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Designers love free icon sets. Having quality icons can help to make a site's design look complete, and can also help with the usability of the site. Social media icons are some of the most commonly used icons, especially in blog design.

Fortunately, there are a number of free sets of quality social media icons. In this post we'll feature 40 social media icon sets from various designers. Click on the links to be led to the source where the icons can be downloaded. As always when you are dealing with freebies, check the terms and conditions to be sure that you're using them in a way
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that is allowed by the designer.

ElegantThemes Social Media Icons

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The web/graphic design community includes a huge number of active blogs that post articles, tutorials, inspiration, and other types of content. Design blogs are a part of the daily routine for many designers, but there are also several quality email newsletters that cover topics related to design and development.

In this post we'll highlight some of the best newsletters out there for designers. If you enjoy getting helpful information and news in your inbox, take a look at the newsletters on this list and see if there are any that are of interest to you.

Smashing Magazine
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Smashing Magazine not only runs the most popular blog for web designers, they also have an email newsletter that is published every two weeks. Their newsletter issues include industry news, inspiration, and links to useful websites and apps.

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The things that can be accomplished with Photoshop are quite amazing. Designers who are skilled at photo manipulation can use their creativity to produce stunning results. In this post we'll feature 35 pieces of work from various designers, for your inspiration.

If you want to learn more about how to create your own photo manipulations please see:

30 Photo Manipulation Tutorials for Photoshop
30 Outstanding Tutorials for Photo Manipulation in Photoshop
25 Photoshop Tutorials for Photo Manipulations



Credit: Roberto Gamito
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Buttons are an extremely common design element that are used by almost every website. Web buttons are critical for usability and navigation, and they can also be used to help direct the action of the user as you encourage them to add a product to a shopping cart, take a tour, get more information, or contact you.

Creating new buttons while keeping the same style can be very simple by using Photoshop's layer styles. In this post we'll take a quick look at how you can create your own button layer styles to save yourself some time.

You may have had situations in the pa
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st where you found yourself creating multiple buttons for a mockup and adding the same layer styles over and over again. Or you may have wanted to create a new button that matches the style of an existing button, but you can't remember the details of the layer effects that were used. Both of these situations could be made much easier if the button effects were saved as a layer style that could be re-used at any time.

Layer styles are a preset in Photoshop, like brushes, patterns, and custom shapes. Layer styles can be saved as an .asl file and then can be loaded at any time, or distributed with others working on the project.
Creating Button Styles
Let's start by creating a basic button in Photoshop.

Set the foreground color to #166ecc and the background color to #4495ee. Select the rounded rectangle tool with a radius of 10 pixels and draw a rectangle that is 250 pixels wide and 40 pixels high.

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Every website needs quality, affordable hosting. We're happy to announce that our host, Eleven2, is offering a 20% discount for the first twelve months on new plans with the promo code "vandelay" (please continue reading for details)!

Several months ago we posted a few coupon codes that would save you some money on the first month of a hosting account with Eleven2, and a number of readers took advantage of that promo. That offer drew enough response that we thought that this deal is certainly worth mentioning. We use Eleven2 ourselves and we frequently recommend them to our c
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lients as well (we've written a more detailed review of Eleven2 if you are interested).

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Navigation menus are a critical part of web design because of their importance for usability and creating a position user experience. Websites with poor navigational structure or a lack of clarity in navigation will frustrate visitors and result in people leaving the site without finding the right pages and content.

Aside from the usability aspect, navigation menus also provide designers with the opportunity to create something attractive. In this post we'll showcase 25 websites that have beautiful menus. You'll see a variety of different styles, which should help with providing ins
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piration for your own designs.

WPZOOM

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Photoshop users can save time during the design process by  making use of layer styles. Whether you are saving your own custom style to be used multiple times throughout your design (such as with a button), or using pre-made styles created by other designers, taking advantage of this feature in Photoshop can greatly speed up your workflow.

In this post we'll link out to a number of useful Photoshop layer styles that can be downloaded for free. Many of them have been created especially for text, others for buttons, and some are more general. Download the styles and apply them to your
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layers for instant results.

Glossy Text Styles

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Most of us visit several different blogs every day. While the greatest factor in a blog being successful and useful is the content, having a memorable and attractive design can certainly help.  With so many blogs using the same or similar themes, a unique design can have a positive impact on first time visitors and can improve the visitor's experience on the blog.

In this post we'll showcase 25 blogs with beautiful designs. Hopefully these examples will prove to be useful for your own design inspiration.

Code School

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ThemeTrust has offered to give a premium WordPress theme to 10 lucky readers of the Vandelay Design blog! The winners will get the theme of their choice plus support.

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Standing out from the huge, and always increasing, numbers of web and graphic designers can be a very daunting task. If you are having a difficult time finding enough work to keep you busy you may want to consider focusing on local clients. There are a few significant reasons to consider this:

You'll have fewer competitors in search engines and in the marketplace by focusing in on this target market.
Clients often prefer to work with someone local.
Developing your reputation and building referral business can be easier by targeting your specific area.
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Although it is not a strategy that every freelancer or design agency needs to follow, localizing the business has produced positive results for many. If you find yourself struggling to land enough clients to stay busy take a look at the tips in this article to see if localizing is something that you would like to do.

If you would like to get more business from local clients and build your business around this target market, here is a look at some things that you can do to make this happen.
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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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