1stWebDesigner https://1stwebdesigner.com Helping You Build a Better Web Sun, 18 Nov 2018 11:25:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Stop Acting Like an Amateur Freelance Web Designer https://1stwebdesigner.com/quit-acting-like-an-amateur-freelance-web-designer/ https://1stwebdesigner.com/quit-acting-like-an-amateur-freelance-web-designer/#comments Sun, 18 Nov 2018 11:22:29 +0000 https://1stwebdesigner.com/?p=129660 Being a successful web designer is more than just hardcore Photoshop skills and a mastery of the latest CSS framework. The challenge that keeps amateurs from becoming professionals is effectively managing their freelance careers.

While some of these skills cannot be learned overnight, here are a few things you can start doing now so clients think of you as a professional and transform your freelance web design career.

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1. Don’t Drop the Ball: Effective Communication Is Key

When was the last time you did work for a business that promised to call you back and never did? Or ignored your countless emails when trying to solve a problem?

Effective communication can make or break a professional in any field, but it’s of particular importance in the web design field. Professional designers understand that communication dictates the success of a project. Regular updates help make sure that your client is satisfied with the direction. And, if something does go wrong, you’re in a position to adjust timelines and expectations accordingly.

If you drop the ball on communicating with your clients regularly, it can result in deadlines being missed and an unhappy client who will not be raving about your web design services to anyone.

2. Always Set Clear Expectations to Avoid Problems

If you haven’t set expectations early on, the chances of you running into problems, later on, are high! Here are two types of documentation professional web designers use to ensure their clients understand their working process:

Draw up a Contract

Professional web designers never work without a contract. Not only does it protect you, but it helps set clear expectations to your client. Make sure your contract contains the following:

  • An outline of the job, including how many revisions will be allowed.
  • Who owns the rights to the finished product.
  • Your deadlines, rate fee, early termination fee, applicable late fees and dates of payment.

Create a Goals Document

Before you begin work on a project, agree on goals with your client and put them into a document. By taking the time to create this project scope, you have proof to charge more money if your client decides to change direction after the project has started.

And remember, while it won’t hurt to go above and beyond for your clients occasionally – don’t make it a habit. Avoid setting up expectations that you will work late nights and weekends just because you’re self-employed.

3. Only Deliver Showstopper Work That Will Make Your Portfolio Shine

You are never going to grow your freelance business and graduate from amateur to professional if you do not take pride in your work. While this tip does seem like a no-brainer, many freelancers take short cuts and only put in half the effort when working for clients that aren’t “exciting”.

While you do want to strive to build a client base that is aligned with your career goals, you may need to take on projects that aren’t your first choice, but you should not treat them as such.

Anything attached to your name should be a showstopper and make the next client eager to work with you. It should be your top priority to submit only your best, especially if you want to draw in those higher payer clients and grow your freelancing career.

4. Never Stop Networking and Looking for New Clients

A big mistake that amateur freelancers make is by relying on a small number of clients to make a living. A successful, professional web designer knows that there is more value in having a diverse client base and the stats speak for themselves.

A recent survey by Contently showed that half of all freelancers who never look for new clients make less than $20,000 per year.

By setting aside time on a regular basis to look for new clients, you can prevent becoming reliant on one or two for survival, and if one unexpectedly leaves, you can still get through the month without breaking a sweat.

Besides applying for jobs online, get away from your computer and go back to networking 101. Attend social events in your city, go to conferences, and discover where potential clients are hanging out. It is an excellent way to start making a name for yourself and form personable business connections.

5. Show off Your Work with a Professional Online Portfolio

If you do not have a portfolio that is up to date or an active social media presence your professional brand screams amateur. Professional web designers understand that clients can be found anywhere and how important it is to have a place to show off your experience, what companies you have worked with and your past projects.

An updated portfolio shows potential clients how relevant and active you are in the world of design and gives them solid evidence about your capabilities. By ensuring your portfolio is also filled with the sort of work you would like to do, you will attract the right clients and be one step closer to working on projects that inspire you and make you feel fulfilled.

Here are some of the key aspects your online web design portfolio should cover:

  • Layouts
  • Content Management
  • Composition
  • Typography
  • Colours
  • Techniques
  • Design Rationales

6. Screen Potential Clients to Wean out the Bad Apples

At some point in your freelance career, you are going to come across a bad client. Whether they want to control too much of what you do or communicate badly, the experience can be frustrating and lead to a loss of income as well as valuable resources like your time.

Professional web designers avoid attracting the type of clients they do not want by having a solid screening process in place. Instead of accepting any client that comes your way, ask yourself if their tastes align with your design principals. If you accept a client who hates the subtle, minimal designs you love, you are only setting yourself up for failure.

Other things to consider during this process is if the client can afford you, do you need them and if the project is aligned with your career goals. By focusing on attracting quality clients early on in your career, everything else will fall into place, and you will end up doing more work that you love.

7. Keep up with the Latest Trends and Don’t Stop Learning

To be a successful freelance web designer, you need to be technologically in tune with changes in the industry. Professionals who are quick to learn new things or technologies can differentiate themselves from competitors and become more sought after by potential clients.

Set aside time in your work day or during the week to learn things in your field. Read web design blogs to find out what’s new and trending, or invest in your continuous education by signing up for workshops, certifications, or the occasional class.

Remember you are never too old to learn new things and while you do not need to have the latest of everything to stay relevant, you need to keep your skills sharp and avoid working on technology that is outdated and not the industry standard.

Wrapping It All Up

What separates an amateur web designer from a professional is not how long they’ve been a freelancer. In reality, it is about their attitude and the way they handle their business and clients.

The road to becoming a professional freelance web designer is not easy. It is a challenging industry that requires dedication to not only tangible skills but soft ones like customer services to stay relevant and in demand.

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10 Free Website Optimization & Guides For Improving Site Speed https://1stwebdesigner.com/10-free-website-optimization-ebooks-guides/ https://1stwebdesigner.com/10-free-website-optimization-ebooks-guides/#respond Sat, 17 Nov 2018 13:19:08 +0000 https://1stwebdesigner.com/?p=134698 Every metric you can measure on your site will give you an optimized loading time. Everything from usability to search engine rankings improve with a faster site.

There is no catch-all process to optimization. There are certain things you can do, like minifying your code or optimizing images to reduce file size.

But overall you’ll need to try a lot of things to ultimately reduce your page load speed. And the best place to start is with online guides solely built for web developers who want faster pages. Take a look over this collection and see if any of these resources can help you master the art of page speed optimization.

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Essential Image Optimization

image optim guide

The Essential Image Optimization ebook is a fantastic primer on reworking your images for performance.

Google engineer Addy Osmani wrote this free ebook as a resource for all developers, designers, and server admins. The goal is to prove just how much image optimization can affect page speed.

With the right tools and processes you can radically improve your page load times. It won’t take much effort, and you can even get started with just a few simple changes. For example, WordPress users might try the SmushIt plugin that runs automatically and free of charge.

There’s a lot you can do for image optimization and this ebook is the best place to start.

Git-Tower Web Optimization Tips

gittower optimization guide

The team at Git-Tower published a massive guide to website optimization. This guide is really the bee’s knees on everything you could possibly want to do to your site.

It’s broken into sections almost like long chapters on various topics. They all follow a similar formula covering essential optimization topics:

  • Testing performance
  • Working with images
  • Reducing HTTP requests
  • Optimizing your code
  • Caching files

This guide also comes with a handy cheat sheet in PDF form. You can follow along while you make changes on your site, tracking performance as you go.

Ultimate Web Optimization Guide

A while back the team at Hongkiat wrote this optimization guide for the web. It’s still one of my favorites because it covers basically everything you should do for a faster site.

This talks about updating your server speed, your images, your HTTP requests, caching, CDN setup, everything.

Granted not everyone has the patience to go through all these things. It’ll take a lot of effort to switch servers and setup a CDN. Even though both of those things can radically improve performance, most people want a guide to help them along.

Take a look at this guide and see what you can glean from the writing. If you notice any sections that catch your eye be sure to Google for more info.

Top 10 Website Optimizations

top10 optimization ebook

Here’s a cool ebook on web performance released for free by Hostbaby. It covers 10 of the most important web optimization techniques you can use to radically improve your page speed.

The ebook does require an email submit which may annoy some people. But you can always unsubscribe from any lists you get added to, and the book is free forever regardless of if you subscribe or not.

Throughout the book you’ll learn not just the areas to optimize, but how to perform those optimizations and how to get the most from your efforts.

21 Expert Tips to an Ultra-Fast WordPress Site

siteground wp ebook

SiteGround has a similar ebook focused more on WordPress performance. This is a little more niche compared to general site optimization. Yet it’s incredibly useful since 27% of the Internet runs on WordPress.

The ebook is called 21 Expert Tips to an Ultra-Fast WordPress Site and it’s a great read for any WP users.

The tips in this ebook are gold, and they cover a lot of WP optimization tips for advanced caching and page testing. Probably the best guide to WP optimization you’ll find.

Again this does require an email submit to gain access, but it’s not difficult to unsubscribe later. I’ll say this is one ebook that’s worth submitting your email for – or you can just use a throwaway. Whatever works.

Web Page Size, Speed, and Performance

website speed performance ebook

Tech publisher O’Reilly has a massive book library totaling well into the thousands of titles. They release dozens of new books every year, most of them selling for a pretty penny.

But you can find a lot of free ebooks on their site released as 100% free guides, or as freemium previews to larger books.

One free guide I really like is Web Page Size, Speed, and Performance. This one’s easy to read and teaches you how to slim down your code to work well across all devices.

You’ll learn how to measure site speed, track down slow page assets, and how to optimize them to lift your site’s performance to new heights.

Static Site Generators

static site generator ebook

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about static websites. Mostly surrounding static site generators like Jekyll.

These types of sites load crazy fast because there’s no database and no backend code to run. It’s all frontend assets, most of which can be delivered through a CDN. O’Reilly’s free ebook Static Site Generators can help you start down this path.

It’s a quick read but offers more than enough info to get you hooked on the static site frenzy.

Real User Measurements

real user measurements ebook

Page speed optimization isn’t performed in a vacuum. It’s primarily done to enhance the user experience and keep people on your page.

Real User Measurements is yet another O’Reilly ebook teaching you how to measure valuable aspects of user performance. You’ll learn about active and passive monitoring tools along with different workflows you can adopt while optimizing your site.

There is no perfect process for measuring user behavior. But this book offers a solid intro to the field of user experience with a focus on website speed and optimization.

CDNs for Dummies

cdn guide

I couldn’t find a free ebook covering CDNs but I did find this awesome guide from Woorkup. It’s 100% free although it doesn’t go into as much detail on the more technical stuff.

This is still a genuinely useful intro to the process of managing a CDN. You’ll learn how it works, why it helps with site speed, and what you can do to setup a CDN for your own site.

I also recommend reading this comparison guide which gives a truly honest assessment of the CDN marketplace. I used this guide to help me pick the best CDN for my site, and it’ll help you understand why the CDN you choose is vital to your site’s performance.

Image File Format Comparison Chart

image file format guide

Lastly I want to share this image comparison guide detailing all the different file formats you can pick from.

It’s not the most valuable guide out there, but it does compare a lot of useful features you’ll want to consider before exporting graphics. It discusses the pros & cons of each image format. And it shares image format properties like lossless compression, transparency support, and native browser support.

If you’re still not sure whether a PNG or SVG is the best choice for your homepage graphics then this guide is worth bookmarking.

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9 Free Data Visualization Tools https://1stwebdesigner.com/9-free-data-visualization-tools/ https://1stwebdesigner.com/9-free-data-visualization-tools/#respond Fri, 16 Nov 2018 13:25:12 +0000 https://1stwebdesigner.com/?p=141051 Data can be beautiful. And if you’ve ever had to work with graphs and statistics in your web design work before, you know that the extra visual reinforcement is much better than trying to figure out a bunch of numbers.

Writing a blog post, creating a chart for a client’s project, or just trying to get your own personal data sorted; these free tools are just what you need to make charts, graphs, and infographics that are both pretty and easy to understand.

Chartist

Chartist

“Simple responsive charts” – no more, no less. Download this tiny program and create vector pie charts, line graphs and more that will scale to any screen size. You can even add animations! The graphs are highly compatible with a majority of web browsers, so there’s no reason not to use it. However, you will need to learn some JavaScript and CSS. The documentation should be a big help if you’re new to these languages.

RAWGraphs

RAWGraphs

If you’re looking for variety, RAWGraphs has everything under the sun. Just paste in your spreadsheet data or upload a file, and you’ll be able to convert the numbers to anything from a bar graph to a bump chart! You can even add your own chart type if you’re familiar with JavaScript. When done customizing, you can download as a SVG, PNG or JSON file. Or just embed the vector into your site. This advanced program isn’t the easiest to use, but it has a lot of potential.

Datawrapper

Datawrapper

If you have spreadsheet data you want to include in an article, Datawrapper makes it easy to turn it into a beautiful graph. It’s not hard at all, and the graphs are fully customizable down to text alignment and color customization (there are even color-blind filters!) When you’re finished, you just need to sign up and you’ll get the embed code for the chart.

Tableau

Tableau

Need something professional? Tableau Public is a downloadable tool that allows you to visualize data in a variety of ways. Suitable for anything from small charts to dedicated infographics, the app is a great choice for web designers.

ChartBlocks

ChartBlocks

“The world’s easiest chart builder” is exactly what it says. Insert some spreadsheet data, do a little tweaking, pick a theme and you’ve got yourself a chart in less than a minute. If you want to, you can tweak the appearance further. Or you can just download it, embed it or share it on social media!

Beam

Beam

Are all these programs too complicated? Just need to make a simple graph from a handful of data without importing a bunch of files? Just tweak a few names and data points, pick from four types of simple charts, and choose a color profile. Easy as that!

Visualize Free

Visualize Free

This drag-and-drop program is a fantastic way to create beautiful infographics that involve a lot of data. You’ll need to sign up to use the app, but there are a bunch of examples on the homepage that you’re free to customize while getting a feel for the dashboard.

OpenHeatMap

OpenHeatMap

This app is amazing simply because it’s so easy to use! Upload a spreadsheet or Excel file – get a beautiful heatmap with an embed code. The process is clean and perfectly streamlined.

Timeline

Timeline

This one is a bit more difficult to set up, since you’ll need to follow the steps exactly and create a new spreadsheet. But if you need an embeddable interactive timeline for your project, this is the app you’re looking for.

Beautiful Data

Breaking up text with visually stimulating images is a great way to prevent a webpage from looking bland. With these free tools, you’ll be able to create interesting graphs and charts that will draw in anyone who sees them, and in minutes. No more spending hours trying to make your own infographics!

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The Top 3D JavaScript Libraries For Web Designers https://1stwebdesigner.com/3d-javascript-libraries/ https://1stwebdesigner.com/3d-javascript-libraries/#respond Thu, 15 Nov 2018 18:47:12 +0000 https://1stwebdesigner.com/?p=134158 Modern JavaScript is surprisingly powerful. Especially with support from WebGL libraries and SVG/Canvas elements.

With the right tools you can build pretty much anything for the web including browser-based games and native applications. Many of the newest groundbreaking features run on 3D, and in this post I’ve curated my list of the best 3D JS libraries currently available for web developers.

Three.js

three.js homepage

There is no doubt that Three.js deserves to be at the top of this list. It can be somewhat complex to learn from scratch but it’s also one of the better 3D libraries out there.

It’s managed by a core group and released for free on GitHub. ThreeJS primarily works on canvas elements, SVG elements, and the WebGL library for rendering.

Learning the ropes is a challenge and will require at least mid-level JavaScript knowledge. But you can find the complete setup in the Three.js documentation.

If you’re serious about doing 3D on the web, this library is for you. It’s not the only choice, but it’s probably the most popular choice for a beginner to start building stuff fast.

Babylon.js

babylonjs script

Another powerful library I like is Babylon.js. This one again relies on WebGL and runs solely in JavaScript.

It’s a bit more popular than other libraries but doesn’t have the same reach as Three.js.

Still it’s widely regarded as a powerful choice for web developers who want to create browser-based web games. On the homepage you can find a ton of demo previews and tips on how to get started with 3D game design.

There’s also a bunch of important links to resources like the GitHub repo and the Babylon JS tutorials.

All of those tutorials were designed by the Babylon team, so they’re an excellent place to start learning this library.

Cannon.js

cannonjs homepage

For something a little off the beaten path check out Cannon.js. This doesn’t push the usual 3D concepts but instead works as a JavaScript-based physics engine for gaming.

Canon is meant to load fast so you can render elements quickly on the page. It supports most modern browsers and comes with a powerful API for building your own physics ideas off of this.

It works great with Canvas elements and with WebGL apps. The only tricky part is studying the library and getting over the initial learning curve.

Take a peek at the GitHub demos page to see how Cannon.js looks in the browser and why it’s so great.

CopperLicht

copperlicht homepage

With a name like CopperLicht you might not know what to expect. But this is a powerful 3D JavaScript rendering engine built solely for web-based JS games.

Again it’s 100% open source and free to use for any project. The company that built CopperLicht does have some premium software & tools but these are not necessary for learning the CopperLicht library.

In fact, learning all the features will be tough since it supports an array of 3D functions like shadows/lighting, special effects, and 3D page element interactions.

The tutorials page is the best place to start and if you take this route be willing to take it slowly. There is a steep learning curve to get CopperLicht under your belt, although the payoff is well worth it.

Phoria.js

phoria.js script

For web-based motion and 3D effects on the screen you might try Phoria.js. It’s really more of a graphics library but Phoria is rooted in 3D rendering inside HTML5 canvas elements.

The main site runs a bunch of demos and it’s a pretty reasonable library for creating 3D graphics. The learning curve isn’t too tough, and you’ll find a bunch of code snippets on the site that you can copy/paste.

Plus it doesn’t even use WebGL, so you don’t need to worry about that library. Although you will need to be comfortable working on the canvas element, but that just comes with practice.

Scene.js

scenejs 3d javascript

For something that does run on WebGL check out Scene.js. Currently in version 4.2 this massive open source library lets you render elements in 3D for any modern browser.

It’s supported by a large team of developers and has years of major updates making it one of the best 3D rendering scripts you can use. However, this calls itself more of a visualization library, so it’s not just for rendering basic graphics.

Instead this could be used for much more complex tasks like designing multiple views of objects from different angles, or even creating basic 3D game graphics.

The homepage has a bunch of links to great examples if you’re curious to see how this works.

D3.js

d3.js javascript

While surfing the web you’ll often find charts and graphs that rely on 3D effects. Many of these run on D3.js which is a powerful JavaScript library for rendering data in 3D.

It’s also a totally free open source project with a very helpful GitHub page. The goal is to use SVG & canvas elements inside HTML to create dynamic data that can animate, rotate, and ultimately display information visually.

Take a look at the wiki entry on the GitHub page for more info. This includes some basic setup details along with documentation for anyone willing to dive into the D3 library.

LightGL.js

lightgl.js script

I don’t see much mention of LightGL.js around the web but it’s an excellent choice for 3D rendering in the browser.

This free open source library runs on the WebGL framework, and it’s meant to be the fastest, lightest library you can use. This works at a lower level than most abstraction libraries so it does require a stronger understanding of JavaScript.

Most developers just want simplicity so that could be why fewer people are sharing it around the water cooler.

But if you’re comfortable working in JavaScript then LightGL will give you a lot more control over your codebase.

Seen.js

seen.js open source

For its complete lack of dependencies I had to include Seen.js in this list. Again this runs on the HTML5 canvas element but it works in vanilla JavaScript without any other required libraries.

It’s totally free for all developers and free to customize under the Apache 2.0 license. Some of the demos are pretty crazy considering they’re built solely in JavaScript.

Anyone who’s willing to push the boundaries of basic 3D visualization might take a look at Seen. It may not have a large following like Three.js but it’s a great canvas/SVG alternative that doesn’t rely heavily on WebGL.

If you are curious to start with WebGL then take a peek at our example gallery of 30 awesome WebGL experiments.

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10 Free Invoice Templates for Creatives https://1stwebdesigner.com/free-invoice-templates-creatives/ https://1stwebdesigner.com/free-invoice-templates-creatives/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2018 04:15:30 +0000 https://1stwebdesigner.com/?p=133899 Invoicing is a necessary task for independent and freelance creatives. While default invoices can often be underwhelming in terms of design, there are a number of ways to improve them and bring them up to the high standards we creatives set for ourselves.

One of these is to use a beautiful free invoice template, tailored toward individuals in the creative industry. From there, it’s quick and easy to customize them to fit your personal brand and desired design language. In turn, it should help to further impress upon clients and improve your overall personal brand.

In this article we are going to bring together ten of the most beautiful free invoice templates available for creatives.

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Invoice Free Sketch Source

Invoice Free Sketch Source Beautiful Free Invoice Templates for Creatives

This free invoice template for Sketch uses a spacious layout with bold titles and a single primary color. The backside uses an impressive repeating pattern which could easily be customised to fit your personal brand.

Invoice Template

Beautiful Free Invoice Templates for Creatives

This invoice template is one of the more simplistic and minimal template designs. Swapping the logo and brand colors for your own would only take minutes and present you with a wonderfully polished design.

Invoice Template Free Sketch

Free Sketch Beautiful Free Invoice Templates for Creatives

This beautiful free invoice template is another minimal example which uses an abundance of white space and well-chosen typography alongside a splash of color.

Modern Invoice Template

Modern Beautiful Free Invoice Templates for Creatives

This perfectly presented invoice template makes use of the full page width and houses a well-structured and orderly design. The logo and colors are easily editable and allow you to have the invoice customised in minutes.

Invoice Free Template

Beautiful Free Invoice Templates for Creatives

This invoice template is one of the most visually impressive with beautiful header gradients and a bold green highlight color. It wouldn’t make for the most printer-friendly option, but in today’s climate the printing of invoices is fast becoming a rare occurrence.

Free Branding Identity

Free Branding Identity Beautiful Free Invoice Templates for Creatives

Another visually impressive option is formed as part of this branding identity set. It uses well spaced content alongside a single primary color and monochrome footer image.

Diamond Yellow Invoice

Beautiful Free Diamond Yellow Invoice Templates for Creatives

This simple grid-based invoice design is very printer-friendly and may suit best those creatives who need to offer paper copies of their invoices to clients.

Invoice Free Template

Beautiful Free Invoice Templates for Creatives

As one of the finest and most polished examples of an invoice design, this template is all but guaranteed to impress any client.It’s wonderfully presented and uses a unique two-tone design to separate the total due and due by date from the description list.

Free PSD Invoice Template

PSD Beautiful Free Invoice Templates for Creatives

Another simple design with a lot of merit. This free invoice template would be particularly good for printing and may also present the opportunity to code the template into an editable HTML-based invoice.

Elegant Invoice for Sketch

Elegant Sketch Beautiful Free Invoice Templates for Creatives

This free invoice template casts significant focus on the typography. It’s been executed elegantly and is ready to start using from the moment you download. There is great scope for customisation with this template design.

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Use Placeit to Easily Create Professional-Quality Logos and More https://1stwebdesigner.com/use-placeit-to-easily-create-professional-quality-logos-and-more/ https://1stwebdesigner.com/use-placeit-to-easily-create-professional-quality-logos-and-more/#respond Tue, 13 Nov 2018 10:00:53 +0000 https://1stwebdesigner.com/?p=140835 Your logo is the single most important design asset for your business. It has to immediately show the world who you are and what you do. That one image carries a lot of responsibility. That’s why it’s so important to get it right.

As a business owner, you have a couple of options for creating a great logo. You can choose to design it yourself from scratch – incredibly difficult if you aren’t already well-versed in graphics software. Or, you can hire a graphic designer – which can be expensive and requires a lot of back-and-forth. Either way, it’s unlikely that you’ll get something satisfactory without spending large amounts of time and money.

Thankfully, there’s now a better way. Using Placeit, you can create a stunning, custom logo for your business in just minutes. Their online logo maker makes the entire process fast, easy and incredibly affordable.

The Perfect Logo, Without the Hassle

The process for creating a logo is super simple. In fact, you don’t need to have any experience with professional software or techniques. Just how easy is it? The whole process can be completed in three quick steps:

Step #1: Choose Your Industry and Style

With Placeit, you not only have a tool that makes logo creation a breeze. You also have access to an enormous variety of styles and industries to choose from. So, whether you’re building a logo for a fitness studio, a restaurant or a sports team – you have the resources to make it happen. Pick the industry and style that suits your business and start creating!

Placeit logos cover a variety of industries and styles.

Step #2: Make It Your Own

Once you find the right logo, click on it and you’ll be taken into the online logo maker. Virtually every aspect of your logo can be edited. Colors, borders, typography, imagery and content can all be changed with point-and-click ease. Want to adjust the sizing of an object? Click on it and use your mouse to expand or contract.

A Placeit logo concept for a coffee shop.

Feel free to tweak things as much as you want. You may even be surprised at how quickly everything comes together. You can literally go from a basic concept to a fully-customized logo within minutes.

A customized coffee shop logo.

Step #3: Download!

Once you’re satisfied with your creation, you can download your new logo. Just click on the blue “Download” button to get started. Placeit generates your custom image and emails you a download link when everything is ready to go.

The image you receive is very flexible. Since it’s 300 DPI, your logo will be perfect for both print and web use. That means you can show it off on a full range of branding materials, such as business cards, brochures and even t-shirts. And, of course, it will also look stunning on your website.

That’s all there is to it! With three easy steps, your business will have its own unique identity that reflects who you are. From there, you can focus on what you do best.

The final result: A custom coffee shop logo.

Build Your Brand with Placeit

Placeit puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to logo creation. Their easy-to-use tools and professional results mean that you won’t have to invest an exorbitant amount of time and money. Instead, you’ll have the brand identity you need without the hassle.

You can build and download your own logo for just $39. Or, choose Placeit’s unlimited subscription plan for just $29 per month. You’ll have unlimited access to the online logo maker, along with a full suite of creative tools. Create product mockups, social media images and even video presentations with ease. All of your branding needs will be covered for one affordable price.

What are you waiting for? Start using Placeit today and build your brand to the fullest.

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10 Beautifully Designed Admin Dashboard Layouts https://1stwebdesigner.com/admin-dashboard-layouts/ https://1stwebdesigner.com/admin-dashboard-layouts/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 07:11:35 +0000 https://1stwebdesigner.com/?p=133897 Admin dashboards are an integral part of almost any web-based service or product. They form the area where users can interact with a product or service via a password-protected login stage.

Prominent examples include WordPress, Stripe, and Shopify. They typically include a significant amount of options and editable content. As such, the designer of an admin dashboard is tasked with incorporating these options while maintaining usability, design consistency, and simplicity.

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When executed to a high level, the results can be stunning and present some of the very best examples of user interface and user experience design.

You might also like: 10 Free Bootstrap Dashboard Admin Templates.

V – Role Editor

Role Editor Inspiring Designed Admin Dashboard Layouts

This role editor dashboard uses an abundance of white space alongside a beautifully selected color palette to use across default avatars, icons and buttons.

Pehia Dashboard

Pehia Dashboard Inspiring Designed Admin Dashboard Layouts

A highly visual example, Pehia’s dashboard utilises subtle pink and orange gradients throughout as well as overlapping shapes, simple icons, and large user imagery.

Project Management Dashboard

Project Management Dashboard Inspiring Designed Admin Dashboard Layouts

This project management dashboard utilises a card-based user interface with a bold use of color for project status and tracking. The sidebar and cards contrast perfectly with the grey background color.

Zeta Hr Dashboard

Zeta Hr Dashboard Inspiring Designed Admin Dashboard Layouts

This simple but effective dashboard design by Zeta offers tremendous contrast and a beautifully spacious layout. The colors are on-point and highlight the different dashboard sections particularly well.

Sweetapp

Sweetapp Inspiring Designed Admin Dashboard Layouts

Sweetapp’s user interface focuses on white with a primary green color. Depth is provided via subtle shadows and border outlines. The design is spacious and the iconography is excellent.

Tenory Practice Activity

Tenory Practice Activity Inspiring Designed Admin Dashboard Layouts

This dashboard design by TenorySync uses plenty of white space and bold card background colors. The timeline has been executed beautifully with great depth and visual effect.

SpendStore

SpendStore Inspiring Designed Admin Dashboard Layouts

SpendStore has kept their use interface design very simple. It’s highlighted with beautiful gradient buttons and a satisfying off-pink highlight color. The details have been executed with precision in this admin dashboard.

Tapcore

Tapcore Inspiring Designed Admin Dashboard Layouts

Tapcore’s dashboard is exceedingly clean and uses many aspects of the Material design movement. The content sections use a subtle drop shadow for contrast and the iconography is cohesive throughout.

Metronic

Metronic Inspiring Designed Admin Dashboard Layouts

The Metronic admin dashboard template is a standout amongst competition. The navigation is unique but has a high degree of usability. The colors work beautifully throughout the graphs, charts, and typography.

Papanda

Papanda Inspiring Designed Admin Dashboard Layouts

Papanda uses a two-tone color scheme of blue and orange. It also integrates custom illustrations which are a delight to experience and offer extra brand continuity throughout the design.

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Should You Use Gutenberg on Existing WordPress Websites? https://1stwebdesigner.com/should-you-use-gutenberg-on-existing-wordpress-websites/ https://1stwebdesigner.com/should-you-use-gutenberg-on-existing-wordpress-websites/#respond Sun, 11 Nov 2018 08:15:22 +0000 https://1stwebdesigner.com/?p=140875 With the impending release of WordPress 5.0, the new Gutenberg editor will make its way onto millions of websites. It’s a big change in how content is created, stored and managed. Not to mention the potential compatibility issues that could crop up with some themes and plugins.

As the new editor prepares for full release, we should note that the “Classic” Editor will remain available as a plugin. Activating it will enable site owners to use it in conjunction with Gutenberg or bypass it completely.

Because the Classic Editor affords us a second path, it’s worth considering whether or not to take it. Gutenberg represents a big shift in how WordPress operates. The question becomes, is it really worth utilizing the new editor on an existing site, or is it better to stick with the tried-and-true Classic version?

To answer that question, there are several factors to consider. So, before you take the plunge and switch to Gutenberg, here are a few items you’ll want to think about.

The Past and Future of Your Content

The content on your existing website, along with the way you manage it, has already been established. Odds are that your pages and blog posts follow a specific format that was created long before Gutenberg came onto the scene.

With that in mind, consider whether or not you want to change things to reflect the new capabilities Gutenberg brings. For instance, you might have interest in refactoring your existing content to utilize features like full-width images or multi-column layouts.

However, sites that are heavy in content may require a lot of work to bring up to speed. It might consist of going through every piece of content and laying it out in the new block-based format. Gutenberg can automatically convert legacy posts to blocks, though you’re ultimately the one who will need integrate any customizations.

The other option would be to perhaps refactor some existing content, while focusing more on using Gutenberg for new items. In this case, maybe a few key pages could be formatted with the new editor. Then, all future blog posts would also be block-based.

Gutenberg shouldn’t harm or break any existing content, so you can use it in conjunction with the Classic Editor to format just the content you choose.

WordPress new post menu.

Is Your Site Customized?

When you built your website, you may very well have set things up to take advantage of the Classic Editor. Or, perhaps you used custom fields or a page builder plugin to allow for more complex layouts, etc.

If your site already sports custom methods for creating content, switching to Gutenberg could lead to some issues. Turning off a page builder, for example, may break custom layouts that were created with it. That again means refactoring everything to use the new editor.

Some page builder plugins are pledging Gutenberg compatibility and custom fields will still work as they always have. Even so, it may make sense to just stick with your current setup.

If you do decide to go with Gutenberg, make sure to test everything in a staging environment beforehand. You won’t want to encounter any unpleasant surprises on a production site.

Code editor

Workflow and Client Education

Gutenberg is a fairly intuitive tool, but it still has a learning curve. Think of a busy news site that has multiple authors. They probably have an existing content creation and editorial process. Throwing a completely different type of editor into mix could hurt efficiency in the short term.

Likewise, even a small brochure-style website can run into some detours. If your client is typically the one who manages content, they may also struggle to adapt to a different workflow. Blog posts that previously took just a few minutes could take significantly longer to create.

This is where web designers need to step in and provide a crash course on using Gutenberg. It can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and has a basic understanding of how things work. The other potential bright side (for you) is that educating clients can result in some extra revenue.

Still, the adaptation content creators will need to make isn’t going to be seamless – even with education. Thus, you’ll need to weigh the benefits of using Gutenberg against those of keeping things as-is.

Sign that reads "New Skills Training".

Time for a Redesign?

Because Gutenberg presents such a fundamental change to using WordPress, you may lean towards holding off on implementing it on your existing site. However, if your site is also due for a redesign, it might offer the perfect opportunity to knock both items off of your to-do list.

Since this new tool is the future of the platform, optimizing your redesign to utilize it makes plenty of sense. It provides you with the chance to refactor content and educate clients. Even better is that you can implement these changes on a staging environment. This allows you to experiment and identify any pain points.

When the new site launches, you can be confident that everything is working as it should. Clients will have an understanding of their new workflow and the website will be better prepared for the future.

Making the Right Decision

Deciding whether or not to enable Gutenberg on your existing website takes some serious thought. In the end, it’s about whether or not the switch is going to benefit your particular site. If you’re really keen on the flexibility the editor offers, then it may be worth your while to use it right from the get-go.

However, there are situations where rolling with the changes may not be ideal. If content creation on your site is highly-customized or a change to your workflow isn’t in your plans, using the Classic Editor for the time being could be your best bet.

The Classic Editor plugin should be supported for “years to come”, meaning that you don’t have to rush into anything when it comes to Gutenberg. Knowing this, you may consider a plan to start fresh and utilize Gutenberg on both new and newly redesigned websites.

Regardless, it all comes down to making the right choice for your specific situation. Thankfully, WordPress enables us to easily go in either direction.

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Branding 101 for Freelance Designers https://1stwebdesigner.com/branding-101-freelancers/ https://1stwebdesigner.com/branding-101-freelancers/#respond Sun, 11 Nov 2018 07:24:41 +0000 https://1stwebdesigner.com/?p=130586 Branding seems like marketing jargon, but it’s actually an extremely important part of freelancing – much more than it’s given credit for. Whether or not you think branding is important or find it ridiculous, the truth is that we live in an era where branding is crucial to a freelancer’s success.

It’s important to see branding as more than just an icon, logo, a visual theme, or a product. A brand is a relational tool and the standard industry definition is that it is the overall identity of the organization, which includes its visual elements, sure, but also its mission, vision, and the core values its members hold.

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“Marketing,” then, in a sense, is how you get that message to an audience, which is, in this case, your client.

Ultimately, branding tells your client what kind of service they’re going to receive. It communicates your process, your style, your work ethic, and so much more. It also helps communicate your strength as a professional.

The personal portfolio of developer Riccardo Zanutta

Your brand isn’t the only thing that’s important to remember, however – you also need to consider the brand that your client has. So not only is it important to communicate your own brand to your client, but it’s equally crucial to understand branding as it pertains to your client, and the message they want to get across.

But what does that mean for individual freelancers? What does it mean to have a personal brand? And how can that help freelancers in pitching to clients, working with them, and helping a client develop and refine their message to enhance the value of your project deliverables?

What Does Branding Mean for Me?

Think about what makes you, well, you

Ask yourself what your personality is, and how it sets you apart from the crowd. Freelancing, as more and more people do it, is becoming extremely competitive and you need to set yourself up as not just a developer or a graphic designer, but one with panache who knows how to communicate your unique style.

Ask yourself how your work process reflects that. Are you a fun worker? Constant communicator? What are your core values?

Check out your competition. What’s on their website? How many items do they have in their portfolio? Think about how you differ from them, yes, but consider what they have and add to it.

The personal portfolio of Cedric Pereira

Considering the above, craft a full bio and brand statement, and a unique selling proposition that specifically demonstrates what makes you unique and why a client should hire you above all else. Inject personality in everything you do. Create awareness of your products and your value.

Provide a roadmap. Use customer mapping or design thinking to consider how to implement your brand into your process so that what you do incorporates who you are, what you stand for, what you offer.

Consider branding as an experience, or a service, and how that will define the relationship between you and your client.

Revise, revise, revise

Think about how what you do is constantly refining your skills and changing your experience levels. Don’t think the brand you came up with when you started is the brand you need to stick to forever.

It’s important to make sure that you’re keeping yourself and your brand updated based on what you’re doing.

Showcase your skills

Develop a unique company name. If the company name is your name, make sure that falls in line with your personal brand.

Develop a website, a portfolio, or a blog (depending on the kind of work you do). If you’re a writer, you need to be able to show the client either your experience as a guest poster, or your own personal writings. You don’t want to sell yourself as a writer without any examples. You don’t want to bill yourself as a graphic designer if you have no designs.

The personal portfolio of Rafael Derolez

Create a timeline for consistent updates to your website. Don’t necessarily upload your entire portfolio at one time if you don’t have consistent and constant portfolio additions. Space it out, and make it look like you’re ensuring constant upkeep.

Figure out your experience. Craft a resume that reflects what you do. Make it a visual one that a client can experience, not just view, especially on a website.

Think about what people see

Manage your visual presence. Get a good looking logo that effectively communicates your brand. Think about how colors, geometric designs, minimalism, and so on can communicate who you are and what you do.

Your social media can define you

Be cognizant of your social media presence and make sure it reflects what you want people to think about you.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have raunchy tweets or a clear political bent – but you do need to be aware that your clients will see these things, whether or not you list them as your social media profiles.

Remember that everything that is public is completely accessible by everyone. If you have a humorous brand, make sure you’re funny. If you have a design background, make sure your social media profiles are kept looking good.

Get professional and official

Have business cards you can hand out to people who might in conversation mention they could use your services.

Utilize networking, and develop a good elevator speech. Figure out what you want to communicate it, what story you want to tell about yourself, and figure out how you can say it in 30-60 seconds.

Biz Cardz by Greg Christman

What Does Branding Mean for My Client?

Do your research and work on your proposal

If they have a website, and you’re making emails for the client, check out their website ahead of time. In fact, even before crafting a proposal to get hired, make sure that you have suggestions lined up for what you can offer, what you’d improve, what changes you’d make, and what kind of project you’d be making for them.

We also can’t stress this enough: don’t use the same proposal for every client. They’ll be able to see right through you, and no client wants to feel like the freelancer is treating their project like every other project. Clients want to know that you’ve given their specific project specific attention, that you’ve thought about what you can do together, and how you work.

Understand their brand

Ask questions. Better yet, create a Google form for them to fill out that asks them questions like “What is your personal brand?”, “What are your values?”, and “What message do you want to communicate to your audience with whatever you’re developing for them/ who is your audience?”

This communicates your professionalism and shows them you have a standardized approach to completing projects – essentially, it shows them that you’ve done this before and you know what needs to get done and what is required for getting the job done.

Styleguide by Jack’s Design

Communicate constantly

Make sure that at every step of the way you’re effectively communicating with your client to make sure that what you’re making lines up with they want. You don’t want to spend 10 hours on something the client despises. That will waste both your time and your client’s, and nobody likes wasted time.

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10 Free Icon Sets for Ecommerce UI Design https://1stwebdesigner.com/free-ecommerce-icon-sets/ https://1stwebdesigner.com/free-ecommerce-icon-sets/#respond Sat, 10 Nov 2018 07:40:36 +0000 https://1stwebdesigner.com/?p=136604 Designing an ecommerce site is not like any other web project. You have to think about branding along with user experience and marketing based on the design. It can be quite difficult to say the least.

But there are lots of free resources you can use to make your job easier. Icon sets, for one, are a lot of work to design. You can save hours (even days) worth of time by using a free icon pack instead.

The sets below are all totally free and come in a variety of styles. If you’re looking for ecommerce-related icons, you’ll find plenty to dig through in this list.

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54 Ecommerce Icon Pack

54 Ecommerce Icon Pack

First up is a massive 54-set icon pack featuring simple line icons that will work well for typical ecommerce features.

This set was created by designer Virgil Pana and released for free on Dribbble. The entire pack comes as a PSD file and it really is one of the better ecommerce sets out there.

I like this particular style because I think it can easily blend in with any website.

The minimalist line style is very common and so it’s worth trying – regardless of what project you’re building.

Simple Green Icon Set

Simple Green Iconset

Here’s one more freebie pack hosted on Dribbble with a focus on beautiful green icons. Although, technically the color scheme can be altered with a few clicks in Illustrator.

Designer Pavel Kozlov created this pack of 40 free ecommerce icons and released it to the world a few years ago. Yet, the icons are just as relevant today as ever before.

To download a copy you’ll need to visit the Gumroad page. Typically items on Gumroad cost money, but this pack is actually 100% free.

If you want to give Pavel a tip for all his efforts, you certainly can. But it’s not a requirement to gain access to these lush green icons.

Flat Vector Shopping Icons

Flat Vector Shopping Icons

Another really popular trend is flat design. This has been applied to everything from mobile apps to websites and yes, even icons.

Take a look at this vector icon set featuring 80 different shopping icons. Some are colored, some are just plain line icons, but they’re all super easy to use and customize.

You can nab the pack as static PNGs or as vectors in AI/EPS format. And they’re free to use on commercial projects. Just note that the license requires a simple link back to the original website.

Shipping and Ecommerce Icons

Shipping and Ecommerce Icons

The online marketplace EpicPxls includes some really high-quality resources. It’s a great place for designers to release premium and free assets to the world – all while building a following for their work.

Take a look at this icon set created by EpicCoders. It’s been downloaded well over 2,000 times and it’s really quite unique.

One glance at the style and you’ll see what I mean. It feels vibrant, almost cartoony, yet not over-the-top.

This pack should work great for minimalist sites, along with any ecommerce shops that match the color scheme.

Hand-Drawn Icons Set

Hand-Drawn Icons Set

It can be tough designing a page with hand-drawn elements. But they do add a certain creativity into any website and that goes double for these free icons.

The entire ecommerce icon pack is focused on hand-drawn elements. From gift box icons to little shopping baskets and checkout features, all the graphics you’ll need can be found in this set.

I would recommend using this set for a landing page design rather than a checkout UI. You may have difficulty getting these icons to blend naturally for a checkout interface, but they would grab attention on a web shop’s homepage.

Credit Cards Pack

Credit Cards Pack

No ecommerce website is complete without credit card icons.

If you are designing a shop that accepts credit cards then have a look at these free CC icons released on Dribbble.

Designer Guy Levin created 9 different credit card icons – all in one Adobe Illustrator file.

They’re super clean, easy to customize and will blend anywhere on your page.

Linear Ecommerce Icons

Linear Ecommerce Icons

I do love my line icons, so they make plenty of appearances on this list.

The Pixlov website released their own pack of free linear ecommerce icons following this exact style. And the pack is just phenomenal.

You wouldn’t think 33 icons would amount to a whole lot but this set has plenty of designs to pick from. I just wouldn’t recommend them for a checkout screen, as it seems more suited for a landing page or a “features” page about the store.

These could also work well in your own newsletter to push your products even further.

Noun Project Ecommerce

Noun Project Ecommerce

If you aren’t familiar with The Noun Project, you should definitely check it out. The website curates a ton of free icon packs from around the web and from many designers worldwide. There’s a lot to go through, but for this post I would like to suggest the ecommerce collection, made by Anton Scherbik.

They are the simplest of simple line icons. The pack includes several great choices, like checkout bags and cart icons in a variety in styles.

Checkout and Delivery Icons

Checkout and Delivery Icons

The Codrops blog is simply amazing. They regularly publish high-quality tutorials with freebies you can use for your own projects.

One example is this checkout icon set created by EpicPxls.

It comes with 35 unique icons that have a fill effect that you just won’t find elsewhere. The fill colors ever-so-slightly hang outside of the line work, which is probably the first thing you’ll notice.

This set definitely provides a unique twist.

Customized Icon Set

Customized Iconset

Last but certainly not least is this awesome icon set by Graphicboat.

These icons won’t necessarily fit in everywhere. But they can draw attention fast and get people curious to learn more about your shop.

I’d say these icons would fit best in a header background, in a “features” page, or maybe somewhere near your CTA button.

That’s the list! If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, feel free to search Google for more. New freebies come out every month, so you never know what you’ll find.

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