Friday, 21 September 2018

Digital Illustration Tutorials That Will Take Your Skills To the Next Level

digital illustration tutorials

Tutorials achieve their goal only when they are simple, concise, and offer all the information need. As graphic designers, we have to constantly be learning new tricks that could recommend us for more and important jobs. The digital illustration is a popular field among designers due to its versatile style and the freedom it offers. Today, we will take a close look at Digital Illustration Tutorials That Will Take Your Skills To the Next Level.

 

Tutpad is a platform where designers can share their knowledge with everybody through step-by-step tutorials. The variety of articles aim to help both beginners and experienced designers. Some of the topics they provide tutorials on are: Digital Illustration Tutorials, Animation, Photography, Typography, UX/UI, 3D, etc.. We personally find Tutpad one of the best virtual teachers and we recommend that you don’t miss it out. Below, we have cataloged some of their video tutorials, but on the website, you have access to more written tutorials. We hope that your job will become easier, by following these amazing digital illustration tutorials:

1. Illustration: Create an Ice Cream sticker

 

2. Illustration: Create Old School Flowers | TUTPAD

 

3. Illustration: Design Low Poly Cactus

4. Illustration: Design a Retro Spray Can

5. Illustration: Create a Cute Pirate

6. Illustration: Create a Cute Circus Lion

7.Illustration: Create Cozy Windows

8.Illustration: Create realistic transparent glass bottle

We strongly believe that every person should learn for as long as they live, and this doesn’t exclude graphic designers. Now that we went thorough some beginner level digital illustration tutorial, it’s time to move to intermediate difficulty tutorials. Check them out:

9. How to make a Birthday Card in Adobe Illustrator – Maria Keller

10. How to create a winter village in Adobe Illustrator – Maria Keller 

11. How to draw Profiles in Adobe Photoshop

12. How To Paint A Fire Princess in Adobe Photoshop – Sarita Kolhatkar

13. How to create a floral illustration with type in Adobe Illustrator – Mary Winkler

14. How to create a funny monster in Adobe Illustrator – Yulia Sokolova

15. How to create a Letter to Santa in Adobe Illustrator – Maria Keller

16. How to create a Halloween poster in Adobe Photoshop – Sarita Kolhatkar

Moving on, the next tutorials will teach you advanced techniques for a quality-driven work. Here they are:

17. Graphic Design: Make a Realistic Light Bulb

digital illustration tutorials

18. Illustration: Create a Realistic Vector Painting

digital illustration tutorials

19. Illustration: Create a Neon Foodtruck

digital illustration tutorials

20. Illustration: Make Your Drawing Stand out

digital illustration tutorials

Read More at Digital Illustration Tutorials That Will Take Your Skills To the Next Level



from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/digital-illustration-tutorials-that-will-take-your-skills-to-the-next-level/

Thursday, 20 September 2018

5 Most Clever WordPress Tweaks to Improve Your Site (Without Plugins)

WordPress is one of the best CMS out there for a number of reasons. Aside from being flexible and highly customizable, you can supercharge it using powerful plugins. Regardless of your goals for your website, you can be sure there’s a plugin for that.

However, it’s always better to forego plugins and hard-code them into your site altogether.

In this post, discover the different WordPress tweaks you can implement on your site or blog so you can avoid the risks carried by certain plugins.

Why not use WordPress plugins?

As great as WordPress plugins are, they carry problems. Using the right amount of plugins can help improve your site’s performance tenfold. However, downloading too many plugins can slow down your site. Even if those plugins are indispensable parts

of your site, visitors will leave your site if it loads long enough.

According to recent studies, 40% of total visitors leave the site that loads longer than three seconds. Not to mention, Google takes site speed into consideration as a ranking factor. If your site isn’t ranking on search results, then you’ll let potential visitors slip away from you! This goes out to all people building their website from scratch – WordPress or not.

Finally, plugins carry security risks. Different developers upload their plugins into the repository, waiting for you to download them. And not all developers create plugins that are safe for use. There’s a small chance that hackers and online threats will use the plugin as a gateway to enter your site and steal your information.

To avoid these risks, you can limit the use of plugins on your site. Once you’ve narrowed down the plugins, you can simply code some of the features you want to add in your site using the WordPress tweaks below:

WordPress tweaks you need to use on your site now

1. Stop hotlinking

The valuable content you created and host on your site (infographics, videos, etc.) are potential culprits to your site’s slow loading time.

It’s normal if someone liked the infographic on your site so much that they used it on their own site. However, problems arise if they linked to your image instead of downloading and uploading the content to their servers. As a result, whenever people visit a page from their site with your infographic on it, their site borrows bandwidth from your site. This becomes a serious issue if their page attracts hundreds and thousands of visitors daily. It puts a strain in your hosting resources, thus creating a domino effect on your site’s loading time.

To avoid this issue, you need to prevent people from hotlinking to your site. Whenever people link to any of your content, your hosting will disable the content from showing on their site. This allows you to contain all your server resources to your site alone.

Copy and paste the code below on your .htaccess file to enable this feature:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?[your URL] [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?[your RSS feed] [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

Source: DevilHax

You need to edit your URL and RSS feed in the code before pasting it into the file. Also, you can consider changing the last line to add more file formats.

2. Add related posts with thumbnails

related posts

If you’re a blog, then having a related posts section appear at the bottom of the post allows readers to browse content similar to the one they just read. This helps increase visitor retention and potentially trigger engagement.

Instead of downloading a plugin for this purpose, you can simply use the code below and paste them in your functions.php file:

<?php $orig_post = $post;
global $post;
$categories = get_the_category($post->ID);
if ($categories) {
$category_ids = array();
foreach($categories as $individual_category) $category_ids[] = $individual_category->term_id;
$args=array(
'category__in' => $category_ids,
'post__not_in' => array($post->ID),
'posts_per_page'=> 2, // Number of related posts that will be shown.
'caller_get_posts'=>1
);
$my_query = new wp_query( $args );
if( $my_query->have_posts() ) {
echo '<div id="related_posts"><h3>Related Posts</h3><ul>';
while( $my_query->have_posts() ) {
$my_query->the_post();?>
<li><div class="relatedthumb"><a href="<? the_permalink()?>" rel="bookmark" title="<?php the_title(); ?>"><?php the_post_thumbnail(); ?></a></div>
<div class="relatedcontent">
<h3><a href="<? the_permalink()?>" rel="bookmark" title="<?php the_title(); ?>"><?php the_title(); ?></a></h3>
<?php the_time('M j, Y') ?>
</div>
</li>
<?
}
echo '</ul></div>';
}
}
$post = $orig_post;
wp_reset_query(); ?>

Source: WPBeginner

The code above generates related posts by category. If you want to use tags instead, click on the link above for the code.

3. Creating popular post section on the sidebar

Similar to related posts, this section shows content that visitors can click and read on your site. However, instead of limiting the posts according to category or tag, you show the best performing posts on your site according to comments.

Copy and paste the code below on your sidebar.php file:

<h2>Popular Posts</h2>
<ul>
  <?php $result = $wpdb->get_results("SELECT comment_count,ID,post_title FROM $wpdb->posts ORDER BY comment_count DESC LIMIT 0 , 5");
  foreach ($result as $post) {
    setup_postdata($post);
    $postid = $post->ID;
    $title = $post->post_title;
    $commentcount = $post->comment_count;
    if ($commentcount != 0) { ?>
      <li><a href="<?php echo get_permalink($postid); ?>" title="<?php echo $title ?>">
      <?php echo $title ?></a> {<?php echo $commentcount ?>}</li>
  <?php } } ?>
</ul>

You can change the number of posts that appear on the sidebar. As it stands, five posts will appear on this section. You can change the ‘5’ on line 3 to any number you weeks. Also, the post with the most comments will appear on top.

4. Remove post revisions

If you revise old posts constantly over the years, you may want to remove the old versions of each. WordPress stores all revisions in your database so you can still access them. However, if you don’t have any use for them, you can run the code below using phpMyAdmin every time you want to clean up your database:

DELETE from wp_posts WHERE post_type = "revision";

Before running this command, make sure to save your database first to ensure that all your files are safe. If something goes wrong accidentally, you can restore the files using the backup.

5. Add social media buttons to your post

There are lots of great plugins that lets you show social media buttons on your post. However, some plugins include buttons from social media sites you don’t use. All buttons load Javascript from each site, thus straining the bandwidth of your server.

social sharing

To keep your social media buttons simple and to the point, you can refer to this guide by Crunchify so you can buttons that don’t put a strain on your server. This way, you can maintain your site’s performance at optimum levels.

The guide shows you the code you need to paste on functions.php and style.css. Instead of posting the codes here, it’s best to simply check the page out to avoid confusion.

Are these WordPress tweaks enough to make your site load faster?

WordPress in itself is a powerful CMS with or without plugins. The latter helps make using WordPress much easier. However, if you can code the features of the plugins them into the site, then much better! As easy to use as plugins are, they carry risks that you don’t want for your site. Therefore, following the simple WordPress tweaks above helps you improve your site performance and keep it much more secure.

Related post:

WordPress Plugins: How To Talk Clients Out Of Hoarding Plugins

35 WordPress Themes For Achieving Higher Search Engine Rankings

The post 5 Most Clever WordPress Tweaks to Improve Your Site (Without Plugins) appeared first on SpyreStudios.



from SpyreStudios http://spyrestudios.com/wordpress-tweaks/

Instagram Artists That Will Inspire You

instagram artists

It’s no mystery that sometimes comfort strikes in and “work” sounds like the most dreadful word ever. In those times small things like the stain on the wall, the split ends of our hair, the music videos we are listening to seem to be more interesting than anything else. Hence people spend a lot of time on the internet, especially on Instagram and Facebook, we’ve decided to catalog Instagram Artists That Will Inspire You as a graphic designer, web developer, letterer, typography artist, photographer…

 

Webdesignledger’s goal is to always provide our readers with information, inspiration, and resources. We understand that sometimes your brain as a creator simply stops producing ideas worth investing in. Fortunately, the quantity of information the world wide web is limitless. Literary. If you wanted to watch all the videos on Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook that have ever been produced, you’d need quite a few lives. Add to that the amount of images people upload on all the existent platforms daily. The amazing thing about these facts is that we can benefit from it. However, it is our job to look for inspiration in the right place. Funny cat and dog videos might not contribute to your creativity. Are you interested to find out what could actually bring your sparkle back? Then check out these Instagram artists:

1. she_walks_softly

instagram artists

Dana is an art collector, we could say. Her gallery includes pieces of work of other artists that simply mesmerize anyone watching. She gives credits to all the featured artists, that way you can view their work entirely.

2. aykutmaykut

instagram artists

This surrealist artists will challenge your brain and imagination in ways you never thought possible. I’ve never seen so much sensitivity and grotesque in one photo until now.

3. Zoe Si

instagram artists

Cartoonist, illustrator, lawyer. Laughing at my own jokes.
I couldn’t describe her better. She has a unique sense of humor that makes her illustrations stand out in the crowd.

4. elizabeth_sagan

Instagram artists

When it comes to book photos, Elizabeth is the queen. I dare to say that the amount of books she reads is the foundation of her limitless imagination.

5. kapussta_nz

Instagram Artists

History, magic, and fantasy combined results in phenomenal photography. This artists knows how to capture photos that leave us speechless.

6. jadysalvaticoart

instagram artists

Jady might be your go to artist when you need a quality job done. Her flawless typography and impeccable drawing abilities place her up in the top letterers world-wide.

7. chadknight

instagram artists

A place where the invisible drivers of our humanity and universe are manifested into physical form.

Chad’s work is very unusual and a traditional thinker can’t absorb and comprehend it completely. All we can do, instead, is thank the artist for sharing his craziness with us.

 

If you liked out top today and would like to see more similar blog posts, make sure you let us know in the comment section below. We are open to any suggestions for potential future articles of this kind. Would you like to be featured in one of our daily blog posts? Contact us at webdesignledger.blog@gmail.com and we’ll share the steps with you.

Read More at Instagram Artists That Will Inspire You



from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/instagram-artists-that-will-inspire-you/

UI prototyping tools under the spotlight: Are they as good as they claim to be?

Prototypes serve as useful sources of information for web designers and developers. They encourage team collaboration and can provide useful information to stakeholders. They also serve as testing platforms.

In addition, they provide developers with useful and usable information. It is often easier to understand and work when compared to pure documentation.

It takes the best UI prototyping tools to create the most useful prototypes. But that’s especially the case for prototypes of complex or interactive designs.

How do you evaluate app and website prototyping tools? When doing so, take note of their ability to clearly demonstrate visual consistency. They should also be able to properly present interactive design accuracy.  We have done this for the three top tools described below.

Collaboration features and capabilities are also important. As is the quality and usability of the assets provided to developers at design handoff.

 

  1. Justinmind

One of the things prototyping tools do best is to help designers and design teams avoid rework by picking up design errors, omissions, or ambiguities early in the design phase. Of equal importance is how they can often speed up the design process through information sharing.

These and other capabilities you should insist on in app and website prototyping tools are clearly in evidence in Justinmind, an app prototyping tool that provides over 4,000 premade UI elements to work with and a central platform for application definition.

Designers like the way Justinmind serves to optimize designer-developer communications and speeds up the design process, and how easily it integrates with Sketch, Photoshop, and other commonly-used design tools. Developers appreciate how this prototyping tool enables design teams to provide them with clear, complete, and accurate design specs featuring clearly specified gestures, interactions, and transitions for mobile apps.

A feature you’ll love is the ability to add your own images and design assets from other design tools, your file system, and even from your browser.

Give Justinmind a try – you can download it for free.

 

  1. Supernova

Supernova is one of the coolest prototyping tools on the market not only because of some of its added features and functions, but because of the way it works and what it does. It’s almost like owning a set of interactive prototyping tools that eliminate the need for prototyping.

That’s really not the case, although one of the things Supernova does best is to take a Sketch design and convert it in to production ready code for iOS, Android, and React Native systems – a new and different approach to prototyping.

Supernova’s set of prototyping tools are free to use although you will have to pay for code exporting. Supernova is currently available for use on the Mac, but other platforms will be added in the near future.

 

  1. Savah App

Savah App’s comprehensive set of prototyping capabilities clearly establishes it as one of the best prototyping tools on the market; which is of course why it is included in this list of three.

It provides a one-stop platform for prototyping, information sharing, and design team collaboration. Savah App will help you automate your design phase workflow. You can sync your design screens with Dropbox and Sketch, Google Drive and share prototyping results with team members, clients, and stakeholders for feedback and comments.

Savah App tests your prototypes across all devices including Smartwatch and iPhone X. It also password protects the design information stored in its prototype repository. Savah App-produced prototypes are also maintained under version control, and you can view and compare different versions on side-by-side screens.

Savah App is one of the best prototyping tools available for use by freelancers and small teams. Several plans, including a free plan, are available.

 

The Benefits of Prototyping

Like any design method, prototyping has its advantages and disadvantages. The latter somewhat outweighed the former in the past. That time, the prototyping tools employed were less sophisticated. App and good interactive prototyping tools were almost unheard of.

Today, the discussion is not about the advantages vs. disadvantages. It is about how to make the best use of the advantages these tools bring to the table. The best prototyping tools in the current market have made prototyping quite affordable.  This is due to the time saved and their ability to demonstrate the appearances, look and feel. They can perfectly present the functionality of large, complex, interactive software systems.

What are the benefits you can expect? You’ll get them in the top prototyping tools described above. They are almost the same for UI prototyping tools or interactive prototyping tools. Same goes for app and website prototyping tools.

  • Prototypes help designers to more accurately interpret systems requirements. They can help discover omissions, and also eliminate ambiguities.
  • Prototypes can indicate whether or not a software product will do what it is intended to do; as opposed to what it can do.
  • Prototypes help developers understand how a proposed system is expected to function.
  • Prototyping saves time and eliminates a need for rework. It does so by catching problems early in the design phase.
  • Prototypes are excellent vehicles for exchanging design information. They help to nail down what a product needs to do, how well it must do it, and ensure it meets its intended purpose.
  • Prototypes provide the means to address loose ends and firm up the final design.
  • Prototyping gives project stakeholders a sense of involvement in a project.
  • Prototypes can make cost and schedules estimating much easier for developers. It can also facilitate resource requirements estimating processes.
  • Finally, prototyping can create reference points or markers. These can be referred to in the event of disputes further along in the development stage.

 

Conclusion

How did you find the design tools addressed in this article? They are excellent examples of the benefits of a set of top prototyping tools brings to the table. They show what prototyping tools can do for you and your design team.

Note that each of these tools does much more than simply build a prototype. Where they really shine is in team collaboration and information sharing. Do not forget about a handoff of clear and accurate design information to developers.

Read More at UI prototyping tools under the spotlight: Are they as good as they claim to be?



from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/ui-prototyping-tools-under-the-spotlight-are-they-as-good-as-they-claim-to-be/

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

5,000+ Free Photoshop Gradients for Designers

5,000+ Free Photoshop Gradients for Designers

Gradients are commonly used in web and graphic design. Having a large collection of gradients already prepared will allow you to try new gradients quickly, speeding up your design process. Of course, there will be times when you want to create your own gradients, but for other situations a library of gradients can be an effective tool.

In this post we'll showcase 25 free sets of gradients that are being offered by various designers. If you see something you like, click through to the source where you'll be able to download the gradients...

The post 5,000+ Free Photoshop Gradients for Designers appeared first on Vandelay Design.



from Vandelay Design https://www.vandelaydesign.com/photoshop-gradients/

Monroe Font Comes Back Improved After 8 Years FOTW#9

Monroe Font

Picture this: you are driving down some country back roads, you notice a quaint, little town off in the distance. As you approach the town, you pass the welcome sign. In your mind, what sort of font did you picture? For me, it has to be something welcoming, something that would make me come back. But most importantly, something unique that the little town can identify with. In today’s blog post, we are going to be talking about a font that I believe fits the previous description perfectly: introducing Monroe.  

 

About 8 years ago, Daniel Hernández released a font that he had big hopes in. Unfortunately, things didn’t go exactly as planned, and in 2013, the designer decided to stop selling it. But, this story doesn’t have a sad ending, as Hernández noticed that the looks of the font are not the best, and invested time into finishing the project he strongly believed in. Now, Monroe has gotten a new, improved, and upgraded version, that includes more weights and alternate glyphs.

Monroe Font

What’s in the package?

As seen on Creative Market, each font style contains 819 glyphs and the set has 394 characters for 207 Latin-based languages. Montoe also includes:

  •  5 stylistic sets that offer a wide range of signs
  • swashes
  • discretionary ligatures
  • 5 weights: Thin, Ultra Light, Light, Regular and Bold.

Monroe Font

Due to its fine, modern touch, the Monroe Font is suitable for many projects that you might come up with. We assure you that the versatile font would look amazing on business cards, packaging, book covers, all sorts of invitations, and even in-web design. It would also make a great pair with many of the fonts we features in our “Font of the week” series, so make sure you check those out, too.

Monroe Font

Daniel Hernández spends most of his time designing fonts. Creative Market is the best place where you can support his work buy purchasing your favorite. Below, I have listed some of the artist’s work in collaboration with other designers, which I hope you’ll find helpful:

Trend Rough

Monroe Font

Texta Narrow

Monroe Font

Newslab Family

Monroe Font

Trend Hand Made Family

Monroe Font

 

Boston

Monroe Font

 

If you are a font creator and would like to be featured in a similar post on our blog, send us an email at webdesignledger.blog@gmail.com and we will tell you all the simple steps you need to take.

Read More at Monroe Font Comes Back Improved After 8 Years FOTW#9



from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/monroe-font-comes-back/

Product of the Week: NOAH Watches

NOAH Watches

Here on Webdesignledger, you know how we love our series. So today, we’ll be launching a new series called Product of the Week. In this new series, we’ll be going over some of our favorite IOT items that we think you’ll love, too. Designers, developers, and geeks alike will all love what we’re cooking up. So fasten your seatbelts, and get ready for a ride.

 

To kick things off for this new and exciting series, we’re going to be taking a look at piece of tech that I think we all can appreciate: smart watches. But, the specific product we’re going to introduce you to is no simple smart watch. In fact, this new smart watch makes all the competition look like regular watches. Introducing NOAH Smart Hybrid Watches:

NOAH Watches

Who is NOAH?

NOAH, a Transilvania based tech company, is no stranger to making quality products. For the past few years, they have spent countless hours making sure that this watch is the perfect fit for whoever buys it. The Noah Smartwatch is the world’s first smartwatch to be completely encased in wood. Each external wooden case is handcrafted to perfection for a sophisticated and elegant look.

 

As you can see in the image above, there are quite a few options for customization so that each customer gets exactly the look they want. NOAH even took it a step further and thought about people with metal allergies, and ensured that no metal would touch the wrist of the wearer.

NOAH Watches

Beauty and intelligence

Although the wooden aspect of the watch is unique, it’s not the only unique feature NOAH came up with. The brains behind the creation of the watch came up with a technology that allows the face of the watch to look like a regular watch, while still maintaining all the cool tech a smart watch has. You’ll have the looks of an elegant watch while still being able to receive notifications about incoming calls and messages, information about the person calling, alarms, timers, step counters, and many other features available through the support app.

NOAH Watches

Think about how often you have to charge or change the battery on any of your devices. It doesn’t typically last very long, does it? This challenge was presented to the developers, and resolved quickly. They created a watch with more than a year of full functionality.

 

“We developed a partnership for implementing the new technology and the production of few

components with companies from Switzerland and Hong Kong, but the product design and the

assembly of the smart hybrid is handcrafted in-house. Each wooden case is polished and treated manually in a process that takes about 3 hours for each product.” – Ruben Perju, co-founder NOAH Watches

NOAH Watches NOAH Watches

Active and heritage for him or her

NOAH will start their new product off with two lines, active and heritage. The active line is for those who are always in motion, while the heritage is for those who are wanting more of an elegant look. In addition, the watches will have custom designs for him or her, each with 5 different cases, belt options, and colors.

 

If you’re interested in getting your hands on this one-of-a-kind smart watch, then you’re in luck. Their campaign is set to run for a total of 45 days where customers can purchase their watches at an impressive $169 for the limited number of watches that they have. After that campaign is over, the price goes up to $199.

 

We hope you enjoyed this first installment of product of the week here on Webdesignledger. It’s very exciting for us to be sharing our favorite products with you. If you’re interested in posts like this, and want to stay up to date with every to do with design, then be sure to follow along in our new series!

 

Read More at Product of the Week: NOAH Watches



from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/product-of-the-week-noah-watches/