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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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Getting your e-commerce site at or near the top of the rankings for your targeted keywords and phrases can lead to a massive increase in sales. The problem is that SEO can be a real challenge for...

Click through to read the rest of the story on the Vandelay Design Blog.
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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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You're too busy to go back to school. At least that's the excuse you give for not pursuing additional training in your field.

Well guess what? That excuse isn't any good any more. In fact, it hasn't been good for some time. And it's a good thing too, because you need stay current in your field if you want to stay competitive.

You can get additional training on web design, web development, and many other topics from the comfort of your own home. You no longer have to go somewhere to take a class.

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Many traditional colleges offer online courses. In addition to coursework available online through the colleges, a large online training industry has sprung up in the past decade.

In this post, I'll focus on online training sites. I'll list 14 of the best non-college online training opportunities for web designers and web developers.

If you liked this post, you will probably also like: Learning Web Design: Self Taught vs. a Formal Education.
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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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We frequently showcase examples of well-designed websites in various industries, and we had a reader request a collection of community-oriented websites for inspiration. In this post we've gathered 25 community websites to showcase some examples of outstanding design. The sites come from a wide variety of different industries, but they all share the common focus of bringing together like-minded people in some way.

Brite Revolution

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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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When the lighting conditions are right, silhouette photography can lead to some impressive shots. In this post we'll showcase more than 25 examples of beautiful silhouette photography for your inspiration. If you see something you like, click through to see a larger image and more work from the photographer.



Photo credit: Izidor Gasperlin
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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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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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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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