Web Design

We have 10 yearly subscriptions (worth $39 each) to PixelKit to giveaway – Comment to enter!

Posted on September 14, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Friday again and you know what that means, don’t you? It is competition time! This week we have another fantastic giveaway for you – courtesy of the guys over at PixelKit we have 10 yearly subscriptions (worth $39 each) to giveaway. PixelKit is a premium design resource site that specializes in UI kits and icons sets.

To enter this competition all you have to do is comment on this post and tell us how you’d use your subscription.


About PixelKit

PixelKit is a UI kit and design resource subscription site (only $39 for a full year!) that makes it much easier to finish jobs faster, with a more professional, clean and crisp look. Thus saving you all of that wasted time searching for that perfect UI kit. They also recognize that designers constantly need access to new stuff, so, they are committed to adding new GUI kits, icon sets, premium graphic packs and everything else on a regular basis.

Here are a few more reasons you’ll love Pixelkit:

  • They add new graphics every single month
  • All of the graphics kits, and there are thousands, have a ton of different elements and icons
  • The graphics will all scale successfully, like vector graphics
  • The library is compatible with mobile devices
  • All kits will work on a 960 grid

Here are some of the subscription items that could be yours:

Metro Vibes – Metro UI Kit

This UI kit delivers efficiency in your website and it has a metro feel.

Metro UI Kit

Tasty Bites – Food Icon Set

This set is designed for anybody working on a site for a bakery or other similar venue.

Food Icon Set

Sweet Candy – Colorful UI Kit

This UI kit is colorful, relaxed and child-like in its feel.

Colorful UI Kit

File Manager – Mobile App UI Kit

This simple and straight forward design is perfect for an iPhone.

Mobile App UI Kit

Arctic Sunset – Clean UI KIt

Get lots of repeat business from your clients with this professional design.

 Clean UI KIt

Gentle Edges – Minimalist Icon Set

This icon set is perfect for someone looking for something simple, but there are a ton of options in it.

Minimalist Icon Set

You should check out PixelKit to view more…

How to enter the competition:

All you have to do to enter is leave a short comment below telling us how you’d use your Pixelkit subscription.

This competition will run for the next seven days, ending on the 2nd of August 2013. All winners will be chosen at random and will be informed via email within 2 days of the competition ending.

Just to show some love, you could also Like PixelKit on Facebook.

All the best!

Posted in Web Design

8 Free Icon Sets for Web Designers

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm

As you will know by now, here at Speckyboy we really do love free icons. Although, unlike our previous icon posts, today we feature eight free sets that have been realesed by our good friends over at Webdesigner Depot. Perhaps unnoticed by most, they have been periodically releasing high quality icon sets over the past year or so, and thus deserve their own dedicated post.

Here are the icons:

Vector Mega Icon Pack

This mega icon set includes 500 vectors icons, provided as both individual PNG files as well as a master Illustrator file for quick resizing. They are free for both personal and commercial use.

Vector Mega Icon Pack

Posted in Web Design

The Impact of Simple Design

Posted on September 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Simple design isn’t the act of removing design elements until something ‘looks’ pretty. It definitely isn’t dumbing down a product until the complex elements no longer clutter the interface.

To create a truly simple design, whether it’s a product, webpage, or interface, takes more work than to create something that isn’t found as simple.

What is Simple?

To begin, we have to define what simple is. My definition: “An organizational design of front-facing elements that enable your power features to be easily accessed and used by the majority of your user base without creating clutter around the core functions.”

My favorite example of Simple is Spotify vs Rdio.

Spotify v Rdio

Considering that both products have roughly the same collection size, the same social features, and they both play music well, we’ll keep it simple and just compare the design of the main playback interface.

Rdio has a playback interface that focuses on the music playing. It removes clutter while playing with layers and transparencies. The current album art is translucent in the background, which allows the interface to be dynamically colored – like iOS7. You could even call it ‘flat’. Though on the focus of simplicity, you’re able to see your queue, album art, and player controls in one screen.

Spotify does not have a dynamic interface, instead it feels a bit like a dated version of iTunes. Social is cluttered within the app, suggesting things that previously listened to much more frequently than what they are currently listening to. And overall it’s just a cluttered interface.

Building Simple

Getting to simple is not an easy task. You need to take into consideration all the possible placements of elements. Naturally I would use Stride as an example – it’s a beautifully simple sales tracking application. We designed Stride around simplicity, without removing power features found in more traditional CRMs. A thought-out dashboard is pre-built, and focus is placed on the deal pipeline. Unlike in Salesforce, where your dashboard needs to be customized, and unlike in other CRMs, where you are blasted with information as soon as you log in.

This is the main interface in Stride. Notice the elements that are front-facing: tagging, filtering, teams, stages, and value. We hid the complex functions in the background like real-time collaboration, task notifications, and assignments. However, they are well integrated into the front-end design. They work seamlessly.

What this design has led to is a continual influx of new users and customers. With paying users rarely voluntarily cancelling (less than 1 per month on average).

Here is an example of Zoho CRM as a comparison. I’ll let the design speak for itself.


If you look at a majority of popular webapps and mobile apps, you’ll notice that the well thought out and well-designed examples push their interface on the marketing front. Whereas those that do not place emphasis on design, do not (try finding screenshots of Salesforce on their website without having to give up your email).

The fact is, at the end of the day, a pretty, simple, responsive design, sells. Period. The next time you start a new project, or facelift a current product. Take into account the impact of design, and how it impacts the UI and UX of your target market.

Posted in Web Design

Harnessing The Power Of Design Mythology

Posted on September 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm

There’s a legend among the cheese connoisseurs of New York City. In most of the US, it’s illegal to sell raw (non-pasteurized) dairy products. The reasons why are complicated, but many non-Americans who were raised on fresh milk and cheeses are often surprised when they come stateside and are unable to purchase anything that came purely from a cow.

Nevertheless, there are pockets of independent retail shops in New York who have been quietly staging their own cheesy rebellion for years. These renegade shops continue to sell raw cheeses – preferred among gourmets for their supposedly superior taste and texture. However, you can’t simply walk into one of these shops and pick up a raw round of cheese off the shelf. You have to specifically ask for it. Most people wouldn’t think to ask, and so they never know about the whole world of illicit flavor hiding in plain sight.

This, my friends, is an example of design mythology in action. A compelling story that piques your natural curiosity and makes you wonder if you yourself could ever stumble across something so unusual. The best part is that it’s not merely something for cheese sellers – designers can master this skill as well, using their own personal stories to craft a compelling narrative that captivates clients as well as viewers. Maybe not as cool as illegal cheese, though. I mean, come on. That’s pretty epic.

Persona Design

The British street artist Banksy is known for his anonymity almost as much as he is known for his work. This is done deliberately – it builds up a powerful persona that people recognize (or in Banksy’s case, don’t recognize) immediately. They will hear your name and instantly recall how weird you are, or how many risks you take, or how excited you get when talking about your work.

Whatever your unique personality and communication style is, you can use it to transform your persona from dull to dynamic. Even if you think you’re not that exciting, you can still capitalize on some quirk of yours that will grab people’s attention. Even being “boring” can be fascinating as a persona. American comedian Jerry Seinfeld is quite famous for being an average, everyday Joe. It’s how he built his comedy empire and became a legend on television screens across the country. So don’t be afraid to be exactly who you are, and never underestimate your appeal to your niche market. What others may fine dull or strange or confusing, your audience will absolutely love.

Design As Performance Art

You can definitely harness the same process for your design work as well, and create a compelling experience around the production of your work for your clients and your users. Many artists and designers have begun using online video to display their creative process to the fans of their work. People love to watch a creative person working; if you’ve ever tried to sketch in a public place like the zoo or the subway, you know this. Many strangers won’t be able to resist tilting their heads around trying to get a good look at your sketchbook.

When you display your own unique production style, clients and users will take notice, and your work will take on a life of its own in the stories people will tell each other about it. You want those stories – that mythology – to take root in every aspect of your production and your marketing. It’s the single most important part of your reputation as a designer.

Telling The Story

Storytelling is the most essential component of creating a mythology around yourself as a designer. After all, how else to get your mythology out there except in story form? But storytelling is a double-edged blade. Sure, you have to get good at telling your own story. But it’s also important to consider the stories other people are telling about your work.

Image Source: Open Flying Old Books via Shutterstock.

What people say about your designs, and how they say it, is vital to getting the best clients. You can definitely influence people’s opinion of your work based on the mythology surrounding it. People are more likely to respond positively to design that has a good mythology around its creation, than to design that has little to no mythology.

Sources of Inspiration

If you really want to stand out from the crowd, don’t take inspiration from the same things everyone else in your industry is. Find something else to embrace, perhaps from a different industry or discipline, and co-opt it for your own work. Remember that it’s perfectly okay to steal ideas, just as long as you steal enough different ones.

Image Source: Profile of a man opening the door of a safe via Shutterstock.

If every designer is obsessed with one particular trend or style, and you’re just not into it, that’s perfectly okay. Read books, look at new and different designs, and discover even more things that will help you develop a totally unique visual style. It takes more work, but if you’re willing to dig deeper, you’ll stand head and shoulders above all the copycats who are too lazy or afraid to strike out on their own.

In Conclusion

It takes time to develop a mythology around your designs. Don’t expect it to happen overnight – people need time to get to know who you are as a designer and to adapt to your unique offerings. Attracting quality clients who will rave about your work will help tremendously, as it will lend your business a credibility that you can’t get any other way. Remember, people are willing to tolerate almost any amount of eccentricity as long as others can verify that you can be counted on to deliver the results they want.

What Do You Think?

Have any interesting stories about your design process that you can use to build your own mythology. We’d love to hear about them below.

You might also like…

You could also browse our Freelance category, or view all of the articles from Addison Duvall.

Posted in Web Design

Weekly Design News – Resources, Tutorials and Freebies (N.193)

Posted on September 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm

If you would like to receive our daily updates and keep up to date with the latest and greatest articles and resources from the design community, you can follow us on Twitter, on Facebook or by subscribing to our RSS feed.

Looking Into the Future of Sass by Hugo Giraudel

Step-by-Step UX Improvement by Matt Swanson

CSS Regions: New Working Draft by Radu Stavila

The Worst Portfolio Ever by Alex Cornell

Cloud.typography vs. Typekit by Chris Bowler

The Two Corners of Unsolicited Redesigns by Jarad Johnson

Troubleshooting CSS by Hugo Giraudel

Cardinal - A Small, “Mobile First” CSS Framework

Furatto - A Flat, Fast and Powerful Front-End Framework

Step-by-Step UX Improvement by Matt Swanson0

Step-by-Step UX Improvement by Matt Swanson1

Step-by-Step UX Improvement by Matt Swanson2

Step-by-Step UX Improvement by Matt Swanson3

Step-by-Step UX Improvement by Matt Swanson4

Step-by-Step UX Improvement by Matt Swanson5

Step-by-Step UX Improvement by Matt Swanson6

Step-by-Step UX Improvement by Matt Swanson7

Step-by-Step UX Improvement by Matt Swanson8

Step-by-Step UX Improvement by Matt Swanson9


Posted in Web Design

PSD2HTML Giveaway – Winners Announced

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Last weeks PSD2HTML Giveaway has just ended and it is time to announce the winners. Here they are:

Congratulations to our winners. PSD2HTML will be in touch with you over the next few days with your prize.

Name: Giorgos Key
URL: Comment URL

Name: Bosco
URL: Comment URL

Name: Mark
URL: Comment URL

Name: Nathan E Ball
URL: Comment URL

Name: Panos Karampaglis
URL: Comment URL


PSD2HTML offers a crazy wide range of services. They follow the hottest web design and development trends and always have some amazing offers. Now, if you need a Responsive Layout for your website, you get the HTML5/CSS3 markup option coded for free! You just send your PSD files their way, and they will turn them into a valid fast-loading code. Their team will make sure it looks good in all popular browsers and mobile devices of your choice.

With their expansive resources of over 370 employees and 8 years of experience, PSD2HTML guys can handle a project of any type or complexity. They have pros in WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, Shopify, Magento development, mobile or responsive websites, newsletter templates or anything else you can think of! They are trusted by thousands of freelancers and companies, including Smashing Magazine, Buy Sell Ads, Toyota, Excite etc. and have completed over 72,600 projects to date. Just check out their awesome portfolio and examples of code they created!

Posted in Web Design

Fantastic Google Web Fonts for Headings and Body Text

Posted on September 2, 2013 at 3:56 pm

The online Google Webfonts service provides an enormous benefit to designers around the world. Instead of paying for a subscription or hosting your own fonts locally, this allows you to include a bit of CSS and utilize custom fonts hosted in Google’s servers. Cloud access provides unique URLs where you are not responsible for managing the font files themselves. The biggest downside is a longer page load time, but when used correctly visitors will barely notice the difference.

Google Webfonts 2013 homepage screenshot

I have put together a collection of the most interesting Google fonts to be utilized in various pieces of content. These could be paragraphs, headings, footer links, navigation items, or any other common webpage items. The best method for using webfonts is to focus on the most important areas of content, not to bloat your site with 4 or 5 different typefaces. But I hope this collection may provide resources for designers who need some recommendations for new projects.

Logos & Branding

We can start off with a big category of the most unique typefaces you can use. I would recommend keeping these for your website logos, either in the header or footer of the page. The fonts are quite unique and they offers an easier method of branding which does not require an image or SVG file. When building stuff like new project launches or tutorial demos, these fonts work great as the recognizable page logo.

Crafty Girls

collection logo headline crafty girls typography


knewave google webfont open source freebie


custom google webfont gorditas logo

Berkshire Swash

berkshire swash google web font free

Freckle Face

freckle face cute google webfont

Henny Penny

unique free google web font henny penny

Lily Script One

lily script one open source google webfont

Fascinate Inline

fascinate inline google web font typography

Ceviche One

ceviche one google webfont typography

Kaushan Script

collection logo headline crafty girls typography0

Shadows Into Light

collection logo headline crafty girls typography1

Bigelow Rules

collection logo headline crafty girls typography2

Eagle Lake

collection logo headline crafty girls typography3


collection logo headline crafty girls typography4


collection logo headline crafty girls typography5


collection logo headline crafty girls typography6


collection logo headline crafty girls typography7


collection logo headline crafty girls typography8

Catchy Headings

The purpose of building unique font families in your page is for emphasis. You want visitors to be immediately impressed with the quality of your design and content. So adding custom typefaces onto your page headings would be a no-brainer! These fonts are best used for h2-h3 since they can often stand on their own. It gives visitors a sense of authority in the content when transitioning between new talking points.


collection logo headline crafty girls typography9

Fauna One

knewave google webfont open source freebie0


knewave google webfont open source freebie1


knewave google webfont open source freebie2

Cherry Swash

knewave google webfont open source freebie3

Permanent Marker

knewave google webfont open source freebie4


knewave google webfont open source freebie5

Londrina Solid

knewave google webfont open source freebie6


knewave google webfont open source freebie7


knewave google webfont open source freebie8

Chelsea Market

knewave google webfont open source freebie9


custom google webfont gorditas logo0

Lova Ya Like a Sister

custom google webfont gorditas logo1


custom google webfont gorditas logo2

Droid Serif

custom google webfont gorditas logo3

Wendy One

custom google webfont gorditas logo4

PT Serif

custom google webfont gorditas logo5

Rammetto One

custom google webfont gorditas logo6


custom google webfont gorditas logo7

Subheadings with Emphasis

Many websites use a logo with the addition of sub-text beside or beneath it. Similarly you can find websites that have smaller sub-headings built into the page content. Many developers would attribute these fonts onto h4-h5 elements, and h6 if you have the need. It is a great collection for bolded, smaller fonts with the potential of all-caps or variant CSS properties.

Mouse Memoirs

custom google webfont gorditas logo8


custom google webfont gorditas logo9

Expletus Sans

berkshire swash google web font free0

EB Garamond

berkshire swash google web font free1

Cantora One

berkshire swash google web font free2

Roboto Slab

berkshire swash google web font free3


berkshire swash google web font free4

Rum Raisin

berkshire swash google web font free5


berkshire swash google web font free6


berkshire swash google web font free7


berkshire swash google web font free8


berkshire swash google web font free9


freckle face cute google webfont0

Bree Serif

freckle face cute google webfont1


freckle face cute google webfont2


freckle face cute google webfont3


freckle face cute google webfont4


freckle face cute google webfont5

Gentium Basic

freckle face cute google webfont6

Paragraph Text

I would not always recommend using Google Webfonts for your paragraph copy. This can dramatically slow down the loading time of your page, and often you will notice the images/background fills in before the text. It can appear choppy to visitors on a slow connection. But in some cases it may be worthwhile to have your paragraphs using more customized font choices.


freckle face cute google webfont7


freckle face cute google webfont8

Montserrat Alternatives

freckle face cute google webfont9


unique free google web font henny penny0


unique free google web font henny penny1


unique free google web font henny penny2


unique free google web font henny penny3


unique free google web font henny penny4


unique free google web font henny penny5

Source Sans Pro

unique free google web font henny penny6

Quattrocento Sans

unique free google web font henny penny7

Arbutus Slab

unique free google web font henny penny8

Merriweather Sans

unique free google web font henny penny9


lily script one open source google webfont0

Droid Sans

lily script one open source google webfont1

Average Sans

lily script one open source google webfont2


lily script one open source google webfont3


lily script one open source google webfont4


lily script one open source google webfont5


lily script one open source google webfont6

Cursive & Handwritten

The use for handwritten fonts is varied in a number of ways. These can work as logos or headings on the page. But it is also possible to add emphasis in your text, blockquotes, ad displays, or similar common page elements. The cursive style can be difficult to read so it often requires larger font sizing. But without including any cursive/handwritten fonts in your website, they can still be a whole lot of fun to play with.

Monsieur La Doulaise

lily script one open source google webfont7

Alex Brush

lily script one open source google webfont8

Great Vibes

lily script one open source google webfont9

Crafty Girls

fascinate inline google web font typography0

Grand Hotel

fascinate inline google web font typography1

Indie Flower

fascinate inline google web font typography2


fascinate inline google web font typography3


fascinate inline google web font typography4


fascinate inline google web font typography5


fascinate inline google web font typography6


fascinate inline google web font typography7


fascinate inline google web font typography8


fascinate inline google web font typography9


ceviche one google webfont typography0

Clicker Script

ceviche one google webfont typography1

Butterfly Kids

ceviche one google webfont typography2

Ruge Boogie

ceviche one google webfont typography3

Lovers Quarrel

ceviche one google webfont typography4

Princess Sofia

ceviche one google webfont typography5

Final Thoughts

Google’s online repository of web fonts is steadily growing larger every month. It is an impressive feat to host a library of fonts online for the world of developers to include in their layouts. Many of the fonts can be downloaded for free and hosted locally, which makes this service even more useful. If you notice any fonts that I’ve missed please share your ideas with us in the post discussion area below.

You might also like…

20 Professional Fresh Headline Free Fonts
20 More Fresh & Free Fonts for Beautiful Headlines
25 Yet More Free Fonts for Headlines
Top 20 Free Fonts for Distinctive Headlines and Titles

Or, you could browse the Font archives.

Posted in Web Design

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