Freelance Round-Up: This month in design - May

Web Design trends for 2010

Smashing Magazine have released their annual look at existing and upcoming trends in web design, stating that we could in fact be experiencing a'golden era' in web design. With new and powerful tools such as HTML, CSS3 and font-embedding at our disposal these days, web design is truly evolving into mature and rich medium. They highlight some of today's popular practices such as 'Designing for Delight' - making your online presence memorable, the use of key-press navigation, the influence of print design on screen, something called 'Horizontalism' and the user of rich typography. This is a first in a series of posts looking at the current state of web design so I'd recommend following them on twitter not to miss further updates.

The Pantone Hotel

Pantone, the renowned expert on colour has opened a brand new hotel amongst the modern business towers and mansions of Brussels. That's correct, a hotel. Judging by the photos on their website site, It really is quite a unique and inspiring establishment. With plenty of crisp modern lines and vibrant colour. Nothing less than you'd expect. As well as everything you'd expect from a great hotel they also offer consultations and educational seminars on colour theory and trends for any budding designer wanting to learn more about colour.

Apple vs. Adobe

It all started with 'that' letter - an open and frank account written by Steve Jobs of Apple, outlining his thoughts on Flash and Apple's reasons for not supporting Flash on the iPhones and now subsequently on the iPad. In his letter, Mr Jobs describes Flash as a closed system and said that it was bad for the smartphone era because it did not support multi-touch systems and helped drain battery power unnecessarily.

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen responded to the letter in an exclusive Wall Street Journal interview. Responding to Mr. Jobs's comment that Adobe is a closed platform, Mr. Narayen chuckles. "I find it amusing, honestly. Flash is an open specification," he says. he also points out that Apple's restrictiveness is just going to make it "cumbersome" for developers who are trying to make products that work on many devices. They're going to have to have "two workflows" ... one for Apple devices and one for others.

The squabble has escalated and it's now getting personal - Adobe's co-founders have now posted their own letter and thoughts on Open Markets  and that Apple threatens to "undermine the next chapter of the web". The high-profile war of words between the two companies continues.

Creating an Online Presence on a Shoestring

If you look at the back of the cupboard under my stairs you'll find a tattered black leather A1 portfolio full of ageing print-outs. It's exactly as Ken Reynolds describes in his post. I used to carry my portfolio around with me to job interviews and proudly present my painstakingly neatly mounted work to potential employers. These days it's more about having your best work viewable online at any time at the click of a button. If you're not a web designer then this can be a costly issue. But fear not, in his post, Ken provides a list of portfolio hosting websites and other online resources that will allow you to have an online presence to promote yourself at practically no cost.

Google Web Fonts

Now this is exciting (if you're a web geek like myself). Google have announced a open source font directory and font API offering a range of fonts that are available to use on any website. The fonts are hosted on google servers and all you need to do to use them on your own site is embed a simple link tag referencing the font you want to use. It couldn't be simpler and means that there's no complicated font-embedding and that you have 18 new fonts to play with, that really aren't half bad.

Beautiful Contact Forms for your Inspiration

One of the most essential and commonly-used but often neglected pages of any website is the contact page - and more specifically the contact form. It's just a boring form though right? Think again. It's a moment when a potential customer decides they want to take the next step and actually reciprocate with communication. So why not make it fun and different? The Web Designer Depot have scoured the web to find a great list of incredibly creative and inspiring contact forms that will make you think twice about how a form can look.

Internet Explorer 9 Test Drive

Microsoft have released a 2nd Internet Explorer 9 platform preview. With faster Javascript capabilities and better Web Standards support that with reassure the web design community. Microsoft have really pulled out all the stops to try and rebuild some of their tarnished reputation as the market leading web browser by focusing on a future of HTML5 and CSS3 . This isn't a beta release and doesn't even have an address bar but at least it does demonstrate they're moving in the right direction.

Alex Peterson, Pixel Air, a web design studio in Cheshire.

Alex's Freelance Alliance profile.


1st June 2010

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