The Best of December 2014: News, Tutorials, and Freebies

Welcome to 2015! We hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday season, and while you are getting ready to have the most exciting year ever, let’s take a look at the best web design and development news and resources from the past month.

December Round-Up


WordPress 4.1 “Dinah” Release

The new WordPress 4.1 update was released on December 18, 2014. Two of the main changes for WordPress users are the introduction of the new default theme, “Twenty Fifteen,” and “distraction-free writing”. Also, embedding Vine videos in WordPress posts can now be done by simply pasting the URL into its own line. For developers, the WordPress 4.1 update added more complex queries, customer APIs, better support fortags in themes, and improved inline code documentation for the developer reference. For more information, you can read the official changelog and blog post.

Pantone Announces Color of the Year

Pantone has announced Marsala as its color of the year for 2015. Marsala (Pantone 18-1438) is a very earthy color that exudes intimacy and elegance. Pantone’s color of the year website also shows examples of Marsala being used in fashion and food. Described as tasteful, unifying and stylish, Marsala can be used in many different contexts and for many different purposes. It is also interesting to note Pantone uses a lot of blue as the highlight color, and Marsala is used as a great neutral background to showcase the different tones of blue.



SVG Sprite Creation Techniques

The popularity of SVG exploded in 2014, yet many designers and developers may not fully understand how to create and use their own SVG sprites. This fantastic article by Sara Soueidan explains the entire SVG sprite creation process. Her vast knowledge of the SVG file format will help those who are still exploring its possibilities. To make the best use of her techniques, it is recommend you know the basics of SVG; there are links to articles and tutorials within Sara’s overview that will help those new to SVG.

Three Ways to Animate SVG

The 135th entry of CSS-Trick’s video screencasts shows you 3 different methods of animating SVG. Using different techniques, such as keyframes, SML and JavaScript, you will learn how to add greater interactivity to your SVG images. You should also check out a fantastic SVG experiment by the guy who hates tomatoes, also known as Petr Tichy.


Animated Headlines

Inspired by the Year in Music 2014 website, Sebastiano of Codyhouse has developed an animated headline technique using CSS transitions. The tutorial will take you through the code with a step-by-step guide and a thorough explanation of the thinking behind the technique.


Examples and Tips for Web Typography

Support and possibilities with web typography are gradually getting better, but more choice isn’t always a good thing. Having more choices means we also have a higher chance of making a bad design decision. Smashing Magazine has collected a list of modern websites that make great use of web typography, and also critiques them to provide further design commentary. Check it out if you need help to find a strong typography combination or inspiration for your next web design.

The Best and Worst Web Design Trends of 2014

It’s important to look back and evaluate the work that we have done for the past year. Trends in web design are very peculiar; some last for years, while others fade away in a matter of weeks. This article by Envato examines the different web design trends that appeared in 2014.

Everything Web Designers Need to Know About #VATMOSS

The new EU VAT laws coming into place on January 1 will force companies that offer online services and products to pay a tax on their sales. Designed to stop large companies such as Google and Amazon from routing their sales through countries with low VAT rates, it will also affect small businesses throughout EU. Find out how the new laws will affect web designers via the Web Designer Depot article, and for more information here is the official EU VAT rates document and Forbes VAT article.


Social Media Icon Set

Check out this huge collection of social media icons created as scalable vectors. Compatible with @font-face and CSS styling, this new web font icon set will be one of the most valuable sets you will ever use.

10 Free Christmas Web Design Resources

Christmas has just passed, but the spirit of the festive season still lingers. Here are 10 free Christmas web design resources for those still celebrating the holidays. Also, be sure to check out these adorable icons by Dasha.


Yelp Redesign e-Book

Have you ever wondered about the thought process that goes into the redesign of a major website or service? Here is your chance to look into the brains of top UX professionals from UXPin, UserTesting and Optimal Workshop. Featuring insight from Jakob Nielsen, Donna Spencer, Jeff Sauro and many others, this e-Book will explain how to implement user testing and how to design according to the data you receive. The e-Book also features low- and high-fidelity representations of the new Yelp design, complete with explanations and design decision notes. Get your free copy here.

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