your lifestyle while still gaining a recognized skill. For HTML5, check out the Front-end Web Developer nano degree.

Adobe KnowHow

Learn HTML5 Programming From Scratch

Created by Eduonix Learning Solutions, you learn the basic of HTML through to its advanced features. Eduonix comprises of industry professionals who teach you the course from scratch. Perfect for beginners, the course fee is a mere $25 and is spread out over 5 chapters and takes 8 hours and 23 minutes.

Skillshare

Learn Basic HTML5 CSS and JavaScript Programming from Scratch Skillshare

One of the most popular teaching platforms around has a full course to Learn Basic HTML5, CSS and JavaScript Programming from Scratch. Taught by Richard Sneyd, founder and CEO of CyberMyth Games, the class incorporates completing projects and even has a community surrounding the topics you learn.

Code Avengers

HTML5 CSS3 Intro.1.1 Code Avengers

I really like the concept behind Code Avengers. Their teachings are all guided courses that show you what needs to be done step-by -step. So whether this is your first time coding, or you have tried it before – their are program offers practical coding skills to help you learn at your own pace.

Udemy

Learn HTML5 From Scratch Free HTML5 Tutorial UdemyPopular in the tech industry as a learning portal, Udemy offers a complete HTML5 programming course for beginners. There are over 46 lectures and 10.5 hours of content packed into this 7 section course. Created by Eduonix, this course is Free and only requires that you have the passion to learn.

Treehouse

Start Learning at Treehouse for FreeTreehouse prides themselves as a portal that will help you gain skills that can secure you a job, digital job that is. Perfect for beginners, you can learn HTML with a free trial and later for only $25/month. With great support, you can practice your skills live in their Code Challenge Engine and get help from members-only forums.

Shay Howe

Performance Organization Learn to Code Advanced HTML CSSCreated by designer and front-end developer Shay Howe, he shows us how to code advanced HTML & CSS in a blog post style. In his lessons (Total 10), he takes a deeper look at front-end design and development, expanding on what is covered in his beginner’s guide, and teaches the latest for any designer looking to round out their front-end skills.

Codecademy

Learn to code Codecademy

One of my personal favorites, Codecademy teaches anyone how to code interactively, for free! Join 4.5million students and take their HTML & CSS course over 7 hours. Once you’re done with this beginner course, you’ll be able to create websites by structuring and styling your pages with HTML and CSS.

Envato

HTML5 and You Envato Tuts Code Tutorials

Envato is the treasure chest for web resources and what better way to learn HTML5 than their series titled “HTML5 and You”. It covers everything from the new HTML5 elements, to microdata, to the new JavaScript APIs. Since each lesson appears as posts, this won’t feel like a class, but more of a discussion session.

Codeschool

HTML CSS Code School

Code School courses are structured by ‘Paths’ based on the type of technology. They believe in learning by doing, and is structured for beginners to intermediate coders. Get started with HTML5 for $29/month, and go through each level (5 in total) and take their challenges to become a ninja.

So there you have it, 10 places on the web you can use to immediately enhance your skills (and pay grade). While this resource is a great starting ground, you might want to structure and plan how you’ll actually get down to doing it. Time, as we all know is an important commodity and managing it is crucial to doing anything. Here’s an interesting life hack article by Sean Kim on how to get more time to learn something new.