At any position in the design industry it’s critically important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. The learning and education never stops and the hard part is keeping up. There are a ton of trusted awesome resources out there that can help keep any designer, art director, developer, or whoever up-to-date and educated on the industry. Of course there is no silver bullet that can give you everything you need in one shot. I have found it takes a good mix of e-newsletters, blogs, content aggregators and publications to stay up to date.
Some of the best e-newsletters that I subscribe to are:
- Design Faves
This is one of the newer e-newsletters that I started subscribing to, and it’s one of my favorites. Because it offers a wide variety of design topics and it’s updated in great detail daily. It offers some great design inspiration and showcases a lot of great ideas from multiple disciplines. The newsletter is sent daily and packs good value in it. You can sign up for the e-newsletter here, the sign-up widget can be found in the sidebar.
- Web Design Weekly
Web Design Weekly is a great service to subscribe to. They are focused on sending weekly newsletters (of course), that are centered around front end web design trends. In their emails they reference the latest articles, tools/resources, and inspiration based pieces of content. Their service is highly valuable and it’s recommended to anyone serious about staying up-to-date, sign up for their email here.
- CSS Weekly
This e-newsletter is definitely one worth subscribing to. As you could guess this newsletter is solely focused on the latest CSS techniques in the industry. These email show off some of the projects that are pushing the bounds of CSS and taking experimentation of the practice to the limits. It’s a highly informative email that makes it a lot easier to stay up with the latest CSS trends. Click here to get to the sign up form for this email.
- Web Designer Depot
This was the first industry newsletter that I ever signed up for, and has proven to be an extremely great decision. This newsletter provides a slightly broader scope of the web design and development world. All of the articles they push out are very relevant, and offer some unique perspectives. Also their website is very nicely designed and organized, which makes it easy to cruise and find topics of interest. If you would like to sign up for the newsletter click here.
- Mighty Deals
Mighty Deals is an email service that is little different from the rest of the group. This email newsletter is a service that is focused on promoting resources for sale. They offer a wide range of items that can be useful for any creative that is in the design industry. Their promotions range from Photoshop plugins, to WordPress themes, to education resources, to graphic design template files. Not every promotion will be a good fit, but there will be that occasional offer that is the perfect fit or worth recommending to a colleague. Their service is available to sign up for here.
This company is a familiar name in the WordPress world, however they offer more than themes and plugins. They are the umbrella for Graphic River, Code Canyon, Video Hive, Photo Dune, 3D Ocean, Audio Jungle, Active Den, and of course most famously Theme Forest. The newsletter provides some really good deals to everything in their family of sites and it also shows their newest items. When you create a free account you can then sign up for the newsletter.
These emails are probably the best designed emails newsletters I receive in my inbox. This service offers a lot of information in the way of font trends, new fonts, and font deals. Their service is a little less inconsistent on a timing basis than the others mentioned, but it usually roughs out to one email every ten days. If you are looking to sign up to this service you can do so here, the sign up form is in the footer.
Regular blogs to cruise:
- Smashing Magazine
This site is pretty awesome and has an overload of great content that will keep you up-to-date. This site has been around for a good amount of time, and is a pretty trusted source for reliable industry information. There isn’t a ton more to say about them then that, visit their site here.
- Aisle One
Aisle One is focused on mainly graphic design work, and it’s a unique homegrown blog ran by Antonio Carusone. It is a great place to see high quality design trends, and there are short excerpts about each piece to make it easy to scan. Their site tends to be more visually heavy versus being content dense, so it’s a refreshing change of pace to some other blogs out there. See it for yourself here.
- The Next Web
If you ever get behind on any web technologies this site will get you updated fast. It is one of the most actively updated blog sites that I have visited. The stories have a good range of interests in the web industry, and they always seem to have something cool to talk about. Get trapped on their site here.
- Design Mind
This blog is a little different than the other items in the group, because it is ran by the famous ad agency Frog Design. Which is great to see how a respected company in the industry has a voice on new products, designs, or anything that they find interesting. So, I highly recommend giving them a view.
- Stumble Upon
This is by far my favorite content aggregator. I highly recommend using it on an iPad or tablet, because the swiping feature is nice. Their setup is similar to many other content aggregators in the way that you select your interests and then it feeds you the internet. They way they serve it to you is a little different than the rest. This is done by the web page, image, or video filling up your full viewing screen one page at a time. This allows you to view the whole page one at a time a get the full experience (or at least to fullest you can get depending on your device) of the work. Their liking system is setup to save all of your likes and they have a good search filter when you are in that archive to help find the page you are looking for. Get an account on StumbleUpon.
Reddit is a great content resource, and has a very active and responsive community involved with it. Their active community helps to validate the content you are viewing and helps to shape some perspective to the authors point-of-view. Get on Reddit and check it out.
Some of the best publications I have found are:
- HOW Magazine
This is one of the more informative magazines that I have read. HOW, offers good information on behind the scenes big picture industry trends. They also have a more than decent amount of helpful information that pertains to the freelance designer. Sign up for the publication here.
- Net Magazine
This is a great magazine for any designer or developer. This publication is geared specifically to web interests, and is a great download of the current snapshot of the web world. They also have an awesome electronic version to go along with their printed subscription. Hit up a Barnes and Noble and check out this month’s latest version or just go ahead and subscribe now.
- Communication Arts
Communication Arts is a classic magazine for people in the advertising/design/arts industry. Their publication offers great in depth articles, and showcases some of the best work in multiple disciplines from around the world. This magazine is a great resource for inspiration and insight to how others are visually and creatively solving problems that you may not have easy access to in any other format. In addition to their subscription they offer some of the best annual magazines that specialize in a different discipline when they are released. This magazine has a great responsive community and is a good publication to become familiar with, get the full scoop on them here.
Entrepreneur gives some interesting insight to up and coming companies. They often talk about their process and mind set on how the got their business to the level it is at. This magazine gives a really good perspective on their business challenges and it shows the way they worked on these to solve their problems. It helps to show some interesting opportunities where design, user experience and interaction can come into to play to help a company thrive. See more on them here.