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Fascinating Design News – Arriving Every Month
In this edition of Toptal Design World News, we highlight four cutting-edge tools that promise to improve design productivity and collaboration; plus, we bring reports of an improbable comeback in the making—the resurgence of skeuomorphic design.
We’ll also showcase a detailed UI design tutorial that Toptal designer Ruaridh Currie was hired to create for Digital Arts Magazine.
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Supernova Studio, which converts Sketch files into native iOS, Android, or React apps (with the guidance of a designer), have released their first macOS version. Later versions will offer support for Windows and be able to convert more than the UI into native code.
Beautiful.ai is a new presentation building app that suggests ways to visualize ideas, using artificial intelligence to automate everything from fonts to alignments. While offering plenty of photos and icons to choose from, it ensures that presentations are following design best practises,
The newly released Angle 2 is a collection of 500 device mockups for Sketch. Angle comes with a free Sketch plugin to help place your app screens in a variety of perspectives and styles, including clay, realistic, flat, and shadow.
Witeboard is a new web app that allows for real-time whiteboard collaboration for teams, and best of all, no signup is required to get started. Simply create a whiteboard and invite your team!
Designer Michael Flarup discusses textures, lighting, and dimensionality in UI design, and whether or not skeuomorphism could ever make a comeback. He argues that the great simplification of the visual interface had an air of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Hold your pitchforks and let him explain.
Toptal Designer Showcase
Ruaridh is an award-winning UI/UX digital designer and creative director originally from Edinburgh, Scotland with 14 years of experience designing for brands like Channel 4, Procter & Gamble, Danone, Tottenham Hotspur and Standard Life. In his spare time, he enjoys photography and writing design articles and tutorials for Designmodo and Digital Arts Online.
Please tell us about a recent project you worked on.
Digital Arts Magazine approached me a couple of years ago about writing a step by step UI design tutorial for a future edition. I was allowed to choose the kind of tutorial I wanted to design and the creative direction, so it was a pretty open brief. I chose to create an extremely detailed tutorial for creating a fashion iPad app user interface, using best practice techniques in Adobe Photoshop. At the time I felt there was a lack of good quality detailed tutorials on creating user interfaces for tablets, so I was confident this would work well.
What was your design process?
I essentially started by creating the end result first and worked my way backwards from there. I had an idea, style, and interface in mind, so I created the main UI paying careful attention to make a mental note of all major steps.
I also made sure all design elements I put down aligned to a precise grid structure. Once I was happy with the overall design, style, font choices, and photo treatments, I set about detailing what individual steps a typical user might need in order to start from nothing and end up with a finished polished UI! At this point, I realized this would have to be incredibly detailed.
The tutorial took a few months to complete. I had to fit it around my daily client work and it became a kind of hobby—almost like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. I had a slight break halfway through to refine some steps, but once I was in the routine of documenting each step from the start, the process sped up.
What was the outcome? What are you most proud of?
The final outcome was a detailed, step-by-step tutorial which was published by Digital Arts Magazine. I received a lot of great comments, emails, and followers on Twitter as a result. I was proud of seeing something I had worked hard on published by a publication I had been reading for many years. It was hugely time consuming to do, but I feel the end results were well worth it!
More about Ruaridh Currie »
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