Tips for web designers

Creating a good website isn’t an easy task, but there’s a few tools that can definitely make your developer or designer life easier. In this article, I have compiled 15 extremely useful website that any web developer or web designer should have bookmarked.


When designing a website, one of the firsts (and most important) steps of the process is to choose a color scheme.
Color Combos allow you to browse thousand of different colors combinations for getting inspired for your upcomming design. Color schemes can be browsed by colors.


Who doesn’t know the extremely popular Lorem Ipsum text? This text is used by webdesigners worldwide to simulate the render of real text on a design. allow you to create th desired number of paragraphs of Lorem Ipsum, quickly and simply.

What the font?

You just saw a logo or website using a particular font and you enjoyed it. You’d like to use the same font in a design of yours…but you don’t know the font name. At this point, you have only two solutions: Searching for the font during hours, or using the What the font service.
What’s the font allow you to upload a logo or an image containing a font, and it will tell you which font is it. Results are incredibles.
Visit What the font


Favicons are a must have for any website, mostly because on modern browsers as such as Firefox, it is displayed along with the site name in tabs. It is also used in bookmarks. Favicon can be in various file format, including the popular .png. The only problem is that using png as a file format for your site favicon will not work on Internet Explorer. Happilly, there’s ConvertIcon a free online service that allow you to upload an image and get a .ico file, for maintaining compatibility with Microsoft’s browser.
Visit ConvertIcon


background Patterns is definitely one of the current webdesign trends.
On, you’ll be able to browse a wide selection of patterns that you can freely use on your designs.
Visit BgPatterns

HTML Encoder

Do you display code on your website? If yes, you probably know how boring it can be. In fact you have to type < to display <. If you have to display a 50 lines code, this may take a while to manually convert HTML symbols. The HTML Converter simply takes a code and returns it to you after converting HTML entities. I use this service daily for displaying codes on my blogs. Note that a HTML Decoder is also available.
Visit HTML Encoder

Xenocode Browsers

In my opinion, Xenocode Browsers is the ultimat tool for checking your website in different browsers. Xenocode Browsers allow you to lauch IE6, IE7, IE8, Firefox 2, Firefox 3, Google Chrome and Opera directly from the web. The only weak point: The service isn’t available for Macs and GNU/Linux powered PCs.
Visit Xenocode browsers

Test Everything

Do you ever wished to be able to test your design in many browsers as well as checking a page PageRank, and even validate your code standards compliance all in one place? If yes, Test Everything is definitely a site that you should visit. It aggregate over 100 different tools to test almost everything on a webpage.
Visit Test Everything

Sprite Generator

CSS Sprites is definitely a great technique to use, mainly because it reduces the number of HTTP requests. Thought, CSS sprites require time and particular knowledges, which make the technique kinda hard to use, especially for begginners. The amazing Sprite generator allows you to send a zip file containing your images. It will returns you your images combined into a sprite, and even better, the CSS code that you’ll just have to paste in your main css file.
Visit Sprite Generator


Sure things, good looking buttons is a must have for any serious blog or website. If you don’t know, or haven’t the time to create some cool buttons, don’t worry: Buttonator is an advanced button generator that you can freely use. By the way, don’t forget to check out our Top 10 CSS buttons tutorials list if you have an interest in CSS buttons.
Visit Buttonator
Load Impact

How many time have you ever seen websites down after they were featured on the frontpage of popular sites as such as Digg or StumbleUpon?
The free Load Impact service will allow you to test how your website can handle various blasts of traffic. The results with sites hosted at WpWebHost are excellent.
Visit Load Impact


Good looking icons are a must have in any professional website. There’s plenty of free icons on the web, so the folks at IconFinder decided to create a collection of free icons for you to use them in your designs. It is definitely easy to find what you’re looking for in seconds.
Visit IconFinder


Testing how fonts will renders on your design is sometimes a fastidious operation. Happilly, TypeTester allow you to test how fonts and their attributes will look. A definitive gain of time.
Visit TypeTester

CSS Tidy

Even advanced developers often needs to optimize their CSS code. CSS Tidy is a free, online application that will fix errors and optimize your CSS code. For example, it can automatically detect redundant styles, a very common problem of CSS codes. Lots of settings are availables, to ensure you’ll be happy with the results.
Visit CSS Tidy

Contact Forms Generators

Forms are a very important part of any website, because they allow your readers or customers to interact with you. By using Contact Forms Generator, you’ll save a precious time by creating your forms, including the PHP, ASP or even Perl code needed for sending emails from your site to your mailbox.
Contact Forms Generator doesn’t even require programming skills.
Visit Contact Form Generator

Website Grader
Is Your Website Working? How well is your website doing? Is it getting traffic? Does it have SEO problems? How popular is it in social media? Find out the answers for free. Just enter your website URL and click Generate Report.

Using designer

How to (and not to) work with a designer

from Will Harris

Imagine that you’re Christopher Columbus. You arrive in the New World and are so disappointed there are none of the oriental silks and spices you came looking for that you turn around and go home, missing all the wonders of the New World.

That’s what happens when you have preconceived notions about design. You can end up with something that’s better, but NOT see or appreciate it because you’re only focusing on the fact that it’s not what had in mind.

Remember you are a vital part of the design process. If you aren’t a good client, then you can’t expect good results.

Preconceived notions are just one of the mistakes people make when they work with a designer. A good designer’s work will make something:

  • Work better
  • Sell better
  • Shed new light on old subjects
  • Look better

The trouble is, a lot of people hire designers because they want their site to “look good.” But that’s just scratching the surface of what a designer can and should do. So they don’t know what’s possible, so they don’t get the most bang for their buck.

Just as writers are not just people who can type, designers are not just people who can use graphics programs. Good Design is more than skin deep.

Design is communication.

The way to inspire a designer is to give them the message and feeling you want to convey, and the freedom to convey it in a fresh, new way.

So how do you work with a designer to get their best work? Here are some suggestions:

    1) Choose your designer carefully. Look at their previous work. The best designers don’t have a “signature look.” Their sites look as different as their clients do. Awards don’t necessarily mean the design worked for the client. If you’re not sure about a design, go to sites they designed and ask their clients.

    2) Leave your preconceived notions at the door. Don’t ask for a site like someone else’s but in a different color. Be open to new, unexpected ideas. Don’t be afraid of something different. Let new ideas sink in.

    3) Tell your designer what you want to say rather than how you want it to look. Don’t ask for a color, shape, or style–ask for meaning or emotion.

    4) Be clear about specific features you need. You want your designer to create a design specific to your needs. If you try to add features as you go along, the design won’t fit as well.

    5) Do your research and be specific about your needs. “I need to sell meeting planners on the idea of hiring me to plan entertainment for their events.” That’s clear and specific about both the product and the audience. The more detailed and specific you are at the start, the better the designer can tailor the site to your needs. If you add requirements later on, the designer will probably just have to shoe-horn them in, which won’t give you the best results.

    6) Make sure your message and content are clear. The more of your content you have complete, the better the designer can build your site around it. A good designer may make suggestions to refine your content to get your message across faster or more clearly, but the more content you have complete, the more the designer will have to work with.

    7) Design for your customer, not yourself, your friends or your colleagues. Be specific so your designer knows who your customers are and what they want. It’s more important that they like your site than that you like it. Always remember, “What’s in it for them.”

    If the design pleases your customers, they’ll please you. If you insist on a design that only pleases you, then your customers may not be inspired to buy your product or service and in the end you will lose.

    8) Have good reasons for your preferences. You can show the designer sites that appeal to you, but dig deeper and figure out why they speak to you. Think in terms of feelings.

    Design makes you feel, so tell your designer how it makes you feel. Instead of saying, “I like yellow,” get to the root of it and say “I want a site that feels warm,” or “I want something upbeat and friendly.” Focusing on your logical or emotional impressions give the designer more to work with. Why? Because your customers may not “like” the same things you do, but a good designer can convey the impression you want them to have.

    9) Don’t design by committee. No good design was ever created by a consensus. The more people who have a voice in the process, the more watered down the results will be. Your friends and coworkers will often give you conflicting advice and people often have ulterior motives when they give you comments (they may be jealous or threatened if you get something that’s too good, or they may just be ignorant). You can show it to a few trusted people and get their comments, but there can only be one person making decisions. Don’t be wishy washy and try to change direction late in the process.

    10) Don’t tell your designer how to design. That’s not your area of expertise. Give a designer your requirements and preferences, but also the freedom to create something that answers them as effectively as possible. If you micromanage a designer, they won’t be motivated to do anything but cash your check.

    11) You can’t please all the people all the time. Bill Cosby said “The only sure way to failure is to try to please everybody.” If everyone thinks your site is “OK” then it’s probably too dull to get much of a reaction from anyone. If you design a site with NO personality no one will hate it. Or love it.

    12) Trust your designer (you are paying for their expertise).

Then when they start to show you “comps” (design versions), give them specific comments.

Don’t just say, “I don’t like brown.” That says nothing of real value. If you say “I’m concerned that the color looks sickly and we need something that conveys growth,” then you are giving the designer useful information, because you’re talking about content rather than telling them how to design.

Your designer should know more than you do about design and its implications, both emotional and cultural. So if you ask for a color and the designer explains why it isn’t a good idea, believe them. Don’t ask for a color, shape, or style–ask for meaning or emotion.

Yes, designers can make mistakes and take wrong directions. And yes, you need to give them direction. But you must tell them what you need, not how to achieve that goal.

The reason that so many great discoveries have been accidents is because when you set out with a destination in mind then end up someplace else you feel you’ve missed the mark and gotten lost.

The reality is different—you may have ended up someplace different—but better. Yet if you’re only viewing things in terms of “this is where I wanted to go and I’m not there,” you will be disappointed, even with something better.

So when working with a designer you need to step back and ask yourself if you’re just being Columbus, missing the wonders of the new world.

lotta nieminen

One of the 20 nominated designers under 30 years old!

Lotta Nieminen is a graphic designer and illustrator living and working in Helsinki, Finland. She studied graphic design and illustration at the University of Art and Design Helsinki (2005-2009) and the Rhode Island School of Design (2007).
HuiputHer work has won honourable mentions at Vuoden Huiput (Best of Finnish advertising and graphic design) as well as in various logo competitions (Aalto Univeristy, divided 2nd prize ; Maritime center Vellamo, 2nd prize ; Nuorisomerkki, 1st and 3rd prize).
She has worked as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator since 2006. As an illustrator, she’s represented by illustration agency Agent Pekka.


Featured in US based Print Magazine‘s
New Visual Artist 2010 review, as one of the 20 nominated designers under 30 years old!