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What a 'nail bomb' is and why they are terrifying improvised weapons

Following an explosion on May 22 outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, at least 22 people are dead and 59 are injured.
Prime Minister Theresa May has called the deadly event a “callous terrorist

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Moody's downgrades China, warns of eroding financial strength as debt rises

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Moody’s Investors Services downgraded China’s long-term local and foreign currency issuer ratings on Wednesday, citing expectations that the financial strength of the world’s second biggest economy would erode in the coming years.

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Branding 101 for Freelancers

Branding seems like marketing jargon, but it’s actually an extremely important part of freelancing – much more than it’s given credit for. Whether or not you think branding is important or find it ridiculous, the truth is that we live in an era where branding is crucial to a freelancer’s success.

It’s important to see branding as more than just an icon, logo, a visual theme, or a product. A brand is a relational tool and the standard industry definition is that it is the overall identity of the organization, which includes its visual elements, sure, but also its mission, vision, and the core values its members hold.

“Marketing,” then, in a sense, is how you get that message to an audience, which is, in this case, your client.

Ultimately, branding tells your client what kind of service they’re going to receive. It communicates your process, your style, your work ethic, and so much more. It also helps communicate your strength as a professional.

The personal portfolio of developer Riccardo Zanutta

Your brand isn’t the only thing that’s important to remember, however – you also need to consider the brand that your client has. So not only is it important to communicate your own brand to your client, but it’s equally crucial to understand branding as it pertains to your client, and the message they want to get across.

But what does that mean for individual freelancers? What does it mean to have a personal brand? And how can that help freelancers in pitching to clients, working with them, and helping a client develop and refine their message to enhance the value of your project deliverables?

What Does Branding Mean for Me?

Think about what makes you, well, you

Ask yourself what your personality is, and how it sets you apart from the crowd. Freelancing, as more and more people do it, is becoming extremely competitive and you need to set yourself up as not just a developer or a graphic designer, but one with panache who knows how to communicate your unique style.

Ask yourself how your work process reflects that. Are you a fun worker? Constant communicator? What are your core values?

Check out your competition. What’s on their website? How many items do they have in their portfolio? Think about how you differ from them, yes, but consider what they have and add to it.

The personal portfolio of Cedric Pereira

Considering the above, craft a full bio and brand statement, and a unique selling proposition that specifically demonstrates what makes you unique and why a client should hire you above all else. Inject personality in everything you do. Create awareness of your products and your value.

Provide a roadmap. Use customer mapping or design thinking to consider how to implement your brand into your process so that what you do incorporates who you are, what you stand for, what you offer.

Consider branding as an experience, or a service, and how that will define the relationship between you and your client.

Revise, revise, revise

Think about how what you do is constantly refining your skills and changing your experience levels. Don’t think the brand you came up with when you started is the brand you need to stick to forever.

It’s important to make sure that you’re keeping yourself and your brand updated based on what you’re doing.

Showcase your skills

Develop a unique company name. If the company name is your name, make sure that falls in line with your personal brand.

Develop a website, a portfolio, or a blog (depending on the kind of work you do). If you’re a writer, you need to be able to show the client either your experience as a guest poster, or your own personal writings. You don’t want to sell yourself as a writer without any examples. You don’t want to bill yourself as a graphic designer if you have no designs.

The personal portfolio of Rafael Derolez

Create a timeline for consistent updates to your website. Don’t necessarily upload your entire portfolio at one time if you don’t have consistent and constant portfolio additions. Space it out, and make it look like you’re ensuring constant upkeep.

Figure out your experience. Craft a resume that reflects what you do. Make it a visual one that a client can experience, not just view, especially on a website.

Think about what people see

Manage your visual presence. Get a good looking logo that effectively communicates your brand. Think about how colors, geometric designs, minimalism, and so on can communicate who you are and what you do.

Personal Branding Sketches by Oykun Yilmaz

Your social media can define you

Be cognizant of your social media presence and make sure it reflects what you want people to think about you.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have raunchy tweets or a clear political bent – but you do need to be aware that your clients will see these things, whether or not you list them as your social media profiles.

Remember that everything that is public is completely accessible by everyone. If you have a humorous brand, make sure you’re funny. If you have a design background, make sure your social media profiles are kept looking good.

Get professional and official

Have business cards you can hand out to people who might in conversation mention they could use your services.

Utilize networking, and develop a good elevator speech. Figure out what you want to communicate it, what story you want to tell about yourself, and figure out how you can say it in 30-60 seconds.

Biz Cardz by Greg Christman

What Does Branding Mean for My Client?

Do your research and work on your proposal

If they have a website, and you’re making emails for the client, check out their website ahead of time. In fact, even before crafting a proposal to get hired, make sure that you have suggestions lined up for what you can offer, what you’d improve, what changes you’d make, and what kind of project you’d be making for them.

We also can’t stress this enough: don’t use the same proposal for every client. They’ll be able to see right through you, and no client wants to feel like the freelancer is treating their project like every other project. Clients want to know that you’ve given their specific project specific attention, that you’ve thought about what you can do together, and how you work.

Understand their brand

Ask questions. Better yet, create a Google form for them to fill out that asks them questions like “What is your personal brand?”, “What are your values?”, and “What message do you want to communicate to your audience with whatever you’re developing for them/ who is your audience?”

This communicates your professionalism and shows them you have a standardized approach to completing projects – essentially, it shows them that you’ve done this before and you know what needs to get done and what is required for getting the job done.

Styleguide by Jack’s Design

Communicate constantly

Make sure that at every step of the way you’re effectively communicating with your client to make sure that what you’re making lines up with they want. You don’t want to spend 10 hours on something the client despises. That will waste both your time and your client’s, and nobody likes wasted time.

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Critical repairs completed on International Space Station

A relay box had to be replaced by astronaut Peggy Whitson after it abruptly failed.

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New research shows that UK VC firms are dominated by men

Research from the new Diversity VC initiative found just 13% of decision makers in UK VC are women
48% of VC firms have no women in their investment teams
Investors say the lack of women in VC

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Ford names Hackett as CEO to tackle car rivals, Silicon Valley

WASHINGTON/DEARBORN, Mich. (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co abruptly named James Hackett as chief executive on Monday, responding to investors’ growing unease about the U.S. automaker’s slumping stock price and its ability to counter threats from longtime rivals and Silicon Valley.

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Device Mockups In Website Headers: Design Tips & Examples

Mobile device mockups are perfect for demoing new apps. These mockups let designers edit the device screen to add UIs that blend perfectly and fit naturally into the mockup photo.

Tons of mobile app websites also use these device mockups to style the page header. It’s a growing design trend I’ve seen a lot recently, and in this post I’ll explore this trend, sharing examples and tips that any designer can follow.

Straight Device View

By far the simplest technique to use is the front device view. This can use any type of device mockup where the design faces the viewer head-on.

Many designers use vector shapes to replicate the phone design rather than a realistic device mockup. This usually comes as a transparent graphic so you can blend it into any layout with ease.

Take for example the Mimo app header. It uses a dark iPhone vector graphic featuring a Mimo screenshot to help sell the product.

mimo device header

Most of these features are easy to setup and don’t require much editing in Photoshop. And since the devices appear flat on the page you can really showcase everything the app has to offer.

Most landing pages either use this flat style or the perspective style, but rarely both together. It all depends what type of design you’re going for.

But you could also use slideshows to get a mix of both. The Spendee homepage is the perfect example.

spendee website

Their very first slide shows off the app in both Android & iOS devices. This stays fixed right at the top of the page so it’s a quick intro to the application.

But as you scroll down you’ll notice this page uses the dot navigation style and different sections of the page have perspective mockups too.

If the flat mockups work best for you then stick with ‘em. Tons of freebies out there in Google if you spend some time searching.

Strong Perspective Views

Another popular style is the skewed perspective device mockup. This technique uses photorealistic designs to create accurate devices with editable screens.

Most come in PSD format and they use smart objects for the screen. So when you edit the smart object you copy/paste your app UI flat into the window, then save it locally. Once you close the smart object you’ll see the screen properly aligned on the device to create the illusion of perspective.

Typically these mockups also come with transparent backgrounds so you can blend them into any layout. Filters has a terrific example of a device mockup spanning multiple sections on the page.

filters app homepage

If you look closely at the device you can see the photorealistic layer FX are likely created in Photoshop. It’s definitely not a real device photo, yet it’s designed well enough to blend nicely into the homepage.

The app screenshot also follows this same perspective. This app UI is automatically manipulated in Photoshop to get the perfect angle every time.

On the Nuansa homepage you’ll find a cool slideshow effect that cycles through many different screenshots.

nuansa app homepage

This uses different pics of the same device mockup holding different screens of the interface. It gives visitors a chance to see what the application can do without downloading it or watching a video.

Perspective app mockups are very common and you can find resources for everything from smartphones to tablets. You can also find many varying perspective shots aligned both vertical and horizontal.

stripe payments

Consider this style if you want a more realistic presentation. These mockups usually come as transparent PSDs so you have full reign to edit and publish them to perfectly match your layout.

You can even follow the Stripe lander and use mp4/video content instead of a static image. This adds even more realism to the mockup without you recording a full video of someone actually using the application.

Device Hero Images

The single hottest trend in web design headers is the full-page hero image. This usually spans the entire header using a large photo to convey a message about the site and its content.

You can find tons of hero image mockups online and many of them include device PSDs. These are real-life photos of devices lying on desks or in the hands of users.

But you can edit the device screen to insert your app’s UI, so this creates a realistic photo as if someone was using the app on their phone. This lets you create promo material without ever submitting the app into an app store.

weathertron app homepage

On the Weathertron homepage you’ll find a big juicy hero image plastered behind the main logo and navigation links.

This could be a real photograph of the application on an iPhone. But if you look closely at the graphic you can see the UI is a bit more polished than the rest of the photo. This is usually a sign that the photograph is real, but the iPhone’s screen was replaced with a smart object.

You’ll see something similar towards the bottom of the page on an iPad screen.

I like these larger photo mockups because they present the app as much more realistic. Visitors see the app on a real iPhone and it feels like a much more tangible interface.

operator app landing page

Operator is another example with a BG photo of a woman using the app on her iPhone. This again might be a real photo or a device mockup, but either way the effect is the same.

Use these larger photograph mockups when you want to sell your app in use. There are plenty of photo mockups out there and they’re just as easy to use as all the other device PSDs.

Designing With Device Mockups

There are tons of resources out there to use in your work and you’ll find dozens of styles to pick from.

Whether you’re looking for flat designs or photorealistic perspective mockups, or even live photo device shots, they’re all online with plenty of items to pick from. And these should be enough to get you started on the right path.

iPhone Clay PSD Mockups

iphone device mockup psds

The team at Ramotion recently published iPhone Clay PSD mockups which let you fully customize the color of each device.

This is part of their massive device library for iOS & Android smartphones. But these clay mockups are perfect for landing pages because they offer more control over colors and styles to play better with your color scheme.

Each device is built in Photoshop using vector shapes so they’re easy to resize. And they use smart objects for the screen so you can drop your app UI and quickly export a picture-perfect graphic for your landing page.

Sketch Device Mockups

sketch devices

Some designers prefer Sketch over Photoshop so it’s no surprise that there’s also full Sketch device mockups ready for use.

Unfortunately these all come from different designers and there is no central source for Sketch device mockups. But you can find a ton of freebies on the Sketch App Sources website which curates the best resources from all over the web.

If you’re a Sketch fanatic then definitely consider grabbing one of these packs.

Dribbble Devices

dribbble device psds

Last but certainly not least is the talent of Dribbble. This invite-only design community is packed with freebies that’ll leave you grinning from ear to ear.

Most of the top designs are from Ramotion’s perspective device packs. But if you dig deeper into the search results you can find some cool resources including flat iPhone/Android devices and actual photo mockups with people using/holding devices.

You might spend 30-60 minutes searching Google just to find the perfect mockup for your site. But Dribbble offers a smorgasbord of resources with preview thumbnails that make searching through mockups a breeze.

Wrapping Up

I mostly covered device mockups on mobile app landing pages but you can use these devices for blog posts, portfolio slideshows, and even graphic design pieces for print work.

Device mockups are here to stay and it’s a trend that’s growing in popularity. These device shots even work for responsive websites if you’re showing off a new homepage design. Get creative with these mockups and see what else you can come up with!

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Best Sites To Find Completely Free Stock Images For Your Design Work

Free CC0 stock photos have become a huge commodity on the web. They’re easier to find than ever before and it’s quite possible there are millions of these photos to choose from.

These free photos certainly make design work easier, but finding high-quality photos for hero images can be a real pain. That’s why I’ve curated the absolute best sites to help you find HQ photos for all your web design projects.

NegativeSpace

negative space free stock photos

First in this collection is NegativeSpace, featuring a gorgeous high-resolution gallery of stock photos. But these photos don’t have that cheesy vibe you typically expect from stock photo sites.

They all look incredibly natural and they span a wide array of topics. You can find photos to use on a business website, a restaurant homepage, or even pictures to use as featured photos on your personal blog.

Categories are easy to browse through and the layout is incredibly simple. If you need genuine-looking stock photos then start with NegativeSpace.

Pexels

pexels homepage

One thing I like about Pexels is the variety. They update their site frequently and it’s been around for years now, so their photo archive is extensive.

You can browse recent photos or look through popular searches to see what they have available. You can even browse photos by color which is quite advanced for a simple photo repository.

For a huge variety and some wild search options Pexels is yet another fantastic site to bookmark.

LibreStock

librestock photos

All the photos on LibreStock come from dozens of other sources. This site works like a search engine for CC0 stock photography where you can enter a search term and browse 40+ different sites all at once.

Since many stock photo sites are small, they also don’t have many photos. But the photos they do have are usually unique and not found elsewhere. So LibreStock saves you time searching all these sites at once and curating the results in one place.

This is my go-to resource to search all the smaller sites before visiting the larger ones.

Unsplash

unsplash

Unsplash is perhaps the original HD stock photo website. It started in 2013 and grew rapidly due to the high-quality photos and the universal CC0 license.

Since none of these photos have copyright restrictions they’re prime pickings for designers from all fields. Most other CC0 stock photo sites came afterwards and few can compete with the massive library that Unsplash commands.

The only downside is that Unsplash doesn’t have a great search feature and many of the best photos aren’t tagged. So you might spend a while digging through just to find a gem, but it’s worth the effort.

StockSnap

stocksnap homepage

With StockSnap you can actually make your own account and curate all your favorite photos together.

All StockSnap photos are CC0 and they’re certainly large enough for hero images. And since you can bookmark your favorites you have easy access to find the original photographer, the tags, and even related photos based on size/color and content.

Everypixel

everypixel

I just recently found Everypixel and it’s one heck of a search engine. This site does not host stock photos locally, but instead searches through dozens of sources on the web.

By default it mixes free and premium photos but you can filter by license to get just the CC0 images. The best part about Everypixel is the level of control you have while searching. You can simultaneously filter for a keyword, a color, and an orientation (horizontal/vertical) depending on what you need.

This interface can be intimidating at first but it’s one of the best on the web. If you learn how to search with Everypixel you’ll find a whole lot of amazing photos out there.

Startup Stock

Tech blogs and startups thrive on great photography. That’s why Startup Stock Photos has to be in this list.

It’s a fairly new website but the quality is exquisite. I haven’t seen these photos anywhere else so they must be uniquely featured here with the goal of helping writers & startup founders add quality images to their site.

You can read a bit more about the site in this post written by one of the creators.

Pixabay

pixabay

Pixabay goes one step beyond photos by including vectors and illustration work on the website. They even recently added a video section for high-quality HD stock videos.

One nice feature here is the authorship box in the sidebar. You can browse photos based on the photographer which makes it easy to find related pics. If you find one photo that you really like then check the photographer’s profile—they might have a bunch more you can download!

FoodiesFeed

foodiesfeed photos

Food photography is a huge subject for bloggers. In fact most food bloggers agree that the photography makes or breaks great content.

With FoodiesFeed you have access to thousands of quality food photos across various subjects. Breakfasts, desserts, shakes and steaks all have a home on this site. And they’re all under CC0 license so you can download, edit, and reuse them on any projects. Awesome!

Picjumbo

picjumbo

The selection is a bit limited on Picjumbo but I’ve found some really cool and unique photos on this site. It’s all free and the site originally launched in 2013 back when Unsplash was just hitting the web.

Their selection is mixed between their free public photos and their optional premium photos. But you can find so many awesome free photos in their collection that there’s really little reason to pay for the premium.

Definitely a nice site to keep saved as just one more resource to check out.

These are my favorite hero image resources but there are many others on the web. CC0 images are so commonplace that it’s tough to even keep up with all the photos!

But if you keep some of these sites bookmarked you’ll have access to the vast majority of new images right at your fingertips.

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Even babies agree roses are red, psychologists say

Newborns can distinguish between five colors, suggesting that these categories spring from the mechanisms of vision, rather than language, researchers say. 

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Members of Colombia's biggest rebel group are trying to join LinkedIn, but they're struggling to connect

With the ratification of a peace deal late last year and their move to demobilization camps earlier this year, Colombia’s left-wing FARC rebels are well into their transition from Colombia’s biggest rebel group to legitimate

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