Author: James

adJelly: Your social media image/ad guide

adJelly social media specs

You may recall that I’ve written about Advise in the past, but they’ve changed their name and domain to adJelly.

If you missed my previous write-up about them, adJelly offers a fantastic collection of specs for all the most popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and more. You simply select the social media site you’re creating ads, images or graphics for in the left column and you’re presented with all the specs you’ll need.

The site is particularly useful for designers because sites like Facebook offer numerous options for sizes. For instance, Facebook offers sizes for single image ads, carousel ads, video ads, video slideshow ads, cover and profile images, post images, event images and more. Plus, specs change frequently, and some sites don’t make it easy to find the specs (I’m looking at you, Facebook!).

You can also download PSD and Sketch Packs to use in building your graphics.

Is Apple’s design style going down hill?

Mac icon evolution
Ultimately, only you can answer that. Apple has chosen a direction with the Mac’s GUI that is quite a departure from even the recent past. Lots of people love it, and lots of people don’t like it at all. I find myself somewhere in the middle.

When I look at the icons above individually, I like all the new ones. But collectively, when compared to the old ones, they don’t work as well. First off, Apple has chosen to go decidedly whiter with their icons. In a crowded Dock, they all sort of blend together. None of them are easily recognizable at a quick glance. Second, some of them make no sense. Take the new Photos app icon—what in the heck do a bunch of color blobs represent? The old iPhoto icon was clear in what it represented.

But it doesn’t stop with icons. The entire GUI has gotten lighter, more “blended in,” and sometimes confusing. Overall, I still love the Mac’s interface. Lately though, I’m finding more and more “little things” that really bug me.

Nicholas Windsor Howard has a great two-part article about the subject (complete with plenty of screenshots) that’s worth the read. Part one can be found here, and part-two here. Take a look and see if you agree with his opinions.

Full-size wireless Apple keyboard… except it’s not from Apple

Matias Wireless Aluminum Keyboard
The standard full-sized Apple keyboard is probably the best keyboard I’ve ever used. I just wish it was wireless. Unfortunately Apple’s wireless keyboard, like almost every other wireless keyboard, jettisons the numeric keypad, navigation keys and extra F-Keys.

This is where the Matias Wireless Aluminum Keyboard (MWAK) comes in to save the day. The MWAK looks and acts just like the Apple Full Sized Keyboard, including the handy function keys to control your Mac. But there are three more things that make this thing a real gem.

First off, you can choose the MWAK color to match your device. It comes in Silver, Space Gray, Gold and Rose Gold. FINALLY, a full sized wireless keyboard for the Mac that offers black keys instead of white! What is it that makes manufacturers think that just because we’re Mac users we want want everything to be white? And it’s aluminum instead of the cheap plastic virtually all other keyboards are made of.

Matias keyboard colors

Next, you can sync the keyboard with up to four Bluetooth devices, including Android and Windows devices, and easily switch between them with the press of a button.

And finally, the 1,600 man battery is huge in comparison to other wireless keyboards. After a full charge (which can take up to 5 hours from empty), you can safely put the included USB charging cable in a drawer somewhere—because you won’t need it for another year. That’s right, a single charge will last you an entire year, according to Matias. And that’s with having the keyboard on and connected at all times (no delay in connecting to the host computer like most keyboards do).

The Matias Wireless Aluminum Keyboard sells for $99, and can be purchased directly or from numerous retailers.

I don’t own one of these Matias keyboards, so I can’t vouch for them in any way. What is the build quality? Do the colors match Apple devices accurately (or even close)? How does the keyboard feel compared to the Apple keyboards? I don’t know the answers to any of those questions because…

I would have run out to the Fry’s Electronics store down the street, but the website doesn’t list any products from Matias—despite the fact that the Matias website claims to sell the keyboard there. Same goes for BestBuy.

Free font: Gilroy

Gilroy fonts
I love a nice, clean, well-rounded sans-serif font! Gilroy is kind of a cross between Gill Sans and Avenir; two fantastically readable fonts that work large or small.

Gilroy is a full family of 20 fonts which you can get for $45. But you can grab the Light and Extra Bold versions for free. Download the Gilroy freebies here.

Over 100 great Photoshop tips

Tons of Adobe Photoshop tips in the following categories:

  • Quick Photoshop tips
  • Essential shortcuts
  • Layer tips
  • General tool tips
  • Pen tool tips
  • Brush and painting tips
  • Precise colour and lines
  • Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge
  • There’s something for everyone in the collection—if nothing else, a great list of useful shortcuts you may not have known about.

    Tips for a better presentation

    Presentation color
    The late Steve Jobs was a master presenter. Part of what made him so good was the simplicity of his Keynote presentations. Here are 10 Presentation Design Tips from Envato that can help you create a more compelling presentation.

    My two pet peeves: Color and repetitive obviousness.
    Bad color combinations can absolutely destroy an otherwise good presentation. It’s easy to use a decent color palette, but a unique and bold color combination can really make your presentation memorable.

    Repeating the obvious drives me batshit crazy. Please, for the love of God, don’t place your logo in the corner of every slide! And if you’re pitching company X for their business, don’t put their logo on every slide either—they know who they are, and they probably remember who you are since you probably just told them on slide one.

    50+ Free designer fonts

    InkyDeals free fonts
    InkyDeals has offered-up more than 50 delicious designer fonts, completely free to download. All are high-quality, handcrafted display fonts in OpenType or TrueType (or both). They’re perfect for website, brochure and ad headlines, logos, and presentations.

    They’re only available for a short time, so download the fonts now.