Featuring design freebies, our favorite websites, and cool wallpapers all from our local design studio in Raleigh, NC.
Heliodon Circle - Generative Art Wallpaper
Playing with generative art programs inspired us to build our own generative art wallpaper. The Heliodon Circle desktop wallpaper is a beautiful minimal design inspired by an amazing programmatic artist and a free download for our loyal visitors.
The worlds of design and development have remained apart for quite awhile. Many think the two must remain individual and have very little to offer one another. People use very few of their artistic abilities in math class and vice-versa. But it doesn't need to necessarily remain that way. Like many developers, our team has started to play around with some programmatic art and the results are pretty fascinating. One of our recent experiments produced an interesting result that we decided to use as the base for this months Heliodon Circle desktop wallpaper. We'll give you a quick run through to how we generated the design, a few places to find insane programmatic art, and of course the free wallpaper downloads for all you fine folk.
Secure Messaging Apps for Encrypted Chat
Privacy concerns are on the rise and secure messaging tools offer the public a much needed firewall. We’ve compiled the top secure messaging apps available, which allow secure messaging, anonymous encrypted chat, file transmission & more.
Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of the modern world, but it's slow degradation can be tough to notice. Some have fallen back on the "If I'm doing nothing wrong, it doesn't matter" approach, but that antiquated rhetoric is quickly fading. If people don't take active measures to protect their own communication, we all know that corporations and governments will gladly vacuum our data up and utilize it for their own causes. Once people come to that realization, their logical next question "how can we actually have secure chat"? While it will be nice to live in a time where the public is familiar with concepts like "key based authentication" and "cipher suites", that's currently a large ask. Luckily a more obtainable goal is already in users hands - Simply using a secure messaging app.
20+ Top Free Joomla Templates
This carefully curated list of top free Joomla templates, is comprised of the web's best Joomla templates & some of the top free Joomla frameworks available today.
Joomla has always been a CMS that prioritizes quality over popularity, and that approach has clear benefits and drawbacks. While the code core is sound and the future of Joomla as a whole looks bright, a prevalence of readily available plug-ins & themes would work wonders in speeding this process along. The growth of the modernized JED covers half of that need, but hunting for the top free Joomla templates online has always taken a little work... and this is what we're addressing in this post. We've scoured the best developers online and compiled an incredible collection of responsive Joomla templates and free Joomla frameworks. All of these selections are built with quality code, feature fully responsive layouts, are constructed for J3+, and can be easily tailored to meet a high level of project demand. If you're looking for the best Joomla templates available online, look no further - cause you're in the right place.
Organic SEO - Improving Natural SEO Results
With the rise of paid ads and social traffic, Organic SEO has taken a back seat to many digital marketing companies. Although trends may be pushing against organic search, growing companies should see this opportunity for what it is...
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about improving traffic, but the source of that traffic is of key importance. A clear distinction should be made between content that aims to be hot and content that aims to be helpful. While obtaining "viral success" has its advantages, virality itself may have become a bit overblown. Whether you think organic search is a compliment, a foundation, or you haven't picked sides - the rules are simple and a growing company should really consider the value these dividends can pay.
Effective Social Media Automation
Paying attention to social media is important, but it can be time consuming. In this post we'll show you how strategically utilizing social media automation tools can save you that effort and give both you and your followers a better experience.
Modern businesses face a dilemma - Your time is limited, but customers expect you to be everywhere. This problem has forced the growth of social automation and while some may find it distasteful, when done correctly it can expand your audience, multiply your reach, increase brand awareness, and save you much needed time. In this post we'll briefly run down the best social media automation tools, address the benefits & drawbacks, touch on the moral implications, and give you our three favorite low-risk / high reward options for adding social automation to your repertoire.
Mobile Editing Apps - iOS Code Editors
The best Mobile Editing Apps and iOS Code Editors contain an amazing power - Allowing you to actually take your web development skills on the road.
People unfamiliar with coding might imagine that a coder's life consists of picking up an iPad off the beach, knocking out an hour, then rolling over to retire for the day. Unfortunately technology has just not gotten to that point yet. The restrictions that most editing apps possess make working away from a known network very difficult. In the last few years large moves have been made in the worlds of design and development, what really hasn't changed much though are the code editors we're doing all this fun work on. What could make real freedom a possibility in the near future is the development of intuitive mobile coding applications. Historically this has been an undeserved niche, but now there are a few solid choices in the field. In the name of pushing progress lets take a look at the leaders of the pack and identify exactly what they're doing right.
Triangle Ghost Theme
The Triangle Ghost Theme is a clean & responsive theme built for Ghost CMS. This minimal Ghost theme features a UIKit core, responsive layout, fixed menu, Disqus comments, slick animations and much more.
Get Social Icon Set & Social Media Font
Social icons are a necessity. That's why we built a minimal social icon set, then compiled it into a social media font. We've named it the Get Social Icon Set and it's free for all you designer types out there.
Every website must have a presence on the major social media platforms. Including those links on your website allows visitors to stay in touch. Designers used to spend hours creating social media links that matched a website, but with some advancements that step is a breeze. The Get Social Icon Set allows you to simply include a few lines then use the social media icons just like any other font.
Important Designers to Follow in Top Design Disciplines
One great aspect of Twitter is that you can always be in the loop of what you're favorite designers are up to. We've compiled a few very talented folks in major design disciplines that we believe should be on your list.
Following new trends and techniques can occupy quite a bit of time. The nature of project based work makes staying up to date pretty difficult to do. Most designers also need the ability to "check out" for a little while and that's what makes social networks so advantageous. Taking a couple minutes every other day to skim your feed is a great way to keep your "finger on the pulse" of the design world without committing a great deal of time to do so.
Spring Squirrels Wallpaper
The Spring Squirrels Wallpaper is a patterned squirrel wallpaper, includes 3 varieties & a vector squirrel pattern.
After a long winter nothing is more welcomed then the signs of a spring coming around the corner. Color spreading through the trees, birds filling the air with chirping, and a few of these guys scuttling around stashing their loot. We've included a few color variations on the Spring Squirrels Wallpaper and also tossed in the vector shape for any designers who would like to make their own.
Jessica Hische - Typographer
Effective typography is halfway between art and science. As it's appreciation in the design community reaches new heights, Jessica Hische is one name that should be piquing your interest.
Solid typography is easy to overlook, because when it's done well it seems effortless. In that same vein, a typographer generally likes to remain "behind the scenes" and let their work speak for itself. Like any craft there is a certain balance that must be struck and Jessica Hische has done an impeccable job so far in her career of making incredible work and supporting her community (without even becoming the least bit art-snobby).
20+ Free iPhone PSD and iPad Mockup PSDs
Free mockups usually lack in quality, but this collection of iOS Mockups (including iPhone psd & iPad Mockup psds) will give you all of the quality at none of the price.
One of the trickier points of being a web designer is conveying your idea to an existing or potential client. Business owners are generally not a "creative" sort - Visualizing leans right brain, whereas business acumen leans left. In the web design field an entire industry has sprung up around this issue - That solution being a high quality Mockup PSD.
Top Sources for Free Font Families
Font resources are often neglected on projects, leaving designers with a clear problem. Free font families help bridge that gap allowing you to bring a unique design to life until you're ready to commit to a premium font family.
Typography has always been a fundamental tool for marketing. The only significant drawback is that there is an assumption among the general public which ignores where fonts come from. We've all been spoiled with our default Arial & Helvetica and forgotten that fonts are complicated design features that can make a huge difference in a designs' overall aesthetic. Much like stock photography, clients are often confused by the cost - which is where free font libraries come in. By having a few free font sources we can integrate a quality font family into any design while delaying (or avoiding) the added cost. Having a few of these resources bookmarked can make a massive difference in your process and result in a better finished product for everyone.
The Source Code Resources for Web Pros
We've compiled the source code resources for web development's top web professionals. All house fantastic snippets of various languages that make it easy to view, sort, and download website source code.
One of the truly beautiful aspects of code is it’s inherently sharable nature. There was a time when developers focused their energy on code obfuscation and all sorts of other tactics to keep the source code private. Luckily, an overwhelming majority of professional coders have accepted the “Open Source” culture as a permanent approach to web development. In that world, even the most novice coder is able to build on the backs of giants.
Steve Zissou - Wes Anderson Wallpaper
This Wes Anderson Wallpaper Tribute is a Steve Zissou tribute. A minimalist Life Aquatic wallpaper for Wes lovers.
I love Wes Anderson, but this Steve Zissou Wallpaper is dedicated to the man himself. Generally Bill Murray is amazing in any movie, but this one in particular makes me love him so much more. He consistently fights an unending uphill battle, w/o so much as noticing. I constructed the teams outfit in Illustrator, then tossed in an inspirational quote from the man himself.
Top 10 Favorite Inspirational Websites
Inspiration comes in many forms - When it comes to graphic and web design, these are our top 10 favorite inspirational websites.
There are several important aspects to a quality inspirational website. You need high quality project pieces, an interactive community, impressive design freebies, and a cohesive overall presentation. With several years in the industry, it's safe to say inspiration drains out of even the best of designers from time to time. Here are a few sites that should push you past that occasional "writer's block" and inspire any passionate designer to their next portfolio worthy project.
10 Responsive Frameworks You Need
Bootstrap vs UIKit vs Foundation - We take a look inside all the popular frameworks on the market and find the 10 Responsive Frameworks You Need.
Responsive Frameworks are springing up everywhere lately, but crowding the market occasionally leads to confusion. Whether you call them responsive grid systems or a css responsive layouts - they are a web designer's best friend and we love them as much as anyone. The only issue we have with responsive frameworks is that there are just so many out there and when you're brain shoots to Bootstrap vs UIKit vs Foundation vs every thing else, it can be a tough decision. With that in mind, we'll try to save you some time and give you a few more tools... because these are the only css libraries you need to provide good responsive design to your clients.
Wordpress Htaccess - A Wordpress Security Tutorial
Your WordPress Htaccess is a file you should be taking seriously. It can boost security, performance, and seo without a ton of effort. Take a couple minutes and learn a few WordPress htaccess tricks of the trade.
One aspect that makes WordPress so popular is the carefully curated plugins that are so easily installable. In the case of security though, you don't want cookie cutter... You want bulletproof ...and using htaccess effectively is as bulletproof as it gets. While improving your website's security in just a couple steps, we'll also cover a few easy htaccess additions that can have your website running faster and more efficiently. If you're not already familiar with utilizing these files, you'll be amazed by the functionality they add. If you've got a few years of experience under your belt, hopefully you'll still catch a couple nuggets of code you don't have lying around worth keeping.
Calvin Power - Calvin and Hobbes Wallpaper
This stunning Calvin and Hobbes Wallpaper features a John Muir quote so impactful, we decided to name it Calvin Power.
Scottish naturalist John Muir once said "The Power of Imagination Makes Us Infinite" and to me nothing embodies that feeling more perfectly then Calvin and Hobbes. Anyone who grew up in the 90's will remember the kind hearted mischief, Spaceman Spiff, endless shenanigans, and the insanely tolerant folks. The seed this planted in millions of minds from one frame to the next, was that imagination makes all the difference. In this exceedingly homogeneous world, I couldn't agree more.
Stitch Wallpaper | Apple Logo Wallpaper
Our Stitch Wallpaper is an Apple logo wallpaper with a "stitched" apple icon. It's a minimal Mac wallpaper tribute.
This months submission - Stitch Wallpaper is simple, wintry in color, and a great way to coordinate your new tech gear ...especially since Santa is gonna be late with the new MacPro's.
The Best Wireframe Tools / Wireframe Apps
Bridging the gap between your vision and a clients idea usually takes a few tools. Use one of the best wireframe tools on the market and you'll go a long way in bridging that gap.
Wireframing is one of the most important steps in web or app development. Using solid wireframe tools can be a huge time saver, but if you're completely unfamiliar with concept - you're basically trying to roughly sketch what content goes where. The largest benefits of this being that it gives designers a map to work from and it also establishes the scope of the project. All things considered Wireframing is probably the most useful step in the development process, because it establishes communication, allows feedback, inks guidelines, and gives everyone a point of reference.
Best Background Patterns & Generators
Every decent designer gets tons of use out of their best background patterns. Slick website backgrounds and realistic Photoshop images both require quality seamless textures. Start your collection with the best!
The concept of texture occasionally gets lost on modern designers. The truth is, there are a finite amount of ways to add visual interest to a design project and texture should never be overlooked. Interesting background patterns can turn a generic site into a masterpiece in the same way that proper lighting makes or breaks a photo. It has nothing to do with the focal point, it unifies. It creates visual cohesion. That's why we've chosen to show you the best resources on the web for finding these small wonders. Clear out a folder and bookmark these generators, cause you'll see the amount of polish they can provide your projects almost immediately.
Le Petit Prince Wallpaper
This Le Petit Prince Wallpaper (The Little Prince Wallpaper) & some solid little prince quotes, remind us to dream.
With all the rising worldwide conflict, we've chosen to reflect our focus to all the incredible contributions France has spearheaded in our world. While no one can deny its immeasurable impact across politics, gastronomy, and the arts, this week a small, initially unassuming book named "Le Petit Prince" has felt more symbolic then any political speech ever could. We've included this tribute wallpaper (free to download), a few of our favorite Little Prince quotes, and a couple great links that will surely broaden your perspective on the topic.
Dropbox Database Sync for MySQL & MAMP
Using Dropbox for web development is an easy way to share files across multiple local servers. This tutorial shows you how to setup a Dropbox database sync so you can trigger your MySQL database sync in the push of a button.
Keeping computers in a local testing environment in sync can be a nightmare. While using GIT is certainly preferential, it may not be an option for newbies of those without the needed experience or software. In those cases, creating a file and Dropbox database sync is an ingenious option. As long as you have MAMP and Dropbox on your computer, you'll be able to share your files and databases across any computer you'd like to run a local testing environment on.
Mastering RSS - RSS Submission Sites & Tools
Content distribution is an overlooked aspect of blogging, so we created this quick guide to mastering RSS. By identifying leading RSS feed formats, top RSS submission sites, and a few of the best RSS reader apps, we can make your audience even larger.
After a recent convention an interesting topic arose, that being the future of RSS. For the last few years many in the industry have warned about the demise of this syndication method, while large social networks have attempted to recreate an approach that they can more extensively monetize. Of course no major internet company will be transparent about their intent, but any company that encourages "sharing" while harvesting and profiting off data should be viewed with a skeptical lens. Luckily by refocusing our efforts back towards a more proprietary syndication like RSS we can all enjoy increased traffic and exposure while retaining more control over our content's distribution. While that view may stray into philosophical debate, the benefits of effective RSS syndication are very real. Let's start by identifying exactly how feeds work and which RSS submission sites can have you automatically spreading your message to a wider audience w/ just a little fine tuning.
Raleigh Food Bank Charities and Local Farms
Give the triangle community a hand by supporting Raleigh food bank charities and local farms.
There have been substantial cuts in government assistance and in this time of need, providing food for our community should be at the top of our priority list. Sometimes that means volunteering at local food charities, but it can also mean simply supporting our own local agricultural industry. Here are a few ways that anyone can help out.
Thanks for Visiting Our Blog...
Featuring design freebies, our favorite websites, and cool wallpapers all from our local design studio in Raleigh, NC. If you have any ideas or comments, please feel free to contact us on any of the social media sites below. If you have a project you'd like our help with, just shoot us a message by clicking contact above and we'll get back in touch as soon as possible (usually within 48 hours).