Creating Buttons and Tabbed Interfaces in Photoshop

The State of the Button

Hyperlinks are the glue that holds the web together. Without an easy way to navigate from page to page, we would never find all the useful information on the internet. Of course, blue underlined hyperlinks don’t give your site much flexibility. That’s where buttons come in. Buttons have been around on the web for about as long as Mosaic brought graphical browsing to the masses back in the early ‘90s. The styles and colors have changed over the years; from simple flat color buttons to colorful glossy buttons, we’ve seen it all. There now seems to be a fairly even split between approaches to buttons in web interfaces. On one side are the minimalist buttons that just give a hint that they’re clickable, often with no graphics in sight. At the other end are buttons that take their job seriously and use various graphical tricks to make their ‘clickability’ obvious.

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This article discusses the most prominent styles and how you can create them in Photoshop and Dreamweaver. Along the way, I’ll give you numerous examples and additional resources. Let’s get started…

Zac Van Note

Zac Van NoteZac earned his BFA in graphic design at New MexicoStateUniversity. In the years before college, he wrote, drew, and published comic books. In the years since college, he's worked as a graphic designer for three large B2B distributors creating catalogs, web sites, and multimedia presentations.

Since 1999, Zac has taught hundreds of classes at the University of New Mexico and Santa FeCommunity College, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, HTML and much more. He has also contributed to several Dreamweaver books as an author and technical editor for New Riders/Peachpit and Thomson-Course Technologies. The site he created for his students, www.creativefuel.org, is a good reference for anyone interested in design and graphics.

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