Rudolph Musngi

Role: Word Wizard

Rudolph is a geek. He loves reading: books, blogs and even nutrition facts found at the back of products. He loves to read interesting internet stuff. Since joining 1stwebdesigner last year, Rudolph has written several articles that concerns Typography, Wordpress, Freelance Lifehacks, Graphic Design and Showcase of Beautiful Web Designs. He also write poems, movie reviews and he puts them in his blog together with rants and some daily life updates.

The Noob Guide to Web Design

Posted in Tips, Web Design • Posted on 8 Comments

Web design is so much anchored on technology to a point that it is difficult for beginners to catch up, and if they even try to, it would be very difficult.

For someone who has zero idea on web design, this can be pretty frustrating.

You want to learn something new so you decided to try out web design. Because of this, you immediately looked for tutorials.

To your surprise, there are a lot of tutorials out there. However, browsing through each of those tutorials, you realize that these lessons are actually directed towards people who have designed websites before.

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How to Create SVG Loading Animations using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Edge Animate CC

Posted in Tutorials, Web Interface • Posted on Leave a comment

Keeping your viewers glued to your webpage while it loads is like trying to stop a time bomb, except that it doesn’t blow people into tiny bits. Some web designers give special attention by providing users with some entertainment while the all the information they want to see are still waiting to be fully loaded like this tutorial on how to create SVG loading animations using Illustrator and Adobe Edge Animate CC.

How to Create SVG Loading Animations using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Edge Animate CC Read More

The Hiring Guide for Freelancer Clients

Posted in Blogging, Inspiration, Quick Tips • Posted on Leave a comment

I have been writing about freelancing and web design for over a year now, and I honestly haven’t stumbled upon a hiring guide that teaches clients to hire great freelancers.

Everybody wants to find good clients. Often, freelancers read tips from experts and blogs like these to successfully dig the gold out their freelancing mines.

You always see how-tos ranging from building portfolios to even firing clients.

I am a freelancer, why should I read this?

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How to Create a Music Player UI Using Adobe Illustrator

Posted in Tutorials, Web Interface, Web Interfaces • Posted on Leave a comment

There have been a lot of UI kits swarming around the market lately. Some include complete sets of User Interface elements and, some, focus on just one element. These kits often serve as a basis and template for web designers in creating wonderful web pages.

Because of these kits, web designers, now, don’t have to worry about running out of ideas. They can copy and use these UI kits and make them better.

Today, you will be learning how to create a Music Player UI using Adobe Illustrator. This trendy UI was built using the minimalist and flat design foundations.

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Telltale Signs That You Might Be a Bad Boss

Posted in Blogging, Tips, Web Design • Posted on 1 Comment

Bosses  can be pretty infuriating at times. But do you know what can really ruin your day? A bad boss.

In your web design career, you surely have experienced being administered by the boss. You take orders and requests, do and finish them and earn money at paydays.

If this is not the case, you might be the boss. You are the one who sends payments, administers people, and sanctions them if they do something wrong.

This can be very difficult at times, especially when you think of the times when you were still at the bottom of the chain. Everyone saw you as a friend more than a foe back then.  One moment, you still enjoy having coffee with your co-workers in the pantry. The day you were promoted, people looked at you with angry gazes.

Is this perfectly normal? What would you do? How did all this happen?

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Waste Time Productively with These Blogs

Posted in Blogging, Freelance, Web Design • Posted on 3 Comments

It seems paradoxical to say that you can waste time productively. Productivity and procrastination are often conceived as two opposing forces that affect the lives of freelancers.

However, there is a slight glitch in this system. Given fair thought and immense amount of dedication, you can actually waste their time productively.

For web designers like you, there are some things you can do while you goof around your free time. You can:

  • Create freebies that could boost your portfolio
  • Look for more clients
  • Read more blogs that could actually help you in the future
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Internet Is Down: What Will I do?

Posted in Inspiration, Quick Tips, Tips • Posted on 4 Comments

Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, 1stwebdesigner. Not too long ago, these four websites loaded together in each tab in harmony. Then everything changed when the Internet got down. Only the service provider can fix this, but then, that service provider vanished.

What will you do now that the Internet Is Down?

I know nothing can really be as infuriating than a down Internet connection. As a web designer, this is very frustrating because most of your tasks are online and you will not get anything done until the connection goes back.

Most of the times, you’ll be pictured as the person who observes his router like a hunter observing a gazelle. Sometimes, you are seen pressing F5 every single minute, hoping it would soon load properly. Other times, you try and debate with your ISP over the phone and realize that there is no hope. Heck, you even plan on making rituals for the Internet gods to bring your connection back.

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Basic Principles of Flat Design – And Resources to Get You Started!

Posted in Tips, Web Design • Posted on 26 Comments

In case that you have been stuck in a cave for the past few years, let me tell you this nice news: flat design is the current craze. We should now say goodbye to those intricate designs dominated by brushes, gradients, drop shadows and all those kinds of designs. I repeat, flat is the new trend.

The flat design is an emerging design style that uses flat shapes and icons. It basically revolves around the use of rectangles, circles, triangles and others shapes with the absence of other design elements like shadows, strokes and gradients. It was made popular by Microsoft in their computer systems, especially their new operating system they call Windows 8. Basically, the flat design style is rooted on two principles: simplicity and readability. These two principles guide the designers in formulating stylish web layouts, software designs, posters and many more.



Photo from Michael Kelsinger

Flat Design’s Simplicity

It is the state of a design that refrains from the use of intricacies. Simple flat designs turn away from the use of drop shadows, strokes and other design elements. The reason behind this is that people now appreciate simple and easy to recognize styles. Also, with the advent of mobile browsing, where the screen space is limited, the use of simple images would maximize the use of the pixels on the screen. The minimalist style is also applied as the designers focus on wide spacing between icons, images and all the other elements of a web page or application. Furthermore, simple and flat images tend to load faster than intricately designed ones because the browser would not load the design elements packed together with the main image.

Meanwhile, the principle of readability comes in together with the minimalist style. With more ‘white-spaces’ (or empty spaces), the text is seen well. Also, the absence of drop shadows, strokes and gradients will ensure the readability of the texts placed within a page.

Facebook is one of the first to adapt the design format. In the past weeks, Facebook has evidently changed their design schemes, allowing users to see simple icons, designs and more eye-friendly visuals. Google has also followed the lead by changing its icons to colorful yet flat images.

Truly, the flat design trend has slowly but surely invaded our web pages, apps and computers. Soon enough it will totally influence us. And before that happens, let’s familiarize ourselves with the philosophy of the flat Design. We’ll talk about the elements of the design and how are they used to fully utilize the screen space.
There are actually five elements. They are:

  1. Absence of depth
  2. Use of simple elements
  3. Typography
  4. Color
  5. Minimalism

Photo source: The World is Flat

The Death of Depth

Depth is now dead. A new design trend is ruling the block. Unlike the previous design trends where we couldn’t live without drop shadows, strokes, bevels and gradients, the new flat design style focuses more on simple 2D blueprint. This philosophy of the flat design totally contradicts the skeuomorphistic design, where images are made to imitate the shape, color and utilization of a real-word object. Skeuomorphistic-designed websites and apps normally have background images which are realistic in nature. These use textures in the real world.

A good example of this kind of design is the iOS6 (and previous versions of iOS) design. Each design is supposed to be an imitation of the real object. The use of 3d computer-generated images, the use of gradients, textures, strokes, bevels and embosses are maximized to make the image look like real-world. The newsstand app looks like an actual newsstand made of wood.

On the contrary, these elements are removed in the flat design. The scheme of the flat layout removes these 3D elements. Drop the depth. Remove all those shadows, gradients and strokes!

Simplicity is Still Beauty

With the removal of depth in the designs, it is but normal for the images, icons and other design elements to become visually simple. Icons are now made to be flat and uses basic geometric shapes like circles, squares and rectangles. This will give a simple and easy to use graphic user interface. The average person will no longer feel the need for a manual because the visuals present themselves as they’re used.


Photo from Hrvoje Grubisi

When you see an F icon placed in a blue square, you’ll easily know it’s Facebook. When you see an icon of a gear, it would easily tell you that it’s a settings menu. Flat design works like that. When you see a diskette shape, you’ll automatically know that it’s the save icon. Or when you see a big yellow letter M placed on a red background, the notion will always be McDonald’s. See, the simpler the logo gets, the better the recognition will be. What you see is what you basically get.


Resources for designing a Timeless Logo:


More on Okilla.com

Typography, as I told you before


Photo by Courtney and Andrew
Typographies have their place in flat designs. It adds style even with the texts and gives you a reader-friendly interface. No more calligraphy. Use crisp and clear font texts with shorter messages and chromatically placed with color and shapes. For more information on this, read our typography tutorial.

Coo-lor Colors

As I mentioned in our typography tutorial, color is important. It can make or break your page. It basically sets the whole feel of your site or page. In the flat design principle, it is advisable to use candy colors which are slightly desaturated because they tend to add aesthetic beauty to your page without making your reader’s eyes bleed because of too much brightness. Candy colors attract the eyes better because they are cute, and can be complemented and contrasted easily with other colors. These colors are normally #e65d5d or #c43434 (for red), #7dc692 or # 508b61 (for green), #dfbc42 (for yellow) and # 3498db for blue. Flatuicolors.com provides a good guide for this.

Just remember that color is everywhere; don’t bore people by choosing the un-cool ones. Gradients are also not cool anymore. Avoid using bright yellow, neon yellow green, neon purple and bright red and bright orange. Don’t make your website visitors glare.


Master Your Colors!

Less is more, lesser is most

Minimalism is the art of de-cluttering your page or screen. This principle originated from the magazines of the print media where white spaces are more evident than the text itself. It gives padding or breathing room for your texts and suggests a typographical peace. Leave a lot of empty spaces. Throw away the unneeded elements and impress people. Less is more. Lesser is most.


Relevant: Why Creating Minimalist Design Makes You a Better Designer

The flat design could be simple as it looks, but creativity is still everything. When thinking of possible usage for this layout, remember to refresh your mind. Think of newer, cuter and sleeker designs. This design style will be still in style, but doing a wreck out of it won’t make it any more famous. Be creative. Try to experiment. View inspiration sites. Try your own style, commit mistakes, correct them and be a better artist!
Know that you know how to be flat. Let us all, go flat!

Basic Principles of Flat Design – And Resources to Get You Started!

What Are the Best Laptop Computers That Is Not MacBook Pro?

Posted in Showcase, Tips, Tools • Posted on 13 Comments

The dazzling 13-15-inch screen of Apple’s MacBook Pro, one of the best laptop computers, topped up with amazing technical specifications can surely make your eyes pop for a while. I mean, it’s Apple! Everybody loves the quality of company’s products. You’re assured of top notch items. But seeing the price tag that goes along with them, it will surely make your eyes pop too, but for another reason.

Now, I’m not starting a PC vs. Mac debate here but not all people can afford to buy a Mac; for newbie freelancers, buying a $2000 laptop computer may not be a good decision, especially if you can’t afford it. For me, if you’re starting from scratch, you should invest on the things you need first.

Hence, this article. I tried looking around for great MacBook Pro alternatives. Know the best laptops other than MacBook here:

What Are the Best Laptop Computers That Is Not MacBook Pro? Read More

5 Best Remote Collaboration Tools for Teams

Posted in Freelance, Tools, Web Design • Posted on 14 Comments

Collaboration is a great way to get more projects done in the shortest span of time. In freelance web designing, collaborating with others seems to be a very wise decision since you can get more projects but work in less effort.

However, being in a freelance web design team doesn’t necessarily mean you work together physically. That is one of the many joys of freelancing. You can work alone, while working together.

However, this is never easy as remote collaboration tools for teams can lead to miscommunication and lack of monitoring. You need tools where you can easily keep track and manage the projects and clients you get. You also need something to set and monitor deadlines, a melting pot of all finished products, invoices and many more.

For this article, we have collected some freelance collaboration tools which will surely make working with a remote team easier and more convenient.

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