Week of Textures – Green Grass

Today is the second day of the offical week of textures at smashill! Each day there will be a set of at least 4 different textures for your pleasure. Today you can download 4 Green Grass textures (4288*2856 px). Free to use for any of your projects without restrictions. Enjoy.
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Week of Textures – used Wood

Today marks the first offical week of textures here at smashill! Each day there will be a set of at least 4 different textures for your pleasure. Today you can download 4 used wood textures (4288*2856 px). Free to use for any of your projects without restrictions. Enjoy.
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10 free Red Brickwall Textures – Smashill's Sunday Freebie

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This Sunday there are 10 completly free brick wall textures in 4288*2856 px. Here you can preview 8 of the 10 red brick walls, the two others are in it as a bonus. The download link to the high resolution files is at the bottom of the page. Feel free to use those textures for any project, but don’t sell or offer them for download. No attribution needed, but appreciated. Don’t wait and check below for the download link. Enjoy!
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Design a twitter background

When you browse twitter you see so many badly designed twitter backgrounds, and if the design doesn’t suck, sometimes the coding does. How do you design a twitter background? Let’s take a look at smashill’s new twitter background. smashill-twitter-web As you can see this is a single picture with black background. Why did I choose to design this way?

  1. I wanted a good quality image without many compression artifacts, that’s why I choose a smaller image size.

  2. I didn’t want a background that repeats itself over and over because I decided to add text.

  3. I didn’t want the background color having troubles with the image.

The rules for thoughtful twitter design

First of there are two things to consider:
1. you are limited to 800k background images and 2. can’t alter much of the CSS. Due to these challenges you will have to adapt a bit.
There are two possible designs you can create at twitter that will look good, no matter which resolution.
One way is to create a tiling background, tiling as in to every side, as it will repeat to every side. A good example for this is the twitter background of Ray Frenden, he uses the same background on his homepage Frenden.com, you should check that one out as well 🙂

frenden

As you can see the Zombies on his background are repeating perfectly and no matter which resolution, the background will always look the same. Besides this the size and compression of the background image is good, as it is crystal clear and has no signs of compression artifacts.

The other way to create a background design is to create an image whose borders have the same color as your html background color. Let’s look at my twitter design for this example.

smashill-twitter-bg

To make a long story short, you can see how the background image merges with the background color on the right side. You can add images only to the left side, that makes image to background relation-considerartions a necessary evil.

Conclusion

  • Don’t use gradients. Gradients are so web 2.0, but they suck at twitter! Don’t think of the browser as some 1280*x or 1680*x background, some people have far far far bigger resolutions, and those people see a harsh border on your otherwise beautiful design.
  • Match the color of your background image with the html code color, pick a websafe color.
  • Don’t make the image to big, rather go for a smaller compression. Huge images assume the reader has a certain resolution in case they don’t blend with the background, and the compression articfacts make them usually look rather ugly. Rather go for a small but clean background.
  • Tiling backgrounds are fun and you can easily create cool images, just google it there are plenty of tutorials. Don’t break the golden rule though and put your contact information on a tiling background.
  • A twitter background is not hard to design, take some time to make it look good and professional, or simply stick to the generic twitter background.

How do Creatives benefit from twitter?

Twitter is a great tool, some profit more of it than others, but what about creative people? Is twitter any good for them? Let’s take a look at some real life examples.
smashill_twitt
Warren EllisAuthor, Comic Writer, Human Meat Rambler
120 Following_profile // 26,119 Followers_profile // 3,674 updates

Warren Ellis is an author, and he must be one of the best self promoters out there. He does what he does best… rant and ramble, and market his works. His blog is a collection of obscurities, his twitterings are a collection of everything and nothing. He is a great entertainer, that’s for sure and he is building and taking care of his fan-base with his twitter account. So yes, I am sure his blog and twitter account generate him quite a lot publicity and sales. His online presence probably landed him some other gigs such as his new wired column as well.

CollisOne of the guys behind the envato network
39 Following_profile // 6,374 Followers_profile // 624 updates

Collis is one of the founders of the envato network, including such famous brand-names as freelanceswitch and psdtuts. He mainly uses his twitter account to submit either some news related to the web, or he simply promotes posts and special events at one of his bazillion sites. Overall it’s probably a great traffic aggregator for him, and with his following to follower ratio and the recognition he acquired, I am pretty sure his new blog at the netsetter will lead him to some sort of fame. He is a strategist and you can see this with his use twitter.

Ben TemplesmithComic Artist and twitter maniac
200 Following_profile 4,627 Followers_profile 11,141 updates

Ben Templesmith is a comic artists, he creates some twisted artworks and has a distinct style. That can be said for his twittering as well. He let’s you take part in his creative processes, curses like a drunken sailor and uses his account to leverage his works. The reader is pretty fast close to someone who is working night-shifts and interacting with his followers. It’s something that you simply have to be part of once you join it.

SkellieTo make it short, she is a Writer
2,288 Following_profile // 2,297 Followers_profile // 812 updates

Skellie is a great blog writer, offering plenty of advice for freelancers and she created a few very useful blogs and her own blog skelliewag is a great resource for everyone wanting to write / freelance. So how does she use twitter? It’s pretty much a stumble and share with occasional chats. Her links are usually interesting enough that I click on them. The only thing that is obvious is the bit of mystery, as there are only very few information about Skellie’s personal life available, which is a very interesting approach in our times I like. There is too much personal information out there anyways.

Neil GaimanAuthor
249 Following_profile // 192,926 Followers_profile // 1,944 updates

Amazing figures. Just shows how twitter enables fan’s to follow their favorite authors very easy. I wonder how his interaction scheme is looking like, as he is a very active communicator at twitter. Most of his twitter talk is chat with other twitteres, so it’s some good old listening to those peeps at the other table. Highly enjoyable and gives the average joe the feeling of being part of something.

Ray FrendenIllustrator
107 Following_profile // 748 Followers_profile // 1,449 updates

Ray designs mainly T-Shirts and band merchandise, he has a cool blog running and shares a lot of his progress works on flickr. That’s where his twitter account sets it. Rather than simply posting a run up of his work on his blog, he showcases his progress while he is working at it. It’s like standing in the studio and looking over his shoulder. Besides that he is a really cool and laid back guy(at least it seems) and it’s good to have a chat about his work every once in a while. In case he ever decides to do more than just illustration work, I am pretty sure he will have a pretty big fan-base fast, as most people love his work and share it with others.
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SurfstationThe mother of all design e-zines
0 Following_profile // 505 Followers_profile // 866 updates

Well maybe there was australian in front or design is kinky, but after all surfstation blew me away in the late 90s. They had the sickest collection of artistic and design related links, and after some time of being away, they came back with a blast. Their twitter account is just another form of broadcasting their message. Simple concept, done well. If you are into design or art and like fresh stuff, this is what you should be reading.

Andrew ShepherdPhotographer
139 Following_profile // 449 Followers_profile // 3,040 updates

Andrew seems to be very active at twitter, but somehow he does not have a lot followers, even though he takes cool photos. It feels as he is using twitter solely as a way to communicate and have a little chat here and there. If he wants that, fine 🙂 Overall his stream lacks a bit of the extra special sauce these others have and I am pretty sure that he could build a pretty big follower base if he decided to work on this flaw.

The 5 rules to a successful Twitter account

  • Don’t add everyone, be very selective
  • Share something that’s special about you, give insight into your work
  • Build a community, let people be part of something
  • Use twitter to leverage your work
  • Give something extra only on the twitter account

Conclusion

Twitter is a great tool for Creatives. It’s probably one of the best tools to keep in touch with your fan-base and to deepen the relationships. A loyal follower is part of a really cheap street-team.
That’s easily achievable for celebrities, but harder for upcoming Creatives. In case you really want to leverage your twitter world, simply start creating something unique. Don’t listen to these whole bullshit twitter memes. It’s not important to be social, it’s not important to add everyone. It’s simply important to be unique and to add a certain style. Share your work and thoughts!
Let your followers be part of something bigger and make them feel good when they join you. No matter if you are the best rambler on the planet or the nicest person on earth… give others something by joining your stream. Which should actually be really easy if you are creative. 😉

Sunday Freebie – Grunge Textures

Sunday should be a day off for almost everyone, even freelancers, and to celebrate this there is a small freebie on every Sunday.

Feel free to use those textures for any project, but don’t sell or offer them for download. No attribution needed, but appreciated. See below for download link & enjoy.
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Happy Easter Holidays

Enjoy the time off and have a good time. If you are not celebrating easter, have a good time nevertheless! 🙂
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