What’s New for Web Designers – Feb. 2011

New apps and websites appear on an almost daily basis, but trying to find the good ones among them can be tough, especially considering how many are not that great.

That’s why every month we research and showcase some of the best and latest resources available for web designers.

Included below are twenty-five great ebooks, fonts, apps, resources, and other tools for web designers and other useful resources for designers from the past few weeks.

As always, if we’ve missed something, let us know in the comments. And if you know of an app you’d like included in the next roundup, please tweet it to @cameron_chapman.



eBackers is a great new site for web professionals, startups, businesses, and idea people to find like-minded individuals, help from other professionals, and seed money. It’s an entirely free service (both to post and to reply to postings).



PulseFlow is a new app for tracking user behavior and features analytics on a website or within a web or mobile app. It measures how users interact with your site or app, rather than just giving information about things like page views. They also track conversion funnels and campaigns, all in real-time.



280daily is like a private, super-sized version of Twitter. Sum up your daily activities in 280 characters or less, and store them in privately and safely. It can be used for a variety of records, including a daily journal, travel or business journal, goal progress tracking, or to track what you got done each day. Entries are searchable, which makes it useful for tracking things you might need to reference later.



Tablets are changing the way people interact with text online, and especially the prevalence of ebooks and other long-form text content. Bibliotype is a new framework from Craig Mod that aims to create a better model of typography for tablets and long-form reading.


The Anatomy of a WordPress Theme

So many designers are now using WP theme frameworks for creating their designs that they don’t really know exactly how a WP theme works or how to create one from scratch. This infographic from Yoast breaks down the basic parts of a WP theme and can serve as a great quick-reference guide.


The jkr Design Gazette Book

The second-annual anthology of the jkr Design Gazette is now out. It offers fifty two observations from the past year, with both content from the Gazette as well as new content, plus an essay on the postmodern design era we’re now living in.


Minus Desktop App

Minus has just released a desktop app for sharing files. Just drag the files you want to share to the taskbar icon and they’ll start uploading. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.



Picscout Image Exchange

Ever seen a photo on a blog or other site and wondered who originally took the photo and where you can (legally) get it for your own use? Picscout’s Image Exchange plugin for Firefox and IE immediately identifies images found online and lets you know the original source and where you can license it.



Smaller works with the YUI Compressor for Mac to let you batch minify CSS and JavaScript files with a simple drag and drop GUI.


Cornerstone 2

Cornerstone 2 is a version control app for Mac, created for developers, designers, and authors. It keeps all of your changes in one place, forever, as well as letting branch & merge files, view a log and timeline, make annotations, and more.


Springloops 2.0 Beta

Springloops has just released their version 2. If you’re not familiar with it, Springloops is a suite of tools for web developers that includes ticket tracking, basic project management, version control and more.


Smashing Book #2: The Lost Files

Four chapters written for the new Smashing Book #2 didn’t make it into the final book due to size constraints. So Smashing has released those four chapters as a free ebook, available to everyone who’s registered in the Smashing Shop.



This one was actually released a few months ago, but we thought it was worth mentioning anyway. SwitchToHTML5 is an HTML framework generator that lets you create a usable, custom HTML5 framework for your development needs.



Sprite.js is a JavaScript framework for creating animations and games using sprites. It’s been tested on Chrome, Firefox, an Android emulator and Opera. You can see a game demo here.


Todo App

Todo App is a new to-do list application with a minimalist interface and support for multiple lists. It uses HTML5 and JavaScript, and saves your todos to local storage, rather than online, making it more secure.



FontFuse is a great resource for web typography. Created by WebINK, it lets you pair up fonts to create beautiful typography for websites. They’re currently running a contest where the winner will receive a VIP trip for two to SXSW 2011.



TaskAnt has just come out of beta, and is a promising new task manager for teams. It was designed to be as easy to use as email, while adding a bit more functionality for managing team projects and to-dos.



Fitzgerald is a very fancy headline typeface with Victorian sensibilities. It’s available as a webfont, and would be great for an antique-style design.


Springsteel Serif

If you’re a fan of the original Springsteel typeface, then Springsteel Serif is a fantastic option for use at smaller sizes and for longer blocks of text.



Kondolar is a slab serif font suitable for headlines or body text. There are three weights, all of which are available as web fonts.


Pepita Script

Pepita Script, from Fenotype, is a slightly retro-looking connected script that includes 72 ornaments, ligatures, and alternate characters, with three font weights, all available with a web font license.


Crafty Girls Web Font

Crafty Girls is a handwriting script typeface, available through the Google Web Fonts API. It’s a great headline or display font for a site that wants a casual, homey feel.


Permanent Marker Web Font

Permanent Marker is a bold handwriting typeface from Google Web Fonts that resembles writing with marker. It’s perfect for a comic-related site, or any bold, casual design.


Cherry Cream Soda Web Font

Another recent release from Google Web Fonts, Cherry Cream Soda is a fun, retro typeface. It’s great for casual sites, but is a bit more polished than a handwriting typeface.


Walter Turncoat

The newest typeface released by Google Web Fonts, Walter Turncoat is a smallcaps handwriting typeface. Like Permanent Marker, it would be great for a comic-related website.




Shadowness is a community for designers and artists to post and share their work. You can set up a free portfolio, connect with other designers and artists, and build a fan base.

Written exclusively for WDD by Cameron Chapman.

if you know of an app you’d like included in the next roundup, please tweet it to @cameron_chapman.

  • http://skix.pl SkiX

    I want Smaller for Windows/Linux! ;)

    • http://www.sandfighter.net Matt

      There’s a lot of tools we’d like on Windows that are available only for Mac… So much cool software.

  • http://www.webguide4u.com Vivek Parmar

    Such a great resource for me, will check out the missed ones. thansk for sharing this

  • Allyson

    Good post!
    Brazil here! Yeah! O/

  • http://www.bbi.co.uk Danny Blair

    Useful content, thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.groupthinkllp.com Groupthink

    There were several areas hit by the list I had not thought of. Some tools are so hard to find not knowing what exactly to search on. Thanks

  • http://www.alpha-4.com albert

    thanks for sharing. switchtoHTML5 is really useful.

  • http://trafficcoleman.com/ TrafficColeman

    FontFuse seems like a winner to me, I’m looking to see can i enter their contest. Sprite.js is something I’m not to sure about but will read more on it.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://www.polishedwebs.com Lisa King

    I am like a kid in a candy shop when I read these “What’s New for…” lists, excited and maybe a bit overstimulated. I admit that I am generally more interested in the freebies, but due to the current generosity of the web design and development community, over half of the items on these lists are freebies anyway!

    I would like to pose a discussion question, inspired in part by Paul Scrivens’ thought-provoking article in Smashing Magazine’s “The Lost Files” (free download, about halfway through the list above). The question is simply, “How can we best help each other learn and grow as designers?”

    Paul takes us on a tour of the web design community’s online history, and then suggests that many of us have gotten into the habit of visiting sites like this one only to “take.” And when we do give, it often takes the form of an uploaded screenshot of our latest project, with little or no description, but with a strong desire to be praised and recognized. We are not taking the time to share our experiences and derived wisdom–the logic behind our decisions, the How and Why of our designs rather than just the What.

    Paul is calling for a more in-depth exchange amongst designers, for more online classroom experiences. Some of the most valuable design resource sites have come out of collaborations between individuals who “met” each other on a website like this one and struck up a fruitful conversation. How can we encourage this?

    I am new to web design, and the array of resources and inspiration I discover on Webdesigner Depot, Smashing Magazine, and other sites is a little overwhelming. As I read Paul Scrivens’ article, I recalled the *Pen Pal* system introduced to me in elementary school. The idea behind that was to connect each child with another child, preferably of a different culture, and to enable the two to learn from each other while also learning how to write letters. Such a rich exchange!

    I would love to see something akin to Pen Pals emerge in the web design community. Yes, I could send emails to various authors (and I might send one to Paul), attempting to strike up a mutually inspiring conversation. But there are so many great authors, and as Paul notes, the most well known of them seem exhalted and unreachable. It would be very interesting and less intimidating to start with just one or two.

    I’m not sure how this could be implemented, but I am tempted to look at peer mentoring programs, on and off-line. Would any of you seasoned veterans be interested in corresponding with someone less experienced? Can you envision engaging in a conversation with someone from whom you could learn, and also reinforce your knowledge by teaching?

    There might be a potential for some amazing collaborations here, though it would take some time and effort for participants in such a program to write thoughtfully.

    I am grateful to Webdesigner Depot for the wealth of inspiration they offer every day!

  • http://www.amlingstudios.com Chris Amling

    Thanks for the article, I particularly like the “The Anatomy of a WordPress Theme” that was really helpful.

  • http://shadowness.com Meng To

    Thank you so much Cameron for featuring Shadowness! I visit this The Webdesigner Depot on a regular basis and it’s an honour to be mentioned here! :)

    Please do let me know if anyone here need an invitation for http://shadowness.com . I’d be happy to invite you to the beta. You can send an email to shadownessguy[at]gmail.com or leave your contact info here.

  • http://www.webdesignerdepot.com Walter

    Nice food for thought…. I’ll keep this in mind

  • http://art-a-designer.ru/ Art-a-Designer

    interesting article, thank you!

  • http://www.buzz-webdesign.co.uk web design hull

    Great post, certainly a few of these that i’m going to investigate further… thanks for sharing.

  • http://bit.ly/graphicrver Parth

    Wow! Shadowness has some nice art! A new inspiration site for me! Thanks!

  • http://www.vivoocreative.co.uk Luke Terry

    ooooo very interesting! will this be happening every month???

    • http://www.webdesignerdepot.com Walter


  • http://www.snogglenews.com/ Snoggle News

    So now these are some fantastic deals! Fellow web designers unite, we form one of the largest communities with great resources to share

  • Sagar Ranpise

    Very good round-up. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.netgains.org/ Software Design Development

    Thanks for showing new stuff for us

  • http://www.FlexedMedia.com los angeles web designer

    Great post, loving the new Smashing book series.

  • http://mobile-web-developer.com/ mobile website developer

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. Beautiful information! I really like this so much, Thanks for sharing this.