Surreal Photography by Julie Waroquier

Julie WaroquierJulie Waroquier is a self taught french photographer, I have featured images from her project titled "Ex-Pressure". Since 2010 she has won several national and international awards, one being the "International Emerging Artist Award". Also, at the end of 2012 Julie published her own book called "Dreamalities" which has recently been made as a short […]
Inspiration Hut – Everything Art and Design

Freebies wednesday

Every wednesday, we share a few freebies that’ll make your designer toolbox a bit more useful.

Cooking icon set

A hand-drawn icon set downloadable for free.


Pure CSS3 loaders

A set of 10 pure CSS3 loading animations to use in your next projects. Coded by Johan Hanchin.



A gorgeous geometric grotesque typeface.


Clean animated input labels

A set of 10 unique clean animated input labels without placeholder attribute and focus selector to support IE 7-9. Coded by Oliver Knoblich.


Lorem ipsum generator

With this free Adobe plugin, designers are able to generate lorem ipsum directly within Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign & Dreamweaver!


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Design daily news

Design Dilemma: Afraid to Start One’s Career


When I receive a message, asking for help with a dilemma, I try to research the person’s background first. If they have an online portfolio, I check their work samples. If they have a LinkedIn profile, I look at their experience. It’s the best way to offer advice that’s not below their experience level, and avoid coming across as insulting.

Unfortunately, sometimes what I find is disappointing and shocking. It’s the same feeling one gets when you find a 1960s Playboy magazine at a flea market and you realize the centerfold is your grandmother.

The Dilemma

Aside from being surprised that grandma was quite the “hottie” in her younger days, sometimes surprises reveal something even more shocking. So, join us as we delve into another shocking surprise Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design.

Serita G. responded to my posting a Design Dilemma article link on an AIGA chapter group on Facebook and asked a popular question that graduates often ask; “how do I find clients?”

I answered with a long post on the thread about self promotion and marketing, only to be met with a nasty response, arguing all of the points I had made. I listed some of my experience as a studio owner in NYC and hoped she might stop her rants and listen to my advice. She didn’t.

“She broke down and admitted she was scared to try. I’ve seen this before and tried to give her a pep talk, but she just got angrier and more abusive.”

I knew many people in that chapter as I had spoken there recently and received a private message from a friend, telling me not to get involved in a war of words with this woman as she had graduated six years ago and always showed up on design groups or at design events, arguing with people about the industry and business practices.

Not one to back away from a young designer, looking for help (even with a bad attitude), I asked her why she was being so argumentative with professional advice when she had no experience. She broke down and admitted she was scared to try. I’ve seen this before and tried to give her a pep talk, but she just got angrier and more abusive.

Why would someone go through four years of art school (and pay $ 40,000+ for it) but not want to actually enter the field? Perhaps the horror stories we tell for fun and sites like Clients From Hell frighten more easily frightened?

How Can Young Designers Learn Business?

Unfortunately, many art schools have become diploma factories, rather than schools of study and dedication to creativity. Online courses and for-profit “institutes” teach software but not actual design skills. Even established art schools shy away from teaching professional practices, turning out the type of freelancers despised by professional designers for lowering rates and soiling respect for other designers (ever meet with a prospective client who complains about how the last designer screwed up a project?).

While Serita’s question was legitimate, her fear made her attack sensible solutions as she was afraid of implementing. If she, as well as other students were trained as to how to survive as a designer, it would build confidence in them, hopefully diminishing their fear of what is a very difficult business.

Why is There so Much Fear?

We are in an unregulated, unprotected and misunderstood profession. Art schools often don’t teach professional practices because most creatives couldn’t tell students how to bumble through as the teachers did. I’ve spoken with some people hired to teach professional practices courses and they are usually not qualified to do so, but school administrators don’t know what requirements one would need to teach such things and most of all, the harder you make the industry sound to students, the more who will drop out and find new careers and ways to spend tuition money.

“Most students think they will sit like honored guests, undisturbed at their computers, designing, “vaping” and listening to music.”

Even after decades of experience, there’s always a new client who will throw us for a loop when it comes to running a professional business. It will never change. Clients come up with new demands, new reasons for not paying and new excuses for immense scope creep. These are the horror stories creatives like to share on the web and at gatherings. Is it any wonder young designers just starting out are terrified? Just reading a few passages on Clients From Hell will wither the life force of the most experienced professional.

When I lived in New York, I would give a two-hour lecture to seniors at art schools in the various schools in the city on entering the profession. Inevitably, three or four students would run in tears to the dean of students, complaining that no teacher had ever told them how hard it would be to work in the field. My talks included not only freelance, but the situations that arise in office power plays. Most students think they will sit like honored guests, undisturbed at their computers, designing, “vaping” and listening to music. I still laugh when a student tells me that’s how it really is at design jobs.

I’ve heard way too many incorrect ideas from students and recent graduates about how easy it will be for them to enter the field and the following three weeks it will take for them to become creative directors.

“Oh, I’ll just get an agent to bring me work,” said one student.

“People will find me through my website,” said another.

“My school has a placement center/job bulletin board,” reply too many students.

Who is to Blame?

Why do young creatives feel that entering the industry is a skip through a field of flowers and free vials of “dub” or become terrified at the prospect of leaving the “easy-to-get-laid,” safe, warm art school rooms for the horror world that lay beyond the doorstep? Because of what we, the seasoned professionals tell them. You want to be encouraging but at the same time, you want them to succeed and not drag down the industry with “pie-in-the-sky-thinking.”

The sad truth is, graduating from any school, in any field is no guarantee of an easy life or even getting a job. If Serita is too afraid to take the first step into her chosen field of study, she will need to find something else or, as my friend told me when he warned me about getting involved in any discussion with her, be happy with her waitressing job… like customer service there is any easier or more pleasant!

Send Us Your Dilemma!

Do you have a design dilemma? Speider Schneider will personally answer your questions — just send your dilemma to

Image © GL Stock Images

Design Shack

Type Design Finally Arrives at TED

Well, that was rather unexpected. Yesterday the Twitterverse – by way of the inimitable Tobias Frere-Jones, type designer extraordinaire and (co-)creator of some of the most popular typefaces out there – alerted me to the fact that type design had indeed landed on planet TED. Living legend Matthew Carter is one of the very few (the only?) type designers to have worked in all technologies. He started cutting type in metal, then designed typefaces for every subsequent technology, and currently is at the forefront of digital type design optimised for on screen reading. That’s right, not simply doing it but actually leading the pack. So it is only fitting that he would be the one to introduce the audience at TED to this arcane craft last month. His talk My Life in Typefaces “takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font”.

It is sobering to witness the reserved reception by the TED audience. Then again, you could wonder if it is possible (or even advisable) to condense such a rich and multifaceted career in a mere 16 minutes. Furthermore, engaging a general audience with a talk about such a specialised topic is extremely difficult – remember the talk is about type design, not the more general field of typography. I am with Oliver Reichenstein, who remarked “Type design not only ‘hides its methods’ it hides its beauty and importance”, and concluded this “[s]hows how far removed from common perception we are in our passions”. I’ll take that over an epiphimony any day.

The FontShop FontFeed

Fabulous illustrated ping-pong paddles are a smash

Read more about Fabulous illustrated ping-pong paddles are a smash at

Uberpong want to reinvent ping-pong for the greater good

Creative Bloq

James Victore: Burning Questions : The graphic designer’s web series serves up a dose of sage wisdom for the creative set

James Victore: Burning Questions

The lives of designers, freelancers and creatives are fraught with ups and downs. Projects come, contracts go, clients run the gamut from perfect to impossible, and sometimes the creative juices just don’t flow when they’re most needed. No one knows this better than beacon…

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Cool Hunting

Amid rumors of a buyout and reports of cash crunch, is Square all boxed in?

Not so long ago, Square was flying high. Its CEO, Jack Dorsey, was being called the next Steve Jobs and bankers were reportedly salivating at the prospect of taking it public. But in the last few months its prospects seemed to have soured, at least according to the press. A recent report from the Wall Street Journal said that Square is running low on money and engaged in talks with multiple companies about possibly getting acquired.

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The Verge – All Posts

Matthew Carter: My life in Typefaces

If you’re one of those typography maniachs probably Matthew Carter is your idol. Some time ago Matthew was invited to TED. Let’s see what we can learn from a hereditary designer.

Less CSS Preprocessor Toolbox

It is common knowledge that CSS has a very powerful syntax. However, if you are working on a smaller project or something that does not utilize every other feature of CSS, this very powerful syntax can become an extra baggage to deal with. To cope with such scenarios, we can make use of CSS preprocessors such as Less.

Built by Alexis Sellier, Less is a CSS preprocessor, which means it includes functionality that extends the functionality of CSS. Thus, if you need a preprocessor that makes CSS more extendable and customizable, and at the same time retains its light-weight fabric, Less is the way to go!

Advantages of Less

This is what Less brings to the table:

  • Nested syntax
  • Ability to define variables
  • Ability to define mixins
  • File joining
  • Mathematical functions
  • Operational functions

So, now that we have discussed the benefits of using Less, how do we get started with it? This post talks about everything you will need to get started with Less within minutes. Without wasting anymore time, let us check out the resources!

less.js CSS preprocessor logo hero

Getting Started with Less

First up, tools and resources to help us get started with Less.

Less Editors

Eager to start coding in Less but unsure which editor to use? Check these out!

WinLess for Windows →

If you are an MS Windows user, WinLess is your best bet when it comes to Windows GUI for Less.js.

WinLess is your best bet when it comes to Windows GUI for CSS preprocessor Less.js for Mac → is a Less editor meant for Mac users. is a CSS preprocessor Less editor meant for Mac users

SimpLESS Adobe Air App →

SimpLESS is a Less compiler with a minimal and no-nonsense approach. It is available for multiple platforms, including Windows and Mac.

SimpLESS is a Less compiler with a minimal and no-nonsense approach

Crunch! Adobe Air App →

Crunch! lets you write your Less markup and crunch it into a CSS file, and thereafter link the crunched CSS file in your HTML. It requires Adobe AIR to work.

Crunch! lets you write your Less markup and crunch it into a CSS file

Koala for Windows →

Koala is a GUI application that lets you compile markup in SASS, Compass, CoffeeScript and of course, Less. It is cross-platform and supports Linux, Windows and Mac.

Koala is a GUI application that lets you compile markup in SASS, Compass, CoffeeScript and of course, Less

Less Tools & Apps

Now that you have understood the basics of Less and already grabbed your favorite editor/compiler, it’s time to check out some additional tools and apps to help you do more with Less.js

Fishsticss →

Fishsticss lets you easily convert your existing markup to Less. You can choose whether or not to preserve comments in the markup.

Css2Less →

CSS2Less is yet another online tool that lets you convert your existing CSS markup to Less within minutes.

LESS CSS is More (LESS Playground) →

LESS CSS is More (LESS Playground) does the opposite of Css2Less — it converts existing Less markup to usual CSS.

WP-LESS WordPress Plugin →

WP-LESS is a plugin that lets you implement Less in your WordPress themes. You can simply focus on the code, and the plugin will handle mundane tasks such as cache management and user delivery all by itself. You can also bundle the plugin with your theme without worrying about conflicts.

Essential Less Mixins

Here are some of the most popular and essential Less Mixins that you should take a look at!

LESS Hat Mixin Library →

LESS Hat is a Less mixin library that offers a wide range of features, such as SVG gradients for IE9, keyframes and unlimited gradients and transitions.

LESS Hat is a Less mixin library that offers a wide range of features

Preboot →

Preboot is a collection of Less utilities, including mixins such as transitions and gradients.

LESS Elements →

LESS Elements is a collection of basic Less mixins that focus on cross-browser compatibility.

Less CSS Toolkit →

Less CSS Toolkit is a collection of reusable Less mixins for animations, transitions, gradients and other effects.

Clearless →

Clearless is a simple library of reusable and flexible Less mixins.


LESS DSS offers a collection of mixins such as backgrounds, borders, 2D/3D transforms, transitions, etc.

LESS DSS offers a collection of mixins such as backgrounds

CSS3 Mixins →

CSS3 Mixins is a collection of mixins for STYL, SASS and Less.

Shape.LESS →

Shape.LESS offers Less mixins for various geometric shapes.

Sublime Text Less Extensions

Following are some of the most popular Sublime Text Extensions for Less users.

  • LESS Syntax Highlighting →
    LESS Syntax Highlighting provides syntax highlighting (well, doh!) for Less files, alongside snippets and completions.
  • CSS Less(ish) →
    CSS Less(ish) lets you use variables and nesting in your CSS files.
  • LESS-Build →
    LESS-Build provides two build systems for Less files — minified and non-minified.
  • Less2Css →
    Less2Css is a Sublime Text 2 plugin that automatically compiles Less files to CSS, as soon as you hit save.

Less-Powered Web Frameworks

This section enlists some of the popular web frameworks powered by Less.

Emerald →

Emerald is a responsive grid system that is built with Less and features a fixed width grid.

Emerald is a responsive grid system that is built with Less

Frameless →

Frameless allows you to build column-adoptable fixed width grids and is especially useful for those who prefer responsive design but do not wish to work with fluid width layouts.

Satus Framework →

Satus Framework is a minimal and mobile-first responsive framework based on HTML5 Boilerplate and Less. It includes Less mixins for semantic grid support.

Grdlss →

Grdlss is a Less framework that lets you build your own grids within minutes.

Responsable →

Responsable is a clean, minimal and responsive framework with nested columns, baseline grid support and in-built typographic styles.

Schema →

Schema is a light and responsive UI framework meant for frontend developers.

Fraction.less →

Fraction.less is a web development boilerplate with custom workflows. It is well integrated with Less.js but you can also choose to use plain CSS if you so desire.Fraction.less is a web development boilerplate with custom workflows

The Semantic Grid System →

The Semantic Grid System lets you work with page layouts. You can specify column and gutter widths and several other relevant details. It runs on Less, SASS and Stylus.

typebase.css →

typebase.css is a minimal and customizable typography stylesheet. It supports both Less and SASS.typebase.css is a minimal and customizable typography stylesheet

Less+ Framework →

Less+ Framework lets you build websites that adapt their content depending on the screen resolution.

Bootstrap →

Bootstrap is an extremely popular Less-powered front-end framework meant for developing responsive and mobile-first projects.Bootstrap is an extremely popular front-end framework

FoundationLess →

FoundationLess extends the ZURB Foundation framework using Less, to include additional features such as a global color palette, etc.FoundationLess extends the ZURB Foundation framework using Less

960-LESS →

960-Less combines the 960 Grid System with Less.js in order to make use of Less features such as mixins and variables.

FatUI →

FatUI is a UI framework based in Less that provides pretty forms, buttons and other input fields.

Less Grid →

Less Grid is a light-weight framework that offers a cross-browser platform for building responsive websites.

Less-Powered WordPress Frameworks

Lastly, we have some of the most popular Less.js powered WordPress frameworks for you.

Bones →

Bones is an HTML5, Less.js (or Sass) powered mobile-first starter theme for rapid WP development.Bones is an HTML5, Less.js or Sass powered mobile-first starter theme


JBST is a theme framework for creating child themes for WordPress. It is built on the top of Bootstrap 3 and is full customizable with LESS.

Less WordPress →

Not a framework as such, the Less is a super minimal Less.js powered WordPress theme (both frontend and backend). It only uses the minimum requirements that WordPress needs, a stylesheet, screenshot and the index page. A great starting point for development.

That brings us to the end of this collection of helpful Less resources. Share your views in the comments below!

The post Less CSS Preprocessor Toolbox appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Speckyboy Design Magazine

Wear No Evil: A new book from Greta Eagan shows that sustainability and style are no longer mutually exclusive

Wear No Evil

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 14.3 million tons of textiles waste were generated in 2012—that’s not necessarily something you think about when trying to wiggle into a pair of jeans in the fitting room. There have been great creative…

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Cool Hunting