Freelancing can be a tough gig, but there is no better time than a new year to begin building (or rebuilding) a fantastic new business where you can do what you love. Being successful has a lot to do with your drive and passion, but depends largely on your efficiency, workflow and presentation. In this post you’ll find a collection of modern, effective tools and apps we hope our self-employed readers will find useful. Best of all, they’re free, mobile-compatible and integrate with each other or a wide variety of other apps and platforms.

CSS image filters are a quick way to tweak images in the browser without resorting to Photoshop. This simple reference gives you 9 CSS filter shorthands that provide an excellent way to maintain style consistency across visual content on your site, or just add a little fun to image hovers. CSS filters are most commonly used to adjust the display of images images and backgrounds, but can also be applied to other visual elements such as borders and buttons.

Inserting icon fonts to your layouts adds fun visual queues for your users and are especially successful as menu links or as replacements for larger graphics. Like standalone SVG files, they can be scaled losslessly and manipulated with CSS for easier customization. Icon fonts are normally displayed by including an icon font stylesheet, then inserting an HTML element where the icon should appear, such as <span class="icon123"> or <i class="xyz">, but using the HTML method is not always possible. This quick tip will show you how to add icon fonts to any element in your site safely with just CSS.

Hero headers or hero images are one of the most frequently used and aesthetically pleasing web deisgn trends in 2016, and will likely remain strong for a few years to come. The term "hero" is often interchanged with "jumbo" and refers to full-width graphics or photos seen at the top of a post or page, like you see on this one! There are several ways to use a hero image in web design, from full-screen backgrounds to simply adding visual impact to page content.

Can you believe it has been nearly 10 years since Web Designer Wall started out? Since then, web design tips and inspiration shared here have helped hundreds of creatives build their skills or add a little something extra to their web designs. The design world has exploded with a flood of new trends, technologies and visions for the future. I’ve launched Themify to put my ideas directly in your hands.

And then I stopped blogging for awhile. It’s not that I wasn’t inspired—on the contrary, so much awesome stuff has been happening in the design world in the last two years I just failed to be everywhere at once.

Web Unleashed is a 2-day conference by FITC that focuses on frontend development. The event will take place in Toronto on September 16th and 17th, 2015. See their schedule and speakers list for more info about the conference. I have one Web Unleashed conference ticket to giveaway. To enter the ticket giveaway, all you need to do is send a tweet to us (see details below). I also have a $100 off coupon if you are interested to buy tickets. Use code WEBDESIGNERWALL to save $100 (code expires on Aug 23, 2015).

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