August 2014 Flickr Pool Showcase
Hey Everyone! We’re not only excited to show off our next round of outstanding Flickr Pool Showcase Designs this month, but we’re ready to up the ante next month…who’s game?
Enter for your chance to Win a $50 Credit to the Arsenal:
If you are new to the Flickr Pool Showcase, check out the instructions below for how to sign up.
- Login to your Flickr Account (sign up if you don’t have one)
- Join the Go Media User Showcase Group (only group members can contribute)
- Upload your designs to your own profile
- Make sure to allow us to actually embed these image into a post, not just link to them. This can be done from your Flickr settings.
- Click on your newly uploaded designs then click the button “send to group” above your image and choose the Go Media group.
Pro Tips and #winning
- Allow your images to be shared!
- Put your best foot forward! Every month, we’ll be sharing our favorite designs right here, on our ‘Zine. And each and every month, we’ll choose our favorite design. The artist who created that design will be rewarded with a $50 credit to the Arsenal. For real!
* Winning designs will be chosen by Go Media’s Design Team based on best use of an Arsenal product and all around inspirational awesomeness! Up your chances by noting which Arsenal product you used to create your design in the caption on Flickr.
Go get ’em tiger!
The August Showcase
Now go create and good luck everyone!
At Go Media, I’m a front-end developer, a podcaster, a content creator, a designer, and a maker. Just like you, I like to wear a lot of hats and I like to keep up on the current trends, tools, and resources that hit my inbox and Feedly every day. Almost once a week, I sign up to be a beta tester for a new app, or install a new extension to see if it betters my productivity on certain tasks. When I find something awesome, I share it with various members of our team, depending on what issues it’s solving.
And, I figured it might be time to share that with you as well.
This Month’s Resources
Here’s what I found this month (and earlier, since this is the first edition) that has helped me in my daily work, both in and out of the office.
Twibble is a new service that allows you to hook up any RSS feed and tweet new posts from it. While I haven’t quite worked this into my work at Go Media, I’ve been using it for another podcast I run. Any time we release a new YouTube video, a new podcast, or post on our Facebook page, we can promote it on a schedule to our Twitter account. Now we can keep active, and keep our followers on Twitter aware of all the content we’re producing, without the “manual labor”.
My Current Favorite IFTTT Recipe
I LOVE IFTTT! I use it to transfer “saved for later” articles in my Feedly to my Gmail. I use it to push content I’m creating to a Buffer’s distribution schedule. I’m using it to send me an email reminder every Thursday to move $50 into a “for a rainy day” checking account. And, I also use it to push content to WordPress and our Tumblr blog.
But, a huge bottleneck in my routine is trying to also keep a growing Facebook Group I help run active. Since I do most of my reading on my phone, and the Facebook app has it’s limitations, I couldn’t easily do that. In comes IFTTT and this recipe. I can share a story (either from our own feed or from other sites we’re reading) from Feedly to Pocket. That story is then collected by IFTTT and pushed to the Facebook Group. Now, I can start a conversation with the community without skipping a beat.
Being More Productive With Ambient Noise
We talked about the topic of ambient noise with Donald Wooten at WMC Fest 5, which you can hear on Go Media Podcast Episode 26. Ambient noise has added to music over the last 10-15 years to make it feel more authentic. A lot of us add noise to our daily lives so that we get distracted less while working.
But for me, I layer ambient noise behind music I stream over Spotify. It gives me a constant sound and keeps me moving because I’m not waiting for a song to end. Most of the time, I get so focused that I lose track of the transitions. 2 hours later, it’s hard to tell how many different songs, different styles, or different artists I’ve listened to. Or, if my playlist ended while I was so far in the zone that I missed it.
The main source I use is Coffitivity. It started off just as a long, streaming mp3 of background noise from a coffee shop. You’d hear the low murmur of people talking, cups hitting the table, and spoons dropping into the bottom of mugs. They’ve also added more options, from low murmurs to bustling chatter of a lunchtime rush, to the sounds of students on campus.
Another Ambient Noise maker has entered the scene and it’s a Chrome plugin that works offline.
Elmnts is an elegant ambient sound generator for improving focus and calm. Whether you’re studying, working, or just relaxing, the sounds of the elements make everything better. Works offline, so you don’t have to load a website to hear these high quality sounds, they’re yours to listen to anytime.
Five of the six audio choices are nature-based. You can listen to the rain hit your window or sit next to a fire. You could enjoy the chirping of birds and other woodland creatures or stick your toes in the nearby creek. You could even listen to the waves crash onto the beach as you hustle towards vacation. Or make your own combination by layering the sounds together.
How To Insert Featured Images Easier in WordPress
Whether it’s a new blog post or a new page, we’re always uploading featured images to WordPress. And, if you do it a lot, it can become a hassle (albeit minor) to do it efficiently. But, we have a few new options now, which give us the freedom to multitask without slowing down.
What if you wanted to upload a featured image but also wanted to insert it into your post? To do that, you’d have to set the featured image first, then get back into the media menu to insert it. Why the extra step? With the Instant Featured Image plugin, you can save those clicks and just insert and set the featured image with one click.
Another personal project I have involves creating YouTube videos and sharing them to WordPress. While it’s easy to upload the thumbnail to YouTube AND then to WordPress after the video publishes, that takes too much work. With this plugin, you can insert the video URL into your post like normal. Then, put your description and hit save or publish. Once saved, WordPress pulls in the featured image for you.
We all work with clients that have these HUGE PDFs filled with large images. A normal PDF we receive to put onto a site is between 5mb and 40mb. Definitely not good for the ever-growing mobile market that these sites are reaching. So, we could go back to the client and ask them to compress them, or we can try and run it through Adobe’s built-in methods. But, SmallPDF can compress a PDF in the cloud for free and it does a heck of a great job at retaining quality.
This week, I used it to compress a 6mb, 2-page PDF, into a version under 1mb. HUGE improvement.
Over the last year, we’ve seen an increase of requests to develop an HTML email template for our clients. AND, it’s becoming more clear that the client expects those emails to be responsive. Unfortunately, most of our clients are a mix of B2B and B2C, therefor Outlook is a must. And, if Microsfot used anything above Word to render their emails, we might be able to feel better about the prospect.
While HTML emails are awful to build, there are options out there to help you get through it while still making something cool. Jason Rodriguez from A List Apart put together a good run down of what you can do to make emails responsive, or at least fluid. There’s also some good tutorials from MailChimp, our preferred email marketing service.
And, Zurb, the creator of Foundation, which is our responsive, front-end framework of choice, released a responsive email framework called Ink. We’ve used it on a few projects and have had a lot of success with them.
If you can figure out how to get me talking, you know I can ramble on, and on, and on. It’s a similar experience when I write. Sometimes I get to the point. Sometimes, my point just isn’t clear. With the Hemingway Editor, I can paste my stream of consciousness and know exactly what I need to fix before I hit the publish button.
Plus, as Earnest Hemingway taught us, “the first draft of anything is shit.” We’re both lucky to have a resource like this between my first draft and you.
Need a quick GIF of your reaction to something? All you need is a webcam and this site. Maybe not work-related, but still easy to use and perfect for just about every scenario.
Thanks to @skullface for sending this my way.
On My Radar
Here’s a few more resources that I’ve bookmarked, but haven’t quite found a use for just yet.
If you’re an Arsenal user, you may have noticed that we’ve started to release some new graphic design ebooks over the last few months. We’ve been designing and building those with Illustrator and InDesign, however, since a lot of our content is already on Google Drive, maybe this could come in handy. I’ll be playing with that idea this month.
While not a new service, I got introduced to TeeSpring.com at WMC Fest 5. We spoke with Jimmy who was manning their vendor table on the latest podcast. After doing a bit of research, I really liked the idea and started putting ideas together for the podcast.
And that’s it.
That’s this month’s resources and tools that I’ve found useful during my day to day goings on. Hopefully you find them useful as well.
Poster Inspiration: Graphic Design Goodness
Hey designers, want way more inspiration? Attend our all-inclusive soul-fulfilling three-day design retreat, WMC: Off-The-Grid, this October 5 – 7th. To learn more, head to wmcfest.com.
Who’s ready for some poster inspiration: graphic design goodness to get you going? Let’s talk about something really quick first. I don’t know about you, but to me, this poster is everything:
not to mention…
All hail the great Hayao Miyazaki!
Below you’ll find some designs I’m loving as of late. Some are old, some new, others in between. All are to be loved just as they are, if you ask me. If you missed my latest collection, make sure to check it out here:
…and don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest to stay up to date on all of the illustrations, typography, posters, posts and freebies we find and collect just for you!
Let’s take a peek at the posters!
Battle Burnout: Tips for Designers, Managers, Entrepreneurs
This is an excerpt from Go Media President William Beachy’s book, Drawn to Business. Drawn to Business is the best reference for those looking to start their own million dollar business.
Building a business requires massive amounts of focus and energy. It’s perfectly natural to have moments where you feel absolutely fried. You won’t feel motivated to lift a single finger. Finding ways to motivate yourself are key in business and in life. Here is a list of motivators I’ve used to keep myself productive:
8 Secrets to Battling Burnout
1. Start with the low fruit. It’s always easiest to start with simple tasks and build up to larger ones. So as you look over your list of everything you need to do, pick something simple to get the ball rolling.
Block out the noise with these apps:
Anti-Social: blocks social media sites which take you away from what you need to be doing
StayFocused: an extension by Google Chrome which increases your productivity by limiting the time that you can spend on time-wasting websites
2. Make checklists. I’m not sure why exactly, but checklists have always been a motivator for me. Perhaps it’s because I can see a well-defined list of the things I need to get done. Or perhaps it’s the visceral satisfaction of crossing items off my list after I’m done. Whatever it is, I believe in lists.
Try Teux Deux: a straight-forward and simple to-do app
Lift App: employs coaching, community and data to help get things done
Any.do: a task list app available on Google Play and the Apple App store
Wunderlist: an easy way to manage and share your to-do lists
2Do: allows for color coding of tasks, scheduling, notifications and tags
Todosit: enables you to access your tasks anywhere as well as collaborate on shared tasks
3. Break down your large to-do items into smaller tasks. Sometimes when I’m having a difficult time getting started on a particular project, it’s because the project is large with lots of work required to finish it. The size of the project alone is what’s intimidating. “Well, I know I’ll never be able to finish that project today—so why start? That won’t be very rewarding.” But any large project can be broken down into smaller steps – baby steps. Focus on one of the baby steps and give yourself a reward when you’ve finished it.
4. Make a game out of it. This works particularly well when faced with boring repetitive work. How many widgets can you design in an hour?
5. Make a story out of it. If the context of your project is boring, then you need to use your imagination! Imagine for a moment that your logo design project is not for the local private school, but for a covert military organization. This shift in perspective can really boost your enthusiasm. Also, it can push your design to a higher standard.
6. Find Inspiration. Read a book, talk to other entrepreneurs, or browse the web. Do whatever it takes to reignite the fire in your belly. When illustrating was the focus of my business, I would drive to the local comic book shop to get inspired. These days it’s a good business biography that inspires me the most.
7. Do Nothing. When nothing else is working, I will turn to this technique. Now, I know this might seem contrary to what you’re hoping to accomplish, but let me explain. Sometimes if I’m having a really hard time focusing and working hard, I just don’t. I just stop. I’ll take a nap, watch TV, go for a walk or browse the web. In my experience, if I just let myself take a little break, my motivation will come back on its own. It’s only when I try to force myself to work hard when I’m not in the mood that I feel really bad.
8. Set a time limit. Before you try the “Do Nothing” technique, try giving yourself a short-term goal. Like: work hard for one hour. Sometimes you just need to get the ball rolling and before you know it, three hours will have passed. So, pick something manageable—maybe even break it down to 15 minutes. I’m going to sit and write my book for 15 minutes (yes, I’m using this technique right now)!
Rescue Time: tracks time spent on applications and websites, gives you detailed reports about your day
Toggl: tracks time, showing you what you spent your day on and for how long you worked on each task
ATracker: for iPhone and iPad – tracks your time and reports via pie chart, bar chart and data export
Eternity Time Log: for iPhone and iPad – tracks and times your daily tasks with a simple start and stop feature
What tricks and tools do you use to keep yourself on track?
Inspirational Creative Quotes That Will Recharge You Now
Feeling overwhelmed? Down on your luck? Uninspired? Sometimes a word of wisdom is just what the doctor ordered. We’ve collected some of our favorite inspirational creative quotes on our Pinterest page. May they give you the inspiration you need today.
Click on each image for its source:
Well hello again.
You all know how obsessed I am with freebies by now.
Nothing like a delicious download that costs nada, am I right or am I right?
Hold up Go Media faithful!
Let’s be honest. There’s a time and a place for everything, so having said that, a couple of things:
1. Use at your own discretion and follow the permissions set by your fellow artists. Give credit where credit is due.
2. If you want high quality textures guaranteed to make you drool, stop here. Go directly to the Arsenal.
Here you can grab texture packs like these (including some by yours truly thank-you-very-much)
I mean, come on.
Okay, okay. Enough about me.
Onto the finds!
Texture 89 by Sisterslaughter on Deviant Art
Grungy Square by Mercurycode on Deviant Art
Golden Rusty Bits by Mercury Code on Deviant Art
Blue Grunge by Mercurycode on Deviant Art
Splatters by Kikariz-Stock on Deviant Art
Leaf Texture by Kikariz-Stock on Deviant Art
Rust Texture XIX by Mercury Code on Deviant Art
Texture 64 by Sister Slaughter on Deviant Art
00741 by Glass Through Skin on Deviant Art
Coffee Texture by Kikariz-Stock on Deviant Art
Wood Texture by Kikariz-Stock on Deviant Art
Wood 3 by Photoshop Stock on Deviant Art
Glass Texture by Alecca on Deviant Art
Moss on Stone II by Rockgem on Deviant Art
Psychedelic Stained Paper Texture (1 of 12) on Lost and Taken
5 Colored Grunge Textures from our friends at Lost and Taken
Texture 2 by Dirk Wüstenhagen on Flickr
Wooden Boards (1 of 5) from Stock Vault
Color Wall Texture 03 by Limited Vision Stock on Deviant Art
Old Paint 10 by Limited Vision Stock on Deviant Art
Cracks 09 by Limited Stock Vision on Deviant Art
Handstained Paper (1 of 18) on Lost and Taken
Wallpaper Decay 5 by Jay Hilgert on Flickr
Rubber 4 by en11 on Deviant Art
Glass Texture on Texture King
Concrete Texture on Texture King
Blue Wave by GreenEyezz on Deviant Art
Texture by Mat Textureonline on Flickr
Texture by Mat Textureonline on Flickr
Rust 6 by Caleb Kimbrough on Zen Textures
Fabric by Caleb Kimbrough on Zen Textures
Unaciertamirada texture 87 by Luis Mariano González on Flickr
Texture 266 by Sirius-sdz on Deviant Art
Texture 264 by Sirius-sdz on Deviant Art
Distressed Wall Texture 6 by Design Instruct
Gary Texture by The Shutterbug Eye on Flickr
Old Film from Bitbox
Paint Splatters from Bitbox
Peeling Paint (multiple!) on Design Beep
Concrete 008 by Robert Scott on Flickr
Childcare on Textures of Italy
Free Metal Texture (Rust) from Texturez
Rock texture by bstocked on Deviant Art
Brick and paint texture by super chicken stock on Deviant Art
Rust by SuziArt on Deviant Art
Rust Stains by Bea-Voyager on Deviant Art
Big Water Drops on Metal on Mayang.com
Green cracks texture by Dirk Wüstenhagen on Flickr
Texture wt2 by Angela Wolf on Flickr
Texture by David Gunter on Flickr
Texture by Steve ..”Puppy Eyes” hits… on Flickr
Origami Paper 36 by Alexabexis on Deviant Art
Head to Arsenal awesomeness…
We collect free design tools and inspiration on Pinterest! Follow us!
One of the top questions we’ve been asked recently is: “What tools, resources and programs do you use in your everyday lives over there at Go Media?”
Our creative studio here in Ohio City is filled with awesome, handy tools that keep us cranking out creativity, programs that keep us organized, and treats that keep our energy pumpin.’
Here’s a list of our favs.
Windsor and Newton #2 Paintbrushes and Higgins Fountain Pen India Ink: Bill’s go-to tools for work like this.
Wacom Intuos 3 Tablet: Gotta have it.
Microns: Awesome for detailed work
Strathmore Bristol Vellum paper and
Staedtler Mars technico mechanical pencil with HB leads: paper and penning
Canon Rebel T3i: Photo and video of the days of our lives
Dell Optiplex 9010 and Dell Optiplex 980: our PCs
Dual Dell Ultrasharp 24″ Monitors
Dell mice and keyboards
Targus Lap Chill Mat: Laptops stay cool with the help of this and two USB powered fans and elevated air circulation
Cisco phones: chatting with clients
Murphy Chair Co. Swivel Office Chair: vintage sweetness
Urbanears Forest Green headphones: Chris‘s favorites
Logitech h800 with customized vinyl ear pads: All of Wilson’s tunes and calls are delivered via Bluetooth or Wireless USB via these headphones
Sony MDR NC7 Noise Cancelling Headphones: When the office gets out of hand…
Field notes: Filled with brilliant ideas…
Gettin’ Shit Done
WordPress: For every site we produce that will be updated on a semi-regular basis
Zurb Foundation: Greatest HTML/CSS/SASS/JS Framework ever
Notepad++ with various plugins: for all coding and writing needs
Netbeans: Preferred IDE of our VP Wilson Revehl
TortoiseSVN: Super easy to use
XAMPP: Free, super popular PHP dev package
FileZilla: A free FTP solution
MySQL GUI Tools: Integrated tools environment
Google + WP Codex + Stack Overflow: Used at least 50x per day. Takes up majority of our browsing history.
Chrome and Chrome Developer Tools: See bugs, fix bugs, in browser
Rackspace Cloud: For hosting applications and websites
Beanstalk: Code hosting
Amazon Web Services: Durable, reliable
Adobe Master Collection CS5: We get asked this a lot and yes, Adobe is our go-to
Final Cut Pro 7: For making nonsense like this: Make It Bigger
Audacity: for all audio editing and recording of our Go Media Podcast
Pipedrive: our #1 sales tool!
Smartsheet: For anything and everything: general project planning and organizing our lives in general.
Outlook: Our email solution
Google Calendar: Super helpful for scheduling client reviews, keeping track of deadlines
Google Hangouts: For inter-office communication
Trillian: Inter-office communication choice 2
Google Drive: This is where we hub all of my client meeting notes, proposals and more. And, it allows for easy collaboration with team members.
Google Keep: For organizing lists, notes and photos
Skype: For chatting with our Arsenal guest artists and other friends
Dropbox: Sharing is caring.
Proof Lab: For assigning projects, sharing designs with clients, & logging time (Exclusive to Go Media)
Open Office: the rival to Microsoft Office. It’s free folks!
Hightail: For file-sharing goods like Drawn to Business and Thread’s Not Dead
TeuxDeux: a great to do list app!
Quickbooks Pro: The best in bookkeeping
Basecamp: Project Management, great to-do lists
Stamps.com: Super easy postage printing
Primo PDF: PDF converter
Mailchimp: Huge fans of these guys. All of our emails are created here.
Flickr: Where we go to check on our Go Media User Showcase (so much inspiration!)
Design Cuts: Amazing dudes. Awesome deals.
Feedly: All the feeds we need
Sidebar: The 5 Best Design Links of the Day
Blog.Spoon.Graphics: Check in daily to this one just because we love Chris Spooner.
IFTTT: Have a recipe that any post I save to Feedly is emailed to, so I’m reminded to go back and read it.
Tweetdeck for Chrome: Allows for the seperation of @mentions, lists and important search queries
Google Now: For quick access to set reminders, check the weather and see traffic
Team Treehouse: For those of us in the office learning code
Hootsuite: The dashboard of a social media manager’s dreams
Buffer: For scheduling posts. As easy as 1 – 2.
Shirt Mockup: A Go Media resource we love
Mockup Everything: Avoid design disaster. Mockup your designs and send them over to clients in seconds.
Go Media’s Arsenal: We’re working on the Arsenal V3 daily. Making it better, smoother, sleeker. What do you think?
Behance: We not only update our page, but check out all the talent and often grab some to showcase on our social media channels and the GoMediaZine
Social Media: We love talking to the community, so we have to mention: Go Media’s Facebook | Arsenal Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram | Google+ | Pinterest, all of which are monitored by Google Analytics
Favorite People and Places
Jakprints: Our go-to printing company
Kelley Green Web: Sales and marketing gurus
Muse Content Group: Brand positioning and content strategy
Sharon Toerek: A reliable lawyer is an absolute must.
Straight Shooter Photography: Dan Morgan is our favorite photographer. #highlyrecommend
How to Draw the Marvel Way by Stan Lee
Logo Lounge by Catherine Fishel and Bill Gardner
Drawn to Business by William Beachy
Thread’s Not Dead by Jeff Finley
Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop by Timothy Samara
Logotypes and Letterforms: Handlettered Logotypes and Typographic Considerations by Doyald Young
(for more of our favorite references, purchase Drawn to Business)
Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port
Authority Ebook by Nathan Barry
Trust Agents by Chris Brogan
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
How Pleasure Works by Paul Bloom
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Design Currency by Jenn and Ken Visocky O’Grady
The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz
Getting Things Done by David Allen
The Art of Non Conformity by Chris Guillibeau
Mindfulness in Plain English by Gunaratana Bhante Henepola
Rework by Jason Fried
Brains on Fire by Robin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church and Spike Jones
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Built to Sell by John Warrillow
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Hiring the Best by Martin Yate
96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire by Paul Falcone
The Talent of Edge by David S. Cohen
Accounting Made Simple by Mike Piper
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
To Get Us Through:
Spotify: Bryan‘s daily routine: every day, I grab new albums from Pitchfork’s Review app and add them to a “Listen Today” playlist. Slowly building a “Garvin in your ear” playlist.
And Kim has been working on an electronica playlist.
Rhapsody: Heather and Bill’s chosen music player
Numi Savory Teas: For keeping warm during these freezing afternoons
Campbell’s popcorn: We did the logo for this delicious Cleveland sweets factory and now we’re addicted.
Keurig: Keeps us trucking!
Nutella: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Thermos Vacuum Insulated 18-Ounce Hydration Bottle: Gotta keep hydrated!
What tools are in your everyday arsenal? Please share with us in the comments below!
Disclaimer: No clients were harmed during the making of this video! – We love our clients!
Do clients ask you to “MAKE IT BIGGER?”
See the very first Sakeachi video here. It involves roller skating, tight pants and choreography. We warned you.
| Ever had a “rough” client experience?
Tell us about your experience in the comments and then, please share our video! |
We slept with “How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way” underneath our pillows.
We’re responsible for 41,052 of these 141,053 some YouTube views.
Needless to say, we love comics. They’re a part of who we are as illustrators here at Go Media.
We have a habit of collecting comic book illustrations that will inspire our own future work.
On our Pinterest board, you’ll find a whole board dedicated to these illustrations. Follow us!
We’ve also published a couple of posts about this very subject:
Comic Book Style Graphic Design by William Beachy
Some Like It Dirty: Comic Book Inking and Coloring Tutorial by Alex Singleton
Now onto the Show!
Need a hand crafting some superheroes for your own designs?
Our Superheroes Vector Pack is available now on the Arsenal!
Superheroes is the skilled handiwork of master illustrator William Beachy & includes 10 easily customizable superhero templates in dynamic, foreshortened poses, plus 24 speech bubbles. Add your own costumes or use them just the way they are!
Graphic Design Podcast: Welcome to the Go Media Podcast!
Our monthly Ohio based graphic design podcast here at Go Media is dedicated to tips, tricks, and tales of the business-minded artist and designer. How can you be more profitable? More creatively fulfilled? It’s our way of letting you inside our studio to learn about the ups and downs we face here at Go Media and how we’re dealing with them.
Our podcast archives can also be found on Soundcloud!
Episode 1: What to Do When the Well Runs Dry
Episode 2: The Commoditization of Design and a Good Customer Experience
Episode 3: The Role of a Designer
Episode 4: Pricing, Haters, and Bad Clients
Episode 5: 2012 Year in Review
Episode 6: Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 2013 Kick Off!
Episode 7: How to Close Design Leads
Episode 8: Interview with WMC Fest Speaker Troy DeShano
Episode 9: Myths of Owning Your Own Design Firm plus an Interview with These Are Things
Episode 10: An Interview with Jess and Tim from Kern and Burn
Episode 11: An Interview with Mark Brickey from Adventures in Design
Episode 12: An Interview with Brandon Rike
Episode 13: Interviews with Nick Disabato and Caroline Moore
Episode 14: An Interview with Adam Garcia
Episode 15: An Interview with Jon Contino, WMC Fest Is This Week!
Episode 16: Recovering from WMC and Launching Drawn to Business
Episode 17: Advice for a Graphic Design Student
Episode 18: What We’re Thankful for in 2013
Episode 19: Drawn to Business Q&A with Bill Beachy
Episode 20: Our 2013 Year in Review
Episode 21: Why Should Designers Use a CRM?
Episode 22: Surviving As A Designer with OKPants
Episode 23: A Conversation with Mike Jones from CreativeSouth.com
This post was originally written on my personal blog Maker/Mistaker and I thought I should repost it here.
A while back I was having a conversation with a friend of mine Danielle Harper. We were discussing a lot of things that affect us as entrepreneurs. One of those was money. Danielle was describing a criticism she received but defended herself by saying, “and I didn’t even make any money on it.”
I stopped her right there because what she said made me realize something. She defended herself by reminding me that she didn’t make money. Why?
Check out her post on her blog about this very conversation.
So why did she resort to the “but I didn’t make money” defense? I notice this a lot with the people I surround myself with. Grown adults who grew up on punk rock that never quite fit into the system. The whole DIY movement is sort of a fuck-you to capitalism and corporate greed. There’s a certain badge of honor doing things yourself and trying to “stick it to the man.”
I’ll Just Do it Myself
In your teens and early twenties, you are filled with hope and determination. You have enough courage to start your own business and start making money doing your own thing. Maybe you tried to get a job but couldn’t and were like, “fuck it” I’ll just do it myself. Maybe you made an amazing product or had an brilliant idea nobody ever thought of before. Maybe you created something people admired and loved.
You knew you had to charge money for whatever it was, but you secretly hated that part of the business. You loved the creation. You loved the work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard really talented artists say, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this shit.” As if their talents are somehow worthless and clients and customers are fools for paying them. How much more self-deprecating can you get?
Fear of Greed
The thing is, we seem to have this underlying fear of making money. Because what does money lead to? Does it lead to becoming that big fat greedy bastard we imagined when we were younger? Are we afraid of becoming the man? We don’t want to be seen by our peers as motivated by money. Being motivated by money is the ultimate evil, right? Well, that’s what we told ourselves.
Ever since I started Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, there have been many conversations about money. I heard from people who thought we were rolling in the dough with our $35 ticket price. I’ll be first to admit I was quick to defend myself with how broke we were and how much we sacrificed. “Hey look, we are doing this for the love of the music and art!” That was the truth, we did love it. We just needed enough money to cover our costs. And guess what we got? Just enough money to cover our costs. Danielle said the same about her businesses.
It can be scary imagining yourself earning money. Money is power. Having power can be scary because you’ve seen so many people abuse it. You’re scared of what you might do with that money and power.
Fear of Criticism
Why are we so afraid of making money? Is it because you can no longer be immune to criticism? You can’t fail if you’re not making money right? There’s an assumption if you’re doing anything related to music and art that any hint of commercialism taints the true intentions of the artist. An artist often does not want to be regarded as having compromised his artistic integrity to make a buck. Once you’re making a buck, you have customers. Customers who feel that you are now working for them and that they’re always right. You now opening yourself up to critique and criticisms and that can be hard to accept.
Altruism and Sacrifice
We all want to do good; to change the world. We all feel that we were granted some special ability to affect the world in our own unique way. We judge ourselves and each other by how much we sacrifice our own happiness to make others happy. Sacrifice is just another measuring stick to compare fellow humans with. Are you better if you sacrifice more for a greater good of the team or humanity?
Being selfless or altruistic is admired. It’s sometimes like a competition to see who can struggle the hardest and earn the least. Have you ever told someone a story of your hardship only to hear someone else one-up you? “You think you’ve got it bad, let me tell you!”
Change Your Perspective About Money
Sometimes we are afraid of other people feeling insecure around us. If we happen to become successful, we’re afraid it’s going to make our closest friends jealous and insecure and even hate us. Until we change our perspective on money we’re going to treat it like poison. Until we stop judging what others do with their money, we will forever be judged with what we do with ours.
Best Poster Design
Hey designers, want way more inspiration? Attend our all-inclusive soul-fulfilling three-day design retreat, WMC: Off-The-Grid, this October 5 – 7th. To learn more, head to wmcfest.com.
Need some poster design inspiration? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered some good ones to get your creative juices flowing.
Once you’ve been inspired, head over to Mockup Everything to give your design a go on one of our free mockup templates, like this one:
Make sure to share your work with us!
Hey Designers, make sure to check out our Arsenal Membership, which hooks you up with our huge product library for only $15 per month. Yes, seriously.
Disclaimer: Boasting Ahead!
We have to be honest with you.
We are gushing!
Our President, Bill Beachy, has just made us very proud.
So please excuse us while take a moment to tell you about what Bill’s been working on, head down, nose to the grindstone, for the past 2 years…
Introducing Drawn to Business!
Drawn to Business is a brand-new book by illustrator, designer and lifelong entrepreneur William Beachy; it’s an insiders guide into how he built and runs Go Media, our graphic design firm here in Cleveland, Ohio. Bill details his experiences working as a one-man firm from a bedroom in his father’s house and guides the reader through each lesson learned that allowed him to build Go Media into an internationally recognized 15 person firm with clients including Adobe, Progressive Insurance, Pepsi and Nike.
Well, have you ever wondered how design firms, like ours, start, stumble, and become successful?
Want to learn how to:
- Raise money?
- Charge for your design services?
- Find the perfect business partner?
- Take the appropriate legal steps when starting your business?
- Track your company’s performance?
- Hire the best employees?
- Organize your company’s files?
- Implement effective marketing strategies?
- Land projects and stay profitable?
- Battle burnout?
- Deal with ebbs and flows?
- Retain clients?
- ….just get started???
You’re in the right place.
Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Business But Have Been Too Afraid To Ask
In Drawn to Business, Bill simply gives it all away.
Chock full of Bill’s anecdotes, real-world practical guidance, business principles, inspiring design and legal and accounting advice, you’ll learn to increase profits while doing the work you love.
Let’s Do This Thing!
A variety of Drawn to Business packages are available, so choose your own adventure.
1. The Pro Package: $397 – Buy Now
Includes EVERYTHING you need to transform your design business. You get a physical and digital copy of Drawn to Business plus bonus PDF content and videos, the Business Plan Workbook, 3 design-focused video tutorials, Thread’s Not Dead: The Designer’s Guide to the Apparel Industry, and all the goodies inside the Freelance Survival Kit.
2. The Plus Package: $197 – Buy Now
Includes a physical and digital copy of Drawn to Business, plus a collection of advice docs, videos, and a business plan workbook.
3. Just The Book: EBook and Paperback options
What Are You Waiting For?
Grab your copy of Drawn to Business now! Once you’ve purchased the book, leave a comment below for your chance to win a free upgrade to the Drawn to Business Pro Package! Winner will be announced on Friday, October 18! * Winner must have purchased a copy of Drawn to Business by 5:00 p.m. ET on 10/18/2013 to be qualified.
When I was growing up, I’d play the Japanese card game Hanafuda with my grandparents. Mesmerized by the stunning yet simple designs on each card, I memorized each combination: ribbon, maple and deer, geese, moon and sky, boar and butterfly. At the kitchen table we’d play and snack on senbei, and at these moments I felt so happy and loved. I still remember my grandmother’s Japanese plates upon which she’d serve me tiny treats and tea. Surrounded deep in my family’s culture, I gained an appreciation for everything Japanese.
When I see vintage Japanese design, I feel warmly reminded of my grandparents and the love we shared. The gentle simplicity still embraces and inspires me. Via Pinterest, here are:
25 Vintage Design and Illustrations inspired by Japan
Ever wonder what kind of tools you need to put together a great podcast?
I don’t know about great, but I can at least tell you about the tools we use to produce the Go Media podcast. If you aren’t familiar, the Go Media Podcast is dedicated to tips, tricks, and tales of the business-minded artist and designer. It’s our way of letting you inside our studio to learn about the ups and downs we face here at Go Media and how we’re dealing with them.
Every episode deals with at least one topic that we’ve run into head first and how we solved the problem or at least, how we’re currently dealing with it. So far, we’ve talked about how and why we price projects, how we adjusted methods to land more projects, as well as how we keep momentum going when inspiration (and finances) aren’t in the best of shapes.
So far, we’ve recorded just over a dozen episodes. The process has changed dramatically from where we were at episode one. So, instead of going through the entire history of our setup, I’ll just explain how we put together each episode now.
We set up the studio in our conference room.
We wanted to put something together that was in the office, but offset from the staff so our loud, on-air antics aren’t interrupting their day. Plus, we wanted to be able to capture some of the staff background sound to add a bit of atmosphere to the recording.
The main piece of hardware we use is a Behringer X1204USB Mixer. It’s a 12-channel mixer, which allows for up to 6 mics or line-ins. During a normal episode, we run 3 mics in tracks 1-3. The mixer runs just under $200 on Amazon. This also gives us the flexibility to mix the audio while recording. We run the mixer into a laptop through a USB input to record.
The mics we chose to use are Samson Q2U. They can plug directly into the mixer or can even be used as a desktop mic through USB. We wanted something versatile that we could use with or without a mixer. Those ran about $50 a piece. We also have Onstage Boom mic stands, but the mics came with desktop stands as well, which we use depending on the situation.
For WMC Fest Speaker Interviews, we used an Ipad and Skype. We ran the Ipad audio out into track 4.
To prepare for an episode, we use Google Docs. Every episode, we create a new doc where we can collaborate on the pre-show show notes. We then use those show notes in our final post on the Zine. Jeff and Bill normally bring a printout of those notes into the studio with them, however I tend to access the doc through my tablet.
To record, we use Audacity. Audacity is a free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds. We bring the audio in from the mixer through a USB input, directly into Audacity. We also use Audacity to edit and use 4 basic effects on the final export:
- Noise Removal – This one is no longer as important as it was when we first started, but every once in awhile, it’s nice to take out the crashing of plates from the kitchen, or the faint sound of sirens in the neighborhood, or the door slamming shut on a windy day. I normally apply this first, before making any other changes, that way we can get a good sample of “white noise” to choose from. Plus, it easily eliminates excess static and fuzz that you generally get when recording audio.
- Chris’s Dynamic Compressor Plugin – I use this to make sure everyone is, generally speaking, talking at the same levels.
- Truncate Silence – Once we clip the ends and remove the unnecessary bits, I run a truncate silence to close some of the gaps. It beats doing it manually.
- Fade In/Out – This is how we accomplish the fade ins/outs of all music we use during the episode.
Starting with Episode 10, we decided to start streaming live every time we record. To do this, we use two apps: Mixlr for streaming the audio and Tlk.io for chatting with our listeners.
- Mixlr lets us stream high quality, live stereo sound across the internet. It also records the stream and allows us to download a 128kbps audio file through a Dropbox account. They have an iOS app so that you can also listen while on the go, with an Android app in the works. The premium version of Mixlr also gives us a direct download link and the ability to embed the stream on our site.
- Tlk.io gives us an embeddable chatroom that can be accessed from any device that can access the web. We’ve embedded it at http://gomediazine.com/live so that, when you’re listening to the conversation, you can also add your thoughts, which we can then bring into it on-air.
We plan on taking all episodes live after WMC Fest. Hopefully, we can get a regular schedule going.
In short, here are the tools we use to produce the podcast:
- Audacity for single track recording and editing
- Mixlr for live streaming
- Tlk.io for live chat
- Google Drive for show note collaboration
- Behringer X1204USB Mixer
- 3 Samsung Q2U Mics and cables
- 3 Onstage Boom Mic Stands
- iPad for Skype calls
So yeah, that’s the gist of the what we use to record, edit, and produce the Go Media Podcast. Haven’t listened to it yet? Take it from me, you should.
Tools You Can Use
We asked our favorite designers…what design tools can’t you live without?
My Macbook Pro 15 Retina, Moleskine & More
For me, I would say that the most important things are my little Moleskine notepad with a 5.6mm mechanical pencil, my Macbook Pro 15 Retina laptop with headphones and my Nexus 4 phone so I can connect to the Internet. I think with those I can work from anywhere.
Omnifocus, TeuxDeux, Lift App, VSCO CAM, Instacast & More
Omnifocus – I’ve been using it for two weeks, and it’s officially integrated into my life. It’s the ultimate GTD (Getting Things Done) app. It’s for Mac and iOS only. I love it because any thought or task that enters my mind goes right into the “inbox” which I can review and sort later. All of my todos for my work and life are in Omnifocus inside projects and contexts. At any time I can focus on only things at “work” or “designing” or check out all the things I need to do for my band, WMC fest, home improvement, chores, etc. My life is definitely less stressful knowing any time something comes my way I can put it into Omnifocus and forget about it until it matters. It’s a little on the expensive side, but if you’re into GTD, this is probably the king of GTD apps.
TeuxDeux – Super simple and well designed todo app. I used this a lot before I integrated Omnifocus into my routine. I like how it carries over todos you didn’t complete for other days and has such a slick and intuitive user interface. Designers would love this. It costs a small monthly fee but it’s worth it.
Lift App – For building habits. A super simple way of staying committed to habits you are trying to start, keep, or quit. Beautiful interface on smartphones and the web. I use this daily to keep track of my morning routines, exercise habits, or other things I want to remember to do daily. But I use this for personal development habits only. You don’t use this to put your todos into. But things like “drink more water” or “cold shower.” When you do a habit for the day, check it off and move on. It inspires you to keep going by offering encouragement for chaining together multiple days of checking in. It even has a social side where your friends give you “props” for your actions. The social aspect with the dead simple UX make this actually FUN and rewarding to start new habits. It’s helped me start a morning ritual that has gotten me out of bed 2 hours before I have to!
VSCO CAM: Amazing photo app for iOS. Ever wonder how people get such amazing looking photos from their iPhones? This is how. The best camera app I’ve used and you can send photos directly into Instagram from the app and its filters are better.
Instacast: To listen to all my fav design related podcasts like Adventures in Design and the Go Media podcast of course! Available on iOS. Not exactly design related, but this is a tool I couldn’t live without!
Moom by Many Tricks
My favorite tool these days is Sketch. It’s a vector-based graphics program that is basically Photoshop without all the heft and unnecessary functionality. Perfect for UI/UX designers building apps fast. Not only is it easy to use, it makes exporting for development a lot faster, with built-in tools to export assets and log CSS styling.
Pencil and Paper
The space-age tool I lean on the most and can’t live without is a suite of products conceived by a maverick start-up from parts unknown called “a Faber-Castell HB pencil & 8.5 x 11 text stock paper”. As far away as I might allow myself to get sucked into the vortex of digital technology, I can always trust my Flintstonian pre-wacom technology to ground my ideas and get me back to the proper starting block. I love sketch books and do my best to keep filling them up, but I love the feel and tooth of standard old-fashioned printer paper. I thank the stars for my MacBook and Adobe illustrator, and I love keeping up with the latest and greatest digital stuff, but the ideas don’t “happen” in there. They can’t. Thumbnailing and sketching is the earliest and purest iteration of my ideas. As long as I keep that perspective, things get made, and made the right way.
WACOM Intuos 5, etc.
When hand drawing work, I use copy paper for sketches, 100# Bristol paper for final art, rubber eraser, Bic#2 .07 pencil, tuff stuff eraser stick, Micron pens and a Drum scanner at Fed Ex Office to scan in final art. These tools have become part of my system; I have felt comfortable with this system over the past 5+ years and use it to get the final results. I am at the point if I don’t have these specific items I’M LOST!
When drawing vectors , I use WACOM Intuos 5 using Illustrator and Photoshop. When drawing vectors I draw my image on paper, then scan it into Photoshop, then throw it into Illustrator. I am so used to drawing by hand that I need to see my own line art before I can create it into a vector image. This way, I know I am getting results closest to my hand drawn style.
Wacom Cintiq 22HD, Logitech Mouse, Mac, Dropbox & More
Wacom Cintiq 22HD: I use this to sketch out and brush up things in Photoshop. Having the ability to draw directly on the screen really merges the physicality of drawing with the benefits of digital design. I use this both in the initial phases of playing with concepts and sometimes in the final stages of icon design when I work with lighting and color.
My Logitech G9x mouse: Most of my day is used with a hand on a mouse, both during work and play. I’ve been using the G9 mouse from Logitech for the past 6 years, and I must have gone through at least a couple of them. Initially build for gaming, they offer great precision, a nice fit and the ability to load up weights to get the exact surface resistance you want.
My Macs: I realize that it might be redundant to mention this, as my Macs aren’t a questions of favorability but rather a necessity for my work. I interchangeably use my Mac Pro setup at home and my Macbook Pro Retina when I’m working remotely. I guess they do fit the bill of tools that I can’t live without.
Dropbox: Working on multiple machines, often changing workstations a couple of times a day, Dropbox has become my go-to service for keeping my files synced up. Working with large PSD files and making sure that I always have access to the most current iteration of a project is a large part of the challenges a designer faces. Dropbox helps me solve this in an elegant way.
Mail Act-on and Inbox Zero: As a business owner, a substantial amount of my time is spent getting back to people. As such, making sure that I’m on top of my inbox easily becomes a focal point of my workday. The plugin Mail Act-on helps me direct the flow of my incoming messages and helps me exercise my email Kung-Fu so I have to spend less time in Mail.app and more time in Photoshop.
Pencil and iPad Sketching Tools
A pencil: while it may not be cool, new or innovative, it’s worth mentioning in this world of computers, tablets and Wacoms. The pencil and paper is STILL the fastest way to communicate an idea visually. Not enough designers use it. As I enter my 16th professional year as a graphic designer, I am sketching more now than ever.”
Classic Sport Rollerball Pen, Wacom Tablet & More
I use a Classic Sport Rollerball Pen when taking notes or sketching or looking stylish.
And Bienfang Marker paper – I think i’m the only one who still uses these pads!
Deviant Art Brush Pack: I was made aware of this fantastic brush pack by artist Megan Lara, and it has become my go-to staple pack for pretty much all my design projects. These are great brushes that actually behave the way you expect and want them to. They have become an invaluable tool in my arsenal. Plus, it’s free!”
I bought the VFX WorkShops Digital Painting Brush Pack on a whim just to try them out, and they have become an everyday tool I use to build a lot of my environmental textures. Great brushes with a lot of versatility and depth and they can really help bring your digital work to life.