Tag Archives: Smashing Magazine

Frank: A Free and Speedy WordPress Theme

Smashing Magazine recently released a new WordPress theme that’s definitely worth a look. Frank, as it is called, is a lightweight and elegantly simple theme that’s designed for very fast loading times. It boasts a JavaScript dependency of zero, and no external images to speak of. Instead, it makes use of SVG for icons and such. The final page size for a fresh install ends up being 30KB, or 9.5KB gzipped.

Frank is built atop the responsive Foundation grid framework, and features a layout customization tool that lets you adjust how the homepage is displayed.

Frank: A Free WordPress Theme Designed For Speed [Smashing Magazine]

Designing for iPhone 4 Retina Display

With the iPhone 4, and later the fourth-generation iPod Touch, Apple introduced a much higher density of screen for their mobile devices. The Retina Display, has the same dimensions as its predecessors, but there are twice as many pixels per inch. This makes for sharp text, crisp images, and an overall better user experience. Looking at two iPhones, the new and the old, side-by-side, you can really see the difference.

But this change presents a new challenge for designers of iOS apps. Now you need to have two versions of each image. You need to have a higher-resolution version for the newer devices, and a lower-resolution one for older models.

Smashing Magazine has a great new article on designing for the Retina Display. It covers the basics, such as how you need two images, one at 163 ppi and one at 326 ppi. (The higher resolution one is saved as MyImage@2x.png instead of MyImage.png and iOS chooses which one to used based on device compatibility.) You can find out about that anywhere online, though. The best part of the article is that it gives you some design advice for retina graphics. It suggests drawing with vectors and layer styles instead of plain bitmaps when you can, and the like.

I usually draw simple elements directly in Photoshop using the Rectangle or Rounded Rectangle Tool. Draw circles using the Rounded Rectangle Tool with a large corner radius, because the ellipse tool can’t snap to pixel. Layer groups can have vector masks too, which is handy for complex compositing (option-drag a mask from another layer to create a group mask).

More complex objects get drawn in Adobe Illustrator to the exact pixel size, and then pasted into Photoshop as a shape layer.

I have an additional tip while we’re on the topic. When I create graphics for iOS, I design for the Retina Display first. Then I scale the image down for the older devices. It’s quick, it’s easy, and I can use all the bitmaps I want.

Designing for iPhone 4 Retina Display: Techniques and Workflow [Smashing Magazine]

Smashing Magazine Publishes a New WordPress Theme Roundup for 2010

Some of Smashing Magazine’s most popular posts have been their roundups of free WordPress themes. It has been about a year since the last one, and most of the themes featured are looking kind of dated. I was surprised to see a new roundup appear in my feed reader recently, full of modern themes that are more up to today’s standards.

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since our last WordPress theme collection, but there you have it — the time has come again. Once a year we feature the most useful and interesting WordPress-themes that we are collecting over months and present them in a nice quick overview. The collections from 2007, 2008 and last year are still useful, but some of the themes are outdated or updated now.

100 Free High Quality WordPress Themes: 2010 Edition [Smashing Magazine]

Have You Tried “The Smashing Book” Yet?

Smashing BookHave you tried Smashing Magazine’s The Smashing Book yet? I haven’t, but the full-color 313 page paperback is very tempting at it’s $29 price. Most computer-related books are much costlier than that, and they’re not by an online publication notorious for “smashing you with the information.”

The topics covered include “The Art And Science Of CSS Layouts,” web typography, “User Interface Design In Modern Applications,” usability principles, color theory, branding, and a brief history of Smashing Magazine.

They have some scans and a PDF sample chapter on the website, which look pretty good to me.

Have any of you read the book? Is it worth the money? It seems like a promising book to me, and I’ve been wondering about it lately. (Digging into WordPress, as well, as caught my attention.)

WordPress Theme of the Month: Glassical

This month’s featured WordPress theme is Glassical, once again brought to you by Smashing Magazine.

Glassical WordPress Theme

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Smashing Magazine Redesigns and Launches a Network

Smashing Magazine has redesigned again, further evolving their visual style rather than throwing away the old completely, but still bringing some new and interesting features into play.

Smashing Magazine November 2009 Redesign

It’s still as ad-heavy as before, but that can be expected. At a glance, the navigational header present in the previous incarnation is bigger and more pronounced, and the search box has been moved there to be more prominent.

The classic “We smash you with the information that will make your life easier. Really,” line has  been removed from under the logo. I’m not sure if there is any significance to this other than making things look a little cleaner, but it will be missed.

Now one of the biggest changes in the redesign is the front page. Smashing Mag’s posts aren’t the only ones displayed there now. “What?” you may ask. Let the folks at Smashing explain it for you:

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Showcase Of Well-Designed Tabbed Navigation

Smashing Magazine has done it again. Theit latest extensive design roundup is a Showcase Of Well-Designed Tabbed Navigation.

When you look at tabbed navigations, you will also notice many styling trends. First, many tabs will have rounded corners on buttons. This helps to create a clean look. Also helping to make a clean look is the use of separation between buttons. Most well use space to separate buttons, but a bevel, single line, or background color contrast will also look nicely.

A little bit of analysis and a lot of images, as is common on Smashing Magazine.

Tabs are a popuar way to style navigation as of late, and an effective one at that. The roundup has a lot of creative examples, and is certainly worth looking at if you do much in the way of design work.

Smashing Magazine: Grid-Based Design

Smashing Magazine has recently released an interesting post on grid-based design.

Grid-Based Design: Six Creative Column Techniques.

Grid systems bring visual structure and balance to site design. As a tool grids are useful for organizing and presenting information. Used properly, they can enhance the user experience by creating predictable patterns for users to follow. From designer’s point of view they allow for an organized methodology for planning systematic layouts.

The post talks in-depth about grid design, and has plenty of screenshots to illustrate their points.

I haven’t looked closely at the whole grid-based design concept before, but it’s definitely on my to-do list. It looks like a good way to design certain types of sites (e.g. content-heavy ones), and I need to read more about it.