Jun 252016

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There are many web tools around that can help you with all sorts – how to start a blog or new website – or provide some much-needed web design inspiration. Prototyping tools can help us solve design problems before writing even a single line of code. Prototypes bring our ideas to life, and in doing so can change the way we design. Today's clients want to see interactive prototypes; these show the concepts in action and help them see how their ideas will take shape.

The possibility of quickly sharing different iterations of ideas with clients can accelerate the design process. This flexibility becomes even more significant when we consider the many device formats we must now factor in.

With so many prototyping tools now available, perhaps many designers are left wondering how to choose the best one, and simply fall back on familiar methods. Ultimately, the goal is to pick up a tool that will support swift iterations, so you want to be sure to select one that does this with ease and lets you focus on what you do best: design.

To help with this selection, I've compiled the best of the best: here are the top 10 prototyping tools you should be using in 2016!

01. Origami

Prototyping tools: Origami

Origami was originally developed by Facebook to help the team build and design products

  • Price: Free

Origami was originally developed by Facebook to help the team build and design products. Now it's available for free: you can register as an Apple developer, then download and install Xcode with Quartz Composer to get Origami to run on a Mac.

This tool does require more work to install than other prototyping options. However, once it is installed, you can begin creating design concepts that simulate scrolling, taps, swipes and page links. Origami's documentation, tutorials and how-to videos make it easy to get started.

Sketch and Photoshop designs can be imported into Origami, and your project layers will be preserved, ready to be linked, animated and transformed as needed. Origami is not mobile design-centric either: you can design responsive websites and simulate features like text input, FaceTime camera and OS X drag and drop.

You can export your prototype components (including animations) with just one click, so engineers can copy-and-paste into the project. Origami includes a presentation tool that enables you to add a custom background to your design, view in fullscreen, and simulate different devices.

As a free prototyping solution, Origami has a lot to offer. However, one drawback is that it doesn't yet let your clients or design team comment directly on the project or versioning history.

02. Webflow

Prototyping tools: Webflow

Designing prototypes is fast and seamless with Webflow

  • Price: Free starter plan (Personal $16pm/Pro $35pm)

Designing prototypes is fast and seamless with Webflow, but where this tool really shines is when your prototype is all finished. You can turn your finished prototype into a production-ready site with the click of a button.

Over the past year, Webflow has introduced a game-changing new feature: a CMS for your prototypes. Webflow's CMS is completely visual, allowing you to create powerful, dynamic sites without writing a single line of code. Another particularly useful feature is its ability to create a blog using your blog page prototype concept.

If you're a freelance designer and have had difficulties finding a developer to turn your designs to production sites, Webflow may be for you. You can even set up user accounts or designate an admin to manage content, and your clients will be able to visually make changes.

Generate Sydney - Vlad Magdalin

Vlad Magdalin will be discussing the incredible power of Flexbox at Generate San Francisco; don't miss it!

Alternatively, it's easy to export the prototype into code. Webflow's clean, semantic code can save your engineers hours of code clean-up.

Webflow comes with site templates and web components that can be dragged and dropped into your prototype. These speed up the prototyping process, as they mean you don't need to recreate commonly used design assets.

If at any time you're stuck and need help, you can check out Webflow's detailed documentation or watch its helpful how-to video courses. And of course, if you're using Webflow for the first time, this support will help minimise the learning curve.

Webflow is responsive by nature, so your website layouts will be optimised for all devices: desktop, mobile and tablet. If that wasn't enough, you can design animations that will work on mobile devices and all modern browsers. And it still doesn't end there: Webflow has extensibility built in, which makes it easy to connect your live prototypes to Slack, MailChimp, Google Drive, and more than 400 other services.

Webflow's CEO and founder, Vlad Magdalin, will be at Generate San Francisco on 15 July where he'll be talking about the incredible power of Flexbox. Book your ticket now!

03. Proto.io

Prototyping tools: Proto.io

With Proto.io, ready-made templates for websites and apps enable you to get started quickly

  • Price: Free trial (Freelancer $24pm/Agency $80pm)

With Proto.io, ready-made templates for websites and apps enable you to get a quick start on a project. The entire app runs on the web, so you can run Proto.io on any platform.

In my tests, the app ran a little slowly, and manipulating images was difficult at times. Also, every feature seemed to create a new window (one each for projects, building and live preview). If you like to keep the number of tabs you have open to a minimum, this can be annoying. However, these are small concerns, and do not take away from the benefit you get from having access to your projects on any browser. You can always pick up where you left off, wherever you are.

Proto.io has recently released plugins that enable you to incorporate Sketch and Photoshop designs through a simple drag-and-drop. When you import a file, Proto.io keeps your assets in place, so you don't have to waste time realigning them. If your design has already been imported into Proto.io, you can continue to make changes to your assets in Sketch or Photoshop, and they will automatically update on your Proto.io prototypes; there's no need to export and import again.

The ready-made templates already have a variety of interactions built-in, it's just a matter of adding your app-specific content. When your prototype is ready, you can share the project with a URL and get direct feedback on the prototype page.

04. Framer

Prototyping tools: Framer

Framer is one of the most popular prototyping tools

  • Price: Free trial ($99)

Framer is one of the most popular prototyping tools. It's based on the premise that with code it is possible to prototype anything, resulting in novel and groundbreaking designs.

While this may be true, the tool's proprietary coding language for designing and animating prototypes could be a barrier. There are those who may not see the reward at the end of the steep learning curve, especially for a language that can't be used outside Framer.

However, for those who do want to take on the challenge, the documentation of Framer's coding language is very well structured, with plenty of examples to demonstrate how the language works. There are how-to videos, as well as courses on Udemy and O'Reilly.

This approach is particularly useful for designers that are new to coding. It offers a first-hand view of how flexible and powerful code can be. In addition, Framer's Mac App is well designed, and provides live previews as you write code, which is encouraging for those who are writing code for the first time.

That's not to say it's no good for designers with coding experience who prefer writing HTML/CSS to prototype their designs. Framer may be just the tool you've been looking for: you won't be limited by the drag and drop tools of other apps. Furthermore, because Framer uses code to build prototypes, you can incorporate real-time data into your prototype, from sources like Twitter and Parse.

Like other tools, Framer supports Sketch and Photoshop projects, and will also preserve your design's layers. Another benefit is that – unlike most other tools – you can also import After Effects files. When you're ready to share your prototype, Framer can generate a URL that can be shared with your clients. These shareable URLs can be opened on mobile devices for live previews.

Finally, Framer has recently released an update that lets you prototype VR. 2016 will be the year of VR, and with Framer you can start prototyping now.

05. Vectr

Prototyping tools: Vectr

You can design your prototypes on Vectr's web or desktop apps for Mac and Windows

  • Price: Free

You can design your prototypes on Vectr's web or desktop apps for Mac and Windows, which is impressive considering the app is free. The prototypes stay synced whether you're working on the desktop or web browser, freeing you to work whenever you're ready and ensuring you always have access to the latest changes.

Vectr prototypes can be shared with a URL and integrated into apps like Slack for powerful collaboration. As an added bonus, those you share your mockups with can annotate and edit them.

At the moment, Vectr isn't as feature-rich as many other options, but this shouldn't deter you from getting familiar with it. A roadmap for the app has been published, detailing an impressive list of slated features. These include: fully-offline desktop apps, more platforms, built-in version control, a built-in design assets marketplace, full collaborative editing, image effects, plugins, clickable mockups, built-in feedback and annotation tools, and offline desktop apps.

06. Atomic

Prototyping tools: Atomic

Atomic is a web application that requires Google Chrome

  • Price: Free trial (Starter $15pm/Pro $25pm)

With its beautiful UI and intuitive, easy-to-use animation timeline, Atomic makes a great first impression. Atomic is a web application that requires Google Chrome, which may be a drawback to designers using Safari, Firefox or Windows browsers. Also, there are no desktop apps available.

If you have used After Effects to prototype animations, you will feel right at home with Atomic's animation timeline. This gives you the flexibility and control you need to fine-tune your interaction: just click the play button to see your changes and animations in action.

When you're happy with your design, you can share it with a URL preview on any device. It's also possible to gather design feedback from your clients and team via inline comments.

My favourite feature of this particular tool is the history option, which allows you to rewind to see previous iterations and create new versions from any point. For those designing for iOS, Atomic has launched an iOS kit with a library of iOS design elements, to enable rapid prototyping.

Finally, you can add custom CSS directly into Atomic. It's also possible to export CSS, so you can simply copy and paste it into your project.

07. Easee

Prototyping tools: Easee

Easee is one of the most impressive prototyping tools around

  • Price: Basic Free (Unlimited $10pm)

When you consider that this product is a passion project of Steven Fabre, Easee is one of the most impressive prototyping tools around. In his Medium post, Fabre says that the goal of Easee was to help designers build beautiful animations for the web without needing to write code.

With Easee, you can drag and drop layers from Sketch and Photoshop and begin animating. Easee will take the smooth animations created in the app and export them to CSS, so you can import them into your live web project. You can also view a live preview of your animations on the web.

You can begin using Easee with a basic plan and upgrade to an unlimited plan for $10/month, which provides you with unlimited animation projects and CSS exports.

It's clear that Easee was created by a designer to meet a simple need, and do it well. The tool keeps things straightforward with no unnecessary features, so you can concentrate on building the best interactions and animations for your design project. I encourage you to give Easee a try and support a freelance developer.

08. InVision

Prototyping tools: InVision

InVision is arguably the most popular prototyping tool in the world

  • Price: Free

InVision is arguably the most popular prototyping tool in the world. The team are constantly adding new features to help designers prototype more efficiently. InVision's best feature is perhaps its management of project feedback. Clients and design teams can conveniently provide comments directly on the prototype. These are collated in one convenient location, so you never lose track of feedback.

Communicating the status of the project to your client and team is critical; with InVision's project management page, you can organise design components into a status workflow. You can set columns for To-do, In progress, Needs review, and Approved, and drag and drop your design components into the appropriate column.

For example, if you're about to work on the homepage, you can drag the design component into the 'In progress' column. Now, when your client or team views the status board, they immediately know what is being worked on. If you have ever used Trello in an agile development environment, this will be very familiar to you.

InVision is always announcing new features, and it has recently released one it calls Boards, which is a home where your projects can live. It can also be used as a presentation tool, an asset manager for projects, and a place to create moodboards or galleries. You can even share these moodboards or galleries with clients and design teams, so they can provide direct feedback.

InVision's feature list seems never-ending: you can import design files from Sketch or Photoshop, animate design assets, link pages to simulate real-life websites, and preview prototypes on mobile devices. There is also version control with unlimited history, unlimited free user testing, and integrations with apps like Slack, Dropbox, Box and many more. InVision is still a game-changer in this space, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down.

09. Adobe Comp

Prototyping tools: Adobe Comp

With Adobe Comp, you can create print, web and mobile layouts that seamlessly integrate with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign

  • Price: Free

The recent release of the iPad Pro tells us that many creatives are using tablet devices to develop projects. Adobe Comp provides the tools you need to transform natural drawing gestures into production-ready graphics.

With Adobe Comp, you can create print, web and mobile layouts that seamlessly integrate with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Also, if you use linked assets, making a change in one program will cause the asset to update everywhere else it's featured.

Comp works with Adobe Stock and Typekit, thereby providing you with images, graphics, and hundreds of fonts that can easily be incorporated as you work on your design prototype. This is my favourite feature, because it means virtually any graphic or font is available at your fingertips.

Adobe Comp offers a new way to develop and design prototypes, but due to its user-friendly design, there is virtually no learning barrier. Regardless, Adobe still provides several tutorials to help you get started, if you need them.

If you want to share your design prototypes with your team or clients, you can use Adobe's Behance network to get feedback: a smart move by Adobe to leverage its already massive reach.

10. Principle

Prototyping tools: Principle

Principle is built by a former Apple engineer for OS X, and comes with an iOS app to mirror live prototypes

  • Price: Free trial ($99)

Principle is built by a former Apple engineer for OS X, and comes with an iOS app to mirror live prototypes. Principle has a record feature that can export prototypes to a video or an animated GIF, which can be shared on Dribbble, Twitter or anywhere else you'd like!

Principle is only available for Mac, and if you've used Sketch, Principle's interface will look very familiar. Principle uses artboards to animate elements between states, so as you work on your prototype, you can live-preview your designs on the top right-hand side window. Alternatively, you can mirror your designs on an iOS device.

While Principle does not include a collaboration tool, this drawback will likely be overshadowed by its offline capabilities. The flexibility of working offline is further highlighted by increased speeds, since you're not relying on a potentially unreliable or slow connection.


We've looked at the top 10 prototyping tools to use in 2016. As you can see, the choices are abundant, and it will be hard to pick just one. I recommend you try out any that pique your interest, and see what works best for you, your clients, and your team. The ultimate goal is to let your concept materialise and your design take centre stage, so test different tools and check for updates that might give you just what you're looking for. With so many great options already available, you'll soon find the right prototyping tool to bring your ideas to life.

Words: Levin Mejia

Levin Mejia is a designer advocate at Shopify. He has worked for clients such as Vox Media and founded his own conference: Go Beyond Pixels. This article was originally published in issue 276 of net magazine.

Jun 242016
They Can Talk animal illustrations

Great white sharks are just a little misunderstood, right?

The world is full of weird and wonderful animals. From sharks and sloths to racoons and rabbits, we spend countless amounts of hours and money trying to learn how individual species live and survive. But while we'd never want to remove the need for David Attenborough documentaries, wouldn't this all be a lot easier if animals could only talk?

Clearly, artist Jimmy Craig's thinks so, having recently developed this brilliantly funny They Can Talk series of comic illustrations, in which he imagines what various species might say if they could, infact, speak. And the results are hilarious.

They Can Talk animal illustrations

We don't even want to think about this one...

From great white sharks worrying about humans in their own 'special' way to spiders racing for cover, these illustrations are guaranteed to put a smile on your face – and maybe make you think twice about letting cats in the bedroom.

They Can Talk animal illustrations

See, cats aren't annoying, they just care too much

The Can Talk animal illustrations

Well, this is awkward!

You can see the full collection of Craig's animal talk illustrations here.

Jun 242016
stripped back brands

Which design do you think looks best?

In order to grab our attention on the shelves, well-known brands have to translate their identities through to their packaging designs. But when trying to cram multiple messages on to one piece of packaging or logo design, the branding values often get a little lost.

A little while ago, London-based designer Mehmet Gozetlik decided to embark on a concept that saw many of these well-known brands stripped back to their basics. Using a minimal approach, he rids the likes of Nutella, Nesquik and Lindt of their 'busy branding'.

Product that are adorned with fancy typography, garish graphics and over-the-top colours have now been replaced with a simple execution. So, do you think these new designs look better? Or should these brands stick to what we're used to?

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Jun 242016

For the last three years, Computer Arts has run a contest in partnership with D&AD New Blood for students and recent graduates to design the cover of our New Talent special.

For this year's brief, our finishing partner Celloglas offered up an extra-special finish for the entrants to get creative with: pearlescent varnish.

We can now reveal the final shortlist of eight, one of which will receive a £500 commission to develop their idea into the final cover of the issue, which goes on sale 22 July.

Subscribe to CA now to guarantee your copy, and save 50% in our special graduate season offer!

Davide Osella

Davide Osella's rough concept – the final, he suggested, would have more colour added

"My artwork represents the ability of an artist to find inspiration everywhere around him," explains Davide Osella.

"In the picture we see a young male pouring water into his dish at a bar counter. Everything he has around is inspiring his 'artist trip', depicted on the background."

"Broccoli and a fish, part of his lunch, are floating in a deep water atmosphere. His nearby fellow's anchor tattoo is there too, and his phone transforms into a futuristic submarine."

Osella proposed using the pearlescent treatment to represent "the artistic touch"

Osella suggests applying the pearlescent varnish over the background and hair of the central character. "In this way, everything touched by his 'artistic inspiration' would be identified by this special treatment," he explains.

Grace Murray

Grace Murray used the excitement of graduating as the starting point for her design

A recent Visual Communications graduate from Cork Institute of Technology, Grace Murray chose to illustrate the "excitement and eagerness" of new graduates.

"My character is colourful and eye catching, to make sure no one misses her," Murray explains. "She's got drive and fresh talent coursing through her veins (and teeth)."

Murray proposes applying pearlescent varnish to the character's eyes to add some extra sparkle, as well as parts of her cheeks and nose.

Izzi Hays

Izzi Hays developed her design in context, introducing a range of food-themed puns as coverlines to support her concept

"Fresh talent is always about what is happening, and the up-and-coming," observes Izzi Hays, who used the colloquial phrase 'what's cooking' as a starting point for her cover concept.

"I created a miniature kitchen scene entirely out of paper, some markers, a lot of hot glue, and a little watercolour," she says. "The viewpoint into the kitchen allows the viewer to feel that they could step into it and create something fresh and exciting."

Hays proposes applying pearlescent varnish to the main title and strapline to add depth and intrigue, and also suggests turning CA's 'design matters' badge into a peelable sticker.

Karine Fortier

Karine Fortier's entry depicts the idea of talent as a journey

A recent graduate London College of Communication, Karine Fortier chose to depict the "shared emotions of success, and the excitement of the continued journey" in her playful design.

The 'I ❤ CA' stickers are a clear homage to the great Milton Glaser, who she quotes in her entry: "The real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire, and persistence. Talent without these things vanishes and even modest talent with those characteristics grows."

Fortier suggests applying pearlescent varnish to the confetti cloud, the stars and the hearts on the stickers to emphasis the playful, celebratory feel of her design.

Krystina Chapman

Krystina Chapman uses the metaphor of constellations of stars in her striking cosmic design

A graduate in Graphic & Communication Design from the University of Leeds, Krystina Chapman uses a two-level metaphor in her design, which depicts the main coverline as a constellation in the night sky.

"This not only refers to the suggested theme of 'rising stars', but also alludes to the metaphor 'written in the stars' – as if the new bloods' passion for design is in their destiny," she explains. "The lonesome shooting star is breaking the mould and standing out from the crowd."

Chapman would apply pearlescent varnish on particular stars, to make them twinkle and shimmer. "Light would really bring the cover to life, and highlight the title," she adds.

Melanie Edwards

Melanie Edwards' used quirky model characters to get across her concept of 'blooming' fresh talent

Melanie Edwards interprets the 'fresh talent' theme as a pair of young creative students literally blooming like flowers.

She proposes applying the pearlescent varnish on the sky to achieve a shimmering reflective effect. "I want readers to see their reflection in the varnish," she continues. "Perhaps this will encourage them to imagine themselves as the blooming creative students featured in the magazine in the future."

Sebastinella Dunne

Sebastinella Dunne illustrated new graduates within their bubbles, before entering the big world of design

For Arts University Bournemouth graduate Sebastinella Dunne, breaking out of university and into the working design industry could feel like heading into another huge world – and her design reflects this.

"Many design graduates have shining talent to add to the industry, but it takes guts, self belief and determination to burst out of our small bubbles and jump into the wider design world," she argues, adding that the pearlescent varnish would finish off the bubbles nicely.

Vadym Solovyov

A pin to the head: Vadym Solovyov believes new graduates are in need of a reality check

Through his balloon-headed man concept, Vadym Solovyov depicts fresh graduates as having an over-inflated sense of themselves as they enter the industry, a delusion waiting to be popped by reality.

"While studying, young people are acquiring more knowledge and skills – it's like a balloon getting more helium, flying higher and higher," he explains.

"After graduation they come face-to-face with the real world, with real obstacles on the way to success." With one touch, he adds, the balloon can burst and they'll fall to earth with a bump.

Get a half-price subscription to CA

We know it isn't always easy being a new graduate. So to celebrate 2016 degree show season, get an incredible 50 per cent off an annual subscription to Computer Arts magazine.

For just £39 you'll receive an entire year of industry insight, opinion and inspiration, delivered to your door. Plus: subscribe before 8th July to guarantee your copy of CA's 2016 New Talent issue!

Jun 242016
EU referendum art

Gruffalo artist Axel Scheffler created an image for the Guardian to demonstrate his support for Britain remaining in the EU

Unless you've been hiding under a rock somewhere, you'll know that yesterday the UK voted on whether to remain part of the EU. And in the early hours of today, in an historic referendum, it was revealed that 51.9 per cent of voters opted to leave.

For the past few months, the EU referendum has been an a hot topic of discussion for many. But while everyone's been busy talking it, designers and artists around the globe have been expressing their views much more visually – creating some truly stunning artwork. Here's some of the best EU referendum art we saw in the build up...

EU referendum art

Editorial cartoonist for the International New York Times Patrick Chappatte posted this illustration on Twitter back in February

"It’s time for Great Britain to escape from the disaster that is the European Union," says comic artist Ben Garrison

Ben Javens and Marion Deuchars set up the Remain Positive project urging pro-remain artists to design and contribute an image reflecting their views

Political mag Spectator's cover clearly conveys its 'Out – and into the world' message

Illustrator Veronica Dearly makes her opinion clear with this 'love not leave' drawing

Illustrator John Bond visualises where he stood on the debate...

..with these two illustrations

Have you seen any brilliant EU referendum artwork? Share it with us in the comments below.

Jun 242016

When Studio Output started Glug in 2007 as a get-together for London's creative community, the team had no idea what it would become. But the winning recipe of inspirational speakers and informal networking (they prefer "notworking") has captured the world's imagination.

Glug franchises have so far sprung up in Amsterdam, Stockholm, Beijing, Auckland and NYC, while its UK network includes Brighton, Manchester, Leeds, Reading, Oxford and Birmingham as well as London.

Ever fancied running a design event? Co-founders Ian Hambleton and Nick Clement and events coordinator Malin Persson reveal how you can host your own Glug event and expand their fast-growing global community...

Glug events coordinator Malin Persson

Why do you want to expand?

Ian Hambleton: Glug began as a sideline, but we came to realise that people love the format. We started getting requests from people to set up their own events, so we created some basic guidelines. It's free to do, and we don't charge people to use the name or run the format.

We've decided to really push it this year, and made the events much easier for hosts to run. I came up with this silly ambition to have 100 new cities by January next year. Currently we have 18, so quite a way to go.

Do you have anywhere specific in mind?

IH: We'd love to have Glugs in big creative and tech hubs all over the world; places where there's a burgeoning creative scene. But some of our most successful Glugs are not places you'd imagine. We just want to find great hosts to run the events and have lots more people enjoy the format.

What do you look for in a host?

Nick Clement: Often we find design studios make good hosts, or a few friends that decide to do it together works well. We'll give you advice, plus a 'How to Glug?' pack and brand book. Plus Malin is here to support all the Glug hosts centrally.

Malin Persson: The key is to surround yourself with the best hosting team. Glug is not a one (wo)man job, but a teamwork situation. The most successful Glug teams have an eclectic mix of people.

But ultimately we're looking for natural networkers who consider themselves creative aficionados, ideally with some kind of previous event experience.

What's the next step to start a Glug?

MP: Go to the Become a Host section on the site, read about what it entails and decide if you're up for the challenge. If so, tell us about yourself and the vision you've got. Outline why the Glug Community is needed in your local area plus, of course, why you're the best person for the job.

IH: We want to understand about you and your work; how you'll try to make sure the first events are well attended – after a while they'll fill themselves – and lastly, what sort of things you're interested in.

Any advice for finding a great venue?

NC: We tend to use bars or live music clubs. Glug is meant to be a bit 'rough and ready', so the ticket price is as low as possible to ensure everyone can attend.

You need a good sound system, and most venues have a pretty good projector these days, so often the only thing you need to hire in is a few chairs. A brilliant speaker compensates for a less polished venue. People remember the talk, not the state of the toilets.

Host your own Glug!

Interested in starting a Glug in your home city, wherever you are in the world? Find out more at www.glugevents.com/host.

Jun 242016

All those thoughts floating around in your head deserve to go somewhere. Why not a blog? You can get your first site up in no time with a one-year all access subscription to Typed Plus, on sale now for just $30 (approx. £21).

Typed is a super streamlined platform that makes managing and producing a blog easier than ever. Its simple and fast interface makes it possible to launch your site in just minutes, and you'll have no limits on users or traffic. Manage up to three sites on a single plan, either by yourself or with a team of people ready to publish their work.

A one-year subscription to Typed Plus usually retails for $239, but you can save 87% off that price right now. That means you'll get a full year of access to Typed Plus for just $30 (approx. £21)! It's the perfect service to launch your site, so grab this deal today.

Jun 242016
Computer Arts 255: junior designers

Get the junior designer survival guide with Computer Arts 255

Whether you start as an intern or are lucky enough to bag a full- time entry-level job, getting your foot in the door of an agency as a junior designer is a well-trodden path into the creative industries.

That's why the new issue of Computer Arts, 255, is packed with all the practical advice you need to land that all-important first job, as well as how to impress and climb through the studio ranks once you've done so.

Get Computer Arts issue 255 now

Computer Arts 255: interview

Perfect your interview techniques and win your dream job

It's a topic also touched on in this month's video documentary, in which Shoreditch-based branding agency SomeOne opens its doors. There, interns and juniors alike are given a baptism of fire, and are better designers for it.

As well as sharing tricks for surviving a baptism of fire, SomeOne reveals how to build a coherent brand world, five ingredients of a killer idea and more in issue 255.

Elsewhere in the issue, Adrian Shaughnessy investigates designers' enduring passion for the craft of book design – including an inspiring showcase of standout examples – and discusses how to engage readers with in print in the online age.

Plus: find out how to nail your next interview and win your dream job, with CA's guide to interview techniques.

Also inside CA issue 255

Computer Arts 255: Stephen Kelleher

Stephen Kelleher explains why he swapped animation for self-portraiture

  • Six leading designers reveal the biggest mistakes they made in their first jobs and explain how to avoid them
  • Illustrate for new markets: how Janine Rewell applied her creative talents to a South Korean shopping mall
  • Create a killer title sequence: behind the scenes on this year's stunning OFFF titles
  • How Dutch artist Levi van Veluw is exploiting the depth and drama of a darkness blacker than black
  • Glug's Ian Hambleton and Malin Persson explain why they need you to help grow the meet-up
  • DesignStudio's James Hurst reveals how to avoid succumbing to brand backlash
  • How freelance designer Stephen Kelleher used a life-threatening illness as a springboard into a new field: self-portraiture
  • All the best new graphic design, illustration and motion graphics work
  • And much, much more
Computer Arts 255: showcase

The best new graphic design, illustration and motion graphics work

Computer Arts 255: the future of book design

Why is book design the ground zero of graphic design?

Computer Arts 255: SomeOne

London design studio SomeOne opens its doors

Computer Arts 255: serious design

Why it's time for design to get serious

Computer Arts 255: survival guide

The definitive junior designer survival guide

Get 20% off Creative Cloud Photography Plan with Computer Arts

We've teamed up with Adobe to offer you 20% off Creative Cloud Photography Plan when you subscribe to Computer Arts.

Simply head over to MyFavouriteMagazines and choose between a print or print and digital subscription, and get your copy delivered direct to your door. Please note: the Adobe offer will be emailed to you 30 days after the date of purchase.

Jun 242016

We've all heard of Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. And many of you will be familiar with Håkon Wium Lie, the inventor of CSS.

But despite the web dominating everyone's lives, many of its most important pioneers are still not household names in 2016 – even in some households where web designers live!

So to address the balance a little here, we've pulled together five hidden heroes from the annals of web design. There are plenty more names to honour besides these of course, so feel free to add your favourite unsung heroes in the comments below.

01. Brendan Eich

Never heard of Eich? He invented JavaScript and helped found Mozilla. Photograph by Darcy Padilla

Today's web would look pretty drab and be hugely lacking in interactivity without JavaScript. And yet Brendan Eich took just 10 days to create it in 1995, while working for Netscape.

And that's not all. In 1998, Eich co-founded the Mozilla project with Mitchell Baker, as a way to manage open-source contributions to the Netscape source code. That eventually transformed into the Mozilla Foundation, which launched Firefox. And without Firefox, Microsoft's Internet Explorer might have ended up dominating the web, condemning generations of web designers to endless browser hacks to make their sites function properly.

Born in Pittsburgh, Eich, now 55, played a central role in Mozilla's evolution, eventually becoming CEO of Mozilla Corporation in 2014. However, he was forced to step down shortly after, when a gay rights campaign targeted his support for California Proposition 8, which made same-sex marriage illegal.

Eich has continued to shake up the web as CEO of Brave Software, whose open-source web browser includes a micropayments system that offers a choice between viewing selected ads or paying websites not to display them.    

02. Ray Tomlinson

Back when computers were still the size of houses, Tomlinson invented email. Photograph by Andreu Veà, WiWiW.org

Born in New York in 1941, Ray Tomlinson's name should really sit alongside Berners-Lee in the internet hall of legends, as he did something pretty darned amazing. He invented email.

Way back in 1971, Tomlinson was working at R&D company Bolt Beranek and Newman – now Raytheon BBN Technologies – he pioneered the first system able to send mail between users on different hosts connected to the ARPANET, a forerunner to today's internet.

To achieve this, he used the @ sign for sending email. Tomlinson picked the symbol because it was little-used at the time and, as he liked to say, "It's the only preposition on the keyboard."

The first email was sent between two machines that were side-by-side. It contained a message that Tomlinson, who died this March aged 74, described as "something like QWERTYUIOP". Incredibly, the first people to use his new system didn't think it was that big a deal. In fact, according to a 1998 profile in Forbes magazine, Tomlinson told a colleague: "Don't tell anyone! This isn't what we're supposed to be working on."

With the advent of personal computers, email went on to fundamentally change the way humanity communicates, with more than a billion and a half users spanning the globe. All the more amazing considering, according to Raytheon spokeswoman Joyce Kuzman, "it wasn't an assignment at all, he was just fooling around".

03. Howard 'Ward' Cunningham

This Howard Cunningham should be as beloved as his sitcom namesake. Photograph by Carrigg Photography (www.carriggphotography.com) for the Wikimedia Foundation

Hailing from Michigan City, Indiana, Howard Cunningham is known as 'Ward' to his fans, handily distinguishing him from the dad in Happy Days. And while you may not have heard of him, you've almost certainly benefited from what he invented: the Wiki.

Ward started developing WikiWikiWeb in 1994 and installed it on the website of his software consultancy Cunningham & Cunningham in March 1995. Wiki is the Hawaiian word for "quick" and in the context of web design, it's come to mean a website that provides collaborative modification of its content and structure directly from the web browser.

The wiki has transformed the web, facilitating the crowd-sourced creation of online knowledge bases on an epic scale, from OpenStreetMap to the Family History Research Wiki, and most notably the all-encompassing Wikipedia and Wiki Answers.

But when asked in a 2006 interview with internetnews.com whether he considered patenting the Wiki concept, Cunningham replied that he thought it "just sounded like something that no one would want to pay money for."

Like many great web pioneers, Ward has his own 'law'. According to former Intel executive, Steven McGeady, Cunningham advised him in the early 1980s, "The best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer." McGeady dubbed this Cunningham's law.

Cunningham wasn't satisfied with his invention, though, and continued to work to improve it. In 2011, inspired by Github, he created Smallest Federated Wiki, a tool for wiki federation, which brought the concept of forking to wiki pages. As Wired put it: "The radical idea of the wiki was to put an edit button on every page. The radical idea of the federated wiki is to put a 'fork' button on every page."

You can learn more about Cunningham at his rather spartan personal site, a tribute to the simplicity of the early web.

04. Phil Zimmermann

Zimmerman risked some serious jailtime to keep us all safe from prying eyes. Photography by Jon Callas: https://www.flickr.com/photos/joncallas/

Born in Camden, New Jersey, Phil Zimmermann, 52, is the creator of the most widely used email encryption software in the world.

In 1991, he wrote the popular Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) program, and shared it, together with its source code, through public FTP for download. It was the first widely available program implementing public-key cryptography.

While most early web pioneers gave us their time and energy, Zimmerman sacrificed a lot more than that. As a result of his work, US Customs made him the target of a criminal investigation for allegedly violating the Arms Export Control Act. (The government had long classified cryptographic software as a "munition", making it subject to arms trafficking export controls.)

The government finally dropped its case without indictment in 1996, and Zimmermann founded PGP Inc, which was acquired by Network Associates in 1997. The user manual for PGP contains the following prescient warning: "Today, email can be routinely and automatically scanned for interesting keywords, on a vast scale, without detection. This is like driftnet fishing."

Edward Snowden's revelations two decades later showed just how much the US secret services has exploited this data vulnerability to spy on its own citizens and other. Suitably enough, when the former NSA contractor reached out to journalists to blow their cover, he did so using PGP.

Zimmermann's Law chillingly states: "The natural flow of technology tends to move in the direction of making surveillance easier, and the ability of computers to track us doubles every 18 months."

05. David Axmark

The Swedish software guru has played a key role in the development of the modern web. Photography: James Duncan Davidson (https://www.flickr.com/photos/x180)/O'Reilly Media

Database software may seem a dull subject to some, but without MySQL there wouldn't be much of a web to look at today. And co-founder David Axmark from Sweden, 54, has been intimately involved in its development from the very start.

A relational database management system, MySQL got its name by combining the first syllable of co-founder Michael Widenius with the initials of "Structured Query Language". It's since become widely used in a host of open-source projects that require a full-featured database management system, including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, TYPO3, MODx, phpBB and MyBB. MySQL is also used in many high-profile websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and non-search parts of Google

Given his immense contribution to the modern web, Axmark might be forgiven for becoming a little arrogant. And yet everyone agrees he's one of the nicest people in web design. Fritz Nelson of Information Week described him as a "humble entrepreneur" with "zero ego, maximum success, achieved from a place of pure personal passion and the observation of need rather than blatant commercialization".

Axmark has been involved with free software since 1980, and in 2005 launched OrangeHRM, a company providing open source human resource management software. And in 2012 he teamed up with the other MySQL founders, Michael "Monty" Widenius and Allan Larsson, to create the MariaDB Foundation. This is a community-developed fork of MySQL, created due to concerns over its acquisition by Oracle.

Review: Fabrik

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Jun 242016

Create a portfolio site without technical hassles thanks to Fabrik

From £5.75/month

Fabrik is awesome and it's going to be the answer to a lot of artist's problems with portfolio websites. Creating and updating websites is normally a tedious chore filled with frustration, and one lots of artists neglect because of this. Fabrik takes all of the technical hassles away, enabling you to create a gorgeous and responsive web design portfolios in minutes.


Fabrik takes care of all the image optimisation for you

When you sign in, Fabrik doesn't look particularly special. You're met with a clean and tidy interface that resembles a lot of blogging dashboards. But when you start uploading work Fabrik optimises images for all devices, so you don't have to resize artwork. You're left with the fun bits, customising themes without coding hassles.

Fabrik is versatile too, offering lots of strong themes to choose from. Helpfully, the platform doesn't bombard you with customisation options: you can pick a general theme, then alter each project (a collection of images or videos) to a number of presentation options. So you can choose whatever best suits your work. Highly recommended.

From £5.75/month

This article was originally published in ImagineFX magazine issue 134. Buy it here.