design

Designer-Oriented Styles

James Kyle:

Components are a designer’s bread and butter. Designers have been building design systems with some model of “component” for a really long time. As the web has matured, from Atomic Design to Sketch Symbols, “components” (in some form or another) have asserted themselves as a best practice for web designers ...

Designers don’t care about selectors or #TheCascade. They might make use of it since it’s available, but #TheCascade never comes up in the design thought process.

(Okay okay... most designers. You're special. But we both knew that already.)

I think James makes strong points here. I'm, predictably, in the camp in which I like CSS. I don't find it particularly hard or troublesome. Yet, I don't think in CSS when designing. Much easier to think (and work) in components, nesting them as needed. If the developer flow matched that, that's cool.

I also agree with Sarah Federman who chimed in on Twitter:

It seems a bit premature to look at the current landscape of component CSS tooling at say that it's designer-friendly.

The whole conversation is worth reading, ending with:

Tooling that treats component design as an interface with the code is where it's at/going to be. Hopefully, designers will be more empowered to create component styles when we can meet them closer to their comfort zone.

Five Design Fears to Vanquish With CSS Grid

CSS grid, along with a handful of other new CSS properties, are revolutionizing web design. Unfortunately, the industry hasn't embraced that revolution yet and a lot of it is centered around fear that we can trace back to problems with the current state of CSS grid tutorials.

The majority of them fall into one of two categories:

  1. Re-creating classic web design patterns. Grid is great at replicating classic web design patterns like card grids and "holy grail" pages.
  2. Playing around. Grid is also great for creating fun things like Monopoly boards or video game interfaces.

These types of tutorials are important for new technology. They're a starting point. Now is the time, as Jen Simmons says, to get out of our ruts. To do that, we must cast off our design fears.

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Design Tooling is Still Figuring Itself Out

It probably always will be, to be fair.

At the moment, there are all kinds of things that design software is struggling to address. The term "screen design" is common, referring to the fact that many of us are designing very specifically for screens, not print or any other application and screens have challenges unique to them. We have different workflows these days than in the past. We have different collaboration needs. We have different technological and economic needs.

Let's take a peak at all this weirdness.

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If Your Company Were a Couch…

Without even realizing it, our perceptions are cross-referenced with our memories. Our brains conjure up an emotional reaction when our eyes see familiar shapes, colors, and textures. This fun exercise uses various styles of couches to help you make decisions about the emotional response that best represents the personality of your company (or how you would like your company to be perceived).

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Creating Non-Rectangular Headers

Over at Medium, Jon Moore recently identified "non-rectangular headers" as a tiny trend. A la: it's not crazy popular yet, but just you wait, kiddo.

We're talking about headers (or, more generally, any container element) that have a non-rectangular shape. Such as trapezoids, complex geometric shapes, rounded/elliptical, or even butt-cheek shaped.

The Power of the rgba() Color Function in CSS

One of the things that I'm really interested in about CSS is the new color-mod function. It will give us the ability to do color manipulations right in the browser. For example, when hovering over a button, you can change the color by using something like color: color(black darkness(50%));, without the use of any CSS preprocessor like Sass.

But as the support of these CSS color functions is zero nowadays, we can temporarily use PostCSS and compile them as regular colors. Or we can experiment and discover the power of CSS rgba() color functions to change colors on the fly! Let's see how we can use it.

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Icons and Teams

Say you're working on a website that uses an icon system. Lots of people who work on the site interact with the icon system. Designers create new icons, they tweak existing ones, they have ideas on what they want the icons to do. Developers building out the pages of the site use the system.

Say you're the front-end developer. You're implementing this system. You're the middle man. You're the creator and consumer of this system.

What do you ask of the designers?

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Introducing the new Framer

Framer, the design and code tool from Motif Tools BV, has been updated with lots of new features.

I guess it's Framer "js", because the designs you create are formed from a code syntax that is JavaScript-like. Kinda looks like JSON in CoffeeScript. It's CoffeeScript. But you're actually working in a native app.

It's a wild time for design tooling. Sketch had become a dominant player for screen design. Adobe knows designers don't turn to Photoshop like they used to and is making things from the ground up like Adobe XD and trying to figure out mobile. Webflow is getting it done in the browser and producing production-ready sites. InVision is also happening in the browser and focusing on teams and workflow. There are very niche tools like Lingo popping up.

The design tooling landscape in years to come will probably be as splintered as the web development tooling is now.

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