Envato https://envato.com Design & creative inspiration Thu, 15 Mar 2018 23:43:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 https://assets.wordpress.envato-static.com/uploads/2016/08/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Envato https://envato.com 32 32 Why UX Writing Is a Thing Now https://envato.com/blog/why-ux-writing-is-a-thing-now/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 02:24:43 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=67764 If you work in design, you’ve probably noticed by now the wave of “UX writer” jobs being posted online over the past couple of years. From Google to YouTube, Dropbox, Amazon and PayPal, every big tech company now has a team of UX writers. But what is UX writing? In this article, you'll find out.

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If you work in design, you’ve probably noticed by now the wave of “UX writer” jobs being posted online over the past couple of years. From Google to YouTube, Dropbox, Amazon and PayPal, every big tech company now has a team of UX writers.

But what is UX writing?

As John Maeda, Automattic’s head of computational design, pointed out in his 2017 Design in Tech Report, “Words are really important because the graphics don’t make sense sometimes.”

Not long after Maeda’s report came out, Fast Co Design followed up with a piece called Forget Coding: Writing Is Design’s Unicorn Skill.

But this article isn’t about why designers should learn to write better (though they certainly should!). No, it’s about why the task of UX writing shouldn’t automatically fall to designers. UX writing is a skill, particularly as English – especially for those who speak it as a second language – can take years to master.

From word choice to voice and tone, and concepts like cadence, assonance and alliteration, these are elements of English that even native speakers spend years studying at school.

So what should designers and developers do?

In this article, we’ll explore what UX writing is, how to get started finding your product’s “voice” and why getting help with UX writing is a good investment.

What Is UX Writing?

UX writing is still very much an emerging field, but as UX Booth explains:

“UX writing is the act of writing copy for user-facing touchpoints. This copy must not only embody the voice of the organization, but must also be considerate and useful for the user.”

Meanwhile, UX Planet describes UX writing as:

“… the practice of crafting copy which is directly used in user interfaces to guide users within a product and help them interact with it. The major aim of UX writing is to settle communication between users and a digital product.”

Within the discipline of UX writing, there are two different kinds:

  • Copywriting: Whether it’s the text on a 404 page or the copy on a landing page for a product, this type of UX writing tends to be punchy and/or flowery. It’s the language that gets you excited about using a product.
  • Transactional/navigational: These are the words that help guide a user through using a product. According to Dropbox UX writer John Saito, when it comes to this kind of UX writing, “The goal is to not have your words be noticed, so it becomes a seamless experience.”

The copy – i.e. words – created by UX writers is known as “microcopy.” The name refers to the small components of text which serve as prompts and hints to the user. UX writing is not the same as marketing copy, which you would commonly find on a website or in an email.

Microcopy is the interface text you see when using a product, including instructions, buttons, and error messages, as well as product tours and wizards, menus, notifications, labels, links and chatbots. Basically, all the small components of a digital product that has words.

One of the best examples of UX writing is MailChimp. If you’ve ever used this email marketing tool to send an email, you might’ve felt that twinge of anxiety a lot of people feel when they hit send.

MailChimp tackles this mini stress all too cleverly by tapping into its users’ emotions. After you hit “Send,” the success messages work to lighten the mood, congratulating you on a job well done and offering a high-five.

The MailChimp team could’ve just displayed the message “Email sent.” But pairing the animation with simple microcopy makes the process of sending emails much more of a fun task. It also sets MailChimp apart from other email marketing platforms, whose transactional copy might be far from friendly.

According to Chase Curry, a senior product designer at MailChimp, designing the Freddie high-five animation took a couple of weeks, which may seem like a lot of time to dedicate to something as simple as an in-app animation. But, he says, “For us, though, it’s details like this that remind our users who we are, and that we’re all humans.”

Finding and Documenting Your Voice

So by now you might be wondering what your product’s voice is?

It’s important to work this out and to document it, so next time you need microcopy for your product, you have a clear idea of what to write. But also, it’s helpful when reviewing and updating existing microcopy in your product.

Every product, whether it’s a WordPress theme or plugin, has a voice, and that voice might evolve slightly over time.

Most big companies have a style guide or some kind of guiding principles on what their voice and tone should sound like.

Take MailChimp (again) for instance. The email platform has a very distinct voice, which is fun, lively and young. According to the company’s style guide, Voice & Tone, their voice doesn’t change much: “…our tone adapts to our users’ feelings.”

This is typical for many companies – a basic principle of UX writing is that your voice tends to be the same throughout your products, but your tone will change depending on the scenario. For example, the tone you would use for a landing page might be welcoming, whereas the tone for an error message might be more empathetic.

Branding company Larsen outlines how to create the right brand voice in six steps:

  1. Define. Choose three words that capture the personality of the voice you want for your product/brand. Then limit those words with three more words. For example: bold, but not arrogant; irreverent, but not offensive; loud, but not obnoxious.
  2. Differentiate. Check out how your competitors communicate. What’s their voice? Their attitude? What can you learn from them and how can you distinguish your own voice?
  3. Listen. How do your customers communicate? Are they formal and serious? Or casual and conversational? It’s important to consider what kind of voice will be most appealing and authentic to your target market.
  4. Inspire. Your brand voice should be inspiring, bold, and speak directly to your target market. Use verbs and short phrases.
  5. Engage. Don’t try too hard. Let your brand voice relax and be “real.” Even the most serious companies shouldn’t shy away from having a conversational, friendly tone that has loads of personality.
  6. Evolve. Your goal shouldn’t be to create the perfect brand voice, but to create one that works for your product or brand right now. Your voice will evolve over time as your products change and as you keep pace with your target market.

Examples of Brand Voice

Let’s take a look at some examples of different companies’ voices, and how they tackle UX writing.


As part of its Material Design system, Google has published a comprehensive style guide for its UX writing team, and others who might be interested in adopting their writing guidelines and techniques.

Google’s voice is clean, simple and functional. Further, the company’s style guide that: “Text should be understandable by anyone, anywhere, regardless of their culture or language.” In addition, “clear, accurate, and concise text makes interfaces more usable and builds trust.”

The guide addresses language, tone, capitalization and punctuation, and global writing, all with very clear examples.

For example, Google recommends that user interfaces should refer to the user using either “you” or “your” or “I” or “my”:

It’s also recommended that you avoid the pronoun “we”:

And always be concise – write in small, scannable segments to facilitate navigation and discovery.


Facebook is home to one of the longest standing UX writing teams around, though they refer to them as “content strategists.” The team works closely with product designers, UX researchers, engineers, data scientists, product managers and others to “identify and synthesize people problems,” according to Natalie Shaw, a content strategist at Facebook.

“We maintain simple, straightforward and human language to talk to our community across all of our products, and to do this we get involved early on in the product design process,” Shaw writes for Medium.

While Facebook’s content strategy team doesn’t publish its style guide publicly, there’s a lot we can learn from simply browsing through Facebook pages.

Facebook’s voice is friendly, simple and conversational. For example, when you log in to your account, you’re simply asked:

Previously, the placeholder copy was, “What’s on your mind?” without the name. It’s a small addition, but the addition of your name makes the message much more personal, like Facebook is talking to your directly.

Whether you realize it or not, there’s microcopy everywhere in Facebook. One very noticeable place is at the top of the news feed when you log in, where Facebook typically places messages recognizing holidays and events:

Facebook’s content strategy team is also tasked with putting words in the virtual mouths of chatbots. Content strategist Emily Konouchi explains how she developed microcopy for Messenger after the platform was opened up to allow advertisers and developers to create bots in this insightful piece for Medium.


Dropbox has had a dedicated UX writing team for years now, at least since 2015. John Saito, who is prolific on Medium, shares his thoughts and ideas when it comes to UX writing for the company.

While Dropbox doesn’t share its style guide (it’s published internally in Dropbox Paper), Saito shares a sneak peek:

Like other big companies, Dropbox aims to be “straightforward, helpful, and human” in its microcopy.

For instance, a great example of how Dropbox handles transactional microcopy is in the “Personal account” section. Under “Notifications” you can update how often you receive emails. The microcopy is concise, brief, and easy to understand. There’s really no confusing what checking each of these options means:

Likewise, when you choose to cancel your account, Dropbox explains in very clear language what will happen next. It’s even accompanied by an illustration of a “pro” fish tank and smaller “basic” tank to help you understand that you’re downgrading your account.

And the button text couldn’t be clearer. But, obviously, Dropbox wants you to click the blue button and not cancel your account.


UX writing is well and truly a thing now and there’s no turning back. Every product and brand has a story to tell and it’s important that you are able to find the right words for your story.

If you’re a designer who wants to learn how to write better microcopy, I highly encourage you to check out Google’s Material Design guide to writing. MailChimp’s Voice & Tone guide is another great resource for learning how to write effective copy.

But if you’re part of a growing team, you might want to consider hiring – or at least contracting – a writer to help with your product UX. Your products will not only be infused with more personality, but your users will appreciate that they’re easier to use and navigate too.


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Paul Rand and the Stories Behind Some of the World’s Most Famous Logos https://envato.com/blog/paul-rand-and-the-stories-behind-some-of-the-worlds-most-famous-logos/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:35:56 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=67746 Perhaps more than any other designer in the 20th century, Paul Rand was responsible for defining the visual culture in America in the decades following World War II – and how we think about corporate logos today. Here's his story, and the stories of the logos he created.

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Perhaps more than any other designer in the 20th century, Paul Rand was responsible for defining the visual culture in America in the decades following World War II – and how we think about corporate logos today.

Learning By Doing

Born in Brooklyn in 1914, Rand was creative from a young age and practiced drawings as much as he could. His father wasn’t convinced his son could make a living with his art, but nevertheless agreed to let him attend night classes at Pratt Institute in Manhattan. Despite his years of study, Rand always maintained that he was self-taught. Later in his career, he said he “had literally learned nothing at Pratt; or whatever little I learned, I learned by doing myself.”

One of his first professional jobs was for Apparel Arts, a popular men’s fashion magazine owned by Esquire. He started out laying product spreads but it wasn’t long before he moved onto magazine covers.

Apparel Arts cover designed by Paul Rand

Direction magazine cover designed by Paul Rand

Esquire cover designed under the art direction of Paul Rand

European and Modernist Inspiration

Rand looked to Europe for inspiration and is regarded as one of the first American designers to do so. He was inspired by the commercial arts journals coming out of Britain and Germany, and learn about the works of Cassandre and Moholy-Nagy in copies of Gebrauchsgraphik.

He was a great admirer of Swiss Expressionist Paul Klee, and some of his early ads incorporated Klee-inspired drawings used as icons and symbols – unheard of at the time. Along with Modernist thinking on form and function coming out of the Bauhaus in Germany, all of these influences were reflected in Rand’s work, which often featured collages, montage, hand-lettering, photography and illustration.

By 1941 when Rand was just 27, he was appointed the chief art director of ad agency William H. Weintraub & Co. While advertising at that time had changed little in the 50 years prior, Rand went on to bring art into advertising, helping to shift the responsibility of designing ads from copywriters to art directors.

Reinventing the Corporate Logo

By the 1950s, Rand, moved on to what he is best known for – reinventing the corporate logo. He set the benchmark for corporate branding, most notably his designs for IBM, ABC, UPS, Westinghouse, Enron and NeXT.

Here are the stories behind some of his most famous logos.


When Thomas Watson Jr inherited the reins of IBM from his father, one of his first tasks was to redesign the company’s logo. After seeing a store display for Olivetti typewriters in New York, the story goes that Watson Jr had an epiphany: “Good design is good business.”

It became the company’s mantra. Watson wanted to reinvent IBM’s image as a boring computer company into one with modern sensibilities, personality and character. He hired Elliot Noyes, a designer and curator for the Museum of Modern Art, to overhaul IBM’s design across the company. In turn, Noyes hired Paul Rand.

The evolution of IBM’s logo. Image: Quartz.

Working with IBM’s existing logo at the time, Rand’s first design was subtle. He replaced the font Beton with a similar but stronger-looking typeface called City, giving the letters “IBM” a more solid, grounded and balanced appearance. Rand also played with the shape of the letterforms, lengthening the serifs, and made the stacked squares in the letter “B” larger.

But Rand still wasn’t happy with the logo. It would take years before the detail-obsessed designer would figure out how to fix it.

“I felt there was a problem with the sequence, going from narrow to wide without any pause, without any rhythmic possibility,” Rand later said, explaining that he didn’t like the disparity in visual weight of the three letter.

In 1972, he finally introduced stripes to the logo to establish a better sense of unity and to suggest speed and dynamism. In the bottom left, two parallel lines form a sign of equality.

The IBM logo has remained unchanged ever since.

Paul Rand’s popular Eye-Bee-M poster, a type of word puzzle known as a rebus that uses pictures to represent letters, was created in 1981 in support of IBM’s motto, THINK. Image: IBM.


Established in 1886, electric company Westinghouse was a major conglomerate and General Electric’s main rival by the time it poached Elliot Noyes to work for them in 1959.

Noyes, understanding the need to revamp the ailing company’s visual identity, again turned to Rand. Earlier versions of Westinghouse’s logos featured the letter “W,” and Rand’s redesign didn’t stray far. He modernized the existing logo, creating a design that suggested the interlinked points of a circuit board.

The evolution of the Westinghouse logo.

Rand’s Westinghouse logo was launched in 1960 and to this day remains untouched.

Westinghouse’s logo hasn’t changed since the 1960s. Image: Logos.wikia.com.

American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

During the first 20 years of the ABC’s existence, the network cycled through logos. The very first logo was inspired by radio. Basically, ABC took their radio network logo and slapped the letters “TV” on it. Then came a map of the United States, an eagle with a circle and the letters “ABC,” and then an unusual lowercase design, the “Circle A” logo. By the early 1960s, the network returned to its map of the U.S.

The evolution of the ABC logo.

Paul Rand redesigned the logo, which debuted on televisions on October 19, 1962. Rand’s design, a black circle with white lowercase letters, retained the wordmark of the Circle A logo, but with a sans serif typeface.

Paul Rand’s ABC logo.

While there have been updates to the logo in subsequent years, its simplicity and boldness have stayed true to the original design, standing the test of time. It was changed slightly in the mid-60s when colored television programming was introduced.

And again in 2007 to signal the arrival of HDTV.

ABC color logo from the 1960s

The current ABC logo.


The UPS logo is hugely recognizable – who doesn’t know the shield?

It was introduced in 1916 after the company’s successful merger with a local competitor. The design featured an eagle holding a package against the backdrop of a shield, the shield being a traditional symbol of integrity and reliability.

In 1937, the logo was changed to reflect the company’s growth. The eagle was removed and the letters “UPS” were added to the shield.

The evolution of the UPS logo.

In 1961, the logo was redesigned again, this time by Paul Rand when he was hired to overhaul UPS’s visual identity. His design was a dramatic simplification of the existing logo, incorporating a bow-tied package above the familiar shield to express the company’s speciality, delivering packages.

So the story goes, Rand walked into the UPS head office and presented them with one design option. When asked if he had anything else, he replied, “That’s it.”

The logo remained unchanged until 2003. As part of a rebranding exercise, UPS updated the logo to remove the bowtie, reflecting the company’s expansion beyond just shipping and delivery services.

NeXT Computers

After Steve Jobs was ousted from Apple, he moved on to NeXT, a computer company that developed and manufactured a series of computer workstations intended for the higher education and business markets.

At the suggestion of one of his employees, Jobs got in touch with Rand about designing the company’s logo. When they met, Steve didn’t give Rand much to work with. But what Rand did take away from the meeting was Jobs’s energy, enthusiasm and that he liked the playfulness of the Apple logo that Rob Janoff had designed in 1977.

Working with his initial impressions of Jobs and the only structural information he had about NeXT – that it would be housed in a cube – Rand embarked on a logical design process, which culminated in the final NeXT logo and a 100-page proposal book that walked Jobs through the conceptual process to the final outcome.

The NeXT logo.

In a 1993 interview with Jobs, when he was asked what it was like to work with Rand, he said, “I asked him if he would come up with a few options, and he said, ‘No, I will solve your problem for you and you will pay me. You don’t have to use the solution. If you want options go talk to other people.’”

Rand was 72 when he designed the NeXT logo. He billed Jobs $100,000. Jobs was delighted with the work, even reproducing the concept book as a gift for others.


Skeuomorphism Is Back

Steve Jobs’ go-to design language – the art of digital user interface design that mimics the characteristics of real-life objects – is making a return.

The post Paul Rand and the Stories Behind Some of the World’s Most Famous Logos appeared first on Envato.

Top 20 Adobe After Effects Photo Slideshows https://envato.com/blog/top-20-adobe-after-effects-photo-slideshows/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 23:19:38 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=67739 After Effects is one of the most used visual effect applications out there. It's full of useful features to animate things from scratch. But you don't need to be a motion graphics designer to get some use out of it. It has great tools for photographers too. Bring your photos to life easily with these great templates.

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After Effects is one of the most popular applications for Visual Effects out there, and that for good reason. The flexibility it offers, makes it the go-to tool for creative professionals, motion artists and hobbyists alike. Its impressive tools and functionality, reliability and wide adoption allowed it to remain popular among industry professionals.

Having said that, with great flexibility, comes an every-increasing level of complexity, given the immense number of things this program enables you to do. Thanks to a huge number of readily available templates, you can speed up your workflow, increase quality or even learn new tricks in no time, all while delivering incredible projects to your clients!

Best feature(s): You get an amazing music tracks included for free!

Exquisite beauty class and elegance are what make this item stand out. Pair that with the high design quality, the flexible modular structure and the not one, but two magnificent cinematic music tracks. Truly inspiring work by this author!

Best feature(s): Uniqueness

This item was a ‘game-changer’ when it first came out. Possibly the first slideshow to incorporate the content live action footage, bringing a unique and well thought out approach that defined a trend attempted by many, but not quite surpassed just yet.

Best feature(s): Design, Customization

The template features a clean and minimal look, following the recent tends in design. Offering a wide range of variation & customizability, it ensures a high quality result. The final look is improved with overlaid subtle effects, including an original light leak footage. The Modular Timeline, two Logo-Ending versions as well as the two different 2D and 3D Styles that are included, make this project one of the most versatile templates on the market.

Best feature(s): Originality

Originality has become a major challenge for creatives. Finding unique projects feels almost impossible at times, due to the sheer number of creative heads fighting for exposure.

Thanks to the features & customization options that add value to the project, this one certainly scores high on that front as well. Some features worth noting: light leaks, different ink footage, adjustable background, plus over 8 kind of border designs.

Best feature(s): Design, Simplicity

This one stands out thanks to the simplicity and ease of use. It allows you to use both photos and videos, and is perfectly suited for family and wedding photo slideshows.

Best feature(s): Design, Customization

Professional, easy to customize and reliant on a design language with a slight vintage signature, this project is equally suited for novices as well as experts looking to present image colections in a stylish way.

Best feature(s): Easy to edit, modular structure,100% After Effects, No plugins required

Clean & modern design, amazing atmosphere, ready to use in quite a number of different scenarios.

Best feature(s): Easy to edit, comes with 49 Scenes for your images

Standout details include the atmosphere and dynamics, which seem to be prevalent among the other items produced by this particular author.

Best feature(s): Stylish look, modular structure, easy to customize

This one is a rather stylish project, with premade designs. It’s very easy to add images or more placeholders, if need be. It also allows you to combine photos and/or videos with powerful text and then choose the perfect musical background, to enhance your message. Premade transitions keep your presentation flowing seamlessly, while your words and music help add depth and direction.

Best feature(s): High Accuracy Music Synchronized Design

A really dynamic, driving and slideshow. I just makes you want to move!

Best feature(s): Visually Appealing Design, Simple and Easy to Customize

This item was previously featured on Videohive, thanks to some exciting effects such as particles and light streak with particle trails. Make your next slideshow or presentation that bit more interesting and engaging, by using this template together with your images or videos.

Best feature(s): Unique design and Animation

The design and animation helps convey the feeling of love and the title animations also look very elegant.

Best feature(s): Perfect marriage of modern handcrafting typography and minimalistic design.

A warm and romantic, very touching and honest mood wrapped up in the minimalistic design and motion. It’s simple, yet striking!

Best feature(s): Your photos will be looking super cool.

This template points through its elegant simplicity, as well as the great mood and vintage handcraft feel.

Best feature(s): It’s a classic retro slideshow! An easy customization process and a great stylization.

Make this slideshow for a wedding of your friends and all guests will smile and cry by the overwhelming feelings! Author can confirm: “I’ve checked – it works!”

Best feature(s): 17 powder footages are included!

This item simply looks fantastic!!! Perfect template for an awesome slideshow or perhaps for an opening title sequence of a Hollywood movie!

Best feature(s): Choice any total duration (just tell me how many images you need to use)

It’s a high quality, well organized and easy customizing template. Just drop your image or video, edit the text, add audio and enjoy result!

Best feature(s): Smooth paint stroke effects with elegant transitions

A really beautiful and impressive After Effects template, which features 30 media placeholders and 32 text placeholders. It’s a well organized project with a modular structure. Just drag and drop your images or videos, change the text and hit render.

Best feature(s): Original stylish look, easy to edit

Minimal design and original look. We particularly enjoy the jelly-like distortion transition effects!

Best feature(s): Clean and stylish look

Cool synchronization with music, clean and simple design.

These are just a small selection of the amazing content you can find on VideoHive. For more slideshows, head on over to this thread on our forums. 

What to read next

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Best Fashion Photography Filters, Presets & Actions for Lightroom & Photoshop https://envato.com/blog/best-fashion-photography-filters-presets-actions-for-lightroom-photoshop/ Thu, 08 Mar 2018 23:33:30 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=66420 Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions are a bit like magic. They can help get a heap of work done in a very short span of time. Here are our top 15 Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions, to help you add some amazing visual spice to your images.

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Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions are a bit like magic. They can help get a heap of work done in a very short span of time, but as with any shortcut, they’re only able to improve upon the quality that’s already there. What this means is that you need great starting material, to get amazing results. High resolution images with good composition are mandatory. If you feel you need to brush up on your photography skills, we strongly recommend our excellent courses over at Tuts+

These tools are meant for both hobbyists and professionals alike and can help achieve a certain look in no time. As with any tool, it’s not perfect out of the box (although they do work exactly as advertised). You’ll need to make sure your images are a good fit for the preset & actions you’re looking to use, to ensure the best results. Once that’s a given, all you need to do is press play (for actions) or apply the preset. If you’re happy with the result, proceed to share your creations on your social media profile of choice! If you feel you like the effect, but it’s too strong, or slightly off, you can always choose to manually tweak the images to perfection and beyond.

Having said that, here are our top 15 Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions, to help you add some amazing visual spice to your images:

Add a hint of contrast and make your pictures pop, with this set of presets. The presets also help really set the mood of pictures that would otherwise appear rather bland and boring.

While nothing substitutes hands-on retouching for skin blemishes, this action can certainly help speed up your workflow. It manages to take care of a big part of the work involved, so you can focus on finer details. It works best with high resolution images.

Lilac provides 17 high-quality toning presets for summer/nature portraits with lots of greenery/flowers and adds a moody cold toning (especially to greens). Designed for natural light portraits, Lilac presets are also great for beauty, fashion & fine art photography.

A very useful action pack, with quite a few different effects and color variations. If you’re looking for a strong contrast with faded shadows and a smoothness you only see in fashion fotography, this one’s for you!

Cinematic Luxe Hollywood Lightroom presets were designed to speed up your lightroom workflow and bring high quality cinematic looks to your photography. You will be able to achieve consistency within your work, creating a style and a cohesive look to all your images, all while streamlining your editing. 

A pack of professional Lightroom Presets perfect for new and old photographers and graphic designers. All presets have been created with precise calibration & adjustments, paired with a meticulous arrangement, in order to bring that exquisite satin look that’s really popular with celebrities lately.

This pack contains a preset for every taste and use case. Careful tweaking is required, to avoid highlights being blown out or shadow detail being lost… but even so you’re sure to benefit from having a good preset to start from, for any particular look you’re after.

This pack contains a preset for every taste and use case. Careful tweaking is required, to avoid highlights being blown out or shadow detail being lost… but even so you’re sure to benefit from having a good preset to start from, for any particular look you’re after.

This one is quite an exciting one: it’s a creative multi-functional Photoshop Action allowing you to convert your images into moving artwork within moments. Comes with a handy video tutorial to help you get up and running in no time.

A one-click solution to apply 30 Pro Portrait LR Presets and effects on your photos. They’re incredibly easy to use, enabling a non-destructive workflow, while also saving your precious time and money.

This pack contains 15 .lrtemplate files, providing amazing results with with portrait photography. Smart adjustments. Supports: DNG, TIFF, JPG, RAW & PSD. The presets were tested in  Lightroom 4.0 to CC. 

Use this actions and save heaps of time while getting a  professional result. The action leaves editable layers for further customization and offers effects for: HDR, sharpen, noise, gradient, contrast, colorful, solid color, portrait, glamour effect. 

25 Pretty Portraits Lightroom Presets allows you to produce your own signature style and create clean and professional edits in a single click! Give your photos a great and unique look without learning a countless photo editing techniques. Now you can fix colors, soften skin, sharpen details and much more, just in a few minutes. Turn your best photos into perfect with Pretty Portraits Collection for Lightroom.

This pack adds a unique twist to the usual beauty-preset approach, by offering discrete pastel color presets to give your images that warm, unique feel.

This action can provide rich natural toning for portrait, fashion and fine art photography. Tired of dull greens and floral arrangements? Give it a try and watch it add volume and color depth, with a special color shift tune-up specifically created for greenery and flowers.

Comes with Soft and Regular variants, for added control with high contrast or underexposed images.

This selection is but a tiny fraction of the incredible selection of high quality presets you can purchase on GraphicRiver. If you need even more awesome LR Presets, check out the selection you get, as part of your subscription over at Envato Elements.

What to read next

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19 Essential Chrome Extensions for Every Web Designer https://envato.com/blog/19-essential-chrome-extensions-every-web-designer/ Thu, 08 Mar 2018 03:14:13 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=67552 When you’re in your element, web design and development is a joy. But the tedious work that frequently comes with this job can make you wonder why you chose this field. What you may not know is that Chrome has an extension store full of free tools that can help you cut down on the […]

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When you’re in your element, web design and development is a joy. But the tedious work that frequently comes with this job can make you wonder why you chose this field. What you may not know is that Chrome has an extension store full of free tools that can help you cut down on the side work.

If you don’t use Chrome apps for your online work, the time to start is now. Here are an assortment of extensions that can make design and development cleaner, more efficient, and more fun.

Web Developer

Sometimes when working, you may need to disable Javascript, hide images, or quickly view the source code. Those few examples are only the beginning of what Web Developer can do. It’s an all-in-one package for devs and should always be your first stop in the extension store.

CSS Peeper

Another program package for designers, CSS Peeper can extract CSS code nested in a website. Instead of digging through pages of code, you can use this extension to see object properties, export hidden assets, and more.

Need a CSS editor instead of an extractor? Stylebot lets you manipulate CSS right from its interface, and even download other users’ styles. Also try Code Cola for a similar experience.

Awesome Screenshot

Ever been through the nightmare that is capturing a full webpage? Or spent too much time fussing with the crop tool? Awesome Screenshot is an essential extension that lets you take screencaps of any size, edit them, record the page, and more.


ColorZilla is a simple but essential program for designers. The main feature is its color picker, which can grab a shade from any webpage and give you the RGB/Hex/etc code to paste into your program of choice.

Other nifty features include the color picker and editor, gradient generator, and palette viewer. This one is invaluable for those who need to grab colors off websites quickly.


It’s necessary to test your site on other browsers and devices to be sure there’s no errors or inconsistencies, but it would be easier if you only had to use a plugin. Browserling lets you do just that, saving the time of starting and loading a second browser.

Also try IETab, which allows you to emulate Internet Explorer with Silverlight, Java, and other plugins.


There’s nothing more annoying than seeing a beautiful font and having no clue what it is. Luckily, WhatFont identifies the font family, type size, and even if it’s being served by Typekit or Google API.

If you find a font you like, but aren’t sure if it will work on your website, try Google Font Previewer to see how it matches up before you make any changes.


Need to extract a bunch of images from a page? Gallerify is the way to go. Grab those background pictures, use it to search to find what you’re looking for, and download a few thousand images at once. No more hunting down individual images, or digging through CSS for the hidden elements.

Window Resizer

It’s imperative to ensure your website is responsive on mobile devices, especially if you run an online store. Many site building programs come with a responsive tester, but if you want faster results or don’t have access to these tools, try Window Resizer. It can test multiple screen resolutions, including smartphone and tablet.


It’s pretty frustrating when your website’s final result is just a tad off from the mockup. PerfectPixel lets you overlay an image over the screen while you’re editing, so you can make sure everything is just right.

Web Developer Checklist

Is your website the best it can be? Is it fast, clear of broken links, and secure? Before you unleash it to the world wide web, use Web Developer Checklist to be sure everything is covered.

Highly Highlighter

Need to mark an area to come back to later, or trying to do some research? Highly lets you save and share your highlights across the web, so no more forgetting where you were in that article. Also try Evernote Web Clipper for a similar function.

Check My Links

There’s nothing worse than having to go through a link-filled page carefully scanning for broken links. Use Check My Links to clearly highlight the problem redirects, so you can spend time fixing the errors instead of clicking between pages for an hour.

Page Ruler

When you need to know the distance between two elements, try Page Ruler. There are no frills in this extension, which is for the better. Simply pick a color and drag a box between what you want to measure. Note that some users have reported privacy issues with Page Ruler, so you can try the older version here, or an alternative like Ruler.


If you need a quick CSS debugger, try Pesticide for Chrome. It lets you see the location of the CSS elements on the page. Though very simple, you may find it useful for front-end development.

Data Saver

Being a designer on limited data can be a nightmare. All those images, downloads, and extensions can really add up! Data Saver seeks to optimize the sites you visit so you’ll use less of it. It also tells you which pages are using the most, so you can switch to a more data-friendly website. It’s no magic wand, but it’s better than nothing.

PHP Ninja Manual

Who doesn’t forget their coding every once in a while? Instead of wasting time refreshing your memory on Google, just open PHP Ninja Manual and type in what you’re looking for. Less time searching, more time programming.


If you’re like most freelance designers or developers, you know that it’s very easy to waste time. One minute you’re coding or designing, and the next, you’re watching cat videos on YouTube.

RescueTime won’t try to motivate you or fix your habits, but it will tell you the cold, hard facts about how much time you spend on Facebook instead of working.

Clear Cache

There are times you need to clear your cache and cookies, but navigating to Chrome settings is tedious. Clear Cache lets you erase your cache as well as global or local cookies at the click of a button.


As a designer, you may wish to make your pages colorblind-friendly, especially if it involves charts, data, and other media. Color deficiencies of all kinds are common enough to be worth attention, and if someone visits a site and sees a muddle of indistinguishable colors, they’ll quickly leave.

Spectrum lets you simulate a variety of color vision deficiencies, including the most common, deuteranopia.

An Extension For Every Problem

Ready to take your design and development one step further? These extensions can help you maximize efficiency and get back to the fun part of website creation.

Just be sure not to install too many, as they can slow Chrome down and clutter up the top bar. Pick a select few that benefit your job the most, and cut down on the slow work that plagues website development.


6 Women Designers You Need to Know About This International Women’s Day

March 8th is the ninety-ninth annual International Women’s Day. In celebration and respect, we’re showcasing 6 of graphic designs leading ladies. These designers come from different eras and have divergent styles, yet they all have one thing in common — their work has been highly influential in visual culture.

The post 19 Essential Chrome Extensions for Every Web Designer appeared first on Envato.

An Introduction to Voice UI and Why It’s a Big Deal https://envato.com/blog/an-introduction-to-voice-ui-and-why-its-a-big-deal/ Thu, 08 Mar 2018 03:06:10 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=67547 Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year or so, it would be hard not to notice the voice UI revolution that has taken place. This means that UX designers need to meet this shift head-on in order to satisfy growing demand.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, it would be hard not to notice the voice UI revolution that has taken place. Sure, we’ve had Siri and Cortana on our phones for years now; but, it’s only with the introduction of Alexa and Google Home that the Voice Assistant has truly taken off. This new way of interacting with technology opens up a whole world of conversation.

Especially as it, almost inevitably, means a shift in the approach to UX design. As mainstream consumers now have the ability to speak to their devices and receive an intelligent response, companies are eager to improve their interactions. Which means that UX designers need to meet this shift head-on in order to satisfy growing demand.

New Direction? Not Quite

Many people are calling voice UI a new direction in the road of UX design. But is it? 

Since the dawn of technology, humans have sought out ways to improve on the last model. The horse and cart became the car, the telephone became the mobile phone, and so on. Each time, humans have improved to make the technology faster, more efficient and better to use.

Voice is the exact same principle, speeding up a number of processes and making for more efficient use. It removes the steps of typing, accessing a phone or computer device and even being near technology for the most part. Allowing questions to be answered, shopping to be ordered and who knows what else as the technology develops.

For this reason, we can see that voice UI design will not be a complete revolution. Simply an evolution of what is already in place.

Implications for Designers

Words matter. It’s no longer simply about a product having a cohesive layout, attractive design and usability. Now, vocabulary and the way that people use words will be key to success as a UX designer. A fact which means ditching the old faithful of lorem ipsum and actually using words from the start of a project. 

Choice of words will now, more than ever, change the customer experience. After all, voice removes the visual guides that have driven customer perception until now. Meaning that voice UX designers are now fully relying on words and phrases to drive the customer experience; a difficult pursuit at the best of times!

So, a voice designer will have to accept a new level of their job description: copywriter.

User Intent

For voice interaction to truly work a standardised set of navigation commands need to be implemented. These will need to be intuitive, of course, as people are unlikely to remember a set of commands off by heart (nor are they likely to want to remember). To do this effectively voice designers need to understand user intent from the outset.

A user’s desired action is easy to determine in a visual context. The ‘delete’ button, for example, has obviously very different meanings when it comes to a Word Document as compared to Facebook. However, a voice command of ‘delete’ on these platforms, while valid for both, could have very different results. This means that interpreting user intent is vital.

One way to get around this is to think of the user interface as another person. In their 2005 book, Wired for Speech, Stanford researchers Clifford Nass and Scott Brave argue that users interact with voice activated devices in the same way that they would interact with another human, and this is a key part of the design process. “Because humans will respond socially to voice interfaces, designers can tap into the automatic and powerful responses elicited by all voices, whether of human or machine origin, to increase liking, trust, efficiency, learning, and even buying.”

When we interact with another human, we expect feedback or a response, and this becomes part of the design process. We want to know that we’ve been understood and we want to interact with something that understands the semantic nuances of language.


As UX designers, now is the time to adapt and develop new best practices. There are limitations to this new medium, as animation, image and sight have been stripped from the design process completely. Telling a user to ‘click here’ no longer has meaning. That is a big deal, as the clickable link is one of the fundamental ways that we encourage and enable customers to interact with content. What then, if anything, can replace this in voice design?

When designing responses, we have to think about the limits of the average person’s attention span. Responses need to be designed in a way that condenses the practical information into a manageable chunk. When we ask for directions to a shop close to us, we want to know every step of the process. But when asking for directions to another town, walking the user through every turn in the road isn’t going to be practical.

When asking for the best route to the next town, a summary of the direction and which major road you need to be on is going to be more practical. The ability to understand user intent is always going to be the biggest challenge faced by voice assistants.

One solution has come from Google itself. They have developed an app which allows for Google home to turn voice answers into a clickable link in the app. However, before we all start running to the nearest app developers for our own versions of this, we have to ask: is it practical?

Perhaps not in the long run. Consumers will expect a truly hands-free solution, eventually. So, this method of drawing them to the screen alongside voice search won’t last. At least, not as a long-term solution. So, what is the answer?

Truth be told, it hasn’t been discovered yet. And that is why voice design matters. As a voice designer, you get to be an innovator and play a role in shaping the new technology. In an industry overflowing with supposed ‘UX masters’ that is a unique position to be in, one which will push your client’s and your business to the next level.

Overall, to ensure successful voice design, simply keep your eyes closed and pay attention to your users’ needs. This is a search method which developed rapidly in 2017, showing no signs of stopping in 2018, and UX design still hasn’t quite got to grips with it yet. Voice is gearing up to be one of the leading technology innovations of this decade; so put yourself ahead of the game sooner, rather than later.


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6 Women Designers You Need to Know About This International Women’s Day https://envato.com/blog/6-women-designers-you-need-to-know-about/ Thu, 08 Mar 2018 00:09:33 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=67102 March 8th is the ninety-ninth annual International Women’s Day. In celebration and respect, we're showcasing 6 of graphic designs leading ladies. These designers come from different eras and have divergent styles, yet they all have one thing in common — their work has been highly influential in visual culture.

The post 6 Women Designers You Need to Know About This International Women’s Day appeared first on Envato.


March 8th is the ninety-ninth annual International Women’s Day. In celebration and respect, we’re showcasing 6 of graphic design’s leading ladies. These designers come from different eras and and have divergent styles, yet they all have one thing in common — their work has been highly influential on visual culture.

‘Work’ is the key word here. Unfortunately too often women designers and artists are judged on anything but what they produce. So, it seemed important to highlight women designers who were just simply damn good at what they do — graphic design.

Margo Chase

If you grew up in the 90s you may be familiar with Margo Chase’s iconic design work without even realizing it. Margo Chase designed the logo for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is an originator of the popular Gothic visual style, particularly in typography . Her ornate and enigmatic letterforms and graphic work for clients like Madonna, Prince and Crowded House were very influential in the late 80s and 90s in pushing the Goth style mainstream.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer logo via Fonts in Use

Bram Stoker’s Dracula logo

Madonna Like a Prayer logo

Crowded House album cover via Fonts in Use

Margo Chase was also a consummate professional and founder of the award-winning Chase Design Group with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and the UK. While at the Chase Design Group, she worked with notable brands like PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé and Campbell Soup Co.

Sadly, just last year, Margo Chase died in a plane crash. She was an accomplished aerobatic pilot and was practicing a sequence when the accident occurred.  In life as in design, Margo Chase was a courageous risk taker who enjoyed charting new territory.

Annie Atkins

via Adobe Web Profile

Any Wes Anderson fan knows a major reason one adores his movies are their over-the-top aesthetics. Well, the designer behind some of the most gorgeous visual elements in his films is Annie Atkins.

via Mr-Cup

Annie Atkins specializes in designing graphic props and set pieces for TV shows and feature films. She was tapped for the role of lead designer with a cold call from Anderson’s producer. They wanted her to work on one of Anderson’s films, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and the rest is history. The Grand Budapest Hotel went on to earn nine Oscar nominations and eleven BAFTA nods.

Atkins combines talent with a meticulous eye and a seriously respectable work ethic. As a designer, it’s clear she has a kind of reverence for the world of the past. Her respect translates visually as she explores the idiosyncrasies and detail of historical objects. In this way, she elevates vintage-style design to new heights.

As Atkins says in an Adobe web profile, “If it was made by hand at the time then I make it by hand now and if it was made by machine at the time then I can make it by machine now.”

via Mr-Cup

Via Mr-Cup

photo by Annie Atkins via Laughing Squid

Muriel Cooper

via designKULTUR

Muriel Cooper is a pioneering book designer, digital designer, researcher and educator who cultivated the modern and Bauhaus style in publishing. As long-time design director  for the MIT Press, she produced over 500 books in this style.

via AIGA

via AIGA

A Primer of Visual Literacy designed by Muriel Cooper via Design is Fine

Her logo for the MIT Press is simply one of best examples of reductive minimalist design. The mark is made of seven vertical bars that translate subtly and typographically as the letters ‘MITP’ (MIT Press).

MIT Press logo

In her late 40s she changed course and explored the burgeoning field of interactive media design. With designer Ron MacNeil, she founded the Visible Language Workshop which focused primarily on the relationship between language, technology and design —  through this work, she had great influence on the contemporary media landscape.

Messages and Means by Muriel Cooper

Cooper brought curiosity, intelligence and dynamism to her projects. Later, she co-founded the MIT Media Lab where groundbreaking work exploring new forms, methods and techniques for graphic design within the digital realm are still explored today.

Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger via Wide Walls

Before Andre the Giant has a Posse plastered the facades of New York City there was another artist making waves with bold high-contrast meme-ready graphic work.

Barbara Kruger blended a punk design aesthetic, 50s magazine imagery, blunt slogans and feminism to craft the perfectly evocative visual message.

“I shop, therefore I am.” “Your body is a battleground”…are phrases that will never be the same, now that Kruger has had her way with them.

I Shop, Therefore I Am by Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger came from a place of expertise when creating her conceptual messaging projects. She got her start in the trenches of the New York City magazine scene, working for publisher Condé Nast and Mademoiselle.

Kruger knew how to use graphic design to communicate an idea, she spoke the language of magazine and advertising culture. She used most publishing and exhibit methods to spread her message too. Her work can be found on billboards, bus cards, posters, train station platforms, public parks and many other public spaces.

Maybe she enjoyed making beautiful layouts at her day job, but the artist side of her wanted to say something more…something meaningful and even aggressive.

Most of Kruger’s work circles around topics of consumerism, female identity and desire. She presents her slogans in a modern sans serif with a powerful red background — in this graphic style the words appear 100% fact. The ripped up retro magazine imagery is chaotic and at the same time eye-grabbing. Kruger’s work is in-your-face and you just can’t look away.

Kruger’s work was so striking and its dissemination so complete that it became a powerful visual style that people liked and knew of without necessarily knowing who the original creator was.

Black and white cut up photography, sans serif Futura-style type and red is a thing now copied over and over. In recent years, Kruger had the most cringe-worthy yet enthralling interaction with skateboard company Supreme over their logo which is clearly ripped direct from the Kruger aesthetic.

It started when Supreme got in a graphic battle with an all girl clothing company who were biting their Kruger-inspired logo with a t-shirt that read “Supreme Bitch.” Supreme went after them with a $10 million lawsuit. The news of the lawsuit inspired a journalist from Complex to ask Kruger for a comment. Her response was perfect.

The 65+ year old Kruger replied with a blank email with a file attached called “fools.doc.” Kruger, always good with words, went on to write “What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers. I make my work about this kind of sadly foolish farce. I’m waiting for all of them to sue me for copyright infringement.”

Thankfully, no one sued Kruger and instead she went on to create a series of new projects inspired by the Supreme interaction like this installation at a Manhattan skatepark, a skateboard that says “Don’t Be a Jerk.”, and this cool hoodie.

Lucienne Day

Post World War II, the mid-century era was a time of growth and renewal. Modernism was taking hold and design was at the forefront of a whole host of industries. In the world of textile and pattern design. It’s hard to think of a designer more influential on the style of the times than Lucienne Day.

Lucienne Day was a prolific British designer who created original and expressive patterns with loose geometrics, roughened textures, line, brush and color. She was inspired by the English tradition of patterns made from plant forms and also influenced by modernist fine artists of the time like Paul Klee and Alexander Calder. She aimed to imbue her work with a fresh artistic sensibility and bring an element of excitement and unexpectedness to the world of pattern design.

Day also was an avid advocate for affordable design and worked via mass market channels versus being exclusionary with her designs.  As Day said, “”I wanted the work I was doing to be seen by people and used by people,” she said. “They had been starved of interesting things for their homes in the war years.”

The Lucienne Day aesthetic was so widely appealing that it became the template for much of 50s and early 60s pattern design. In fact it seems as if pattern designers today who are interested in designing with a ‘retro’ or ‘classic’ aesthetic are plainly trying to design like Lucienne Day.

Calyx by Lucienne Day via Collectif Textile

by Lucienne Day via Collectif Textile

Lucienne Day and her husband Robin Day

Lucienne Day is also known for her lifelong partnership with husband and furniture designer Robin Day. As a creative couple, they shared a studio yet worked on their own independent projects. Together they were an unstoppable force that shaped the post-war home design world. Lucienne Day,  for her prints and Robin Day for his innovative and economical furniture designs like the polypropylene stacking chair.

For seven decades, Robin and Lucienne Day contributed much to the world of design. In 2010, in their 90s, both passed away. More recently, their daughter created the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation and website, a wonderful resource to learn more about their work.

Louise Fili

from Louise Fili website

Louise Fili is the master craftswoman of elegant and timeless design.  Over her 40+ year career she has created an extraordinary catalog of over 2000 book covers and countless brand design projects. Fili has also received multiple medals from the Art Directors Club Hall, AIGA, Society of Illustrators and Type Directors Club.

Louise Fili book cover designs

Quality and authenticity are key ingredients of Louise Fili’s work and the reason her designs achieve such sustained success.

Ambessa via via Louise Fili website

The Mulino via Louise Fili website

Fili follows a tried and true process for developing new work. She starts as she always has with a sketch on paper and conjurs what she self-describes as a “typographic portrait.”

Fili values impeccable handmade type treatments and elements as a way to elevate a design and make it distinct. While art director at Pantheon Books, standard fonts were eschewed.

Louise Fili always loved design and gained much inspiration from trips to Italy as a young woman. The street signage and packaging of classic shops in Italy and Europe were her favorites. In recent years, Fili has created beautiful books inspired by European signage like Graphique de la Rue: Signs of Paris and Grafica della Strada.

via Louise Fili website

Fili got her start with a bit of luck. As a recent design grad, she went to famed typographer Herb Lubalin’s office and was hired on the spot. Someone had recently quit and they needed a designer to start immediately.

In the late 80s, Fili stepped out on her own and started her own company specializing in food packaging and restaurants. At the time, she wondered what to call her company and decided naming it after herself made the most sense. As she said, “I realized that it would be a liability to name the studio after myself, but I wanted to send a clear message: If you have a problem with my being female, then I have a problem with you as a client.” (via Ceros)

In the following years, Louise Fili’s studio was a major success and her design influence is visible across Manhattan and the boroughs. Restaurants like Claudette and Sarabeth are her clients as well as many food and beverage companies, hotels, retail stores and magazines.

via Louise Fili website

via Louise Fili website

via Louise Fili website

The post 6 Women Designers You Need to Know About This International Women’s Day appeared first on Envato.

What Is Google AMP for Email? https://envato.com/blog/what-is-google-amp-for-email/ Wed, 07 Mar 2018 03:42:29 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=66808 Google recently announced plans to launch AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for email which will allow for you to interact more with your email client. Here's what they're planning, and how it will change email.

The post What Is Google AMP for Email? appeared first on Envato.


Email is about to become more useful and interactive – or even more annoying and distracting, depending on how you look at it – thanks to Google’s new AMP for Email project.

Essentially, the search giant is seeking to save people who get lost in the rabbit hole that is their smartphone. You know when you’re reading something on your phone and after clicking around for a few minutes you think to yourself, “what app am I in again?” And then it turns out you’re not actually reading that article in Safari – you’re in Facebook.

AMP for Email aims to keep you in your email rather than shuffling you off to a browser. For example, when you get an email from Pinterest, instead of sending you to the Pinterest app or some in-app browser when you click a link, an AMP-powered email will let you use Pinterest inside your email.

Making emails fully interactive is a BFD. AMP for Email is set to introduce changes to email that will impact anyone who designs, develops, markets, or just generally works with email.

But not everyone is convinced we need this. TechCrunch says it’s a terrible idea “borne out of competitive pressure and existing leverage rather than user needs.” Ouch.

To help you make your own mind up, this article will cover some of the key information you need to know about working with the new AMP for Email spec, its potential for modernizing email, and possible use cases for designers, marketers and content creators.

What is AMP?

Let’s start with the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project. It’s an open source framework that, according to Google, “provides a straightforward way to create web pages that are compelling, smooth, and load near instantaneously for users.”

Basically, AMP pages are stripped back versions of web pages that let users interact and read articles without having to wait. How do they achieve this? A key feature of AMP is the removal of JavaScript, which can slow down the rendering of pages. Instead,  lightweight AMP libraries deliver common functionality like carousels and lightboxes.

It’s worth noting that many news organizations and publishers have adopted AMP because Google promised better mobile search placement.

What is AMP for Email?

Now that you know what AMP is, you can probably imagine how AMP for Email might work. Essentially, it brings the power of AMP into email and, like AMP, offers JavaScript-like functionality for creating dynamic emails without actually using JavaScript. This is particularly useful since all email clients block Javascript by default – AMP offers a limited alternative to JavaScript without having to use arbitrary code in email.

The AMP for Email spec is proposing to do all this by allowing email publishers to embed AMP directly in a message body as a new MIME part – text-x-amphtml – which would be rendered by email clients (with a fallback to non-AMP content). The proposed name for this particular project is “AMPHTML Email.”

It’s safe to say, this project is going to shake up the email marketing space, which has wrestled with poor HTML standards support in many email clients (including Gmail and especially Outlook) for years as the rest of the web has embraced modern and interactive standards. While Gmail introduced better support for CSS in 2016, developing emails in 2018 still requires outdated tables and hacking code.

So what does AMP for Email look like on the front-end? Imagine you get an email from Pinterest and you want to save a pin you see in your email to your actual Pinterest account. AMP for Email lets you do just that.

Pretty convenient right?

Gmail Project Manager Aakash Sahney, says the new spec will be a powerful way for developers to create “more engaging, interactive, and actionable email experiences.”

While the AMP for Email spec is available now, it won’t be supported in Gmail until later in the year. Developers can sign up for early preview access.

Why AMP for Email Has So Much Potential

Over 270 billion emails are sent around the world every day, the majority of which are opened on mobile devices. Interestingly, how we interact with and consume content online has changed dramatically, but email hasn’t really changed at all. Email is still static. Since they’re built with HTML, there are a lot of limitations around what developers can do with them.

AMP for Email aims to completely modernize email, providing fully interactive content that is updated in real-time.

At AMP Conf 2018, Google previewed how AMP for Email will revolutionize email:

1. Quickly take action

Whether you’ve received a party invitation, appointment reminder or survey, you’ll be able to RSVP, confirm your appointment, or quickly fill out the survey right from within your email.

2. Browse and interact with content

Say you’re looking for a new rental property, you’ll be able to browse listings, swipe photos and save properties you like without leaving your email.

3. Information is always up-to-date

For me, this is the most exciting aspect of AMP for email! Information can be updated in real-time so emails never get stale and the content is accurate whenever you open your email. So whether you’ve received an email about flights, events, news or purchases, you’ll see the latest information right in your inbox.

Pros and Cons of AMP for Email

This project hasn’t come without controversy. The feeling among many observers is that it gives Google even more power and influence over the web experience. This is despite the fact the original AMP technology, which has helped speed up mobile sites, has been widely adopted.

As TechCrunch writer Devin Coldewey writes in his rather scathing analysis, “AMP is, to begin with, Google exerting its market power to extend its control over others’ content. ”

“Why do this? Are we running out of tabs? Were people complaining that clicking “yes” on an RSVP email took them to the invitation site? Were they asking to have a video chat window open inside the email with the link? No. No one cares. No one is being inconvenienced by this aspect of email (inbox overload is a different problem), and no one will gain anything by changing it,” Coldewey writes.

The reaction from email development expert Justin Khoo, who founded FreshInbox, is measured in comparison. While he says he says certain aspects make sense (speeding up email on mobile) and others don’t make sense (eliminating the tag and inline CSS styling), the overall approach is still “overkill.”

“I’d rather Google just sprinkle AMP support within regular HTML and use progressive enhancement capabilities already adopted in interactive email to enable interactive AMP features within Gmail. This way out of the gate, AMP for Email would be accessible to everyone,” Khoo writes.

Khoo lists a number of drawbacks of AMP for Email, including having to package content in a new MIME part, forcing developers to learn a new language, ditching existing email development practices, and strict validation. Check out his original post for his detailed analysis of the new spec.


If you’re an email developer, I encourage you to check out the AMP and Email spec and start getting your head around it before Gmail starts supporting it later in the year.

What I find incredibly exciting about this new spec is the potential for emails in real-time – opening an email and reading up-to-date news and current affairs, being able to immediately confirm salon appointments, and getting live updates whenever I’m flying somewhere. AMP for Email has so much potential to change how we interact with not just email, but speed up how we consume content, communicate with people in everyday life, and generally do email.

But this new technology will only be successful if third parties adopt it and develop it. Otherwise, AMP for Email will flop. Google is campaigning for other clients to support it. For now, we’ll have to wait and see how developers take to it and hopefully early next year we’ll see some really cool implementations of it in our Gmail accounts.

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7 Best HTML Website Templates for Creative Portfolios https://envato.com/blog/7-best-html-website-templates-for-creative-portfolios/ Thu, 01 Mar 2018 03:42:31 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=66332 You put your heart and soul into your creative work. Make sure the same amount of effort and detail goes into crafting the perfect website for showcasing who you are as a creative professional. These 7 HTML website templates for creative portfolios are the building blocks to developing a website you can be proud of.

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In the gig economy of today, marketing yourself as a freelance writer, designer, photographer, or any other sort of creative is not only vital for success, but necessary for securing consistent work.

Unlike days gone by, when agencies would host meetings and produce samples through more tangible mediums and presentations, the digital world allows for greater flexibility. In fact, you can virtually engage with a prospective client and produce proposals without ever having to meet in person.

Individuals can now self-publish and share samples of their work online through self-created websites. These one-stop shops are perfect for boasting experience, displaying finished pieces, and showcasing personality to potential hiring managers. And through WordPress, creating an online portfolio is now easier than ever with easily customizable functionality, themes, and templates made available for use.

Website Template vs. Website Theme

Before deciding upon your website’s appearance, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with relevant terminology. One area of confusion for most is the idea of a website template versus a website theme.

A WordPress theme encompasses a website’s complete front-end design. This means it encompasses all of the files that are associated with the website’s graphical design, such as colors, fonts, headers, footers, and sidebars. Changing the theme of a WordPress site will modify the way the site is displayed but it won’t change the underlying core programming of WordPress itself.

While some people will refer to a website’s design as its ‘template’. According to WordPress, the template is a single file that dictates an area of a web page generated by the theme. In this sense, templates are essentially building blocks that make up the web page as a whole. Typically then, you’ll see a template for the content of a website, sidebars, the header of a web page, and so on.

Best HTML Website Templates for Creative Portfolios

When building out a website for your creative portfolio, you want the end result to be a reflection of you and the work you’re most passionate about. This is why putting in the time to research the ins and outs of available templates is especially important.

Here are 7 of the best HTML templates for creative portfolios to consider:

Patti is a versatile template perfect for web agencies, digital studios, freelancers, and photographers, the Patti template is clean, modern, and minimalist in design. It is offered with five different layouts to correspond with whatever your portfolio project needs may be. Customer reviews applaud the outstanding customer support, design, and code quality.

Additional features include:

  • 100% responsive and mobile-ready
  • Parallax background effects
  • Slider Revolution and Visual Composer included

The Foundry template is both versatile and high-performing as an HTML portfolio template. Featuring clean and responsive design with well-designed code, it’s perfect for building both multi-page and one-page sites. Don’t take our word for it though—over 9,000 users have purchased the theme and rated it 5 stars for design quality.

Additional features include:

  • 100+ fully responsive HTML template files
  • 20+ niche concept home pages
  • 95+ blocks in Variant Page Builder
  • Light and dark skins
  • Over 1000 icons
  • Social integration
  • Page notifications enabled in latest version

Massive is a Bootstrap-based, multipurpose theme, powered by Gulp and SCSS. It serves as the perfect choice for creating multiple sites around corporate needs, creative design, photography, agencies, and more.

Included with the template:

  • 285+ pages
  • 60+ demos
  • 85+ portfolio
  • 70 layered PSD and 27 PSD mockups
  • Retina ready
  • 150+ shortcodes

Air is a lightweight and minimalist portfolio layout suited for agency, photography, freelance functions, and more. It is also compatible with Bootstrap 3.x and provides an unlimited number of listing layout options around type, columns, and spacing.

Other key features include:

  • Fully responsive
  • Retina-ready
  • 600+ Google fonts
  • Optimized for SEO

With over 150 unique blocks in Variant Page Builder and 110 pre-built pages, Pillar is a reusable and multipurpose template that allows for the building of all sorts of variations. It includes over 160 sections for multi-page or one-page static HTML websites and landing pages and offers 20 uniquely designed and styled home page options.

Additionally features:

  • 100+ fully responsive HTML template files
  • 2000+ icons to choose from including the premium Icons Mind icon kit ($59 value)
  • Multi-column “mega-menu” and double-level drop-down menus
  • Social integration
  • Google API-integrated

Awesome Ideas is a clean multi-page and multipurpose template that is perfect for professionals, businesses, freelancers, designers, developers, illustrators, photographers, and creative agencies alike. The template includes a shop page feature, as well as pages for service detail, portfolio detail, and team details.

In addition, this creative portfolio template features:

  • Fully responsive design
  • 8 creative slides
  • SEO supported
  • Built with Gulp, NPM, and Yeoman
  • Clean code
  • Customer support included

If you’re an artist, creative, and/or designer, Impacto is the perfect portfolio option for you! This template includes a sidebar for easier navigation, which sets itself apart from its other one-page site counterparts.

It also boasts a number of desirable features, including:

  • Retina-ready, perfect for those high-quality work displays
  • Parallax background
  • Multiple portfolio layouts
  • 2 home page layouts
  • 3 types of portfolio pages
  • 2 types of portfolio single pages
  • Cross-browser compatible

7 Best HTML Website Templates for Creative Portfolios

You put your heart and soul into your creative work. Make sure the same amount of effort and detail goes into crafting the perfect website for showcasing who you are as a creative professional.

These 7 HTML website templates for creative portfolios are the building blocks to developing a website you can be proud of.

Which HTML website templates would you add to our list of recommendations? Tweet @Envato and we’ll share our favorites!


The post 7 Best HTML Website Templates for Creative Portfolios appeared first on Envato.

Top WordPress Themes and Plugins for Hotels, Travel, and Accommodation Websites https://envato.com/blog/best-wordpress-themes-and-plugins-for-hotels-travel-and-accommodation-websites/ Thu, 01 Mar 2018 02:39:56 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=66309 Developing not just a website, but a website built with your specific travel and hospitality business in mind is key to driving success. Streamlining and automated booking processes that cater to customer needs will aid your efforts. This list aims to help you get these things right.

The post Top WordPress Themes and Plugins for Hotels, Travel, and Accommodation Websites appeared first on Envato.


While it may still take 14+ hours for someone to fly from New York City to Japan, the world has certainly gotten smaller when considering how quickly you can actually plan and book the trip itself. From the flight to your accommodations, tours to days at a spa, the Internet has made the hospitality industry that much more hospitable as it relates to convenience.

If you’re starting a business in the travel and hospitality industry—or have one that has yet to flourish—a website will be the key player in managing hotel and travel bookings, as well as guest expectations. In addition, your website can be utilized as a tool for attracting future potential clients if optimized accordingly.

Best of all, you don’t need to be a professionally trained, have website development skills, or a ton of money to build a site you can be proud of. Thanks to the functionality offered by WordPress, there are many themes and plugins to put to work that were designed specifically for the hospitality industry.

Let’s discuss what will be needed to get your website off the ground, as well as nine of the best WordPress themes and plugins for hotels, travel and accommodation websites.

Building a Hotel, Travel and Accommodation Website

Before your hotel, travel, and/or accommodation website can be launched, you’ll need to decide upon a few basic things:

Platform: Whether hosted by a third party or self-hosted, there are so many platforms to build your website upon. Generally however, WordPress is the best when it comes to self-hosting services, since it’s easy to use and customizable.

Hosting: If opting for a self-hosted site, you will need to choose a web host for storing all of your website data and files online. Once you have one in mind, you can install the WordPress CMS, which is free to download.

Domain name: This is the address users need to access your website. Some web hosts provide one for free with a new hosting plan.

Themes: The theme of your website is a collection of files that provide your WordPress site with a cohesive appearance and design. You can choose to change the theme without ever having to alter the files themselves or your site’s core code. A large selection of free and paid themes exist to for plugging in to your WordPress site; many of them specifically geared towards the hospitality industry.

Plugins: Another unique characteristic of the WordPress platform are its plugins. Plugins activate different functionality aspects of your website and are part of the reason why WordPress succeeds at being so customizable.

Best Themes for Hotels, Travel, and Accommodation Websites

The customer experience had on your website is very much dependent upon the quality of the design and workflow. When choosing a theme, remain conscious of customer use cases as they relate to your hotel, travel, and/or accommodation business.

Exploore is a theme that was specifically designed for use by those in the hospitality industry. It offers four main modules for tour, hotel, car, and cruise, which can each be adapted based on whatever functionality you might need.

The Exploore theme offers extended functionality with additional features. Some of these features include:

  • Powered by WooCommerce
  • Strong mega menu
  • Custom shortcode and icons
  • Multiple post types
  • The Drag & Drop Page Builder Visual Composer, the best-selling Slider Revolution, and the Premium PSD Pack

Designed for the more modern in hotels and resorts, the Hotel Calluna theme has an integrated booking calendar and reservation form. It also allows for custom post types for adding room specifics, events, and timely offers to your website. The customer support provided in conjunction with this theme is another major draw for website-builders.

Additional features include:

  • 100% responsive
  • Booking Engine by WP Hotelier allows you to manage rooms and reservations seamlessly
  • Multiple payments supported (Paypal and credit cards via Stripe)
  • Sales and seasonal prices
  • Comes with Master Slider and Visual Composer
  • Multi-language support (WPML ready)
  • Google Maps and Contact Form 7 integration

With over 14,000 customers and a 5-star rating, Bellevue is undoubtedly one of the most popular themes for hotels and bed & breakfast locations. Along with many of the other features found in previously mentioned themes, Bellevue incorporates a powerful form builder for providing email notifications, developing autoresponders, and anti-spam automation.

Also included:

  • Live drag and drop builder, and theme customizer
  • 7 premade demos, 40+ widgets, and 25+ page templates
  • A custom version of the WP Booking plugin ($34 value) and Master Slider ($24)
  • Fully compatible with WooCommerce and WPML support is included

Traveler is one of the most saleable and popular travel themes for WordPress. The theme is most applicable to travel management and affiliate booking systems, such as travel agencies, tour operators, car hire companies, even vacation rental booking sites like Airbnb.

With this theme, you can create websites like agoda.com, booking.com and viator.com. It supports membership functions that allow a site owner to create packages for promotion by affiliates or resellers.

Additional features include:

  • 100% responsive layout
  • Multiple payment options (Paypal Integrated)
  • Dashboard reports and statistics
  • Social login, wishlist, discount codes
  • Supports affiliate programming by skyscanner.com and travelpayouts.com

One of the newer travel themes on the market. Grand Tour was built by one of our power elite authors and is best for those who need to constantly update their website and don’t want to spend excessively on resources to do so. The theme provides over 300 options to use for customizing your site, as well as the ability to preview changes made in real time.

Other features include:

  • 20+ design templates designed for driving conversions
  • Detailed tour information and metrics on which tours are driving the most views
  • Various booking and payment options, as well as coupon code functionality
  • Advanced search capabilities
  • Tour reviews
  • White label theme admin
  • Free premium plugins (valued at $97): Booked, Revolution Slider and iLightbox

Best Plugins for Hotels, Travel, and Accommodation Websites

Whether by region, country, or continent, this WordPress plugin allows you to create different kinds of interactive maps.

As it relates to hotel, travel, and/or accommodation websites, this type of functionality might be useful in the advertising of multi-country tours so as to show which locations are highlighted for a specific tour.

You can even customize the map with icons based on the types of tours you offer (i.e. food, historical, bars, etc.).

Best WordPress Themes and Plugins for Hotels, Travel, and Accommodation Websites

Developing not just a website, but a website built with your specific travel and hospitality business in mind, is key in driving success. Streamline and automated booking processes that cater to customer needs will aid your efforts both in the present and future.

Make the most of your resources effectively and efficiently with easy-to-use WordPress themes and plugins—then watch those reservation requests pour in!

What would you add to our list of the best WordPress themes and plugins for hotels, travel, and accommodation websites? Tweet at @Envato and we’ll share the best responses!


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