Sometimes you need to practice a little self-care. When it comes to self-care for work and design professionals that often means spending a little time to learn something new and re-energize yourself.
This month’s roundup has some great options for doing just that. Not only are these items new, but they are almost guaranteed to make you better at your job. From learning how to create better web type, to a design conference you can attend in your slippers, to a few font choices that might become part of your go-to collection, we think what’s new for designers this month will be inspiring.
If we’ve missed something that you think should have been on the list, let us know in the comments. And if you know of a new app or resource that should be featured next month, tweet it to @carriecousins to be considered!
Better Web Type
Is it time that you learned how to create better type for the web? Better Web Type is a free web typography course for web designers and developers. (It also has a paired book, “Better Web Typography for A better Web” by Matej Latin.) The online course tackles concepts such as vertical rhythm, modular scaling and composition and breaks it down in a way that’s understandable even if you don’t have any knowledge of type theory. Here’s how it works: Just register for the online course and you’ll get a daily lesson in your inbox (it should take 5 to 10 minutes to read), then keep exploring those ideas with links and other resources. The course lasts just seven days and will help you feel better about your web typography skills. You have nothing to lose.
Design Systems Virtual Summit 2018
The new Design Systems Virtual Summit is a live, online conference-style event for UX and product professionals. It’s packed with sessions and advice from some top names in the industry. Plus, it’s free for anyone to join and you can get all the great resources and information from your computer anywhere in the world. The event is Feb. 13-16 and you should reserve a spot online to get access to 13 live webinars and case studies from some great companies. Speakers include designers and UX pros from companies such as IBM, GE Digital, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Airbnb and more. If you have been wanting to attend a conference and don’t have a budget for travel, this is your ticket to get inspired and reenergized about design.
Yo! By Rob Hope
Designer Rob Hope, the person behind One Page Love, has a new YouTube show and channel, Yo!, for designers. (You can also sign up for an accompanying email of links and resources that he mentions in each episode.) The focus of the short YouTube series is design and development news, including jobs, events, resources and freebies. His roundup isn’t too long and includes plenty of things that you can use in your workflows.
JotForm, an online form creation software with 3.3 million users, debuts JotForm Cards this month, a user-friendly style of online forms that can improve completion rates. JotForm is a small business and website tool used for contact forms, lead generation, event registration, surveying customers and more. The new product means that organizations of all types will get more of the critical data upon which they depend. The company says that with testing they’ve done, JotForm Cards improves response rates by a whopping 34%. What’s different about this tool is that questions are shown one at a time to help users focus on the answer, all cards are optimized for mobile devices, micro-animations add to engagement and a progress bar shows (and encourages) form completion.
Learn Flexbox for Free
Scrimba has a new 12-part free online course that will teach you to use Flexbox. It includes all the tools you need to arrange content in flexible containers and leave you wondering how you ever worked without this tool. The course is made for beginners so that they can gain new skills and start using them quickly.
Pigment takes the guesswork out of tints, tones and lighting differences for colors on the web. Use the tool to make adjustments on the screen for different colors and then grab the swatches for projects. It’s quick, easy and you can see the adjustments to colors right on the screen.
Need a fun or funky website background? Start with SVG Backgrounds. The tool allows you to create customizable SVG patterns and background designs for use on websites. You can select a premade option to start and tweak to meet your needs, then output the CSS with a Creative Commons license for use in all your projects.
Tutorial: Make Multi-Colored Icons with SVG and CSS
Learn how to create your own icon set with icon font vectors that you can color and scale for all types of website design projects. Developer Sarah Dadyan has a great step-by-step guide at freeCodeCamp with in-depth explanations for why and how to use her technique. She also shares all the code so you can try it yourself.
Adele is a collection of publicly available design systems and patterns. The design systems repository, created by UXPin, is named as a “tribute to one of the most important computer scientists focused on graphic user interfaces, design patterns and object-oriented programming – Adele Goldberg.” The massive collection includes links to design systems by name and company, as well as where you can find the code (such as GitHub or another repository), code depth, components and framework information. It’s a massive collection of design information that you can easily get lost in or learn from.
PixelSnap is a simple paid web app that allows you to measure anything on the screen. Measure any distance, set hotkeys and adjust settings for maximum measurement ability. The tool is $15.
This fun set of icons includes 38 handcrafted gradient folders so the files on your desktop or laptop are a little less boring. The set includes Mac or Windows downloads with plan folders or folders with icons.
iOS 11 UI Kit for iPhone X
Design+Code has a great UI kit with all the components, layouts and typography you need to great iOS 11 and iPhone 11 mockups in Sketch. Plus the naming convention of each component follows Apple Developer Documentation so you can get familiar with the nomenclature.
Magicons is a collection of 30 colored travel icons. Icons come in PNG, SVG, EPS and Sketch formats and can be used for almost any project where transportation or travel icons are needed.
Facebook recently made its AI-based software system that implements object detection algorithms open source. It is written in Python and powered by the Caffe2 deep learning framework. According to Facebook, the goal of the project is to “provide a high-quality, high-performance codebase for object detection research. It is designed to be flexible in order to support rapid implementation and evaluation of novel research.” You can find it all on GitHub.
Stadia Maps helps you create great mapping experiences for better visualizations online. The tool includes raster and vector map tiles, static maps and routing maps. There are free and paid options depending on your website mapping needs.
FontRapid is a tool that helps you convert letter shapes in Sketch into an OpenType font. The tools allows users to make any path or shape into a font with a click, including the ability to adjust glyphs, add ligatures and create alternates for robust type collections. FontRapid is free to use within Sketch.
Fixer is a simple geometric typeface with plenty of weights and options. From thick to thin to inline variants it can be used for display purposes.
Highlander Marker Script
Highlander Market Script is a fun handwriting-style typeface in a minimalist style. The character set includes upper-and lowercase letters, numerals, swashes and punctuation in a set that’s robust for a fee option. It makes a great display typeface for web or print use.
The typeface is a number set with high contrast for numerals with impact. The set includes four fat-style number sets – outlined, multiple inline, stripe and solid. The collection is a modern envisioning of 19th century Fat Face numerals.
Nikola is a modern serif in regular and medium weights that can work for large of small text usage. It’s highly readable and as a paid option includes plenty of alternates, swashes and ornamentation options.
TT Wellingtons is an English humanist-style sans serif with nice character features. The simple lines have a geometric flair to them. The premium typeface comes in nine weights and italics with ligatures and alternates.