February 20th, 2010 § Leave a Comment
I love WordPress themes. I use WordPress loads and it’s awesome how many there are out there to choose from I stick to free themes because lets face it, none of my websites are particularly serious, but a lot of serious bloggers and businesses pay for premium templates that do all kinds of fancy stuff – whether it’s to make a WordPress site look like a business site, a shop, a magazine etc, premium themes are meant to go the extra mile.
Talking to friends who’ve bought premium themes however, it’s not always plain sailing. Like any pre-made system there are limitations to any theme. Say you buy a theme which does everything EXCEPT one thing, which you then have to code in/hack yourself. Or say the standard of coding is okay but not perfect – there’s no objective grading method so although premium themes from places like Themeforest are meant to be good, what you get really depends on the ability of whoever coded them. You buy on trust.
My partner in crime Frog has a new speciality – template themes specifically built for online portfolios. Say you’re a web designer wanting to show off your work – what better way than to have a WordPress (or Joomla, or whatever) site and template it up? Okay, web designers may be able to design their own portfolios but turning them into templates is a different matter entirely. With a free or premium template you still get a good-looking site that lets you present your work – and your work is the important bit of your portfolio after all!
For other creatives like graphic designers, photographers, even script-writers or film-makers who want to upload videos, a portfolio theme is a really cool idea. So many people want to use a free CMS but can’t get their work to look pretty – well, a portfolio theme is designed to show off your work
FrogsThemes.com not only gives away free wordpress portfolio templates, there are premium options too, and in the coming weeks there’ll be tutorials on PSDs, plugin recommendations and everything you need to make an awesome portfolio in WordPress, Joomla and any other CMS you can think of. There’s also a Newsletter so you can get the latest tips and tricks in your inbox for some geeky designer reading.
To celebrate the launch, FrogsThemes is giving away Foliogrid, a WordPress theme for design portfolios that gives you a stupendously sexy blank canvas to display your work.
Hooray for free themes! Hooray for FrogsThemes!
December 16th, 2009 § 3 Comments
Last night Frog asked me “what’s the difference between a font and a typeface?” and my answer was a long silence then… “I dunno!”. A font is the style of text that you choose in Word…like Times New Roman, or Arial, right? A typeface is also a style of text, right? So what’s the difference?
Frog explains the difference between a font and a typeface…
A Typeface Is: the design of the type – a set of letters and numbers in a specific style.
A Font Is: the digital file that tells your computer what the typeface should look like when you use it.
There you have it! My education is complete
While we’re on the subject, here’s something I found ages ago – you can turn your handwriting into a font through a service like YourFonts…pretty neat huh?
Edit: Here’s something even cooler – scans of the whole of Modern Alphabets, 1864 – on Flickr.
October 17th, 2009 § Leave a Comment
Piggynap’s been pretty quiet of late what with one thing and another – there’s just not enough time in the day at the moment! It’s a good thing then that lovely folk like Matt from Northern Web provide posts to keep us entertained. Read on for his top tips for newbie web designers…
The Web is officially coming of age. The design industry is starting to take web design seriously, and itís no longer being confined to enthusiasts. Web design is now a lucrative and exciting career path to follow, with lots of opportunity and high potential earning power.
With the Internet developing so rapidly over the past 10 years, those that are just dipping their toes into the industry may well feel that theyíve missed the boat. The truth is, you donít need to have been there when flashing GIF animations were cool, and the best form of promotion was through a web ring. In fact, in some ways itís better if you didnít see these dark days so that your perception of web design isnít muddied by these frankly horrific things.
If you are looking to design for the web, welcome, and prepare for a bumpy ride…
Chances are youíve already started reading and doing, which is ultimately the best way to learn. Here are a few invaluable tips that I can happily pass on from my experiences of designing for the web:
- Socialise. Donít just read books because this is fundamentally one-way. Join Twitter and follow professionals who voice their thoughts and opinions Ė question it. Attend local networking events for some peer-to-peer geek conversations and youíll be surprised at how much you pick up.
- Push web standards. So many web designers neglect the importance of valid XHTML/CSS. Read about W3C standards and you will realise that web design is about more than just looking pretty Ė you need sound technical design also. This is easily achievable as long as you practice it from the off. Donít slip into using tables for layout and inline CSS styles Ė do things properly and it will become natural.
- If you have a client Ė talk to them. The single best way to design successful websites is by getting your clients views on their business/customers. Once understand their model, you can produce a more effective website than doing it blindly.
- Print design is NOT web design. Contrary to what many seem to think, web and print are not the same, and the skills do not necessarily cross-over.
- Drink tea. Iím not joking here Ė if you are stuck for inspiration, take a 10 minute tea break and when you come back youíll more than likely have a solution.
Iíve been designing for the web for 10 years and Iíve made plenty of mistakes. The web was a simpler place when I began, with fewer standards and hardly any resources. What Iíve learnt is that you constantly need to be looking forward; be adaptable to change, and you will succeed.
This article was written by Matt Saunders, owner of digital agency Northern Web which specialises in intelligent and responsible web design and marketing solutions.
[Thanks Matt ]