Free Icon Set: Elements From Space To Earth



Have you ever dreamt of exploring the deep sea and getting up close to its fascinating, weird creatures? Or maybe you’ve dreamt of boarding a spacecraft to experience the beauty of our planet from above? The desire to leave the beaten tracks and explore unfamiliar terrain is human nature.

To celebrate mankind’s urge to explore, the creative folks at Vexels created a set of 30 adventurous icons that take you on a journey from the ground of the sea right up to outer space. The set offers all the building blocks you’ll need to create your own little universe and become an explorer yourself.

The post Free Icon Set: Elements From Space To Earth appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

Source: Smashing Magazine

Copy If You Can: Improving Your UI Design Skills With Copywork



There’s a technique for improving one’s user interface design skills that is the most efficient way I know of expanding one’s visual vocabulary but that I’ve rarely heard mentioned by digital designers.

Copy If You Can: Improving Your UI Design Skills With Copywork

I’m talking about copywork. Copywork is a technique that writers and painters have been using for centuries. It is the process of recreating an existing work as closely as possible in order to improve one’s skill. In our case, this means recreating a user interface (UI) design pixel for pixel.

The post Copy If You Can: Improving Your UI Design Skills With Copywork appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

Source: Smashing Magazine

10 Free WordPress Plugins to Help with Legal Compliance

Part of doing business on the web these days is ensuring that you are in compliance with local, national and international law. While laws can vary from place to place and by what type of website you’re running, there are WordPress plugins to help you with those responsibilities.

While nothing here should be substituted for actual legal advice (if you have questions, ask someone whose job it is to know the answers), here’s a list of plugins to help with compliance issues, broken down by category.

EU Cookie Law

Cookie Notice by dFactory

Cookie Notice by dFactory provides an easy way to let your site’s visitors know about your use of cookies. You can customize a notice that will appear either on the top or bottom of the page. Users can accept, decline or read more about your policies via clickable buttons.

Cookie Notice by dFactory

Cookie Law Info

Cookie Law Info will create a customizable banner to inform visitors of your cookie policies. The banner can be automatically removed after a few seconds or you can require the user to accept your terms manually.

Cookie Law Info

Privacy Policy and Terms of Service

Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Automattic, the company behind, have created both a Terms of Service and Privacy Policy under the Creative Commons Sharealike license. Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy brings these documents to your site. Simply add your organization’s info in the plugin settings and display the documents via a WordPress Shortcode. This plugin is meant for sites based in the United States.

Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Guerrilla’s Legal Pages

Guerrilla’s Legal Pages makes it easy to add Privacy, Terms of Service and DCMA Policy to your site. Install the plugin, activate it and the pages will be automatically generated with your website’s name and URL.

Guerrilla's Legal Pages


WooCommerce EU VAT Compliance

Those running WooCommerce can take the pain out of VAT with WooCommerce EU VAT Compliance. It will record a customer’s location, show VAT calculations in the backend and automatically add VAT to product pricing. You can even block out EU customers if you’d rather not collect VAT at all.

WooCommerce EU VAT Compliance

EDD Quaderno

EDD Quaderno helps to make Easy Digital Downloads shops compliant with VAT and the intricacies of other locales. It will also create improved versions of the standard EDD receipts. To use the plugin, you’ll need a Quaderno account.

EDD Quaderno

Age Verification

Easy Age Verifier

Some websites will need to verify a user’s age before allowing them to browse. With Easy Age Verifier, you may set a required age (the default is 21 – legal drinking age in the US) and a form will appear for user input. The form is also customizable.

Easy Age Verifier

Age Verify

Age Verify is a simple way to ask for a user’s age. Choose the required minimum age for users to move on and browse your site and set a cookie to remember them on future visits.

Age Verify

Digital Signatures

Gravity Forms Signature Add-On

This unofficial add-on for Gravity Forms will allow users to digitally sign documents on your website. There’s also a version for Ninja Forms.

Gravity Forms Signature Add-On

Contact Form 7 Signature Addon

Contact Form 7 Signature Addon lets you add a handwritten signature field to Contact Form 7. Signatures can be sent to you as an attachment.

Contact Form 7 Signature Addon

Keeping it Legal

Granted, it can be a bit of a hassle to keep track of compliance issues. But that doesn’t make it any less vital to do so. WordPress plugins are there to make the task a bit easier – even automating the process is some cases.

So, there’s no excuse for slacking! Take some time to learn your responsibilities as a website owner and use the handy plugins above to help you manage. Obviously, the use of these plugins alone won’t make you compliant – but they will help set you on the right path.

The post 10 Free WordPress Plugins to Help with Legal Compliance appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Source: Speckyboy

My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #11

My name is Mason Ellwood, and I’m currently working on Flatiron School’s Online Full Stack Web Development Program. Each week, I’ll be writing about my experience, what I’m learning, and tips on learning to code.

Last week I was reading on wired that the next big blue collar job was going to be coding. I did not really know what to think of this. At first glance, programming lost its luster of being an untapped needed career, making me (a programmer) replaceable. This has always been the case but the recent boom of programmers is scary when entering a profession, competing against some of the smartest people in the industry.

On Wednesday I went to meet up with my weekly trivia team, and a new guy came who was a “full stack” developer. He used that term loosely because of the “what the heck does that entail” title that holds. But he kind of reaffirmed my fear of the article and agreed. Sure he said but this is no different than any other career now. It seems like everyone is fighting to stay ahead of the curve and automate as many processes as they can. Because technology has become such a cornerstone for many companies, automating and maintenance surly would follow. But because of this the need for “maintenance” increases especially within the dev community.

He agreed with the article, but development turning into the lusterless career path is not true. The need for developers is greater now that it has ever been. Being apart of the growing community of developers is a great place to be right now. And the need for “you” in a company setting is only going to become more prevalent.

Search Enumerables 

So picking up where we left off. Every method in Ruby must return a value. When we iterate or enumerate over a collection with #each, its return value is always the original constant. With this in mind, if we want to display the changed array values, dependent on what your method does, you may need to add an empty array ( new_array = [ ] ) to shovel ( << ) those values into.

There are many forms of #each, that can enact different outcomes. A few of the others are:

  • #select => When you invoke #select on a collection, the return value will be a new array containing all the elements of the collection that causes the block to pass a return value as true.
  • #detect/#find => #detect and #find can be used interchangeably. This will return only return the first element that makes the block true.  
  • #reject => #reject will return an array with the elements that return a false value

These listed above are all apart of the family of search enumerators whose purpose is to help you refine a collection to only matching elements.

A few that I use most often, I have found, is #each, #collect or #map (which are interchangeable), and each_with_index. A little more about enumerators can be found, and a quick reference that I have found very useful, is located here ( You will use these all the time, and I know how important this concept is. Locating and changing information based within your set of data is a key to programming. Essentially programming is the pushing and pulling of data and data manipulation. Being able to quickly and effectively iterate through data will increase your chances of landing a job, and becoming an officiant “blue collar worker” – as Wired so eloquently stated.

Read More at My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #11

Source: Web Design Ledger

How to Build an Off-Canvas Navigation With CSS Grid

The off-canvas pattern is a classic approach to responsive navigation. When the viewport is small enough to warrant it, bulky navigation is hidden “off-canvas” and only brought into view when toggled. 

Today we’re going to build an off-canvas navigation, using CSS to do the toggling (no JavaScript required) and our good friend Grid to form the page structure. Here’s the full page demo of what we’re working towards.

Basic Page Structure

Let’s begin by building a basic page; we’re aiming for something like this:

Semantic page structure
Semantic page structure

This is a fairly typical semantic page structure; you’ll see that everything remains in a single column for small viewports, then the aside moves across on larger screens. The <nav> element is highlighted in blue for clarity.

Here’s our markup:

Now let’s add some visual styles and some Grid rules.

Gettin’ Griddy With it

Begin by wrapping all our structural elements in a containing element of some kind–this will be our Grid container. I’m using <div class="container"></div>

Now add some basic grid styles:

Here we’re declaring that the container should be display: grid;, that it should have a single column of one fractional unit (not strictly necessary at this point, but we’re added it to be thorough), and that the gap between all grid items should be 10px.

Next add a couple of visual styles to make things a bit clearer:

Make it Responsive

Let’s add a media query, so that when the viewport hits a certain size (let’s go for 600px) the layout changes.

So now, on larger screens, the grid declaration changes to grid-template-columns: repeat(4, 1fr);. This gives us four columns of equal width, so we then have to declare how wide we want each of our structural elements. The header, nav, and footer will all span 4 (span across four columns) whilst the section will span across just three, leaving a gap of one column for the aside to fill automatically.

Finally, some styles to alter the way the nav looks:

Here’s what we have so far:

Venturing Off-Canvas

This is a perfect example of how CSS positioning can still work on structural elements, even within a declared Grid. We’re going to grab our nav, remove it from the document flow, and position it off-canvas. The other grid items will fall into place just fine.

Begin with another media query. We already have our min-width query, but this time we only want to style elements up to a max-width. Up until our viewport reaches that magic 600px we want the nav to be positioned off-canvas:

We’ve given the nav a fixed width, positioning it left by enough to hide it completely. We used position fixed too, though you can also use absolute depending on whether you want the nav to scroll with the window or not.

You’ll also notice the transition rule, which will take effect once we build some toggle controls.


Having made our nav disappear, we now need some controls to bring it back when needed. Let’s add a link to trigger it, and a link to close it again.

Add this to the header:

and this to the nav:

We don’t need the open link to be visible on larger screens, so we’ll hide the .toggle elements within our min-width media query:


What’s important in the above links is the presence of a “fragment identifier” (the #nav in the href). These identifiers are used by browsers to navigate directly to specific elements on a page. In this case, we’re targeting whichever element matches the id “nav”, and once it’s been targeted we can style it using the :target pseudo class. No JavaScript necessary!

Add the following to our max-width media query:

That’s it! That’s our toggle.

Here’s what we have now:

You’ll need to take a look at the full page demo to fully appreciate what it’s doing.


And we’re done! I’ve kept styling down to a minimum so as not to get in the way, but feel free to go nuts and make this look exactly how you want. 

You may also prefer a JavaScript toggle, instead of the :target, in which case you have all the pieces in place to make that work too.

I hope you enjoyed this little Grid exercise, stay tuned for more to come!

Useful Resources

Source: Webdesign Tuts+

The Realities Of User Experience Design Within The Luxury Industry



For luxury companies and upscale lifestyle service providers, excellence in experience is an essential component of the value delivered. Conceptually different from the mass market, the luxury domain relies not only on offering the highest differentiated products and services, but on delivering experiential value.

The Realities Of UX Design In The Luxury Industry

Adopting technology and embracing a digital presence through platforms and initiatives, the luxury industry today is tackling the challenge of designing an unparalleled user experience (UX) online. In this article, we’ll present a case study and share observations on the peculiarities of the UX design of a luxury lifestyle service platform and its mobile apps.

The post The Realities Of User Experience Design Within The Luxury Industry appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

Source: Smashing Magazine

The 25 Most Creative Valentine’s Day Ads Design

First things first, I would like to say Happy Valentine’s Day to all the couples out there. For those of you who don’t have a significant other in your life, Happy Independence Day!
Valentine’s Day is certainly a celebration that we are very fond of. What started as a fertility celebration in Ancient Rome, now has become a 448 million dollars celebration where people around the world are eating approximately 58 million pounds (263.083.57 Kg) of chocolate. Now, major corporations and retailers are taking full advantage of this pink and chocolatey monster Valentine’s Day has become, and they are all fighting for a piece of exposure.
Luckily for us, this means that people with more money than Romania’s GDP are going all in and spend tons of money on creative ad campaigns.

You probably don’t have their kind of money but this Valentine’s Day ads might be just the right thing you need in order to inspire you this Halloween.

So without further ado, here are the 25 most creative Valentine’s Day Ads Design.


Dom Francisco




Virgin mobile






Up & Down Apparel


Kolner Zoo



















Conrad treasury








Wellington Zoo




La Benedicta






Of course, there are more creative Valentine’s Day ads out there and you probably saw some. If you think you can pin point a creative ad that we haven’t mentioned, drop a comment bellow and we’ll get it featured.

Read More at The 25 Most Creative Valentine’s Day Ads Design

Source: Web Design Ledger

15 Free Gesture and Interaction Icon Sets for Mobile App Designers

With the rapid rise in popularity of touch devices, from mobile phones and tablets to the many laptops and monitors that support touch, developers need to find a quick way of explaining the many touch-enabled interactions that add extra functionality and improve the experience and productivity of many of the latest applications to new users. Many developers use gesture icon sets, or interaction icons, to teach new users how to use their app.

In this short post, we have collected 15 free gesture icon sets for you. The gesture icons come in many different styles, sizes and, most importantly, formats. And just like all free resources, please do check the license, they can change from time-to-time.

If you’re looking for more icons, you might also like to take a look at the top 50 free icon sets for web design.

Touch Gestures Icons By Jeff Portaro (100 Icons, AI, EPS, CSH, PSD, PNG, SVG)

Touch Gestures Icons mobile app development designer

Touch Gesture Icons By Mobile Tuxedo (48 Icons, PSD, EPS, PNG)

Touch Gesture Icons mobile app development designer

Gesture Icons By Frexy (38 Icons, EPS, SVG)

Gesture Icons mobile app development designer

Gesty By Mariusz Ostrowski (43×8 Icons, AI, CSH, SVG, EPS)

Gesty gesture icon set mobile app development designer

Free Gesture Icon Set By Rena One (14 Icons, PSD, AI, PNG)

Free Gesture Icon Set mobile app development designer

Gesture Icons By Theme Raid (50 Icons, AI)

Gesture Icons mobile app development designer

Hand Gesture Icons By Abdus (12 Icons, PSD)

Hand Gesture Icons mobile app development designer

Gesture & Transition Icons By NOGA (19 Icons, Sketch)

Gesture & Transition Icons mobile app development designer

Free Touch Gestures By Tom Loots (9 Icons, AI)

Free Touch Gestures mobile app development designer

Flat Hands Illustration Vector (AI, EPS)

Flat Hands Illustration Vector mobile app development designer

UX Gesture Icons By Gaoyoungor (12 Icons, PSD)

UX Gesture Icons mobile app development designer

iPhone Gestures By Julian Burford (12 Icons, AI)

Gestures free icon set mobile app development designer

iPhone Gestures By Suleiman Leadbitter (12 Icons, Sketch)

iPhone Gestures icons mobile app development designer

Hand Gesture Pack By Tom Johnson

Hand Gesture Pack mobile app development designer

Material Design Hand Gestures By Oxygenna (8 Icons, PSD, PNG)

Material Design Hand Gestures mobile app development designer

Righteous Gestures By Martin Cajzer (56 Icons, AI, PSD)

Righteous Gestures icon sets mobile app development designer

The post 15 Free Gesture and Interaction Icon Sets for Mobile App Designers appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Source: Speckyboy

How to Photograph Textures for Designers

As a designer, you might be looking to photograph textures in a different way than a photographer would. While a photographer might be focused on things like composition and visual interest, you may be looking for versatility and symmetry. It might be a mix of these things, but whatever your need for photographing textures, this article will give you all the information you need to go out and start making your own.

All About Textures

Why Use Textures?

Textures come in useful for a whole range of work in both design and photography. You might want to include textures in your own designs, for use as a background, or as part of a mock-up, for example.

peeling paint
Textures are useful for so many things and make really interesting photographs too. 

Finding Textures

You might decide not to start photographing textures until you actually need one, but if you can, then it’s often useful to snap them out and about as you find them and build yourself a little stock library.

screws and shavings
Shavings, bits of metal work and rust can usually be found at any workshop or junkyard

As you’d expect, texture is everywhere, and once you’ve photographed the everyday stuff, like brick walls, tree bark and the like, then you may want to start thinking about capturing some unusual textures or ones that aren’t around all the time, like ice crystals.

Some unusual places often turn up great, original-looking textures. I once visited a train station which has a reclamation yard behind it, full of rusting trains and other paraphernalia. It was a texture photographer’s paradise, so hunting for places like that in your local area can pay dividends.

How to Photograph Textures

Sometimes finding a great texture can be as simple as looking down, like this shot of the ground

A DSLR and Macro Lens

One of the most important things you’ll need to do to photograph a texture is get up close. With DSLRs, the minimum focus distance to your subject is between that and the focal plane on the camera body, so a lens can’t focus at distances shorter than the minimum focus distance. Don’t worry, you won’t need to do epic amounts of maths to work it out, as, usefully, it’s written on the lens.

Macro lenses are designed to let you focus up close. They’re also what’s known as flat field lenses, meaning that when you’re close to an object to photograph it, you shouldn’t see your image curve as you would if you used a regular lens. This should mean sharper focus right across your photograph.

Macro lenses tend to be prime lenses, at a fixed focal length, rather than a zoom lens. This means they’re generally sharper, faster, and tend to break less often! For a budget macro lens, I highly recommend the Tamron 90mm f/2.8. A 50mm is even cheaper and will do a nice job, but you won’t get as close to your subject as you would with a macro lens.

Macro Setting on Your Camera

If you’re not ready to purchase a DSLR and/or macro lens just yet, then you’ll probably want to investigate macro mode on your camera. This is usually denoted by a small flower icon and will allow you to focus closer than you usually would. Be wary, though—it usually also tells your camera to shoot at a lower aperture, and that could result in softer images. I’ll go into this further, shortly.

Get Your Lighting Right

As with just about all aspects of photography, lighting is crucial in getting a good image. There are some key points to consider with lighting.

Water can be tricky due to reflections and movement

Is There Enough of It?

If your subject isn’t adequately lit, then your camera may bump up the ISO, creating noise. You might need to think about using an off-camera light, particularly when photographing indoors.

Which Direction Is It Coming From?

If you’re shooting something reflective, you’d need to avoid direct sunlight shining on it and also unwanted reflections.

If you’re indoors and there’s a lack of light, then set up any external lights to the side, at an angle, to replicate natural sunlight as closely as possible. A single light source is enough for much of the time, but if you find yourself creating harsh shadows, then you may need to place an additional light to balance it out.

How Good Is the Light?

This may all depend on what you want, but if you’re shooting during golden hour, for example, it may cause your texture to differ in colour. Golden hour is generally a photographer’s favourite time to make photographs, as the quality of light is lovely.

Harsh light may bring out the texture of rust or bricks nicely, but wouldn’t work as well for water.

Avoid using your flash, as harsh, direct light like this is rarely flattering and will create a dull, flat look to your texture. Although certain shadowing should be avoided, you still need an element of shadow/shade in your image to avoid it looking flat.

Getting Sharp Shots

Macro mode may not work well for you if your camera opts to shoot wide open, i.e. at a lower aperture. If you’re not comfortable shooting with the camera on Manual, then getting used to Aperture Priority mode (usually denoted with an A) is the next best bet.

This shot is slightly soft around the edges. Shooting at narrow apertures will put more of your image in focus, but it will restrict your light, too.

Try to shoot at least at f/8 or above to keep everything in focus and avoid a shallow depth of field. This does have a knock-on effect with other settings, though. For example, if you’re in fairly low light and you use a low aperture, your camera may adjust the shutter speed, slowing it down and thereby blurring your shot, or hike up the ISO and add noise to your image. You can combat this by using a tripod and experimenting with a longer shutter speed. 

When using a tripod, touching the camera to trigger the shutter can itself cause shake. If you don’t have a remote shutter release, then try using your camera’s timer to delay the picture being taken.

Try Different Angles

Mostly, designers will require the shooting of a subject to be straight on, to be the most useful. Don’t limit yourself, though, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles. You can always fall back to your straight-on shot if that works best, but at least you’ll have the choice. You’ll learn over time which angles work best with which textures.

Wood is great because it can be all different colours, textures, and tones. Planks are useful as you can flip them around and have your leading lines going the other way.

As a designer, you’ll know how valuable it is to have packages of similar items to use as textures or even brushes. If you see a great texture, shooting it from different angles or even at different times of day could make a nice package item later on.

Take Your Shots at the Highest Quality

If your camera can shoot in RAW, then it’s always advisable to do that. RAW retains a lot more of the image data than a JPEG, but you may need to install additional software in order to process your RAW files.

Compact cameras sometimes have a RAW + JPEG setting, which means you can shoot in both formats and then decide which to process later.


When it comes to post-processing, as much or as little as you’re comfortable with is fine. You’re not trying to turn the texture into something it’s not. If you’ve taken your shots in RAW, they can look a little flat and boring, so you might want to think about boosting things like saturation, contrast, and sharpness.

Hopefully, you’ll have got enough right in-camera to mean your shot is good to go and you can simply tidy up any imperfections with spot removal or clone tools.

If you’re fairly confident with post-processing photographs, then you might start to mix it up a little by swapping out colours, enhancing reflections, or even combining multiple textures. 

How much or how little you do all depends on what you want to achieve as your final result.

Leave It to Someone Else

If you really don’t feel like photographing your own textures, or there are things that are tricky to photograph for you, then not to worry. There are plenty of great images available from stock sites like our sister site GraphicRiver.

Jeans Texture Backgrounds by Ufydesign

Jeans Texture Backgrounds by Ufydesign and Envato Market

Jeans can look faded really quickly. This selection of denim textures gives you a variety of options, all in high resolution. 

6 Packs Artificial Grass Texture by Keattikorn

6 Packs Artificial Grass Texture by Keattikorn and Envato Market

If you want neat, patterned grass then you ideally need to find somewhere that takes good care of their lawn, like a golf course, and then shoot from above. This pack offers a selection of grass patterns—much easier!

6 High Resolution Metal Textures by Riddy

6 High Resolution Metal Textures by Riddy and Envato Market

Metals are really hard to photograph well. Unwanted reflections, blemishes, and shine make it tricky to get a picture suitable for use as a texture, so you can take the effort out of it with this handy pack of six.


Photography and design go hand in hand in many ways, and photographing your own textures is a great way to increase your skill set, try something new, or even just to give you complete control and inspiration.

Here are some key points to remember when photographing your own material:

  • Check out the macro mode on your camera, or invest in a budget macro lens.
  • Make sure your light is right. If there isn’t enough, add your own.
  • Shoot at a fairly narrow aperture (f/8 or above) to ensure everything is in sharp focus.
  • Use a tripod to avoid camera shake and to allow you to shoot in lower light without compromising.
  • Try different angles or even shooting the same thing at different times of the day, to give you options and the possibility of creating ‘packages’.
  • Shoot in RAW for the best quality, if you feel comfortable doing so. If not, make sure your image type and size is set to the best your camera can take.
  • Do as much or as little post-processing as you feel confident doing. Usually, a tidy-up of imperfections, saturation boost and some sharpening will do the job.

Source: Webdesign Tuts+

Experimenting With speechSynthesis



I’ve been thinking a lot about speech for the last few years. In fact, it’s been a major focus in several of my talks of late, including my well-received Smashing Conference talk “Designing the Conversation.” As such, I’ve been keenly interested in the development of the Web Speech API.

Experimenting With speechSynthesis

If you’re unfamiliar, this API gives you (the developer) the ability to voice-enable your website in two directions: listening to your users via the SpeechRecognition interface and talking back to them via the SpeechSynthesis interface. All of this is done via a JavaScript API, making it easy to test for support. This testability makes it an excellent candidate for progressive enhancement, but more on that in a moment.

The post Experimenting With speechSynthesis appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

Source: Smashing Magazine