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.

How to deal with the “I don’t like it” statement

The worst words a designer can hear are “I don’t like it.” When a client doesn’t approve of a design or a portion of it, it can be frustrating and disheartening. How you react to the client’s comments can make or break your career and instead of feeling discouraged when a client request a revision or new design, you should learn how to ask for feedback so you can give the client exactly what he wants the next time around.

Apologize

It’s always a good idea to apologize for the confusion and reassure the client that you want to satisfy their needs and are willing to make changes to the design as needed. The client may be just as frustrated as you, but the reassurance will put them in a better mood and allow them to communicate clearly with you.

Request Feedback

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback or direction. As the client what he or she didn’t like about the design, what they would like to see changed or how you can make it better. It may be something small, or you may have to create a new design. Let the client direct you, so you can meet their needs. Don’t be afraid to ask for question or clarification of requests. Your client may think he or she is being clear about their wants and needs, but they can really be making requests that are confusing. When you know exactly what the client wants or needs, you can deliver better work for them.

Inform The Client

In some cases, the client may not know what they want or need. They may make a request that seems ridiculous to you or that could have negative effects on the message or character of their company. You can always politely question your clients on their requests and redirect them if necessary. If they request a font that you feel is too small or color that you do not think work well together, you may bring up your concerns and present them with other offers. In the end, go with what the client wants.

The next time a client tells you he or she does not like a design or an aspect of your design, don’t get discouraged or feel bad. Just find out what you can do to make the design better and learn from your experience and feedback.

Importance Of Visual Content On Social Media Marketing

Social media is one of the most effective and popular ways to market your business. You can reach millions of people on social media networks and over time, build your customer base. Social media is all about communication and visual content. Social media users will determine if they want to read an ad or visit a website based on the images and brand representation in the post. If you are going to use social media as a way to market your brand and grow your business, it is essential that you understand how to use visual content to make your brand more appealing.

What Is Personal Branding?

Personal branding is a way to present yourself or your company to others. Your personal brand should describe your company and tell prospective customers why you offer certain products or services. A personal brand should show what makes you different from similar companies, the name of your company and an image that represents it well and catchy theme title or byline. Your brand should be recognizable, meaning that when someone sees a certain phrase, color, image or name that they relate it to your company or products.

How To Use A Brand As Visual Content On Social Media

Before you post your advertisements or links on social media websites, think about how much more appealing and attractive your post will be if they contain images and visual content. Add your personal brand to your posts, and you will not only attract more readers and customers, but you will also make more people aware of your brand. Social media users will soon relate your brand images to the type of content and information you post on the social media sites, and both your brand and your business will grow.

If you want your social media audience to engage in your posts and be genuinely interested in the products and services you offer, you have to be able to explain what your company is all about by using your brand and visual content. By combining your personal brand with an image or images that represent your company well, you can create an exciting and appealing ad for your customers that will likely get a lot of clicks, comments, likes and shares across all of the major social media platforms. Get started on your personal brand and visual content right now.

Designing For A Global Company: Part 1

Website Design as a Global Company – Part 1

“Newsflash: since the creation of the Internet, all businesses are global companies.”

-Danielle, Designs By Dani

 

For U.S. businesses, designing an effective website is often challenging enough. But the Internet is, by its very nature, a global entity. And when you publish a website to the Internet – regardless of where your business is located or how geographically limited your customer base may be – you are essentially a global business.

Now, the reality is that many smaller, local businesses really are local. So if their website is not culturally accessible by visitors from other nations, then the impact can be insignificant for the business owner.

But if you are open to “international trade” and being able to reach a global market of prospects, there are certain functions and elements of your design that must be considered.

(A great resource if you want to dive deeper into the cultural aspects of website and brand design, see Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team by Alina Wheeler)

  1. Optimize Content for Multiple Languages

Optimizing your website’s text for global access requires that you make sure your layout will format well after machine translations. In other words, you want to make sure that when your text is written in English and converted to another language, the flow of graphics and copy will be supported by your layout.

Today, most websites use dynamically generated content that will flow correctly when converted to another language, but certain other elements can display badly. If possible, you should test your site using a machine translation service so you can see how your various webpage elements are displayed.

  1. Cultural Concerns

In the U.S. we have a shared way that we see the physical world and the meanings we attribute to things such as images and icons. This is why website design uses images and icons as metaphors to help us understand something that might not be comprehensible otherwise. Menus, buttons, folders, shopping baskets and other digital representations of real objects help us navigate the webpage. But our Westernized iconography does not always transfer or translate well cross-culturally.

When designing a website for a potentially multi-cultural diverse audience, you must consider the visual representations and icons that might be used. Because imagery, graphics and icons will be understood and perceived differently in different cultures, it’s difficult to know what graphical representations are for your site.

But if you have specific countries or national markets that you are intentionally reaching, it may only be a matter of doing the research needed for that particular culture. It’s worthwhile to determine what you should avoid or include in terms of imagery or references on your site.

  1. Color and Culture

Color can be quite challenging, as well, because color meanings are very distinctive among different cultures. And, while color is something you must consider with your website, a certain amount of research can pay off in terms of learning what to avoid – and what to include. Focus on your preferred markets and learn what colors, or color combinations, are preferable for those cultures.

Understandably, as the designer, you can’t create a website that works perfectly with every single culture in the world! But by being aware of these elements early in your design process, you can create a website that is as culturally sensitive as possible.

(Part 2 to follow)

Why Infographics for Your Business

“The visualization of information is enabling us to gain insight and understanding quickly and efficiently, utilizing the incredible processing power of the human visual system. Accessing and harnessing this power is not only valuable, but necessary, as we navigate the vast amounts of data presented to us daily.” 

Jason Lankow, Josh Ritchie & Ross Crooks, Infographics – The Power of Visual Storytelling

Why You Want Infographics for Your Business

Visual Storytelling: The Fast Track to Your Customer’s Heart

Brands that use visual content find that it triggers greater engagement with their customers and prospects. This isn’t a new discovery, however: visual storytelling goes back to prehistoric times with cave paintings, many of which still exist today all over the world.

Visual elements enable you to tell your story with greater impact than words alone. Visuals stir the emotions. And when the visual is a powerful one the effect is magnified.

Powerful visuals + evoke emotions = Deeper engagement

According to Getty Images, “Powerful visuals evoke emotions, driving a deeper engagement and more profound change in behavior.” This is true for your business because every buying decision is first and foremost an emotional one. Only once the emotional decision is made does the human mind provide the rationalization (or justification) of reason and logic.

This has powerful implications for how you interact with your customers, your prospects, and your potential leads. Visual elements such as images, video, and graphics can significantly impact engagement and the eventual buying decisions of your audience. Therefore, it makes sense that you will want to incorporate these elements into the design of your company website, social media platforms, and printed materials.

What Are Infographics and Why Use Them?

The term infographic is simply an abbreviation of “information graphic”. The term has gained popularity over the last few years and they have become increasingly common in online marketing.

At its most basic, an infographic is graphical representation of some type of data or information. The power of the infographic lies in the design and illustrative elements used. Otherwise dry and abstract information can be given powerful impact and be made far more compelling and memorable with a good infographic.

The benefits of good infographics for businesses is in their significantly greater effectiveness in creating appeal, reinforcing retention, and increasing comprehension. This is critical for your marketing efforts as well as for educating your audience with your company’s message. A well-designed infographic will boost the impact of your story with the power of having strong visual appeal, vivid clarity and a memorable message.

Website Designer or Web Developer

Website Designer or Web Developer: Do You Know the Difference?

The Role of the Website Designer

It’s helpful to think of the “designer” as the one who puts together what you and I see on a finished website. To accomplish this, a web designer will use graphics, fonts, and graphic design software to create the layout and appearance of a website. This design work also incorporates any interactive aspects of the site such as video, image sliders, and various links, etc.

The designer’s work is then brought to life, so to speak, online with the application of code.

Oftentimes, the designer may not be the person writing the code and, in some cases, may work together with the team or individual web developer whose task it is to take a website design live.

Good website designers have a strong grasp a variety of concepts such as color schemes, typography, layout, and the actual user experience. While coding is not actually required to be a competent web designer, many designers do learn code and few are adept at both design and coding.

Which brings us to…

The Web Developer

Web development, strictly speaking, is simply writing the code – various computer languages – that serve to create the visual interface we commonly refer to as our website. Without the code there is no website. With the code, you can have a site, but it may not be pretty!

This is not to say that web developers aren’t able to create sites that are visually appealing. But their primary objective is to create websites with good code and that are stable and technically sound. Their primary skillset rests in technical ability and process thinking.

Two Paths to One Web Goal

It can be said that, generally speaking, web designers are more “right-brained” in their abilities and approach to websites, while web developers are more “left-brained” and technically oriented. While this isn’t always true and, in fact, there are many talented web designers who also develop the websites, as well; it is usually a tag-team effort.

Ultimately, both designers and developers are working toward the same goal of creating a website that works well for its owner and its users.

6 Things About Your Mobile Design

Going Mobile: 6 Things You Need To Know About Your Mobile Design

While the world still relies on desktops and laptops for most of their Internet usage, we reached the “Mobile Tipping Point” last year when the number of actual mobile users surpassed the number of desktop users worldwide.

For any business owner with a website it has become quite apparent that everyone is accessing the Internet now with a smartphone or similar device. And this means your site must be functional and visually accessible on a wide variety of mobile devices.

The good news is that it doesn’t require rocket science to design a site that works well on both desktop computers and mobile devices. There are six essential principles to keep in mind to ensure that your site looks good, works well, and is not abandoned by mobile users:

Focus on the message

The old saying that “Less is more” certainly applies here. Avoid assorted apps, links, spinning graphics, and such. In the mobile visual environment these are simply clutter and distract the user from effectively seeing and grasping your central message. Whether your website serves as your online store, an information resource, or simply a virtual brochure, it must work to visually “stay on message.” Know what you want to say and make sure your site accomplishes that.

Brand it

Branding is more than a logo or a color scheme, although these are important, and you want to ensure yours is obvious. When designing your site to convey your brand message, one of the best ways is to tell a story. And for mobile, using graphics, video or visuals is often the most powerful and mobile-friendly approaches for your brand story.

Use one column design

Since almost all devices will automatically try to convert your site to a single-column layout, anticipate this with a clean, one column design and a logical hierarchy of content.

Cater to touch screen

In terms of layout and interactivity, your website should be designed for touchscreen devices. If at all possible, however, try to avoid requiring a user to access their virtual keyboard. And keep the required interactive buttons large and to a minimum.

Make it functional

Very little will cause a frustrated user on your site give up and move on than a lack of functionality. It may be visually stunning and have great images, but if your user finds it difficult to read or navigate through, they won’t!

Don’t be afraid of innovation

If you haven’t figured it out already, nothing ever stays the same in the realm of digital technology. Innovation is the rule and what worked great last year is already being forgotten this month. While it’s not necessary to constantly be on the forward edge of every digital breakthrough, embracing innovation will keep your website – and your brand message – ahead of the rest.