Interview: Jorn and Koen of Framer X

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The holy grail of web design used to be a three-column layout where every column had equal height. Now, the holy grail is making it so anyone can design a website or app. Visual design apps abound, one of the big names in the Mac community right now is Framer X.

Framer X isn’t staying on only the Mac platform, though. The team has big plans, and it involves more than making it easier to push pixels. They reached out to WDD to see if we wanted to get a sneak peek of what’s coming next, and since I am one of the resident app nerds, I had the pleasure of interviewing them.

WDD: Tell us about yourselves.

Framer: So Jorn and I (Koen) worked at our first company, Sofa, together in 2009. Things really took off after we won a few Apple Design Awards, when we got a call from Mark Zuckerberg. The rest is history, as they say — our company and team were acquired by Facebook in 2011, where we ended up doubling their product design team.

We spent two years there helping launch some major product features but eventually moved back to Amsterdam and co-founded Framer in 2013. It’s been both challenging and extremely rewarding to stick to our guns and build this company in the Netherlands, even raising our Series B last year.

WDD: I’m a Windows user, so I have to ask: when is Framer X coming to Windows?

Framer: It’s in the works! We have a team working hard on this and it’s part of our plan to open up Framer X to a wider audience. I can’t give you definitive dates but you can expect something in 2019. And until then, you can sign up for the waitlist here.

WDD: What inspired you to build Framer? What’s the origin story?

Framer: When we were working at Facebook, we found ourselves pitching these innovative product ideas using traditional presentation slides. It was really frustrating to try and convey responsive, interactive design ideas to board members through static imagery – it’s just counter-intuitive.

As design has evolved, so has our thinking around tooling

Unfortunately, that’s just how things were done at the time, as interactive design was still relatively new and static images were the norm. Which is why, shortly after leaving Facebook, we co-founded Framer to focus on helping everyone better express digital product ideas.

As design has evolved, so has our thinking around tooling. While Framer Classic captured a large share of the very best designers in the world, it was only accessible to a small subset of all designers, as it used code to express ideas.

So we launched a whole new product, Framer X, which opens up interactive design to everyone, regardless of coding ability and offers interfaces for everyday design tasks like wireframing, visual design and interactive work.

WDD: What other design apps most inspired your feature choices and design?

Framer: I’ve always been very inspired by Unity – especially how accessible it is. In a sense, we are building an interactive IDE for product design that anyone can use, much like Unity has done for the gaming industry.

WDD: Your software is big on sharing and centralizing libraries of design assets, and by extension, design systems. How do you, as designers, balance the benefits of design systems (consistency and speed) with the desire for experimentation most designers feel at some point?

Framer: It is definitely a tricky balance. As a company, we have a big maker culture, with a huge emphasis on shipping. A lot of of this is because we genuinely love solving hard product problems, but just as much because our community has come to expect this of us.

As we’ve grown, we’ve come to see the value of adding some structure to this process, including creating our own React-based design system, Fraction. Everyone is still very much empowered to try and test — we even have an R&D team and leave time on Fridays for more experimental projects.

WDD: Out of all the features currently on Framer X, which are you most proud of?

Framer: We’re most proud of the features that make our app so collaborative. For example, Framer X contains a built-in store where users can publish components that can do practically anything, from media players to advanced interactive controls to entire design systems.

This means that new users can instantly leverage the work of advanced users, which provides immediate value to all users and offers incredible network effects. Our community has always been at the core of our product, and the store allows us to bring that into our product in a meaningful way.

WDD: Which feature do you most wish you’d done better with on the first try?

Framer: Interactive design is always evolving, so of course our platform is as well. Framer X’s Interactive tools — Link, Page, and Scroll — have undergone the most changes, thanks in part to the feedback we got from our beta users.

Everything that used to require lines of code in Framer Classic can now be created using the canvas tools we have. I’m not sure we would do anything differently, but hindsight being 20/20, perhaps we could have done some things sooner.

WDD: You can export elements as CSS and SVG code in Framer X. Any plans to support CSS Grid for layout?

Framer: We are planning to launch a grid tool in 2019! Stay tuned.

WDD: Where do you see Framer going in 2019?

Framer: We’re going to bring Framer X to Windows and the Web to give more people access to our interactive design tool. We’ll still be focused on making it the best tool for interactive design and with that, the best place for your team to build out your design systems.

My belief is that people are way more creative than they think and with the right platform, anyone can design. So I’d love to head toward a direction where Framer X becomes accessible enough to appeal even to people who use Powerpoint.


Thanks to Jorn and Koen for taking the time to answer our questions.

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How to Create a Fake 3D Image Effect with WebGL

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WebGL is becoming quite popular these days as it allows us to create unique interactive graphics for the web. You might have seen the recent text distortion effects using Blotter.js or the animated WebGL lines created with the THREE.MeshLine library. Today you’ll see how to quickly create an interactive “fake” 3D effect for images with plain WebGL.

If you use Facebook, you might have seen the update of 3D photos for the news feed and VR. With special phone cameras that capture the distance between the subject in the foreground and the background, 3D photos bring scenes to life with depth and movement. We can recreate this kind of effect with any photo, some image editing and a little bit of coding.

Usually, these kind of effects would rely on either Three.js or Pixi.js, the powerful libraries that come with many useful features and simplifications when coding. Today we won’t use any libraries but go with the native WebGL API.

So let’s dig in.

Getting started

So, for this effect we’ll go with the native WebGL API. A great place to help you get started with WebGL is WebGL is usually being berated for its verboseness. And there is a reason for that. The foundation of all fullcreen shader effects (even if they are 2D) is some sort of plane or mesh, or so called quad, which is stretched over the whole screen. So, speaking of being verbose, while we would simply write THREE.PlaneGeometry(1,1) in three.js which creates the 1×1 plane, here is what we need in plain WebGL:

let vertices = new Float32Array([
-1, -1,
1, -1,
-1, 1,
1, 1,
let buffer = gl.createBuffer();
gl.bindBuffer( gl.ARRAY_BUFFER, buffer );
gl.bufferData( gl.ARRAY_BUFFER, vertices, gl.STATIC_DRAW );

Now that we have our plane, we can apply vertex and fragment shaders to it.

Preparing the image

For our effect to work, we need to create a depth map of the image. The main principle for building a depth map is that we’ve got to separate some parts of the image depending on their Z position, i.e. being far or close, hence isolate the foreground from the background.

For that, we can open the image in Photoshop and paint gray areas over the original photo in the following way:


This image shows some mountains where you can see that the closer the objects are to the camera, the brighter the area is painted in the depth map. Let’s see in the next section why this kind of shading makes sense.


The rendering logic is mostly happening in shaders. As described in the MDN web docs:

A shader is a program, written using the OpenGL ES Shading Language (GLSL), that takes information about the vertices that make up a shape and generates the data needed to render the pixels onto the screen: namely, the positions of the pixels and their colors. There are two shader functions run when drawing WebGL content: the vertex shader and the fragment shader.

A great resource to learn more about shaders is The Book Of Shaders.

The vertex shader will not do much; it just shows the vertices:

attribute vec2 position;
void main() {
gl_Position = vec4( position, 0, 1 );

The most interesting part will happen in a fragment shader. Let’s load the two images there:

void main(){
vec4 depth = texture2D(depthImage, uv);
gl_FragColor = texture2D(originalImage, uv); // just showing original photo

Remember, the depth map image is black and white. For shaders, color is just a number: 1 is white and 0 is pitch black. The uv variable is a two dimensional map storing information on which pixel to show. With these two things we can use the depth information to move the pixels of the original photo a little bit.

Let’s start with a mouse movement:

vec4 depth = texture2D(depthImage, uv);
gl_FragColor = texture2D(originalImage, uv + mouse);

Here is how it looks like:


Now let’s add the depth:

vec4 depth = texture2D(depthImage, uv);
gl_FragColor = texture2D(originalImage, uv + mouse*depth.r);

And here we are:


Because the texture is black and white, we can just take the red channel (depth.r), and multiply it to the mouse position value on the screen. That means, the brighter the pixel is, the more it will move with the mouse. On the other hand, dark pixels will just stay in place. It’s so simple, yet, it results in such a nice 3D illusion of an image.

Of course, shaders are capable of doing all kinds of other crazy things, but I hope you like this small experiment of “faking” a 3D movement. Let me know what you think about it, and I hope to see your creations with this!

References and Credits

Gyronorm library by Doruk Eker
Photo by Cosmic Timetraveler
Photo by Chelsea Ferenando
Photo by Rio Syhputra
Phoyo by Jonatan Pie

How to Create a Fake 3D Image Effect with WebGL was written by Yuriy Artyukh and published on Codrops.

New ActiveCollab is Here!

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After months of development, New ActiveCollab, a pioneer of project management software with over a decade of experience, is finally here – the perfect start to 2019.

ActiveCollab is a project management software that serves as a central hub for team communication, collaboration, and project planning. It enables complete management of projects by breaking them down into more actionable tasks. When tasks are assigned to team members and a date with automatic reminders is set, it ensures that missed deadlines will be a thing of the past – since everyone knows exactly what they are working on and when it needs to be done. The option to track time is invaluable in dealing with clients – they will be able to see precisely how much time was spent working on their projects, and those tracked time reports can be used to issue custom invoices.

Their mission – to eliminate busywork and to help make Real Work happen.

New ActiveCollab is a product that immeasurable love and care have been poured into, with every change, tweak, upgrade, new feature and addition being the result of careful planning and communication with customers.

ActiveCollab Logo

It is the collaborative success of dozens of people – developers, designers, marketers, customer care, etc. – each contributing their unique perspectives and special skills. Because of this, we can safely say that New ActiveCollab is not just the best-looking, most powerful version yet, but also – the most personal.

Apart from the fresh, sleek, redesigned look, there are many other substantial improvements and changes all across the board. Here is a list of the most significant ones:

A Brand New Look & Feel

In new ActiveCollab, dozens of refinements that fix and improve the design were added – making the software much smoother and more enjoyable to use. There are also several new themes to choose from.

ActiveCollab Themes

This is much more than just a simple visual redesign – it is an evolution of ActiveCollab. A sleek, fluid tool that’s wonderful to behold and a joy to use.

Task Dependencies With Automatic Rescheduling

The biggest and most important – as well as most requested – New ActiveCollab feature. Using Task Dependencies, child tasks that are dependent on parent tasks can be set. This allows for greater control over tasks – in which order and when they will be completed, and it opens up a range of advanced management options in every step of the work process.

Task Dependencies Demonstration

This addition will eliminate confusion over the exact turn in which tasks have to be finished, since they will no longer be done out of sequence. Everyone has had work experiences when the projects worked on would slow down because people couldn’t work on their own tasks until another segment was done. Automatic rescheduling means that when a parent task is moved around, their child tasks will automatically adjust their dates as well, and they also take weekends and days off into account.

Since Your Last Visit

All the projects and tasks we are involved in continue to make progress even in our absence. Which means that a lot of time catching up on everything that happened is required. This feature highlights all the comments that were made since the last time the software was visited.

Wasting time sorting new information from the old will no longer be an issue, and Project Managers will be able to devote their time to other more pressing concerns, instead of helping everyone catch up to speed.


Communication is vital to collaboration, and a single thumbs up is often all you really need to do to get the conversation moving. We took a cue from to-the-point communication of social media, where you can express so much with an emoticon. So now, one of seven reactions can be used instead of typing out an entire lengthy reply. They are: thumbs up, thumbs down, smiley face, clapping hands, heart, party popper, and thinking face.

ActiveCollab Reactions

Live Comments

New ActiveCollab is now entirely in real time. Often, more than one user would comment a task at the same time, and they would have to refresh the page to see those other comments.

ActiveCollab Live Comments Demonstration

But now, all the comments – and the user(s) writing them – are visible in real time, meaning that confusion and the busywork of manually refreshing a page to see those new comments are a thing of the past.

Improved Attachment Navigation

A small change, but one that saves a lot of time, especially for designers, or those that have to deal with a lot of attachments. Before, the attachments would have to be navigated individually, one by one – by leaving and reentering the navigation window every time.

Attachment in ActiveCollab

Now, all the attachments can be comfortably scrolled through with the left and right arrow keys, or by clicking the left and right icon buttons. The attachments are sorted according to the time they were added, so the newest file will be shown first.

Experience Real Work With New ActiveCollab

Regardless if you’re a project management pro, or are completely new to it, New ActiveCollab is the way to go. With so many new and exciting additions, ActiveCollab is now more powerful and versatile than ever before, and is so much more than just another Project Management Tool – it’s the proper way to do your Real Work.

Try out New ActiveCollab for a completely free 14-day trial to make Real Work happen.

What’s New for Designers, February 2019

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Get ready to create a new list of bookmarks! The new tools featured this month are perfect for saving; some of them you’ll want to come back to over and over, such as a security checklist, cool background maker and a season-specific typeface.

If we’ve missed something that you think should have been on the list, let us know in the comments. And if you know of a new app or resource that should be featured next month, tweet it to @carriecousins to be considered!

DiceBear Avatars

DiceBear Avatars allows you to create placeholder avatars in cool block style. You can create characters or identicons using the free HTTP API.

React Insta Stories

React Insta Stories is a namesake component that allows you to create Instagram or Snapchat stories on the web. Install it with npm and use an array of image URLS. It takes care of duration and the loading indicator.


Sheety lets you turn any Google sheet into an API. It’s free and you can use it to power websites, apps or whatever. Plus, anything you change in the originating spreadsheet, updates to the API in real-time.


Minisearch is a tiny but powerful in-memory fulltext search engine for JavaScript. It is respectful of resources, and it can comfortably run both in Node and in the browser. The demo search (below) is fun. I was able to search my name as it pertained to all of the Billboard Hot 100 from 1965 to 2015.


Lobe will let your web app learn through a visual interface. It can read handwriting, see emotion and hear music. Join the beta to find out what this deep learning app can do for your projects.

Bubble Toggle

Bubble Toggle is a fun pen by Chris Gannon that features a toggle button with a trendy bubble switch.


Textblock is a JavaScript tool that helps you adjust leading and size to create more beautiful responsive typography. It works by calculating a setting based on minimum and maximum values for font size, line height, variable grades and container width.


SocialSizes solves a common problem: Finding the right template and sizing for social media images. The tool includes templates for Sketch, Adobe XD and Photoshop for common social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitch. It’s one of those tools that just makes life that much easier.

Awesome Podcast

Awesome Podcast might help you find your new favorite show to listen to while working. The list is a compilation of podcasts for software engineers. (And it’s grouped in such a great way to you can find something to listen to about JavaScript or PHP or Ruby or web development or any number of other topics.)

Palette App

Palette App is designed to help you build smooth color schemes, where hues flow from one color to the next. The toggles and tools let you fine tune hue, saturation and gradients. You can bring in color palettes from other places and test them or create a new palette right in the app.

Photo Creator

Photo Creator is a tool that lets you create your own stock photos. (Seriously!) Mix and match models backgrounds and objects to get just the picture you need for projects. Export images (free and paid options) for use online and in print.

Snippet Generator

Snippet Generator lets you create code snippets and copy for quick use. The tool toggles between VSCode, Sublime Text and Atom. It is a tiny React app.

SVRF Developers

SVRF Developers lets users search face filters, 360 videos and 360 photos and is free to use on all types of apps from cameras, to messaging to chat or community. What’s cool about the tool is that it helps your users find more AR and VR web experiences.

Can’t Unsee

Can’t Unsee is a design skills game. Are you brave enough to pick the right iteration designs on the screen?


JournalBook is a private – and offline – personal journal. While the tool is filled with prompts to help you get started, your notes and thoughts are stored on your device. It’s a cool concept if you want to practice a little journaling.

Animated Mesh Lines

Animated Mesh Lines is a cool set of five WebGL demos over on the Codrops Playground. The library helps you understand how to create customer geometry to create an interesting graphic style.

Childhood Flat Icons

Childhood Flat Icons is a fun set of elements that will make you feel like a kid again. The collection includes 100 icons that show the development of a child with representations plus plenty of toys and child-like elements. It comes in AI, SVG and PNG formats.

Security Checklist

Security Checklist is a must-have tool. It is an open source list with everything you need to know about keeping yourself and your identity safe on the internet. How many of these things are you already doing?


BG-Painter is a fun tool to create animated (or still background images). Just start with one of the preset “paint” options and change colors to fit your project. And everything you create is free to use as you like thanks to creator Frank Hsu.

Static Site Boilerplate

Static Site Boilerplate is a starting point for building modern static websites. It includes all the tech you need, then add your code and deploy your website. It’s that easy (kind of).


UXWing might have every icon you’ll ever need. It’s a massive collection of scalable icons for web design and front-end development. Just search for what you need and download.

Startup Illustration Kit

Startup Illustration Kit gives you the tools to tell your company story visually, even when you don’t have a lot of photos or elements to showcase your small business. Use it to create a full set of characters to tell your tale. The kit has 30 illustrations with their own characters.


Lindas is a free-for-personal use font with a full set of upper- and lowercase letters and numerals. It has a more masculine script style that’s widely appropriate.

Lorden Holen

Lorden Holen is your simple (and lovely) font for Valentine’s Day. It’s light and connected with just the right feel for love. The glyphs have some great personality as well.

Reno Mono

Reno Mono is a monospaced font with a modern style. What’s especially nice about it is that it has more personality than many other similar options and feels more usable, thanks to a rather modern take on monospacing. Plus, this free font is readable at small sizes.

US Blaak

US Blaak is a fun slab-style font with a great black weight for display. Each letter in this premium serif style has sharp strokes and interesting angles.


Venn is a beautiful typeface family with 25 styles and five widths and weights. The great variation in this premium family makes is great for almost any use, from body copy to display.

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How to Create Custom WordPress Template Tags

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Building a WordPress Theme is so easy with template tags. You can add the_title() to display the post or page title, and you can use the_content() to display post or page contents. There are many…

Visit for full content.

How A Screen Reader User Accesses The Web: A Smashing Video

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How A Screen Reader User Accesses The Web: A Smashing Video

How A Screen Reader User Accesses The Web: A Smashing Video

Bruce Lawson


Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hosting a Smashing TV webinar with Léonie Watson on how a screen reader user accesses the web. In the talk, Léonie showed some big-name sites, such as BBC, sites nominated by Members (including my own!), Smashing Magazine itself, and the popular third-party service Typeform, because so many of us (including us at Smashing) just assume that the popular services have been checked for accessibility. Throughout, Léonie explained how the sites’ HTML was helping (or hindering) her use of the sites.

We felt that the webinar was so valuable that we would open it up so that it’s free for everybody to use. Hopefully, it will serve as a resource for the whole web development community to understand how — and why — semantic markup matters.

What We Learned

I was pleased that my personal site’s use of HTML5 landmark regions (main, nav, header, footer, etc) helped Léonie form a mental model of the structure of the page. Although I’ve always been scrupulous to avoid link text like “click here” because WCAG guidelines require “The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone”, it hadn’t occurred to me before that because I have hundreds of weekly “Reading List” articles, it’s impossible for a screen reader user to tell one from the other when navigating by headings. Since the webinar, I’ve made each new reading list’s heading unique by including its number in the heading (“Reading List 222”).

We also learned that being technically accessible is good, but even better is to be usably accessible. The Smashing Team learned that before Léonie can read her own article on our site, there’s loads of preamble (author bio, email sign-up form) that she can’t easily skip over. We’re correcting this at the moment. There’s also an issue with our quick summaries; Léonie gets no indication when the summary has finished and the article proper has begun. Sighted users get a dividing line, but what can we do for non-sighted users?

After the webinar, Léonie suggested using a semantic HTML element and a sprinkling of ARIA:

<section aria-label=”Summary”>

This is announced as “Summary region start” and “Summary region end”, and can be skipped over if desired.

Thank You!

We’d like to thank Léonie for giving the webinar, and also our magnificant Smashing Magazine members whose support allows us to commission such content, pay our contributors fairly, and reduce advertising on the site.

Shameless plug: if you enjoyed this webinar, why not consider becoming a Member yourself? There are around three webinars a month free, Smashing eBooks and discounts galore. It costs around two cups of coffee a month, and you can cancel anytime.

Smashing Editorial
(ra, il)

How to Design for 3D Printing

Original Source:

3D Printing is a revolutionary new technology that allows you to realize, well, just about anything. The most common form of 3D printers use a special form of plastic filament to print durable, hard ABS plastic components or items.

However, there are 3D printers—industrial mostly—that can work with materials like concrete, glass, titanium, steel and more. The tougher materials aren’t really necessary for design, but it’s still a great thing to know especially when you need to consider material design guidelines.

In design and graphic art, you mostly work with hand sketches, digital content and imaging software, and flat, 2D-style designs. How would a 3D printer offer you anything new? Maybe you dabble in the occasional 3D modeling from time to time, or maybe you don’t. Whatever the case, the two mediums just don’t seem to correlate.

We’re going to explain some design tips you should be aware of and how that applies to your particular industry: graphic and visual design.

Major Brands Are Already Using 3D Printing for Design

A variety of large corporations and organizations have not only realized the potential of 3D printing technology — they’ve implemented it in their regular routines.

Nike, Nokia, Ittala, Coca-Cola and even Volkswagen have all been creating and designing with 3D printing tools. Nike even took their 3D printed concepts and rolled them into manufactured products, some of which you can buy on store shelves right now.

If the bigger companies and organizations are starting to adopt and utilize this technology, that will soon trickle down to smaller companies

The reason they’ve taken to this technology is because it streamlines their design and manufacturing processes. All product designs or prototypes can be constructed in-house, and then when it’s time to ship something, they can be manufactured internally as well.

This doesn’t relate to graphic design, but it does point out one obvious thing. If the bigger companies and organizations are starting to adopt and utilize this technology, that will soon trickle down to smaller companies, including you.

More companies will desire 3D printing compatible concepts and visuals, which means turning to professionals who can work with the necessary tools and software. If you haven’t already begun training with these technologies and tools, now is the ideal time.

Learn Printing Technologies

Before diving into the design process, you need to spend some time researching and getting to know the various 3D printing technologies and hardware you’ll be working with. Why? Because depending on the materials and the printer used, you’ll need to work with unique specifications.

ABS, alumide, polyamide, and rubber-like materials all allow you to create components and designs that incorporate interlocking parts. That is, you can build snap-together components that are incredibly easy to assemble. Unfortunately, this is not possible with materials like bronze, gold, silver and resin, but it’s not the consistency of the materials or even textures to blame. It’s really the hardware and 3D printers used during these processes. The latter materials aren’t compatible with the types of printers that can create interlocking parts.

In addition, the way in which these printers create components also differs depending on the material. Be sure to do the research so that you understand how they are all different and how this will influence your design.

Mind the Wall Thickness

When working with traditional 2D-based designs, dimensions are important, but you don’t necessarily have to worry about the thickness of your models. You can use specifications and number measurements to indicate true size, but you don’t actually have to design to scale — at least in many cases.

That’s not so with 3D printing, as you’ll always want to mind the wall thickness of the items you’re creating. Walls that are too thick can generate too much internal stress, causing the item itself to collapse or the surfaces to crack. If the walls are too thin, it can make the concept or prototype fragile and easy to break.

Considering you’ll likely be designing and planning the dimensions so that you end up with a durable, reliable product this is one feature you’ll want to brush up on.

File Resolution Is Still Important

With 3D printing, the designs are still parsed and transferred via digital files or blueprints, if you will. In graphic and visual design, file resolution is extremely important especially when working with larger products or prints.

If you stretch a smaller resolution file too much, it ends up looking grainy and pixelated. That’s why it’s important you always design in larger environments and dimensions because scaling down is more accurate than scaling back up.

The common file format for 3D printing designs is STL, or standard triangle language format. The design—when printed—is translated into triangles in a wider 3D space, which makes it easier for the printers and related hardware to construct the resulting item.

Similar to visual design, you don’t want the resolution or file size of your blueprint to be too big, or too small. Too big means the internal content will be too much for machines and other designers to handle. Too small means no one will ever be able to get a quality print out of your STL.

The solution is to consider not just the file resolution, but something called “tolerance” in the world of 3D modeling.

3D Printing Is Not So Different

At a glance, it seems as though 3D printing, and designing for the medium, are much different than the current work you do in graphic and visual design. That’s not necessarily the case though, as both forms of design require you to have working knowledge of modern digital software and tools.

Sure, you might use a different tool to design say, an infographic or visual model than you would a 3D STL file, but the concepts and mechanics are similar.

As long as you mind the tips discussed here, you should do just fine. If you haven’t already started learning how to work with 3D modeling and design tools, you might want to get on that as soon as possible.

The market for additive and manufacturing products and services—which will call for reliable designers and visual artists—is predicted to increase by as much as seven times the current rate by 2020. At that time, the market value is expected to surpass $20 billion.


Featured image via Unsplash

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Top Differences Between Graphic Designer and UI Designer

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When one mentions design people quickly assume that one is talking about graphic design. However, in website design and development, designing is diverse with more than just graphic design. This diversity has been brought by the advancement in technology where new and more specialized design tools are being developed. Comparing the two including the work they […]

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Take your web development skills to new heights

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If you're hoping to leverage your programming skills in the job market, one of the best ways to do just that is by learning full stack development. With the Complete Full Stack Web Development Master Class Bundle, you'll gain mastery in the hottest web frameworks and technologies to become the most sought after coder out there. You'll begin with learning the basics like HTML, CSS, PHP, and MySQL before moving into more advanced concepts like React and Redux, Angular 7, NodeJS, and Angular. 

Across all the courses, you'll get to put your new skills to the test and build a bevy of projects from scratch. By the time you finish, you'll have the knowledge and resources to develop beautiful and dynamic applications. The Complete Full Stack Web Development Master Class Bundle usually retails for $693, but you can get it today for just $29.

Read more:

The best laptops for programming right nowThe future of web designWeb design tools to help you work smarter

20 Best New Portfolios, February 2019

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Welcome back, Readers! It’s February, and I don’t think I have a single pink or chocolate-themed site anywhere in the mix. Ah well…

I really shouldn’t have typed that. Now I want to either eat some peanut-butter and chocolate goodies, or base a design on that color scheme. I probably will.

Anyway, we’ve got a generally mixed bag of portfolios for you to check out, with a number of aggressively monochromatic designs in there. Enjoy!

Note: I’m judging these sites by how good they look to me. If they’re creative and original, or classic but really well-done, it’s all good to me. Sometimes, UX and accessibility suffer. For example, many of these sites depend on JavaScript to display their content at all; this is a Bad Idea™, kids. If you find an idea you like and want to adapt to your own site, remember to implement it responsibly.

Rob Weychert

Rob Weychert’s portfolio may not be new as such, but I just found it… and probably should have found it sooner. He used to be a designer at Happy Cog, and is now at ProPublica, so you should expect earthy tones and fantastic typography. He sells his expertise mostly through his client list and his extensive blog, using the “go look at my work, it’s super famous” approach to marketing.

Well, it works.

Platform: Static Site (as far as I can tell)

Transatlantic Film Orchestra

The Transatlantic Film Orchestra do exactly what you think they do. Music for video. And on their website, they do it right: no music plays when you load the site. All you get is a calm, dark, and monochromatic one-page portfolio.

I do particularly like the implementation of the audio players, though. The Morse code, the grainy photos, it all works.

Platform: WordPress

Ramon Gilabert

Ramon Gilabert’s portfolio brings us a calming and classic minimalist design combined with some beautifully-used SVG graphics. Mind you, it’s a little confusing when you click on the “social” link in the navigation, as the social links are practically hidden at the bottom, on the right, and on their side. Otherwise, it’s a beautiful and charming design.

Platform: Static Site

Charlie Gray

Charlie gray’s portfolio is full of cinematic-looking photography and Hollywood celebrities, so this layout that feels like a cross between a magazine layout and a PowerPoint is actually right on the money. I’d almost be disappointed if a site like this wasn’t loaded down with a bit too much JS.

In the end, it’s the images that sell everything anyway.

Platform: WordPress

Jordy van den Nieuwendijk

This portfolio is pretty much an art gallery, and it embraces the theme with a full-screen slideshow on the home page, lots of white space, and monospaced type. It’s a classic approach and it hold up well in this case.

Platform: Static Site

Atelier Florian Markl

Atelier Florian Markl has taken the inherent “blockiness” of web design and absolutely run with it. The theme of the day is rectangles and bold colors. You might have a hard time seeing anything, but once your eyes adjust to the glare, you won’t forget this highly modernist design in a hurry.

Platform: Joomla

Nathan Mudaliar

Nathan Mudaliar’s copywriting portfolio may not be the fanciest out there, but it is a master class in showcasing your work creatively. There’s a sort of conversational bit of UI where he showcases his work in different “voices”, interactive examples of his copywriting techniques, and more.

It’s a bit hard sell, perhaps, but you can’t argue with results.

Platform: Static site


WebinWord know how to to stick to a theme. This minimal-ish but highly animated site manages to use the shape of their logo mark all over just about every page. And weirdly enough, it works.

Platform: WordPress


Okalpha goes right for bright colors and pseudo-3D graphics to catch your attention. Honestly, they’re using the same colors and shapes people have been using on us since we were toddlers, so why wouldn’t it work? Slightly kid-ish or not, I think it works.

Platform: Custom CMS (Probably)

Makoto Hirao

Makoto Hirao’s portfolio is ticking a lot of boxes for me, including great type, good use of imagery, and a horizontal home page layout that I actually really like, and that feels intuitive.

My only real criticism would the the usual one about JS dependence.

Platform: Custom CMS

Lydia Amaruch

Lydia Amaruch brings us a beautiful grid-themed portfolio (I am, as always, a sucker for this look) combined with some fantastic illustrations, and decidedly modernist layout. Some bits are weirdly low-contrast, but it’s a darned pretty site overall.

Platform: Static Site

The Sweetshop

The Sweetshop, being a video production company, naturally puts a lot of video front and center with the dark layout you’d expect. But even so, their typography game is surprisingly strong, and there’s not a serif in sight. Even their press releases look pretty.

Platform: WordPress

Noughts & Ones

Noughts and Ones is another agency that’s sticking to their theme, with their branding being a big part of their site’s aesthetic. Other than that, it’s pretty classic minimalism. I personally adore their footer.

Is that a weird thing to say?

Platform: Squarespace

Margaux Leroy

If I had to describe Margaux Leryo’s portfolio—and I do, that’s my job—I’d call it a fusion of ‘90s era futurist design with more modern trends. It’s dark, it’s sleek, and some of the text might be a little too small and low-contrast.

Why did we think text would be that small in the future anyway? Did we think everyone would have augmented eyes?

Anyway, flaws aside, it looks fantastic.

Platform: Static Site (as far as I know)

Julia Kostreva

Julia Kostreva’s portfolio keeps it simple with some pseudo-asymmetry and soft tones. As a branding designer, she lets that branding work do, well, most of the work. And it works.

Platform: Squarespace

Baibakov Art Projects

Baibakov Art Projects takes the monochromatic to another level, and the animations are only sometimes in the way. It’s tall, dark, and elegant, like the work it features. Fantastic use of asymmetry, too.

Platform: Static Site


Kolaps has a decidedly modernist design that feels at once very “business-friendly” and quite eye-catching. It’s classic minimalism come back again with a touch of sci-fi futurism and particle effects.

Platform: Custom CMS (I think)

Betty Montarou

Betty Montarou’s portfolio is kept dead simple with a sort of “click to collage” method of showing off her work. It keeps the whole experience down to about two pages, and only shows off the very best of what she does.

Platform: Static Site

Jordan Sowers

Jordan Sower’s portfolio is another artsy one that sort of mimics the art gallery aesthetic a little. Still, it’s pretty. It’s interesting in that it functions as a portfolio and a store at the same time, but the store is kept almost hidden unless you actually click a link to buy something. It’s a store without the hard sell, and so it’s free to be artistic in its own right.

Platform: Static Site


And finishing off our list we have another monochromatic design with Heller. It’s modern, it’s pretty, and it has an interesting approach to the collage patterns we see everywhere. This one is definitely going for a futurist feel, even as it’s grounded in the trends of yester-month.

I like the horizontal swipe-in animation they use for images. I mean, if you’re going to animate everything, why not give it that Star WarsTM feel?

Platform: Static Site

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