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Registering a Business Name

Posted: August 6th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | No Comments »
Graphic Design web design

Registering a business in my county is one thing, but what about finding a name for online purposes? What if the name is fine for the county, but there is another company with the same name on the Web? Would I have to find another name for my company if I want to go online?

Well, it is best to find a domain that matches your company name. If not, then you don’t have a brand identity. My suggestion is to find a name that works on the Web and for the company too. Plus, you need to make sure clients don’t get confused if there is another business using the same name even if that business is not in the same town or state.

Pricing an Annual Report

Posted: August 6th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: | No Comments »
annual-report design pricing

A company wants to hire me to do their 10th financial report. I’m trying to figure out my price for them (I’ve never worked for them so I don’t know how time consuming of a client they are). It would be 30-40 pages (4 color) and I would be responsible for:

  • Creative and art direction (conceptual, photoshoots, etc.)
  • Design (2 initial designs and meetings to come to a final approval)
  • Project management/trafficking (scheduling project, interacting with printer and photographer)
  • Production (layout, corrections, preparing for printer, releasing, checking proofs)
  • Press checks (on site checking print quality and approving).

The conceptual and design would be done over the next 3 months (just to set the scheduling, decide on concept, design, and approval — probably about 50-100 hours total). Then I would be working on production, design (always some more), project management, and press checks in June, July, and August (perhaps about 360 hours — based on 30 hours a week for 12 weeks). This is a rough hour assessment which would total 460 hours. It could go drastically up or down depending on the client.

My questions:


My personal background — generally I charge by the hour, 50/h is absolute minimum for straight production but design/art direction goes up to 100/h. I am basing my rates on my experience and standard New York City pricing.

Answers to Your Questions

I am not based in New York and have no standard fee knowledge of what the going rate is for an annual report there. However, I suspect that the costs are very similar to my area which is Dallas Texas. As for the time you are planning to put in (360 to 460 hours) is quite a lot. Most companies are not willing to spend $30,000 on an annual report unless they are hiring a large firm like DDB that would have a staff of 10 or more working on the project, including copy writing and more. My suggestions below reflects what I would charge in my one person studio. My pricing also does not reflect copy writing, the client must provide this service.

Also, the time frame of 3 months is quite a long time to continue on a project. You need to force your client to try to get everything approved for final design within a month. On the second month, they should finalize and go to press. The more room you give your client to make changes and stuff, the longer the project will be and the more mistakes will happen.

Listed below is what I suggest for pricing. However, since the company is a non-profit, they will be tight on cash, even if they are a large company.


Photo shoot
Cost per day photo shoot direction = $1,000 (10 hours, does not include photographers fees, development or photo retouching)

Project Management/Working with Printer/Press Checks
Cost = $1,000 (10 hours)

Design/Production/Art Direction/Concept/Proofing
Per page cost = $300 to $400 (40 pages / 3-4 hours per page)
Total cost = $12,000 to $16,000

First 3-4 hours no charge
Cost over 4 hours billed at = $100 per hour

Total approx. cost of annual report = $12,000 to $18,000


I suggest you bill between $12,000 and $18,000 for a very high quality annual report. This depends on what you think they would feel comfortable spending and how much you feel you could cut in order to get the job. Don’t forget you still have a photographer you have to pay – that will be in addition to your total cost.


Present them with 2 options on price range, and let them know you would be flexible based on what they need. Many clients have big eyes on what they want to do until the pricing closes them. Don’t be so set in stone about your pricing, give them options on where they can save money and still get a great product. Remember to take care of yourself and make money. Nothing is worse than working on a project that you underbid on.

I used my base rate of $100 an hour, but to get the job, I would be willing to go down to about $60 to $75 an hour. You might even consider doing a flat $60 to $75 per hour and put them on a retainer and charge them hourly.

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


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)


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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How To Make A Homemade Cola Calligraphy Pen

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

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.

Scrum Meetings are Stupid and a Complete Waste of Time!

Posted: June 30th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Quick Blurbs | Tags: , | No Comments »
meeting notes scrum
Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

I’ve never benefited from it, it’s never short and it’s always too long. The information is useless and there’s always someone who says too much or not enough.

Sole proprietors don’t waste time like Corporate America managers. We get to work on what needs done without the corporate bullshit!

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


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.


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.