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Photoshop users can save a lot of time and create beautiful designs by using patterns. Photoshop's presets (like brushes, styles, patterns, custom shapes, and gradients) are highly-powerful tools when used effectively.

Whether you are creating your own custom patterns or using pre-made patterns that you have downloaded for free or purchased, having an arsenal of patterns at your disposal will allow you to quickly create high-quality work.

In this post we'll showcase 50 sets of free Photoshop patterns for your own use. You may also be interested in our recent post, Ultimat
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e Collection of Free Photoshop Styles.

Charcoal Demask Patterns

There are many different challenges that bloggers face. Continually growing, adapting, and improving your blog is a significant on-going challenge. While all blogs attempt to provide useful content and to connect with readers, sometimes there is a desire and a need to go further. The motivation could be to provide more for readers, to help standout from other blogs in the industry, to bring in more money, or simply for a new learning experience.

In this post we'll look at 10 different things you can do to extend your blog. Of course, you won't want to attempt all of them with
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your blog, but see which ones fit best with your goals and with your audience.
1. Email Newsletters
Blogging and email newsletters have a lot in common. In both cases you're providing content on a consistent basis to subscribers, and trying to increase your reach by offering content that is interesting and helpful for those reading. It may seem like having an email newsletter is overkill if you're already blogging, but building a newsletter list can be a great way to extend your blog.

The newsletter will give you another method of staying in touch with your audience and you'll be able to include content that you want to be accessible only to your subscribers. If you already have the traffic coming to your blog and an established reputation with your audience, building a newsletter list can be much easier than it would be without the blog.

We recently started our own newsletter, and so far it has been a great way for us to reach those who read our blog and want more, and we're able to include brief announcements, news, and links that we aren't able to post on our blog each week.

For managing a mailing list we use and recommend MailChimp. It includes all the necessary features (and more) and it's free for lists with less than 2,000 subscribers. AWeber, Get Response, and iContact are other popular options.

In terms of monetization possibilities, email newsletter present many of the same opportunities as blogs, including selling ad space, promoting affiliate products, and selling your own products.
Macro photography, the art of taking close-up photos, can produce incredible results that show us the world in a different way than we normally see it through our own eyes. The details in macro photos can be stunning, as you will see below.

In this post we'll showcase 40 different examples of macro photography from a variety of photographers. If you see something that you would like to view in full size, please click the image or the credit link to be taken to the source.

Photo credit: Erhan Dayi
Minimalism in web design has always been a favorite topic of our blog readers, and today we continue the series with our tenth edition of minimal showcases. The websites shown here manage to achieve an attractive design without the clutter.

You may also be interested in the previous posts in this series:

25 Beautiful Minimalist Websites - Part IX
25 Beautiful Minimalist Websites - Part VIII
40 Beautiful Minimalist Websites - Part VII
35 Beautiful Minimalist Websites - Part VI
25 Beautiful Minimalist Websites - Part V
25 Beautiful Minimalist
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Websites - Part IV
25 Beautiful Minimalist Websites - Part III
25 Beautiful Minimalist Websites - Part II
25 Beautiful Minimalist Websites


For web designers, having successful client projects leads to happy clients, more referrals, a proven track record, and valuable experience and knowledge that can be used in future projects. But there is a lot that goes into making a project a success, and simply completing the design on time is not enough. In this article we'll take a look at 10 things you can do to make your projects more successful.
1. Truly Get to Know the Client and Their Customers/Visitors
In order to create a website that maximizes its potential for your client, you'll first have to get a clear understan
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ding of the client, how they do business, how they brand themselves, and you'll also need to become familiar with their target market. Depending on your familiarity with the client and their industry, this may require a considerable amount of time and effort. The better understanding you have, the more likely you will be to create a site that meets the needs of the client and their users.

A common mistake, especially for new designers, is to jump right into the design process without dedicating time to getting familiar with the client. This often leads to a site that may look good on the surface, but doesn't effectively fit the needs and personality of the client.

Different designers have their own methods for getting to know their clients, so do whatever works best for you. Some designers have a standard intake questionare or form that they have clients fill out to get information about their business and their customers. Others meet with clients, discuss and observe. Whatever your process, be sure that you prioritize the need to get to know your clients, and account for this in your estimates and scheduling of projects.
TN3 Gallery is a new HTML-based customizable image gallery with slideshow, transitions and multiple album options. It's powered by jQuery to give your image galleries and sliders fantastic appearance and usability. They have kindly offered to give three readers of the Vandelay Design blog the Pro License for free. All you have to do to enter the contest is leave a comment on this post. TN3 Gallery comes from the talented people behind Webdesigner Depot, Mighty Deals, and Brush Lovers.

Some of the most intriguing photographs are those that perfectly capture a moment during intense action. Well-timed photos stop the action and present an amazing  perspective. In this post we'll showcase more than 30 different examples of outstanding action photography.

Action photography can be extremely challenging in order to get quality results, so the photos shown here should serve as inspiration to demonstrate what is possible.

To see a larger version of the photo or to see more work from the photographer, click on the images or the credit links below each photo and
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you'll be led to the source.

Photo credit: Andre Arment
Every website owner or marketer needs to know what is going on with their website and visitors in order to know how to improve and get better results. Website analytics tools can provide data and show trends that will help you to know what to do to see the results improve over time.

When it comes to analytics you have a lot of options from which to chose. In this post we'll show 11 of the leading free options (of course, there are other options that are not free) and give a brief description of each.
Google Analytics
Google Analytics is leader among free analytics tools, a
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nd with good reason. Analytics is free to use on any website with no limits on pageviews that can be tracked or reports that can be generated. Basic users can get info on how many visitors and pageviews their site is receiving, what sources are sending the traffic, what search phrases are resulting in visitors, and other basic information like bounce rate. More advanced users can set up goal tracking, create custom reports, set up pivot tables and more. For new users Analytics can be a little intimidating because of how much data is available, but the basic reports are easy to find and understand.

WPSubscribers is a premium WordPress plugin that will help you to attract loads of new subscribers to your mailing list or blog. It has many different features and functions to give you a lot of versitility and control over how you promote your list. The developers of WPSubscribers have offered to give 3 of our readers a free triple license for the plugin, which will allow you to install the plugin on up to 3 different sites, plus free lifetime updates. This license normally sells for $47, and an unlimited license is also available for $97.

WPSubscribers will allow you to int
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egrate your opt-in code very easily, and then you can create several different types of forms to encourage signups. I've been testing the plugin and getting integrated with a MailChimp sign up form was simple. Just copy the form code provided by MailChimp (or another list manager like AWeber, GetResponse, etc.) and WPSubscribers will auto detect the fields and integrate.

Earlier this week we launched a contest for our most recent product, the Freelance Starter Kit. We had announced that there would be five winners, but since the response was so positive and since there were more people entering the contest than we anticipated, we decided to have eight winners instead. If you're luck didn't come through for you in this contest, don't forget that you can still get $5 off the price of the Freelance Starter Kit ($24 instead of $29) by using the discount code "blogreader".

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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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