Articles by Year: 2018
Inspiring Graphic Designers 2019
Designers get into the field because they love creating something from nothing and making beautiful, aesthetically pleasing designs. Over time, however, skills build, and designers expand and improve their work. One of the best methods for developing your design work is studying the work of other incredible designers who seem always to be a step ahead of everyone else in the field.
There are about 266,300 graphic designers in the United States alone. Globally, the industry grew at around 4 percent in the past five years. Figuring out which designers offer the inspiration we can all learn from isn’t an easy task. We looked at some of the top designers out there today, broke down their skills and chose the following four as unique and revolutionary. Study their designs and learn new skills that will elevate your design work to a level you never thought possible.
Designer 1: Jessica Walsh
Jessica Walsh hails from New York City and works as a designer and art director at Sagmeister & Walsh. She has designed for big-name clients such as Levi’s, The Museum of Modern Art and Jay-Z. She’s won more design awards than there is room to list, and Forbes magazine named her to their list of “30 Under 30 Top Creatives Designing the Future.”
She even wrote a book that is in the process of becoming a movie. Walsh is unique because she started at just 11 years old coding and designing websites. She then studied at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. After graduating, she turned down a six-figure job offer from Apple to expand her design skills into other areas.
She’s best known for her memorable photography that breaks all the rules, such as one image on Behance of two women painted blue except for their hair, and words written on their faces in white. It’s a striking image and shows why she’s a powerhouse in the design industry.
Walsh taught other industry professionals to walk away from money if it means you’ll be a better designer for it.
Designer 2: Wai-Loong Lim
Wai-Loong Lim leads Y Studios. We chose Lim for this list because he’s won awards around the globe for a variety of product designs. His range of work is impressive, including everything from dishware to sound systems.
Some of the brands this designer works with include Target, Johnson & Johnson and Motorola. To create cutting-edge designs, designers must experience the world around them and free their creativity. For Lim, surfing gets him outdoors and fulfills his sense of adventure.
Surfing requires a particular type of patience as the surfer waits on the perfect wave. Y Studios’ philosophy is similar in that they patiently work on a design until genius strikes. Their focus is on designing products which fulfill specific needs. Designers with his studio have time to let ideas mature and simmer until they reach perfection.
The brilliance of Lim’s designs lies in the underlying green consciousness of the company. While they don’t call themselves a green company in the sense of being environmentally friendly, the core of their beliefs reflect in designs such as a portable dinnerware set that environmentally aware workers can purchase, rather than Styrofoam or disposable plastic.
Lim brings the industry a reminder that creativity takes time.
Designer 3: Steve Krug
When it comes to user experience, study designer Steve Krug for inspiration. Krug wrote what many consider the bible of usability, “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common-Sense Approach to Web Usability.”
He worked as a usability consultant for two decades for companies such as Apple, Lexus, NPR and Bloomberg. Today, he teaches others about usability through workshops and direct consulting.
Even though Krug might not be the first person who comes to mind when studying design work, he is worth investigating because his principles make your website more usable. His book is a must-read for anyone wanting to delve into the UX of design.
Designer 4: Jennifer Morla
When it comes to visual communications, Jennifer Morla is a familiar name. Morla founded her design agency, Morla Design, in 1984. The goal of the firm is multidisciplinary, covering everything from web design work to packaging to print work. She’s an AIGA Medal recipient whose work appears in the Smithsonian and Denver Art Museum. She’s won more than 300 awards of excellence.
The New York native completed a BFA in graphic design from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. She credits her early inspiration to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and seeing an IBM exhibit at the 1964 World’s Fair. Today, she shares that inspiration and guides young design students as an adjunct professor at California College of the Arts.
Her career spans companies such as Levi Strauss & Co. and PBS San Francisco. Her company designs for Amnesty International, Apple, Rondale Publishers and Wells Fargo Bank — but also dozens of other big brand names. She’s gained a reputation as an artist able to take something ordinary and shift the focus just a bit. She points to using a “combo platter” in her designs: surprise and educate.
New designers should study how unique Morla’s work is — not to copy it, but to learn about the element of surprise. Her work offers a fresh perspective that shows off her artist’s voice perfectly.
No matter how long you’ve been a designer, improvement is possible. If you aren’t growing and changing, you’re stale. Instead, study some of the best designers and most inspirational people in the field and apply what you’ve learned to your work. You may just surprise yourself.
In modern design fields, it’s no longer acceptable to be average. That’s not to say it was ever acceptable in the first place but doing so now can have much more significant consequences on your business and clients. You see, companies today need to stand out and be bold. One of the best ways to do that is through striking visual themes or styles — which comes out in the design elements graphic artists or web developers employ.
If you want to be noticed, you have to crank the volume up to eleven. At the same time, you must be mindful of design guidelines and requirements. That way, visual elements — flashy or not — do not detract from the overall user experience. Thus, we have the eternal struggle of a designer, whether that be in web design, graphic design or some other form of visual creativity.
In light of that, it’s essential to keep up with bleeding edge design trends — or even stay ahead of everyone else. Here are six emerging graphic design trends for the coming year that you would do well to honor.
1. Light or Dark? Why Not Both?
One trend we’re seeing right now is using contrasting light and dark color schemes or styles. Primary color variations might include blue and grey, black and white, or similar contrasting hues.
Why not take that a step further and offer both options to potential audiences? People browse most websites, apps and portals using mobile devices, and it’s always great to have that light and dark choice depending on your preferences. A lot of apps actually employ something called “night mode,” where users can activate a theme that is dark and easy on the eyes in low-light conditions.
Developing multiple versions of a design in varying palettes also affords you — the designer — a lot more freedom to express personality and creativity. Clients and customers will love it, and so will you. It’s a win-win for everyone.
2. Expansive Minimalism
The idea of a more expansive minimalist style may seem a bit contradictory, but in the past, minimal designs have largely employed muted or neutral colors with a lot of white space. Lately, we’ve seen the rise of a new form of minimalism that uses greater color and contrast. Designs are still pared down and efficient with minimal distractions, but the colors used are more vivid, as is the scenery and visual elements of the layout.
Colors might pop more. Backgrounds might include a little more going on with a texture-based element. Navigation buttons and attention points might be a little brighter. These all contribute to a more innovative yet equally beautiful minimalist style.
3. Kinetic Typography
There’s nothing more important in design than the typography you choose. Including the wrong font in a design even once will show you exactly why this is. You want text content to stand out, but you also want it to jive with other visual components, and it must be readable to boot.
Kinetic typography — or moving, dynamic typography — is a relatively new trend that is taking hold everywhere. Why? Because you’re essentially using the same fonts and styles you always have, but simply injecting a little more activity into its presentation. It involves graphic animation techniques to present moving typography. Letters might dance, strobe or even bounce around. Accents might shiver to accentuate a point. Colors and styles might also shift, briefly or over a longer period.
Funny enough, the practice is not actually new — it has been around since the 1950s, originating with Alfred Hitchcock and his 1959 film North by Northwest. More recently, it’s gained popularity and is making something of a comeback that could even be part of a dynamic type movement.
4. Vivid Colors and Imagery
Giving a design or visual element “pop” is what truly makes it stand out to people. It’s always been possible to do this by injecting vivid colors and imagery, but mainstream designs generally opted for easier palettes — not anymore. In fact, many designers and graphic artists are taking it upon themselves to experiment with incredibly bright and eye-catching colors, whether that be lighter hues that are much more intense than the norm, or super bright neons that just seem to flash on the page.
This trend specifically calls for stepping outside of the norm, shedding away conventional color and visual styles.
5. Futuristic-Retro Feel
We’re in this strange state of mind currently where so many designs are using a mix of futuristic and retro-style themes. Think cyberpunk, but with a more functional approach. Elements like geometric shapes, abstract patterns and bright neon colors are starting to bleed their way into popular designs.
It can effectively be described as a mainstream yet futuristic influence, albeit one steeped in class. If you can find a way to adopt these visual elements, while still adhering to minimal practices yet with captivating results, you’ve won. From the outside, this concept can seem incredibly nuanced and complex, but once you have a working design in place, it’s evident a futuristic influence can really kick up some dirt.
6. Authentic Photos
Professional, sterile and faux stock photos have never really been appealing, especially when you’re dealing with humanized or forward-facing portals. Audiences often look at professional stock photos and feel distanced or segregated in a way. There’s this hidden sense of impossibility to them. In the real world, you could never hope to look like the people in these photos, nor experience what they purportedly are.
Not to mention, photo devices and quick-snap technology have advanced considerably. Most people carry around an excellent point-and-shoot with them everywhere they go — embedded within their mobile device. Perhaps that explains why it’s acceptable to include photos in a design that look like a personal camera or smartphone took them. People love the emotions that genuine pictures elicit, and it really brings a natural, welcoming feel to modern designs.
Get Ahead of — Not With — the Program
In the end, if you’re interested in standing out and coming up with some remarkable designs, following these tips and potential trends will undoubtedly get you there. Web design is one market where being ahead of the curve helps you considerably. In other industries, people may not be ready for change, or big players may be more resilient to innovation. That’s certainly not the case with modern design, so be sure to let your creativity and expressive nature flow.
Your company slogan sends a message about who you are as a company and shapes how consumers see your brand. Think about some of the more famous slogans that immediately come to mind, such as McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” or Hallmark’s “When you care enough to send the very best.” They’re catchy, and they sum up the vision of the company in just a few words.
There are more than 30 million small businesses in America. No matter what industry you’re in, you likely have competitors. One way to stand out from other companies like yours is to come up with a strong company slogan that explains in a nutshell what you have to offer consumers. There are some key things to remember when you’re creating a slogan. Here are six of them.
1. Reflect the Product
Take the time to think about the product or service you sell. How can you describe it in the simplest terms possible? Try to think about what makes your product different from all the others like it out there. Now, add an action that the user takes when interacting with your product.
Skittles uses the slogan “Taste the Rainbow” throughout their advertising. Note in the screenshot above how they even use the slogan in a hashtag on Facebook. The slogan works because it sums up the product with its rainbow-colored candies and also describes the action the user takes — taste.
2. Brainstorm Ideas
Now that you have an idea of what makes a slogan work, brainstorm ideas. Talk to employees and even customers about how they view your business. Ask for one word that they think describes your business.
Once you have a collection of works, write each one in the middle of a large sheet of paper, and start attaching others words with a line and the new word in a circle. Continue until you run out of ideas. The goal is not to stop and think but to let your thoughts flow freely. Involve others in the brainstorming process. You’ll likely walk away with several good ideas that may turn into catchy slogans.
3. Play With Words
Think about what words play into what you do and who you are. If you sell beds, for example, think about famous sayings about sleep and rest. Can you use any of these phrases with the brainstorming ideas from the last step? The best play on words is one that’s unique but easily recognizable. It takes a lot of work to succeed with wordplay, so be patient, and ask others for feedback.
Reading Truck Body does a good job playing with the words of their slogan and coming up with something that describes what they do while keeping it interesting. Their slogan is “No Body Better.” Since they create custom truck bodies, the word “body” describes what they do. They also use the slogan to show their philosophy of being the best in their industry. It’s a play on words that has multiple levels.
4. Stay Succinct
The hallmark of a powerful slogan is that it’s succinct. Edit your slogan over and over until you get down to the lowest number of words possible. In the example above, Reading Truck Body uses only three words to get their message across. Skittles, which we looked at in our first point, uses only three words as well. Although you can expand beyond three words, the shorter you can keep your message, the more easily people will remember it.
You have less than three seconds to grab the user’s interest. Beyond that, they may bounce away to another site, never to return. Make those first few words and images count! Grab the user’s attention before they bounce away.
5. Know Your USP
Every product or service has a unique selling proposition (USP). Figure out what makes your company or product stand out from the crowd. What do you have to offer that no one else does? Now, you have to figure out how to summarize your USP and what your company does in as few words as possible. The easiest way to learn how to create a slogan that’s multi-functional is to study other slogans. Check out a few well-known examples:
- Subway — “Eat Fresh”
- Burger King — “Have It Your Way”
- John Lewis — “Never Knowingly Undersold”
Notice how each highlights the USP in some way.
M&Ms has gone to characters to help promote their products, but one of their most famous slogans is “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.” The slogan has been used in various commercials and online campaigns for years. It describes the product and the USP perfectly.
6. Remain Honest
Customers need to know that you’re reliable. Don’t add details because they sound good in a slogan unless you can deliver on those promises. Don’t say you’re the cheapest in the area if you aren’t. Instead, focus on what you know you can deliver and deliver well. It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver than to overpromise and underdeliver.
Take Your Time
Don’t rush into a slogan that you’ll regret later. Take your time to go through the steps, brainstorm, get feedback and allow the slogan to develop over time. If all else fails, call in the help of a professional. If you’re on a budget, talk to your local university and see if a marketing student wants to work with you on coming up with a new slogan.
“Blockchain” has become crazy popular in recent years, thanks to the rising value of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other forms of digital currencies. However, the fundamental technology behind this movement has implications for other parts of the internet beyond just cryptocurrency investments.
User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) professionals are beginning to realize how blockchain technology stands ready to revolutionize their strategies and best practices. The age of static HTML websites will soon be gone and replacing it will be a brand new architecture for online platforms.
This article describes some of the key changes that blockchain technology will bring about in the web design world.
Support for Cryptocurrencies
In the early days of the internet, making purchases through a website was seen as a risky activity. Then companies like eBay and Amazon came along to streamline the whole process, with help from payment services like Paypal that offered secure methods for entering credit cards online.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum represent the next evolution in the development of online retail. These days, a lot of the discussion around digital currencies is focused on their changing investment value, so it’s easy to forget that these systems can be used online for purchasing and exchanging goods.
As a website developer, you need to consider blockchain platforms when designing the next version of your e-commerce website. Digital currencies should be added as payment options on checkout pages and updated automatically with the latest exchange rates. One of the big advantages of using cryptocurrencies on a retail website is the ability to support micropayments for small purchases like access to a news article.
Distributed Data Storage
Most modern websites and mobile applications are built on the same type of architecture. First, there is a database repository or collection that stores individual records. Then an application layer is created to communicate between the back-end data and front-end interface. The actual visual content lives on a web server that transmits to browsers or devices.
Blockchain technology has the potential to radically change this method of web development. One of the key features of digital currencies is that they operate without a central authority, such as a government or a bank. Instead, their financial ledger is kept on a peer-to-peer network with many nodes that run algorithms to maintain its integrity.
This concept of decentralized storage goes far beyond a simple accounting ledger. Data of all sorts can be stored and accessed in a decentralized, private way using blockchain technology. Instead of relying on a single database endpoint, designers will have the ability to spread information across a series of connected nodes that are guaranteed to keep it safe and readily accessible.
The secure nature of blockchain technology is being seen as a legitimate way for companies to verify all types of transactions, not just Bitcoin and Ethereum exchanges. The concept is referred to as smart contracts and represents a major leap forward in how trust is managed online.
Web developers should consider implementing smart contracts into their projects to replace any feature or functionality that involves two parties shifting resources or making agreements. For example, blockchain technology can be leveraged with package tracking, account subscriptions, and other time or location-based activities.
With blockchain integrated into a website’s application logic, business users can rest assured that their resources are being managed and transferred appropriately. The key challenge for UI and UX designers is to build a clean interface to present all the moving traffic.
An easy solution for managing smart contract content (especially if you don’t write code and the thought of learning WordPress makes you break out in hives) is to deploy an online website builder, where you can drag-and-drop visual elements and quickly test different iterations of emerging blockchain functions. Long derided as a substandard option for building a website, today’s generation of DIY site builders like Wix and SquareSpace have become quite sophisticated and now power an increasing number of legitimate sites.
Online privacy remains one of the most controversial topics in the world today. The average internet user is frustrated with how websites and mobile applications are tracking their personal data and sharing it with government organizations or advertising partners.
Blockchain technology may very well provide a promising solution to this headache. Digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum operate on anonymous platforms through the use of private and public keys. Each investor gains access to a unique digital wallet that is identified with a string of characters, not their name or social security number. As a result, every transaction on these markets is kept secure and private.
As a web designer, you can consider using the blockchain model with how identity management is handled on your projects. For example, if a user subscribes to a newsletter on a website, that action could be tracked within the digital ledger. From there, the information can be traced by the user to understand if and when advertising groups are able to obtain it. Since identifying information is kept encrypted, it reduces the risk of data breaches or hacks.
Embracing Machine Learning and Automation
You should expect digital inventions and ideas to evolve quickly as blockchain technology becomes more widely adopted across the web. The opportunities are endless, especially when you consider how blockchain systems could partner with machine learning and automation platforms to capitalize on their processing power and innovation potential.
A great example of automation in web design is the rise of online chatbots. These are small utilities that are appearing on more websites where users often have common questions but find it difficult to obtain answers. With a chatbot, a website visitor can write in a text window as if they are interacting with a human being and then receive helpful replies in a matter of milliseconds.
What makes this type of interaction possible? It’s a combination of engineering knowledge, resource power, and a new way of technical thinking. When you treat user questions and complaints as transactions on a blockchain network, you can begin to visualize trends and patterns and identify ways to quickly respond and resolve such events.
The Bottom Line
While the world of web design and development never stays static for long, the evolution of blockchain technology is poised to shake up the industry in a way that it hasn’t been shaken in a while.
We’re anticipating BIG changes on both the front and back end of sites. We’ve just pointed out a few of the possibilities but there are almost certainly going to be more and likely they’ll come from unexpected directions. Stay tuned. It’s going to be a fun ride.
Your landing page is the first impression site visitors have of your business. A landing page has the potential to pull site visitors in and turn them into customers or to drive them away.
Out of the many challenges marketers face, getting landing pages built and testing them ranks in the top five. It’s hard to know exactly what your target audience wants and how to deliver. Figuring out how to improve your landing page in the final quarter of the year is a particular challenge because there are so many other competing things that need completed, such as holiday marketing and the logistics of delivering more orders than normal.
Fortunately, there are some specific steps you can take now to improve your landing page before the end of the year and see an instant improvement in results.
1. Offer Something Unique
Give visitors something they can’t get anywhere else. What unique selling proposition do you offer that your competitors do not? Think about how many websites there are on the Internet. While they might not all be direct competition, they are all competing for attention. You have to stand out from the crowd and the best way to do that is to offer something unusual that your target audience wants.
Snapchat gets a lot of things right, but adding something truly unique pulls site visitors right in. Among their offers, they tout Snapchat original videos. These are shows you can only view on Snapchat. The model of original shows has been quite successful for companies such as Netflix, so Snapchat is getting in on that action, even though they are not competitors at this point with Netflix.
2. Write Headlines that Hook
Your headline on your landing page says a lot about you. People see your headline when they’re searching for a keyword on Google and your site pops up in the search results, for example. Does your headline make them want to click on the link and read more or is it blah and non-descriptive?
The wording of your headlines is of ultimate importance. In one study, researchers looked at the specific wording and tracked which words results in more shares on social media. They found that there were three top phrases in the most shared content:
- Will make you – 8961 engagements
- This is why – 4099 engagements
- Can we guess – 3199 engagements
They studied other wording as well, but these three stood out from the pack with the most social shares, likes and comments.
3. Add a Call to Action (CTA)
The whole purpose of your landing page is to get the reader to take some type of action. In the most recent study we could find, experts estimated that 70 percent of small business websites lacked effective CTA buttons. These numbers may have improved slightly in the last few years as people have learned more about CTAs and why they work, but it is still an area worth upgrading.
There are many elements that go into creating a strong call to action. The best way to improve yours is to make small changes and then do some A/B testing to see what your site visitors prefer. Try different colors, placement, wording and sizes.
Halo Overhead Doors does a great job with their CTA buttons. The minute you land on their home page, you see an orange CTA button above the fold. This button invites site visitors to “get started,” and the orange contrasts with the background to make it stand out. At the top right, in the navigation bar are two CTA buttons that read, “Request Estimate” and “Request Service.” These buttons target both potential customers and current customers. Further down the page are additional CTAs to capture other users who want to browse, get ideas for garage doors for their homes or see what others have done to update their homes.
4. Post a Video
Most businesses publish about 18 videos per month on average. Videos are viewed more and more by people online, which is why you’ve seen an influx of them in recent months. Around 55 percent of people say they watch videos online every day. Videos allow you to highlight the story of your business or your unique selling proposition (USP) to site visitors. A video instantly engages consumers.
5. Keep it to One Point
What is your goal for your site visitors? Make your landing page simple and stay on that single point to increase conversions. The fewer places a user can click away and get distracted, the more chance there is that she will instead convert from a visitor to a subscriber or customer.
Bloom has one goal – to get you to order a custom floral arrangement. Everything on their landing page points users to that goal. They show some images of custom arrangements displayed in homes and offer a free design consultation. They then explain the three easy steps you’ll take to get a completed arrangement and how it’s all customized to your tastes and home.
6. Find Your Pain Point
A pain point is a problem the typical customer experiences that you can solve with your product or service. For example, if you offer a meal delivery service, the pain point might be that a working mom has no time to put a healthy meal on the table and finds herself serving fast food one too many days of the week. Your solution is a healthy meal delivery service she can customize to her family’s needs and budget.
Once you find the pain point, you’ll be able to address how you can help consumers get rid of the pain.
Improve Your Landing Page
Start with small changes, test them and see how your site visitors respond. Any small improvements to your landing page help conversion rates. With enough small changes, you’ll see significant results.
How to Become A Professional Artist with Lindsey Jo Scott
Have you had to urge to leave your full-time position and pursue your love of art full-time? Today, with the help of local artist, Lindsey Jo Scott, we explored what it means to be a professional artist and what taking the plunge involves. Here are some lessons learned from both our and her experiences that we’d like to share with you. Make sure to take the time to watch the Facebook Live chat with Lindsey Jo before you leave, as well as to follow Lindsey Jo on her official site, Facebook and Instagram.
Understand that there may not always be a clear path.
It’s romantic to think that there will come a day when you’ll know it’s time to burst out of the office and into your new creative career. But things aren’t often so cut and dry. Some artists blindly take a leap when they feel inspired, while others are much more cautious about transitioning to full-time artist. The recommend is often that you hold onto your day job until your client base is so full that it forces you to quit. The more cautious you are with your business moves and finances, the better off you will be in the long run.
mural work by http://www.lindseyjoscott.com/
And while you’re still employed full-time, take notes.
You may very well be working ten jobs, counting down the moments until you can go off on your own and “do this thing,” but until then, you have a golden opportunity. You are working for another entrepreneur / business owner, so take notes. Be mindful of how they are running their business. What is working? What is a big old disaster? If your boss or manager tasks you with some big responsibilities, take them and run with them. This is a fantastic chance to get in the trenches early and learn what it means to run a business before having full responsibility. Whatever you do, do not waste this time simply hating on your job and watching the days pass you by. Ask if you can learn about how your boss runs their metrics, how they invoice. Ask if you can sit in on the hiring process and if you can try your hand at designing some of their social media graphics. They’ll be impressed and you’ll be learning on their time. Win, win.
Reach out to other artists for support, to share resources and to mentor/to receive mentor-ship.
Once you’re out on our own, it is important that you reach out to other artists in your community for support, to give and receive resources, and to mentor or receive mentoring. Here in Cleveland, our artistic community is thriving and events pop up every other evening for artists, designers, dancers, musicians, poets, writers and more! Look out for these resources in your city on sites like Meetup.com. You can, of course, also find them online – Facebook is a great place to start.
In a pinch, as Lindsey Jo will mention below, podcasts are also a great way to find inspiration without even leaving the house. Some of favorites include:
Art + Biz type Podcasts:
Podcasts she listens to while working:
Good luck, friends! Now, let’s meet Lindsey Jo!
Ways to Use Videos on Your Website
You’ve likely noticed that more and more videos appear online each year. Google now offers an option for videos at the top of search results, and many websites feature videos. Brands use them to market on social media as well.
The number of people using videos online is staggering. About 78 percent of people watch online videos each week, and 55 percent state they view online videos on a daily basis. By the year 2020, 80 percent of all online traffic will be video viewing.
With such strong trending toward videos, you’ve probably thought about adding more to your website, but you may not know the different ways you can use video to pull in your site visitors. Here are six strong options.
1. Sell Your Product
If the main goal of your website is to sell a product, then a video is a must. One study showed that 80 percent of people remember a video ad from the past month, and 46 percent took action after watching a video. If you want to show off a product from all angles and show the uses of it, creating a product video should be one of your first steps.
Fix Asphalt features a video on their landing page that highlights the asphalt services they offer. They feature processes to fix or complete projects involving asphalt, concrete or pavement maintenance. The video highlights how their service solves a problem.
2. Tell a Story
Does your company have a unique background story? On a given day, in a given minute, about 700,000 Google searches occur, and 100,500 digital words flit by the average person in a day. If you want to stand out, you have to find a unique way to connect with consumers. Telling your own story is one of the best ways to accomplish this goal, and what better way to make it memorable than through a video on your website?
3. Add to the Aesthetics of the Design
It takes the average person just 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about the overall design of your website. Some users form an opinion in only 17 milliseconds. You have the blink of an eye to grab the user’s attention. Present them with something that pleases them visually and makes them want to stick around. Adding a video to your landing page gives readers a break from the text and shows something desirable to the user.
Joe’s Garage Coffee uses a looping video to show the process of creating their private label coffee and how it’s superior to that of their competitors. The looping video adds some interest to the background that immediately shows the user what the company is about and why they’re special.
4. Incorporate Embedded Videos
While it might be tempting to add a video to your website and stream it from your server, doing so isn’t always the best choice. Most web designers prefer to embed videos from sources such as YouTube, Vimeo or Wistia. You can upload a unique video specific to your business or use one of the videos on their site with sharing permissions. Using other videos to enhance your message expands your ability.
In particular, if you own a very small business, you may not have the budget to create a video that shows how to install a new furnace filter or any other topic. However, someone else may have already produced that video, and you can simply share it. Just make sure the video you share isn’t from a competitor.
5. Create Product Marketing Videos
Showcasing a product via video allows the user to see the item from all angles and see if it’s for them or not. It’s the next best thing to seeing the product in person. This 360-degree view of a product helps consumers decide if the product meets their needs. It should help cut down on returns and unhappy customers too.
Nine Line Apparel does a good job of highlighting their products in videos. Not only do they show the product, but they show it in use. In the video above, the guy keeps dropping his bottle of beer until the Nine Line hoodie arrives. Suddenly, he has a pocket to hold his beer bottle. It’s presented in a humorous way. However, the other features of the hoodie are also highlighted, such as the thick material and long sleeves.
6. Provide a Vlog
Your website likely has a blog already. Why not make the content a bit more dynamic and add videos to your blog? You can create videos that go with a blog topic or blog posts that are videos. Topics should help solve a problem for your typical customer, so look at questions you receive on a regular basis, and answer them for readers.
The great thing about adding videos is that you can use them on your website and gain traction via social media. YouTube has a massive audience, as does Facebook, so sharing videos on those sites is a great place to start.
Figure out new and exciting ways to implement video on your site so that site visitors see that you have something special to offer. Whether you add videos as part of your looping background or go into detail about the history of your company, each video adds a different element to your site and makes it more interactive for your users.
Starting your own firm or freelance business? Have your own small business, but looking for a boost? We here at Go Media, your favorite Cleveland design firm, are here to help by providing you with 14 fundamental questions that will have a big impact on how you grow your own company or freelance business.
Whether your focus is creative in nature like ours or whether you are a small business of any kind, we believe that answering these questions will give you some much needed inspiration. While some of these questions may seem obvious, we implore you to take time to answer them fully and honestly.
These questions were taken from our Drawn to Business Design Firm Business Plan Workbook. For the full list of 75 questions, head to our Arsenal and purchase the full workbook. Although design-focused, the workbook will assist any small business owner looking for encouragement to start making positive changes in their company.
Let’s dive in.
- Visualize your ideal firm. What does it look like and how does it operate?
- How will you know when you need to hire a new staff member?
- What do you look for in a new employee? What traits will they have? How will you know a great employee when you see them? How will you assess their character? What does the hiring process look like? Will it look different for each role you’re hiring for?
- When you are hiring, where are you looking for candidates? Will you have any assistance finding candidates? What is the process candidates will go through before they walk through your doors for an interview?
- What is your plan to utilize interns? How many interns are you looking for at any given time? Who will be in charge of your interns/internship program? What value do you hope your interns add to your business? What value will you bring to their experience?
- What kind of systems, policies and traditions would you like to see in your company? For example, what kind of monthly metrics will you run? What will your billing structure look like? Will you throw a killer Christmas party every year?
- What kind of perks do you offer in addition to salary for your staff? What kinds of benefits will you offer (bonuses, profit sharing, medical, life insurance, paid vacations, company holidays, personal days, free PB& J?)
- For creative firms: What is your policy on employee freelancing? Do you allow it?
- How do you plan on keeping your best employees? List all the ways you can show your employees they are appreciated – both monetarily and otherwise.
- When the time comes when you have to fire or let go of an employee how will you handle it? What does a worst case scenario look like? How would you handle it? Best case? What practices would you put into place to guard yourself again many negative experiences?
- What do your employees love about working for your company or what will they love about working for you? What are your strengths as a manager?
- What do your employees dislike about working for your company? What are your downfalls as a manager? How can you improve these things?
- What are some companies you admire for their culture? How can you borrow their ideas?
- What has been the hardest part about growing your company? What are your current pain points? How can you improve?
Go Media is a Cleveland Creative Agency that specializes in web design, graphic design, print, logo design, and web marketing. We’d love to provide you with any and all of these services to help you grow your small business. Contact us for a complimentary review of your brand and to discuss how we can discuss your website, branding, logo, packaging design or other graphic design needs.
Seasonal Sales Techniques for Small Business Owners
By the time the holiday season arrives, most business owners aren’t prepared. There are so many aspects to running a business and staying afloat that it’s difficult to find time to prepare for any one season.
The average person spends around $900 on Christmas gifts each year. Holiday sales are predicted to increase to as much as $729.89 billion in the United States. If you don’t find the time to focus on seasonal sales, you can be sure your competitors will, and they’ll snatch some of that potential holiday profit away from you.
No matter what type of business you own, there are some seasonal sales techniques you can use that will draw in the holiday shopping crowd. Here are six key ways to incorporate seasonal sales into your business just in time for the holidays.
1. Tap Into the Spirit of the Season
The last two months of the fiscal year are known as the “giving season” because people give about 24 percent of their annual giving in November and December. Part of the reason is a look forward to tax season and the ability to deduct donations to 401c and 501c classified organizations. However, another reason people give so much more during the last couple months of the year is that they’re in the holiday giving spirit.
You can tap into the spirit of the season by calling on the emotions of your customers and figuring out how to give back as a business.
WestJet taps into the holiday giving season by offering a screen that features a Santa. As people step in front of the screen, they receive various prizes, some big and some small. The video on YouTube shows the reaction of the recipients and taps into that warm feeling that people associate with the holidays.
2. Remember Your Current Customers
It’s easy to get caught up in the drive to gain more customers, but your current customers are of a higher value than a new lead. The chance that a current customer will buy from you is 60 to 70 percent, while the change that a new lead will buy is only five to 20 percent. Current customers are also more likely to try new offerings and spend more on each purchase.
As you can see, your current customers are quite valuable and should be a big part of any holiday sales planning. Spend time looking at what your current customers typically order, and figure out what new products might most interest them during the holidays. Items that complement what they already own but give that item a seasonal twist are popular. However, you should also offer exciting new products to current customers and give them special offers no one else receives.
3. Choose Your Season
Even though we talk about the winter holidays a lot in this article because of the sheer amount of business done during that time of year, Christmas isn’t the only time when you can incorporate seasonal sales. If you run a pumpkin patch, fall is your hot season, and you should put most of your focus there. If you run a romantic Italian restaurant, your season might be Valentine’s Day.
Choose the season that works best for your business, and focus on that for now. You can always add other seasonal sales throughout the year.
Marketview Liquor does a nice job of featuring special items for each holiday season. Take a look at their fall selection, featuring images of pumpkins and deep fall colors. They also offer a 1/2 off shipping discount if you order a certain amount of product. Finally, they offer a weekly special, sometimes tied to the season. If you’re looking for a gift for any occasion, you’ll find that they offer a special “gift set” section on their website.
4. Plan Your Social Media Marketing
To tap into the extra business sure to come your way during the holidays, plan out your social media marketing campaigns in advance. A multi-channel approach often works best to drive traffic to your special sales, so think through where your target audience spends their time and how you can best grab their attention on those social media platforms.
A holiday social media calendar is a great idea. You can also schedule out posts and offers in advance using a program such as Missingltr (free) or Buffer.
5. Turn a Negative Into a Positive
At some point in your business career, you’ll make a mistake or receive criticism. One of the best things to do is to tie it into your overall seasonal efforts and embrace the error. You can, of course, fix the error, but also own up to it. If the problem was something serious, then a sincere apology might work best. But if the criticism is something lighter, you can turn it into a joke.
Reese’s received quite a bit of criticism about their tree-shaped Christmas candy. People began posting on social media that the trees look more like human excrement than Christmas trees. Reese’s embraced the criticism and started an #AllTreesAreBeautiful campaign. The screenshot above is an example of a candy tree seeing itself as the perfectly shaped Christmas tree. They released a series of #AllTreesAreBeautiful ads on Twitter.
6. Handling More Orders
Figure out now how to manage the extra workflow more orders bring to your business. It won’t do you any good to have an absolutely brilliant marketing campaign that brings in thousands more in sales if you can’t fulfill those orders and wind up with angry customers. When people order during the holidays, they expect those items to arrive quickly. Some might be presents they’ve purchased and need for a holiday gathering.
Hire on more staff, make sure you have enough inventory and streamline your shipping processes well before the holidays hit.
The Best Season Ever
Planning ahead allows you to take advantage of seasonal specials. Push your new products, clear out old inventory by offering deep discounts and show new customers that you have the best customer service on the planet. With a little prep work, the holidays can be a time when your business grows instead of fails.
You probably had to create a presentation of some kind at least a couple of times in your life. Remember how everyone tried to be witty, innovative and smart in school with cool templates, fonts and animations in their presentations? Well, that’s always the aim if you want your audience to listen. Grabbing someone’s attention isn’t easy and you can have the best materials ever, you can cite many great sources but if it isn’t entertaining or easy on the eye to some extent, the chances are that your audience will fall asleep in ten to fifteen minutes. Fortunately, Apple stepped in to save the day with their Keynote. Let’s see why many people choose Keynote over every other program when they need to make a presentation.
Keynote presentations look great
It’s that simple. Presentations made with Keynote look really good. It’s easy to achieve a very professional and unique looking presentation that is bound to keep your audience engaged and impressed. And that’s what really matters. Apple has always been on top of their game when it comes to the design and looks. Both when it comes to their products and software. Keynote is no exception. You can always find lots of amazing Keynote templates and many have built-in layouts into themes. Knocking out two birds with one stone? That has to be good. Oh, and animations are a breeze with Keynote. There is no other software that does animations better than this one.
Oh the templates
Visual appeal is oftentimes what matters the most. Well, compared to other programs, Keynote takes pride in its elegant and sleek templates. On top of that, you can find tons of cool templates online. Are you a businessman? You need to impress your office and convince your boss to make your idea reality? There are some great business templates that you can always alter according to your preferences. Do you want to start your own company? No problem, use a pitch deck template. It’s all about simplicity and clarity. Keynote does that really good, too. Long story short, there are numerous categories of templates, ranging from business, marketing and sales all the way to the old-school look with vintage templates. You name it, the Internet has it!
Export is easy
Let’s put all the style aside and take some time to talk about the interface. To be more precise, let’s talk about the program’s easy export of presentations. Do you want your presentation to be a simple slide show? No problem. Do you want it to be a video clip? Easy, peasy! The program can export presentations as QuickTime files for simple YouTube conversion. Also, the program offers easy sound, image and video integration. Now you can enjoy your own presentation online and the others can do that too. The choice is yours and you are in control.
Even though this program does not integrate well with other programs of the kind, it does offer seamless integration with iPads, iPods and iPhones. For example, you’ve been working a lot and you’ve just made a presentation that you need to use tomorrow at a conference or meeting. You want to impress everyone and you know that’s not easy. You get up, put on some smart clothes and go off. And somewhere into your commute you realize that you’ve forgotten your Mac. Fortunately, you’ve been smart enough to export the presentation and transfer it to your other Apple devices. Now you don’t have to worry about a thing since your phone can also be the source. On top of that, editing is really easy too. If you need to make a quick change, you won’t have a problem.
Keynote Live feature
Apple has introduced this feature in their recent update and it’s a true delight. Keynote Live allows you to invite other people who are not in the same place as you are to watch your presentation in real time. You don’t even need a projector or something like that. You just need a Mac, iPad, iPhone or the web. With this feature you can play your presentations over the internet and other people will be able to see it in real-time on any device wherever they get online. Some of your colleagues can’t make it to the meeting? No problem, they can still use this feature and watch your presentations from any location. If your company has remote workers, it’s easy for them both to watch presentations and to present them themselves.
Keynote took advantage of the new programming techniques and UI styles to reshape presentations. Apple examined the old approaches and came up with something new and unique. Also, people who are using Macs (and Apple’s devices in general) enjoy new hardware capabilities to the fullest extent. It’s a win-win situation both for you and your boss, teacher, employees, etc. This program is always at least one step ahead over its rivals.
Every 21st-century business hell-bent on making a name for itself in the competitive marketplace needs a strong marketing plan. There is no way around it, if you’re not online and utilizing the power of digital marketing to reach audiences across the globe, then you’re not doing a very good job as a business leader to begin with. Quite simply, if you don’t have a marketing plan, you might as well close shop.
Contrary to popular belief, though, a marketing plan is not just a pamphlet and a few Facebook posts telling people to visit your website – actually, it shouldn’t be that either. A comprehensive marketing strategy will require thorough planning and preparation and the use of creative thinking, meticulous research, and exact execution in terms of SEO and social media. Here’s what you need to know.
It all begins with a compelling brand
Branding is the first step towards a successful future in the business world on all fronts. That includes your marketing efforts. If marketing is the means to an end, i.e. disseminating your stories and reaching the hearts and minds of your demographic, then your brand is the story and visuals that will separate you from the rest of the competition. This is why building a brand should be your first priority.
You can start by crafting a set of values that will serve as the foundation on which you can create compelling visuals, messages, and eventually, stories that will carry your brand across the digital realm. But wait, before you start throwing clichés like “quality” or “innovation” around like biscuits at a dog party, just understand that the customer doesn’t care.
Really, you’re a modern brand, and quality and innovation are kind of expected of you. No, a truly inspiring brand identity boasts a set of values that people can relate to, and eventually become a part of on a deeper, meaningful level. So, focus on the emotional response you can get from your demographic rather than run-of-the-mill catchphrases that will quickly dissipate into the unknown.
Research the market like a pro
Market research is another crucial element of a winning marketing plan. After all, if you don’t research the demographic and your competition, you’re really just shooting in the dark and the only thing that’s bound to take a hit is your own reputation. Instead of throwing a wide net and hoping for the best, focus on the following steps:
- Market segmentation. The needs of your existing customers and your potential customers are not the same, and that means that they should fall into particular segments. You can segment your demographics in order to discover and address their needs better than the competition.
- Targeting and positioning. Identifying the needs of your demographics will allow you to tailor your product offering accordingly, and thus appeal to your most lucrative prospects. Be sure to match your strengths to the needs of your customers for a direct hit.
- Researching the competition. It’s pretty self-explanatory – find the top brands in your niche, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and try to improve on their offering.
- Define your ideal promotional tactics. There are numerous ways you can advertise in the online and offline realms, and you will need to invest in the right channels so be sure to find out where your ideal customers reside – it’s probably social media, though.
Budget your marketing strategy wisely
One of the most important elements of a winning marketing plan is finance management. Quite simply, marketing is expensive, and oftentimes entrepreneurs will take money out of their personal budgets and risk their own livelihood just to set a marketing plan into motion and get the word out – but that’s a risky move that might cost you way more than the initial investment.
Instead, you should keep your personal finances in check and even search for online loans that will help you preserve your livelihood through this period by allowing you to direct cash flow towards effectuating your marketing strategy. When you do secure the finances for your marketing plan, make sure that you invest in the right channels and methods of communication instead of wasting money on dead-ends.
Focus on crafting SEO-friendly content
SEO is the name of the digital marketing game, and if your entire online presence is not properly optimized, then you’re missing out. In fact, you might not even be on the online map. Rising from the abyss that is the second page of Google is not an easy task, but there is nothing that a little top-quality content can’t fix. Focus on:
- Crafting compelling content with the reader’s needs in mind.
- Crafting SEO-friendly content that will appeal to search engine algorithms.
- Crafting in-depth, data-driven content that will give real value to the reader.
- Being a storyteller and shifting focus from your products to resolving real problems your audience might be experiencing.
A parting word or two
Marketing is the driving force behind the success of every modern business, and it should be the essential part of your growth strategy. With these crucial steps in mind, you should have no problem rising to the top of the proverbial ladder, and ensuring long-term success for your brand in the competitive marketplace.
The Mobile World Congress is an event that takes place every year where we have giants of the mobile industry world exhibit their products and innovations. Considering the nature of the industry, these giants may differ. One year you are the main star, the next year, well, someone else may take your place. The environment is dynamic and the industry is changing quite fast. However, one thing is for sure, it may be changing but one cannot see the point where it will stop growing. There are always some new mobile developments in connected cities, cars, health, entertainment, etc. and it seems like this congress has no difficulty attracting huge crowds. Let’s see why you should be in that crowd too.
Everyone will be there
Yes, everyone significant will be there. For example, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona attracted more than 100,000 attendees from over 200 countries. Therefore, you can bet your life that everyone significant from the Mobile Industry will be there. Imagine Huawei not sending their representatives while Apple regularly exhibits its products at these congresses. That wouldn’t be so smart, right? Of course it wouldn’t.
You get to hear some familiar faces
Considering that this congress is huge, attendees get to hear all of the familiar mobile industry faces. Jimmy Wales was a regular and there is no one in this whole wide world who doesn’t know about Wikipedia. Of course, the Mobile World Congress wouldn’t be complete without the Zuck. Mark Zuckerberg, the ever popular owner of Facebook is often a keynote speaker. And the list goes on and on. Each year there are some familiar faces and who knows, the next congress may have some new players that will change the industry as we know it.
Everyone is welcome
At the Congress one gets to meet with clients and suppliers in person. And there is a platter of them because everyone with an idea and a product is welcome. That is a really good chance to make new connections and talk about business ideas. Bear in mind that there are over 1,800 organizations that showcase their products and services across numerous halls and spaces. Now that’s what you call fertile land for new contacts and possibly new opportunities.
You get to be the first to see new gadgetry
Apple, Huawei, Samsung, LG, they all want to steal the show by displaying their newest and coolest mobile phones and various prototypes. Isn’t it a good idea for you to be there to see those gadgets first? Common sense states that the answer to this question has to be positive. Here you get to see what the future looks like. Who knows, you’ll maybe consider buying a new phone when you see what these giants have to offer.
The food is awesome
Attendees from the Barcelona Congress claim that the food there was a true holiday for their senses. The MWC always chooses the best cities so it is safe to say that the cuisine will always be top-notch. And when you take a look at some figures, you can see that these guys don’t fool around. For example, in Barcelona attendees ate over 35,000 bocadillo type sandwiches and more than 25,000 servings of breakfast pastry. About 40,000 cups of coffee were consumed, too. Oh and don’t think for a second that there weren’t some great restaurants and bars in the surrounding area. Even if you are a picky person, you’ll find something delicious to eat.
We all love free stuff and that’s a fact. Well, guess what, there is going to be some super-cool free merchandise up for grabs. Many companies give out free stuff with their brand tag on it. For example, there are always some free power banks, stress balls, t-shirts, caps and whatnot. You’ll get to take so much from the congress besides the latest exhibits and that only adds to the experience.
It’s good for your health
The MWC is always held in huge areas and that’s quite obvious considering the number of companies that regularly display their products there. That’s why it would be smart for you to grab a pair of comfy, sports shoes and get going. The MWC in Barcelona had somewhere around 90000 m2 of exhibition ground. Of course, it is smart to burn that tasty food away from the Congress. So, grab a pair of shoes, visit every corner of the Congress and you’ll burn off that belly fat in no time.
The MWC is always the event where every big player of the industry shows up to present its products to the world. This event enables us to learn all about the next gen services, growth strategies and developments in the world of technology. The hype is already there, the reasons are there. Now it’s up to you to decide whether you’d like to be a part of it or not.
E-Commerce Navigation Best Practices & Site Navigation Guidelines
Running an E-Commerce business has its own perks and obligations; the perk of access to a wider audience and the obligation of meeting the latest E-Commerce trends. Both these aspects have an impact on how your online business website is going to perform.
Several studies have shown how weaving together the fabric of an E-Commerce business involves taking care of the site’s usability through enhanced navigation and well laid out product/service categories. So, what are the guidelines for enhancing your site’s navigation and making the site categories more efficient?
Let’s find out.
Fast loading website
A speedy website is a compulsion, regardless of the kind of website you are running. And when yours is an E-Commerce website, the need for speed is even more because you simply can’t afford prospective buyers abandoning your website due to a website that lags. Every time you make a website, it is important to keep in mind that if your website fails to load within 2 seconds, its abandonment percentage will be high.
If you want to improve the loading time of your website, you must put the following measures in place:
- Use a reliable web hosting service. Before you square in on a particular service provider, always go through the reviews. You can rely on reputable web hosting services such as 000webhost.
- A Content Delivery Network (CDN) makes it easy for your website to show up swiftly on all geographical locations.
- Optimize your eCommerce website to clear the clutter.
- Since an eCommerce website requires high-quality product images for display, consider compressing them to save the bandwidth.
Compact yet comfortable product listing
The traffic to an eCommerce website is determined by the user-experience offered by it. Since everyone is on this website to look for a product of their choice, the product listing is certainly the most important thing. However, the catch with an online shopping website is that it needs to furnish the maximum information about a product on the same page, without making the visitors go to a next page for the same. Hence, the target is to make the product listing compact yet comfortable for easy viewing.
Robust Internal search
There are two kinds of online shoppers that visit an online store; the ones that know the actual item they are looking for and the others that like to surf through several product categories. The first kind is quick to put the product in the cart and check out. However, the second kind of visitors need a little help and an internal search serves the purpose just right.
At least 50% of shoppers prefer to use an online business’s internal search function to find products. If your website is offering a robust internal search, it can do more than just increase your sales.
Clear product organization under categories
Categories mark the product differentiation on a website and make it easy for the buyers to make a purchase without clicking too much. If you run an eCommerce website or are planning to start one, make sure that you think the way your buyers are going to think and act. This will make it easy for you to segregate the products into different categories without leaving a chance of putting a product under a wrong category.
Descriptive product information
People make a confirmed purchase on an eCommerce website only when they are fully satisfied with the way the product has been described. Fuel this content with SEO keywords, high-quality images that are large enough to identify a known item and show the differences between variants, and maybe a video for usage tutorial.
Other parts of this information include the available variants to an item, colors, styles, or options. Displaying customer ratings and reviews for the items also helps buyers make a choice. This information is a purchase enabler and must be considered as a guideline for better navigation.
Seamless Navigation through Breadcrumbs
A guideline to seamless eCommerce website navigation is to let the visitors know their point in the journey while they are browsing through your website. Doing so will help them reach a particular point in their purchase journey and improve the find ability of website sections and pages.
To achieve this, you must introduce ‘Breadcrumbs’ on your website. Breadcrumbs are a visual aid that indicate the location of the visitor while they move ahead, clicking on higher-level pages. They reduce the number of actions a website visitor needs to take in order to get to a particular page they would like to go back to.
Drive out the complexity of the Checkout process
A great eCommerce Checkout process must flow without any hiccups. Hence, your site’s checkout page optimization must be a commitment for you. To eliminate all the negative factors that lead to cart abandonment, try these tips:
- Shipping, taxes, and fees must not be very high or hidden. Put them under the buyer’s attention right from the time they go through the item description.
- Display the total order cost up-front.
- Offer guest Checkout and don’t force the visitors to create an account for making a purchase.
- The checkout process must not be too long or complicated.
- Secure your website and make it apt for handling sensitive user information by getting an SSL certificate for your site.
- Be very clear with the returns and replacement policy
- Integrate all the popular payment methods and gateways.
- Display trust seals throughout the Checkout process.
Seamless Mobile Navigation
Of all the online searches conducted, 60% of them come from mobile devices, with over 30 billion mobile queries driving Google’s market advantage. This makes the importance of mobile navigation for an eCommerce website even more prominent.
Follow these mobile navigation guidelines for a seamless navigation experience:
- The Mobile header must have your site’s icon and the internal search bar.
- Your mobile site’s menu is your primary call-to-action.
- Skip the social icons from the header.
- A pinned menu at the bottom makes your mobile website more like an app, adding more information on the page without cluttering it. They are evidently visible and enhance the site’s user experience.
- If the website budget permits, consider creating an app for your shopping website. If you are planning one, you can revamp your entire website and even create an app for it using WordPress.
- Always add a link to the desktop site.
There are several other guidelines as well that can be gradually implemented on your mobile site as you go ahead adding the above changes.
A site’s robust navigation and sorted categories make up for an excellent user-experience on an eCommerce website. With the implementation of the right guidelines, an informative Homepage, and a follow-up with the latest eCommerce trends, you can run your eCommerce website effectively; thereby boosting your sales and growing your customers.
Welcome to Designer Face Off, where we ask two designers to go head to head, asking one another burning questions about their shared passions for design, entrepreneurship, and all things creative. Facing off today are designer Mike Kluk of Stuffed Brain Studio and John Lee Clair, designer, videographer, photographer and owner of Big Shot Photo Booth.
Mike Klok is a freelance designer and the brains behind Stuffed Brain Studio, a creative studio specializing in branding, design, and illustration. They provide, “Quality Guts and Goods.” Mike is based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. He met John Lee at last year’s design conference WMC Fest, where they became fast friends.
John Lee is a long-time friend of WMC. As mentioned, he is a talented videographer (check out one of these hype videos he shot for us!) He is constantly working on multiple projects down in Charleston, South Carolina, where he is based. He specializes in design for both print and digital, along with photography and video production.
Let’s listen in on two amazing designers talking about their work and gaining insight from one another!
Watch last month’s Designer Face Off.
For the full Designer Face Off series, head to our YouTube Channel.
Want to get to know Mike and John Lee a little better?
Some of our most popular posts have included our posts about who we suggest you follow on Instagram, such as our recent post entitled, “21 Hand Lettering Artists to Follow on Instagram.” Today, we thought we would recommend our favorite graphic design agencies to follow on Instagram. We hope you enjoy!
“Brooklyn’s freshest little creative agency.”
A branding studio from Austin, Texas.
Only is an award-winning branding agency based in Manchester.
Huge Inc. is an experience design and digital marketing agency that provides strategy, marketing, design, and technology services to Fortune 100 companies. They have offices in Atlanta, DC, Detroit, Brooklyn, London, Singapore, Toronto, Los Angeles, and more. Follow them.
Design, illustration and animation team based in Los Angeles, California.
Design studio based in Novi Sad, Serbia.
A Chicago, Illinois based brand identity, package design and graphic design studio.
A creative agency in Melbourne.
Hey Studio is graphic design studio based in Barcelona.
A graphic design firm in Miami, Florida
A brand consultancy & design studio in Detroit.
Impero is an independent creative agency based in London and Buenos Aires.
Flourish is an Award-Winning brand and digital agency based in Surrey and London.
and don’t forget to follow us – your friends at Go Media, a creative agency in Cleveland, Ohio.
Your online portfolio is the face you present to the world that shows what you’re capable of as a brand. If you want to gain new clients, your portfolio needs to show you’re a professional that knows your way around a design, product or service. It isn’t always easy to show people what you’ve worked on and all your skills in one place, but a well-designed portfolio allows you to do just that.
One of the best ways to figure out how to create a portfolio is to study others. Figure out who your competition is and assess their portfolios. What is lacking and what works well? There are eight things you should include in your online portfolio to make it stand out to potential clients.
1. Limit the Number of Projects
There is no need to share every project you’ve worked on since the beginning of your business. In fact, the projects or designs you complete when you first start probably aren’t your best work. Instead, choose a few things you’d like to highlight. If you design landscaping and backyard retreats, then you’ll want a section for each and photos that highlight a variety of your best work. For example, you might showcase backyard fire pits, a stamped concrete patio and a retaining wall.
2. Use Images to Create Categories
Studies show that people remember visuals much longer than they remember text. Hearing information has a 10 percent recall, but if a relevant image is aligned with the words, then they remember 65 percent of the information. Create categories that feature your most popular products or your best work. These images become a sort of flipbook that allows you to highlight what you want the moment a visitor lands on your page.
Moscot does a great job of highlighting the craftsmanship of its products and uses images to showcase its beautiful glass designs. This is a great example of a company that offers a product and a way to highlight it through an online portfolio. If the consumer has any questions about the quality of Moscot’s work, they are answered both with words and images.
3. Highlight Your Bio
If you’re the face of the brand and more of a one-man or one-woman show, take the time to share your experience and philosophy behind your business. This builds a level of trust with potential customers. Show them who you are and why you do what you do. If they sense the passion behind your work, they’ll be better able to trust that you’ll provide quality work. Trust is particularly important in industries such as web design or service industries.
4. Show Your Processes
Are you proud of the way you do your work? Don’t be afraid to show your processes and highlight why your product or service stands out from your competitors’. This shows leads that you take pride in your work. Don’t worry about competitors stealing your ideas. If something is truly that secretive, there are ways to show what you do without giving anything away.
PSI — Performance Services Inc. — does a great job showing its work in action via a project gallery. Photos are placed on a grid layout and show images of its cleaning and maintenance services in action. One image is of a man hanging down the side of the building as he cleans windows. Another is of a worker on a lift cleaning hard-to-reach beams in a college gym.
5. Extra Print Copies
One thing to do if you plan to present your portfolio in print format is to create extra copies. You may show up at a meeting and discover there are multiple people there to hear you speak. Having extra copies allows everyone to look at your work as you give them your pitch. You also never know when you might run into a business owner in the lobby of the building where you are providing services. Having an extra copy or two of your portfolio allows you to take advantage of those impromptu elevator meetings.
6. Know Your Audience
You have to know your audience when creating a portfolio. If your goal is to reach serious-minded business owners, then your portfolio will have a classic layout and photos that show your work. On the other hand, if your goal is to reach consumers and your brand has a humorous approach, you might want to include silly photos and funny points in your portfolio. You have to understand the tone that works best for your particular audience.
ToyFight is a design team that has worked with toy designers, so it makes sense that its portfolio is lighthearted and fun. Look at the screenshot above of its portfolio landing page. It shows a cowboy riding a toy dinosaur and chasing a running man. The colors are bright and eye-catching and show the humorous side of the founders.
7. Interact With Visitors
Make your portfolio interactive. Add animation as the user moves over different images or categories. Add a video in the background showing your design team hard at work. Create a game the user can play that shows what you do and how you deliver to the customer. Anything you can do to involve the user from the minute they land on your page keeps them there instead of bouncing away to a competitor’s site.
8. Add Testimonials
A portfolio might not be the first place you think of for a testimonial, but adding in snippets from happy customers allows you to showcase just how well your service or product works for your current clients. You don’t have to add a three-page long testimonial to each image. Instead, pick out a sentence that sums up what you did for a client, such as, “They increased our company’s productivity by 50 percent in three weeks.” Go for concrete, specific examples from satisfied clients.
One of the smartest things you can do to stand out from the competition is to study them. Figure out how you can best present yourself. Use different colors and better examples, and make your site or paper portfolio simple to navigate. Anything you can do to highlight why you’re the best gives you an advantage. Remember that your portfolio is often the first introduction a potential lead has to your business, so make it the best it can be.