Hack Design
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Creating a Unique Personal Design Style

We’re all scrambling to be different and own our own slice of the design scene. Because of trends and the type of design that we’re exposed to, we all end up consuming the same art and influenced by the same design. Thus, we end up making work that looks similar.

Meg Lewis
Meg Lewis

Start Learning 3D

Hey, this is Devon! I'm the creator of 3D for Designers. Last week, we talked about designing for the exciting world of augmented reality (AR). AR enriches your physical environment with an overlay of graphics and data, and is one of several platforms paving the future of desi...

Devon Ko
Devon Ko

Designing for Augmented Reality

The definition of augment is to "make (something) greater by adding to it." Augmented Reality (AR) is technology that sets out to do just that by adding a layer of data over the physical world. AR can be experienced in several ways, ranging from smartphones to wearable headset...

Bushra Mahmood
Bushra Mahmood

Design System Fundamentals

Design systems create a bridge between designers and developers. They describe the rules, constraints, and principles of your company’s design language. Design systems aren't exactly new. If you've ever visited New York City, there's a good chance you've benefited from the sub...

Diana Mounter
Diana Mounter

Getting started with design research

Design research is the systemic investigation of users and their needs. It employs various methodologies that will help you make more informed decisions when building your products.

Joel Califa
Joel Califa

User On-boarding and the New User Experience

The moment from sign-up (or download) to actual use is the most important ‘moment’ in any product’s design. Everything you do (or don’t do) matters — especially in a product that wants to attract a large consumer audience. It’s the biggest opportunity to frame your product, gu...

Matt Brown
Matt Brown

User Research with Jobs To Be Done Interviews

Doing a bit of research before starting a project can save you from years of building the wrong product. In product design, typical research efforts center around understanding user demographics or personas. At their best, personas are incomplete, missing crucial information a...

Alex Baldwin
Alex Baldwin

Designs that convert

Great designers don’t solely focus on making things pretty. They often also focus on the business goals, like getting more customers and increasing sales, which help you justify your salary and help you get ahead faster in your career. The most effective designs that convert d...

Daniel Zarick
Daniel Zarick

Designing Data

Making sense of an infinitely complex world through pictures is not new — Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man allowed a viewer to intimately understand the proportion of the human body within a single, elegant diagram. Yet outside the realm of academia and science journals, we’ve now fou...

James De Angelis
James De Angelis

How to Prove Your Design’s Value

One of the larger open questions in our industry is how to prove the value of our work – especially when others might think it’s hard to measure. Why do we keep hearing about ways to pull up a seat at the table ? Why do so many businesses still hire a fleet of developers first...

Nick Disabato
Nick Disabato

Closing the creative gap

If you find yourself looking at products and thinking “how the hell do I design something as good as that”, then this is for you. You can take comfort in knowing that the designers who made whatever it is you’re drooling over also had to figure out how to close this gap of rec...

Kathleen Warner
Kathleen Warner

Run your first Design Sprint

What if you knew exactly what product to make for your users? Design sprints are the fastest way to learn what your users want without having to actually build and launch. The goal of a design sprint is to answer a focused business question by building a prototype and testing ...

Xander Pollock
Xander Pollock

Finale: A field guide to being better at design by being self aware

Being great at design is as much about knowing the theory as it is about knowing your own areas of growth as a designer. As the Hack Design course comes to a close with this last lesson, I want to point to a few resources that will help you understand yourself better as a desi...

Tuhin Kumar
Tuhin Kumar

Vim as a Design Tool

For many designers, editing and writing text comprises a large chunk of our work. Whether it's writing down ideas, editing code, or comprising an email, text-editing makes up a non-trivial part of our day. With this in mind we'll explore how and why we could use Vim, a command...

Adam Morse
Adam Morse

Why Design?

“Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question – you have to want to know – in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.” – Cla...

Alex Baldwin
Alex Baldwin

How To Get Your First Design Job With No Experience

Last week, we examined a few different paths designers can take in their careers. Developing your soft skills—and gaining confidence in them—is essential in transitioning to the professional world of design. But when you have no work experience under your belt, how do you show...

Devon Ko
Devon Ko

Kickstarting Your Design Career

Formal design education is lacking in many areas, which means being proactive about your education in the beginning stages of your career will greatly benefit you when you step out into the real world. A solid body of work in your portfolio will get you noticed, but it's your ...

Janna Hagan
Janna Hagan

Design Your Mobile App For Multiple Platforms

These days it has become commonplace – if not necessary – for mobile apps to be designed across multiple platforms. Whether you’re starting from scratch or adapting an existing app to a new OS, the biggest challenge when designing for multiple platforms is balancing the consis...

Nikki Will
Nikki Will

Win The Internet With A/B Testing

Designing websites and building products for people is an exciting job. You get to use creativity and problem solving skills to create, in some cases, world-changing solutions. The most exciting part of this, however, is being able to run user-research sessions and A/B tests t...

Manik Rathee
Manik Rathee

Designing With Your Ears

Design starts before you even draw your first sketch. As a designer, your goal is to impact people's life in a positive and meaningful way. But how to make sure your product will actually solve a real problem? How do you make sure your target audience will actually use it? Her...

Arthur Bodolec
Arthur Bodolec

The All Encompassing User Experience

One thing product designers and companies must try their best to excel in, is the art of creating a product that is built with empathy. In doing so, you have the ability to create a great user experience. UX is more than just visual and interaction design. It’s in the way you ...

Cat Noone
Cat Noone

Prototyping Advanced Mobile Interactions with Framer

As motion and animations become more and more important in UI design, designers have started searching for the best tools to help them add a layer of interactivity to their work. You might have heard about After Effects, Quartz Composer or Xcode before in this context.

Cemre Güngör
Cemre Güngör

Essentials to tame a wild beast - Pushing prototypes with Quartz Composer

Recent shifts in mobile design means we must also shift our thinking. The use of motion and animation plays an essential part in conveying the personality of your work. Think of your favorite apps and Im sure you can pick out an interaction coupled with animation that makes ea...

Dave O Brien
Dave O Brien

The Human Element

User interfaces consist of so much more than a series of mockups, typography choices or error states. The interactions that happen beyond the static are those that introduce life into your interface — enabling you to reward your users’ proficiency, increase positive emotions, ...

Scott Hurff
Scott Hurff

Animation, Direct Manipulation & Feedback

When we talk about Animation and Direct Manipulation in interfaces they can often seem like completely disconnected concepts. You might explain direct manipulation as a user sliding a slider; or animation by showing a list updating by shifting around. However both of these con...

Ben Taylor
Ben Taylor

A Holistic Guide to Product Design

Product Design is the process of identifying a market opportunity, clearly defining the problem and then developing a robust solution to take to market. An effective Product Designer (in the software space) possesses multidisciplinary skills across business, user research, in...

Joseph Huang
Joseph Huang

Designing Habit-Forming Products

How do companies design experiences to repeatedly engage users? Designing for habits builds upon the principles of consumer psychology to create new routines.

Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal

The Little Things Matter

As the bar for great design keeps getting higher and higher, having a keen attention to detail will help your products stand apart from the crowd. Your app should delight its users, whether that's through a beautifully executed feature, organic interface design, or even just h...

Kyle Bragger
Kyle Bragger

Designing Quality Products

It's time to stop churning out software and start creating quality products. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Design and Development tools are advanced. Let's focus on what really matters.

Nathan Manousos
Nathan Manousos

Summer Vacation!

We hope you've been enjoying Hack Design so far! As we prepare to finish up the second half of the year, take this week to go back and complete any lessons you haven't finished yet.

Wells Riley
Wells Riley

Designing with Grids

The human brain has a penchant for identifying patterns, decoding them, then recoding them for later reuse. Not only does this cycle make it easier for us to understand the world around us, but it helps us constantly improve the tools we use to interact with it. Perhaps one of...

Reda Lemeden
Reda Lemeden

It's All Just Systems Design

As someone who designs and codes, I find new similarities between visual design and programming every day. At Segment.io I work on all of our visual design, but also on our Javascript library and components. I've found the same principles to apply to both fields, and I think i...

Ian Storm Taylor
Ian Storm Taylor

Designing with Code

Some designers are terrified of touching code and others simply prefer other tools. Many of those who try it out, though, discover that web technologies are not only for implementing production-quality applications: they are immensely powerful in the design stages, whether for...

Chris Lee
Chris Lee

Cultivating Compassion

Being a great designer isn’t just about devising the best possible solution; it’s about making sure we’re solving the right problem. To do so, we need to hone our listening skills and deepen our capacity for empathy — both for our users and our colleagues. This requires being ...

Whitney Hess
Whitney Hess

Effective Behavior Design

Part of designing a user experience is convincing the user to behave a certain way in order to reach a specific outcome. For example, right now I'm asking you to read articles, watch a video, and fill out a form to become better skilled at design.

Alex Baldwin
Alex Baldwin

Creative problem solving and everyday design

Design is about an open and inspired way of working. It's about solving problems, and that's applicable to anyone, whether you're a CEO, graphic designer, middle school teacher, or MBA student. Abstracted from it's traditional graphic or industrial roots, design is now being a...

Andy Hagerman
Andy Hagerman

Content Strategy for Interfaces

The design of your idea – its simplicity, usability and ability to hook and delight people – is the reason your product could succeed when others fail. But design isn’t just about color swatches, logos or the placement of buttons and labels. It’s about creating an environment ...

Amy Thibodeau
Amy Thibodeau

Power to the People – Mastering Human-Centered Design

The importance of user-centered design is well-established. This blunt statement from Dieter Rams says it all: "In my eyes, indifference towards people and the lives they lead is the only sin a designer can commit." But it's a significant challenge to translate high-level, hum...

Chad Mazzola
Chad Mazzola

Using Icons in Interfaces

With the proliferation of mobile devices, icons play an increasingly important role in interface design. Icons can help aid in scannability, save space at smaller screen sizes, and afford clear, tappable targets. That said, icons can cause user confusion and frustration when u...

Brent Jackson
Brent Jackson

Mobile App Analytics Is Not That Special

There are a handful of special concepts that are important in mobile analytics, but most of the concepts people use in building out custom web analytics are very transferable to mobile app development. 4 of the 5 items below come from the general analytics or web analytics ec...

Kyle Wild
Kyle Wild

Designing for Mobile Web

If we've entered any particular age or genre in web development, it's most likely that of accessibility. We can now view web pages on almost any device and, WiFi permitting, from almost anywhere in the world. What's even cooler is that we finally have the tools to make web pag...

Julie Ann Horvath
Julie Ann Horvath

Designing your first iPhone App

It's undeniable that mobile devices have become a huge part of modern society. Similar to what the web did, iOS has revolutionized what digital products can be by giving them a home. The huge difference, however, are the two foundations. iOS is much different than the web in t...

Brian Benitez
Brian Benitez

Deciding What's Good: Design Principles

Design is (by nature) a subjective thing. It's also a team sport. When making design decisions about look or feel or content, disagreement is common and tensions can emerge. So how do you decide what "good" is for your product?

Kate Rutter
Kate Rutter

Achieving Visual Hierarchy

One of the key principles of design is visual hierarchy, which encompasses almost everything you’ve learned on Hack Design so far. Whether you’re dealing with screen or print media, you have content—words and images—that needs to be organized into a layout. Visual hierarchy is...

Lise Statelman
Lise Statelman

White Space: Designing the Invisible

No matter what visual style is hot, no matter what great product you're using, every piece of good design uses "white space" well. I'm using this as a blanket term, not only to mean "negative space," (or places where there just isn't any stuff, like typography or imagery), but...

David Kadavy
David Kadavy

Building Color Confidence

Color is a powerful form of communication. We are so attracted to color and so repelled by it that even if the coolest design were presented to us, if we didn't like the color, we wouldn't like it at all.

Joanne Chang
Joanne Chang

UI Design with Purpose

The purpose of UI design, above all else, is to deliver content and make visual sense of well planned out UX. The often debated battle between flat versus skeuomorphic design poses us a pivotal style decision in how we allow the content to communicate through our designs.

Travis Silverman
Travis Silverman

Making the content flow: introducing responsive web design

Almost three years ago now, Ethan Marcotte introduced responsive web design. So far there were as many lovers as haters and many argued about the difference between responsiveness and native, mobile design. In the era of almost unlimited connectivity and wide variety of device...

Karolina Szczur
Karolina Szczur

The Medium and Mechanics of Iconography

Iconography is arguably the Esperanto of the digital world. Icons cannot replace the written word, yet they serve as cognitive waypoints for areas of interest and/or interaction. Iconography can also be an efficient way to communicate a concept in a small amount of space, whic...

P.J. Onori
P.J. Onori

Vector Interface Design

User Interface design plays a very important role as the translator in the communication between the user and the application's back-end or core functionality. It's purpose is to make the user feel comfortable interacting with and understanding your product. Most of a UI desig...

Jeff Broderick
Jeff Broderick

Understanding the User in User Experience

Effective user experience starts with a good understanding of your users. Not only do you want to know who they are, but you want to dive deeper into understanding their motivations, mentality, and behavior. This deep insight into your users will help you keep your product foc...

Grace Ng
Grace Ng

Defining & Expanding User Experience

Newton's 3rd Law says, "To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction". In my opinion this is the best way to describe an experience. Experiences ultimately define our lives. When we are young, we have no experiences thus our artifact is of little knowledge. When w...

Patrick Algrim
Patrick Algrim

Rapid Prototyping Tools & Best Practices

Rapid prototyping can mean the difference between quickly finding your path to a successful product and toiling away at a pipe-dream for months. Putting together a prototype will force you to think through the details and user experience of your product ideas. Once you have a ...

Joe Robinson
Joe Robinson

An Introduction to User Experience Design

It took our industry a number of years to fully understand how important user experience (UX) is to everything that we build. Now that we can measure and confirm the relationship between good UX and successful websites, UX skills are in high demand: PayScale shows a median wag...

Dan Zambonini
Dan Zambonini

Typography in Practice, and Where to Go from Here

The goal of this last lesson in typography is to provide a wide-angle view of this fascinating field, and highlight resources from some of its best practitioners to direct you as you continue your studies beyond this course. The first three links focus on the technical aspects...

Moiz Syed
Moiz Syed

Responsive Typography In Action

Typography has always been at the foundation of design & communication. We're at an interesting point in time where we're being given previously unknown amounts of control over our work, but also new & scary challenges as we try to adapt to an ever-changing sea of devi...

Jon Gold
Jon Gold

Exploring the World of Typefaces

When we look back at black and white movies, we marvel at the results they could achieve without color. Despite this, we can agree color film was a good invention: you can still shoot in black and white, but color gives an extra dimension and opens up a lot of new avenues for ...

Sacha Greif
Sacha Greif

Typography in Product Design

A few weeks ago we were introduced to the art of type, and gained a basic understanding of the rules surrounding it. But where does it all fit in? Of what value is typography to the interfaces we interact with on a regular basis?

Jared Erondu
Jared Erondu

Know Your Tools

The phrase "a poor workman always blames his tools" has always bugged me — poor tools hinder the quality of your work. Great workers blame their tools too! If they're not performing, they should be blamed. You simply can't do your best work without amazing tools and the skills...

Marc Edwards
Marc Edwards

The Amazing New Mobile Web

It's no surprise that the amount of people browsing the web on a mobile device is speeding past desktop usage with no sign of slowing down. More and more people are getting their hands on a pocket sized device that is connected to the internet every minute. Designing for this ...

Luke Beard
Luke Beard

Dive Into Typography

In this lesson, we'll dive right in and learn a few quick – but really important – rules about typography. Before we start the course, let's define typography quickly. Typography can simply be described as the art of type. It's everything you can think of – like fonts, sizes, ...

Kerem Suer
Kerem Suer

What is design? Why is it important?

Why design? What purpose does it serve? It's not purely aesthetic, nor wholly analytical and functional. When considering the design of your projects, you must think about how everything fits together in harmony - some would call this a holistic approach, but it's really the o...

Wells Riley
Wells Riley

Hello World

Welcome to HackDesign! Lesson 0 will prepare you for the lessons you'll start to receive every week, which will guide you towards design literacy and proficiency. Excited?

Wells Riley
Wells Riley