Freebie: 20 Well Designed Vector Art Tools 0

If you are in search of the some really cool Vector Art Tools icons you have come to the right place! Today we have another great treat for you, the guys from were generous enough to come up with this exclusive bundle of 20 Well Designed Vector Art Tools for Designrfix readers. This bundle contains 20 […]

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Google’s Brynn Evans Weighs In on Current Trends 0

Brynn Evans, UX Lead of Googles Communications Team

“If you’re looking for a first project, start with a problem that you’re facing — turn inward and identify a few pain points in your life.”

Brynn Evans, UX Lead of Googles Communications Team

Brynn Evans, UX Lead of Google’s Communications


Brynn Evans is the type of person who everyone instantly likes. She’s personable, articulate, and has a mission-driven ethos about her work and life. She studied Psychology (BA) & Science and Technology in Society (BS) at Stanford University, Cognitive Science (MS) from UC San Diego, and spent time working at the legendary Xerox PARC, all before transitioning to user experience design where she now feels driven to bridge the gap between technology and people. She often refers to “social technology” to describe her passion — using technology and design thinking to address the real problems we face in society.


Today Brynn is a UX Lead at Google, managing four products teams in the “Communications” technology org including Project Fi, the Google-owned and operated mobile phone service. She’s also an avid community organizer and innovative leader in the field of UX — she co-founded XX+UX (a monthly meetup for women in UX), co-founded the Awesome Foundation chapter in San Francisco (that gives monthly grants of $1000 to people doing “awesome” work), co-organized an exclusive design thinking conference called Overlap, and regularly speaks at conferences around the world.


Brynn’s career has garnered accolades, awards, and published works, establishing her reputation as someone who everyone wants to work with. I caught up with Brynn about her feeling on current trends in the industry and what the future holds.

What’s your opinion on current trends?

“I see a lot of design trying to apply metaphors from real life to make technology feel more natural. Google’s Material design is about using cues from paper and physical materials to create an illusion of familiarity on the screen. Apple’s Force Touch is about using haptic touch in more natural ways. Uber’s new redesign is about connecting atoms and bits — uniting the physical and the digital worlds. These designs aren’t all equally successful (yet) but it’s a nice direction to be headed because many people still see technology as ‘hard to use’ or ‘not for me.’ We’re in an era of trying to bridge the gap between technology and real life.”

Atrium at Google's Dublin Campus

Atrium at Google’s Dublin Campus


Where do you see the industry headed?

“Our industry is often criticized for being insular or solving problems that no one cares about (e.g., artisanal firewood??) Luckily, I’m seeing a shift towards focusing on real problems that people face, not just the surface-level problems of young people in urban areas. For example, the U.S. government has a design team that’s focused on issues like veterans, healthcare, and immigration. Startups like Wevorce are trying to make divorce more pleasant and swift. And in my own work, Project Fi (Android’s new wireless carrier) intends to make mobile connectivity accessible and fair. Everyone needs access to the internet to connect with friends, family, or important information online, and although this sounds like a “techie” problem, it’s not any longer.”


What would you tell someone who is just getting started

or wants to get into the field of design?

“If you’re looking for a first project, start with a problem that you’re facing — turn inward and identify a few pain points in your life. From here, focus on what’s at the heart of that problem and start designing out realistic solutions. Aim for 5-7 different solutions. Then test out the top ideas on yourself or with friends and family. See which solutions worked best and what you would change or modify about each. Rinse and repeat.

Open seating area at Google's London Campus

Open seating area at Google’s London Campus


Although that might be sort of vague, we are all designers of our own lives so it’s easy to get started by finding problems that we’re intimately familiar with. Solutions will flow more naturally and you’ll see how this will you oriented towards solving problems rather inventing solutions. There are way too many apps today that are a half-baked solutions to no real problem — that’s not good design no matter how shiny or beautiful they may be.”



What is one Sci-Fi technology you want to have

right now, and what would you do with it?

“Well, Virtual Reality (VR) already exists today but I want next-gen VR, whatever that means. The best experience I had with VR was actually in an Uber, when I was sharing a ride with a friendly stranger. We were stuck in traffic, so he pulled out a VR headset from his bag and asked, ‘Do you want to go to Mars?’ I said yes! So I put on this headset on and suddenly I’m standing on the surface of Mars, looking all around at the dirt, crevices, mountains, and looming sky above. It was incredible. Then I advanced to a new scene, and then another. I started touring all the popular places around the world. I was teleported to Paris, Egypt, India, the Amazon…. all these beautiful places around the world felt so real and so present.


It reminded me that VR has the potential of making the world more accessible to people. If you can tour around places that feel as if you’re actually there, you could develop an appreciation for other people’s lifestyles and culture without needing money to travel. Of course there are other great applications of VR too, like helping people work through physical disabilities (e.g., learning to walk after an accident).”


Office at Google's Mt. View Campus

Office at Google’s Mt. View Campus


Looking back on your earlier self, if you could give

yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

“Never think that you’re not good enough. I’m more or less a self-taught designer so I had a lot of moments feeling like I didn’t know enough to be a UX designer. I see this pattern in new grads and other people transitioning into the field from other professions. But the truth is, design is about solving problems in creative ways so we need different perspectives from different types of people. We need healthy debate. We need to always have an open mind and try out new things. That comes from expressing your opinion and not worrying about how good you are or how much you know. You just gotta go for it until you realize that your perspective is the perspective that everyone wants to hear.”


Read More at Google’s Brynn Evans Weighs In on Current Trends

Inspiration: Rugby World Cup Team Logos Reimagined as American Franchises 0 Successful logos are synonymous with their sports teams; helping to create a brand that fans can buy into with countless opportunities for merchandise. Iconic logos from sports teams like the New York Yankees, Manchester United FC and the Dallas Cowboys are printed on t-shirts, sweaters and caps and worn by people, who don’t necessarily take […] The post Inspiration: Rugby World Cup Team Logos Reimagined as American Franchises appeared first on

1.Rugby Canada reimagined as the Canadian Grizzlies

  174562-1 Although the maple leaf is the national symbol of Canada, the reimagined logo with a roaring grizzly bear is much more in keeping with traditional American college sports team logos, where animals are a common mascot.  

2.Irish Rugby reimagined as the Irish Celts

174562-2 The revamped version of the Irish Rugby logo pays homage to the country’s Celtic culture with traditional Celtic knots and armoury.    

3.All Blacks reimagined as the All Blacks

174562-3 The name ‘All Blacks’ dates back to 1905 when the New Zealand Rugby team toured the British Isles, France and Canada dressed in black kit apart from a silver fern emblem. The fern is native to New Zealand, and the team has continued to use it as their logo to this day. The reimagined All Blacks logo has been used to represent the country’s M?ori culture of which the team is fiercely proud. Before each game, the All Blacks perform a Haka, a traditional M?ori war cry. Whilst both logos use symbols of New Zealand culture, we prefer the simplicity of the original.  

4.SpringBok reimagined as the South African SpringBoks

174562-4 One of the most recognizable rugby logos in the world (including two national symbols: the springbok and protea flower) has been transformed into a bold, modern design that would no doubt look great on club merchandise. However, the simplistic design of the original, showing the leaping springbok, is too iconic to replace!    

5.Tonga reimagined as the Tonga Thunder

174562-5 Traditionally the symbol of a dove carrying an olive branch signifies peace. The reimagined logo for the Tonga team however takes a more ‘aggressive’ approach with the inclusion of a thunderbolt; which refers to both the island’s stormy conditions and the team’s characteristics of agility and strength.  

6.Welsh Rugby reimagined as the Welsh Dragons

174562-6 The original Welsh Rugby logo uses the Prince of Wales feathers as their main emblem but we can’t help but prefer the fiercesome dragon on the reimagined version, which pays homage to the logo of the Welsh flag.  

7.Samoa Rugby Union reimagined as the Samoan Spartans

174562-7 The reimagined logo for Samoa certainly looks the part but we’re not convinced of the meaning behind the symbolism. Although ‘Spartans’ conjures up the image of brave warriors, they were native to ancient Greece rather than modern day Samoa!  

8.Scotland Rugby reimagined as the Scottish Bravehearts

174562-8 The existing logo for Scotland’s rugby team is the thistle: the national flower of the country. Whilst the thistle might seem a meek symbol compared to the reimagined version, which uses Scottish warrior William Wallace, who was immortalized in the Hollywood blockbuster Braveheart, as the main emblem, the thistle is also said to represent Scottish defence. Legend has it that the Scott’s were alerted to a Norwegian invasion in the 13th century when one of their enemies stepped on a thistle, alerting the clansmen of an impending invasion. Whilst the symbolism of both might represent Scottish Rugby’s fierce defence and determination to win, the reimagined logo gets our vote for most iconic!  

9.UAR reimagined as the Argentina WildCats

174562-9 It’s a shame the revamped version didn’t stick to the club’s nickname Los Pumas but the snarling wild cat on the Americanised version is certainly more eye catching. The original logo actually has a more complex design compared to those of other teams, so the reimagined version could work as a more flexible alternative.  

10.Wallabies reimagined as the Wallaby Wizards

174562-10 Nicknames were suggested for the Australian Rugby team around the same time that the New Zealand Rugby team became known as the All Blacks. At one point, the British press suggested the ‘Rabbits’, but this was quickly dismissed in favour of the country’s native animal the wallaby. The simplicity of the original logo means that it can be easily printed onto merchandise, but we do love the addition of ‘wizards’ in the reimagined version to create a catchy brand name.   Whilst there’s no denying that the reimagined versions of these famous logos are more eye catching, the simplicity of the originals ensures that they can be used easily for a range of uses, thus making them arguably more effective. The simple shapes ensure that even when printed in black and white, or restricted in size, they remain timeless and functional. Which do you prefer? You can see more reimagined National Rugby Team logos here.
Freebie: Barista And Coffee Lovers Icon Set (50 Icons, EPS, PNG, SVG)

Freebie: Barista And Coffee Lovers Icon Set (50 Icons, EPS, PNG, SVG) 0 Creative folks like yourself know how important our daily dose of hot and steaming coffee is. Many of us even choose to work from a coffee house because the cozy atmosphere, the smell of freshly ground coffee beans and the carefully created art on the glossy foam fuels our creativity.
Freebie: Barista Icon Set (50 icons, EPS, PNG, SVG)
Designed by Oliver Pitsch, Barista is an icon set dedicated to all baristas and coffee lovers. It consists of 50 carefully crafted vector icons. The icons are drawn on a special 256px grid adapted from the iOS icon grid. All icons are available as 128px PNG (+ @2x 256px versions), as well as Illustrator EPS and SVG files. The post Freebie: Barista And Coffee Lovers Icon Set (50 Icons, EPS, PNG, SVG) appeared first on Smashing Magazine.
Freebie: Easter Icon Set (13 Icons, AI, PSD, EPS, PDF, SVG, PNG)

Freebie: Easter Icon Set (13 Icons, AI, PSD, EPS, PDF, SVG, PNG) 0 Freebie: Easter Icon Set (13, Icons, AI, PSD, EPS, PDF, SVG, PNG) Easter is only a week away, and it’s time to add a few icons to your projects. Or perhaps just freshen up your good ‘ol Easter cards for your family, friends, colleagues, and perhaps even strangers. Today, we’re happy to release the Easter Icon Set, a set of 13 icons available in AI, PSD, EPS, PDF, SVG and PNG formats. The icon set was designed and created by Manuela Langella and, as always, is free to use in private and commercial projects. The post Freebie: Easter Icon Set (13 Icons, AI, PSD, EPS, PDF, SVG, PNG) appeared first on Smashing Magazine.
Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days 0 and-test-new-ideas-just-five-days
Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
I finally finished reading Sprint, a book published by the Google Venture designers Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz. I knew about design sprints, and have had the chance to participate in a few, including one with Jake himself. The process works great if you have the right number of people that are excited about the endeavor of a week of intense and gratifying work. Their book, titled Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days gives all the details and story behind how they came up with and perfected the design sprint. It’s a must read for designers willing to improve their skills on problem solving and the design process in general.
Read this book and do what it says if you want to build better products faster.” – Ev Williams, founder of Medium, Blogger, and Twitter

About the book

Entrepreneurs and leaders face big questions every day: What’s the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution? Now there’s a surefire way to answer these important questions: the sprint. Designer Jake Knapp created the five-day process at Google, where sprints were used on everything from Google Search to Google X. He joined Braden Kowitz and John Zeratsky at Google Ventures, and together they have completed more than a hundred sprints with companies in mobile, e-commerce, healthcare, finance, and more. A practical guide to answering critical business questions, Sprint is a book for teams of any size, from small startups to Fortune 100s, from teachers to nonprofits. It’s for anyone with a big opportunity, problem, or idea who needs to get answers today.
The key to success, often, is building the right habits. But which habits work best? Sprint offers powerful methods for hatching ideas, solving problems, testing solutions—and finding those small, correct habits that make all the right behaviors fall in place.” – Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit

Buy now

Deciphering The Curious Case of How Japanese Web Design Works [Op-Ed]

Deciphering The Curious Case of How Japanese Web Design Works [Op-Ed] 0

  Japan, home to gorgeous aesthetics and the forerunner of minimalism; from fashion to architecture, they seem to have it all figured out. I am particularly fond of Japanese anime and manga: the way they combine storytelling and art has forever imprinted the way I want to tell my own stories. However, their track record of beautiful aesthetics comes to a screeching halt(!) when you check out some of their websites. They are incredibly cluttered, with no regard for basic design rules, nor taking navigation into consideration. They are quite reminiscent of traditional print newspapers of yesteryears, chock-full with text. But why is this so? Let’s analyze the patterns of these websites and break them down. But first, let’s take a look at some Japanese websites and see if you and I are on the same page, with the same observations. Are you ready? Rakuten
Now, I’m pretty sure that we have observed the same things about Japanese web design. To cut the story short:
  • Japanese websites are very heavy in text.
  • Heavy, HEAVY use of whitespace.
  • Tons of (blue-colored!) hyperlinks and URLs.
  • Advertisements, lots and lots of advertisements.
  • Nearly no images, or if they are present, they are very small ones.
  • Absolute disregard for an easy flow for the eyes to focus on.
  • Flash-heavy. For banners, advertisements and slideshows.
Looking at them, these websites are almost like remnants of the 80’s and 90’s, when HTML was the crowning glory of web design. Some are even reminiscent of newspapers, see how dense the rows and columns are with text. It is interesting to note that these websites all share these characteristics. Almost as if they were all designed with the same idea in mind. Now, what could that idea possibly be? To figure this out, let’s take a look at the following.

Mobile Culture in Japan

Before smartphones became a worldwide craze, Japan was already doing their own thing, years in advance. Mobile phone usage was such an ingrained part of their lives that they coined a term for it: mobile phone culture, or keitai culture. Before smartphones, there were camera phones, an industry that Japan was leading far ahead than the rest of the world. J-SH04, a mobile phone made by Sharp Corporation and released by J-Phone, started marketing in November 2000. It was touted as the first real camera phone, and could send MMS, e-mails, and even came with 3G technology.
Then came NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode, a mobile internet service got more than 50 million users within the first 3 years alone. Various services were launched and modified to go hand in hand with this new technology, and with that, several websites had mobile versions created. Because this was the 2000s, and mobile phone technology wasn’t that advanced, a lot of focus was placed on making websites easy to navigate and view on a mobile phone. While larger companies had the resources to create these separate designs for mobile users, smaller companies had to opt for single designs that were easy to view on both the computer and mobile phones. With that in mind, it suddenly makes sense why these websites look like they should be viewed on a phone – because they have to be! As for the advertisements, Japanese corporations see websites as what they used to be: another way to advertise their product or the products of their partners. This is why these websites turn into the nightmare of every anti-ad freak. Whitespace on the sides of the website are filled with animated advertisements. To the untrained eye, it becomes difficult to determine what is an ad and what is part of the actual website.

Web Design with the End User in Mind

Another important factor to note is that this type of web design did not result as a mere coincidence. Aside from optimizing them for mobile use, they were designed with the end user’s expectations in mind. A Japanese user experience architect offers his own perspective on things, stating that these types of web designs stem from the very Japanese attitude of passivity. This means that as much as possible, information should be presented to them without them having to ask or poke around too much – kind of like offering them a very informative brochure. This is different from Western web design, as they focus more on combining both being eye candy yet informative enough without overloading the user. What also has to be considered is the popular browser of choice. For the longest of time, Internet Explorer has proven to be the popular go to choice for users (click the link first before you start tsk-ing). As such, websites are designed with this in mind, and with IE, your choice for fancy website design is severely crippled. This, on the other hand, is alleviated with the heavy use of colors, which are reminiscent of the neon lights of the Tokyo cityscapes.

Linguistic Difference

Last but not least, Japanese typography also plays a large role. To the untrained eye, the unknown characters and symbols will appear cluttered and chaotic, as there is nothing to properly focus on (other than images, maybe). Japanese websites also tend to incorporate text into images, so when translated, it adds to the chaotic and unfinished feel. The seemingly wordiness of the websites can also be explained as thus. Designers try to present as much information as possible, and while this may seem like a case of information overload, in a language you are familiar with say, English, this design is no different than the Yahoo! landing page. There are links that take you everywhere, and text no matter where you look. It is not very pleasing to the eye, but it makes it easy to find information that you want and need somewhat easier. That said, the trend these types of website design will probably keep up for a longer while, still. Although some companies have started breaking the mold, Japan’s attitude of conforming to things has allowed this type of design to survive for decades. With the rest of the world catching up with the mobile trend, let’s hope that Japan will do the reverse for the browser versions of websites.