The concept of positive thinking has been a popular practice for decades. Commonly used to treat depression and reduce stress, this seemingly debatable mentality actually has some scientific value behind it. Although individuals have been applying it to their personal lives in ever-increasing numbers, business leaders have begun introducing the strategy to their workforce.
Engaging in Team Building and Development
Meant to encourage consistency and productivity across the board, team building is critical to those who want their company to reach its fullest potential. As this has become a popular method of introducing co-workers, strengthening collaboration and heightening profitability, there are a plethora of proven exercises that focus on building teams and instilling a positive mindset.
The desert island survival game is one of the most basic and straightforward brainteasers. Ask your staff members to create a list of 10 or 12 items that they’d want to have if they were stranded on a desert island with their fellow co-workers or teammates. Afterward, ask each employee why they chose their specific items. You can take this exercise one step further by having them rank each item in order of its importance, as well as those of their peers.
If you have access to an empty room or large outdoor clearing, the minefield exercise can be used to develop stronger relationships and enhance communications amongst teammates. The premise is simple: one blindfolded teammate has to traverse a minefield that is littered with (harmless) objects using only the words, suggestions and guidance of their team. Playable with teams of two or more, this is an incredibly fun exercise that is quite useful at building positivity and increasing revenue.
Those who are working with larger teams of 10 or 20 members can use a fun concentration game to renew their energy levels, boost their memory and show them the importance of paying attention to details.
After dividing the team into two equally sized groups, have both lines face each other. Employees in the first line then turn around, which gives those in the remaining line a chance to change several features of their own appearance. At the completion of 30 – 60 seconds, the two lines once again face each other. Those who just turned around now have to identify as many changes as they can before the timer runs out.
Feel free to get creative with your games. Remember, they don’t necessarily have to relate directly to the job. As long as these exercises promote team building and positive thinking, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a positive work environment and increased company revenue.
Integrating Corporate Culture
Business leaders who want to maintain an even greater focus on positive thinking can integrate their company’s culture into the new way of thinking. This process begins during the initial recruitment and hiring process, where you’ll need to filter out any applicants that don’t match your standards, expectations or mindset. Remember: a great leader needs great people to lead in order to be successful.
According to experts on the subject, a company’s culture revolves around their organization’s beliefs and core mission, internal controls and power structures, rituals such as regularly scheduled meetings and special events, overall workflow and even the brand’s logo or likeness. Maintaining consistency across all these areas is the key to establishing a positive corporate culture has the potential to impact long-term revenue.
You’ll also want to ensure that your culture is fully scalable to match a growing staff, increased workflow and any forecasted profits. By ensuring the framework is already in place to accommodate the greater revenue that comes with a stronger corporate culture, you’ll be better equipped to handle the growth as soon as it occurs.
Developing a culture that revolves around positive thinking can also boost employee engagement. Some companies are able to utilize an open work environment to ensure their organizational leaders and figureheads are accessible by every employee. Not only does this ensure quick and thorough communication, but it can even lead to an increased sense of solidarity amongst staff members.
Tackling Issues Head-On
A number of issues need to be addressed when considering the impact of positive thinking on your workplace. While those who pressure their employees into the performing better will often see improved productivity, studies show that healthcare costs can be 50 percent higher for these companies when compared to those who assume a laidback, stress-free approach.
Undue stress, pressure and a negative company culture can even lead to increased disengagement amongst your employees. According to the Queens School of Business, disengaged staff members experience higher rates of absenteeism, workplace accidents and lower profitability. Considering the fact that 7 out of 10 people across the U.S. report physical or emotional stress, we could be talking about millions of employees throughout all industries.
Workplace stress can also lead to a lack of employee loyalty. As approximately 40 percent of all U.S. workers consider their job to be extremely stressful, it’s easy to see how an otherwise dedicated staff member could be lured away by the promise of higher wages, greater benefits or a friendlier work environment.
Reaping the Benefits for All
Those who embrace the power of positive thinking in and around the workplace are bound to see changes that benefit themselves as well as others. We can look at the recent actions of other companies to find evidence of the effects that positive thinking can have on corporate culture, teamwork and even customer service.
Increased sustainability in productivity and, as a result, organizational revenue, is one of the biggest and most obvious advantages of a motivated and positive-minded workforce. Employees who are happy with their roles are far more likely to meet production quotas and maintain standards in quality as opposed to those who are overworked, burned out or otherwise unmotivated.
Your company’s standards in customer service are also likely to improve in the wake of a successful positive thinking campaign. With renewed motivation, desire and enthusiasm, your public-facing staff members will find their daily interactions are easier than ever before. Moreover, their newfound methods of stress management and mitigation will help them overcome even the most difficult of customers.
Maintaining Your New Corporate Culture and Profitability Into the Future
Instilling a positive mindset amongst your workforce and increasing your company’s revenue is only half the battle. Once you have a strong corporate culture in place, the challenge only intensifies as you’re tasked with maintaining your momentum in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.
Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She enjoys researching the latest design trends and always has a cup of coffee nearby. She manages Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
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?
Hey Go Media Faithful! Here’s another excerpt from my book, Drawn to Business, about the number one myth I’ve found in the hiring process. For more of my insights and actual tools to help you start your own million dollar company, pick up the book as well as its supplemental materials, now available on the Arsenal.
When to Hire Employees
Simply put, your staff IS your company. And your relative success or failure is frequently a result of the quality of your people. If you think you can hire mediocre people and train them to be great, well, think again. Particularly when you’re small and getting started, the impact of your staff is amplified. A very small business is really more about its people and less about its systems. You need to make sure you’re finding and hiring the very best employees.
Here’s What I Had To Overcome
The Myth: more employees equals more profits.
I had this idea stuck in my head for most of my life; the more employees I have, the more money I make. Even before I was seeing any real return on the hours I was working in my business, I was anxiously trying to hire on employees. The thought was that an employee was like a little engine, churning out profits. The more little engines you have running, the more profit is pouring out onto your company floor. Well, this is a fun idea, but what if your engines produce $1 per hour in profits and what if your engines require $2 worth of gas each hour to run? Now your little money engines aren’t churning out profits, they’re burning money at a rate of $1/hour.
It’s important to blow up the myth in your head that staff will somehow magically make you money. Having an employee is not inherently good or bad for your company’s profits. They may make you lots of money, or they may cost you lots of money. The only real guarantee is that you have to pay them either way. So, before you run out and start expanding your staff…
Get out your calculators
Do the Math: hire what you can afford. Don’t be tempted by that high-priced gun. When Go Media first got started, we wanted to hire the very best employees, so we did. We paid them what they asked for. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford the quality of employees that we hired. We never did the math. We assumed that because they were good designers, somehow their value added to what our firm would produce: the extra income necessary to pay their salary. We had a problem. We weren’t charging our customers enough hourly to cover the employee’s hourly wage. After six months, we were broke and forced to lay off our newfangled employee.
So when DO you hire?
When do you hire? A good rule of thumb for hiring is when you have enough money coming in that you can afford to pay that new employee EVEN IF THAT NEW EMPLOYEE DOES NOT CONTRIBUTE ONE PENNY TO YOUR INCOME. If you have any doubt whatsoever about your ability to afford a new employee, you probably shouldn’t be hiring them.
Before you start to scale up your business you need to ask:
- “Is this system humming? Am I dialed in? Are we churning out rock-solid profits every month?” Or, are you hoping to fix your system by bringing in more people? Are you bringing on people hoping THEY will be the ones who start bringing in the money? If this is your perspective, then you shouldn’t be hiring.
- Another question you can ask yourself when considering whether or not to hire someone is: “Is there historical precedence for their job?” In other words, are you getting regular requests for the job they’re going to do? If there isn’t a proven track record of demand, then I would look to an alternate option to hiring a new employee. Build the demand first, line up the work, and THEN hire a new employee.
All in all what I’ve found is that more employees do not necessarily mean more profits. Employees are a liability. Whether you’re busy or not, you need to pay them. Wait to hire more employees until the evidence and need is overwhelming.
How about you? What have you found to be the biggest myth in your hiring process? What hurdles have you faced? Join the conversation in the comments below!
For more hiring tips, including Supplemental Materials like “How to Hire the Rockstar Staff of Your Dreams,” head over to the Arsenal, where you can pick up all of our bonus content!
(or Why I Love Go Media)
You hear a lot of this lately: Do What You Love.
Sounds easy enough, right? I’d disagree.
For me, the road to “doing what I love” has been a long and winding one.
Along the yellow brick road, I’ve racked up thousands upon thousands of dollars in college loans, gone to school far too many times (Masters x 2), spent years in job misery and have seen things in the workplace I am in contractually unable to speak of. (No, I’m not talking about you if you think I’m talking about you.)
Work, and the road to career happiness, has felt a little like hell.
When I was hired into the Go Media family, my life took a major turn. Everything fell into place. I mean, seriously. I was dropped suddenly into a land of rainbows, unicorns and strawberry cupcakes. I realized: this is it. I’m doing that thing called “doing what you love.”
Signs you, too, are doing what you love:
1. You think: “My job is cooler than your job.”
There have been several years of my life where I recall avoiding small talk all together; where I avoided the ‘So, what do you do?’ and ‘Where do you work?’ chat. You know, those perfectly normal and appropriate conversations that adults have. Now, everybody I know and their brother knows of Go Media and all that we do.
In fact my Aunt Dee Dee over in Rockaway, New Jersey is probably spreading some Go Media gospel as we speak.
2. You are buying what you’re selling.
Pretty similarly, I’ve been in those positions where I’ve had to sell something, or pitch something, I didn’t believe in. I had to smile and say, “Yes, this is totally awesome” even though I’m thinking “yeah, this is totally not awesome.”
So here’s the thing: when you’re doing what you love you would actually buy that shit! It’s totally tattoo-across-your-forehead good.
3. You work more than you have to.
No more waiting in the car with Starbucks until 8:59 a.m. and dashing the hell out at 5 on the dot. I usually get in nice and early and stay later, not only because I have lots to accomplish, but because I honestly and genuinely enjoy my work.
4. You work and/or network with cool folks.
I’ve worked with some gems in my life. When I say that I mean I’ve actually worked with the type who would want to call off work on a Tuesday so badly that they’d call in with a 24 hour leukemia. (I can’t make that one up.) You know, folks that would rather spin around in their chair than lift a finger.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, here at Go Media I’m interacting with people who inspire me, who push me to step up my game on a daily basis. The kind that just make me proud in general. (Same goofy folks doing weird stuff in picture above.)
5. You are making a difference.
Gone are the days of taking more than I give in return.
Here at Go Media, I am able to contribute to a community of artists and share secrets that lead to the betterment of all.
It sound cheesy, but I feel like the cool stuff Go Media does actually changes people’s lives. And I get to be a part of it. How powerful is that?
How do you know you’re doing what you love?
Tell me in the comments below!
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!
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! |
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
Learn to Code Quick Tips
Where, then, do you begin? We asked our very own front-end developer and designer guru, Bryan Garvin, as well as friend of Go Media, web designer, developer, and founder of Girl Develop It, Jen Myers, for some tricks of the trade.
1. Overcome your fear.
2. Fight stereotypes.
Let’s face it, as Jen notes, “Women are indeed the minority in the coding world, but a lot of good people are working to change that.”
How do we go about it? “The easiest way to find a supportive learning environment,” she recommends, ” is to locate one of the many organizations who offer classes aimed at women. Or, start an organization like that yourself. Three years ago, I wanted something like this and I ended up founding the Columbus, Ohio chapter of Girl Develop It, which now has sixteen chapters in different cities and more on the way. There is also RailsGirls, Railsbridge, Ladies Who Code and Women Who Code. You can also start out doing some classes online at a place like Skillcrush.
“There are also many individual women working in code today who care about improving the coding landscape and bringing more women in. Don’t be afraid to ask them for advice or mentorship. We’re all here to help each other.”
3. Recognize Life Beyond Dreamweaver.
“Many schools still push using Dreamweaver,” notes Go Media front-end developer and designer Bryan Garvin, “And sadly, a lot of those schools are using outdated versions of that software. This industry is always evolving, so attaching yourself to something that is static in time won’t give you the best path to continuing to evolve with the world around you.”
“Dreamweaver looks nice and gives you the “easy” WYSIWYG editor. I started there, so I’m not going to tell you not to open it up, play with it, and see what it does. But, at the end of the day, spending the time to learn the code instead of learning the software that creates the code will give you the ability to design and develop regardless of what device you’re working on. And, that will also give you the ability to continue to code and work with new technologies and techniques, which may or may not be supported by Dreamweaver six months after you bought it.
Go Media is primarily a PC-based company and we code all of our sites using Notepad++.
4. Learn Responsive Design, it’s the future of web coding.
“We design our sites to be responsive, therefore accessible and usable on any device. During the early wireframe/prototype phase, we walk a client through how the responsive framework we use reacts to the changing width of the viewport. We organize and prioritize every content area on a page with a client and help them understand that on a phone, people can still access all of their content, even if it looks “different” than on their PC.”
“You can read the pros and cons to moving to responsive designs and frameworks through sites like Smashing Magazine, Mashable, A List Apart, and even Forbes. But the fact is, more and more people are using devices other than a 1600px-wide monitor. And more and more people aren’t going to sites to look at your graphic design. They’re there for content. You aren’t just designing something to look at and hang on their wall. You’re designing something people can use, interact with, and experience while consuming the content that is within your design. Your design is a piece of the puzzle and should always help a user get where they want/need to go, not distract and take precedence.”
5. Create and Team up on Side Projects.
Jen has been successful learning by way of side projects. “Usually the way I have learned, and continue to learn, new things related to coding is to create side projects that interest and engage me – and that I don’t know how to do. For example, when I wanted to learn more about building applications from back to front in Rails, I came up with an idea for an application I wanted, namely, an application to track articles and blog posts I was writing. Then the learning happened naturally as I worked to figure out how to make it and because I was excited about what I was making, I was able to stick with it. Many years ago, I first started learning HTML and CSS by creating my own personal website and that has remained my playground for testing out new skills.”
“Another trick for designers to learn code is to team up with a developer on their own side project. Most developers are eager for design help and are willing to mentor, especially in exchange for some design advice for themselves.”
6. Don’t Rely On What You’re Being Taught Now.
“One last bit of advice is to not depend on, or expect that what you’re learning in school right now will be how you’re designing and developing five years from now. Don’t be afraid to step out of that comfort zone, get cuddly with Google search, and keep your mind open to new techniques, resources, trends, and technologies. There is something new in our industry every other day. And the beauty of our industry, a lot of that ongoing education is freely available and shared from one designer and developer, to another. So get involved and get to work.”
Jen sums it up best, “Keep in mind that the world needs more coders and coders need more people with new perspectives. Not only can coding offer opportunities and benefits for your own life, you can bring experience and qualities to coding that will make it a better, more productive environment for everyone.”
Give Team Treehouse a try!
Designers: Learn To Code: Here’s How to Start! on Fast Co. Design by Scott Sullivan
10 Places Where Anyone Can Learn to Code on TED Blog by Jessica Gross
The 7 Best Ways to Learn to Code on Venture Beat by Devindra Hardawar
Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Learning How to Code on Medium by Cecily Carver
I received many kind words in regards to my recent post, Handmade Love, about my mother’s annual Christmas cards.
These cards were completed each and every Christmas beginning in 1972, the year she and my father were married, up until last year. This year, my father, brother, sister-in-law, nieces and nephew finished the Sakai family Christmas card on her behalf, as she, the glue to our family, passed unexpectedly on October 22nd.
You can read Part One of Handmade Love here.
Since sharing her story, I have been asked to share with you each of the 42 cards in her collection.
Please enjoy and have a wonderful Christmas.
Christmas Cards by Nancy J Sakai
This post was originally written on my personal blog Maker/Mistaker and I thought I should repost it here.
So you call yourself a night owl huh? Most creative people I know (myself included) felt like they get in the zone after midnight. All is still and quiet and you can finally focus on your work. And if you’re not working, you’re doing something until the wee hours of the morning. If you’re like most night owls, you dread getting up in the morning.
That was certainly me. My wife too. Over time our bed time kept getting pushed back later and later because there was always “something to do” that we just had to do. We weren’t tired and going to bed felt like giving up on the day.
A Night Owl No More
I have been getting up at least one hour earlier for over a month now. In fact, the past two weeks I’ve been getting up two and a half hours earlier than normal. The night owl in me would ask, “Why the fuck would you ever get up before you have to?”
This getting up early habit has led to a month-long streak of wonderful habits including exercise, walking, meditation, mindfulness, journaling, and reading to name a few. Each of those has tremendous benefits on their own.
Those are all things I never “had time for” no matter how many extra hours I stayed up. Typically, staying up extra hours just meant more time on the computer. Am I right?
If I Could Only Get Up Early
I didn’t have the ambition to do all those things at first. All I started with was a desire to get up early just because. If I can regularly do that, then I’ll fill it with things to do I’m sure. So I started small with just the cue (or trigger), routine, and reward system to get my ass out of bed. Something I learned from the Power of Habit book.
Cue: Alarm goes off.
Routine: Get out of bed, crawl to couch.
Reward: Cup of coffee while I watched TV on my laptop.
I made sure to add this to my Lift habits so I could keep track. This worked great until the very next day when I forgot to set my alarm and woke up late. Dammit. I woke up early the following morning to get back on track. Then it was the weekend; which of course I slept in and stopped caring about my goal. Then I read The Miracle Morning and that changed everything.
The book stressed how it’s totally ok to be as simple and small as you need to be. The author even described how you can do the Miracle Morning routine in just six minutes! Who doesn’t have time for that?
The book refreshed my inspiration on meditation and personal development. I started following Hal’s suggested routine of waking up, chugging a glass of water, sitting in silence for five minutes, doing some mild exercise, journaling, etc. I tried it out and eventually started customizing it to suit my needs.
My Morning Routine
I use the AM Routine app to help me stay on track. You set your desired end time (like when you have to leave for work) and you add habits with time estimates to your routine. It will calculate exactly when the built-in alarm should go off to give you enough time to do your routine. It even has a handy dashboard to show you what task you should be on, how much time is left, and what’s coming up next. This is brilliant for those foggy mornings. You don’t have to think at all!
- 6:30 AM: alarm goes off. My phone is across the room and I have to get up to turn it off. This prevents me from snoozing.
- Get dressed, brush and floss my teeth, feed the rabbit: 5 minutes
- Drink a glass of water and/or make coffee: 5 minutes
- Meditate: 10 minutes
- Read affirmations: 5 min
- Watch a show on my computer: 30-60 minutes
- Write in my journal: 10 minutes
- Go for a walk and listen to audiobook: 25 minutes
- Push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, baby-freeze (breakdance move), lift weights: 5 minutes
- Shower and get ready: 15 minutes
- Eat Breakfast: 15 minutes
- Pack lunch, get the mail: 5 minutes
So that’s my routine. Sometimes for breakfast I’ll make a chocolate super-food smoothie that I got from The Miracle Morning book, so I sip it throughout my routine. I’m getting a little bored of this routine already and might want to shake things up. I’m adding in 10 minutes of writing in my blog and slowly eliminating my TV watching time. The beauty of this is that I can do whatever the fuck I want. It’s my morning routine.
Jeff’s 5 Tips for a Killer Morning Routine
- Start small. Remember, pick up the goddamn weight, don’t worry about lifting yet. Just do as little as possible so you can check it off and feel good about it. Small wins are the only way you’ll feel motivated to keep going.
- Do something pleasurable. For me that was watching a new episode of a tv series. It could be video games. Think of how you felt on Christmas morning as a kid, you couldn’t wait to jump out of bed. As an adult, what would give you that type of excitement in the morning?
- Don’t let yourself think. In the morning, your willpower and decision making ability is extremely low. You need to build up a routine that is dead simple especially right as you step out of bed. For me, this means turning off my alarm clock, unplugging my iPhone charger and stumbling over to my dresser where I have my morning routine outfit already ready in my top drawer. Plan out your entire morning routine in advance so you don’t have to make any decisions in the morning. Even a zombie can do it!
- Set things out the night before. I wear the same shorts and shirt every day. Deciding what to wear is hard when you’re groggy. Even my breakfast smoothie is created the night before. The glass for my morning water is always in the same place. It requires no thinking to get going. This is key!
- Focus on personal development. Do not work! Resist the temptation to check email or social media. Do not start working on a project right away without first spending time working on your own personal development. You have the rest of the day to worry about checking stuff off your to-do list. Do not feel guilty about being “unproductive” and do not feel selfish for focusing on yourself. You deserve to have time to develop the life you want to live.
Alice: How long is forever?
White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second.
– Lewis Carroll
It was 10:33 on October 22, 2013 when my world ended.
Ushered into a special waiting room at the Cleveland Clinic by a nurse with her head held low, my father, brother and sister-in-law knew before the team of doctors even entered the room that our worst nightmare had just come true.
The days following were a blur. Phone calls, arrangements, trips to the airport to pick up family flying in. Standing at the calling hours we stood in a row, stunned.
One by one they came in. Friends and relatives, packing the room for hours. These people who were touched by my mom’s contribution to each and everyone of their lives. Each had a story about her kindness, her gentle way. As they hugged me, shedding tears and apologizing for all that we had lost, smiles crossed so many faces as they shared this one consistent message, “Heather, I want you to know that I kept each and every one of your mother’s Christmas cards.”
Ten, then twenty, then over one hundred people, I learned, had been amassing my mother’s homemade Christmas cards since she had been sending them in 1972, the year she and my father were married.
It was sweet, yet not surprising to me. As long as I can remember, my mother would sit at her desk for hours upon end, beginning every year in early October, in order to craft each and every one of her around 125 annual Christmas cards. Each was created with extreme artistry, patience and an eye for detail beyond my ability to comprehend. Each was made by way of a different medium, including origami, bent wire, stamp, embossing, watercolor, hand stitching. She made her own paper and hand lettered each and every envelope.
Anything less than perfection was inexcusable for my mom; many cards ended up in the trash. We’d always joke about her perfectionism, get on her about how the ones with color outside the lines were good enough. She’d always shake her head. She wanted each of those cards to be just right for all of her friends and family who she loved so very much.
My mom created a book of all of her 39 cards, one for my brother, and one for me. What you see here is just a small sampling of her work. This year we’ll be assembling the last Christmas card she created with the bits and pieces she’d begun to work on early, like always. We imagine her looking down, gasping at our messiness as type is misaligned and rubber cement leaves tracings of gummy on paper.
It’s almost incomprehensible to me that this Christmas will go on without her. That life is going on without her. That there is a world without my mother, my best friend, who touched so many lives with a spirit reflected in these cards: beautiful, meticulous and full of love.
All cards created by Nancy J. Sakai, beloved mother of Heather
Expert Advice from Go Media Designer Aaron Roberts
Having just graduated from college in the past few years, I am able to put into perspective exactly what I learned, and wish I learned, before I headed out into the real world. There are plenty of articles floating around the internet talking about what to put in your portfolio and how to send out resumes, so I won’t go too much into that. What I want to talk about are the things that surprised me about working on real projects here at our small Cleveland-based creative agency, Go Media, and how I wish I had been a little more prepared.
1. Know how to communicate in multiple media.
When it came to explaining my ideas, I was used to standing up in front of my classmates and professors, going through my conclusions and why I made the decisions I did. I felt like I had a great handle on my presentation skills. The only problem; my audience was other designers.
What I needed was practice in presenting to people who are not designers. There will be times that you can’t meet in person so being able to respond to client feedback over the phone and through email is crucial. Be prepared to speak clearly no matter the format.
2. Understand that client budgets and timelines will play a major role in the process.
Since almost all of my projects were hypothetical, there weren’t any restraints other than deadlines to have sketches or rough mockups and so on. I was able to indulge in all sorts of choices even ones that weren’t very practical. The possibilities were endless. It was fun, but it led to the assumption that all projects would be like this.
The client’s needs, opinions, and overall message will always have to be taken into consideration. Sometimes you and the client may not see eye to eye on aesthetic choices or they will ask for changes. Do your best to stick to your guns, but remember, you’re working with the client.
The real challenge is to meet the client’s needs within the restraints while producing great work.
3. Be conscious about how you work.
I’ve known some people that couldn’t work in class and feel productive. It’s easy to get used to working solely on your own – without distraction. Unless you’re completely set on freelancing out of your humble abode, chances are you’ll need to work with people.
Work environments come in many shapes and sizes; open concepts, one long desk, cubicle farms, etc. Each one comes with its own set of distractions. Be prepared to be able to be productive in any scenario.
Try to visit as many studios as you can to get a sense of how the day-to-day really looks. Some may be more collaborative and strategic, while others more production oriented. Not only is this a great way to get introduced to potential employers, you can really find what kind of work environment suits you.
4. Recognize that your attitude is just as important as your work.
If you think about it, you’re around the people you work with more than most. The relationship you have with your co-workers will have profound effect on the way your days are.
Confidence is great. It especially helps when you’re standing up your ideas. But no one will want to work with someone with too much ego.
5. Do great work no matter where you are.
Early in your career, there will be times that you’ll need to make ends meet by supplementing your normal work with freelance pay that isn’t ideal.
The key is to work hard, even if you’re not at your dream job. Get familiar with the subject matter, and find what gets you interested or excited about the project. Looking at every project as an opportunity to learn something will make it that much more rewarding.
What are some things that would have helped you prepare for your career?
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.