This post is part of Mashable’s Spark of Genius series, which highlights a unique feature of startups. The series is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark.. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.Name: PagelimeQuick Pitch: PageLime is a hosted CMS for designers. It allows you to manage assets on your site by logging in to a web app that’s hosted on its servers.Genius Idea: Pagelime is a simple CMS with a graphical interface that can easily hook into websites created with PHP, Java, Ruby, ASP or just straight XHTML/CSS. The system makes it easy for designers to create sites, while making content regions editable by clients. The new iPhone app lets designers and clients access many of the Pagelime backend features on the go.As we’ve noted in the past, a lightweight CMS can be a great fit for small business users who want a simple website, without necessarily needing the hassle or complexity of a more extensive content management tool.This is exactly the market segment that Pagelime is targeting. To be more specific, Pagelime targets the website designers who are asked to build these more simple client sites. Pagelime is a hosted CMS and it works by connecting to an existing domain and web server. By adding in CSS classes to designated elements of your site’s pages, you can make those blocks editable in a WYSIWYG editor hosted on Pagelime. Likewise, you can also enable features like image galleries, manage the SEO settings on a page and add server-side includes.

This ends up being a very nice tool for web designers who want to deliver a solution to a customer, without having to worry about either customizing or building a CMS. Pagelime has a variety of pricing options — starting with a free plan that lets you create three different sites. For $19 per month, users can create up to 50 sites and use Pagelime more as a white label service, with their own logo, colors, domain and various reselling tools. For $69 per month, a user can create unlimited sites and designate an unlimited number of administrators.Pagelime recently released its first mobile app, Pagelime CMS for iPhone [iTunes link]. Pagelime’s iPhone app isn’t intended as a replacement for the web app, but it does allow designers and their clients to extend the Pagelime platform. Users can add and edit pages or templates, make changes to editable areas, preview and publish changes, all from the app.
We think Pagelime has an interesting approach to content management, especially for smaller sites and for designers who don’t want to spend too much time dealing with backend code. If you’re looking at an alternative solution for maintaining or creating smaller websites, Pagelime is worth a try.What are your favorite lightweight content management tools? Let us know.


Sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark


BizSpark is a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.


Reviews: PHP

For more Dev & Design coverage:




font image

Anders J. Svensson is a freelance writer, part-time adventurer, and the senior copywriter at Veer -– a provider of affordable images and fonts to creative professionals. On Twitter, find Anders at @mightyrival and Veer at @veerupdate.

It’s a text-based world. Everywhere you look, there’s a sign, an ad, or a screen relaying information. The hand-lettered signage at your mom-and-pop corner store aside, most of the messages you see are set in familiar fonts.

You’ll find plenty of tips and tricks on using type elsewhere –- and far more technical ones, at that –- but here are some select ideas and advice that will put you (and your online presence) on the path to becoming a font savant.


Know Your Fonts


If you’re wired and online, fonts first fall into three categories: The system fonts that came with your computer, the somewhat tacky fonts you can download at free sites, and the really nice fonts you might pay for if you are in the habit of paying for fonts.

Within each of those categories, fonts can be grouped on more aesthetic grounds. And though it won’t impress many crowds if you’re able to slip phrases like “French Ronde” or “Caslon-esque” into conversation, knowing fonts by their practical applications can help you choose the right ones for your projects.

  • Display fonts are big, beautiful and a bit unwieldy. Like a claymore sword, they look great hanging on the wall. Display fonts are destined for splashy ad headlines, website mastheads and anything requiring just a few words. If you set an entire document in a display font that has an old West, wood-cut, wanted poster aesthetic, your readers would probably gang up on you pretty fast.
  • Text fonts are your go-to fonts. Ones like Arial, Lucida, Georgia and pop culture darling Helvetica are all very readable at any size. This makes them ideal for setting long passages, articles, books and newspapers, where the design calls for multiple levels of headings and content.
  • Pixel fonts appear to be straight out of your favorite 8-bit arcade game. Their letters consist of tiny blocks or dots, making them ultra-readable at small sizes and low resolutions, which is perfect for mobile applications and tiny screens. They can also offer the convenience of being both readable and machine readable. Take that, bar codes!

Beyond the practical, fonts can be further classified by styles (script, stencil, weathered, etc.), decade, country, and even artistic movement (like Art Deco or Bauhaus). Of course, it isn’t all about good looks. Fonts fall into technical categories too.


Understand OpenType


letters image

If regular fonts are cars, OpenType fonts are time traveling DeLoreans. Car on the outside, remarkable effort and technology on the inside. So how do you take an OpenType font up to 88 mph? First, get up to speed on alternates.

Alternates are stylistic variations of characters that can be substituted for the default alphabet. While many fonts only offer a limited character set (26 letters, 10 numbers, and basic punctuation.), an OpenType font is more likely to have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of characters. Plus, advanced features that make automatic substitutions.

If you’re working with a script font, you might want to swap in characters that are ornamental or have repeated letters –- like a double-S –- replaced by a ligature (a character of two or more joined letters) that was specially made and therefore better looking. If you have enough variations of ‘I’ and ‘S’ for example, you could write a word like “Mississippi” with so many different characters, it would resemble custom hand-lettering.

As a general improvement over .ttf (TrueType format) files, OpenType fonts are a universal format; you can install an .otf file on both a Mac or PC, no problem. But just because you can install an OpenType font doesn’t mean you can make use of everything it offers. That depends largely on what design software you’re using the font in.

Imagine having the power to levitate chairs with your mind, but never using it. That’s akin to what you may be doing if you use an OpenType font in MS Word. Instead of the beautiful script you bought, you may see a mess of disjointed letters, because MS Word doesn’t support OpenType’s advanced features. In contrast, if you were using Adobe InDesign, the features would kick in and do some of the work for you.

Plus, you can always turn off autopilot and take control by picking and choosing alternates, ligatures and swashes yourself.


Discover the Glyph Palette


If you’re getting serious about working with fonts, discovering Adobe’s glyph palette is like finding a magical portal to Narnia in your wardrobe. Instead of talking fauns, you’ll find a useful, scrollable grid of every character in the font, which sometimes number in the thousands.

Overwhelming? No problem. A drop-down menu lets you filter the selection and view just ligatures, swash capitals, ornaments or number sets –- whatever the typeface designer has created and organized for you.

You can also select a letter or letters, and filter the glyph palette to display alternates for your selection. If the designer has included a half dozen different “E” variants, you can swap them in manually. Same goes for finding custom ligatures to replace “OO,” “LL,” “TH,” and the like. Some designers will go as far as including entire custom words designed as single glyphs.

Once you’ve spent some time exploring the glyph palette, you’ll know what to expect from future fonts.


Keep Learning, Keep Kerning


Typography is a lot like architecture. The surface aesthetics that everyone can enjoy are a result of an incredibly technical effort by its creators.

Though not all of us are cut out to hunker down and create a great font from scratch, using and power-using fonts is a very accessible creative arena, even for non-designers. You’ll know you’ve delved too deep when you interrupt dinner conversation to point out the ball terminals on the menu’s Bodoni-style serif.


More Design Resources from Mashable:


Top 5 Web Font Design Trends to Follow
The Future of Web Fonts
10 Beautiful Free Hand-Drawn Icon Sets
9 Free Resources for Learning Photoshop
20 Free Social Media Icon Sets For a More Shareable Website

More About: design, font, fonts, how to, opentype, typography, web fonts

For more Dev & Design coverage:

“To All WebmasterWorld Members – have a wonderful celebration and a happy, prosperous and peaceful 2011.”

Some are up, some are way down – some are new, and some are history: “WebmasterWorld Members review their 2010 Google AdSense performance.”

“Looking back at previous predictions, and forward at 2011.”

Internet-connected TVs made up 21% of all television sales in 2010, according to a recently released report by NPD Group’s DisplaySearch. Sales are expected to more than double by 2014. The only problem is hardly anyone is using them to surf the Internet. Just 45% of those who say they have an Internet-connected TV use that feature, DisplaySearch found. “It’s not something they’re looking for, but it’s there,” said Paul Semenza, senior vice president of NPD Group’s DisplaySearch. “It’s being included more and more as a standard feature in high-end sets.” In other words, people are picking up Internet-connected TVs without knowing it or caring. It’s kind of like buying a car with rain-sensing wipers.




Jacob Gube is the founder/chief editor of Six Revisions, a popular web development and design site, and the deputy editor of Design Instruct, a web magazine for designers. He has more than seven years of experience as a professional web developer and has written a book on JavaScript. Connect with him via Twitter.

There’s never been a more exciting time to be a web designer; but being a member of this fast-paced, persistently metamorphic profession, I’ll probably end up saying this at the end of every year until I retire.

But with the web design industry abuzz with new specifications like HTML5 and CSS3, and cutting-edge frontiers like the mobile web, I can’t help but wonder what the future will look like in the new year. Here are four predictions for the future of web design.


1. Mobile Web Goes Mainstream


The mobile web has been the dominant subject in web design for the past 2+ years. A quick peek at Dribbble, a social media site where designers share their projects, will show you that many of us are working on mobile device apps and interfaces.

However, it’s still safe to say that most websites have given little to no attention to their mobile web presence. Most of the innovative mobile device web designs we’re seeing are on big, industry-leading, tech-centric sites such as Amazon.com, Google, and Digg, or niche sites targeted toward web designers (such as A List Apart).

Where we’re not seeing mobile web design implementations are in run-of-the-mill company and corporate sites. Small- and medium-sized businesses, Fortune 500 companies, and government websites are sadly falling behind instead of in line.

However, companies are beginning to see the rewards of meeting the needs of mobile device users. In the years to come, there will be a significant shift in attention toward the mobile web presence in all websites.

There are already several mobile web tools you can use for creating a mobile web version of your site; it’s time companies seriously look into implementing these cost-effective and relatively simple solutions as either a stop-gap solution or a permanent one.


2. Web Design as a Profession Will Become Specialized


Web designers are increasingly contending with many roles and tasks. What used to be just HTML, CSS and designing static brochure sites for the desktop has extended to designing web-enabled solutions for mobile devices, web apps, rich Internet application (RIA) interfaces, content management systems (CMS) and much more.

We’re tasked with making harmonious designs that carry a website’s brand across all platforms and situations — designs that establish the company’s brand whether it’s being viewed in a 28-inch desktop monitor or an Android smartphone.

This leads to two things. Job security is one, but the other is the need to distribute these tasks so that we can specialize and excel in one specific area.

In the future, there will be greater stratification of the role of web designer. Right now, web app designers, mobile app designers and traditional website designers are clustered under the umbrella title of “web designer.”

Just as the profession of being a doctor and the field of medicine are branched out into sub-fields such as oncology, dentistry and neurology, we may see a similar division in the field of web design. I can see specializations such as mobile web designer, content management system designer (with further sub-specializations such as WordPress theme designer or Drupal theme designer), and RIA interface designer becoming a reality and being in demand as we move forward.


3. Simpler Aesthetics for Websites


There’s been a sweeping trend in the way new websites are being visually designed. Web designers are forgoing complex visuals and overdone design techniques, opting instead for clean and simple web designs with a high attention to detail, a greater emphasis on typography — with the help of web fonts and the upcoming open web font format (WOFF) specifications — and stronger interaction design for richer and more captivating user experiences.

Not only that, but simpler aesthetics means lighter web pages, which translates to a better experience on mobile devices where Internet connectivity is lower in speed and less reliable when compared to the traditional broadband connection, and where screen sizes are too small to fit excessive design elements. This web design trend of “less is more” seems like it will extend, if not dominate, the aesthetic tastes of web designers in the near future.


4. Web Design Will Replace Print Design (Even More)


Print designers are typically tasked with brand identity design, such as logo design, letterheads, business cards and other print materials.

However, companies are seeing the great opportunities and effectiveness of business networking online. Businesses are a lot more concerned about their brand’s visibility on the web. Business cards are being replaced by social networking profiles on Twitter and Facebook. Newsletters, brochures and company letterheads sent out by snail mail are being dismissed for HTML e-mails and e-newsletters.

We’ll be witnessing design budgets earmarked toward traditionally print-based branding materials shift toward web design solutions such as Twitter profile page designs, Facebook fan page designs and HTML e-mail and e-newsletter template designs.


Where Do You See Web Design Heading?


If you’re a web designer or are in a related profession, what changes do you see us heading toward? If you’re not a web designer, what things do you want to see in web designs, and what things do you want to become history? Share your thoughts in the comments.


More Dev & Design Resources from Mashable:


10 Predictions for Web Development in 2011
5 Free Annotation and Collaboration Tools for Web Projects
8 Tools For Easily Creating a Mobile Version of Your Website
Hacker Web Design: Words of Wisdom for Building Great Apps
5 Design Trends That Small Businesses Can Use in 2011

Image courtesy of Flickr, Mike Rohde.

More About: design, List, Lists, mobile web design, predictions-2011, web design, Web Development

For more Dev & Design coverage:

“When combined, common search terms — e.g., facebook and facebook.com — for Facebook accounted for 3.48% of all searches in the U.S. among the top 50 terms, which represents a 207% increase versus 2009,”

Whether you want to improve your existing skills or learn new ones, we’ve provided plenty of web design and development resources in the past year.

Here we recap the best posts that fell into this creative category. These include a wealth of tutorials, resources, galleries, interviews and more.

Have a read below for a look back at Mashable‘s Dev and Design resources from 2010, and be sure to keep coming back next year for more.


Mobile Development Resources





google phones

Whatever mobile platform(s) you favor, we’ve got you covered.


Icon Resources


From minimal to festive, here’s a roundup of great icon galleries.


Resources for Web Developers


PHP tips? Check. Apps for developers? Check. Online resources? Check.


Apple-Related Resources


The iPad made an impact on dev and design this year. Here’s why.


Photoshop Resources


Photoshop is one of the primary tools in the digital designer’s belt. We got you up and running with the imaging software in 2010.


Career Resources


Whatever career path you’re following in the online dev and design world, these articles can help.


Web Design


We’ve offered a wealth of design-related resources this year — dive in!


Interviews


From iconic designers to icon designers, we’ve talked to some rather interesting folk during the past 12 months.


Fun Resources


It’s not all work, work, work as we add a little fun with these light-hearted articles.

“…ability to make video calls, allowing iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and fourth-generation iPod touch users to share real-time video amongst each other and users of Skype’s Windows, Mac, and Linux clients along with the ASUS Videophone.”