Creative Industry Related Information for Graphic Designers & Web Designers!
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Design by Committee

Posted: August 24th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Design, Funny Stuff | No Comments »

And more corporate idiots making design decisions.


The Process – Designing a Stop Sign by Committee

Posted: August 24th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Design, Funny Stuff | No Comments »

The failure of working with a group of corporate idiots!


Top 6 Design Programs for Businesses

Posted: August 19th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Design, Software | Tags: | No Comments »
Graphic Design Software
Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Whether it is through the beauty of a book’s cover art or the glitter of a commercial poster, the power of images is invaluable to businesses for marketing, communications and other essential functions. To create stunning images, you’ll need a reliable design program and there are certainly many of them around.

This large range of choice, however, presents its own issue. How do you know which program is right for your business? Let’s take a look at the 6 best design programs for businesses.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a graphic design and editing program that started primarily as a raster graphics program and soon grew into the most prominent name in the industry. Its popularity has led to its name being used in connection with design and editing software in general as in: ‘a photoshopped image’, ‘a good photoshop program,’ or ‘I want to photoshop a picture’.

Photoshop is capable of multi-layer editing and can be used with various colour models including RGB, CIELAB, CMYK, and Duotone. It also supports masks and alpha compositing. From a student working on their academic project, to a business organisation that creates stunning, professional-level stickers, to a photographer looking for that refined touch to the captured images, no one can deny the enormous value of Photoshop.

Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign is a leading program for layout and page design which can be used to create and publish books, e-books, colourful digital magazines, interactive PDF documents, posters and more. The publishing industry was greatly influenced by its introduction in 1999. Today, millions of professionals rely on its wide range of features to take their publishing endeavours to the next level.

It allows you to use images from Adobe Stock or other sources and with Adobe Experience Manager, handling production is a breeze. You can use it in tandem with Adobe Creative Cloud to easily share your work across all your projects.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is an excellent graphic design and editing suite for MS Windows used for professional vector designing, high-quality typography and photo editing. Its pen and touch functions, support for Microsoft Surface Dial and Windows colour management make it a perfect Windows companion. It is an all-purpose tool finding application from apparel design to technical schematic creation and from signage to branding and marketing.

The graphics suite is a basket of various CorelDRAW programs such as the primary CorelDRAW itself that provides graphic design and layout capabilities and Corel PHOTO-PAINT that incorporates photo-editing into the workflow. Other components in the package include CorelDRAW.app, Corel Front Manager, CAPTURE and Aftershot 3 HDR. Leveraging emerging technologies like AI and compatibility with countless file formats have made it a universally powerful digital design tool.

Affinity Designer

Though a new entrant in the field launched only five years ago, Affinity Designer is an award-winning program from Apple, PC PRO and Digital Arts. It focuses on real-time functionality, smooth workflow features and a high level of flexibility. The file formats work seamlessly across different platforms such as Windows, Mac and iPad.

The software provides an amazing collection of elements for smooth vector design, photo-editing, typography or game creation. With capabilities of handling thousands of objects without lag and highly complex documents, it is indeed a program suitable for today’s fast-paced design world. Single-click switching between diverse functions, more than a million times zoom feature, and unlimited artboards are other valuable features.

Inkscape

Inkscape is a powerful and at the same time free-to-use digital design tool for creating vector graphics of excellent quality. The program has ‘Draw freely’ as its tagline and works reflecting its open source standards. It is free to download and use and is compatible with GNU/Linux, Mac OS and Windows.

The major specialization of Inkscape is vector design which has a large number of applications including branding/ marketing, cartoons and games, web design graphics and engineering and CAD drawings. Inkscape is a place where you can learn, develop and contribute, all for free. It also has a thriving community of enthusiastic users including developers that keep improving its features. The Community Gallery showcases the creations of numerous active members.

Sketch

Sketch specializes in features facilitating teamwork and high levels of collaboration. You are free to use the existing readymade components or build your own. Moreover, you can create your own custom rules and system that can be understood easily by your team and collaborators. With Sketch, you can design, create and modify in a combined fashion with your team, whether you are building an interactive prototype or a functioning vector.

Scalability is one special feature provided by Sketch that helps you create something small and easily develop it into the full-fledged form you want. You can then replace it with all elements in the previous form with a single function. Live data interactions is also possible, thanks to a collection of useful plugins and integrative features.

Regardless of your business or sector, you’ll find a graphic design and editing program that suits your needs. Though these programs have common features such as photo editing, vector design and typography, the approach and presentation can differ from one to other. Each program can also have a specific orientation or focus on a certain philosophy or methodology like team collaboration, smooth workflow or cross-platform functionality. That’s why it’s important to do your research and find the perfect design program for your business.


3 Ways How Great UX/UI Can Generate More Traffic For Your Site

Posted: July 21st, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, Design, SEO Marketing | No Comments »

UX/UI designs are like ‘vitamins’ to traffic feeds. A change agent to engage your web traffic with a unique experience.

web design, search engine optimization, marketing

Source

Today search engines are training Algos to be more ‘sapio-pathic’ for traffic retention. Allowing empathetic websites for more organic click-through action. Interactive fit-bits call for User experience designs (UXDs) that match the tone for the served contents. Designs that speak through aesthetics, and layouts that foretell the wants and needs. 

If you are getting high traffic but no business, then it’s high time to rethink your website design.

Don’t worry, there is no need to redesign from scratch. Rather UX/UID makeovers allow more accessibility to your website contents. An interactive Graphical User Interface (GUI) that lingers and ensues longer interactive sessions. Of course, a great way to tap the mobile net surfers and users. Because bigger fonts, a background shader, or a ‘read aloud’ option is fun to fetish.

Know how UX/UI web designs are tapping the ranking factors for future SEO specialists. Here I am leaving 3 pro-tips to steam your interest over UX/UI designs.

Before that, know few traded false-beliefs about UI/UX design fidelity which needs to busting 

  • White space is never a waste space 
  • Simple designs equal to fewer elements 
  • UX is only for usability 
  • All web users are readers 
  • Need for 100% design originality 
  • The Ultimate 3-click rule for web navigation 

Now feel smarter. Smash the UX/UI bluffs who try to pitch such fossil ideas. 

Moving on….. UX/UI – 

Improves SEO 

User Experience (UX) ensures a ‘longer’ click-through.

UX Design, UI Design, User Experience (UX)

Source

A User-friendly design will make your users obsess over your website. For all ‘content is king’ influencers out there, trust the design aesthetics. Rich web designs with easy navigation, less page-load time, and optimized to fit any screens are a must to stage your content. 

Kill the negative space on your website! UXDs understand that visual organization of web layouts will generate more leads. Serving not only the purpose of more content visibility but also increases the conversion rate for the users.

A successful landing page conversion strategy will debunk the contenders in the market. And when your web designs resonate with your visitors, you are all set for the long run. Be it event call-outs, awareness campaigns, or delivering opinions, you will always have enough virtual attendees for participation.

Is Intra-Personal 

Use templates that speak user-sentiments.

It is very likely that a researcher who landed at your website, hungry for answers and yet not contented. You might think that you lost a lead, this is where one can go wrong. Redirect the lead towards other curated contents. With which you can transform slug moments into a head-turning event. 

Ask your visitor what they are looking for. Plant a few relatable blue links or consider a UX Design suite for your website.

Whereas using Interactive templates, you can churn-up endless possibilities. Small survey boxes to get the user’s views, a panel window with many FAQs, or even tips to improve searches online. 

You might be thinking that aligning such concepts within a single-window view is an impossible feat. Instead, ask a professional UX designer to chalk-out an engagement plan for your organic web visitors. The clutter-free designs will promise an immersive user interface that adjusts the eyeballs screening the contents. 

Acts-Out Emotions 

Who doesn’t like to click on jolly features? Or play with elements that animate when touched? Narrating one of my personal experiences where the pet-care website had a ‘waking dog’ cursor when you land on their web page. A minute detail has touched this pet-lovers heart and that’s how UI designs imprint on visitors. 

In developing quality user facets, User Experience designers rely on evidence decked by behavioral sciences. Take Nielsen Norman for example, how his design team works on evidence-based UX designs by collecting proof of events on user testing and behavior. 

Ending with a happy note for the crawlers who are reading the article, look out for SEO – UX/UI collabs. The integrated application is revolutionizing the concept of what the web designs were yesterday and are now. 


Letterpress Business Card Printing with 5 Pantone Colors!

Posted: July 20th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Design, Really Cool Stuff | No Comments »

Why Tech’s Favorite Color is Making us all Miserable

Posted: July 20th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Design | No Comments »

The cold blue light of modern touchscreens may be aesthetically pleasing, but it poses health problems. Designers and technologists should take cues from military history and embrace the orange.

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LA’s Stealthy Freeway Sign Artist

Posted: June 30th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Design, Funny Stuff | Tags: , , | No Comments »

The Instant Designer…

Posted: June 30th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Design | No Comments »

People think these days that because you have a computer and software that you are now the Instant Designer. The client, whether internal or external thinks that at a press of a button then all of a sudden, quality design appears and they can instantly get their project done.

I miss the old days of typesetting and pasteup work. The urgency was not as much pressure back then as it is today in the world of instant gratification and social media exposure.

It does not matter what you create, it is all disposable for the next tweet, Instagram Story or Facebook post. Nothing means anything with design these days. The message is always clear… press on and produce crap over and over and over… we need those clicks.

This is why I hate being a designer these days.


5 Books Every Designer Must Read in 2020

Posted: June 16th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Book Reviews, Design | Tags: , , | No Comments »

The graphic design industry is rapidly evolving, with people now using graphic designs for a lot of purposes such as advertising, branding, and art. As a good graphic designer, you should seek to evolve with the current trends in the graphic design industry. To improve your craft, there are certain measures you can take, one of which is to properly study the standard and new graphic design concepts. One way to do this is to read quality books about graphic design.

These books will help you to brush up your old skills and even learn new ones. They could also be the answer to questions and difficulties you have as a graphic designer. Reading these books will go a long way in helping you to maintain brilliant, unmatched standards as a graphic designer. In this guide, you’ll find brief summaries about 5 essential books you must read as a graphic designer in 2020.

1. Branding: In Five and a Half Steps

Branding

Common brands and their basic components

Michael Johnson authored Branding: In Five and a Half Steps in 2016, and the book has remained one of the most popular graphic design books ever since then. He is one of the foremost graphic designers and also owns a graphic design studio named Johnson Banks. The studio has worked with clients such as Think London, Virgin Atlantic, and BFI, and has gained lots of awards ever since it was launched.

In this book, Michael Johnson completely uncovers the process of branding in graphic design and divides the process into five important steps. The steps include Investigation, Strategy & Narrative, Design, Implementation, and Engagement. The book is a complete step-by-step guide to branding and rebranding in graphic design. Michael Johnson in this book takes common brands and examines their basic components, explaining the connection between strategy and design. 

In the first half of the book, there is a six-question model which serves as the first part of the book. The first part identifies questions such as ‘what does the brand mean?” and other key questions. The second half examines and explains the process of branding and design. Michael Johnson uses a lot of brand identities from all over the world to explain how to create a successful brand as a graphic designer. This book also shows the importance of research and strategic thinking in creating a successful brand.  It also gives you a better understanding of how branding choices can influence how successful a brand can be with the different kinds of case studies that were discussed.  Johnson further reveals the most important elements involved in creating a successful brand, from the use of language to typography. All these make this book an essential resource for a graphic designer.

2. Signs and Symbols: Their Design and Meaning

Signs and Symbols:

Signs and symbols are an important aspect of graphics design 

Adrian Frutiger examines the relationship between symbols and psychology in this book, while also discussing the sign elements such as alphabets, pictograms, calligraphy, trademarks, and numerical signs. Signs and symbols are an important part of design and as a graphic designer, it is important to understand how to use them the right way. 

The book has chapters explaining basic signs such as the square, triangle, circle, arrow, and the cross sign. The next chapter explains how to join signs together, showing the relations between signs of the same form and signs of different forms.  The second half of the book is based on speech-fixing signs. The first chapter explains how to convert thoughts to pictures while readers also learn about prototypes, speech, and gesture. The subsequent chapters discuss topics such as Speech Fixing, The Graphic Wealth of Pictograms, The World’s Alphabets, The ABC of the Western World, and other relevant topics. This book is a great resource for graphic designers as it makes an in-depth explanation of signs and symbols. 

In the third and final part of the book, Adrian Frutiger explains symbols in detail, with topics such as How Pictures Become Symbol Signs, The Stages of Schematization, and The Different Types of Symbols.  The final part concludes with signal signs, their orientation, and pictograms. The whole book takes the reader through a journey of signs throughout history. For a designer seeking to understand the origins and usage of signs and symbols, then this book is a must-read. 

3.The Non-Designer’s Design book

Non-Designer’s Design book

There are fundamental principles to graphic design every designer must learn

This book about design written by Robin Williams explores the fundamental principles of graphic design. The author has written a lot of books on graphics design such as The Non-Designer’s Presentation Book, The Mac is Not a Typewriter, and The Non-designer’s InDesign Book. Robin Williams identifies four principles of design: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity. The author explains her principle of contrast as “If two items are not exactly the same, then make them different. Really different.” 

The author further explains the principles of design in simple terms. In subsequent chapters, the author explains the concept of design with step-by-step examples. The book features topics such as Tips for Brand Designing, Underlying Principles of Design, Designing with Type, Designing with Color, and a Professional Approach to Design. Although many other graphic design books explore similar topics, this book is great for beginners and intermediate level designers as it is easy to understand.

She uses relatable and often hilarious examples together with quizzes to explain graphic design. In the second half of the book, the author explains Type. Readers can learn the basics of fonts, the different kinds, how to use and combine them. The book contains practical advice on how to make designs look professional, which is very useful for upcoming designers and non-designers.

There is a chapter that focuses on the fundamentals of typography, with quizzes and examples to help readers develop their design skills. Robin also explains the typeface choices such as thickness, colors, shapes, sizes, and space. This book makes learning graphic design easier as the author explains the concepts in a concise manner while accompanying the material with visuals and examples. 

4. A Smile in The Mind: Witty Thinking in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Books

Witty thinking improves the quality of your design

This design guide is a joint project created by four authors – Beryl McAlhone, David Stuart, Greg Quinton, and Nick Asbury. This book is a great sourcebook for designers. This edition is a revision of the first edition which was written by Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart. The new edition explains wit in graphic design with this new edition showcasing over 1,000 instances of humor and wit in graphic design and branding. It is a compilation of over 1,000 projects by more than 500 graphic designers. 

The authors feature a mixture of vintage and contemporary designs to show how witty thinking can be employed in graphic design. The authors also demonstrate different ways to create humor using means such as double-takes, substitution, and ambiguity. The chapter titled Types of Wit addresses this. In another chapter titled Wit in Practice, and Wit in the World, the authors explain how wit is used in graphics such as logos, memes, and in the media.

In the final chapter, readers can read about interviews with international designers and creative icons such as Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, and Alan Fletcher. These interviews help to get an idea of the thought behind classic designs and popular present-day graphics. Through this book, you can get the different routes you can take to incorporate wit into graphic design. The authors have included photographs, logos, and adverts which use these routes to serve as examples for readers. 

5.Why Fonts Matter

Font Books

Fonts can be useful in mirroring experiences or emotions 

Why Fonts Matter is a book which majors on fonts and how they influence decision making. The author, Sarah Hyndman is a graphic designer and a public speaker known for her works on the psychology of type.  In this book, Sarah Hyndman examines how font design and choice influence different reactions. For a graphic designer seeking to understand how to use type design to achieve their goal, this book serves as the perfect guide. 

According to the author, typeface can be used to mirror experiences or emotions displayed in the real world. The book also shows how fonts are more important than what many people think. Sarah Hyndman details the emotional reaction to fonts through experiments, multi-sensory interpretations, and a collection of reviews from a variety of designers and non-designers. Rather than focus only on how graphic designers interpret and use fonts, the book shows how the public views typefaces. Why Fonts Matter is easy to read and engaging, it will do a lot of good to graphic designers looking to improve their craft.

Conclusion

No matter how much the concepts of graphic design look complicated to you, it is possible to understand and apply these concepts by reading the right design books. There’s a large number of useful resources at your fingertips, part of which are the books we have recommended in this guide. The books above will help you view known and unknown design principles and concepts in a new light. With detailed process, analysis, and illustrations, they will help fine-tune your design skills, whether you’re an established designer or just learning the basics.



Leave a Memorable First Impression: Increase Conversions on Your Website With UX Design

Posted: June 14th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Design | Tags: , | No Comments »
User Experience Design

Do you trust your intuition? In other words – do you rely on your inner feeling when you first meet someone or do you believe that we all really only have those famous “seven seconds to leave a good first impression“?

If the answer to all these questions is – yes, then you should know that the situation is the same with websites! You’ll often have only one chance to impress (and keep) people who visit your website for the first time.

Therefore, in the first few seconds, you should please them with the following features of your online presentation:

  • Charm
  • Innovation
  • Humor
  • Uniqueness
  • The amount of useful information

First “Strike“ Is Over, What’s Next?

If you manage to get through that first “strike“ and keep visitors on your website, you mustn’t stop there. You’ll additionally grow in their eyes if you also have original illustrations/infographics or use interesting special effects in the interaction.

So, from the first contact with your website, you should (metaphorically speaking) take the user by the hand and take him/her on a tour of your website or e-commerce, in order to:

  • Explain what you do and describe who you are
  • Demonstrate your knowledge and skills
  • Prove that you’re an expert in your business
  • Explain to him/her in detail all your products/services
  • Explain how you can solve the problem or provide an answer to a particular question

Yes, you could look at your website as a kind of tunnel through which visitors should go from the landing page to their destination. Therefore, don’t create too complex structures in order not to cause users to leave your website. Instead, strive to create a flawless user experience (UX design) and a functional user interface (UI design) thus, contributing to an increased conversion rate.

UX practitioners or companies can do a lot of things to improve the user-friendliness of their website via hosting. Choosing the right type of hosting is one of them. The type of hosting that has been chosen will affect the user experience pretty much. And just as not all websites are created equal, not all hosting packages are equal, too.

You can start with shared hosting but when a website gets sudden surges of traffic, it will need dedicated or cloud hosting, plus CDN, to scale quickly in order to meet this unpredicted spike. For example – MySQL hosting. Carefully tested options based on these servers can endure a huge amount of traffic and a huge amount of queries. The best of these hosting plans have MySQL databases configured in a way to hit high limits in traffic for their servers.

Now, we come to the essence. How can you use the principles of UX design to positively influence the achievement of set goals and increase conversions on the website?

What’s Conversion on the Website?

If, for example, you sell handmade jewelry through your website, you’ll calculate conversions based on the visitors who made the purchase in relation to the total number of visitors to your website. For example, if you have 10,000 visitors during the month, and 1,000 have made a purchase, that means your conversion rate is 10% per month.

So, when we say conversions on a website, we’re talking about potential customers that you have transformed into those who have completed the desired task. The bonus is, of course, if they keep coming back to your website often (and not to a competitor’s website) and become your loyal customers.

If you try to make your website as high quality as possible, rich in useful information, clear and easy to use, you can easily achieve that. We’re talking here about people who noticed that your product can help them and then, they gained trust in your brand and realized that they can buy from you with confidence over and over again.

We’re also talking about those who may have signed up for your mailing list for no special reason but who were then delighted with the inspiring, original content that you send to their e-mail every day. Thus, they learned that they can use a secret promotional code that will save them a lot of money just because they are your subscribers. It also applies to the percentage of people who click on your ad during a paid campaign on Google (Google Ads).

Each of these and similar situations leads to an increase in the conversion rate.

Who’s Your Target Group?

We come to another important item, and that’s research related to the target group. Do you know the path that your potential customers or clients are going – from the problem you solve with your product to the search for solutions, finding you and your competitors, and the final decision on which product to choose?

Here are some quick guidelines to keep in mind during the UX research phase, which can help users decide for you:

  • Clearly define the target group
  • Create a so-called buyer personas to help you manage your research process
  • Explore their habits and online behavior
  • Find out what problems they encounter most often
  • Make sure you incorporate the solution to these problems into your digital product

We recommend that you rely on the principles of the so-called Design Thinking method during the research process, which includes empathy for users, understanding their problems, finding as many ideas as possible about potential solutions, creating design prototypes, testing prototypes among the target group and, finally, finalizing the digital product layout.

Carefully Create the Structure of the Website

Once you have completed the research phase and clearly identified the target group, learned what the needs of users are and their habits and expectations, you should dedicate yourself to information architecture.

This part of the website development process is intended to lay a quality foundation for later upgrades. Proper setting of the website structure, creating a site map and navigation menu are just some of the steps you need to pay attention to within the information architecture.

In addition, the steps include:

  • Determining the hierarchy of structural data
  • Categorization of content on the website
  • Determining website page types
  • Organization of the structure of individual pages
  • Determining the layout of elements on pages
  • Creating wireframes, sketches, and website models

To create a functional and useful website, you should pay special attention to each of these steps. In doing so, each step expected of a website visitor should be self-explanatory and follow a logical sequence, so that the user knows exactly where he/she is at all times, how to go back, how to correct a potential error, and how to realize his/her original idea.

It’s always recommended that you keep detailed documentation for each project, as this will facilitate the work of the entire team involved in the web design process.

Create Unique Landing Pages

Once you have a firm foundation for your website, it’s time to dedicate yourself to creating individual pages. Landing page design is something you need to pay special attention to, and within that, a few items in particular.

A landing page is any page on your website that users reach by organically searching for terms they are interested in, or by clicking on one of your paid products, or with a desire to learn more about a topic you’re an expert for, even if they want to contact you directly through your website.

The landing page can be, among other things:

  • Home of your website
  • Page with the portfolio of your works (if you are, say, a freelance designer)
  • Each individual page with a description of the product (if you are engaged in e-commerce)
  • Product/service ordering page
  • Contact form page
  • An article page on your blog

Special attention should be paid to each of these pages and, depending on the goal of the website, it should be designed to contribute to better user experience and increase conversions as well.

How to Create Profitable Web Pages

Content design and layout of elements on the page are very important components of UX and UI design. On the sales page, in the part that’s visible before scrolling above the fold, there should be exactly what you need.

If, for example, it’s a page with the product you’re selling (whether it’s a lesser-known brand or a world-famous product), it should contain the following:

  • Striking product photo
  • Short description
  • The price
  • Well-marked purchase button

But that’s not all. Whatever is that you sell online, you should provide users with enough information, in a creative and original way. Everything must be in accordance with your brand, described in detail, with photos from multiple angles, video content, complete technical specifications, and – it’s recommended – with a transparently displayed price. In that way, you instill trust in people and provide enough relevant information on the basis of which they will make a purchase decision.

Respect Your Users

The first and most important guideline that UX design needs is – respect. A very important thing about respecting users is the commitment to the protection of personal data and the proper use of forms on the website, pop-ups, banners, and promotions. It’s always commendable if you’re willing to offer a discount or allow website visitors to download interesting and useful reading for free but try never to abuse it.

1) It’s not recommended that pop-ups, ads, and discount coupons be too intrusively presented on the website. They shouldn’t occupy the entire website, they shouldn’t deconcentrate, or in any way interfere with the use of the website.

2) You shouldn’t use unrecommended actions that will fraudulently entice someone to leave their email address, which you’ll later abuse for aggressive advertising and sharing with third parties.

It’s recommended that you:

  • Always collect only as much data as you really need in the forms
  • Be transparent and don’t abuse the trust of your users
  • Explain exactly what data you’re collecting and why
  • Don’t rely on default consent but give users the opportunity to decide whether to agree to something or not (this is, after all, prescribed as an obligation by the Law on Personal Data Protection, as well as the European regulation GDPR)

Conclusion

When it comes to users who come to your website for the first time, you’ll often have much less than seven seconds to leave a good first impression. Even when “acquainting“ goes well, no one can guarantee that users will want to stay. You have to do your best to impress and keep every visitor on your website and thus, increase the possibility that soon they may become your loyal customers or clients.