graphic design portfolio examples

Graphic Design Portfolio Examples to Inspire You + Important Tips

Newly graduated? Actively seeking employment in the field? Super comfortable in your current position?

No matter what your status, the Go Media team suggests you regularly work to keep your design portfolio up-to-date.

Seasoned designers, we know that this task may seem daunting. However, in order to show beautiful work, you simply have to put the time in. Being methodical about adding work is far easier and more effective, in our view. Slow and steady always wins the race.

We have launched a couple blog posts about what your design portfolio should include. They are:

How to Have the Best Graphic Design Portfolio on the Block: 3 Tips and
How to Create a Graphic Design Portfolio 

Here are five of our most important tips.

  1. Only show your very best work. Your portfolio should be well curated. Less is often more.
  2. Cover all of your bases. If you have excellent work in branding, print, web, illustration, show us. Well-rounded designers are few and far between.
  3. Tell us a story. We love case studies! Show us your thought process from start to finish. Include illustrations, notes and various rounds. Address failures & successes along the way. We love to see how designers move throughout the design process. No matter what the outcome, we will respect you for guiding us along your path.
  4. Put as much time into your portfolio as you did completing the project. If you took eight hours to create a logo for a client, take roughly eight hours to work on that respective portfolio item. Dedicate yourself to mocking the logo up on multiple templates until they look perfect. Write, rewrite, proofread the copy to go along with your portfolio item. Construct a thorough case study as referenced above. If your logo appears in a store, restaurant or other location, go out and photograph it! Take time editing the photos so that they are professional in quality. Gather testimonials on your work if possible. Don’t stop until you’re proud.
  5. Show that you can work with clients & meet deadlines. Students, this one is for you. If you have not yet had experience in the field, ask your friends and family if they need any design work. This will get you some freelance work in the door and show us that you have experience, no matter how minor, working for clients. Get ready to illustrate the work you’ve done in your portfolio, as well as discuss how you communicated with them and managed to meet important deadlines.

Here are some portfolios that have inspired us with notes about why we enjoy them.

Ekaterina Oloy
Los Angeles Based Illustrator, Artist and Visual Storyteller
What We Love: Katia’s Portfolio is instantly spellbinding. Each project is accompanied by a full case study or accompanying materials that help you relate to Katia’s
work. This is the standard that all other portfolio’s should be judged against.

Skinny Ships
Design and Illustration by Richard Perez and Jennifer Derosa
What We Love: The cleanliness and fun spirit of the work. It makes you want to work with them.

Hom Sweet Hom
Hand Lettering by Lauren Hom
What We Love: High-quality, vibrant work that hits you in the face!
Great brand consistency

 

Ron Draper
Artist and Designer living in the UK
What We Love: Nice high-quality, bold imagery. Some portfolio items tell a story of Ron’s process.

Jordan Metcalf Studio
South African Graphic Designer
We love Jordan’s copy. As you know, we love a story and it gives more substance to his work.


Chuck Anderson
No Pattern Studio – Chuck Anderson
Artist, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Creative Director
What We Love: Chuck’s Portfolio is filled with over-sized, juicy imagery.
The quality of his presentation, in our opinion, is simply on another level.

Kate Moross
Designer
What We Love: Kate’s bold and captivating presentation

Erik Marinkovich
Lettering Artist and Designer
What We Love: Clean and crisp overall. The work is breathtaking! Copy is simple and straightforward.

Creative Mints
A Boutique Human-Centered Design Agency from Prague
specializing in Branding, UI and Illustration
What We Love: Creative Mints shows a beautiful variety of work in their portfolio

Go Media’s Online Portfolio
We couldn’t let you leave without bragging about our own graphic design portfolio!
Here at our Cleveland Graphic Design and Web Development Firm, we love showing off the work we do in the areas of not only design and web, but print, illustration and web marketing.

Our Rich Wonder portfolio item is a great example of one of our case studies. We used illustration to help us
explain our thought process through the project.

We hope you enjoyed this post and it inspired you to add to your portfolio today!

Remote Graphic Design Team Management

Remote Effectiveness: 4 Ways to Work Effectively with a Fully Remote Graphic Design Team

Remote Graphic Design Team Management & Collaboration

Sometimes it seems that everyone is working remotely these days. If you are a millennial, this is probably not news to you, but if you happen to be older and unaccustomed to working with a remote vendor, here are four suggestions that can make your project and management run more smoothly:

Set Expectations

Remotely produced or not, you want your stuff done on time, and it you have a serious hard stop, you’ll need to communicate that early in the process. Make sure your team knows what you need and when you need it. Many remote designers are loaded with projects and will naturally give priority to those customers that express a sense of urgency. If a deadline is missed, be sure to let your vendors know that this can’t happen again in the future.

Communication Preferences

Don’t think that email is the only way you can communicate with your remote design team. Apps like Slack work great for some people, while others like a more intense project management app like Basecamp, for example.

While simple apps like Slack allow you to directly message your remote design team, more complex platforms like Basecamp will allow multiple people to work on your project and keep the current version available to everyone. Not having to email v.1, v.2 and other project iterations avoids the problem of different persons working on non-current project versions.

Set Communication Parameters

First, understand time zone issues. Many remote designers in India, for example, have a lot of U.S. based clients, and therefore they may have no problem working odd hours so that they can communicate with you at your convenience.

Other times, even in the U.S., someone working for you from their studio apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin may not be available at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. You and your team need to set parameters for the most efficient and timely communications. Also, make sure you have an understanding about when emails will be returned. If you agreed to wait 24 hours before receiving an email reply, don’t get hyper and send panicked emails if the proper time period has not elapsed.

Money and Payment

Ensure that you read any contract before signing it. Make sure that you own any of the design work that you are paying for, and that copyrights will be yours. (You may need to consult a lawyer about this issue.)

Agree upon a currency to be used for payment. Worldwide, most remote designers will accept U.S. dollars, but you may find one that would prefer a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, so you should be prepared to understand how to buy and pay for items with it.

Do not deviate from payment terms that you have agreed upon, and if your remote designer asks for money earlier than what is spelled out in your contract, that could be a red flag. Also, observe all internet payment security measures, and never give anyone your social security number.

Working with a remote team can be great; just make sure you pay attention to the points mentioned above.

90’s Graphic Design Mood Board

The 90’s were a magical time – a time of the Docs, Game Boys, and the sweet, sweet sound of AOL dialing-up. As everything that was once old is new again, the 90’s are making a come back.

Design trends from this era can be found in posters, album covers and fonts. As artist Dave Perillo has shown, even some of our favorite old friends are back in action. Deservedly so.

Dave Perillo’s art can be found on http://montygog.blogspot.com/

What about 90’s design is worth reintroducing, you ask? We created a mood board of sorts to answer this question and hope it helps uncover the truth. Below you’ll find 90’s posters, graphics, album covers, products, and other elements that may inspire you to create your next design piece enhanced with 90’s elements. We have arranged the elements in four categories. We hope you find this helpful. Enjoy!

90’s Design

1 – Color like WHOA.

The 90’s was at once a wave of color and a dash of grunge. But for this moment, at least, we are rejoicing in glorious brilliance of it all. Think Pretty in Pink (literally), color pops, neon lasers and this 90’s cup design that kind of grows on you after awhile. Totally unapologetic!

90's cup design

2 – Chunky Fonts.

If you take a broad look at fonts in the 90’s, you will see a lot of thick lines and truly unique fonts driven by theme. Oh – and we loved a drop shadow!

3 – Photo Posters

The focus around many of the posters or album art in the 90’s was around one simple graphic or photograph.  Many of these are iconic posters and I think their simplicity speaks volumes.

4 – From Bold & Vibrant to Black & White (and Red)

Though this era gave us a lot of pink, we also saw a lot of stark contrast – black & white – sometimes with pops of red.

What did you love most about design in the 90’s?

For more 90’s Graphic Design, head to the Go Media Pinterest Board.

Designers collaborate with AI for better UI/UX

AI in Design

When you hear artificial intelligence (AI) discussed in the news, it’s usually related to new technical achievements in how large sets of data can be organized and understood. But the value of AI goes beyond just data science and can actually extend into other realms like web design.

Normally, web design is thought of as a purely human endeavor, like a form of art that is mostly reliant on creativity. However, advancements in AI have opened up an opportunity for designers to collaborate with smart computer systems to develop user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) content in a more efficient manner.

Let’s explore how AI and machine learning (ML) are used in web design today and how we can expect these two fields to blend in the future.

Basics of Artificial Design Intelligence

The web development community uses the term Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) first popularized by site builder Wix to describe how new automation technologies contribute to UI and UX work. This change in how professionals approach design methods has skyrocketed in popularity during recent years. Companies like Adobe have even begun to experiment with machine learning to build AI-centric design tools.

Obviously, design has evolved light years since the early days of the world wide web. Back then, webpages were manually coded in HTML while designers tried to determine what colors, fonts, and styles worked best in an online environment. This was a period of great experimentation, marked with plenty of failures and lessons learned.

As the internet matured, common design strategies and best practices emerged to help developers create a consistent experience for users. At the same time, back-end servers have come to rely on automation to build dynamic web-based applications. The ADI movement combines these two concepts to elevate how UI and UX design is accomplished.

Pattern Recognition

Much of modern artificial intelligence is based on a concept called machine learning, where a team compiles a wide range of data and lets a computer network analyze it through a sequence of algorithms. The goal is for the AI system to identify patterns and trends that might not be readily evident to a human.

Early ADI adopters realized that decades of web design experiments – successes and failures – could serve as a useful data collection to run through algorithms. The result has proven to be a powerful tool when it comes to humans collaborating with machines to improve UI and UX.

Consider logos: They’re the foundation of development projects. Back at the birth of the internet, companies would create their own image file to serve as a digital logo. Time passed and some organizations realized they could outsource that task to experts in branding and web design. But still, it remained a purely manual effort.

Fast forward to today and designers leverage logo-makers that run on an AI system. Thanks to the massive data sets that algorithms have already crunched, the process is now as simple as answering a few questions, filling in a few criteria, then waiting for the system to propose different designs. This logo-while-you-wait process relies on the AI engine to analyze the latest logo trends to develop something that fits your company’s needs.

Designing in the trenches – WordPress: If you work in WordPress, and it’s hard to avoid it, you’ll be elbows-deep in artificial intelligence and machine learning plugins before you realize it. There is a true explosion of new products hitting the market in this area, ranging from spam detectors to grammar improvement to a variety of recommendation engines.

A common scenario is a small business owner builds a website on a DIY platform like Wix and then realizes the extreme limitations, so asks you to migrate their website to WordPress, spiff it up, and turn it into a cash cow. Before you realize it, AI and ML are your project partners.       

Integration of Tools

Web design is not just about colors, fonts and logos. The best websites in the world deliver a positive UX experience for each visitor. This means that when a person arrives at a website, they are easily find what they are looking for thanks to the combined design power of humans and AI.

One of the primary goals for AI and machine learning when it comes to web design is to make the UI and UX personalized for each user. Not all people agree on what display or set of features is best, especially if they come from different places on the planet and speak different languages. But AI makes it possible for designers to create flexible templates that adapt to the person using them.

Web developers have realized that they can integrate AI-based tools directly into their designs to add value for users. For example, users may want to edit PDF documents directly in their browser. In bygone days, that would have been a tall (or impossible) order, but with AI and machine learning doing the heavy lifting, content can be ”visually” extracted from third-party files and made easier to manipulate on-the-fly, even in a document format formerly considered to be locked-in.

Another design feature that can be AI powered is an in-browser chat tool. Businesses that sell goods or services online often want to provide a way for their customers to get quick support. With an AI-based chat tool, this digital customer service representative can answer questions and point the way to useful information, often finding solutions without having to escalate their query to a human.

Privacy Considerations

You can’t talk about the data that powers AI and ML in today’s world without talking about how to protect it. Proper collection, storage, and use of data is no longer simply an ethical question. With the stringent GDPR regulations put into play in 2018, and the accompanying fines for misbehavior, it’s a financial survival question as well.

How far has AI come? It’s getting perilously close to being able to consistently hack the vaunted Captcha plugin using machine vision. Heretofore Captcha has served as a trusted website gatekeeper against automated spam but appears to be on the verge of becoming obsolete.

Consider implementing the following precautions when working with AI/ML in your own online life and suggest clients do the same when you hand off a completed site:

1    Almost every site collects some sort of data that falls under GDPR bur few site owners take the time to properly secure themselves against the latest smart malware attacks. A WordPress maintenance plan costs a little bit but removes that particular worry. It’s exactly what it sounds like – outsourcing your security. For some, it’s well worth the peace of mind to bring in experts.

2 If you’re a freelancer or work for a company that collects customer data, you should already have a virtual private network (VPN) in place to keep hackers from stealing or corrupting your information. Already in use by 25% of people who go online, VPNs are rapidly becoming the de facto method of protecting all the info an insatiable AI algorithm needs to become smarter.   

3 Don’t sign up for any AI tool that doesn’t clearly spell out their privacy policy for how they will use your data. Avoid any sort of machine learning experiment that requires private information like a home address or social security number.

The Bottom Line

The advancement of AI/ML will continue to revolutionize all areas of technology, including web design. And we shouldn’t depart the premises without allaying fears that the end game of this technology is to replace designers. That’s not the likely outcome of all this – at least not in any foreseeable iteration of the industry.  

Instead, what we can anticipate is for web designers to begin trusting AI as an augmented partner, using it to accomplish repeatable tasks in an efficient way. This frees the designer to focus on the creative tasks that no amount of AI can simulate and benefits the end user, which is the ultimate goal.

Is It Too Soon to Invest in the Internet of Robotic Things?

New technologies come and go, regardless of whether people consider them innovative or exciting. Some of them have staying power, while others disappear into the abyss as if they were nothing more than an afterthought. Because the marketplace is so fast-moving, it’s difficult to determine what to invest in and when.

That’s precisely the case with IoRT, or the Internet of Robotic Things. The niche derives its name from the Internet of Things and the Industrial Internet of Things, both of which involve smart, connected devices and sensors. Like anything internet-connected, robotic “things” can do more of the same. They continuously collect, process and transmit data, as well as offer a variety of connected functionalities — such as remote access. The technology also paves the way for further augmenting systems through compatible tools like AI, machine learning, big data systems and more.

Markets and Markets predicts the IoRT market will be worth nearly $21.44 billion by 2022. We’re not that far off, which means we should start seeing its adoption ramp up. Just because a market is on the rise, however, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best time to invest, particularly for an enterprise operation.

We are becoming increasingly dependent on robotics, especially in manufacturing. But the question remains: What role do smart, “connected” robots play? Who’s already using them, and how? What’s the outlook of that rollout? Is it promising, or is it something everyone should wait to implement?

IoRT in Manufacturing

In many factories and plants, robotic systems aren’t just about automation — they’re also essential for eliminating dangerous environments and situations. For example, tasks that involve human workers repetitively lifting heavy supplies or components and putting them onto a conveyor belt or feeding them into a machine have a prolonged impact on their bodies. Even with proper support, the stress of the job can cause short-term injuries, as well as deteriorate parts of their body in the long term. Many are familiar with what happens to your knees or back when you’re lifting heavy objects day after day.

More than a million Americans work in a warehouse facility, and roughly 51,550 workers get injured or killed on the job every year. Implementing advanced robotics can prevent many of those injuries — even deaths. The risk is higher in facilities or operations that do not use such robotics.

IoT allows them to interface with other nearby equipment and machines, but also to interact with their human counterparts. Think collaborative or cooperative robots that work alongside human laborers, as opposed to replacing them altogether. Many high-profile manufacturers are already doing this, improving working conditions and boosting efficiency for their operations.

IoRT in Logistics

Outside of manufacturing, yet still related to the supply chain, is the logistics and order fulfillment section of the market. Internet robotics come into play here not just in terms of boosting efficiency and capability, but also improving the working conditions for the human workers. Much like in manufacturing, smarter robots work alongside their human counterparts. An automated storage tool might follow one worker around the warehouse floor, carrying heavy goods and shipments. Another might operate as a computerized forklift, pulling pallets or items from on high.

Amazon is the best-known proponent of this kind of technology, and they actively use devices like collaborative robots and smart shelving systems. These devices help in the order picking and retrieval process, primarily because Amazon’s warehouses are so extensive. Manual, human-only fulfillment would take an incredibly long time, as workers would need to traverse the space to find goods and then move them to the appropriate areas. The company is even taking all this a step further, dabbling in drone-based delivery in certain local markets.

IoRT in Consumer Electronics

It seems a tad silly at first to consider the consumer electronics side of things. That’s especially true when it comes to talking about highly capable, internet-ready robotics. What can consumer tech do that’s so great? When you look at the kinds of devices that are hitting the market, it becomes immediately apparent there is plenty of innovation.

Consider smart or robotic vacuums, for example. On the surface, something so simple seems almost ridiculous. But these devices incorporate a wide variety of sensors, impact-measuring tools and advanced software to navigate the home, sans human command. They can move about a residence cleaning up various spills and debris, then roll back into a charging dock when their battery is low. It’s almost exactly the kind of technology in use for Amazon’s warehouse robots — though Amazon’s tech is slightly more advanced.

Imagine if smart voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant had access to a robotic arm. They could easily do something like preparing and cooking food for a modern family. Indeed, they could take over many household chores, like laundry, mowing the lawn or even working on the family car.

What’s the Takeaway?

These are just three, fairly early examples of real-world IoRT applications. As with the IoT in general, it’s easy to see how promising and beneficial the technology can be. In only a few years, Amazon has amassed a robot army of 45,000 strong, and that number is still growing. They wouldn’t be doing that if they didn’t see efficiency and output gains.

Ultimately, the takeaway is that now is the perfect time to invest in the Internet of Robotic Things. There is still some time before it grows to dominate the marketplace and it certainly warrants more research and training in the next few years. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s skyrocketing in popularity. Surely, the competition will be considering adopting IoRT if they haven’t already incorporated the technology.

Is It Too Late to Invest in Virtual Reality?

Although the capability for virtual reality (VR) was invented in 1957, it’s only in recent years that VR pops up in nearly every industry. Better screen resolutions, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT), create a world where VR is more realistic than ever before.

By 2020, experts predict virtual reality and augmented reality tech will hit $15.6 billion. VR capability and frequency is growing at a rapid pace. Nearly every type of business imaginable now implements the technology.

If your business hasn’t yet invested in VR, it isn’t too late. Looking at some of the industries that use VR may inspire you to figure out where best to invest in VR for your own endeavors. While some places simply make sense for VR usage, others are less obvious.

1. Treating Phobias in Psychology

Virtual reality is utilized to treat severe phobias and fears, such as when soldiers have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Also, 50 percent of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) battle anxiety and phobias, which VR can improve through graded exposure therapy.

VR addresses the challenges in overcoming fear by recreating real-life experiences and forcing reliance on abstract thinking skills. The process is taken step-by-step in a safe, monitored environment. The most typical use is in a blue screen type room with a VR headset. The fear is introduced in a slow series of encounters until the person begins overcoming the fear.

2. Training Manufacturing and Retail Employees

Virtual reality is a safe way of training employees in the intricate use of machinery. Particularly in some manufacturing industries, training means the difference between safety and potential injury. However, the technology also has benefits for nearly any type of exercise that requires real-world scenarios.

Simulations run the gamut from an encounter with a difficult customer to working on a dangerous machine that might kill a person if not used correctly.

3. Practicing for Surgeries

Another area where VR is making strides is in medicine. In the past, surgeons tried to plan out intricate surgeries, but much of the process was experimental. With VR, surgeons can now map out delicate brain surgery and practice before the actual surgery or come up with new ways of completing medical procedures and trying them out in a virtual world first.

Doctors practiced separating conjoined twins at the Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. VR is also utilized for review of surgeries after the fact so surgeons can improve with each procedure. No longer are people used as guinea pigs for new methods, but doctors thoroughly test the procedure before attempting the operation.

4. Marketing With an Edge

Another area where VR and AR appear frequently is marketing. New advances in the capability of smartphones allow advertisers to implement features which come to life when the user hovers their mobile device over a particular image. Print advertising comes to life with a combination of unique codes and mobile devices.

Expect to see AR utilized on social media, websites and in more print advertising than ever before. For example, M&Ms recently integrated AR with a campaign to sell their new caramel filled candies by turning billboards into games when people pointed their smartphones at a particular billboard.

5. Creating Cars for the Automotive Industry

Vehicle designers have a pretty good idea about aerodynamics and what goes into the design of a new car. However, there is still a costly process of creating prototypes and testing everything for safety and endurance. One way to speed up this process is through the use of VR technology. In the past, designers started on paper, but today they draw with the help of computer-aided design (CAD).

When Ford’s design team created the 2000X, they used virtual reality to get a jump start on the design process. They used a virtual lab space, and the designers moved around and made alterations to see how they’d work. The use of a virtual image also allowed designers to look at the vehicle through the eyes of the consumer and see what might need improving.

6. Enhancing Real Estate Listings

Imagine a world where potential home buyers walk through a house from a distant location rather than driving to a home in another city. A virtual tour of a home allows buyers to rule out listings which don’t meet their needs and narrow down their search, saving both them and the listing agent time and money.

Another advantage of using VR for real estate listings is that the person can plug their own furniture into the home and see if everything fits or looks the way they’d like. No more imagining if your sofa might look okay in the space. You’ll know immediately if it fits and how it looks.

7. Advancing the Troops

The military has used VR for a while to show soldiers potential real-life scenarios they might encounter while overseas. A highly trained military force is possible as well as helping specialize training for higher order forces, such as the Navy Seals. All three branches of the United States military utilize VR — Army, Navy and Air Force.

Some of the ways the military uses VR is for flight simulation, battlefield medic training, battlefield simulation, vehicle over rough terrain simulations and virtual boot camps. The Army has a fully immersive VR system at Fort Bragg. Such a system allows an entire squadron of soldiers to practice together in simulations of possible scenarios they’ll encounter while out in the field.

Adding VR to Your Industry

No matter what industry you serve, VR and AR enhance some of what you do. Whether you invest in a VR system for training or simulate situations, VR creates a highly trained and adaptable workforce.

As headsets go down in price and become easier to use, expect more small businesses to jump onto the VR train. They’ll be utilizing the latest technology for exploration and transformation. Think about how VR might help grow your business today. Then consider what type of return on investment you might see.

SEO Mistakes

Overlooked SEO Mistakes Ecommerce Websites Make

Ecommerce keeps flourishing. Research predicts that it will reach $4.88 trillion by 2021.

This sounds impressive, but what does this mean for you as an online retailer?

Well, the growth of ecommerce means greater competition. So, to stay relevant in the fierce SERPs, you need to invest in a solid SEO strategy and keep revising it to see what works or doesn’t work. To increase your rankings and gain users’ trust, you cannot afford to make any mistakes.

Here are a few common SEO oversights you should avoid.

Building a Website with Difficult Navigation

As an ecommerce website, you have thousands of pages to manage.

For instance, google site:amazon.com and you will see that there are 167,000,000 results. Even though Amazon is not an example of the most beautiful website in the world, you must admit that it’s easy to navigate.

Once you visit their site, the first thing you will notice is the intuitive search bar that even lets you browse products by different departments. A search bar is an inevitable element on any user-friendly ecommerce website, as it gives customers an opportunity to find the desired product faster and finalize the purchase.

Each product category has lots of filters, helping you refine your search by featured brands, packaging options, average product review, price, seller, availability, and so forth.

Their menu bar is also divided into sections that are further branching into more specific categories. The majority of your customers (especially those that haven’t made the buying decision) will use your menu to familiarize themselves with different products and compare them. Precisely because of that, you first need to write informative and descriptive menu labels that will help visitors find a product faster.

You should also simplify your menu and reduce the number of menu items to improve user experiences. Too many options can be overwhelming, distracting a customer from what they’re looking for. Simpler menus are also important for your SEO efforts.

Namely, those pages you link to are passing some SEO value. Therefore, if you’re linking to less relevant pages instead of focusing on the most significant ones, you won’t be able to maximize your traffic. Logically, your goal is to increase the exposure of those pages relevant to your customers.

Not Targeting the Right Keywords

Many online retailers forget what their priorities are when conducting keyword research. Namely, they spend too much time looking for popular search phrases relevant to their products that they forget to focus on search intent. Namely, your goal is to understand your searchers’ needs and know what kind of result they expect to see when they google a certain keyword.

This is particularly important now that voice search is exploding. Statistics say that 41% of adults perform at least one voice search each day, while this number is expected to jump to 50% by 2020. This is one of the numerous trends impacting the way we optimize our ecommerce sites.

First, voice search triggers the growth of local SEO. For example, 22% of customers perform voice search to find locally-relevant businesses. So, let’s say you’re targeting the Gold Coast market. In this case, including local keywords containing “Gold Coast,” creating local content around these keywords, and building links on local sites will increase your rankings and help you generate more qualified leads.

With the rise of voice search, you don’t have to spam your content with exact-match keywords anymore. Voice searchers use natural language and conversational phrases when interacting with search engines. For example, instead of typing “gold coast shoes online” into the search box, they will ask something like “What is the best online shoe store in Gold Coast?” You get how this works.

This is why you should start combining traditional keyword research tools with some additional resources like Q&A sites, social networks, or forums to understand your customers’ needs and expectations. Consulting SEO agency from Gold Coast may also be a wise move. As they understand your local market, they will help you align your keyword optimization and off-page SEO tactics with search intent.

Not Creating Authentic Content for Product Pages

One of the most common mistakes online retailers make is simply copying product descriptions from the manufacturer’s site to their product pages. This is bad for your online presence for a few reasons.

First, by simply copying content instead of creating your own, you’re missing out on an opportunity to stand out and emphasize the benefits of buying from you. Original product descriptions are highly engaging and persuasive, building trust with your customers and having them complete the purchase faster.

Second, search engines won’t be able to differentiate your content from the one on similar sites, which may impact your rankings and overall page visibility. Google won’t have a reason to index your content if it already exists on similar sites.  

Finally, you may even get penalized. If your product descriptions are the same or similar to the content that already appears on another website, Google will observe it as duplicate content. Assuming that you’re trying to play the algorithm, it will penalize you.

Not Using Schema Markup on your Product Pages

Google is getting smarter each day, but it’s still unable to understand non-textual pieces of content. This is where schema markup steps in. We can define it as a language Google crawlers understand and use to get the information about your content. With its help, you will be able to explain the purpose of your content, including your email, phone numbers, price data, product types, ratings, descriptions, reviews, and so forth.

In other words, schema markup is a great way to get your content indexed and ranked higher in the SERPs. Above all, it gives you the opportunity to appear in featured snippets and put your products in front of the right customers. As such, it can have a massive influence on your organic rankings, clicks, and even conversions.

Not Increasing User Experience

You cannot expect to have a poorly-performing website and yet boost conversions. Only by making your visitors happy and building trust with them will you be able to turn them into paying customers. And, here are a few steps to take:

  • Make your website responsive. We’re living in the mobile-first era, when providing outstanding, cross-channel user experiences should be your priority. Simplify your checkout forms and ensure all links work from mobile devices. Also, pay attention to how your content looks and feels on mobile devices.
  • Invest in an SSL certificate. Google has started marking sites with HTTP as “not secure.” No matter how sophisticated your encryption tactics are, if you don’t have an SSL certificate to back you up, your customers will still see this warning. Unsurprisingly, this may make your ecommerce site less professional, impacting the time people spend on your website, as well as their engagement and conversions.
  • Add security badges. Apart from HTTPS and mobile-friendly forms, security badges are an important element of the checkout process. They prove that your customers’ data is safe with you, inspiring them to choose you over competitors.
  • Boost your website speed. If your site doesn’t load in less than 3 seconds, most of your customers will kick it without taking the desired action. So, to speed things up, compress your images, invest in the right CDN, minimize overly complex animations, minify the website code, and find a reliable host to ensure your site loads fast.

Not Inspiring User-Generated Content

Awesome website performance, gorgeous product photos, and high-quality descriptions are important, but they’re not enough to convert a visitor into a customer.

Did you know that most of your customers don’t trust branded content? Instead, 84% of them rely on online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

This is exactly why you should allow customer reviews and ratings on your site. You shouldn’t be worried about negative user reviews hurting your brad reputation. Namely, some recent statistics say that product pages with diverse ratings drive more sales than those with stellar ratings only. This is also an amazing opportunity for you to provide exceptional customer support, help them fix specific problems, and turn them into satisfied users.

Asking loyal customers to write testimonials and publishing them strategically on your homepage or product pages is also an amazing way to demonstrate your trustworthiness. To make these testimonials even more relatable, include a customer’s photo, as well as their full name and even a job title.

Sure, just like with the content you create for your product pages or blog, you also ensure that these reviews are accurate and helpful. For example, you could let users rate peer comments according to their relevance. Amazon has introduced the amazing option that allows users to sort reviews by “the most helpful” ratings.

Over to You

If you’re making some of the abovementioned mistakes, don’t be desperate. I’m sure I’ve never landed on an ecommerce site that has no SEO issues. Your goal is to identify the main problems in your SEO strategy and stop wasting money on them. This is how you will improve your online presence gradually and I hope these tips will help you.

Salary guide for a Graphic Designer in 2019

Guide to Graphic Designer Salary 2019

Graphic designing is one of the rapidly growing professions that has penetrated its roots not only in the information technology and in sciences, but ensured its application in a massive list of industries.  

However, the designers have lucrative jobs and highest salaries, but those are not meant for all. Various factors define the salary range of an individual or a group of people with a specific skill set. A common perception of a graphic designer is that they are confined to the animations and games industry, but, in fact, they have an expanded utilization of their skills.

In this post, I am sharing some of the prerequisites of becoming an in-demand graphic designing, the career prospects, and the salary you may expect to withdraw. Keeping reading for a quick review of the different aspects you may come across soon in your career.

Prerequisites for Becoming a Graphic Designer

Getting a certificate or higher national diploma may not be as necessary for a graphic designer as it is for a doctor, accountant, fitness trainer, or business consultant. It is the field that tests your aesthetics, subject matter understanding, and skills. However, you may learn the basics of graduation or online courses.

Artistic Sense

Graphic designing demands a sense of love, affection, and deep understanding of art. Designs, done for a website, mobile application, or social media marketing; appears on the front.

It represents the business or its idea to the people at large, so it has to include the aesthetics of appealing, intriguing, and captivating users. An artist may never find it difficult in crafting and sketching ideas on a paper or screen.

Analytical and Sharp Mind

A designer may require analyzing his or her production with the perception of the end user or a client. If an image, post, banner, or logo is not worthy of pursuing further if it does not seem to be the right fit at first glance. Their sharp mindedness can also help them easily understand the scope and requirements of the design they intend to create for a certain cause or purpose.

Flawless Communication

In addition to verbal and written communication, the designers are also evaluated on how they can convey a message through creative images, shapes, icons, and other designs. Graphic designing is more concerned with the visual context so that a user or potential buyer gets the message before reading the actual text.

Usage of expert design tools

This is something obvious that a designer will have to get expertise in the software, applications, and online tools that may aid him in producing exemplary designs. They must acquire hands-on experience using applications such as Photoshop, ProofHub, Canva, DesignBold, Illustrator, Marvel, Sketch 3, and Pixelmator.

Time and Project Management

Working on multiple projects is a norm for any graphic designer that may demand timekeeping and tracking the progress of each project. Like any other project in the IT industry, designs do have deadlines and has to be prepared in urgency as well. So professionals are required to be the project managers.

What are the Available Career Options for Graphic Designers?

There are endless opportunities for any graphic designer to explore. It all depends on their interest, knowledge, and skills. Following are some of the career prospects in considerations.

Web Designer

A web designer job is among the highest paid gigs because they have a significant role in planning and developing an entire website. The job may demand a designer to create graphics, pages, layout, and suggest and implement design changes for improving the user experience.

Specifically, there is a surge in eCommerce web design as more and more online stores are entering the web to have a fair share of profit and make their business a success. For the web stores, the web design and development proves to be foundation stones as it has to potential to erect their venture from scratch and skyrocket it in prominent search engines.   

Creative Director

A creative director is not an entry-level job as it is a position to manage an entire team of creative minds such as photographers, artists, graphic designs, copywriters, and video editors. Creative directors usually oversee activities of the artwork produced for the billboard, magazines, television, and the web.

Photo Editor

The job title of photo editor may seem to be quite a basic one, but has a significant demand these days with the increasing number of online stores and the need to refine product images. The product photographers may use a high-resolution camera to extract real-like images of the products, but a photo editor makes it worth publishing and presentable with his or her sharp editing skills.

Architecture & Engineering Drafter

Quite an interesting and fascinating job option for a designer lies in the architecture and construction industry. Planning a completely new home, office, building, or a multi-story commercial hub all may demand drafting for the start with a versatile approach.

Other countless job opportunities may include:

  • Art Director
  • Video & Film Editor
  • Flash Designer
  • UX designer
  • Product Designer
  • Gaming and Animation/Animator

How much a graphic designer should expect to earn?

The way a salary package of a professional depends on various factors, the remuneration of a graphic designer also relies on multiple factors such as experience, city or state, and industry-specific expertise.

Experience and Portfolio

The experience and portfolio of a graphic designer play a major role in defining his or her salary range. The beginners or starters are surely paid the least, whereas it increases as soon as they get exposure and work for renowned brands and companies. According to average salary limits,

PayScale repots an average salary of a designer to be $43,251 per annum in the USA, in general, whereas the salary range differs in cities and states with prosperous economies. The salary range starts with as low as $31,069 and escalates to $61,473, whereas bonuses and commissions are awarded accordingly.

The PayScale further describes the starting salary of an entry level designer to be around $30,218, which increases to $34,015 and $35,549 for a mid-level and senior resource respectively.

City and State of work

The city or state where you live matters the most when it comes to salary limits. It is the economic differences that affect the salary of professionals like graphic designers and others. These are calculated in line with inflation and gross domestic product.

Designers may not base the selection of a city or state based on slight salary differences, because a city providing lucrative jobs does have an expensive lifestyle.

For example, if you search for an average salary of a graphic designer on Glassdoor, you will get a figure around $67,198 per year in San Francisco that is about 33% above the average national salary. On the other hand, the website reports as low as $46,209 a year salary for the same job in Houston, which is even below the national average.

I have searched for different cities and came up with a conclusion that their lies slightest differences between cities, whereas a huge salary gap if compared to towns or small cities.

Conclusion

To most of the creatives and artists, a slight difference in different positions and roles may not matter, as they are inclined to produce the best they can. The thing they really care about is meeting the expenses and saving enough in a retirement plan.

It is obvious that the salary in every profession increases with the passage of time, experience, and expertise. However, moving to a big metropolitan in pursuit of higher salaries may not always be a viable solution.

Conversely, the graphic designers shall work on their skills and refine it enough to master a specific trade that no one else in the niche possesses, and, that’s where you get a competitive edge in asking for a higher salary or a significant raise.

From Visitor to Customer: 5 Website Design Tips to Help You Bridge the Gap

Photo by Jens Kreuter on Unsplash

As increasingly available information makes it easier for businesses, graphic designers, and web developers to create more efficient and striking websites, a large number of professionals are providing ever-more innovative platforms for their clients and customers to use online.

Mastering the essentials of web design can take time, of course, but the benefits of top-tier web design to Google search result placement and customer conversion rates can be truly outstanding: A good website in 2019 doesn’t just look great, its custom design will also turn site visitors into long-term customers.

Here are just 5 website design tips that can help your business achieve stunning results, and why they might just make 2019 a banner year for your company.

1. Hick’s Law

For many web designers, the question of how much content to include on a website is a considerable one: Keep site design too simple, the thinking goes, and a customer may not understand what the website is intended to do or where essential information is located in a site’s architecture. Make a site too complicated, and users may become bogged down by the sheer number and variety of choices that they will encounter.

Web designers often deal with this question by employing Hick’s law, which says that the more decisions a person must grapple with, the longer they will take to make a decision.

Named for the English psychologist W.E. Hick and his studies on the way in which people make choices over a given period of time, the law is now used to determine everything from website design principles to Fortune 500 marketing strategies. By using Hick’s law, you will be making it easy for customers to choose and purchase the products or services that your company provides.

To implement the principles of Hick’s law, try streamlining your site to include only the most relevant information that customers will need to choose a product or service. For a site like Google, whose customers simply want to search for websites, that can mean a minimalistic approach that includes a simple search bar, an easy-to-load graphic, and a plain white background.

For Amazon or eBay, employing Hick’s law means breaking down products into specific categories so that site visitors do not become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available to them.

2. Responsive Web Design

As an increasing number of mobile app-based businesses such as Instagram take the online marketplace by storm, more and more business leaders are wondering if they should emphasize the development of a mobile-based app platform over a traditional website.

Of course, there are certainly benefits to both paths, but there are some seriously compelling reasons to move a business forward with responsive web design as a priority.

Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

One such reason is that many customers prefer websites over having mobile apps for every single store. More often than not, the question of whether to shift a company’s focus towards mobile app development or put primary web development effort into creating a dynamic website is largely a question of what goals the company aims to achieve in the long-term.

A business that shares user-generated content or links customers to service providers (Uber being a prime example) may find that a mobile app is an optimum platform for achieving their aims. A site that provides extensive information about products or services such as Amazon might delegate more time to maintain a responsive website that automatically scales elements depending on what platform the user accesses it from. It will display more information on PC, and less on the phone to ensure intuitive navigation and ease of access.

3. Content Placement

It is no secret that great site design draws more views from potential and actual customers and that these views can benefit a company’s Google search rankings. So how exactly does one create content that attracts customers while keeping such information visually appealing?

To answer this question, we can actually draw on aesthetic principles that have been around since well before the great Renaissance artists codified concepts of design beauty that we still use today. These principles can be broken down into three main categories: F-shaped pattern design; Z-shaped pattern design; and the Rule of Thirds.

The F- and Z-patterns central to graphic design are fairly simple concepts and relate to how information in visual design can be connected by the “direction” of elements within a visual composition. In fact, you’ve probably seen these design elements every time you’ve accessed a major website or mobile app: Most news websites use the “F-shape” design element by framing information through a headline, sub-headline, and sidebar to the viewer’s left, letting the eye rest on the strong “F” shape created by the lines of text.

The Z-pattern involves a similar design concept to the F-pattern: By drawing a “line” at an angle across the “frame” of a website from the right side of a top border to the left side of a lower border, a viewer’s eyes will naturally be drawn to new information in the lower right-hand field of their vision. This is why so many sites place important links such as purchase buttons on the lower right-hand side of a website screen.

One of the most important elements of visual design in history, the Rule of Thirds states that the human eye is attracted to visual compositions that are divisible by thirds. Most of us actually encounter this rule at any time we see a great painting or watch a movie.

At its heart, the Rule of Thirds is what enables our vision to feel “at rest” when viewing a piece of visual art. Something about the use of design divisible into three parts connotes a feeling of balance in the viewer, and such divisibility is a powerful tool for web developers and graphic designers to use.

4. Security Measures

One of the most important ways for web designers and company to build trust with potential customers is to use cutting-edge security measures to protect customer and client information. In 2019, companies need to be their customers’ first wall of defense from identity thieves if they want to take their business to the next level.

Source

Indeed, whether customers are simply providing their email addresses for company newsletters or are using credit or debit cards to purchase a product or service, make sure that your site design includes a good security apparatus to protect customers from identity thieves. The right security measures can truly strengthen long-term customer relationships in a way that few other elements of site design can!

5. The Right Colors

If you’ve ever spent time on Instagram, you know that a major component of the effective graphic design is the use of the right colors to convey a company’s core message and philosophy. A business like Playdoh (@playdoh) creates a graphic design twist on an old children’s favorite with their Instagram account by employing strong primary colors evocative of childhood wonder and playfulness.

To convey a sense of strength and teamwork, on the other hand, the Nike Instagram account (@nike) employs simple reds and blues to suggest self-confidence and achievement. When choosing colors to accent your web design, try picking shades that match your company’s or client’s core values. The right color design will really impress customers and take your site to the next level!

For these reasons, striking the right balance with web design can increase customer conversion rates in ways that few other initiatives can. Whether it’s via the implementation of Hick’s law or by striving to protect customer information from identity thieves, good website design is sure to bring more site visitors into the fold of long-term customers and clients. And that is truly web design at its best!

Improve Your Online Reputation

5 Ways SEO Can Help You Manage Your Online Reputation

Using SEO to Improve Your Online Reputation

The search engine optimization game is constantly evolving and changing with the algorithms. While this powerful digital marketing method has been used for years as a way to rank websites higher in the SERPs and boost the visibility of websites in the eyes of the online audience, in recent years it has become an integral part of online reputation management. Quite simply, SEO helps your website rank higher, but more importantly in the modern business world, it can help your brand stand out as a powerful authority figure.

There is no denying that websites that rank higher have the potential to score a 20% CTR average, but imagine click-through rates on a website that not only ranks high in the SERPs but also holds a coveted position as one of the leading and most recognizable brands in the field. With all of this in mind, here are the five ways you can use SEO to manage and improve your online reputation.

Brand dissemination and community engagement

The modern consumer is a peculiar being. Highly inquisitive and curious, with a smartphone in their hand and an account on every relevant platform on the web, they will stop at nothing to find out who you are and where your true intentions may lie. In other words, the modern consumer does their research before deciding on a brand, and this research will mostly take place on social media.

Keep in mind that not only are potential customers researching your entire online presence, but that Google’s spiders are doing the same thing. This means that you need to disseminate your brand across the online world and provide all of the necessary information on every relevant platform that could help your rank higher and score positive reviews.

The better the reviews and the higher the engagement with your followers, the better your online reputation will become. With it comes better ranking and a prominent position in your industry. To initiate this snowball effect, make sure you’re:

  • Present on every relevant platform.
  • Providing detailed information about the company.
  • Listing your products and services.
  • Posting quality content regularly.
  • Engaging with your audience in meaningful conversations and discussions.
  • Answering questions and resolving community problems efficiently and effectively.
  • Commenting on relevant topics other than your own to associate your brand with the solution.

Creating stellar content across the board

If digital marketers can agree on one thing, it’s that quality content has a significant impact on rankings, and that there is no excuse for posting subpar pieces with poor keyword integration on the web. If you want to make it big in the online world, you need to go above and beyond with your content creation, and it all begins with elevating the proverbial bar. Remember, only stellar content will make it into the top three listings on Google.

However, content creation is not just about answering a problem or integrating keywords – nowadays it’s also about organic brand implementation and storytelling. You need to immerse your readers into the topic in order to boost engagement, shareability, mentions, and of course, minimize your bounce rate. Combining stellar content with careful keyword and brand name integration will deem you worthy in the eyes of Google, and secure a top spot in the SERPs.

Building local authority with market-specific SEO

Another crucial element of authority and a stellar reputation in the digital realm is market-specific SEO. Focusing on local SEO can help your business stand out in your specific marketplace. This is an effective strategy for individual franchise outlets, local businesses catering to a single market, and even global brands who want to ensure brand consistency across the board. New York City is a prime example of the effectiveness of local SEO, as standing out in this bustling beehive has been a pain point for entrepreneurs and business leaders for years.

New York is a highly-competitive area, so it only stands to reason that an agency offering New York SEO services includes comprehensive strategies that use localized keywords to rank the brand higher in its niche and the local marketplace. This will allow the brand to rank higher in the local SERPs, boost brand awareness in the community, and build a more trustworthy relationship with the local demographic.

Emphasizing the video content form

Search engine optimization in its latest form ventures beyond written content and into the realm of video creation. With Google putting emphasis on brands that produce quality videos and integrate relevant keywords into video titles and descriptions, it only stands to reason that you should step up your videography game. Producing content in video form is an excellent way to improve audience engagement and disseminate your content on video platforms such as YouTube and the likes.

As the number of views rises over time, so will the video’s ranking in the SERPs. In turn, you will raise brand awareness and thus your online reputation – provided that your videos are as good as your blogs. Another factor you should take into consideration is how brand-audience communication can impact your rankings. Make it a priority to answer comments on your videos and inspire conversations for Google to take notice.

Mentioning your brand name with relevant keywords

On a last note, it’s important to acknowledge the power of positive association and repetition. Your brand name should appear in every post you publish, no matter the form, no matter the topic. This builds awareness and solidifies your brand in the minds of the consumers.

Combine your brand name with your most relevant keywords, and you have yourself a recipe for success when it comes to getting on Google’s good side. Associating the content with your brand will tell the algorithm that there is a relevant connection between the two, which will in turn improve your ranking and portray you as the authority brand in your niche.

In conclusion

SEO is the name of the digital marketing game, and it’s not likely that its importance for your long-term success will diminish any time in the foreseeable future. That said, SEO is also an ever-evolving science and art form, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends and utilize the best practices to build your online reputation.

Eight Business Mistakes to Be Aware of After Your First Year

Mistakes happen. We are human, and we are not infallible. The trick is not necessarily avoiding mistakes altogether, but instead using them as a learning experience. In business — particularly when running a startup — it’s also essential that you deal with any problems as soon as possible to prevent them from growing into something insurmountable. Some business mistakes may even come back to haunt you later down the line, in that case, it’s about being prepared.

Of course, the best thing to do is to avoid making the mistake in the first place. That’s not always possible, as some things are just going to play out how they play out. However, you can avoid some common problems during your first year of business — mistakes which many other entrepreneurs have made in the past. Here are eight examples.

1. Register as a Business Entity

In the U.S., most states require you to have a business license or at least be registered before you can start operating as one. This process is not the same as incorporating or starting an organization, but it’s just as important because it separates your personal assets from your business assets. What does that mean?

If you’re selling a product that hurts someone or makes them sick and they decide to sue your company, that’s where the business entity comes into play. When registered as a business, that essentially takes over, and the person(s) suing can only collect from your business assets and funds, including available insurance. If you’re not an “entity,” your personal assets are on the table, too. It could very well be the difference between only losing your business funds and supplies or losing your home and personal materials, too.

The most common form of business entity is an LLC or limited liability corporation.

2. Plan Ahead

There’s no way to know for sure what’s coming in the years ahead. Your business could slowly start to grow, die off entirely or hit a sudden boom bringing in millions of dollars a day — you just don’t know. But that doesn’t change anything in regards to planning. You should always plan ahead and have multiple contingencies for when an event or scenario plays out. Don’t prepare just for success, either.

More importantly, you should remember to set goals you can strive toward. Don’t just set them in the near future, either — consider two, five and even 10 years down the line. What would you like to achieve? What new avenues, products or services would you like to pursue? Would you like to be in new markets?

Expanding your business into new markets or opening up new locations, for instance, will be necessary to grow influence and support. But it’s important to understand the risks, timing and requirements, so you don’t incur more significant problems. Do it at the wrong time, and you’ll stretch your capital and assets thin, which could result in failure for the entire operation.

Start with a huge list of desirable yet realistic goals and narrow down what you want to achieve as you continue to grow.

3. Learn to Protect Your Business

Too many startups fail simply because the owner or owners were not prepared to deal with certain unfortunate yet legal events. They did not consult legal assistance, they did not file the appropriate paperwork to protect their assets or they did not draw up a contract to prevent gutting or theft.

Imagine two friends working together to build a startup. Things start to go sour, and one decides to leave, but they want to take “their” ideas or accomplishments with them. It’s too late to draw up a contract to protect the business at that moment. So, you should do it beforehand.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Protect intellectual property through trademarks, copyrights, etc.
  • Draw up a contract before things get hot and heavy, explicitly outlining what stays with the business and who gets what during a split
  • Create similar contracts for partners, vendors and investors
  • Consult attorneys, accountants and bankers for advice and support — don’t do everything yourself
  • Acquire the necessary insurance or emergency financial support

4. Don’t Incorporate Too Early

Many companies and business owners will decide to incorporate when they’re running low on funds, which opens up their business to public investments and incredible growth. It’s a good idea, and it’s a great source of capital — but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for your business.

Do not incorporate until your business has a clear foundation and it’s apparent whether you’re going to sink or swim over the coming years. That might sound vague, but you can predict relatively well through past performance how a business will do on its current trajectory.

There are many requirements of an incorporated business you may or may not be able to deal with. For example, investors are going to want the company run the way they think is best, which means making decisions that please them — not necessarily how you would want your business to be shaped. This can completely alter the planning and design phases, as you must incorporate what your investors want as part of your decision, as opposed to only what you or your team might want.

5. Undervaluing Your Products or Services

The price you charge for your goods when you enter the market sets a precedent for your business. In most cases, it’s difficult to raise prices or change a payment plan after your company is in operation, even with iterative product updates. You’d have to make substantial changes to warrant the increase, and many customers are going to be against it or upset by it.

That doesn’t mean you should never change prices, but the critical point here is that you don’t want to undervalue what you have to offer when you’re just starting. A lot of businesses set their price points too low because they aren’t confident or they fear failure.

Before launching anything, explore the market thoroughly to review comparable products. What are similar companies charging? What do your products or services have that others don’t? What’s a good price range for your industry?

6. Avoiding New Technology

For any business, the adoption of new technologies, systems and tools is going to be a costly endeavor — that’s just how it is. The bigger the team, the more time and resources it will take to roll out a new solution — which includes higher costs.

Money aside, you should never be afraid to adopt new technologies or solutions. Many will help teams do their work more effectively, increasing output and ultimately lowering operating costs. In other words, it’s almost always worth the investment.

Do your research beforehand. Also, don’t adopt too many new platforms at once, just work on a single upgrade at a time. When assessing what to try or what to install, consider what parts of your normal day-to-day operations could do with a little improvement.

7. Know Your Ideal Customer

You could have the greatest idea ever for a business or product, but it won’t make a difference if you don’t know who your customer is. That also means understanding what they want, how they live and how they might interact with your business in the future. Will they be willing to upgrade to a new model as soon as it’s available, for instance?

Knowing your customer is not just vital for regular business operations and development, it’s also crucial to marketing. You need to speak directly to your customers through your marketing campaign, including those that have yet to invest in your business.

8. Need Strong Marketing

Speaking of marketing, you won’t see a lot of growth if you aren’t continually promoting your business. Marketing takes many forms from online and social media content to word of mouth referrals. Furthermore, as a local business or new startup, your marketing campaigns are going to look a lot different than large organizations.

You won’t succeed at marketing, however, if you don’t understand your market. That means getting to know your customers, understanding your competition and knowing the current market sentiment. Are people just not interested in the products or services you wish to sell, for instance? How can you change that?

If you don’t learn to market early, you’re going to have a much more difficult time later on. Not to mention, you won’t have a consistent way to bring on new customers and clientele.

Mistakes Happen, So Learn to Correct Your Trajectory

Even armed with these incredibly helpful tips, you’re going to make a few mistakes. That’s okay. What’s important is that you correct your trajectory as soon as you realize what’s happening and that you learn from any errors, so you don’t repeat them.

Running a startup business is not a simple or easy feat. It’s challenging, there will be lots of obstacles and it takes a lot of time, patience and money. But you can make it happen. Just stay focused on your goals, trust in your support and keep pushing forward.

Inspirational Illustrators on Instagram

Stop and Follow These Super Fun, Empowering Illustrators on Instagram

Follow these Illustrators on Instagram

Hate social media bringing you down? Hate scrolling and slowly feeling down about yourself as the posts roll by? Follow these ten illustrators on Instagram we suggest below and you’ll perk right up. We promise!

We are all about inspiration these days. We have started a Facebook group for creatives and hope you’ll join. Head to the We Are Weapons – Go Media Creative Crew on Facebook and request to join in on the conversation.

A few more notes before the inspiration begins:

selfcareisforeveryone

A space that honors the importance of choosing self-care over self-harm.

Inspirational Illustrators to Follow on Instagram

ladieswinedesign

Empowering creative ladies! Started by @jessicavwalsh
powered by awesome ladies worldwide in over 200 cities.


recipesforselflove


hellomynameiswednesday

THEY/THEM pls | queer trans artist & activist


onbeinginyourbody

A way of being | A space for embodied wisdom


positivelypresent

Original artwork © Dani DiPirro
DC-area artist + author


tylerfeder

illustrator trying her best


 

gemmacorrell

infamous anti-socialite and pug lady


bethdrawsthings


florencegiven

London Based Artist & Social Issues Advocate

Hiring a Professional Logo Designer

7 Reasons to Hire a Professional Logo Designer

Hiring a Professional Logo Designer

https://www.pexels.com/photo/art-blur-close-up-fingers-450273/

What makes a company stand out? Is it a unique product that no one else in the industry is selling? Is it dedication to providing round-the-clock customer service? Is it a history of contributing money to charity?

All of these are certainly true, but in a more basic sense, what makes a company stand out is simply its logo. For something that is essentially just a small illustration, it can exercise a remarkably powerful influence on consumers.

To illustrate, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Apple, Nike, or McDonald’s? Before you even start thinking about what these companies are about, your mind will conjure up an image of the half-eaten apple, the iconic ‘swoosh’, or the yellow ‘M’ against a red background. This is the power of the logo.

If you are a business owner yourself, coming up with a logo to represent your company should be one of your top priorities. And unless you are also a designer, it is advisable to leave the task of bringing your vision to life to a professional logo design company.

Doing this has several benefits over trying to create one on your own, or leaving the job to amateurs, and we will cover the most important ones in the rest of this article.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/turned-on-gray-laptop-computer-1449081/

1. To Establish Your Brand Identity

Think of a company as an entity that has two key features. One is its internal structure, which is a kind of mechanism for producing wealth. The other is its outward appearance, the image it projects into the public sphere. The marketing discipline of branding is primarily concerned with the latter, namely with the process of forming and disseminating the company’s image. And a logo is a key element of this process. The purpose of a logo is to encapsulate your company’s brand identity into a simple, reproducible form, so it can be used as a visual shorthand for representing your company to clients and customers.

2. To Make Your Products And Services Recognizable

In a hypothetical world where marketing never took off as a commercial activity, there would be little means of distinguishing between various products and services that society produces. One can of tuna would look like any other, and consumers would have no means of telling them apart, even if they came from different factories. Now, imagine adding a logo of your favorite seafood brand to one of the cans. Suddenly, the can without a logo will look boring and nondescript, whereas the one with a logo will immediately jump out at you. The point should be obvious – having a logo is crucial to make customers notice your products and services.

3. To Set You Apart From Your Rivals

We will extend our example from the previous paragraph, and ask you to imagine that a competitor of yours now has their logo on the other can of tuna. We are now back to square one – the cans are indistinguishable insofar each of the has a logo plastered over it. This is where the element of competition comes into play. In order to make your can stand out, your logo has to be better at identifying your product than the one your competitor is using. And a professionally designed logo will always look better than a doodle by an amateur, so make sure that your company only uses the former.

4. To Build Trust With Consumers

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A logo is not just an image. It is also a symbol, and symbols have meaning. Take the symbol of the cross. For a non-christian, a cross is just the intersection of two lines. For a believer, the cross represents the very core of their faith. A logo rarely inspires such adherence, but it will nonetheless communicate some sort of message to people that are aware of it. And the message your logo should be communicating is one of trust. And if your customers associate your logo with a sense of trustworthiness, they will be more willing to do business with your company.

5. To Communicate Complex Messages
Logos are used to build trust, but they can also transmit more specific messages. In this sense, a logo is a means of describing the thing it is associated with, whether it is your company as a whole, or a particular product or service your are offering. Take the famous Nike ‘swoosh’. For one of the most famous logos ever created, the ‘swoosh’ is rather minimalist in its design, but only on first glance. The ‘swoosh’ resembles a ‘tick’ used to mark the completion of a task, conjuring forth images of success. It also evokes a sense of motion due to the a variation in thickness, another idea which is in line with Nike’s brand identity.

6. To Enhance Your Aesthetics

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While a logo is arguably the most prominent visual element of your company’s aesthetic, it is by no means the only one. Equally important are your choice of color, font, and website layout. The question then becomes: which element should you develop first? There is no one answer to this question, but we would like to argue that by opting to first design your logo, you will make it much easier for yourself to come up with the other two. Our reasoning is the following: a logo combines all three of the aforementioned aspects of your visual aesthetic in a neat little package. It has a specific color scheme, it often includes some form of writing, and it’s overall shape is a good starting point for developing the layout for a website.

7. To Create a Legacy

If you sit down and sift through a book on medieval illustration, you will find a lot of images that resemble logos of today. These so-called heraldic symbols were used to identify various institutions, guilds, and families. More importantly, a heraldic marking was a sign of legacy – it implied that whoever wore the mark came from a long line of descendants of good repute. And your company logo can also work in this fashion. Once your company gets established as a reputable name in your industry, its logo will slowly start accumulating value over time. Eventually, your logo might even outgrow your company, becoming a true symbol of its own.

Conclusion
As you can see, a professionally designed logo can bring substantial benefits to your company. Whether you are trying to differentiate yourself from competitors, raise brand awareness, or communicate more effectively with consumers, a logo can help you achieve these goals, all for the price of a single illustration.

Before and After Comparisons of Famous Logo Redesigns

Which Franchise Business is Best

How to Determine Which Franchise Business is Best for You

There is a certain draw, a certain magnetism towards being an entrepreneur. Sure, the potential profits can be amazing, there is barely a ceiling on how much money you can make, but there must be something else that makes a person work the insane hours required. It’s the freedom, the control. It’s the fact that all the profits you make, all the success you have, and it’s all yours. However, the risk is very high, as is the starting investment. This is where franchise businesses come in.

Instead of starting everything from scratch, you get the opportunity to run a local branch of a franchise you concluded a contract with. You, for a fee, obtain the right to a franchise, to run a branch with their products, brands, trademarks… With a franchise, you get to essentially be your own boss, all your achievements (and failures) will be yours and yours alone. However, the stating capital needed is much lower than what you need to get for your own business. Furthermore, you get a completely developed plan and marketing strategy pretty much handed to you.  

Know that while franchising isn’t for everyone, for some it is the perfect opportunity to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.  However, giving it a shot requires some forethought (obviously). Below are some tips on how to figure out what kind of franchise is right for you.

Which Franchise Business is Best?

What is your initial budget?

The first thing you need to ask yourself is – what is your budget like? Franchise prices vary greatly, they can range from anything between ten thousand dollars, to a cool million. Weight in what your initial investment can be, as well as your expected profits, how soon you will break even, what’s your lifestyle like, and what your goals are.

Understand that the initial investment will depend on the line of work you have chosen. A restaurant will be much more expensive when compared to a B2B company. The equipment can be substantial, refrigerators, coolers, ovens, grills, all the cutlery. You will also need to set up the right décor. Utilities can be quite high, as can the cost of rent if you’re anywhere near a high-traffic location. On the other hand, a B2B consulting company that does all its work online can have its location set-up essentially wherever you want. The initial equipment, besides a few costly computers and software licences, is pretty minimal.

What role do you want to play?

Now, depending on how you want to spend your workday, you can choose to work as an operator, or an absentee owner. If you’re interested in getting right into it, going on the frontlines, then being an operator is an excellent choice. You will have direct insight into what’s going on at the company, will be able to control everything. It is the perfect choice for anybody who gravitates towards a hands-on approach.

On the other hand, absentee owners are more like pure investors. They hire the right staff, and are involved with some of the day-to-day grind, but they are mostly behind the scenes. They let the staff they hired to actually manage the whole enterprise. Now, of course, these choices depend on the franchise. Some places expect one type of work, others the other. Most often you will have free reign, but the actual type of business may require you to be at the office every day.

Do you have any experience (and in which area)?

Finally, you need to figure out where your interests are, in which area have you accumulated experience. There is no point in running a company branch whose line of work you despise. Go with your passion. Are you obsessed with cars? Maybe get the number from some car selling franchise.  Do you love artisanal teas? Then calling up Chatime for franchise options is your best bet. How about fashion? Then contact a clothing brand. What you need is passion, and some kind of (formal or informal) education in that area. A couple of years in the business can come in handy as well.

And this isn’t just about passion, or pure knowledge, but about connections as well. If you want to get a franchise focused on the fast food industry, having some ties in that world will serve you well. Knowing the right distributors, maintenance workers, wholesalers and retailers will make your life much easier than just starting from scratch.

Conclusion

A franchise can be just as exciting and lucrative, if not more so, than regularly starting your own business. You still get a serious amount of control, and will have very high potential profits. Furthermore, a big chunk of the work, regarding marketing and planning, will be laid out in front of you. Just remember to figure out what you’re passionate about, and how much experience do you have. Be honest with how big your initial budget can be, and what kind of leadership role can you take on.

Why Your Business Should Consider Investing in Influencer Marketing

Where should you invest your online marketing dollars? Tracking online marketing efforts isn’t an easy task. Results aren’t immediately noticeable for some campaigns, and building a brand name adds value to your company in ways other than strictly monetary.

Influencer marketing utilizes people online with an established fan base and voice to get the word out about your products and company. However, influencer campaigns tend to offer a slow build toward name recognition rather than fast results. Ongoing investment and working with multiple influencers works best for most businesses.

There are eight key reasons your business should invest in influencer marketing.

1. Reach More Millennials

The millennial generation is one of the largest generations since the baby boomers, and they are now a vast buying block. About 70 percent of millennials tell surveyors the recommendations of their peers influence their purchase decisions. In a sea of businesses and online advertising, standing out to a marketing-savvy demographic isn’t easy, but your brand can still reach millennials where they live via social media influencers.

2. Keep up With Competitors

As more marketers realize the value of influencer marketing, your competitors get on the bandwagon. Remaining competitive requires embracing the same types of marketing but also thinking outside the box.

Work with influencers your competitors aren’t already working with. Think about who has similar audiences to yours, develop relationships with them and reach out for partnerships. The idea behind influencer marketing is creating a mutually beneficial relationship. Your audience should be a gain for the influencer and vice versa.

 

Lululemon Athletica teamed up with well-known names and micro-influencers to get the word out about its brand. In the screenshot above, professional surfer Malia Manuel shows off her Lululemon gear as she holds a yoga pose. Posts such as this give customers a reason to visit Lululemon’s website or Instagram page.

3. Grow Your Social Following

When an influencer mentions your brand, you gain access to their followers. While not all will respond to a campaign, some will. You’ll gain likes, followers and shares each time you work with an influencer on a campaign, and try out this auto likes instagram free trial to increase your brand.

Another way of engaging with influencers on social media is by commenting on their posts and sharing their content with your followers. Make sure your comments aren’t spammy but are related to the post at hand and add value to the conversation. Folks interested in the topic may find your comment interesting and click on your profile to learn more about you.

4. Create Instant Trust

New brands sometimes have a difficult time building trust with new customers. You don’t have a proven track record and users have no real reason to trust you and your customer service. However, they may already trust the influencer, who does have a proven record of only recommending the best products and services in the industry. Getting a recommendation from an influencer people already trust lends credibility to your brand.

 

50 Floor utilizes the help of a well-known influencer on the landing page of its website. Richard Karn is famous for his role as the handyman Al on “Home Improvement.” When site visitors see his smiling face, they immediately think of high-quality work ethic and home improvement. Finding a recognized and trusted influencer lends credibility to your brand name.

5. Find Influencers Easily

Figuring out who to contact at a print magazine and how to create the right resolution and size ad is a grueling task for someone new to the advertising game. However, finding an influencer is as simple as researching a topic and seeing who is talking about that trend on social media. You can see at a glance which accounts have a decent following.

Pay attention to how many people interact on their profile pages and not just how many followers they have, as some people have a lot of bot followers. Are their users engaging when they post content? Pay particular attention to any branded posts they put up and how their followers react. Getting attention from 3,000 highly targeted and engaged users is preferable to little attention from a million followers.

6. Gain Sells

A powerful influencer mentions your product and the orders roll in. While influencer marketing isn’t always fast, there are times when it is. A recommendation to take advantage of a special offer works well, especially if the audience trusts the influencer has their best interests at heart. Working with such an influencer increases your sales.

One example of a company utilizing an influencer to sell a product is Glossybox working with YouTube influencers. It created videos of the influencers opening its monthly subscription boxes and then using those products. The conversions from a Revfluence campaign were phenomenal, with 150,000 views and $3,000 in monthly sales — for far more than a single month.

7. Create Unique Content

One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is creating content regularly. However, working with influencers gives you content to share on your social media sites and even on your website. Influencers create reviews, videos, short posts, photos and more.

The cost of hiring a professional writer and photographer is far more than the cost of bringing on an influencer who also creates this type of content. A smart marketing mix is splitting your budget between influencers and unique content.

8. Add a Fresh Perspective

Figuring out ways of marketing your products isn’t easy. Over time, ideas grow stale, and you need something fresh and cutting-edge. Influencers brainstorm ideas with you because they know what their audience responds best to. The way they see your brand may be slightly different than the way you see it. Their unique viewpoint allows them to showcase you in a new light with a fresh audience.

Cost-Effective Tool

Influencer marketing is one of the most effective tools you have for increasing brand awareness. Approach it as you would any other type of marketing endeavor. Do your research, study the competition and create a plan. Keep in mind that the best results often take time, but don’t rule out immediate benefits, either. Look for ongoing partnership opportunities that expand the reach of your brand and add fresh ideas to your business.