MSI PS63 Modern review

The PS63 Modern may be a work laptop, but it comes from an unusual source – because MSI is better-known for building high-octane gaming machines. Think about it, though, and it actually makes plenty of sense. Gaming laptops tend to have good design, powerful graphics cores and solid build quality, and they’re all attributes that are useful for work machines too – especially if you work as a designer.

Can it justify its $1,499/£1,499 pricetag in hen up against strong competition from Dell and Apple, though?

MSI PS63 Modern: Design

The PS63 Modern comes from MSI’s Prestige range, and it looks good without channelling the more extravagant design associated with gaming laptops. The machine is hewn from aluminium that has been diamond-cut and sandblasted, so the material is precise, smart and subtle. The edges are finished with a glistening blue trim, which adds a little sheen.

The good looks are backed up with solid practicality. On the right-hand side you’ll find two USB 3.1 ports and a microSD card reader, and on the left there’s an HDMI output, another full-size USB port and a USB Type-C connection that support DisplayPort.

The full-size USB port on the left-hand side uses a Qualcomm technology called QC 3.0, which pumps extra electricity through the port to accelerate phone charging. One of the other USB ports uses the USB 3.1 Gen 2 protocol, which improves data transfer speeds. The one thing missing is a Gigabit Ethernet port. MSI does include an adapter, but it occupies a USB slot.

The MSI weighs 1.6kg and is 16mm thick – great dimensions for a 15.6in laptop. Build quality is reasonable, with only a little flex in the screen and no movement in the base. The PS63 also meets several MIL-STD 810G standards, so it’s ready to work in high and low temperature environments, extreme humidity and after being dropped. We’d still use a sleeve or a case to protect the exterior, but this machine is certainly sturdy enough for use outside of the office.

It looks just …

8 inspiring graphic design game-changers

Good design can do many things. It can make us laugh, it can push technologies and ideas in directions we’d never thought possible, it can bring communities together and forge new ones, it can look beautiful, it can look ugly yet still be brilliant, it can change the way we see the world and it can even provide solutions to the problems blighting our poor little planet.

Design doesn’t have to do all these things all the time, of course. Sometimes good design is straightforwardly about craft, or selling something. But in this article we’re celebrating the practitioners whose work goes deep, looks stunning, and most of all, reconfigures what we thought possible with image-making and the concepts behind it. These game-changers showcases the breadth of boundary-pushing designers and the best of experimental design around today.

If your eyes aren’t already turned on to these creatives and the thoroughly brilliant output they produce, make sure that changes: we reckon they’ll be making some big waves this year and beyond.

Click on the icon at the top-right of the image to enlarge it.

Astrid Stavro

Identity for Barcelona Design Museum

2018 was a big year for Astrid Stavro: she joined Pentagram London as a partner. Not that she needed one of the biggest names in design to boost her CV, though. Since founding Astrid Stavro Studio, and co-founding Atlas around six years ago alongside her partner Pablo Martín, Stavro has made a name for herself as one of the best, sharpest and smartest designers around. 

Stavro studied graphic design at London’s Central Saint Martin and The Royal College of Art, where she is currently a visiting lecturer in the School of Visual Communication, as well as being a member of design association Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI).

Elephant magazine design by Stavro’s Atlas design consultancy. 

“As a designer you have to be like an author, too; you have to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes,” Stavro says. This idea of narrative and “soul” is crucial …

15 essential JavaScript tools you should be using

JavaScript is a vital tool for any web developer. To help you get the best from this powerful programming language, you're going to want to enlist the help of some dedicated tools. The good news is, you're not short of options here: there are plenty of JavaScript tools around to choose from. The difficult part is picking the ones that are right for you and your workflow. 

In this article, we've rounded up what we think are the best JavaScript tools around right now.

01. Web Components

Web Components homepage

The concept of a component is used heavily in JavaScript frameworks. They are used to break apart a project into several reusable chunks that can be moved about independently of one another. But what happens when it’s time to change the framework? Previously written components will no longer work. Either there is added workload to convert the components, or the project stays tied to that framework.

Web components are a solution to that issue. They are written using native web technologies, are self-contained and expose values and behaviours through attributes like any other HTML element.

They are made up of three separate specifications: HTML templates, shadow DOM and custom elements. 

HTML templates
These define the visual appearance of a component. They contain the structure of content, which can then be copied and reused for each component on the page.

Shadow DOM
The concept of keeping the internal markup of the component away from the rest of the document. This keeps styles and other logic from breaking out and affecting other components.

Custom elements
These are the glue that holds everything together. They are responsible for the lifecycle of the component, which can include extra logic for when a component is added or removed from the page.

Web components can be used alongside their framework counterparts. As they are supposed to act like native elements, most frameworks will work with them without issue. Some frameworks, like Angular, may need to be told of their existence …

Crafting Reusable HTML Templates

In our last article, we discussed the Web Components specifications (custom elements, shadow DOM, and HTML templates) at a high-level. In this article, and the three to follow, we will put these technologies to the test and examine them in greater detail and see how we can use them in production today. To do this, we will be building a custom modal dialog from the ground up to see how the various technologies fit together.

Article Series:

  1. An Introduction to Web Components
  2. Crafting Reusable HTML Templates (This post)
  3. Creating a Custom Element from Scratch (Coming soon!)
  4. Encapsulating Style and Structure with Shadow DOM (Coming soon!)
  5. Advanced Tooling for Web Components (Coming soon!)

HTML templates

One of the least recognized, but most powerful features of the Web Components specification is the <template> element. In the first article of this series, we defined the template element as, “user-defined templates in HTML that aren’t rendered until called upon.” In other words, a template is HTML that the browser ignores until told to do otherwise.

These templates then can be passed around and reused in a lot of interesting ways. For the purposes of this article, we will look at creating a template for a dialog that will eventually be used in a custom element.

Defining our template

As simple as it might sound, a <template> is an HTML element, so the most basic form of a template with content would be:

  <h1>Hello world</h1>

Running this in a browser would result in an empty screen as the browser doesn’t render the template element’s contents. This becomes incredibly powerful because it allows us to define content (or a content structure) and save it for later — instead of writing HTML in JavaScript.

In order to use the template, we will need JavaScript

const template = document.querySelector('template');
const node = document.importNode(template.content, true);

The real magic happens in the document.importNode method. This function will create a copy of the template’s content and prepare it to …

40+ Best Sketch Templates of 2019

Sketch is a unique app that offers amazing features and functionality for creating app UI designs and mockups. Creating an effective UI for an application requires time, detailed attention, and—most importantly—an idea to get started with!

In order to streamline the design process for creating your next app interface, we’ve collected the best Sketch UI templates and materials that you can use for your next app project. All these packs come with hundreds of UI design elements and can be easily implemented in your design. Enjoy!

HIX – Dashboard UI Kit for Sketch

HIX - Dashboard UI Kit for Sketch

Hix is a bundle of Sketch templates you can use to design modern and creative user interfaces. It comes with 6 different dashboards and more than 35 types of widgets. In addition, the pack also includes 14 pre-made dashboard layouts as well.

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription

E-Commerce – Done UI Kit iOS & Android UX Template

E-Commerce - Done UI Kit iOS & Android UX Template

If you’re working on a mobile app for an eCommerce business or shop, this bundle of Sketch templates will come in handy. It features several useful mobile screen templates for eCommerce apps. The templates are available in Sketch, PSD, and XD formats.

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription

300+ Web Design Wireframe Sketch Templates

300+ Web Design Wireframe Sketch Templates

This massive bundle of Sketch templates is designed specifically for web designers. It includes more than 300 different web layout templates in 19 different categories and with 2000 possible combinations.

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription

DarkDot – Wireframe UI Kit Sketch Template

DarkDot - Wireframe UI Kit Sketch Template

Using dark color schemes is a popular trend in app and web design. DarkDot wireframing kit will help you craft the perfect web designs with dark colors with its collection of 170+ layouts available in 17 categories.

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription

Chrome Browser Window – Website Mockup

Chrome Browser Window – Website Mockup

Looking for a beautiful and creative browser mockup to showcase your product, screenshots, and websites? Then this browser mockup template will come in handy. It comes in Sketch, PSD, and XD formats. Firefox and Safari versions are also available.

  • Price: Envato Elements Subscription

ARON – Web UI Kit Sketch Templates

ARON Web UI Kit Sketch Templates

Aron …

Blockchain 2.0: Blockchain In Real Estate [Part 4]

Blockchain 2.0: Smart‘er’ Real Estate The previous article of this series explored the features of blockchain which will enable institutions to transform and interlace traditional banking and financing systems with it. This part will explore...

The post Blockchain 2.0: Blockchain In Real Estate [Part 4] appeared first on OSTechNix.

from OSTechNix…

Meet tight deadlines with this timeline tool

If you're ever fantasised about having your own personal assistant, listen up. Aeon Timeline 2 for Mac & Windows is a close second to the real thing, helping you manage complicated projects and meet tight deadlines with its timeline tools. The best part — this time management tool can be yours for about what you'd pay a personal assistant for an hour's work! It’s currently on sale for $19.99, that's 60% off the normal price of $50.

Whether the project is big or small, Aeon Timeline 2 helps you get things done. The timeline tool helps you manage your workload efficiently, keeping you on track, organised and on top of deadlines.

There's a feature that allows you to divide events into groups based on their relationships with other entities, then filter the events based on dates, durations, tags and more.

You can even link events with images, documents and websites to keep track of your research and have supporting documentation easily on hand.

Take advantage of Aeon Timeline 2's pre-configured templates, calendars and display options, or create your own perfect ones. This handy software offers a helping hand along nearly every career path — helping workers manage their events, entities and relationships on an intuitive interface.

Grab Aeon Timeline 2 for Mac & Windows today for just $19.99.

Related articles:

from Creative Bloq…

30 graphic designers to follow on Behance

Behance has over 10 million members, so it's no surprise that the online portfolio platform is a great place to find new work, potential collaborators and creative inspiration. 

But, with so many portfolios to browse through, how do you find the best to draw inspiration from? To make things easy for you, we've done the hard work and picked 30 of the top graphic design portfolios that are definitely worth a look.

And if the finest that Behance has to offer isn't enough for you, don't despair. We have selected more portfolio examples and graphic design portfolio inspiration that will have you itching to get started.

01. TwoPoints.Net

On the Road to Variable: Edited and designed by TwoPoints.Net

For exciting graphic design work (plus a masterclass in how to present your Behance portfolio) look no further than TwoPoints.Net. Co-founded by Dr Martin Lorenz – who specialises in flexible visual systems – and graphic designer Lupi Asensio, the Hamburg and Barcelona-based studio creates cutting-edge design for clients large and small. 

The studio’s Behance portfolio is a tightly curated affair. Like their main site, it’s regularly updated with their latest projects – with details of the brief included at the top of each project page, above a series of stunning images. On the Road to Variable, edited and designed by, is an exciting and eclectic collection of variable typography innovation published by Victionary.

02. Chad Michael

Makers Playing Cards in a wooden box with a key

Makers Playing Cards, by Chad Michael

Chad Michael launched his studio of the same name in 2014 after working as lead designer at a range of New York-based agencies, including Landor, Pearlfisher and Stranger & Stranger.

He specialises in branding and package design – he’s worked with the likes of Jack Daniels and Entertainment Weekly – and his work is can be seen in over 20 print publications which include Los Logos, Logo Lounge, CA Magazine, and HOW.

03. Marta Cerdà

Blue OMELET business cards on a blue background

OMELET by Marta Cerdà 

Amsterdam-based graphic designer Marta Cerdà boasts a stunning Behance portfolio. If you’re interested in typography, you’ll find a whole host …

30+ Best Tri-Fold Brochure Templates (Word & InDesign)

Are you working on a new tri-fold brochure design for your business? Want to make them look even better than your competitors? Then you’ve come to the right place. We’re featuring some of the best tri-fold brochure templates you can use to easily design a stunning brochure with a minimal budget.

The design of a brochure says a lot about a company and the quality of the business. The colors you use in your brochure, the way you format the content, and the fonts you choose, play an important role in showing off professionalism and authority.

For this collection, we carefully handpicked the best brochure templates designed by professionals to help you choose the right design and get a headstart on your own tri-fold brochure design.

All the templates in this collection can be downloaded from Envato Elements for a single price. All you have to do is buy a subscription and you’ll be able to download all these templates and 490,000 more design elements without having to pay for each item.

Trifold Multipurpose Corporate Brochure

Trifold - Multipurpose Corporate Brochure

This elegant and modern trifold brochure template is perfect for designing a professional brochure for a corporate or small business. The template comes in 2 different color schemes and in A4 size.

  • Supported Formats: InDesign

Trifold Business Brochure Template

Trifold Business Brochure Template

Another modern brochure template featuring a stylish design most suitable for corporate businesses, startups, and agencies. The template comes in A4 and US Letter sizes. You’ll also be able to customize it using InDesign and Photoshop as well.

  • Supported Formats: InDesign & Photoshop

Modern Neon Brochure Template

Modern Neon Brochure Template

This colorful trifold brochure template comes in a square-shaped layout in 20cm x 20cm size. It can be easily customized to change colors, text, backgrounds, and more. The template is compatible with InDesign CS4 and higher.

  • Supported Formats: InDesign

Creative Trifold Brochure Template

Creative Trifold Brochure Template

The minimal and clean design used in this brochure template makes it the perfect choice for designing a creative brochure for agencies and startups. The template is available in A4 and US Letter sizes.

  • Supported

Authority Figure: Positioning Yourself as a Web Design Expert

To find success in the web design industry, you need a few key ingredients. First and foremost, a talent for design and/or code. Then there’s a willingness to learn the tools and techniques of the trade. However, those pieces will only get you part of the way there.

The other part of the equation comes down to marketing yourself. Whether you want to work as a solo freelancer or land a gig at an agency, it’s important to show the world who you are. The goal is to help potential clients or employers learn about your personality, talents and experience.

Standing out in a crowded marketplace requires effort that goes beyond just design and development. As disheartening as it sounds, doing great work is not always enough. You also have to present yourself as an expert in your field – someone who has a true understanding of your niche.

What does it take to get there? Here are some strategies you can use position yourself as a designer who knows what you’re talking about.

The Web Designer Toolbox
Unlimited Downloads: 500,000+ Web Templates, Themes, Plugins & Design Assets

Build a Body of Written Work

The best way to let others know about your expertise is to publish your thoughts. Of course, being online makes the process of getting started quite easy.

Having a blogging presence is important. It provides a forum for sharing what you know and will continually grow over time.

For some, the idea of publishing (even on a small scale) can be intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to be a major source of stress. Just keep the following in mind:

Stick with What You Know
One of the biggest misconceptions about blogging is that you need to have an impeccable understanding of your subject. That’s really not the case. Therefore, don’t let it stop you from writing.

Instead, focus on the things that you know well. Think back to the different experiences you’ve had, including the mistakes and the triumphs. Sharing this type of …