Design Love: Top Web Design Trends for 2014

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I recently read the “Top 10 web design trends for 2014” by at 99designs.com and I have to admit – I immediately fell in love with his post. Maybe it’s because I’m a web design junkie, or maybe it’s because when it comes to blogging, I’m all about beauty and clarity. Regardless of why, I truly enjoyed his straight to the point content, with great visuals and linkage. Barin, you got it down-packed.

Below are my comments on my favorites of his noted top trends for 2014.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

 

“Flat design thrives”

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Wistia.com is a great example of flat design.”

Oh my, how this makes me swoon. Flat design is minimal but has all the potential in the world to be colorful, strong, and even interactive. Lately, when I create website designs, I’ve been finding myself leaning towards incorporating flat designs throughout. As Barin so perfectly stated:

“The reason why everybody is using flat design is because it makes sense. We have less clutter, more use of white space and overall a better user experience. It forces designers to achieve more by using less and for that, I consider it the number one trend for 2014.”

 

“Websites showcase better images”

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Portraits does a great job elevating an apparent simple image to a central point of a website.”

Imagery is everything! From product sales to general branding, if you use powerful images then you’ll get the best response from clients. Even a stock image – edited correctly – can work perfectly for a brand’s look. I adore photography, so I’m very glad this trend is in for 2014. Actually, soon I’ll be updating my site with some seriously awesome photos – stay tuned! For now, make note and add strong images to your site; Barin informs us why better images are being found more and more on the web:

“2014 will bring higher quality, more creative and unique images because of multiple reasons: pricing is affordable; loading speed is faster than ever; access to high quality images is everywhere.”

 

“Infographics remain the best way of representing data”

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Gabriel Gianordoli did an excellent job with this amazing infographic.”

If you follow my blog category, “In The Know,” then you definitely know of my love for infographics. I mean, they’re pure awesomeness! Lots of information fits perfectly in a small space while the reader get’s to use photographic memory  to retain it all. Plus, they’ll usually visual beautiful. Barin notes why infographics work so well:

“They present a lot of information in a small space, they’re eye-catching and they don’t cost the world. That’s why business owners are asking for them. The end-user likes infographics because each of them has its own personality — they’re a bit quirky, they combine typography, bold color schemes and shapes in a way that intrigues viewers.”

 

“Typography takes center stage”

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Crop The Block is a prime example of mix and match typography.”

Hellooooo Typography! Last, but definitely not least, in the list of great trends for 2014 is typography’s take over. Last year I started re-branding my site with custom type, throughout the images and page headers, and I only want to get further into it this year. Type helps shape brands and express personalities; it’s multifaceted, something that the world of plain text just doesn’t offer. Barin explains how we’re saying goodbye to the old type and welcoming new type throughout different platforms:

“Goodbye Georgia, goodbye Times New Roman, goodbye Helvetica! Welcome to 2014 — the year where typography gets serious. Actually it was always serious, now it’s just arriving at mainstream status. The avalanche of mobile apps we’ve all been swimming in has exposed our eyes to all sorts of typography goodies and that has had a major factor in our font usage expectations.”

 

View all of ‘s “Top 10 web design trends for 2014

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Branding 101: Getting Down to Business

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New Diamari Torres Biz Cards

Business cards rock! Plus, they’re pretty important to letting people know what you do and how to reach you; so, it was due time to print new business cards.

Design wise: I decided I wanted to keep the consistency of my blog’s minimal design through incorporating the sites colors and simple type. Personally, I like the whole “no BS” approach – especially when handing out your card. People want to be reminded of what you do and how to contact you quickly. Yet, the card has to be impressive and actually kind of fun! Remember, the design and texture of your cards is what really sells it.

Printing: On that note, the print quality is the first and lasting impression. Quality is most definitely triumphant over quantity. This is a trend I’ve seen in business card printers. Sites like Moo.com – which don’t get me wrong, they have awesome pre-designed templates and materials – can charge you over $100 for a measly 200 business cards.

In my case, I luckily got both quality and quantity. Printed on 16pt cardstock paper, my cards are coated in a very smooth Silk Lamination. It actually seems to make the card thicker and stronger; I love it. The final touch though is the Spot UV, which creates a slightly-visible rise of gloss over whatever you choose to highlight. Logo. Name. Info. Background. Whatevs!

Spot UV on Biz Cards

I chose to Spot UV the words “hello there” on the teal-blue side and my entire logo on the white side. It feels very interesting and different from the traditional card design. I’m truly very happy with the results. Probably even more so because of the price: 1,000 cards for $145! (shipping not included, I picked ’em up) You can’t beat that. I have cards for – like – ever now! The service was great and the turnaround time was about a week. I recommend Elite Flyers for printing business cards – especially their Silk Laminated and Spot UV ones, of course.

Biz Cards in Card Holder

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Branding 101: Portfolio Update

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So far, 2013 has been insanely busy – and I’m truly loving it. One of my freelance projects this year has been designing for a new women’s publication in Miami, Stay In The Loop Magazine. From the logo design, business cards, media kit, and the initial magazine design – it’s been done! Starting a brand from scratch isn’t easy; but, now that we’ve got the ball rolling, everything just seems to fall into place.

Print

First things first, the logo design. The client, Nicole Hoyos, wanted something feminine and fun yet modern and clean. She also wanted to subtly include an infinity-loop, which is an important part of the overall brand. The client says the loop signifies the endless connection between all women, things, and events in Miami. Since this is a local publication, it is important to create that visual connection – starting with the logo.

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Getting down to business: the cards for Stay In The Loop Magazine continue the trend of the logo with a feminine and modern look. One side is utilized for the logo to make it’s statement. The other side has the contact information with lots of white space along with a light watermark of the logo.

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Last, but definitely not least, is the the magazine design for issue #1 of Stay In The Loop Magazine. The magazine is based of articles for the everyday Miami woman; so we made sure to maintain the overall brand look with lots of clean lines, white space, and feminine type throughout. You can pick up your FREE copy of the magazine starting June 3rd; located conveniently throughout Kendall and South Miami at many local salons, gyms, doctors offices, etc. Get more info at StayInTheLoopMag.com

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Linkspirations: Free WordPress Plugins

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WordPress

If you’re a WordPress blogger, like me, then you know that there are certain plugins you need in your life. For those of you who are not too savvy with plugins: they are little tools which, when installed in your blog, help you showcase things from your social networks to set up’s of custom contact forms and even back-up your files safely. Here are some WordPress plugins that I just can’t live without – and I’m sure they will be very helpful to you too:

SOCIAL

  • Pinterest “Pin It” Button for Images: there are lots of these types of plugins; but after trying a few, this one is truly the best. It places a “Pin It” button over each of your blog images when your readers hover over them. From there, your readers can pin your images to their Pinterest boards in seconds.
  • Alpine PhotoTile for Pinterest: speaking of Pinterest, this plugin retrieves photos from a specific Pinterest board (of your choosing) and displays them in multiple gallery style options. It’s beautiful as well as engaging – since it links from your blog directly to your Pinterest board.
  • Pretty Pinterest Pins: place a widget on your sidebar with your most recent pins. Simple, classic, and linked – ready for repinning!
  • Instagram for WordPress: share your fun-filled-&-filtered Instagram images on your sidebar. It’s quick and easy with this plugin!
  • Shareaholic: at the bottom of every blog post, you can chose which social networks are available to share with. It’s a simple set up with a lot of power.

FUNCTIONALITY

  • Contact Form 7: although it’s one of the older plugins, it still works like a charm. You need to pay attention to the coding a little in the setup, to be sure not to mess anything up; but, overall it’s simple and to the point. Pretty dummy proof actually!
  • Under Construction: working on your blog design but don’t want anyone to see the mess? Then this is the fix for you. This plugin has an easy on/off switch where you can block out your site with a custom under construction message while you’re getting things done. When you’re ready for you live site to show, just turn “off” the plugin and you’re back!
  • Login Logo: this plugin gives the back-end of your blog a custom look and feel. With a simple image drop, you replace the WordPress logo in the login screen and place your logo in. This works especially well when building client blogs, as you give them a final product with a fully customized login page.
  • All In One SEO Pack: with Google analytics and automatically generating META tags, this plugin is vital to getting your blog on the top rankings for search engines. It’s simple to use and has many features to explore within it.
  • WordPress Backup to Dropbox: this plugin may have saved my life already. In the case of WordPress blogs, everything is stored in your FTP space – but let’s say you get hacked or somehow you mess up the code in your theme. There’s nothing to fear if you have a backup set up. I searched for many backup options, but the Dropbox backup was the best choice. I do this for my personal site as well as my client’s sites; I simply set it to automatically back up once a week, and I don’t have to think about it anymore.
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