Empowering Web Creativity

Cooking with Typography: 4 Fundamentals

Posted July 20th, 2013

4 Fundamentals

Content without good design won’t ever garner the respect it deserves. Typography helps give content its voice. Today, we’re going to look at 4 fundamentals that typography is built on.

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How to Mix and Match Fonts Effectively

Posted June 8th, 2013

Avoid font gumbo

We now have hundreds of font options for our webpages… but typeface gumbo isn’t a good idea. In this article, I’ll cover the keys to combining fonts effectively so they enhance (and don’t detract from) your design.

Read more in the Education Center »

Hack Your Productivity, Focus and Internet Speed in 5 Min

Posted May 18th, 2013

Block 'em!

If you’re putting up with ads while using the Internet for work, you’re essentially stopping to watch commercials during your work day. Ads are a productivity killer for so many reasons. Follow these simple steps to get rid of them.

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Announcing EasyBigBackground: Full-screen Background Images Made Ridiculously Easy

Posted May 6th, 2013

Editor view

What better way to showcase your photos or spice up your site’s background than with some beautiful full-screen photography? Our new program, EasyBigBackground, makes it ridiculously easy.

Learn more about EasyBigBackground »

Nathan’s Take: Proof that Apple Has Lost Its Way

Posted April 28th, 2013

Broken Apple?

By Nathan Rohler

That title might sound a little shocking, but the subtle warning signs are the ones we usually miss.

While I don’t think any of us here at DWUser would consider ourselves to be Apple fanboys/girls, we use Apple products because we simply believe them to be superior for our needs. Everybody’s needs are different, but when we’re doing tasks such as designing and developing, our Mac Pros and MacBooks are indispensable tools of the trade. I love my Apple stuff.

As such, I keep an interested eye on the corporate juggernaut that Apple has become in my day. Seriously, who can’t admire the brilliance and determination of a visionary like Steve Jobs? I think every entrepreneur-at-heart secretly wishes they could be the Steve Jobs of the next Apple.

No offense to Tim Cook, but I can’t say the same about him.

Apple’s brand-new iPhone 5 ad campaign, honestly, scares me to death for the future of the company – and technological innovation in general. Let’s look at what I’m talking about:

Yeah, beautiful commercial, right? Note the message at the end:

Every day, more photos are taken with the iPhone than any other camera.

And check out this homepage feature on Apple.com:

Apple ad

(I haven’t seen any print ads yet, but most Apple ad pushes span all media…)

OK. That’s what we have today. Let’s look back 10 or 15 years. Here’s what Apple was all about:

Steve’s philosophy:

When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is – everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

[Source; emphasis added]

You feelin’ the contrast yet? “Think Different” vs. “everybody else is doing it.” The intoxicating power of a idealistic new idea vs. peer pressure. Seriously, Steve must be rolling over in his grave about this new ad campaign.

The entire Apple identity was built around a philosophy of dissatisfaction and insurgency, a drive toward a yet-to-be-reached perfection. Are we really to believe that the year 2013 and the iPhone 5 mark the arrival at that long-sought perfection? (Apple itself is going to tell us otherwise when the iPhone 5S or 6 or whatever comes out!)

People have enjoyed using Apple products partially because it was “cool” to be different, to stand out, to be part of an enlightened minority of cutting-edge innovators. It didn’t matter that there wasn’t any true innovation in the act of pulling out your credit card to buy the iWhatever device; it felt like you were somehow innovating by your association with the brand.

Today, we’re being told that we should all get iPhones so we can fit in — and be bland, tasteless, colorless members of a homogeneous society where Apple is dominant, not insurgent. To me, it feels like the only thing missing at the end is a Microsoft logo. I don’t know where this idea came from; maybe it was some rogue ad agent. But the fact that this MAJOR campaign ever saw the light of day should be setting off Titanic-style alarm bells at One Infinite Loop.

I don’t own Apple stock, so it isn’t any skin off my nose if Apple plateaus financially and joins the wax museum of other stagnant megacorps. That’s not my concern. My concern is that the innovation and groundbreaking Apple that I have come to know, and love really, died with Steve Jobs. And that’s just sad, when I consider the way in which Apple products have changed and improved the way I work and live. The human race isn’t lost or anything; it just means we’ll have to put up with a lot of mundane technology before a new standard bearer for innovation will come forward and challenge the status quo with impunity.

I’m an optimist, though, and still hold out hope that Apple will return to it’s innovative ethos before it’s too late.

That’s my take. Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill, or is this ad campaign an evidence of something serious? Let me know in the comments below.

- Nathan

Pssst… We’ve got a new program, EasyBigBackground.

An Introduction to the HTML5 Structural Elements

Posted April 13th, 2013

New tags!

Are you familiar with the new header, footer, article, section, nav & aside elements in HTML5 and how they should be used? Well, div tags have some new friends. In this article, I’ll be showing how to use these elements when designing your page structures.

Read more in the Education Center »

The Freelancer Files: Taking Over

Posted March 16th, 2013

The hand-off

A potential client comes to you because some other contractor abandoned their project before it was complete. Is this an easy payday in waiting or a landmine-to-be? Based on my experience, there are 4 potential reasons to take these jobs, and 4 potential reasons to run the other way. Let’s look at the right way to make the decision.

Read more in the Education Center »

A Typography Explosion: Web Fonts Explained

Posted March 2nd, 2013

A Typography Explosion!

Gratefully, a new era of typography on the web has arrived. You can now use thousands of fonts in your webpages. Let’s look at what made this possible, and how you can get started for free.

Read more in the Education Center »

4 Beautiful New EasyRotator Templates

Posted February 14th, 2013

New Template: Quicksand

It’s Valentines Day, and we have a sweet treat for you – 4 beautiful new templates for EasyRotator! Whether you want to highlight text copy or visual media, these versatile templates will help you create rotators that are stylish and compelling.

Learn More and Get the Update »

Zero to Logo: The Creative Process in 7 Steps

Posted February 2nd, 2013

Example of the logo design process

A logo is the cornerstone of any business’s brand identity. In this article, I’ll walk through the 7 fundamental steps to creating a logo and show you some real-life examples.

Read more in the Education Center »

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