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The design student’s dilemma

It’s that time of year when students are looking for summer plans. Many agencies and design firms in town are accepting applications for internships, and students are applying (and the smartest students are applying at Oxide). For design students, it’s a great opportunity to put your skills to use in a professional environment, produce work for real clients, and gain valuable experience working within deadlines and budgets. I don’t think it’s some big secret that design jobs are hard to…



Your online portfolio

Here at Oxide, we review student portfolios on a fairly regular basis, and I have some thoughts to share. First of all, when you are not showing your work in person, you need to have your portfolio online. (This isn’t just because I’m a developer.) An online portfolio shows so much better than flipping through a bunch of pages on a PDF. And I would highly recommend against sending a potential employer or internship several individual files of your projects.…



Backing up your WordPress site:
A refresher

Most of the websites we build for our clients run on WordPress. This is great, especially for users responsible for updating site content. WordPress sites are user-friendly and convenient, and the platform itself is well documented and actively supported. As such, new versions of WordPress are released fairly frequently, and updating to the latest version is highly recommended as it provides additional features and helps keep your site secure. One ¼ber-important thing to keep in mind before you update to…



Code is friend, not foe

Should design students learn how to code? Yes? No? How much? Why? As a designer-who-develops/developer-who-designs, I wanted to share some thoughts on the topic. My hope is that by explaining a little, it will help you – as someone interested in web or UX design – make informed decisions about the kinds of opportunities that would be best for you to pursue.



Sketching is good

True story. Since I started at Oxide last June, I have filled 14 official Oxide sketchbooks (and I’m well on the way to finishing the three I have on my desk right now), a large 200-page sketchbook, a small hand-bound sketchpad, three Field Notes memo books, and countless index cards. In addition, I have a three-inch stack of computer printouts, hand-rendered sketches, and other miscellaneous design ephemera. (And those are just the notebooks I used at work”¦ I also have…



Flywheel may be the best thing ever

About a year or so ago, a friend of mine, Rick Knudtson, hinted at something he and Dusty Davidson were working on. He was talking about a hosting company. But not just any hosting company – this would be a hosting company that was design-centric and WordPress-optimized. He was talking about everything Oxide has ever wanted in a hosting company.



The multiply effect is a lie

This year’s fabulous Big Omaha website is showcasing a little visual trick. Early on, when Nathan and I were discussing the intended visuals on the site, I failed to notice he was using the multiply effect in Photoshop to achieve the appearance of the red overlays – and he went forward working that into the design. To my dismay, when I went to add the red layers by simply overlaying a slightly transparent layer of red over the top of…



Never stop learning

I recently had a discussion with one of my professors from Iowa State University. She was asking what skills I felt ISU needed to better teach to prepare students for the real world. Which got me to thinking about the things that I have needed to learn in the past ten months at Oxide. I spent most of my four years learning about typography, proportions, and print design. And while I still utilize those skills, I’ve had to learn how…



Fun with code at Meet The Pros

Last week I spoke at Meet The Pros and, not surprisingly, my presentation was titled Fun with code. When I had volunteered to speak way back when, I envisioned myself talking about a bunch of code stuff and making it really interesting and fun. If you’re a regular reader of the Fun with code series here, you probably don’t remember any of it being terribly interesting or fun. It may be really helpful and useful, but it’s certainly too specialized…



Detecting a retina display

A few weeks ago, we announced that oxidedesign.com was fully retina optimized. For those of you who do not know, a retina display is a monitor or device that has more pixels per inch of space than a normal display. This basically means it is harder to tell where the edges of pixels are, allowing for an extremely crisp and clean appearance. This works great on the web for things like text, but a problem arises when displaying images. Since…