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If you're looking to get into the web design/development industry there are loads of resources and courses to help with your education, but deciding which route to pursue is not easy. There are two basic approaches: going to a university for a formal education, or taking a self-taught approach and learning on your own. In recent years a growing number of colleges and universities have added degrees specifically for web design and development, and of course a graphic design/arts degree is also an option.

In this article we'll take a look at the argum
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ents for both approaches, and we'll also provide information on plenty of resources to help you get started with learning on your own if that is the route that you choose. If you're considering a career as a web designer/developer, you'll want to take some time to educate yourself on the options that are available and see what is the best fit for you personally. There is no right or wrong approach, but following a path that isn't the right fit for you can result in a lot of wasted time and money.
Pros of Being Self Taught
When it comes to web design and development you'll often read or hear of someone being "self taught". What this usually means is that this person did not receive a formal education in the field of design or development. In reality, being "self taught" typically involves things like reading books, following online tutorials, watching videos, and plenty of experimentation. The self taught designer still learns from others who are willing to teach, but it's usually by way of informal articles and tutorials rather than a classroom setting. So don't be intimidated at the phrase "self taught" as it does not mean that you will need to figure everything out on your own. With that in mind, here are some of the most convincing reasons why you might want to skip the formal education and just learn on your own.

Smashing Book
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TemplateMonster has offered to give a free WordPress theme or Joomla template to 5 lucky readers of the Vandelay Design Blog! You'll get the template/theme of your choice, and there is a big selection available.

TemplateMonster
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The key to any good blog, regardless of the topic or industry, is content that interests readers and keeps them coming back for more. Although content is the number one priority, part of providing a positive user experience involves having an effect design and layout. With millions of blogs already online, and more coming every day, having a unique or high-quality design is a great way to stand out.

In this post we'll showcase 23 examples of well-designed blogs. These examples should provide you with plenty of inspiration for your own blog designs and for client work. You'll find a
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variety of different types of blogs and styles of design here, so you're sure to find something that you like.

Noel Tock

Noel Tock
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Designers and developers have unlimited potential and opportunities when it comes to side projects. With your skills, knowledge, and experience you can do any number of different things aside from your full-time work to make a little extra money, or just for fun. Some of the possibilities include blogging, designing stock graphics for sale (like icons, vectors, etc.), designing and selling website templates or themes, running a community website, and writing a book or e-book. Of course, there are countless possibilities, these are just some of the more common choices.

Many designers
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choose to take on side projects because they can provide a creative outlet where you get to make all of your own decisions, rather than just following the wishes of a client. They can also help to give you something productive to do during down time between client projects, or for those who are working to build a portfolio they can often serve as excellent work samples. Side projects also have potential to make some money, and in some cases they can even lead to a full-time income. They can even provide some excellent networking and collaboration opportunities. So as you can see, there are a lot of reasons for designers to consider taking on a side project.

In this article we'll take a look at seven keys or tips that will hopefully help to make your own efforts with side projects more beneficial.
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Our friends at StackSocial have offered to give a great prize to one lucky reader of the Vandelay Design Blog! They're currently running a promo called the Learn to Design Bundle, which is a collection of 10 comprehensive online courses from Udemy that teach different aspects of design. If you're interested in learning some new things and improving your skills, this is a great opportunity.

Learn to Design Bundle
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Classic Photography is our latest free WordPress theme, and this one has loads of features that make it a great choice for photographers who need a quality website.
Theme features include:

An adaptive layout that looks great on desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
Full-color control! You can change the color of almost every element of the design.
Customizable homepage slideshow to showcase your photos.
Customizable photo galleries.
Upload your own logo.
Widget-ready sidebar.

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sic-photo-theme.jpg" alt="Classic Photography Theme for WordPress" width="615" height="806" />
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Grunge effects like textures and scratches can be used create backgrounds, to distress text, or just to add a subtle texture to an element in a design. One of the easiest ways to add texture and scratches is through the use of Photoshop brushes. In this tutorial we'll show how you can create a custom scratched surface brush that will be highly useful in your own design work.

This is the same technique that was used to create our set or Scratched Surface Brushes that are available at Vandelay Premier.

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pg" alt="How to Create a Scratches Photoshop Brush" width="615" height="300" />
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Ask five designers how they handle client design presentations and you’ll get five different answers. Some like to do their presentations in person, accompanying their designs with printouts detailing specific highlights. Others prefer utilizing an online screen sharing experience and talking their clients through their design in real time. And then there are those who simply ship off the jpgs in an email outlining the design’s main points. No matter what your method is for revealing your design, it is important to use tools and resources that can make your presentation successful. Without fur
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ther ado, here’s a list of some of the best apps and tools for delivering the perfect client presentation.
Calls and Screen Sharing
Join.me
It’s simple, easy, and free. Either join someone’s screen share or share your own. You can invite up to 250 viewers into your screen share and can even let them take control of your computer. Join.me has a great list of features, such as internet calling, chat, and file sharing, which makes it a great all-in-one solution for screen sharing presentations.

Join.me
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Our friends at W3 Markup have offered to provide free PSD to HTML credits for two lucky readers of the Vandelay Design blog! The first prize winner will get $400 in credits and the second prize winner will get $300 in credits.

W3 Markup
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A few months ago at Vandelay Premier we recently released a set of highlighter brushes for Adobe Illustrator,and in this tutorial we'll show how you can accomplish the same thing on your own. We'll scan some lines made by a highlighter and that will give us a nice brush for using whenever highlighter or marker effects are needed.

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ighter Brushes" width="550" height="358" />
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Design Buzz is a community for all those involved in designing, developing and running websites, web mastering, etc. Here are featured new design trends, news and events, design articles, design software, webmaster tips and tricks, creative tutorials and hand-picked design stuff from all over the world.

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