Build a Company Culture that Supports Your Brand

As a company, your goal is to make your customers feel that they are making the right choice when they choose to do business with you. That means you have to promise them quality, affordability and customer service. You may make numerous promises about your company and what it represents or can offer consumers, but if you can’t follow through on your promises, your customers won’t stick around for long. That is why it is important to build a company culture that supports your brand and reflects it accurately.

Core Values
Every company claims to have core values, but many don’t take them seriously. Sure it looks good to list some core values and have consumers believe that your company believes and follows them, but that isn’t enough. Your company should support and follow those values and not only know what they are but honestly believe in them and work to reflect those values in various aspects of your business practices.

Find Ways To Demonstrate Your Company Culture
Don’t just tell your customers you company cares about or supports something. Involve your customers in your core values and find ways to demonstrate all the positive things about your company.

Train Your Employees To Reflect The Company’s Values
If your employees don’t understand or find your company’s message or core values important, they won’t represent your company well and may not be right for you. When you interview possible employees, present your values and company culture and ask how the employee feels about the values and will work to represent and uphold them. You may need to show your employees how to incorporate your values and ideas into their daily work and how to express them to customers.

Having a strong company culture can be very beneficial. You will not only attract more customers, but you will keep customers longer by helping them to trust and count on your company to deliver what they want and need. If you don’t already have a strong company culture, it’s time to create one. What do your company stand for and what do you want your customers to know about it?

5 Typical E-book Design Mistakes

Designing an e-book for your business is an important investment; it engages customers and helps grow your influence online. Furthermore, it’s incredibly cost-effective compared to creating and distributing print materials. However, despite an e-book’s effectiveness, it can be brought down simply with one or more elements of bad design. Here are a few common mistakes that designers make when developing e-books; look out for them and let your designers know to avoid them.
1. Color
At first glance, an e-book format offers the opportunity to use so many colors and images that aren’t available in print format due to cost issues, or simply because they don’t look the same. However, it is important not to overdo the color usage, as this will only distract readers and create a jarring image that ruins the overall e-book experience.
2. Cover design
A cover is the first, and in many cases, the only thing that a potential e-book reader will see; browsing through numerous titles, the cover is supposed to capture a reader’s attention and motivate him or her to download the full title. If a cover looks like every other cover out there, the user will move on. That’s why it’s crucial to design a cover that is unique and easily recognizable; it has to be one that a reader will remember and immediately associate with that particular e-book. The most common designer’s mistake is designing a generic cover; this significantly decreases the e-book’s success.
3. Fonts
Although it might be tempting to use what might seem to be a “fun” or interesting font, it is ultimately more important to use a simpler one that draws readers in and makes the e-book easier to read. As a general rule of thumb, sans serif fonts work best for reading on electronic devices, which e-books are intended for; a font size, furthermore, should be neither too large nor too small, with size 10-11 being the most recommended.
4. Formatting
Basic formatting, such as spacing and text justification are critical to the design of an e-book. A typical mistake may include overusing centered text; while it may be helpful to draw attention to a header, it ultimately is harder to read and creates a less professional format. Spacing mistakes include leaving too much or too little space in between letters, sentences, or paragraphs, leading to confusion and poor aesthetic appeal.
5. Readability
Common readability issues include long blocks of text, uninterrupted by images, graphics, or page breaks; a reader will get lost and be unable to continue reading if an e-book is designed this way. Failing to include elements that help the reader organize the information, such as page numbers and headers, can also impede readability.

What is Content Marketing and How To Use It

What Is Content Marketing Content marketing is a type of writing that allows you to gain customers and make more money as a business. It is a way of using content to drive people to your website or make them interested in your products and services. Some companies choose to hire professional writers to do content marketing for them and others are capable of handling this task themselves. Content marketing is an easy and successful way to get your business name out there and get people interested in your company. Why Is It Useful Content marketing is useful because it is simple advertising. People are always looking for information online and if they happen to stumble across information or content that directs them to your website or offers information about your company, they are likely to become interested and willing to learn more. This could also lead to them telling others about your website or business and eventually, you begin to gain more customers as a result of the content marketing reaching so many people. How To Successfully Use Content Marketing The best way to create successful content marketing articles is to give the readers useful information while connecting it to your business, website or company. The content should not only inform the readers, it should explain to them how your products or services can help or benefit them. At the end of your content you should include a link to direct them to your website. When a reader is genuinely interested in what they are reading, they will be anxious to learn more or take action for or against what they read. If you offer a link or a next step, they are likely to click on it. Content marketing doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing and you don’t have to be a professional writer to master it. Focus on providing useful information as well as information about your company and your content marketing will be successful. You may also choose to have someone create the content for you. No matter what you choose, content marketing can help you business grow.

File Extensions…What Do They Mean?

If you are planning to hire a designer to create or plan the layout for your website, you will likely receive many documents and images in a variety of file formats. It is important to know what these formats are and how to use them. Once you understand what each format does and how it can best be used, you will be able to use them to build your website the way you want it. GIF GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. These types of files are used for both websites and emails and are able to minimize files, making transfers easier. GIF format can be used for website logos, buttons, banners and clickable icons. EPS EPS stands for Encapsulated Postscript. This format is used for high-resolution images that are can or will be printed. EPS is versatile and can open and edit vector images. It can protect images and but does not require any specific software to open images. AI AI stands for Adobe Illustrator Document. It is a popular image format that is used by many designers and editors. AI is used to create logos and banners and can also be used to create vector images, which are easy to edit. AI is preferred because it is easy to use and is a versatile tool. PNG PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics. These files are fully interactive and often large files. Websites are an example of a PNG format. PNGs can be changed and do not lose their quality because they are low-resolution files. PNG formatted files are not suitable for printing. JPG JPG or JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This format is a popular one and is used for images. The images lose quality as they become smaller, but print well and in high resolution. PDF PDF stands for Portable Document Format. PDFs are used for sharing and viewing rich information from any application. PDFs can be viewed on any computer and by anyone but can also be password protected. PDF documents can also be edited and resent and are a way to exchange information. TIF TIF stands for Tagged Image File. These files are photographs and images and are suitable for printing. TIF files are large files. Trying to understand the many types of file formats and extensions may be confusing, but is simple. Learning how to use these formats will make you a better designer and editor or can help you better understand how your designer creates websites and files.

Effective Resume Design

When it comes to getting hired for a job, most people do everything they can to present themselves properly and show off their skills. Your resume is the best way to do that, but did you know that the design of your resume is just as important as the information it contains. A resume with a good design could help you get a job just like a resume with a bad design could prevent you from getting hired. Readability Does the font and format you have chosen for your resume make it easy to read and appealing to the reader. When someone reads a resume, they almost instantly decide how it makes them feel, sometimes just by looking at it. Your resume should be simple, clean and easy to read. It should make the reader feel relaxed and comfortable and should not require them to work hard to understand it. Information Overload It can be hard to figure out exactly what you should or shouldn’t put on your resume, but too much can be worse than not enough. The reader doesn’t want to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they read. Your resume should include basic information about your education, experience and goals and highlight some of your skills. Anything else can be discussed during an interview. Keep It Simple You might think that fancy font or those cute images make your resume stand out, but they could get it noticed in all the wrong ways. Instead of decorating your resume, use information and organization to make it stand out and catch the attention of the reader. Fancy fonts, strange formats and images are just confusing and distracting. You have worked hard to gain the education and experience needed for a job. Make sure you resume demonstrates all of your amazing skills and personality, without confusing the reader or make it seem like you are trying to hard. Don’t let your resume design stop you from getting a job. Take your time, proofread and think about the point you are trying to make and get across. Your resume is a way for you to sell yourself.

6 Tips to Design on a Budget

Watching pennies is important for every not-for-profit organization; those that are creative in nature need to be especially vigilant. It can be difficult to create beautiful work when you are working with a tight budget. However, it is not impossible. Keep reading for some tips on how to create beautiful work on a tight budget.

Use free stock photos  Using the best images in an important aspect of creating the perfect design. Although there are many online avenues to stock photos, many of them come with a cost. However, there are many lesser-known free sites as well. These sites have great photos to choose from that don’t cost a dime. Use free fonts  There are as many free fonts available as there are free stock photos. Although it can take some time to look through them all to find the perfect one, it is possible. Borrow from yourself  Do not forget that you are a creative person. If you have already designed something that you really like, reuse it. It is easy to swap out colors, fonts, or make some other minor changes. Once the original design has been repurposed, it is ready to use in another way. Use a template  Using a template is a great way to get started on a project without having to spend any money. Most templates give the user control to change an aspect of it, so creating something completely original by using a template as a base is completely possible. Go for high impact rather than high concept  Don’t forget the standard rule of advertising, “sell the sizzle, not the steak”. Spending an exorbitant amount of time creating designs with lots of ornate flourishes can cost you money in the long run if it doesn’t sell the product. Sticking to the basics and creating simple yet effective designs can save both time and money. Do not try to please everyone  Agreeing to make every tiny change everyone involved with the product asks for costs time and money. When you get into this habit, a project that should have been finished quickly can end up sitting on your desk for weeks. Decide on a design, have it approved (if necessary), and complete it. Not only will you save money, but you will also be happier in the long run. Saving money on design projects ultimately means a not-for-profit will have more money to allocate to other areas of the organization. Creating fabulous designs on a tight budget definitely take some patience and skill. However, making the effort is well worth it.

Guide to Client Pitches

Knowing how to correctly and efficiently pitch your design ideas to clients is an extremely important skill to have. In order to get work (Repeated work, at that), as a designer, you have to be able to get the client to see your vision as you see it and make them fall in love with it, as well. Minimally, it’s necessary to convince a client that your design fulfills their needs and serves their goal better than any other design could. In the interest of moving forward with a client, your pitch must stand out and be persuading. Doing such things as having a thoroughly structured and thought out presentation and extensively researching your client and their needs will get you ahead of the game.  
  1. Have a strong presentation
When delivering a pitch, it is important to have some type of idea about how you will go about presenting it. HOW Design University instructor Douglass Davis has devised a seven-step plan to help with the delivery of the pitch to subtly sell it without it being obvious. Such steps included in Davis’ plan are insight (Share an observation), therefore (Explain your conclusion), concept (Present your idea), execution (Explain how your design will meet your client’s goals), benefit (Explain how your design benefits the client), message (Explain what the consumer gets out of it), and objective (Briefly come back to the client’s goal).  
  1. Know the client
Being that your client is the one who makes the big decision on whether your design fits their goals or not, it is extremely vital to know as much about your client’s needs, wants, and interests as possible. Talk to them about their vision. Check out some of their past projects. Try to get a feel for what your client wants by looking at the project from their perspective. Getting to know more about your client will allow you to tailor your design and pitch to fit their goals accordingly.  
  1. Do your research, extensively
When you present your design idea for the first time, your client will naturally have questions. Even so, it’s key to do your research so well that you answer all of their questions within your presentation or leave your client with a minimal amount of questions to ask. Be the answers man. Ask yourself all the questions your client would ask while researching so you’ll have a solution ready for them. This makes you look efficient and quickly calms any concerns your potential client could have. Not to mention, you’ll increase their confidence in your designs.

Graphic Design: What is Negative Space?

No matter what art form you are working in, the composition of a piece is of utmost importance. Knowing how to properly balance artistic elements to reach a harmonic and satisfying whole is one of the primary challenges of becoming a great artist and producing marketable and engaging works. When creating any composition, the use of negative space will often make or break the piece. Simply put, negative space is the space that surrounds the elements of an image. For example, if you were looking at a painting of column against a white background, the negative space would be the white background. Having the proper amount of negative space, and placing the elements within it appropriately, have a major impact on how a viewer engages with a piece. From corporate logos to high end art, improperly applied negative space will make it difficult for your eyes to focus on the piece as a whole. In films, the use of negative space can be particularly important. As the amount of space kept relatively “empty” in a frame will help guide your eye from one image to the next in a way that helps Hollywood perform its “invisible” continuity editing style. In fact, films can be a great way to see the use of negative space in action when first becoming familiarized with the concept. Negative space not only affects how a viewer will engage visually with a piece, but it can also help in communicating an idea. An off-center element within a negative space, for example, can provide a sense of unbalance or confusion. If you were trying to provide a commentary on the instability of an object, the use of negative space could provide a helpful tool in achieving your goal. Although negative space is more often focused upon in minimalist works and designs, the importance of it extends to every art form, and every piece. It is practically impossible to escape negative space when creating art. From the actual space inside of the canvas or medium, to the location something such as a sculpture may be presented in, the negative space will affect the overall impact a piece has on an audience. Once you begin appreciating what purposefully implemented negative space can accomplish, you will start to gain much more from the objects around you.

Meaning of Color Part 1: Blue

Colors play a big role in how we see the world, not only physically but emotionally as well. Whether you notice it or not, certain colors can affect your mood in certain ways. Some colors might make you feel sad, and others can make you feel excited or even anxious. The interesting thing about colors and emotions is that many colors affect people the same way. . Since colors are so important in our daily lives, it makes sense for businesses to use colors in their advertisements and marketing to evoke feelings and help customers remember logos and brands. All About Blue One of the strongest colors and one that many businesses use in advertising is blue. Blue is a dominant color. When a person sees the color blue that often feel safe, calm, relaxed and secure. Blue is often used in company logos and brands. Blue is a dominant color and is often used to show that a company is reliable, trustworthy and professional. How Colors Affect Us Colors can affect everyone differently, but in many cases they don’t. Most people have the same reactions to certain colors and there is a scientific reason for it. When a person sees the color blue, the body begins to produce chemicals that are soothing or calming. The body literally relaxes, and the person may feel content and safe. This is because so many blue elements in nature are also calming and relaxing. The sky and water are both represented by the color blue and are associated with feeling relaxed and peaceful. How The Color Blue Can Help You If you are looking for a color to add to your business logo, website design, and advertising, think about what you want your customers to think and feel as soon as they see your marketing materials. Most people react to color without even realizing it, so before a customer even reads your materials, he or she has already formed somewhat of an opinion about your brand. By choosing the color blue to represent your company, you are telling your customers that they can be safe and confident with their decision to do business with you. You are telling them to trust you and to relax and allow themselves to be “taken care of” by the company. Color is an important part of our lives. Not only do we enjoy colors, but they can affect how we perceive things. If you want your company or business to be associated in a strong, dependable and professional way, you may want to consider including blue in your logos, brand, website design or marketing materials. How do you feel when you see the color blue?

How do designers pick typefaces?

Designers seem to be able to always choose the perfect font from a huge selection with seemingly no effort or error. Is it creative intuition? Or is there a science behind why it is better to use Arial or Calibri instead of Lucina Handwriting and Comic Sans? The answer is: it is a little of both. A designer likely goes into their field based on their strong sense of creative intuition, and slowly learns that there is, in fact, a theory behind the creation and use of typefaces. Consider Readability Back in the old days when papers were written by hand, it was important for the writer to use a nice, neat handwriting. Just because they might have the ability to pen a great bubble font did not mean that they necessarily should use it. It isn’t much different on the computer. Fonts with lots of sheriffs, blocks, shadows and curls look pretty and artistic, but should be limited to the headers and highlights of any document or web page at most. Professional works should be sans most font quirks, no matter how esthetically pleasing they might be. Fonts’ Contribution to Theme Now that you have limited your palette of potential fonts down to those in the class of Arial, Helvetica and Tahoma, it is time to narrow them a bit more. Uniformity is very important in contributing to a great theme, especially on a blog. While we may not think of the font as much as we think of the color and shape of the decorative images around the border, it is still very important. In fact, most internet pages and documents are primarily made up of words, and having a font that you use consistently can only help your theme become more memorable to readers. A General Tip: If it makes your eyes jump, or if it is difficult to focus on reading a whole line, then it might be a sign to change your typeface. A font with generous spacing between letters and words is better than a narrow font where everything blends together. Overall, if you have found a font that is a little more on the funky side than it is on the traditionally readable side, don’t worry. If you can read it with ease, chances are your readers will, too. The most important thing is to consider the rules and use your gut to make the final decision.
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