Archive: Jul 2019

  1. Logo Design Insights for Amateur Designers

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    Logos are often what people base their opinions about different brands on. This is because the companies use their logos everywhere- websites, blogs, promotional products, billboards, digital ads, etc. So, if your logo is unoriginal, dull, or unattractive, then you may end up sending the wrong message to your target audience.

    Every branding professional worth their salt understands the importance of branding and logo design. So, if you want to create a powerful logo but don’t want to compromise with the quality, then be sure to keep the following things in mind:

    Inspiration

    It’s important that you check out some of the most successful logo designs that are out there in order to get inspiration and learn about different design techniques and trends that can help in creating the best designs yourself. Otherwise, you can end up using design styles that are outdated or simply boring.

    Colours and Typography

    You may already know this, but colours tend to play with our emotions. This is why brands pick their colours carefully so that they are able to send the right message across the market. For instance, Shell, DHL, and Subway focus on the colour yellow  to reflect optimism and clarity. In the same way, Canon, Lego, and Netflix have chosen red as the primary colour for their logos to show youthfulness and excitement.

    Just like colours, typography also plays an important role in creating great logos. You can get an idea from the fact that are so many inspiring websites that are largely focused on typography alone. So, choose fonts that speak your language. If you don’t know which fonts are best suited to you, then you can also look at what emotional attributes they’re used to provoke online.

    Scaling

    If you are creating a complex logo, then it’s possible that it’ll look unrecognisable when it’s scaled down. In the same way, some designs won’t look as good when they scaled up. Plus, you may use your logo on various products viz. pens, business cards, billboards, etc. So, you need to make sure that the design is versatile and can be used in any orientation and size without losing its clarity.

    Other Logo Design Options:

    If you don’t want to go through the tedious process of designing a logo from scratch, then the following are some other good options that you can consider to make the process easier and simpler:

    Online Logo Makers

    Online logo makers make it easy to design logos without spending a lot of money or time. This is because they are designed to create high-quality logos using technologies like automation and machine learning. So, you need to do little work to get the perfect logos. All you have to do is tell the program what kind of logo you want, and it can design it for you!

    Freelance Portals

    Today, you can find all kinds of freelance websites where skilled workers from across the globe offer services like graphics design, eBook writing, app development, and of course, logo designing!

    If you want a human graphic designer to create a logo for you but at a small cost, then you can certainly consider using a Freelancer platform where you can find and hire a logo designer.

    Logo Templates

    There are lots of logo template websites that offer a wide range of logo templates that you can customise as per your requirements. This saves a lot of time that would otherwise be used in designing a logo in the traditional manner. However, this also means that you don’t get designs that are 100% unique or designed exclusively for your business.

    Parting Words

    Today, creating a beautiful logo has become easier than ever. You have so many options to choose from which come with different costs and benefits. So, understand your requirements carefully and pick the path that makes the most sense to you. Good luck!

  2. How to Find Design Clients using Instagram: Tips from Real Entrepreneurs

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    If you’re not already using Instagram to promote your work, now is the best time to create a profile and start posting!

    With over 1 billion monthly active users, out of which 500+ million log in every day, Instagram is no longer just another social media platform. It’s a platform filled with possible customers who just wait for you to inspire and amaze them!

    Furthermore, as a design company or freelancer, Instagram is just in your field of expertise. This is a highly visual platform, where images and short videos are the main currency. As such, it is a fantastic playground for people with visual skills such as designers, artists, and others.

    But how do you find these amazing clients using Instagram?

    That’s exactly what we asked several entrepreneurs who successfully made this platform their clients hunting ground, and below you can read some of their most powerful tips.

    1. Invest in your Profile

    The investment you’ll make is in attention to details, time, and creativity.

    Your Instagram profile is your business card in this world. So, if you want to show you are a serious business or individual, you need an ironclad business page.

    Start with a profile picture that’s representative for your brand (logo or a professional picture of yourself). Next, use the Name section to write down the name of your brand – this way, when someone gets a notification from you, they’ll associate the name of the brand with the username of the feed. It also helps to add titles such as “Professional Designer” or “Website Design” in this section.

    Move on to describing your business in 150 characters (the Bio section of the profile). Here you need to be concise but descriptive at the same time. People need to know what you do, why they should choose you, and how you work. Just make sure to maintain a friendly and engaging tone; this is social media after all!

    Finally, the link. Instagram doesn’t allow users to add links in their posts, but you can add one in the profile page. This can be anything from a link to your business site to a link to your portfolio or your latest project.

    2. Take Care of your Feed

    As a designer, you are aware of the importance of colours and consistency in attractive visuals. So, make sure your Instagram feed follows all the written and unwritten rules to attract people’s attention.

    Your posts can be related to work (any new projects you can share with the world), internal business affairs (creative things that happen in the office, involvement in charitable events, and so on), and even personal events you want to share with your customers.

    You want to make sure the audience sees you as a person and not just a business. This way, you can keep them engaged and open to communication.

    3. Find Your Niche

    Design is a large category and covers a lot of businesses and customers.

    While this may sound encouraging, it’s never a good idea to target your campaigns using general terms and keywords (on Instagram, hashtags are your keywords).

    Quick Tip: If you’re not familiar with building marketing campaigns for social media, you can always get the necessary knowledge from an online marketing course. After all, you don’t have to be a marketing specialist to put your Instagram profile on the map!

    So, before you start posting and looking for customers, it’s best to define your niche. This will help you find that special area of Instagram that fits your skills and where most people like the same things you like.

    For instance, if your main activity is drawing comics, you want to attract people who enjoy following your stories and who may want to employ your talents for their own projects. On the other hand, if you design websites on a specific niche, it’s best to connect with businesses and professionals on that niche.

    4. Search for Possible Clients

    As we already mentioned, hashtags are the keywords of Instagram, and they are the ones that will lead you to your possible customers.

    For instance, if you design websites or identity elements for businesses in the nail art industry, start searching for hashtags with the word ‘nails’ or ‘nail art’ in them. You’ll find a bunch of individuals who do this for a living and post on Instagram to attract more customers.

    When you identify them, check their bio to see if they have a website or a professionally designed identity. If they don’t or the ones they have don’t look professional, send them a short message. This should be short and comprehensive, so the targeted person would understand what you’re offering and why.

    Be genuine and prepare yourself to send a lot of messages and only receive a few replies. We don’t say this to discourage you; it’s just the way these campaigns go. However, you have a wonderful chance of creating a strong network of people who may be interested in your business in the future.

    Wrap Up

    Before we end our talk about Instagram for businesses, it’s important to point out that this is a long-term process. Building a strong online network takes time, patience, and skill. However, once it starts growing, it will become a reliable source of new projects and possible large collaborations.

  3. Freelancer Vs Agency. Which One Should You Hire To Build You A Website?

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    It can be daunting to take a decision on whether to hire a freelancer or a website design agency when starting a website design or re-design project for your business. For most businesses and entrepreneurs, a website building project is a huge undertaking, demanding a momentous investment of both time and money. So, before you take the plunge, it is imperative for you to contemplate upon the pros and cons of hiring a freelancer vs an agency.

    Without further ado, let us compare the two on the basis of a few parameters:

    Cost

    Website prices can differ a lot between a freelancer and an agency. Freelancers quote reasonable rates, as they have no overhead costs to deal with. On the other hand, if you go with an agency, it will follow a phased approach to develop your website, that includes a web strategy phase, custom design phase, and web development phase, which involves investments in the web strategist, website designer, content developer etc. and overhead costs for the office and team.

    Skill Set and Experience

    However talented your freelancer might be, you are confined to his skills and resources, as it is extremely unlikely that you have a web strategist, UX designer, web developer, content developer, and a project manager all in that one individual. On the other hand, an agency will have a team of specialists who would be delegated different tasks based on their skill set. Agencies also set certain standards while employing people, which means that these team members would be having many years of diverse experience and would be adept with advanced functionalities that you would love to incorporate in your website.

    Your Involvement

    When you work with a freelancer, there is an opportunity to get personally involved in the creative aspect of the project, since the freelancer is your sole contact on the project and it is just the two of you. Whereas, Web designing agencies have multiple levels of approval for client work and does not promise as much transparency. This might result in future issues, missing pieces, and dissatisfactory results.

    Availability

    Freelancers have the advantage of flexible working schedules, and location independence as long as they have a robust internet connection. However, this could be an issue in case you are in a time zone different from your freelancer. There might be times when you have an emergency and they are not available. Another nightmarish situation could be that the freelancer is halfway through his work, and disappears out of the blue. Looking for a replacement and explaining him the website specifications all over again could be a daunting task for you.

    Management and Accountability

    Seeking multiple competencies translates to hiring multiple freelancers. For e.g., if your website development project requires a content developer, a programmer, and a graphic designer, you need to hire four different freelancers. Handling all four of them could be daunting, more so if they are operating out of different time zones. Whereas, when you delegate the task to a website designing agency, a project manager would be assigned to handle individual specialists. In addition, the project manager tracks the hours and provides regular reviews and feedbacks. It is way easier to go through a project manager who supervises the team, than individually tracking each freelancer. Also, with an agency, you don’t have to panic about the absconding freelancers. They can provide good replacements if there is a crisis.

    Bureaucracy

    With a freelancer, you can be assured that you have only one point of contact throughout the project and this can help you have a personal touch and approach to your website. With an agency, you would find more processes in place wherein a request might require to be reviewed by multiple peers before it is actually approved. In a larger team, there is a likelihood of a difference of opinion between different team members in every aspect, which might result in miscommunication, missing pieces, and delays.

    Which one should you go for? A Freelancer or an Agency?

    If you are an entrepreneur setting up a new small business and require a simple website only to establish a web presence, then going with a freelancer or a small agency might be a great idea.

    On the other hand, if you own a well-established business and your tight work schedule does not permit you to keep up with multiple freelancers, but wish to have a website that can play a crucial role in marketing your products and services, then going with an agency would be a great idea. Moreover, if you want your website to have e-commerce and other complex items, then also delegating your work to an agency would be a more sensible investment, given that a high-quality website calls for several advanced level skill sets.

    Conclusion

    Lots of talented individuals have the afore-mentioned competencies and skills, but are unable to adequately create a website all by themselves, that is phenomenal in all aspects of website designing, for example – Content management, SEO, Analytics, CTR optimisations, Inventory management, etc. in addition to those website components that are visible to your visitors, such as media, links and payment tools, etc. If you are looking for astounding results, you must stand firm on outstanding qualifications in all facets of your website development project. Banking on a single freelancer to build a website from the ground up and be accountable for all aspects of website designing from inception to launch, might not be that good of an idea. So, there are two options:

    1. Delegate different phases of the website designing to different subject matter experts who are supremely qualified in their specific areas. In this case, you will have to put in efforts to find and retain these individual freelancers and later to manage their work.
    2. Outsource website designing to a good Agency, where all the aspects of website designing can be taken care of by a project manager, who would delegate different tasks to his dedicated team of expert designers according to their skill set.

    Remember that your website is going to represent your business 24/7 and you would not only want it to look stellar but also work like a charm. So, you have to gauge the pros and cons and take a decision accordingly.

  4. Colour Accessibility Tools For Brands To Increase The Visibility Of Their Website

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    Not all colours are created equal. But colours are an incredibly important part of successful branding.

    Effective branding is the best way to make your business stand out, attract customers, and let everyone know exactly who you are and what you do. It’s a way to build your business and contribute to lasting growth.

    And colour makes a brand not only more noticeable, but significantly more appealing.

    Along with all of these considerations is the factor of accessibility. Choosing your website’s colour palette carefully ensures that your business and your content is available to everyone.

    Importance Of Colour To Brand Visibility

    Everyone has their favorite colours and others that they really shy away from. Taking typical standards into account when designing a brand can draw in your audience, whether they’re established customers or brand new ones.

    As a matter of fact, colour can work to increase the recognisability of a brand by up to 80%.

    So it isn’t surprising that colour choice is an important consideration in designing a website.

    Along with branding, visibility is a big deciding factor behind choosing a colour palette. After all, the most brand-appropriate colour in the world won’t do much good if it doesn’t stand out enough to be seen.

    Website Design And Colour Accessibility

    Background, culture and nationality, personal feelings and associations, and disabilities like colour blindness can all factor into a person’s individual reaction to any given colour.

    Readability is an especially important factor for a business website. A bright yellow background with spring green print will definitely be “visible,” but not in the way that you want!

    And it will make it almost impossible for the content to be read and understood.

    Including accessibility features in your website design gives you the widest audience possible.

    Web Colour Accessibility Guidelines

    Of course, we’re not completely on our own when it comes to judging what colours to use, and how they should be employed.

    In the interests of making website content, including business websites and branding content, as accessible as possible to as many internet users as possible, there are sites like Web Accessibility In Mind, or WebAIM which is a third party accessibility expert who offers a variety of tools and information to designers.

    The site also provides research-based parameters in both colour and contrast for optimum accessibility for business websites. With outlines for everything from linking to sizing, WebAIM’s Web Colour Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a great way to check and double check your design for top accessibility.

    Guidelines For An Accessible Website

    The WCAG breaks down its guidelines in a few different ways. The site includes parameters for contrast, lightness, and saturation. No colours are actually prohibited, via the WCAG. Primarily the concern is contrast, making sure that the elements on the website are visible and accessible.

    So within the guidelines, there is a lot of room for good brand design.

    Both text and images have a minimum recommended contrast of 4.5:1, with some variation for large-scale images and text. Large text is defined as at least 18 point, or 14 point if the text is bold. Because larger text is easier to read, the minimum contrast is 3:1.

    These minimum requirements also extend beyond text to include portions of graphics that are necessary to understand the function of the graphic, as well as links and user interface components.

    Exceptions include components that are currently inactive, since we usually expect that a button or feature that is low-contrast (such as light gray on gray) is not currently meant to be used.

    It’s also notable that features which are out of the control of the designer, such as automatic or default functions on a given browser, are not subject to the WCAG ratings system.

    WCAG And Company Logos

    Interestingly, the WCAG do not have contrast ratio requirements for logo design elements. While a designer should consider accessibility even in this area, and create a logo that is easy to read and understand, it’s more likely that the logo design will already be in place before the website content is developed.

    That’s part of why accessibility deserves our attention as a building block of design. To truly be effective, it needs to be considered along the entire design journey, not just as a note at the end of creating the website.

    So with all these factors to consider, how can graphic designers and branding entrepreneurs put together an accessible colour palette that works along with their brand?

    Let’s take a look at some more tools that can help.

    WebAIM’s Colour Contrast Checker

    WebAIM’s colour contrast checker is probably the first stop on the path to colour accessibility on your website.

    As WebAIM is the organization which has developed the WCAG to begin with, they’re best suited to help with ensuring the accessibility of your site. Not only can you input your background colour to check for contrast and accessibility, they also provide guidelines as to the ratio and spacing of your text.

    Colour Safe

    Colour Safe is a WCAG compatible site that allows you to input text and your chosen background colour. This tool allows for a variety of different font sizes and typeface families, and generates an accessible colour palette based on your choices combined with the WCAG.

    Accessible Colours

    This site Accessible Colours works along the same lines as Colour Safe, and uses the WCAG to ensure best accessibility. With your input of colour choices, it gives you a pass or fail rating on your site’s accessibility. If you end up with a fail, it offers related colour suggestions that fall within the ratio parameters of the WCAG.

    Other Considerations In Accessible Design

    Of course, it isn’t all just about the colours that you choose. In fact, WebAIM notes that truly accessible design can’t just be based on colour alone.

    The WCAG dictates that accessible website design should include borders, graphics, italicized or bolded text, and underlining in order to emphasize the necessary information on the site.

    This is largely because of the varied range in colour-related disabilities. Really, relatively few of us will actually see a given colour exactly the same way. And even if we don’t technically have a disability, the variation in perception is often significant.

    And, of course, technology doesn’t always help with that. You may think that your carefully designed logo is a warm and sunny goldenrod. But as viewed on a customer’s computer, it may just look bright yellow, and it could show up as pale green on another customer’s smartphone.

    Colours are, simply put, not always as true as we would like them to be. And that can have a big impact on accessibility.

    Colour Accessibility — Accounting For Variables

    It’s also a fact that there are so many variable factors in design that it’s impossible to make allowances for all of them.

    The exact nature of a visual disability, the display settings of the screen, how close the person is to the screen, or even whether they’re having a good or a bad day all play a part in how they perceive what’s in front of them.

    But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps what we see isn’t always what was intended by the designer, but it isn’t always a change for the worse!

    Ultimately, though no designer or brand expert can account for each and every individual’s perception of a colour — or of a brand, for that matter — what counts is the willingness to try.

    Using best practices in accessible design, from the font choice to the colour to the size and spacing, all contribute to the positive perception of a brand. After all, everyone likes to feel that they are being considered, and that brands have their best interests at heart.

    While there’s no guarantee that your audience will see exactly the colour that you want them to see, they should be able to see the effort that you’ve put in to create something that is accessible to everyone. That’s makes for exactly the type of good will that helps a brand to thrive and grow.