Dynamic Drive CSS library is an interesting site I came across a little while ago. The CSS library gives you different types of layouts, menus, links and buttons as pictorial examples and then shows you the CSS and XHTML of how to make them. Ideal if you want a short cut to make your menu or if like me you want to take a look behind the scenes to see how it is done.
There are are lots of different sources of free royalty free photos – from image libraries, Flickr and public domain images, it would be nice if you could search for them in one place wouldn’t it. That’s where www.yotophoto.com comes in handy. Yotophoto has indexed over a quarter of a million Creative Commons, Public Domain, GNU FDL, and various other ‘copyleft’ images. So you do one quick search and see what images are available from several different sources, ideal for finding images for your blogs or designs.
Each of the images comes with a different usage license so you need to check the restrictions before use.
As you may or may not know (I probably harp on about it too much) I am trying to learn CSS and HTML. There are loads of good sites out there that show what can be done with CSS Inspiration Bit lists a good selection. What I have always found difficult is knowing what bit of CSS controls what. I figured if I could see how things were done on these sites it would give me more of an insight to the process. I decided to ask on sitepoint forums if this was possible.
The answer Firebug for Firefox Once downloaded you can open any web page, click on the inspector and see what bit of CSS does what(by putting your mouse over it) – the name of the divs, the spec of fonts etc etc. You can also experiment in by changing values to see the result, for instance I tried changing font sizes and background repeats on a site at CSS garden to see the results.
I can imagine Firebug would be really useful for adapting WordPress templates as it enables you to easily see what everything is named.
One problem that I don’t think has ever really been solved for a graphic designer is an easy way to find the right font for a job. How often have you known what you are looking for, maybe something fun, maybe a modern font, but the task of finding that right font is tedious. You end up spending so much time trying to find that perfect elusive font that it leaves you less time for the rest of the design. Sometimes with lack of time or budget you just reach for the trusty old favourite, when the right font could have really added “personality” to a design
For ages I have meant to organise my fonts by style, but a new job always arrives and I put it on the back burner. Free fonts sites such as DaFont, in my opinion, make it far easier to search for a font by style category than some of the commercial ones and are great for headings and sometimes logos. I am always wary of using free fonts for body copy as the kerning is not always great and they do not always include a full set of characters.
Suitcase can be of help by typing in a word and viewing it in different styles, the only downside is the font has to have been loaded into suitcase to view it.
The best solution I have found so far for seeing what fonts I have on my machine, without having to install them in something like suitcase is FontCat for Mac. In FontCat you can open a whole folder of fonts, view them all, and create printed sheets of them if you want. There is a free trial version if anyone wants to try it out
Has anybody else got any good solutions for finding and cataloging fonts?
If like me, you really only use Microsoft Office when a client gives you a document in Word to pull the text into your design work, take a look at NeoOffice. I have recently upgraded to OSX Tiger and didn’t want to spend a few hundred quid on a new version of office (that I don’t have to run in Classic) so downloaded NeoOffice, a free Office suite based on the Open Source programme called Open Office but adapted for Mac. Within Neo Office you have a very “word like” programme, a spreadsheet, presentation package (like powerpoint), and a drawing programme.
I have used the “word” and spreadsheet programme to pull in text from word and excel with no problems. The only downfall is it doesn’t always show the pictures in a word programme. If you have used word the layout etc is all very familiar. If your a PC user try free Open Office which is also available for Mac (worked great on my PC, but I had a lot of problems with it on Mac).
Have you ever done a job and needed an existing logo for a well known brand but for love or money your client just can’t get hold of one. They send you a rough gif and say “will that do?” No I am not saying these sites are ideal, you should always get the proper logo if possible but it sure beats trying to retrace a logo or use a patchy gif –