Technicolor, Blindness, Translation Projects, & HUGE Emojis: This Week in Design

Design news & inspiration

A few things we published this week



EPMD was the #1 rap song on my birthday

…according to Polygraph’s interactive chart showcasing Billboard’s “Hot Rap 100” songs. You can also search by artist to see where they’ve peaked in the charts in recent years.

Technicolor or minimalism?

Can we have both? We wrote a roundup of our favorite bright, technicolor artwork and digital assets on Wednesday, and then an article exploring the best minimalist WordPress on Thursday.


Muzli, a small-but-mighty design community, has joined InVision! They’re still running independently, though. Read about it on their Medium.

Hello, Allo

Allo, Google’s new messaging app, promises HUGE emojis (all-caps by Google). There’s stickers and drawings and suggested responses that Google will ‘learn’ about you over time. Think Snapchat meets WhatsApp meets Google Inbox. Strangest feature: being able to adjust the size of your text, so that you can SHOUT IN GIANT LETTERS or whisper very quietly.


Favorite design processes of the week:

A figma-ent of your imagination

Figma is a real-time collaborative tool for interface design. Called “the Google Docs for designers”, you can watch your team work (and it even integrates with Sketch).

October is Blindness Awareness Month

On the topic of accessibility and design, here what we’re reading:

The Dos and Don’ts on Designing for Accessibility, which is a guide put together from the UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS) blog, a guide ‘documenting how we’re rebuilding inclusive digital services across the UK Government’. It includes bullet-point lists of guidelines to follow for a range of disabilities and impairments: for example, using simple colours when designing for users on the autism spectrum.

“It is time for us to stop talking about accessibility… Robin Christopherson, the Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet uses a different word. He talks about ‘Inclusive Design’. I love this term because it gets to the heart of what we should be trying to achieve. We want as many people as possible to use our digital services. That just makes good business sense.” Designer Paul Boag on rebranding the idea of accessibility in design.

Color is an essential aspect of the design process. So, what’s it like to be a colorblind designer? An interview with designer Andrei Gomes on how being colorblind impacts his design process, and on how to integrate accessibility into UX.

Must-download app of the week: Sim Daltonism, which simulates how a colorblind user might see your computer screen. Here’s what a section of the Envato blog might look like!

A recent article from Microsoft on how to make your PowerPoint presentations more accessible.

From Slack’s Medium publication, Several People are Typing: an interesting look inside the HQ of the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco, which is designed with the visually impaired in mind. The article reminds me of an episode from the archives of the 99% Invisible podcast, DeafSpace, which is about the design of Gallaudet University, a university dedicated to the education of the deaf and hard-of-hearing in Washington, D.C. Both stories bring up points that you might not otherwise think about- for example, rounding corners in hallways or leaving floors bare- which create a more friendly and easy-to-navigate space.

Video vibes

Is 360 video worth it? That’s a question posed by Jim Habig, Product Marketing Manager at YouTube, in an article on the Think with Google blog. Google partnered with Columbia Sportswear to create some 360 and not-360 videos, then tested different versions of through ads. Takeaways: traditional viewers might not be too interested in interacting with 360 videos, but the ones that do are pretty excited about it.

Designing for mindfulness: the New York Times is jumping into the world of meditation with a new series of virtual reality meditation videos. Think immersive Northern-Cali nature scenes plus guided meditation from ‘meditation guru’ Mark Coleman, of Awake in the Wild. (Side note: loving the full-page layout, Nieman Lab!)

Collab (left) and Hit Record (right).
Collab (left) and Hit Record (right).

Video creation and collaboration on Colab, from Pipecast Technologies in Bangalore, India. It’s a platform for video-makers (and people who want videos made) to work together on projects. The home page has a running count of numbers like total creators (2107), current collaborations (237), and opportunities (66) – it reminds me of open collaboration platforms like Hit Record, but exclusively for video.

See also: Current video background design trends, like simple videos and default-mute.

In online learning news

Big changes over at LinkedIn. In “the largest redesign since LinkedIn’s inception”, they’re also unveiling a new platform called LinkedIn Learning, a data-driven, ‘freemium’ learning service.

Have you heard of the Tuts+ translation project? Tuts+ is a tutorial and online learning site from Envato, with a massive library of resources about everything design-related. I just learned about the Envato Tuts+ Translation Project, which is an initiative to translate all the tutorials on Tuts+ into different languages. By doing so, Tuts+ tutorials and design lessons will be accessible to more people around the world. It’s a voluntary project, and you can pick the tutorial you want to translate, so if you’re design-inclined and also multilingual, check it out.

Online art schools! If you’re an aspiring artist, check out this list of 10 incredible online art programs.


Who will buy Twitter? Google and Salesforce, maybe.

Meanwhile, while everyone else is making Snapchat-esque apps (looking at you, Instagram and Apple), Snapchat is moving on to the next thing. They’re not even called Snapchat anymore – simply “Snap” – and they’re unveiling some crazy new spectacles for video-recording (in black, teal, and coral).

Reading designer news won’t help you become a better designer! (Wait, what?)

The greatest alive: designers pick the best logos of all time, via Fast Company Design. Cameos from IBM, the 1968 Olympics, and Mickey Mouse.

How free is free? An explanation of Creative Commons, from Vandelay Design.

“And yet! This looser, stream-of-excited-consciousness style has gained significant ground.” Slate on the future of writing on the internet (and the idea that it might not include words at all. Will the Envato blog just evolve into a string of emojis and GIFs?).

Innovation and imitation: Snapchat and the art of the copycat, from Fast Company.

Resource roundup: 10 Cool Free WordPress Plugins, 5 UX Checklist Apps, 50 Best Premium WordPress Themes, and 20 important design principles.


Featured image: 

Brittany Jezouit

About the Author Brittany Jezouit

Brittany is a Contributor to the Envato blog. She helped launch the publication and was its founding Editor. You can follow her on Twitter @brittanyjezouit.