The Beginner’s Road Map to PHP Success

Posted in Tips, Web Design • Posted on 5 Comments

Learning something from scratch can be intimidating sometimes. Oftentimes, you simply have no idea where to start or how to learn all what you want to learn within a specific amount of time. One such example is PHP. A lot of people are still figuring out PHP success at the moment.

Although PHP is one of the easiest languages to learn out there, it is somewhat difficult to master.

There are some instances wherein there is a plenty of ways to do a PHP program but only two or three are accepted as valid answers within the PHP Community.

This may vary according to opinions and concepts of different PHP developers. For some logical programmers, learning PHP is only skin on the pig.

The Beginner’s Road Map to PHP Success Read More

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.

5 Best Remote Collaboration Tools for Teams Read More

1WD Is Turning 6 – Join Our Anniversary Giveaway!

Posted in Web Design • Posted on 77 Comments

1stwebdesigner is turning 6! And we couldn’t have done it without you. So, we are giving away 20 of our Flat Web Design Course with a total value of almost $2000 to our loyal readers! Over the years, our core focus has changed from simply publishing tips and tutorials to creating courses for freelance web designers and developers. Right now, we want to share them with you.

Do you want to help change the face of education?

Read our story and be inspired (and of course, get the chance to win 1 of the 20 prizes!).

1WD Is Turning 6 – Join Our Anniversary Giveaway! Read More

It’s Getting Hot in Here! Keeping Your Cool in Front of “Clients from Hell”

Posted in Freelance, Inspiration, Web Design • Posted on Leave a comment

CLIENT: Can you make it less black, like half black?

ME: Do you mean grey?

CLIENT: No. Less black.

ME: Well, there’s black or there’s no black.

CLIENT: We want black, we just want the black to be less black. Like half.

Does this “keeping your cool” dialogue sound familiar to you?

It’s Getting Hot in Here! Keeping Your Cool in Front of “Clients from Hell” Read More

Save Your Ideas for a Rainy Day

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

For web designers, ideas are very important. If web designers don’t have fresh, trendy and almost-original ideas, they might as well stop designing because it is the fuel that drives their job. Without any ideas, there would be no design and no design means no money. That said, how should you save your ideas?

You can only create what you can imagine.

These words have been my driving force the past years. As a budding designer and an emerging writer, I have considered imagination is the mother of all artwork.

Save Your Ideas for a Rainy Day Read More

30 Android Apps Worth Downloading This Year

Posted in Tools, Web Design • Posted on 4 Comments

Android is becoming really popular. As more smartphone companies use the Android operating system, users grow the same number too. That just means that more and more Android apps are being developed as the operating system picks up popularity, which is why it becomes really difficult to choose the best apps for your phone.

You can’t really try every single application just to find the perfect fit. That would entail a lot of time, and we don’t have a lot of that. That is why, we looked into a lot of Android applications and picked 30 apps that you shouldn’t miss. These were selected according to how useful they will be to you, either you’re a web designer or just a mere android user.

Here they are!

30 Android Apps Worth Downloading This Year Read More

Where are My Earphones? — The Music and Productivity Equation

Posted in Tips, Tools, Web Design • Posted on 3 Comments

Music is definitely part of human life. Somehow, music gives us movement without making us leave our seats. It gives us motivation, advice and, most of all, solace when we most need it. We often view music as something that enhances our daily lives. We see it as a sort of escape from people.

Pop those earphones on and shazam! Instant isolation.

However, only a few people view music as more of an inspiration rather than a distraction. Some view music as something that increases their productivity and makes them work harder and better.

You may be listening to the slow strums of Ottis Redding, maybe even threading the waves with Nada Surf but one thing is for sure: subtly, your music pushes you to move, which leads one to think about the correlation of music and productivity.

Where are My Earphones? — The Music and Productivity Equation Read More

Is My Website Ready for Some Serious Hacks?

Posted in Tips, Usability, Web Design • Posted on 2 Comments

The issue of website security has been a top priority for web designers and developers for a long time. In the course of Internet’s colorful history, a lot of methods and tools have been developed (and some are still at the brink of development) to ensure that websites will be hack-proof, or at least be ready for some serious hacks.

What drives all the motivation to lock-down websites is, of course, business. As we all know, websites drive income and leads for a lot of companies.

These companies thrive to target the new market. This market mainly resides in the digital world, to further increase their chances of conversion – and in the near future – income.

On the other hand, some websites prosper mainly from driving traffic and converting clicks into cash. Blogs are great examples. They mainly sell information, which can be used to create tangible and perceivable products.

Is My Website Ready for Some Serious Hacks? Read More
54.82.166.45 - unknown - unknown - US