Popular Design News of the Week: May 20, 2019 – May 26, 2019

Popular Design News of the Week: May 20, 2019 – May 26, 2019

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.


I Charged $18,000 for a Static HTML Page


A New Look for Google Search


Landing Page Inspiration


Designing for Code and Coding for Design


CSS Can do That?


Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Web Development


Animation Handbook


Normalize CSS or CSS Reset?!


3 Reasons Why as a Digital Agency We Switched from Sketch to Figma


My Git Workflow


Meet the All-new Typography.com


BT Unveils New Logo After 3 Years of Work


Front-End Documentation, Style Guides and the Rise of MDX


The Browser Can Remember Edited Content


How to Get into Design Leadership


IFTTT Adds 13 New Services to its Catalog, but Removes 31 Others


Augmented Reality for Art


Random Colors


A Collection of Dev Checklists


An Ultimate Guide to Designing User-friendly Forms


Unraveling the JPEG


Talk: The Faker You Are, the More Successful You Can Be!


Microsoft’s Edge for Mac Browser Now Available in Preview


Watch Out for these Phrases Designed to Trap Freelancers


HTML Emails 101 for Web Developers


Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.

The Top SEO Plugins for WordPress in 2019

The Top SEO Plugins for WordPress in 2019

For websites running on WordPress, there’s a myriad of plugins that can ramp up their SEO ranking and enhance organic traffic. But with more than 50,000 WordPress plugins available in the official directory, it becomes quite daunting to choose the most suitable plugin for managing your SEO.

Today, we‘re going to look at the top three plugin options, and explain why they’re essential to boosting your SERPs.


1. Yoast SEO

One of the most popular WordPress plugins is Yoast SEO. It has gained immense popularity owing to its huge range of features that allow the user to optimize their site for both search engine bots and humans as well.

Yoast SEO is so popular because it is easy to use, and gives you control over the optimization and readability of your content. As a result, you don’t have to write for Google, or any other search engine, you can just write for humans and still end up with content that ranks better.

Yoast SEO’s main features include:

  • Submit an XML sitemap to help Google and Bing index your site;
  • Set the focus keyword for your content;
  • Edit the snippet of text that is displayed on search results alongside your title;
  • Shows you how to optimize your site by providing suggestions;
  • Adds canonical tags to ensure there’s no duplication of content;
  • Allows you to control breadcrumbs on your site;
  • Allows multiple focus keywords;
  • Monitor the number of inbound and outbound links;
  • Integration with the Google Search Console;
  • A readability score to help you improve your content.

There is also a premium version of Yoast, predictably named Yoast SEO Premium, available for $89 per month. It’s expensive, but includes features that benefit video SEO and WooCommerce SEO, so if you’re running a profitable ecommerce business it’s worth considering.


2. Google XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap helps search engines index your website, by listing the URLs of all of your content, as well as their likelihood to need indexing. Google XML Sitemap generates this important file for you.

The main benefit of Google XML Sitemap is that you can update your file regularly, which is important if you have lots of fresh content to add frequently. It also ensures that you don’t make any mistakes, which could damage your ranking.

Google XML Sitemap has been around for almost a decade, and is one of the most widely installed plugins. Once installed, it can take care of all of the work for you. It’s recommended that you use XML Sitemap as soon as you start publishing with WordPress. (You’ll need to use the Google Search Console to submit the URL of the sitemap itself.)


3. W3 Total Cache

An important aspect for every marketer is website speed. The reason being that a slow website, leads to a high abandon rate. With dwindling attention spans, users simply won’t tolerate a slow site. Ultimately a high abandon rate means a downgrading of your search engine ranking, so it’s vital you keep your site fast.

W3 Total Cache Plugin allows a website to scale, and avoids crashes even when there’s a massive influx of traffic. It enhances both user experience, and SEO by reducing download time and improving performance with the help of a CDN (content delivery network).

For a marketer or business owner hoping to build organic traffic, this plugin is essential. Leading web hosts such as Page.ly, Synthesis, Dream Host, Media Temple, GoDaddy, and Hostgator recommend W3 Total Cache.

The main features of W3 Total Cache are:

  • A 10x improvement in overall website performance (tested with Google Page Speed and WebPagetest);
  • Repeat pages views instantly thanks to caching;
  • Pages render faster;
  • Visitors spend more time on your site;
  • The server performs better, especially at times of high-traffic;
  • Approximately an 80% reduction in bandwidth through minification of resources;
  • Compatibility with shared hosting, virtual private servers, and dedicated servers;
  • Transparent CDN management;
  • Support for Accelerated Mobile Pages;
  • SSL compatibility;
  • Option to use cache-control for browser caching, future expire headers, and entity tags;
  • Access to caching statistics to provide insight into website performance.

There is also a pro version of W3 Total Cache, offering a fragment caching module, exclusive extensions, and full site CDN mirroring. It is expensive at $99 per year, but worthwhile if that is within your budget.


Bonus Tips to Enhance Search Engine Ranking

For novice marketers, the All-in-One SEO Pack lets you optimize WordPress sites for search engines without any additional effort. It generates meta tags and optimizes titles automatically. Those just starting out can simply focus on content and let this plugin take care of the rest.

Images make content much more attractive. SEO Optimized Images is a great plugin that dynamically adds search engine-friendly alt and title attributes to any images you add. This in turn will benefit your search ranking and lead to more visitors.

Simple URLs allows you to manage all the links on your website by using custom post types and 301 redirects, tracking outbound links from your site.

Broken links will damage your ranking. The Broken Link Checker runs through all of your posts, comments, and other content and notifies you of any dead or broken link. You can then edit the links from the plugin’s page instead of updating ever post manually.


Wrapping Up

Whether you’re a newbie or an expert, these simple to use plugins can be invaluable in driving organic traffic to your site. Avoid adding too many plugins, which will slow down your site, and stick to these tried and tested solutions to take care of the vast majority of your needs.


Featured image via DepositPhotos.

It’s Time to Talk About Testimonials

It’s Time to Talk About Testimonials

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the best ways to get new business — and high-quality business at that. But unless you’re focused on a very small space where everyone knows each other, it can be hard to get your clients to refer you to others on their own.

That’s why you need to be willing to ask clients for testimonials and online reviews.

Look, consumers are smart. They know that anyone can build a website for their business and claim that they’re the best in their space. “We build websites that get you results” isn’t going to mean anything to prospective clients unless you have proof of those results.

That’s where client testimonials and reviews come into play. You’re going to let the words of former clients and proof of their satisfaction and results speak on your behalf.


How to Ask Clients for Testimonials and Reviews

As a web designer, it would greatly benefit you to collect as many client testimonials as you can for your website. And, beyond that, to start encouraging clients to leave positive reviews for you on Google.

Think about it like this:

consumers need to read about 10 online reviews before they can trust a business

Prospective clients are taking a big risk when they hire a designer to build their website. If they don’t know you, have never heard of your business, and don’t know anyone who’s used your services, how can they trust that you’ll design a great website for them?

Bright Local conducted a Local Consumer Review Survey a couple years back and found that consumers need to read about 10 online reviews before they can trust a business.

That’s because client reviews and testimonials are valuable. They give prospective clients a sense for what it’s like to work with you and what they can realistically expect to get out of the relationship.

For example, you can see here the level of detail included in this testimonial for BA Creative:

BA Creative Testimonials

Then, you have to think about what happens when reviews come into a channel like Google and are assigned a star rating. That could be really great for standing out in search results amongst the competition. For instance, here is a search I did for “web designer London”:

Google Reviews - Web Designer

Above the organic search results is this map snippet that highlights the most popular and well-reviewed results that match the search. Imagine what that would do for your business’s visibility.

That said, you can’t just expect former clients to start shouting to anyone who will listen: “This designer was amazing to work with and, thanks to the website he/she built for me, I now make 25% more in sales every month!”

It’s just not going to happen that way. You’re going to have to ask them for testimonials and reviews.

Here’s what you can do:


1. Create a Google My Business Page

According to the Bright Local survey, 86% of consumers are actively looking for and reading reviews for local businesses. So, if you have a physical address or P.O. box you’re comfortable associating with your business, you should create a Google My Business page. It’s completely free and takes no more than a few minutes to set up your business profile.

This is the only way your business listing will show up in Google search results, like this one for Ted Angel Design:

Ted Angel Design

It’s also how you get your listing to show up in Maps results:

Web Designer Sacramento Search

If you don’t have an address you can work with, Google won’t be an option. However, you can set yourself up with a Facebook page as Ted Angel has (Yelp will only work with an address, too):

Ted Angel - Facebook and Yelp

Google loves to see positive customer reviews on platforms like these, so anything you can do to collect those reviews and get good star ratings will help you in search results.

Just make sure to monitor the reviews and respond to them, too. 89% of consumers surveyed by Bright Local said that they not only read reviews, but they look at the businesses’ responses to them, too.


2. Send an Offboarding Survey

In your client offboarding process, you should have a step where you follow up 30 to 60 days after the project ends. Why not put a link to a questionnaire in that email, asking them for feedback on the experience?

By putting it out there like that, you’re not pressuring them to say something good about you on the spot. Instead, you’re giving them a valid reason to share their positive sentiments. And, if they don’t, consider this a great opportunity to collect criticisms and improve your business.

Now, if you’re not comfortable combing through their response and asking if you can use their statement as a testimonial, that’s okay. Instead, make the last slide of the questionnaire say something like:

“It was an absolute pleasure working with you and I’m glad I had a hand in helping you create the perfect website for your business. If you were happy with the experience, I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d leave a review on my Google page so other business owners like yourself can find my services when they need them!”

Stay positive, don’t sound desperate, and leave it up to them to take action.


3. Add a Link in Your Email Signature

Chances are good that the bulk of your communication with clients is through email. So, why not put something in your email signature about leaving a review?

Email Signature

Your email signature is always a good place to leave small notes, reminding prospects and clients of things they should check out or next steps they should take. An invitation to leave a review would fit right in.


4. Write a Testimonial for Them

In the past, I would ask clients at the end of a job if they’d be comfortable writing a testimonial that I could share with prospective clients. However, I found that most of them were reluctant to do so — not because they secretly hated my work, but because they were too busy to do so. What was nice, though, was that many of those clients asked me to just write it for them. That’s when I decided to change my approach.

These days, when I conduct offboarding calls and final training with clients, I listen closely to what they say. If they are really happy with the experience and what they got in the end, they’re bound to say something about it to me. Or they’ll email me later on, with their thanks and kind words.

If they do, I jot it down on a notepad. Then, I turn the quote into a testimonial and email it to them later in the day:

“I’m so happy to hear how well the project worked out for you. I was wondering if you’d let me publish a testimonial from you with a link back to your website? It would really help me get more clients like yourself!

I know you’re busy, so I took the time to write this up from our call/email earlier:

[Include testimonial here.]

If you’re happy with it, please let me know. Feel free to tweak it if you have something else to say!”

If you know that they were happy with the website you built and you’ve taken the time to summarize their thoughts into a concise testimonial so they don’t have to, why wouldn’t they say “yes”? Plus, they’ll get a free backlink to their new website, which is a fantastic bonus.



Don’t forget to make sure that the rest of your website is prepared to sell on your behalf. By publishing an impressive portfolio and sharing other trust marks from your clientele (past and present), you can more easily and quickly convince prospects to work with you over the competition.


Featured image via Unsplash.

6 Popular Page Builders for WordPress in 2019

6 Popular Page Builders for WordPress in 2019

WordPress is without a doubt one of the easiest and yet most customizable site-building platforms available. It brings the difficulty of creating a website down for beginners, while also not chaining down expert designers and developers.

But what if you want to customize your website with your own special touch? Making a theme isn’t exactly easy. Thanks to WordPress page builders, anyone can easily customize their website with tons of design options and functionality.

Both individuals creating a personal site and new designers breaking into WordPress site building should try out these six great page builders.


Built by designers for designers, Semplice is a feature-rich portfolio page builder optimized for the needs of professional artists. Everyone from agencies down to individual designers can use this platform; the Single, Studio, and Business plans are priced just right. And you only need to pay once!

Semplace uses a dynamic layout builder rather than sticking you with repetitive templates. Drag and drop to create your responsive website, use the blocks feature on Studio+ plans, and create stunning full screen designs for your work.

If you need a designer-focused tool, Semplice is the way to go.


With two million users, Elementor is one of the most popular page builders, and you can see why. Built just for professionals, Elementor offers a simple yet powerful page builder that integrates seamlessly with almost any theme.

With 80+ design elements from simple image widgets to buttons and forms, everything you need is there. You can also use it for free! But pay a per-year fee for the advanced plans, and you’ll get more widgets, WooCommerce integration, and a theme builder just for designers.

Divi Builder

Do you feel overwhelmed with most page builders? Divi is made for simplicity. It’s super easy to learn its drag-and-drop system. But as you grow, you’ll find that this builder is more powerful than it seems.

46 content modules let you easily insert sliders, menus, forms, portfolios, and other helpful widgets. Pay per-year or a one-time fee; no crucial features locked behind pricey paywalls. And designers can use Elegant Themes and Divi to build client websites!

Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder was made for both users and professionals, with some special features for WordPress designers. The front-end editor is easy to use and allows you to build column-based pages or position elements with precision.

Editor Mode allows designers to give their clients the freedom of editing their site, while removing features that might allow them to break it. Beaver Builder is simple enough for clients to learn, too!

The builder uses three plans on per-year pricing, but later plans only unlocks features useful for companies like white labeling, multisite, and a framework theme.

Visual Composer

Fast, easy to learn, and straightforward to use, Visual Composer offers a page builder that absolutely anyone can try. Templates, blocks, and elements are essential to its design. Start with a template, insert smaller template blocks, and use elements to enhance your design. Premium users can download more!

And developers will love Visual Composer. Extend it with the API, or create your own custom templates and elements!

SiteOrigin Page Builder

If you need a free page builder without any features behind a paywall, SiteOrigin is the way to go. The builder is simple, but it has everything you need. Fast and efficient code means no drain on your website speed, and the live editor is very easy to use, even for beginners.

The extra widgets mean you can still spice things up with elements like calendars, buttons, comments, sliders, and more to your website. SiteOrigin may not come with all the fancy bells and whistles that a $200 page builder would, but it gets the job done and it does it well.

Create Beautiful WordPress Sites

With WordPress such a popular platform, there are always new competitors arising for plugins, themes – and page builders. These are some of the most popular ones so far in 2019, and that popularity clearly exists for a reason. Try one of these builders and you won’t be disappointed.

40 Best Modern Fonts Picked by Professional Designers

40 Best Modern Fonts Picked by Professional Designers

Finding a modern font is not always an easy job. Simply googling “modern fonts” doesn’t mean you will be given a font that meets your expectations. Why? Because fonts, like fashion, go through a rotating process. That means that many times vintage fonts are seen as modern fonts, and recently created fonts will eventually lose their flair. There are some fonts, though, that seem to never die. Professional designers use them on a daily basis and that says a lot. Some of the modern fonts listed below are edgy, sleek, minimalist, and some are classy and versatile. They all have a strong personality, so pay close attention when choosing any of the following fonts for your projects.

We divided the fonts into two big categories: Serif Fonts and Sans Serif Fonts. Within these two categories, you will find two subcategories which are: clean fonts and script fonts. All fonts have been chosen by WDL’s professional designers. We hope that you will enjoy the list below just as much as we do.

40 Best Free Modern Fonts Picked by Professional Designers

Modern Serif Fonts

Clean Modern Fonts

1. Farewell Pro Space Editione

serif modern font

Although it’s not a totally clean font, we loved the originality every letter brings to the table. Perfect for any science-oriented company.

2. Stoked

serif modern font

Stoked is for enthusiast designers only. Such a versatile font can be used in many projects.

3. Decurion

serif modern font

Decurion has a sporty vibe. I think that I’ve seen the word “VIBE” written on a T-shirt using this font. Do you know what I mean?

4. Brassie

serif modern font

Brassie is an urban font, very versatile and with a great effect.

5. Vogue Font

serif modern font

One of the most notorious serif font out there, Vogue will always be a modern, fashionable font.

6. Classy Luxury

serif modern font

The font’s name says it all. Perfect on luxury jewelry packaging, but not only.

7. Ultimus

serif modern font

Ultimus is a complex and closely studied font that guarantees a great impact if used in the right project.

8. Calgary

serif modern font

Calgary is indeed an essential serif. The clean, thin font by Jen Wagner can be easily included in various projects.


serif modern font

Luxury can be expressed through simplicity the best. Coldiac may seem like a simple font, but the serif details give it a grandeur aspect.

10. Typewriter

serif modern font

Any typewriter font, be it thin or bold, is an essential part of any designer’s toolkit. Give your work an old-school touch with this amazing font.

Script Modern Fonts

11. Kaylar

Script Modern Font

Kaylar is a new font that is a little bit too precise to be a script font and a little bit too fancy to not be a script font. But we gotta admit, it can be a pretty sweet addition to any packaging.

12. Money Penny

Script Modern Font

This amazing font stands out in the crowd for two reasons: amazing calligraphy and such modern colors.

Script Modern Font

Many times, quality fonts feature amazing textures. Rustic Gold expresses a rich personality for this very reason.

14. Elise Dafisa

Script Modern Font

Elise Dafisa’s typography was always my goal when trying cursive handwriting. I have to admit, I still have a long way to come.

15. Hellen

Script Modern Font

Hellen sounds and looks like a goddess. It looks pretentious but used in the right project it will always be a head-turner.

16. The Herchey

Script Modern Font

Do you have an important and stylish announcement to make? Use The Herchey as your bold font.

17. Roseroot Cottage

Script Modern Font

Roseroot Cottage is the perfect darling cursive script that mimics imperfect hand-lettering.

18. Halosenseserif modern font

This new modern calligraphy with a more natural feel was handmade created with a small touch of digital design to make the letters flow like a river.

19. farmhouse

serif modern font

Farmhouse is a style itself that you can enrich using this amazing font.

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

Clean Modern Fonts

20. Cornerstone

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

Cornerstone features 90-degree corners that give the font a futuristic aspect.

21. Space Age

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

Another font in the futuristic area, full of personality and originality.

22. Parlour

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

Parlour is the vintage font that will always be a trend.

23. Komoda

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

Komoda can kill or bring to life a message. This pretentious font might be quite hard to read for some, so pay close attention to the projects you want to choose it for.

24. Pier

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

Pier is clean and bold, for clean and bold messages.

25. Nordic

script modern fonts

The parallel lines of Nordic places the font in the top most modern fonts out there.

26. Coco Gothic

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

Can Gothic be simple? This font is more extremely complex for the very simpleness of it.

27. Modeka

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

Modeka can give any company an unforgettable look.

28. Coves

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

Coves Sans is a flexible modern font that stands out due to its minimalist looks.

29. Polya

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

Polya doesn’t need any description. It’s pretty self-explanatory that the font makes itself remarkable due to its original looks.

30. One Day

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

A free font for when uppercases only is demanded.

31. Munich

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

Munich has a strong urban look, yet it’s still very versatile.

32. Ailerons

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

For a second I was tempted to think “hmm, nice details”, but then I realized that the lack of details makes this font unique.

33. Azonix

Sans Serif Modern Fonts

Azonix is another minimalist font that stands out through its cleanliness.

Script Sans Serif Modern Fonts

34. Georgia

script modern fonts

Georgia Script is a modern and feminine font, with every single letter being carefully crafted to make your text look gorgeous.

35. Portrait

script modern fonts

‘Portrait’ is a handwritten signature script with a natural & stylish flow.

36. Mindline

script modern fonts

Mindline Script is a unique blend of a modern calligraphy font with contemporary, classy, and sophisticated accents.

37. anter

script modern fonts

Anter surprizes us in every way possible with its letters that vary in size even within a word.

38. Handwritten love notes

script modern fonts

A classicall handwritten font all in caps that can give any project a very personal and intimate touch.

39. Sonneta

script modern fonts

Sonneta Script is a modern, free-flowing hand-drawn font that gives the text a signature look.

40. Landslide

script modern fonts

With this cute handwritten modern font, we close up our list of Best Modern Fonts Picked by Professional Designers. We’d love to hear which font draws your attention best and if we managed to help you choose a font for your project. We wish you tons of productive creativity,


4 Ways to Extract Website Content From a Client

4 Ways to Extract Website Content From a Client

In a perfect world, we’d all have all the content we needed before we ever touched a wireframe, on paper or otherwise. The hate for lorem ipsum is real, and I do understand why, but it’s a simple fact that we do not live in a perfect world. Clients are often ready to hand over a down payment, but not actually ready to build the site yet.

If you find yourself in this situation (and it will happen a lot at the beginning of your career), you’ll need to help your client get ready. And if they don’t hire a copy writer, you’ll need to help them write the content themselves.


1. Give Them Constraints

If your client is writing their own content, they may need to be told what to write. Most people are not writers by nature. It’s a skill that can be learned by just about anyone, but it takes some doing, whether you have a natural talent for it or not. Most people, when told to write some content for a website, are probably going to stare at the blank screen for a while.

Most people are not writers by nature

Then, hesitantly, they might begin to pick out letters on their keyboard, one by one. It’ll be a slog, but they’ll have that first grand sentence: “Hi! Welcome to the home page of our website.” And then they might write a bunch of stuff that would be better suited to the “About Us” page.

People have long made the argument that total creative freedom doesn’t make for good design; constraints do. Constraints force us to solve problems, but they also give us direction, and purpose. Yes, it means doing some of their website planning and strategy for them, but no one said you had to do it for free.


2. Go Through The Process With Them Before They Write

Even instructions like, “Okay, you need a paragraph of introductory text for the home page.” might be a bit vague for people unfamiliar with writing website copy. Get on Skype, or even meet them in person to take your client through the plan you have for their website (wireframes or other prototypes may come in handy here), and give them examples of what they might say.

Also be sure to tell them how much content is intended for each page, page section, or UI element. If only a sentence or two will reasonably fit, make sure they know this. If they can go nuts on the “About Us” page, make sure they know that, too.

And yes, giving them a space to go nuts is probably a good idea. Everyone wants unleash their inner Hemingway, and if the “About” page ends up being as long and annoying as The Old Man and the Sea, that’s the price we pay for good relationships with our clients.

As you go through your instructions, write them down, and send them to your client via email for reference. This way, they’ll always know what the plan is.

Charge by the hour for this bit, at least.


3. Go Ahead And Annoy Them A Bit

Ever had a client give you a deadline, then disappear? You have no obligation to take that lying down. Now, they might be busy, and have other legitimate priorities. If they tell you a family member is sick, just work for another client for a while.

But if they just disappear on you, don’t be afraid to remind them once in a while. They might genuinely forget, and need the reminder. Even if they haven’t forgotten, they might need a little motivation. And yes, you might annoy them a bit, but clients should respect your time, too.

If they can’t finish even one project, there probably isn’t a long-term relationship on the table

Now don’t e-mail them every day. That’s excessive. An e-mail per week should be fine to start with, and you can always increase that number as deadlines approach. If they e-mail you back with something like, “Thanks, I’m working on it!”, or, “For god’s sake please stop, I’m working on it!”… you can safely stop sending them e-mails for a while.

Don’t worry too much about annoying them. If they can’t finish even one project, there probably isn’t a long-term relationship on the table.


4. Use Software To Make It All A Bit Easier

Of course, this is all a fair bit of work. You can automate the process of getting content from your clients just a little bit, though. If you’ve got the budget for one more darned SAAS product in your pipeline, you could try out Content Snare.

You literally just set up forms that specifically request the content you need. You can put in character limits, and basically define the information required with various kinds of inputs. You want constraints? They’ve got constraints, and automatic email reminders.

Now the downside to this software is the cost. At the time of this writing, the cheapest plan is $24US per month (billed yearly). It’s affordable, probably, for a designer with plenty of clients already. But when every dollar counts, this is one tool you can probably do without.

For anyone who’s a little cash-strapped, you can replicate the basic functionality for requesting content with a much simpler tool like Google Forms. Just make one for each page, and go. You can embed these forms, too, so if you already have something like a “client area” set up on your website, you could theoretically set each client up with their own set of forms to fill out, all in one place.

Automated reminder emails? Well, there’s no shortage of mass mailing applications out there. If you’re already using one, you could schedule some reminders pretty easily. Just be sure to turn them off once you’ve gotten a response.

Annoying them is one thing. Using robots to do it is another.


Featured image via Unsplash.

Rediscover creativity: 3 ways to do it right

Rediscover creativity: 3 ways to do it right

How do you find creativity in moments when it seems impossible to create something? How do you find inspiration to do something? This is a question that a designer asks over and over again. Especially in difficult periods of working or personal life. The first thing to do, when ideas are not coming, when creativity is not found, is to try to understand the reasons for the problem. Its causes. There can be multiple. But often the cause of lack of creativity is due to two or three key elements: stress, performance/result anxiety, lack of motivation.

So let’s try to understand why sometimes, ideas just don’t come up.

Why is creativity lost? Why don’t we get ideas anymore?

The human brain is a bit like a computer. As long as all the elements work, the whole system works. But, much like a computer, or any other complex machine, once one tiny thing is out of place, the whole system starts to fall apart. For those of us who use our creative abilities for a living, this most often manifests in the lack of ideas. It is not that the brain goes out. It’s simply that good ideas just don’t seem to surface.

Rediscover creativity

Why does this happen? I’m neither a psychologist nor a guru of personal growth, motivation or anything like that. In this article, I write substantially what I and many others have experienced throughout our careers. Having said that, why do we lose creativity? Mainly due to “brakes” inside or outside our brains. By internal brakes I mean mental situations that we create ourselves, by external brakes I mean situations that involve us (unforeseen events, results not achieved, etc.). We, therefore, see the three causes that usually cause a decline in creativity. In total, there are 3 major reasons for all of our creative struggles. Let’s start off with the first reason:

First cause: stress

Too many things to do, too many emails to reply to, too many projects to prepare for. Spending, family, social life, work, the client, the meeting.


From the dictionary: “every cause (physical, chemical, psychic, etc.) capable of exerting a harmful stimulus on the organism, with its prolonged action, causing its reaction”. And in your case, the reaction is the lack of ideas or creativity.

Second cause: performance or result anxiety

We’ve all been there. Hours and hours of studying put into one project that you have to present in front of your entire high school class. This is a concept applicable to any social and mental dynamic. This is, for example, a problem that I myself continually face in my working life and that has destroyed my creativity and motivation numerous times. I fight with it all the time.

Rediscover creativity

I always want to create a phenomenal article, a logo design project that the customer is super satisfied with, or a web page design that gets people drooling over my creation. I always try to do my best and sometimes the anxiety of achieving the best possible result pulls me down. When this aspect is added to the other two, it becomes tragic for creativity.

Third cause: lack of motivation

Sometimes at this stage, people start to consider whether or not they’re in the right business. It starts to make them question whether they’re actually cut out for what they do, or if they just got lucky a few times. I’m here to tell you that a lack of motivation is not a result of any of those things. Many famous designers are incredibly talented. So talented, that they basically have projects spewing out of their ears.

Rediscover creativity

Despite this, they sometimes lose their daily motivation. Do you know what helps me in these moments? Thinking back to my first ever big project, and considering how far I’ve come since. I can assure you will start to remember why you started designing in the first place. And sometimes, that’s all the motivation I need.

So now, these are the 3 main causes that hinder creativity and make ideas disappear. But how can creativity be reborn? Here are 3 practical actions that can be implemented today.


When we are so focused with our daily routine we often don’t realize what is holding us back. You don’t really collect your thoughts enough to stop and take a breather. That’s why, when you feel creativity and motivation drop, you have to stop. The duration depends on you and your situation. An hour, a day, two days (the so-called 72-hour break). Stop and let your brain breathe for a moment. In those moments, usually, I go for a run or I sometimes even watch a movie or read a good book. This time, which doesn’t have to be too much, will help you free your brain from anxiety and stress. This phase will also serve to recharge your creativity, which until then was harnessed by anxiety and stress.

SECOND ACTION: Get organized.

Once you have freed your brain from the burdens of daily routine, take some time to organize your next moves. Take a sheet and write down the things you have to do in the coming weeks. Write them all. Try to create a plan, a sort of roadmap to tackle all the most important things you have to do. The useful aspect of this phase is that this makes it possible to actually understand the order of priority in your tasks and projects. But that’s not all. It also creates a plan to deal with them and destroy the anxiety and stress that comes when you feel like you have to do a billion things at one time. It can be head-splitting.

Rediscover creativity

If you are a person who hates making lists, organizing things, just trust me on this one. It is one of the most effective ways to clear your mind and free yourself from the burdens of everyday responsibilities.

The lack of creativity is often a simple lack of organization of one’s time. Poor organization of time becomes anxiety, stress, and demotivation. And these start to slowly limit your creativity.

Lack of creativity is often a lack of organization. Plan your work! Managing your time better is one of the most important aspects for a designer.

THIRD ACTION: Start doing it.

You have freed your mind, you have organized your tasks, now is the time to start doing. But… how? Simply start doing! If you don’t want to tackle that university project and don’t get any immediate ideas, just take a sheet and start brainstorming. If you can’t find the creativity for that logo design project, simply start working on it! If you don’t find the desire and creativity to write that article, simply open the text editor and start writing! Everything has a beginning, so you might as well and get that out of the way.

The conclusion

Despite your lack of creativity, you are more than likely a great designer. Just because you can’t think of the next big idea now, doesn’t mean it won’t come later. Great ideas take time, and great design takes even longer.

So, next time you find yourself in a rut, sad and on the verge of crying, maybe even questioning your life choices, just remember one thing: it happens to literally everyone. You are a designer not by chance, but by the reality of your skills. Use them, even if it takes a while to rediscover creativity.

A Look at Top Flat File CMS Options

A Look at Top Flat File CMS Options

When we think of content management systems (CMS), we often think about popular offerings such as WordPress and Drupal. Both rely on a traditional MySQL database, where a website’s content and settings are stored. However, not all systems work this way.

A flat file CMS, for example, eschews the need for a database server. They store site data in a simple text file. This cuts down on latency and can vastly improve site performance. It also opens the door for more customized data structures, easier portability and the ability to scale.

Today, we’ll introduce you to some of the more popular and intriguing flat file systems. They vary in feature sets and range anywhere from free to a few hundred dollars. Read on to find an option that fits your needs.


One of the most well-known flat file systems, Statamic is based on the popular Laravel PHP framework. It offers a full suite of features, from built in forms, powerful media management and version control via git.

Manage your site through a well-thought-out dashboard (you can even access updates and maintenance features via the command line). There is also a library of third-party themes and addons that allow you to extend site functionality.

We should note that Statamic is commercial software, with a single site license running $199 USD. This entitles you to unlimited support and updates, however. And the software will run on virtually any server that can handle PHP. If you want to try it out first on a local environment, a free trial is available.


Kirby is all about customization. For example, while an installation includes a templating engine based on PHP and HTML, you also have the ability to replace it with just about anything you want. But it doesn’t stop with your standard design and development. The CMS also allows developers to customize the admin panel to reflect the needs of the site itself. Things like the admin layout, permissions and fields can be added via files called Blueprints.

You’ll also find some unique features, such as the ability to use Markdown (extended via KirbyText), version control and a built-in REST API. True to form, Kirby will also work with other data sources – including databases.

Note that Kirby is also commercial software, with licenses running €99 per site. But you can try it for free on your local server.

October CMS

Like Statamic above, October CMS is based on Laravel. It features unobtrusive templating and utilizes the Twig template engine. This makes theming a fairly straightforward experience. Included support for Partials and Components allow for building modular sites, where code can be used and re-used. Extend things even further by installing (or creating your own) plugins.

Assets such as media files can be easily managed through the UI. Plus, you can integrate files from AWS or other cloud-based services. Files are sortable by type (images, video, documents, etc.) and can be stored in folders. This is somewhat similar to what you’d expect to find in an operating system.

October CMS is free and open source.


Grav separates itself from some other flat file systems in a few ways. First, the admin panel is optional. The CMS can be administered directly via the command line by default, but a full-featured dashboard is available via a free plugin. Second, like WordPress, it’s capable of a multisite installation – meaning you can run multiple websites from one instance of the CMS.

Like others in this roundup, you’ll also find lots of flexibility. Grav includes the ability to write content in Markdown or HTML, add custom fields, posts types or taxonomies, and works with the Twig templating engine. You can also extend functionality via plugins.

Free and open source, Grav boasts an enthusiastic community of developers.


Featuring a back end built with a focus on content creation, Bolt offers a plethora of options for online publishers. A user management feature allows administrators to assign user levels to specific types of content, while a developer level allows for settings and template tweaks.

Theming is handled via Twig, and built-in form capabilities allow you to correspond with users without the use of a plugin. On the back end, Bolt is built on top of the Silex PHP framework and uses Symfony components. One unique feature is the ability to completely white-label the CMS – allowing developers to fully brand the admin area.

Bolt is open source available for free. Plus, all of its core code is available on GitHub.

Fast and Full of Features

Just hearing the term “flat file” can give the impression that you’re missing out on something. If it doesn’t use a traditional database, it can’t be very good, right?

A deeper look shows that a flat file CMS can be very competitive. The features available in the systems above are on par with their database-driven counterparts. And there are even some pretty compelling advantages to choosing flat file.

Among the biggest is that you can run a full-featured CMS quite efficiently on just about any level of web hosting. You don’t need a ton of horsepower to run a fairly large, high-performance website.

So, if you’re in the market for a new CMS, don’t be afraid to check out a flat file system. You may be surprised at how much they can do.

Internet Censorship is Here: How Far Will it Go?

Internet Censorship is Here: How Far Will it Go?

Within hours of the recent mass shooting at a New Zealand mosque by a far-right terrorist, the country’s authorities were scrambling to ensure a sickening video the murderer streamed on Facebook was barred from the nation’s screens. Due to the nature of the Internet, the task of removal proved very difficult. But eventually, the government succeeded — using controversial tactics usually associated with Internet censorship by authoritarian regimes.

For some, the action of one highly democratic nation was a worrying reminder that Internet freedom should not be taken for granted. For others it was a triumph of taste and decency over a Wild West online community that still refuses to accept regulation while simultaneously failing to take responsibility for its actions.

a billion Internet users are barely aware that Facebook and Google exist

Versions of this debate are being played out around the world, as authorities, online companies, journalists and web professionals try to strike a balance between free speech and protecting Internet users from highly offensive — and potentially also subversive — content. The spread of “fake news”, alleged attempts by foreign powers to meddle in elections, and the age-old difficulty of defining what should be permitted in a free society, are all part of this debate.

With the technology and the excuses for Internet censorship already in place, it’s a debate that will shape the future of the Web. Or should that be ‘futures’, plural?


Full Censorship Can Be Achieved

In China, a billion Internet users are barely aware that Facebook and Google exist. Authorities have no difficulty in ensuring unpleasant content is not seen on the search engines and social media boards that are available there: The Christchurch video was blocked just as effectively as disturbing footage of the Tiananmen Square massacre is, because the Chinese government has built a system of highly effective controls on the Internet known as “the Great Firewall of China”.

Officially called the Golden Shield Project, China’s system of Internet controls has made fools of the experts who said that the Internet could not be tamed or censored. Jon Penney, a Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Toronto’s Citizen Lab, told Open Democracy recently that although China’s technology is not yet fully understood by the west, it is:

…among the most technically sophisticated Internet filtering/censorship systems in the world.

“Basically, access to the Internet in China is provided by eight Internet Service Providers, which are licensed and controlled by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology,” he said. “These ISPs are important, because we’re learning that they do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of content filtering and censorship.”

Controlling ISPs was one crucial brick of that firewall that allowed New Zealand to take the Christchurch killer’s video down. Indeed, what was controversial for many was the use of such an approach — and the fact that the government used a set of unpublished ‘blacklists’ of the sites it required to be blocked. Kalev Leetaru, a big data expert, wrote on Forbes: “The secret nature of the blacklist and opaque manner in which the companies decided which websites to add to the list or how to appeal an incorrect listing, echoed similar systems deployed around the world in countries like China.”


A Different Internet

China’s great firewall also tracks and filters keywords used in search engines; blocks many IP addresses; and can ‘hijack’ the Domain Name System to ensure attempts to access banned sites draw a blank. This is thought to be done at ISP level, but also further along the system as well, ensuring that browsing even a permitted foreign site from within China can be frustratingly slow. But with sites such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia blocked, most Chinese users simply view an entirely different Internet and App ecosystem.

most Chinese users simply view an entirely different Internet

Adrian Shahbaz, the research director for technology and democracy at Freedom House, an independent watchdog for democracy, says other authoritarian regimes — including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — are already showing interest in China’s technology and censorship system. Russia is building its own version, which will allow it to totally isolate the domestic web from the rest of the Internet; ostensibly, this is to ensure the country’s ability to defend itself from a “catastrophic cyber attack”.

There are concerns that this censorship will spread to the West, where attempts to clamp down on hate speech, and to stop foreign ‘trolls’ pushing fake news in a bid to cause instability and influence elections, mean there is no shortage of justification for introducing controls. French President Emanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump are among the democratic leaders who have threatened crackdowns in the last few months alone.


Censorship or Responsible Regulation?

ISP controls and direct censorship are not the only threats to a unified and ‘free’ internet. With most people consuming their Internet through just a few very popular social media platforms or mainstream news providers, governments can also lean directly on these companies. Singapore — a country that admittedly sits in the bottom 30 of the Press Freedom Index — has just introduced a new “anti-fake news law” allowing authorities in the city-state to remove articles deemed to breach government regulations.

The country’s prime minister said the law will require media outlets to correct fake news articles, and “show corrections or display warnings about online falsehoods so that readers or viewers can see all sides and make up their own minds about the matter.”

Internet giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have their Asia headquarters in Singapore and are expected to come under pressure to aid implementation, meaning that those sites could look different when viewed from the city-state. Singapore may not be known for its freedom of speech, but its approach is telling as to how less authoritarian regimes — and those without China’s technology — can impose a creeping web censorship by leaning of the big tech companies that deliver most of the Internet users see.

The Singaporean premier added that “in extreme and urgent cases, the legislation will also require online news sources to take down fake news before irreparable damage is done.” It is not hard to imagine these words coming from a Western leader, or a judge.


Facebook is Already on Board

Facebook itself, after coming under intense pressure over the use of the site to spread everything from dubious news reports to videos promoting suicide, has now joined the calls for regulation. “From what I’ve learned, I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability,” Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement recently.


Copyright as Censorship

On the subject of data, Zuckerberg cited Europe’s GDPR — a set of regulations governing the use and storage of personal data — as an example to follow. But it is another EU law, passed in recent weeks, that threatens further Internet fragmentation.

The new Copyright Directive will require tech firms to automatically screen for and remove unauthorised copyrighted material from their platforms. Many campaigners have argued the directive will be harmful to free expression, since the only way to guarantee compliance is to simply block any user-generated content that references other copyrighted material in any way, including criticism, remixes, or even simple quotes.

until now, people have been relatively free to publish material online and then suffer the consequences

While the EU directive aims to bolster quality online news journalism by banning its wholesale re-use, sites that rely on user-generated content could end up looking very different when viewed from within Europe, compared to the US for example. Experts talk of a “splintering”, which means that there will effectively be different Internets in different jurisdictions.

Copyright enforcement, of course, is not censorship. And there have always been categories of images, for example, that are illegal in most jurisdictions. But until now, people have been relatively free to publish material online and then suffer the consequences, as was the case in the days of print. Proponents of tighter controls at source argue that simply removing material from sites once it is known to be illegal is a never-ending and ultimately pointless task, especially in the face of organized ’trolls’ who can re-post at will.

During the first 24 hours after the Christchurch attack, Facebook removed 1.5 million re-posts of the murderer’s video, for example. It was only the introduction of controls at ISP level that finally blocked it in New Zealand, at least.


The Human Element

“Extremist content” and “fake news’ look set to be the next targets for politicians who favor stricter Internet controls, or, as they may argue, greater responsibility from ISP providers or major websites. Unlike copyright, this is at least partially subjective, and would require real people, employed by the authorities, to decide what is acceptable on our screens. China, naturally, already employs an army of such censors; it even pays another large group to post material that is explicitly favorable to its policies.

Leetaru said: “Like New Zealand’s recent blocking efforts, China’s system officially exists for the same reason: to block access to disturbing content and content that would disrupt social order. In the Chinese case, however, the system has famously morphed to envelope all content that might threaten the government’s official narratives or call into question its actions.

“In New Zealand’s case, website censorship was limited to a small set of sites allegedly hosting sensitive content relating to the attack. Yet, the government’s apparent comfort with instituting such a nation-wide ban so swiftly and without debate reminds us of how Chinese-style censorship begins.”

Can’t imagine it happening? Britain’s government recently published a ‘White Paper’ — a way of signalling possible legislation — which proposed that social media companies should be forced to take down, within 24 hours, “unacceptable material” that “undermines our democratic values and principles”.


What Constitutes Fake News?

Exactly what constitutes “fake news” has always been open to interpretation: during election campaigns, some democratic leaders have already learned that it is a good label to discredit critical reports with. In Russia, fake news was banned recently, and is defined as anything that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

One area that is being actively targeted in Europe is “extremist” material fostering violence or hatred. In Germany, which already has a system to force platforms to remove “hate speech,” this has recently included censure on a woman who posted pictures of the Iranian women’s volleyball team to contrast their attire in the 1970s (shorts and vests) and now (headscarves and long sleeves).

The following joke was deemed hateful enough to land the poster a social media ban: “Muslim men are taking a second wife. To finance their lives, Germans are taking a second job.”

Another area that Western governments are showing increasing concern about is private groups that carefully regulate membership, designed to allow like-minded people to share their views unchallenged. Already, there have been calls for Facebook to clamp down on these closed groups or “echo chambers”, on the grounds that they are able to serve undiluted misinformation without challenge. While these requests may once again sound reasonable, it is unclear what would constitute an echo chamber and what kind of ‘misinformation’ could be considered unacceptable — or indeed, who would decide that.


How to Beat the Censors

For those wanting to beat EU copywrite laws and, for example, see a meme their friend in California is ‘lol-ing’ about, a virtual private network (VPN) should be a good solution. Already recommended by many security experts, VPNs are encrypted proxy servers that hide your own IP address and can make it look like you are browsing from a different country. For occasional use, even using a public proxy site, a ‘browser within a browser’ may well work.

There are various levels of VPN – an in depth look at the options is available here. However, sophisticated censorship systems such as the Great Firewall of China are capable of detecting VPN use and blocking that too.

A popular alternative to VPN use is the Tor browser, which is designed with anonymity in mind. Although experts rate Tor’s privacy features (and therefore its anti-censorship abilities) higher than VPNs, Tor can also be blocked. What’s more, you have to install the browser on your device and using Tor does not hide the fact that you are using Tor. Both Tor and VPNs are illegal in some countries and their use could put you at risk.

Tor is also the gateway of preference for accessing the Deep Web or Dark Web — which are also used heavily by activists and journalists who are trying to circumvent curbs on their freedom of expression. In a detailed article explaining how to access and use the Dark Web, technology journalist Conor Shiels says:

The Deep Web has been heralded by many as the last bastion of internet privacy in an increasingly intrusive age, while others consider it one of the evilest places on the internet.

The Deep Web is technically any site not indexed by search engines. Such sites would be an obvious place for private groups to base themselves if they are thrown of Facebook or even banned — although of course they may find it harder to recruit new members if they remain hidden from the casual user.

Although the Deep or Dark Web is a popular place for illegal activity, it is not illegal in itself. For those seeking an uncensored experience, it remains a place hidden from the authorities, but of course, the flip side is that you will be hiding your own postings from the vast majority of web users. This aspect of censorship will perhaps be the hardest to bypass as authorities move to cut off the most popular sites and platforms from certain news, views and activities.


Featured image via Unsplash.

What is a Font? The Complete Guide for Typography Designers

What is a Font? The Complete Guide for Typography Designers

What is a font? And how are fonts used? How can you create quality typographic projects, using the best characters? This article aims to be the answer to these and many other questions that many young designers ask themselves every day.

Today, with this guide, I want to try to create a complete introductory resource for all the main topics of the font world. In short, it is a super guide for designers to use fonts!

OK, let’s go!

What is a font? And what is a typeface? And a glyph?

Before figuring out how to use fonts, it’s good to know what a font is, the difference between a typeface, a glyph, and so on. Because yes, typeface and fonts don’t mean exactly the same thing. The characters are, in graphics, typography, and publishing, like bricks in architecture, atoms in physics or numbers in mathematics. In short, they are the basis of graphics matter.

what is a font

A set of characters studied coherently and according to the same formal principles, forms a typeface, whose file is called a font. But let’s clarify these aspects better.

Fonts, typefaces, and glyphs

These characters are letters, punctuation marks or symbols. So, for example, the letter “A” is a character. This character can be composed of several glyphs, such as A, ä, ă or â, which will, therefore, be glyphs of the same character and of the same typeface. The set of all the characters and glyphs of the Latin alphabet designed according to the same visual coherence and meaning, takes the name, again, of a typeface.

And it is here that misunderstandings arise in many different languages. English is clearer: the character (understood as a letter) is a character, the glyph is a glyph and the coherent set of all this, the typeface, is a typeface.

what is a font

The font, however, is the file

Font is another thing: font is the medium that allows you to apply a font. That is: while Garamond is a character (typeface), the garamond_semibold.otf file is a font (better: one of the fonts that make up the Garamond font family). To explain it we can make the comparison with music: if a typeface (character) is a song, the font is the .mp3 file that allows us to listen to it. It is, therefore, wrong to say “Listen to this chorus via this mp3!”, While it is much more correct to say “Listen to this song!”

We often use the word “font” instead of character, it is a common mistake of the digital age: to confuse the software (medium) with its purpose (end). It’s a bit like saying “but this is Photoshop” looking at a montage.

And it is a mistake that I myself made for years and in which I still make from time to time. So learn from my mistakes!   

Why do you say “font”?

Many think that font is a term of English origin but in reality, its origin is French. It is, in fact, the English transposition of the term “source”, of medieval French. This word, which pronounced itself “font” (in French the end is truncated and not pronounced) originally meant “fused”. The Latin root of the word is the same as the Italian verb “folder”. The word font was then imported into England where it spread to all English-speaking countries and from there to the whole world over the last century.

What are the font variants and types of typefaces?

Let’s look at the terms that serve to identify the various files that make up a family of fonts and the types of main typefaces:

The variants of a font (weights, italics, etc.)

As mentioned, a font is a file and each file corresponds to a typeface in which all the glyphs that have been designed so that it works together, as a single body, and inserted. Generally, font files are grouped into font families, where there are variations of the original typeface.

what is a font

Types of typographic characters

The typefaces are not all the same, indeed, they are very different! In graphic schools or universities, fonts are often said to be divided into two categories, the serif and the sans serif. These are two French terms that mean “with thanks” and “without thanks”. In reality there are several others, even within these two macro-categories.

Serif and Sans Serif

what is a font

The substantial difference between these two categories of fonts is the use of the “graces”, or those small extensions at the ends of the rods, which derive from manual calligraphic writing.

How does a font work?

As I said before, a character, or a single letter in all its variants, is composed of various different glyphs. Glyphs, in turn, are composed of many different structural elements, which take different names:

How to use fonts

In a complete guide on typography in graphics, one cannot talk about how to use these fonts. How many times have you started searching for the font best suited to your project by scrolling the font drop-down for hours, searching through the hundreds of characters you downloaded or purchased?

To put it simply, the font should always compliment the context. Of course, there are many ways it can do that, so it’s not exactly a science. What it is, however, is a skill that can be adapted and fine-tuned with some practice.

How to use fonts: combine multiple fonts with each other

Choosing a font is a complicated process and requires careful analysis of your project. But knowing how to match fonts can be even more difficult. In reality, there are so many things to talk about in this wonderful and fascinating world. Because the type is really one of the most mysterious and profound aspects of graphic design.

what is a font

There are lots of courses you can take in order to get this right. My advice would be to at least research and study as much as you can. Again, this is one of those things that can only be perfected through practice.

The conclusion

I hope you’ve learned something new today. Although this article aimed to cover a lot, there is still a lot to know.

Fonts have been around for quite a while, and won’t be going away ever. They are an essential part of graphic design, and design as a whole. My advice would be to get as comfortable with them as possible and to practice using a wide variety of them, combine them, and maybe even experimenting with your own.