Meet our new team member!

Graphic Zen would like to welcome Richard “Chad” Villapando to our development team. Chad is a talented and experienced website coder and will be one of the lead developers for our web division. He’s developed a wide range of websites using HMTL, CSS and WordPress including sites for start up companies and small businesses. Chad also specializes in designing graphics with Photoshop and User Interface coding with CSS/ HTML for website development projects.

Chad also brings some experience in flash animation, domain name registration, webhost management, Joomla,  Dreamweaver and search engine optimization.

You can reach Chad via email at [email protected].

99 FREE Product Creation Tools

Looking to save some money on product creation tools? This guide will show you where to get photo editing software, PDF converters and editors, form fillers, image editors, background makers, logo generators, word processors, spreadsheets and more!

We used to sell this guide, now we’re going to be giving it away on our site. Download it here..

Photo Editing Software

Looking for photo editing software? Don’t want to shell out the big bucks for Photoshop? Try Sumo Paint.

If you’re expecting online image editors to be anemic, you’ll be surprised by the extensive features of many of the nominees like Sumo Paint. Sporting a toolbar, image navigator, swatches, and layers, Sumo Paint does more than just crop and rotate images. In addition to having layers, as some other editors do, Sumo Paint has support for blending modes and other advanced layering magic like drop shadow and outer glow. The brushes and ink tools offer a wide variety of shapes and textures. If you like some of the paint-centric features of Sumo Paint, you’ll definitely want to check out the Gravity tool, which creates some pretty interesting abstract paint effects. Sumo Paint also supports drag and drop image opening for pictures you have stored in your Sumo Paint account. Sumo Paint doesn’t require a login for use, but if you sign up for a free account you can store images online and participate in the Sumo Paint community by submitting your work and ranking the work of others.

Check it out here.

Website Tip #2: Plan your site.

We’ve always used the analogy that building a website is like building a home. Imagine that you’ve just purchased ten acres of beautiful land, and you hire the best builder in the area to construct your home. You drive the builder out to your land and point to a spot and say, “Build the house here.” To which the builder replies, “What kind of home do you want?” Now imagine that you say, “I’m not sure, but I’ll know it when I see it.”

Surprisingly, we’ve had some clients that have come pretty close to saying those exact words to us, regarding the construction of their website. So if you’re not sure of where to start, let us offer five tips (which may or may not also apply to home construction).

1. Decide what the main objective(s) of your site are. Is it a membership site? E-commerce site? Informative/interactive site? Blog?

2. Decide how many pages your site is going to have and develop some content for them. It’s okay to change this later (and it probably will), but having an idea of the type of content helps when constructing the layout of your site.

3. Create a list of websites that you like. Note what you like about them. Is it the layout, features, color scheme?

4. Sketch a draft of your site. This would show where you want the header images, navigation, content, widgets and other areas of your site placed. (Hint: it’s okay to involve the web designer at this point).

5. Be flexible. You may want every widget, gadget and calculator on your front page, and it may work for you. However, be flexible if your designer points out alternatives that will make it easier for the web surfer to navigate your site.

If you follow some of these basic tips, you’ll go a long way to creating the awesome site that’s in your head. “I’ll know it when I see it…” is okay, but “I know it because I planned it…” is a much better way to go.

Choosing Fonts for Your Website Design

The font is a critical factor in creating a website. For one, it will either make it easy or difficult for your readers to read the content of your website.

Another thing is that, it also says a lot in the overall design of your website. It is therefore important to choose a font that is legible and pleasing to the eyes as well.

Here are some factors that you should consider when choosing fonts for your website:

1. Font size

– this is an important consideration when choosing a font. You should determine what font size will do the job that you expect it to do. For your overall content, you should make sure that they are big enough to be readable by average readers.

Also make the size varied for different elements such as the content, the headline and the header. Also consider offering an option for changing the font sizes for the convenience of your readers.

2. Font type

– apart from the graphics, the font type also says a lot in the overall design of your website so you should choose your font type carefully. In general, fonts used nowadays are sans serif fonts which are easier on the eyes. Arial is probably the most widely-used of these sans serif fonts.

3. Color

– once you’ve got the color scheme of your entire website figured out, choosing the color of your font would be a breeze. However, keep in mind that the color should contrast well enough with the background so that it will be easy to read.