With exponential developments in smartphone OS and GUI technologies, it may often seem like new visual designs are becoming obsolete faster than they’re being created. A couple of years ago, flat icons were all the rage—and are now being superseded once more by 3D and ‘almost flat’ Material Design-style icons. Keeping up with the trends… Read more »
With the recent releases of iOS 9 and the new OS X, El Capitan, Apple have introduced a number of incremental updates to their operating systems—mostly oriented towards speed and optimisation. Visual changes are few and far between, but the operating system is as beautiful—and often, unnecessarily prescriptive—as before. With over 1.5 million apps on… Read more »
This week saw the release of Apple’s new (and much hyped) iOS 9, the primary operating system for all of its mobile devices – in particular, the iPhone and iPad. iOS 9 boasts a range of new features and functions, including improved mapping, note-taking capabilities, multi-tasking, and customisation. While it was the much earlier iOS… Read more »
Icon design is ever evolving. As new platforms embrace the use of icons, new terms and references are dreamt up and older terms fall out of favour. This glossary is an ongoing project to document the icon design lexicon. Contributions are very welcome. 16×16 Pixel Icons This icon size has its own entry here because… Read more »
Flat design has become very popular recently. Many websites utilise the principles of flat design and simplify their interfaces accordingly. Indeed, many recent user interface redesigns and new websites use a flat design; this trend has begun to appear almost everywhere, both on websites and in applications. Icons are also keeping pace with the times,… Read more »
When someone asks me for a ‘set of application icons to cover all platforms’ they are usually shocked by just how many different sizes and formats are required. In fact, this is something that seems to evolve and increase every few months. There is some overlap across legacy platforms but most newer mobile platforms choose… Read more »
Running an Icon Design agency can be a lot of fun when you have a terrific set of people working with you. Not everything we churn out is always a commercial project, sometimes the icon designers like to kick-back and have a little fun. I thought it would be nice to showcase some of my… Read more »
As Apple have decided to make some changes to their App Icon size and corner radii form iOS7, I thought it would be helpful to myself and others to create a PSD template to both produce all the different Icon Sizes now required, as well as show how these will look on both iOS6 and… Read more »
Free App Icon Download Following on from my last post on designing cross-platform App Icons, here are the Free App Icons for you to download. Android PNG – 512, 96, 72, 48, 36, 32, 24 & 18 pixels iOS PNG – 1024, 512, 144, 120, 114, 100, 72, 58, 57, 50 & 29 pixels Windows… Read more »
I thought it might be useful for designers and clients alike to see how we approach a typical App Icon design project. In this case study the client requested an App Launcher Icon for an Email App developed on multiple platforms. The first thing to consider when creating an icon for different platforms is how to… Read more »
Far more than a blog publishing tool, WordPress has become one of the most popular platforms to use to create a website. Its versatility and functionality, helped by a wealth of plugins and easily integratable themes, is what has pushed WordPress past the post. Blair Williams sums up the awesome power of WordPress with one sentence, “WordPress is the basis for thousands of high-traffic websites and is now a refined, well-tuned app for creating websites. It’s more solid than anything that a developer could create on a first try because it’s been in the “wild” for years and has gone through many iterations.”
In Creative Freedom’s previous post, we spoke about the best fonts to use on your site – now let’s take a look at fonts to use in WordPress. Almost all websites now feature pre-installed web-safe fonts, but many of you will be using Google Fonts for your site, nearing 650 designs, it leads the way as a collaborative open source project. It’s important to remember the difference between web-safe fonts and web fonts, as the latter (if not optimised properly) can seriously slow the loading time of your site. In Kinsta, John Penland writes on ways to optimise your Google Fonts, “All Google Fonts are compressed and delivered over Google’s CDN which will provide the fastest delivery possible. Even though Google Fonts do include these built-in optimizations, it’s still worth doing what you can to speed up the delivery of fonts by being selective. When selecting Google Fonts, don’t select all available styles and character sets just in case. Think carefully about the styles and character sets you will actually need and only add those specific styles and subsets. Keep in mind that you don’t have to select every (or any) variation of italic and bold fonts. Browsers will approximate these styles if the appropriate font is not available.”
One of the most useful plugins you can use is the Google Font Optimizer. The plugin’s author explains its genius, “Your website asks for all these different fonts in different requests because there hasn’t been a way to automatically find all these font requests and optimize them. There’s a way to do this automagically, and that’s where Google Web Font Optimizer helps your site. Google Web Font Optimizer finds every Google Fonts request, bulks them all together so your website only asks Google once for the fonts, instead of multiple times.”
Now that your fonts are optimised and raring to go, it’s time to think about the amount of fonts to use. Remember that less is more. As Jamie, at Engage, aptly describes – “While there aren’t really any definitive rules, it’s best to keep that third font out of the picture and stick to two. Can you really justify introducing another font into the mix for your sub headings? Probably not but sometimes. Now I’m not going to go away and cry in a corner if you use three, but you should really try to stick to two. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, or that it’s ok. Every decision should have a rationale behind it.”
Keep it simple
The best sites are those that have a minimalist consistency to their design. Moreover, using too many fonts, or linking to all the characters when you don’t need to, creates more overheads for the web browser.
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