Resource Centre

A carefully curated collection of articles, books, tools and galleries.

Topics for 2019 include visual trends, graphic design, strategy, creativity and inspiration; web design, development and seo; email marketing and copywriting; marketing, advertising and social media. If you have a resource you'd like us to consider adding to the list, email it to us or if you're interested in adding a resources module like this to your website, let us know.


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What I Learned Analyzing 60 Days of Emails from a Fast-Growing Ecommerce Brand

by Franco Varriano

Email marketing can (and should) be so much more than sending your email subscribers a 10% off discount code once in a while.

The best email marketing takes the form of long-term journeys where each email sent builds trust in the brand and demand for the products. After all, you can’t keep the focus and attention of your customers and subscribers if you only send email blasts looking for short-term returns.

Instead, you can create automated sequences to onboard new subscribers and gradually educate them about your company to convert them into customers and repeat customers.

But without subscribing to other email lists and analyzing their approaches, it can be difficult to get a solid view of what an effective automated email marketing strategy looks like.

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How to Get More Followers on Instagram: 13 Reliable Ways to Grow Your Audience

by Richard Lazazzera

Instagram can be a highly-targeted, visual marketing channel for your brand and an opportunity to build a loyal audience that grows with your business.

In fact, over 500 million Instagram users browse the app every day, making it home to some of the most engaged audiences around. 

But like any social network out there, there are right ways to use it, wrong ways to use it, and clever ways to use it.

In this post, we will show you how to most effectively use Instagram to increase engagement and grow a massive following over time—one that's full of real fans, not inactive fake accounts.

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8 Photo Editing Trends That Will Be Popular on Instagram in 2019

By Lexie Carbone

Photo editing trends come and go quickly, especially on Instagram!

Instagram’s native in-app filters have been out for a while, and 2018 saw an increase in both the everyday user and brands applying Lightroom presets to their feeds.

But there’s new photo, video and editing apps popping up every day, and it can be hard to keep up with what Instagram filters are trendy, and which ones are so last year. 

To help you keep your feed fresh and up-to-date, we’re sharing 8 Instagram photo editing trends that will be popular in 2019  – and showing you how to get the look yourself!

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25 Free Shopify Apps to Check Out In the Shopify App Store

by Mark Macdonald

With thousands of apps in the Shopify App Store, you have a lot of options when it comes to extending the functionality of your online store.

Whether you want to add customer reviews, improve email marketing, publish your products to Facebook, or get in-depth analytics, there's definitely an app for that.

But with so much to choose from, we thought it would be a good idea to highlight 25 of the best free Shopify apps (either completely free or with a useful free plan) that you can add to your store.

If you're just getting started with a new store or looking to enhance your existing site, then this list is for you.

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NY Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/2020

By Laurie Pressman

Each season the team at the Pantone Color Institute creates the Pantone Fashion Color Trend Report; a color overview highlighting the top colors fashion designers showing at NY Fashion Week will be featuring in their collections for the upcoming season. With color on the catwalk a key indicator of the color stories we can expect to see showing up across all areas of design, the Pantone Fashion Color Trend Report is your easily accessible guide to the season’s most important color trends.

Published for the fashion industry by the Pantone Color Institute, this season’s report features the top 12 stand-out colors, as well as current takes on the four classic neutrals we can expect to see from fashion designers on the runway as they introduce their new autumn/winter collections.

Colors for autumn/winter 2019/20 reflect an emergence of confidence; bold and strong, a visceral palette of colors that are relatable yet display some clever tweaks for the winter season. Expressing our wide-ranging acceptance of color, combinations for Autumn/Winter 2019/2020 suggest a thirst for liberation and a desire to realize our own individualized unique identities.

“Colors for Autumn/Winter 2019-2020 range from easy and sophisticated to strikingly different and unique,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. “This palette of versatile hues builds a sense of empowerment and confidence, enabling the wearer to choose the colors that best reflect his or her mood and persona.”

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35 FREE Zine Texture Overlays: Get the Grungy, Photocopied Look


Get a head start on your next zine or social media collage with these 35 completely free texture overlays. Add depth and style to your images, typography, and layouts.

The zine look is a major design trend for 2019, and what better way to kick-start your intro to this DIY style than with 35 zine-worthy free textures?

Whether you overlay them onto images or use them to grunge up text, these textures were created to add on-trend dirt and damage to even the most prim and proper subject matter. The zine look is based in collage, so feel free to layer these up and throw precision out the window. Even if you’re not making a zine, these textures are an easy way to create a grungy and worn look to your social posts, web layouts, print art and more. Think of them as the rips, pins, and patches you might use to make a fresh pair of jeans look like a decades old heirloom. With ’80s and ’90s throwbacks dominating the creative world, these textures are a win-win for all your channels.

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How Instagram Alt Text Can Help Improve Your eCommerce SEO Strategy

By Holly Cardew

Instagram has always been known to be a company that iterates at a rapid pace and is now allowing users to add alt text to photos.

What it looked like and how it worked when it first hit the App Store is nowhere near how the popular photo-sharing app looks and functions now. 

Over the years, they’ve introduced massive changes to the app, including doing away with chronological feed and replacing it with their proprietary algorithm, launching Instagram Stories and IGTV, adding the explore tab, allowing shoppable posts and ads, and a whole lot more. They even tried testing out a horizontal feedat one point.

But the latest update from Instagram is geared towards making the platform more searchable – Alt text. 

What is Instagram alt text?

Alt text and tags are everywhere in the digital realm, you just may not be aware of it. 

Formally called “alternative text” alt text is written copy attributed to images to describe them better. 

For example, say you have a picture of a corgi playing with a toy. If you decide to post it on Instagram, a good alt text would be “a brown corgi happily playing with a bone chew toy at the Bixby Dog Park.” 

Alt text should be descriptive enough that people who are visually impaired, as well as those who cannot load the image properly, can still consume the content without seeing the photo.

Alt tags help drastically improve your SEO. Remember: robots can’t yet see visual content as well as reading text. When search engine sites crawl through your page, they index the alt tags you have provided. The alt text helps them rank your website and images.

So alt text not only helps create a better user experience for your customers, but it also benefits your eCommerce store SEO-wise.

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Seeing 2019: The Visual Trend Forecast from Adobe Stock

Image Source: Thais Ramos Varela / Stocksy / Adobe Stock.

by Brenda Milis

As designers and brands know, we live in a fast-paced, intensely visual age, which means that images are one of the most important ways brands connect with consumers. That’s the reason visual fluency — the ability to see visual trends coming and understand what they mean to consumers — is so important. And it’s the purpose behind Adobe Stock’s Visual Trends. Our trend reports help the creative community spot trends as they’re evolving, understand what they mean to consumers, and build on them for maximum impact.

In 2019, our visual landscape will reflect far more than fleeting fads, likes, and shares. We’ll be surrounded by images that capture passionate, beautiful, contentious, messy cultural conversations about values, how we express our individuality and experiences, and how we find refuge in tumultuous times.

The Adobe Stock team looked around the world, from fashion runways and art galleries to the business world, pop culture, and social media — all with the goal of uncovering the major visual trends that will shape the year.

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Color psychology: The logo color tricks used by top companies and how to design your own

A good logo is synonymous with the brand it represents. Think about iconic brands such as McDonald's or Apple. Their logos are like an instantly recognizable shorthand for the business itself.

A logo is essentially a symbol used to represent a brand. Dig deeper and you’ll find that many logos have a hidden meaning, often something that relates to the company’s backstory or a clever visual pun. After all, branding is all about storytelling—it’s how humans connect.

But there’s another element that makes up the story of a logo: Its color.


A logo’s color can say a lot about a brand. For established brands, a color can be intrinsically linked to the business’s identity. Think of Starbuck’s famous white and green coffee cups or Cadbury’s iconic purple wrapping. And for new brands, their logo color is an attempt to position their business with their desired customer.


In this article, we’ll take a look at how big-name brands use color in their logos, dive into the patterns revealed by popular logo choices and take a closer look at the big businesses that think outside the square.

One reason people create logos in the first place is that visual recall is a powerful thing. And that’s exactly why we’ve put together this logo color wheel—at a glance, you can see exactly how big-name brands use color.

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10 of the biggest logo trends for 2019
A new year means fresh starts, more opportunities, and most importantly: New logo trends. To get the inside scoop, we’ve quizzed some of our favorite graphic designers from around the world and polled our own in-house designers to predict what the biggest logo trends will be for 2019. (Hint: The 80s are back!)

While a logo is the face of a company, that doesn’t mean it has to stay the same for all eternity. In fact, not only do Fortune 500 companies use color psychology to increase the effectiveness of their logos, but powerhouse brands like Apple, Google, Instagram, and Coca-Cola have all updated their logos in order to adapt to the times. Giving your own logo a refresh could be the very thing your brand needs to captivate your audience's attention in the new year.

Whether you’ve owned your business for a long time, or have been commissioned to design a cutting-edge logo as a freelancer, keeping on top of logo trends can help you stay at the cutting edge. Below we look at 10 trends that we are predicting will be popular for 2019. We’ve also created bespoke templates so you can test each trend out for yourself!

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50+ Cold Email Templates & Follow Up Cadence Examples

Brandon Foo

Figuring out how to connect with potential customers through cold email is notoriously difficult. We’ve been building Polymail with the goal of improving how people communicate and collaborate with email, especially sales teams and business development professionals. Now we want to give back in another way -- with some real-world inspiration for your next cold email campaign.

For the last quarter, we’ve been collecting the cold email templates and follow up cadences that get sent to the entire Polymail team. Some have been well researched, personalized, clever and convincing… others have fallen short and missed the mark. Every quarter, we will add new cold email cadences that we get sent to this list. 

If you want to stay in the loop, and be inspired by new and innovative cold email techniques and follow up templates, sign up for here:

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3 Things Kate Hudson’s Startup Can Teach you about Facebook Ads that Convert


So you’re a new eCommerce owner. One of the first things you’re likely doing is driving sales to your site through the use of Facebook Ads. Your budget is $10 to $20 per day and your ads average .20 to .30 cents per click with 30-80 people coming over to your site. You know those are good metrics, but there’s just this one thing: they don’t convert. 

When this happens, you hit a wall: is this campaign worth it or is it a waste of time?

I’ll show you 3 tweaks to get over that wall and finally increase your conversion with Facebook Ads.

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Get More Sales with These 5 Email Receipt Marketing Tactics

by Tucker Schreiber | Email Marketing

Every time someone makes a purchase from your store they get an email receipt.

It’s an amazing way to connect with your customers—but it’s often overlooked as a marketing opportunity.  

Chances are, you’re missing out on sales because of that.

In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can use email receipt templates as a part of your marketing strategy to win additional sales, and stay connected with your customers.

Let's get into it!

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4 Massive Marketing Trends You Should Be Following in 2017

by Braveen Kumar | Ecommerce Trends | Jul 6, 2017

There always seems to be something new going on in the world of marketing: an update to Google’s search ranking algorithm, a game-changing feature that makes a familiar social network feel fresh again, a new way to connect with customers.

It can be hard for entrepreneurs and marketers to keep up.

That’s why it’s important to follow the overarching trends, not just smaller developments in the industry as they happen. Even if you can’t predict exactly what the future holds, you'll at least have an idea of the direction we're going in.

So, what matters for your business in 2017?

Here are some of the biggest marketing trends you should be paying attention to.

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Take your packaging from functional to fantastic

Take your packaging from functional to fantastic

27th June 2017 by moocrew

With a little thought and some added extras, send delivery packages that make your customers feel like kids on Christmas morning.

Run a small business? If you sell anything online, you’ll be pretty handy with a roll of packing tape. But packaging is about more than just boxes and bubble wrap – with just a touch of extra effort, you can give your customers an unexpected smile, and make them feel extra-good about their new products while you’re at it. In fact, this is now such a big part of online shopping, a quick search will find you unboxing videos from virtually every brand going. Power up your packaging, and you could find your customers making one about your products too…

What is unboxing?

The unboxing experience starts when a customer receives their delivery, and includes unpacking, discovering and examining everything inside. It captures that exciting, suspenseful feeling of the first moments with something you’ve wanted and waited for. No wonder unboxing videos are big among bloggers and vloggers, who open their packages in front of the camera so their watchers can share the excitement.


Why does packaging matter?

If you’re an online business, your packages may be the only physical touchpoint with your customers. As they open the package, they’re getting an all-important first impression of you. If your items are packed with care in thoughtfully chosen packaging, it shows you’re a careful and thoughtful seller who’s worthy of repeat business. A 2013 survey by found that 52% of consumers said they were likely to make a repeat purchase from a seller who uses premium packaging.

Interestingly, packaging can even affect their perception of what’s inside the box. A report from SealedAir (PDF download) found that 48% of online shoppers felt that better packaging meant a better product.

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The ecommerce platform made for you

Whether you sell online, on social media, in store, or out of the trunk of your car, Shopify has you covered.

Customize your store

You have complete control over the look and feel of your website, from its domain name to its layout, colors, and content.

No design skills needed

Start a gorgeous online store by choosing from over 100 professional store templates. Quickly and easily customize anything you want. Add your images, text, and videos without any design or tech skill needed.


Accept orders in seconds

Get notified by email or mobile when a new sale comes in. Fulfill one or multiple orders with just one click, making your order management a breeze.

Shipping made easy

Easily integrate shipping with every major carrier and provide your customers with tracking info for their orders.

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The Ultimate DIY Guide to Beautiful Product Photography

If there’s one thing that’s true when it comes to ecommerce, it's that the perceived value of your products and the trustworthiness of your business is often judged by the quality of your web design. And a big part of having an attractive website these days also means having high-quality, beautiful product photography.

But it's not just aesthetics we're talking about. Showcasing your products with high-quality images can also be the winning difference between a conversion and no sale at all. This is particularly true if you’re also distributing your products on marketplace sites like Amazon, where they are displayed alongside those of your competitors, or selling on visual platforms like Pinterest.

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9 Simple Ways to Write Product Descriptions that Sell

It’s an easy mistake.

Even professional copywriters make it sometimes: Writing product descriptions that simply describe your products.

Why is it wrong? Because product descriptions need to sell your products.

Let’s have a look at nine simple ways to persuade your web visitors with product descriptions that sell.


1. Focus on Your Ideal Buyer

When you write a product description with a huge crowd of buyers in mind, your descriptions become wishy-washy and you end up addressing no one at all.

The best product descriptions address your ideal buyer directly and personally. You ask and answer questions as if you’re having a conversation with them. You choose the words your ideal buyer uses. You use the word you.

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Marketing Trends That Defined Google's Year in Search

Written by Natalie Zmuda

Google's "Year in Search" retrospective highlights the moments that defined 2016. Not only does search activity demonstrate how consumers turn to Google, it also provides valuable insights for marketers—especially as they set their road maps for 2017.

Searches give a glimpse into what the world was interested in during 2016. And for all the year's difficulties and challenges, there were also moments of levity, beauty, and inspiration.

The world mourned after the attacks in Brussels and Orlando. People struggled to understand the ins and outs of Zika and Brexit. And issues raised during the presidential election season continue to resonate even after Nov. 8. But there were also moments of comic relief—demonstrated by the unlikely memes of Dat Boi and Michael Phelps—and experiences that brought us together, such as the Olympics, Pokémon Go, and a strong desire to win Powerball.

Year in Search showcases some examples of the way people are living their lives in micro-moments: those times when there's an immediate need to fulfill. In those moments, consumers want to know, go, do, or buy—and they turn to search for information and inspiration.

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4 of the Biggest Advertising Trends of 2016

Written by | @krla_cook

2016 was a year of unprecedented creative opportunities for advertisers.

Advancements in technology enabled agencies to develop campaigns across innovative new mediums, pushing the boundaries of digital advertising and inviting consumers to experience brands like never before.

Before we see what 2017 has in store, let's take a look back at some of this year's most impactful advertising trends. The following four marketing tactics left a big mark on 2016, and they show no signs of slowing down as we head into the new year.

See which trends fueled some of the most creative ad campaigns, and start planning your first 2017 campaign. 

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Pantone hopes its color of the year will improve our gloomy mood

By Anne Quito

The time has come to put away 2016’s pink and blue. Pantone announced today (Dec. 8), that it has chosen a “tangy yellow-green” shade called “Greenery” as the color of the year for 2017.

The mythic color standards company says it selected the bright, natural color as a counterpoint to the dark malaise caused by the murky political climate around the world. “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone’s color consulting arm. “Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”

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How to Add a Pricing Plan Table in Adobe Muse


E-Commerce is a big part of web design and web development these days. That is why I decided to create a widget that allows you to easily add a pricing plan table to your Adobe Muse website. The pricing plan table is fully responsive and changes position when resizing the browser.

You can select between 1 and 4 plans for the pricing plan table. After the widget is added you can link the plans to a PayPal subscription or any other link you’d like. All of the colors and text within the plans are fully customizable. You can even choose from over 600 Font Awesome Icons for the plan icon! Wow! – say hello to easy E-Commerce in Adobe Muse.

In the video above I go over how to use the widget and how to link it to a PayPal subscription. I take you through all the steps required to creating a subscription in PayPal and then how to link it within the widget.

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9 Free Microsoft Excel Templates to Make Marketing Easier

Written by | @CarlyStec

Many of us can recall a time in high school when we were sitting in math class and thinking, "When am I ever going to use this stuff in the real world?"

And then we suddenly find ourselves in the real world, only to realize that numbers actually do play a pivotal role in what we do -- especially in digital marketing.

Trouble is, many marketers are right-brained, meaning Excel spreadsheets riddled with numbers and formulas aren't all that inviting. Making them from scratch can be especially intimidating.

While we won't argue with that, we will say that the advantages of leveraging Excel's functionality to organize information and streamline tasks are unparalleled. To help those of you looking for a way to sharpen your skills, we've put together a detailed list of ways you can start using Excel to simplify your marketing tasks. Complete with templates, these suggestions will have you making strides in no time. Know what's even better? You can download this full collection of Excel templates in one fell swoop.  

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Don’t be a copywronger!

5 tips to help you write better marketing emails

Creating copy for marketing emails is no easy job. And let’s face it, not everybody is a copywriter. However, it’s critical that your email content is relevant and engaging so that your emails are opened and acted on. From the way you format copy to how you address your readers, we have a few tricks to help you along your way. Get our latest cheatsheet for 5 tips to help you get the right response.

Key takeaways from this cheatsheet:

  • Discover the most important question to ask when writing an email
  • Get examples of how to make your emails user friendly and customer-centric
  • Explore ways to make your copy effective and actionable

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How small businesses can do branding like the big guys


When Beata Tolley and her husband, Chris, launched their Okanagan Valley, B.C. winery in 2004, their focus was the product. It was only several years later that it occurred to them to look closer at their brand. “Our most important concern was the quality of what went into the bottle,” she says. “But we realized that the way our wine was being presented to the world didn’t match our intention behind it—or the wine itself.”

Like many smaller businesses, the Tolleys had treated branding as an afterthought rather than a priority.

What the pair learned is what marketing specialists want to shout from the rooftops: For even very small businesses, good branding matters, from your name to the colour of your logo to the copy that ties everything together. “A strong visual identity sticks in a customer’s head,” says Erin Bury of Toronto’s 88 Creative communications agency. “It provides consistency and a differentiator in the market.” After all, it doesn’t matter how good your business is if people can’t find or remember it.

Wayne Roberts of Blade Creative Branding in Toronto encourages companies to treat branding as an investment, not a cost, and to embrace the process rather than thinking of it like, as he puts it, “having a tumour removed.” Business owners who don’t believe in the critical importance of branding, he adds, fail to understand basic human behaviour. “People are not rational; they are rationalizers,” Roberts says. “We’re always trying to rationalize the way we feel about things, and branding makes people feel a certain way.”

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How interviewing our top 10 clients helped us grow & improve our business

by Lou Levit

When you learn about your customers, you can give them exactly what they want. And the more you do that – the more you grow.

Like Pat, I realized that it’d been a while since we interviewed any of our customers at Reliable PSD (our web development company).

We’d grown quite a bit over the past couple years, added new team members, updated our workflows & processes, and increased our customer base, but one thing we hadn’t done in a while was get on the phone with the people we enjoyed working with most and have been our best clients.

You see, what your customers think, feel, and believe is a gold mine.

Getting in their heads and really figuring out what drives them and motivates them to make the decisions that they make is invaluable to your business and directly translates to increasing your profits and attracting more of the exact kinds of people you want to work with.

It’s simple: The better you know your clients, the more targeted you can make your own business and marketing, and as a result…

Your business will grow.

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This new workflow gets our agency faster client approvals

By David Tendrich

Our agency’s workflow used to look like this, and while it went well most of the time… it also led to heartache, never-ending projects, and early-onset baldness due to pulling all of our hair out:

  1. Conduct all research
  2. Create copy & design, obsess over it, make it perfect
  3. Show client & hope for the best

Why was this a disaster?

In all honesty, projects went well most of the time. And maybe you’ve experienced the same.

Clients come to us because they trust us and love our aesthetic, so they typically love what we create.

But there’s a big risk in doing things this way: We put a lot of our eggs in one basket for step #2. But what if the client hated it? What if the direction was all wrong? What if they wanted / expected something completely different?

We’d have to go back to square one after putting in the sweat, blood, and hours that go into a final proof. Or, we’d have to spend hours in back-and-forth justifying our decisions to the client and ultimately getting them to sign off on something they just didn’t like.

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The Design Process

By Pablo Stanley

When I had just moved to San Francisco, I was instantly intimidated by all the cool phrases my colleagues used. “Damn, these guys must know a lot,” I thought. I had been a designer for a long time but I felt like a noob around the UX experts. If I wanted to succeed, I had to learn the language?—?communicate like a pro! Then I realized most of them were just in a jargon-measuring contest––they were just as ignorant as me.

If you ever feel lost in the sea of articles from design authorities or design teams, not knowing exactly whose process is the right one or what to make of all those terms they use––know that we’re all figuring out stuff as we go. We just haven’t been able to create a consistent way to talk about our work. The language and process you learn in one company will have to be unlearned when you switch jobs (so you can learn the new, more streamlinedone). Have you noticed that when you get interviewed for a design position, one of the requests we always make is that you “describe the design process at your previous company”? That’s because we want to see what can we copy and apply to our own process.

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My 9-Step Guide To Attracting “A”-level freelance clients

By Bianca Board

Remember that time you created the most amazing logo concepts for that client?

You smashed it out of the park. Completely nailed the brief. So excited by your own ability you couldn’t wipe the smirk off your face as you saved the PDF.

You. Were. Chuffed.

You fire off an email and patiently wait. You know there’s a winner amongst the concepts you’d created and you can’t wait to get a reply… showering you with praise… telling their friends  you’re the best designer in town…. worshipping the ground you walk on etc…

…And then it arrives.

Within 30 minutes you get a reply telling you they don’t like any of them.

They accuse you of not listening to them properly and the only feedback they have is: “I can’t quite put my finger on it but it’s just not what I had in mind. Can you have another go at it?”

Your heart just sinks.

Difficult clients suck. They crush your creativity, make you second-guess your ability and give you headaches you don’t need. Not to mention put a massive time drain on your resources.

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97 Habits Of Insanely Profitable Designers

If you want to be insanely profitable doing what you love (that’s design by the way) then you need to find a happy balance between art and commerce. Basically, you need a head for business and a mind for design.

On the surface, profitable designers aren’t that different to unprofitable ones; the one real difference is that insanely profitable designers have developed specific habits that allow them to succeed.

8 years ago I was financially stressed, I couldn’t pay all my bills on time, I had nightmare clients; some who wouldn’t pay me on time, I couldn’t find good staff, I was working 16 hour days and my business was sucking all my time and every last ounce of energy I had… but for very little return.

Are you feeling the same way right now?

If you want to create a business and life you love, these 97 habits will be the key to your liberation… and your profits. 

Remember you don’t become a freelancer just to create a job for yourself, you freelance to create a lifestyle. Don’t be the technician buried in the trenches, become the entrepreneur. Start with these 97 habits and you’ll transform your business and your life…

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Behind the Brand Refresh: Olapic

Growing businesses often outgrow their logo. That’s exactly why visual commerce platform and social media aficionados Olapic, chose to refresh theirs. Here’s how they did it.

Why rebrand?

“We pioneered an industry that helps brands put their consumers forth as effective brand ambassadors,” says Rachel Meranus, Chief Marketing Officer at Olapic. In six years, Olapic has gone from serving small-and medium-sized ecommerce companies to global enterprise clients across different industries — and with that growth and the arrival of more competitors, Meranus and her team saw the need for a brand evolution.

“While our brand did a really good job reflecting who we were in the early days, it was time to put forth a new look, feel, and voice that was more professional and sophisticated in nature — a look that could hold its own with some of these major global brands that we’re currently working with,” she says. With the new brand, Olapic wanted to elevate its voice in the marketplace and focus on being the authority in all things visual content.

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5 Design Jobs That Won't Exist In The Future

By John Brownlee

Organ designers, chief drone experience designers, cybernetic director. Those are some of the fanciful new roles that could be created by the global design industry in the next few years.

But what about current design roles? How will they favor over the next 15 years? Will every company by 2030 have a chief design officer, or will they all go extinct? Should a generation of creatives who grew up worshipping Apple's Jonathan Ive put all their eggs in the industrial design basket?

We talked to a dozen design leaders and thinkers from companies such as Frog, Artefact, and Ideo to find out which design jobs could die out in the next 15 years, and which could grow. There's no empirical evidence behind these picks, so they shouldn't be taken too seriously. Still, they represent the informed opinions of people who get paid to think about the future.

Design jobs that will die:

  • UX Designers
  • Visual Designers
  • Design Researchers
  • Traditional Industrial Designers
  • Chief Design Officers

Design jobs that will grow:

  • Virtual Interaction Designers
  • Specialist Material Designers
  • Algorithmic/AI Design Specialists
  • Post-Industrial Designers
  • Design Strategists
  • Freelance Designers

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How Exercise Shapes You, Far Beyond the Gym

By Brad Stulberg

There’s value in learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

When I first started training for marathons a little over ten years ago, my coach told me something I’ve never forgotten: that I would need to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I didn’t know it at the time, but that skill, cultivated through running, would help me as much, if not more, off the road as it would on it.

It’s not just me, and it’s not just running. Ask anyone whose day regularly includes a hard bike ride, sprints in the pool, a complex problem on the climbing wall, or a progressive powerlifting circuit, and they’ll likely tell you the same: A difficult conversation just doesn’t seem so difficult anymore. A tight deadline not so intimidating. Relationship problems not so problematic.

Maybe it’s that if you’re regularly working out, you’re simply too tired to care. But that’s probably not the case. Research shows that, if anything, physical activity boosts short-term brain function and heightens awareness. And even on days they don’t train?—?which rules out fatigue as a factor?—?those who habitually push their bodies tend to confront daily stressors with a stoic demeanor. While the traditional benefits of vigorous exercise?—?like prevention and treatment of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and osteoporosis?—?are well known and often reported, the most powerful benefit might be the lesson that my coach imparted to me: In a world where comfort is king, arduous physical activity provides a rare opportunity to practice suffering.

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25 Sales Email Subject Lines That Get Prospects to Open, Read, and Respond

Written by | @emmajs24

Just like a gatekeeper can prevent a salesperson from reaching the manager or executive they want to get in touch with, a subject line can block a prospect from opening a sales email. And it doesn't matter how much research and time you put into the body text -- your hard work goes to waste if the prospect deletes right off the bat.

But what makes a good subject line? Coming on too strong isn't a good idea. Think about it -- would you open an email with the subject line "I would like to sell you something"? That message is getting sent straight to the spam folder.

If you're reaching out to a prospect, you're either responding to their demonstrated interest (for example, they've visited your website, or engaged with your company on social media), or you have a solid reason to believe you can help them (for example, they tweeted out an article on training mistakes and you just so happen to be a training consultant). Now to get the prospect to engage with you and come to this realization ... 

The best sales email subject lines are creative, interest-provoking, and informative without giving too much away. Writing the perfect subject line is no small feat, so we've compiled 25 compelling sales email subject lines for a variety of situations. Customize for your own uses, and watch your open and response rates skyrocket. 

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The Future of Design (and how to prepare for it)

A handy guide to navigating what's coming up next in the design world. 

By  and 

In trying to figure out what the future of design will look like, we’re at a bit of a loss.

Technology is changing at a rapid pace. In five years, mobile platforms have gone from being an emerging part of a company’s strategy to the focal point of its future. So who’s to say when virtual reality and automation become more prominent? Quickly-evolving tools like these and a shifting playing field make it almost impossible to predict the future, because the gadget that will drive our lives in 10 years probably hasn’t even been invented yet. And then there is the matter of divergent career paths. The age-old standard of working your way up the ladder at a single company for the duration of your life has been disrupted by career professionals blending skills that were once thought to be mutually exclusive — like design and computer programming — to make entirely new hybrid careers in anticipation of the market needs of tomorrow.

So that is why we’ve reached out to visionaries and experts across the design world to get their take on what the field will look like in the next 10 years when the very definition of the designer will begin to loosen up and designers will soon be called on by companies to re-think the entire way businesses function, from how teams collaborate to how corporations are structured. 

It’s setting up to be a golden age, one filled with wonderfully-wild new possibilities (full-body virtual reality suits that generate real-life senses, anyone?) and career opportunities. Worried? Don’t be. We asked each participant to give us a glimpse into how we can prepare for the world ahead.

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99U Magazine

The 99U Magazine delivers our best insights on making ideas happen in a premium-edition printed magazine, lovingly designed by our incredible creative team. Each issue comes packed with practical advice on idea execution, including in-depth profiles of artists, designers, and entrepreneurs, the latest research on getting shit done, and road-tested tips for building your career.


Dive deep into the creative process of some of the world’s most prolific and thoughtful creative talent. Past interviews include Brain Pickings founder Maria Popova, Adventure Time producer Fred Siebert, Walker and Co. founder Tristan Walker, Bestselling author Austin Kleon and more.

Missing Curriculum

Career advice that reflects the way the world actually works. Each issue features brand new insights from leading thinkers, academics, creatives on making ideas happen — all with the 99U’s legendary focus on practical, actionable advice.

Head Start

An espresso shot of productivity advice that is guaranteed to improve your day-to-day working life from 99U’s team of writers and researchers

The World's Best Creative Work

Get a super-curated look at the best of the best work offered by the Behance network, more than 7 million strong.

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Essential Steps to Making a Killer Portfolio

A primer on planning, presenting, and posting your best work. 


You have the ability to capture the attention of a creative director in a single glance of your portfolio, so it’s vital to get the details right. What is the most compelling way to curate your images? How do you best present your designs? And what are the important mistakes to avoid?

Since Behance launched in 2006, we’ve seen a lot of portfolios. The website has 7.4 million members who post 12,000 new projects every day and draw a collective 200 million page views each month. That can make it difficult to stand out, but it’s worth giving your portfolio a polish and shine in an effort to do so. Think of it like this: We all tend to eat with our eyes first. If a dish looks good, we’ll be that much more eager to want to devour it. The same idea applies to your work. If your projects are stylishly presented, the chances are likely better that people will want to check out your work — which is the first step to getting more opportunities. 

To help you stand out, we’ve asked Behance’s Brand Director Mark Brooks what one should (and shouldn’t) do to create an eye-catching portfolio. He walks us through the planning, presentation and posting stages of the process.

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Scope creep is great for your business--if you handle it like this

by Ian Vadas

I remember receiving some bad news earlier in my career from a client that I was doing some identity work for.

We’d finished the logo, moved on to the stationery, and were just about to wrap things up when my client found out he couldn’t use the logo we created because of some legal issues.

He was a lawyer, and there were some requirements around the name of the business he had to adhere to.

I can still feel the sinking feeling I got when he told me the news. We had done a ton of work and now had to trash it and redo most of it.

As I was telling my wife about it and how much of a pain it was going to be to have to redo the work.

I kept rambling on about how much it sucked when my wife said, “I don’t know what you are complaining about. This is more business for you. Just charge them for the extra work.”

Looking back on it now, it seems ridiculous to even think twice about charging for the extra work.

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295 Marketing Mentor Podcasts

Ilise Benun, founder of and author of 7 books, including The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money, interviews her clients and other successful creative professionals about what’s working when it comes to the latest marketing tools and pricing strategies. Ilise’s conversational style is friendly and engaging as she presses her interviewees to reveal the details that you don’t hear anywhere else about what exactly they are doing and how it is working. 

Each episode is a no-fluff chat about the nuts and bolts of how designers, copywriters, photographers and other creatives are doing to grow their business to get better clients with bigger budgets. Topics covered include taking control over your business, ending the feast or famine syndrome, finding your niche, identifying the ideal clients who value your services and can pay what you’re worth, developing your own marketing style and cultivating relationships that will last. 

For more, sign up for her Quick Tips at


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The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More By Managing Your Time, Attention, And Energy

by  Chris Bailey

A fresh, personal, and entertaining exploration of a topic that concerns all of us: how to be more productive at work and in every facet of our lives.
Chris Bailey turned down lucrative job offers to pursue a lifelong dream—to spend a year performing a deep dive experiment into the pursuit of productivity, a subject he had been enamored with since he was a teenager. After obtaining his business degree, he created a blog to chronicle a year-long series of productivity experiments he conducted on himself, where he also continued his research and interviews with some of the world’s foremost experts, from Charles Duhigg to David Allen.

Among the experiments that he tackled: Bailey went several weeks with getting by on little to no sleep; he cut out caffeine and sugar; he lived in total isolation for 10 days; he used his smartphone for just an hour a day for three months; he gained ten pounds of muscle mass; he stretched his work week to 90 hours; a late riser, he got up at 5:30 every morning for three months—all the while monitoring the impact of his experiments on the quality and quantity of his work. 
The Productivity Project—and the lessons Chris learned—are the result of that year-long journey. Among the counterintuitive insights Chris Bailey will teach you: 
·         slowing down to work more deliberately;
·         shrinking or eliminating the unimportant; 
·         the rule of three; 
·         striving for imperfection; 
·         scheduling less time for important tasks; 
·         the 20 second rule to distract yourself from the inevitable distractions; 
·         and the concept of productive procrastination.
In an eye-opening and thoroughly engaging read, Bailey offers a treasure trove of insights and over 25 best practices that will help you accomplish more.

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Shoe Dog: A Memoir By The Creator Of Nike

In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

Young, searching, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year, 1963. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In this age of start-ups, Knight’s Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is more than a logo. A symbol of grace and greatness, it’s one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world.

But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always been a mystery. Now, in a memoir that’s surprising, humble, unfiltered, funny, and beautifully crafted, he tells his story at last. It all begins with a classic crossroads moment. Twenty-four years old, backpacking through Asia and Europe and Africa, wrestling with life’s Great Questions, Knight decides the unconventional path is the only one for him. Rather than work for a big corporation, he will create something all his own, something new, dynamic, different. Knight details the many terrifying risks he encountered along the way, the crushing setbacks, the ruthless competitors, the countless doubters and haters and hostile bankers—as well as his many thrilling triumphs and narrow escapes. Above all, he recalls the foundational relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike, with his former track coach, the irascible and charismatic Bill Bowerman, and with his first employees, a ragtag group of misfits and savants who quickly became a band of swoosh-crazed brothers.

Together, harnessing the electrifying power of a bold vision and a shared belief in the redemptive, transformative power of sports, they created a brand, and a culture, that changed everything.

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New Film Offers An In-Depth Look At How Graphic Design Has Changed Since 1950s

By Yap Yen

Directed and produced by Briar Levit, the film will have interviews with several leading figures from graphic design, including Ellen LuptonMalcom Garrett and Adrian Shaughnessy

The trailer teases at how much has changed, with various designers discussing the hands-on construction of pages, from the time-consuming processes of hot metal type to photo-typesetting and now, automatically done using computer software.

Here is the official trailer for Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production, a film that gives an in-depth look at the huge changes that took place in graphic design from the 1950s through to the 1990s, from linecaster to photocomposition and paste-up PDF. 

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The Strategy And Vision Behind Nike's Brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo Ad "The Switch"


Wieden+Kennedy Portland creatives and director Ringan Ledwidge talk about creating the brand's latest epic soccer ad.

You must've seen it by now. Last week, Nike unveiled it's newest film ad, starring Portugal and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo pulling a footie Freaky Friday body swap with a talented English youngster.

It's quick, it's snappy, it's fun, and it even shows off some surprisingly nuanced acting chops by Ronaldo. Over the last few years, every time a major international soccer tournament is about to kick off, Nike has released an epic ad, encompassing a laundry list of global star players, that resonates in pop culture with the bang bang of any major music video.


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How I Generated 393 Potential New Website Clients In Under A Week

Learn the exact step-by-step process Bianca Board, founder of Foxley and owner of web design business Web123, went through to set up an explosive sales funnel in just one weekend, all by herself. (No geeks, tech boffins or coding required.) 

Join us as Bianca pulls back the curtains and steps you through the business aspect of marketing your design business; the tools she uses, how much she spends, conversion rates, results, what to expect and how you can do this too for as little as just $10 per day.

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7 essential Google Analytics reports every marketer must know


You may be using Google Analytics, but are you using it to its full potential? Contributor Khalid Saleh lays out 7 key reports with which every marketer should be familiar.

For marketers, there are few skills more important than a deep understanding of Google Analytics and its conversion measurement capabilities.

After all, this is the tool that tells you whether your efforts are actually translating into results.

Unfortunately, mastering Google Analytics can be challenging, even for experienced marketers. There is far too much data and too few easy-to-follow dashboards to sort it out.

To help you out, I’ve put together a list of seven custom and standard reports you can use right away to get better insight into your marketing performance.

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How New Yorker Cartoonists Generate 500 Ideas a Week


"The trick is to not wait for the moments of inspiration, but to be working and let those moments happen while you’re working."

Every Tuesday the 50 or so freelance cartoonists for the “New Yorker” submit their weekly batch of drawings for publication consideration. Some email them in and others travel to the magazine’s office at One World Trade Center to personally hand in physical copies. But all of the cartoonists have one thing in common: They’re facing terrible odds of success.

Each cartoonist submits up to 10 sketches, so there can be 500 entries competing for approximately 12 spots in the magazine. “On a good week, you might sell one of your batch of 10,” says cartoonist Matt Diffee. “That is 90 percent rejection.”

This is the same problem every creative faces—on steroids: tight deadlines, a crazy competitive environment, a discerning audience, and uncertain pay. If a cartoonist fails to impress, he will miss out on a high three- to low four-figure payday.

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The Merits of Giving Up on Your Ideas


Don't judge your ideas through a lens filled with beat-tired late nights, sacrificed paychecks, and all the other trademarks of building something from scratch. Instead, view them as investments, so you can better gauge when to move on from a loser.

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15 Email Newsletter Examples We Love Getting in Our Inboxes

Written by | @CarlyStec

When people first start doing email marketing, they often assume they need an email newsletter. "It'll have everything our customers care about, all in one place," they rationalize. "Our list will be different -- people will actually look forward to getting our newsletter," they argue. "Since we're only sending it once a month, it'll be a breeze to put together," they say.

And while all of those things may become true for a few lucky individuals, lots of email newsletters flop. They become an uninteresting mush of content people automatically ignore, archive, delete, or straight up unsubscribe from. And this isn't great for you, your metrics, or your company's success.

So if you're thinking about creating an email newsletter, check out this post and think really hard about whether that's the right move for you in terms of your marketing strategy.

If you've decided that you want to start an email newsletter, or you want to revamp one that's not performing well, keep on reading.

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Branding & Corporate Identity

Suppose someone told you that you have 30 minutes to create a perfectly-cooked Beef Wellington.

If you’ve never heard about it before, a Beef Wellington is a filet of beef tenderloin that’s carefully assembled with liver pâté, mushrooms and onions, then wrapped in puff pastry. Yeah, you’re going to need a recipe. And once you have that, you’ve got to make sure that the ingredients are just right.

Creating brand communications pieces is kind of like cooking such a multilayered dish. You’re constantly going to need a set of rules, instructions, and a complete set of assets (ingredients) to make sure that the flavors stay true. That’s where the brand style guide comes in: it provides a clear handbook to share your brand’s visual symbols, value story and communication strategy.

I’m going to walk you through how to navigate it. In the meantime, here’s a handy checklist you can use to get your branding materials in order once you finish reading.

Style guides are not just for corporate brands.

Your personal brand can benefit from establishing consistency, and this document helps achieve just that.

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Confessions of a part-time type designer

By Terri Stone

Creative director Bruno Sellés is a co-founder of the renowned Barcelona design firm Vasava. In his twenty-plus years as a graphic designer and art director, he has been responsible for many projects, including covers for Variety, Computer Arts, and Nature magazines; packaging for Hennessy; and hundreds of graphics for Nike apparel. Less well known is that Sellés is also a typeface designer. He recently spoke to Create about that side of his career, including his advice for aspiring type designers.

Create: Do you have formal training in type design?

Bruno Sellés: I am self-taught in mostly everything. I learned from my dad, who was a design teacher, and I’ve worked with many talented people who specialize in type design. I get obsessed with things and I manage to get the knowledge I need to make it work. I’ve spent endless hours reading, drawing, observing, and looking online for technical info.

I did start very early. My first font was designed in the end of the 1990s. [Sellés was born in 1976.] I’m really embarrassed by it now. It was a learning; you have to walk the first steps of the ladder before going up. I gave it away for free as a download.

The most recent fonts I’ve released are more professional. They are more complex fonts with OpenType features and character sets that cover more languages. 

It took a long time to get there. I was designing fonts for the last six years without releasing anything. I would do it, give it a rest, take it up again and revise it. I don’t work full-time on typeface design. I have to find my spare moments to do it.

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What do art directors want?

By Jenny Carless

Across the spectrum of print and online publications, art directors rely on illustrators not only to create beautiful and attention-getting images, but also to help impart information and express complex ideas. Editorial illustrations bring stories to life and entice readers to engage with content. It’s bread-and-butter work for many illustrators, and many find it extremely satisfying. The first step? Getting the attention of an art director.


Art directors and illustrators work together to craft the best possible visual to tell a story or illuminate a concept. There’s a magazine or newspaper out there to suit just about every illustration style, and publications frequently play with many varied aesthetics. For instance, think of Sierra magazine, and you may think of stunning nature photography. But Sierra also tackles conceptual political and environmental stories that don't lend themselves to photos.

Sierra art director Tracy Cox gives one example of a tricky concept he turned to an illustrator to express: a recent story about the United States’ penchant for touting its environmental progress while at the same time being one of the world’s largest exporters of natural gas, oil, and coal.

On the other hand, sometimes he wants a representational illustration.

“For a more mainstream story—for instance, the best sushi to eat and help the environment—we may hire someone to create beautiful pictures of fish,” Cox says.

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How to Audit Your Website for Improved SEO and Conversions

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When was the last time you gave your website a checkup? Website audits are extremely valuable and absolutely necessary before beginning any large-scale SEO or website redesign projects . Auditing your website can determine whether or not it's optimized to achieve your goals, and if not, how you can improve it to increase performance.

So if you've never audited your website before, it's been a while since you have, or if you're planning a website redesign in the near future, use this post as your go-to website audit checklist to make sure your website is primed for maximum SEO and conversion results. Keep in mind that in most cases, you’ll probably want to pair up with someone with a technical brain for this, whether that be someone in your in-house IT department or an outsourced party.

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This branding mistake is costing freelancers & agencies tons of clients

by David Tendrich

Years ago I remember studying a direct mail letter from the amazing copywriter, Gary Halbert. 

The letter performed well, but on a hunch, Gary changed one small detail. The results of the letter instantly grew by quite a lot.

The strange thing is Gary didn’t change any of the words, like the headline, details of the offer, anything else you’d typically test in a direct mail letter, or any piece of direct response copy. 

The only thing he changed was the phone number.

In the first version of the letter the phone number was a 1-800 number. But Gary, being very insightful into human nature, had a hunch that it made people feel like the company was very “far away” and “too big” – thus making them feel uncomfortable, leading to fewer sales.

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When is it ok to say “no” to a client?

by Sabrina Hutchings

It happened to me. I wanted to say no to a project badly.

I was running through a list of excuses in my mind, even having slight nightmares about this project. There was just something inside me that kept me from wanting to take part in this project. It was a feeling of dread and foreboding.

It’s the feeling when you know that you and your client are not going to see eye-to-eye in significant measures down the road.

The problem was, I had already done some work for this client. I had completed an assessment for this client, even though after the first complimentary meeting I already had bad feelings.

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11 Morning Habits That Will Change Your Life (And Make You More Creative)


Your alarm clock goes off and it’s time to mindlessly shower, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, then head to work. Is that really all there is?

In order to prime yourself to think creatively in the day ahead, your morning shouldn’t be a thoughtless drag.

The author Annie Dillard once wrote that “how we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives,” but she might have been being too general. Recent studies show that it’s not how we spend our days that’s most important to our lifelong happiness and creativity but how we spend our mornings.

Our mornings set us up either to be primed for creative insights or to be numbed and mindless, merely trudging through our day. Some of us identify as “morning people” while others are anything but; yet either way it matters less what time we wake up at but what we do with that time. Creative people live life differently in a variety of ways, but perhaps none more importantly than what they do with their morning hours.

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How we increased Design School’s traffic to 1 million visits


Let me guess— you’re keen to give your blog that extra boost?

Let’s get real, it doesn’t need much. You’ve already done the hard part— you gave it life, and now it’s maturing nicely.

What it really needs is nothing more than a tweak here and there, to take it to that next level.

When I joined Canva in August 2015, I picked up the gauntlet to drive 1 million sessions to the Design School blog in a calendar month.

In this article, I’ll share how we finally achieved that goal.

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The Monday Morning Routines of 7 Successful People [Infographic]

Written by 

Ugh, Mondays.

That's how many of us approach our Monday mornings. With another weekend in the books, we tend to start off the workweek with a bit of a drag in our step.

For some of the world's most successful people, however, Monday mornings represent an opportunity to start fresh and set the tone for the rest of the week.

Whether they're practicing yoga or meditation, walking their dog, or tidying their living space, they have a routine that helps them get ready for a productive week from the very start.

What do the most successful businesspeople in the world do to start the week off on the right foot? The folks at DollarsDirect collected the Monday morning habits of some of the world's business elite and used their findings to create the infographic below. Check it out, and think about how you can reframe your Monday mornings to supercharge your productivity for the rest of the week.

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6 Bad Habits to Avoid When Writing Proposals

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Writing proposals -- whether responding to lengthy RFPs or pitching new services to existing clients -- is a responsibility that most agency execs would rather avoid. I’ve noticed a series of bad habits that, if broken, would make proposals not only easier to write but also more effective at what they’re meant to do -- win you more business.

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This “To-Go Box” Method Saves Us Tons of Time & Energy With Clients

by David Tendrich

I was eating at my favorite restaurant the other day (Harlow here in Portland!) when I looked across the room and noticed something brilliant.

It’s something I’ve seen about a hundred or so times before, and didn’t really think much of it.

But when I looked at it the other day, I had a huge “Aha!” moment. It was genius.

Here’s why this is genius, and how mastering this concept is going to save you tons of time and energy with your customers:

How many times do you think Harlow was asked, “Hey, can I get a to go box please?” before they implemented this system?

Hundreds? Thousands?

How many combined hours did their staff spend stopping what they were doing to go fetch a box for a customer?

Now, think of how much time they’re saving by just putting up a new stack every week or so. 

Think of how much energy they’re saving.

Suddenly, those to go boxes are pretty brilliant, right?

That’s because they’re just one example of a system Harlow implemented to free their staff up to focus on their most important jobs.

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16 Famous Designers Show Us Their Favorite Notebooks

By John Brownlee

Designers from Ikea, Pentagram, Ideo, and more tell us what makes a great notebook.

Sure, digital design apps might be finally coming into their own, but there's still nothing better than pen and paper. Here at Co.Design, we're notebook fetishists, so we recently asked a slew of designers about their favorites—and whether they would mind giving us a look inside.

It turns out they didn't. Across multiple disciplines, almost every designer we asked was thrilled to tell us about their notebook of choice and give us a look at how they use it. Our operating assumption going in was that most designers would probably be pretty picky about their notebooks, but this turned out not to be true: While Muji and Moleskine notebooks were the common favorites, some even preferred loose paper.

But what makes the notebooks of designers special isn't so much what notebook they use, as how they use them. Below, enjoy a peek inside the working notebooks of some of the most prolific designers today—as well as their thoughts on what makes a great one.

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Bad, Crazy Clients Will Make You Rich

by David Tendrich

Sounds crazy, right? But looking back, I can attribute any and all success I’ve had to what the title of this post is saying.

Bad, Crazy Clients Will Make You Rich

I can also attribute people staying in place, not growing, not succeeding, not achieving to the same exact thing.

I’ve never read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad but I get the gist—“rich” people and “poor” people encounter the same situations, but it’s their reaction to them that makes one rich and one poor.

While I think life is more complex than that—and not all rich people are these “enlightened” decision makers and people—I also think there’s a lot of truth to it that I’ve experienced myself.

A smart guy I know recently told me, “There’s no such thing as a bad client. There are only bad processes.”

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The 9 Graphic Design Trends You Need to Be Aware of In 2016


More than the patterns that emerge from the Popular feeds on Dribbble and Behance, design trends can be a mysterious thing.

They’re influenced by culture and media, past and present, technology, fashion, and other industries.

Madeleine Morley at The American Institute for Graphic Arts (AIGA) says:

“A trend never simply emerges for a single year and then disappears in a puff of smoke. Instead, an aesthetic becomes popular gradually, even mysteriously, over time before fizzling out slowly without much notice at all.”

The design trends we’ll be covering here didn’t magically materialize in late 2015; trends take time to peak, and you’ve likely seen many of them in one form or another during the last couple years.

But even if you’re not one to follow the trends, as a designer, it’s smart to be aware of the shifts going on in your industry—if only to avoid them before they become overused, or to have the opportunity to twist them into something new and interesting.

While forecasting trends with any certainty is a tricky business, many members of the design industry seem to have developed a consensus as to what styles and approaches are most likely to take off in 2016.

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7 Simple Ways to Give Your Website a Stronger Presence
These quick, tactical changes to your website will consolidate your success and position your business for future growth.

When a company is just starting out, it's OK to have an amateurish website. Once you're established, however, you need a site that both reflects your current success and positions you for further growth.

Here's a step-by-step method to make your website pack more punch.

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5 Biggest Ways Social Media Will Change in 2016
Death and taxes used to be the only two things we could all rely on. Now we can add a third: that social media will roll out all sorts of weird changes. Entrepreneurs will then scratch their heads, wonder what this is all about, and finally jump on the bandwagon and try to catch up.

So before you scratch your heads, here's a heads-up. Five major changes are currently rumbling away in social media, and they're going to break out in 2016. You need to be ready for them.

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Daily wisdom from founders

Founder Mantras shows mantras, quotes, and other wise words from a huge variety of startup founders. You can subscribe to the daily mantras, or you can submit your own if you're a founder, owner, or independent creator. Each quote also includes some brief info about the founder who said it.

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Minimalist Color Palettes 2016

See a collection of minimalist posters, devoid of photo manipulated images and instead using very simple ideas. The posters include the hex values for each color used. They're beautiful examples of striking minimalist designs, perfect for inspiration or to hang on your wall.

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16 Images Inspired by Pantone’s 2016 Colors of the Year: Rose Quartz & Serenity

This December, Pantone changed up its Color of the Year tradition with not one, but two hues for 2016: Rose Quartz, a sophisticated pale pink, and Serenity, a delicate light blue.

This calming duo is Pantone’s response to the increasing stress of modern life — an encouragement to slow down and soften, but also an acknowledgment of changes in our society. These shades traditionally symbolize masculinity and femininity, but in a changing landscape of traditions and identity, Pantone urges us to find new meaning.

While these shades are most reminiscent of springtime flower buds and sweet sundresses, their combination is reflective of a stunning sunset at any time year. Explore some of our favorite Rose Quartz and Serenity images below, then take a look at our Color of the Year collection to see 75 more.

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10 Hottest Design Tools You Must Try In 2016

By Tomas Laurinavicius

A recent design tools survey conducted by Khoi Vinh, one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America”, shows that Photoshop is slowly losing its popularity among designers.

Answers from over 4,000 participants hailing from almost 200 countries prove that designers are open to new tools that ease the process of conceptualizing, wireframing, prototyping and designing digital products.

Let’s take a look at some of the hottest design tools you must try in 2016.

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Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind

by Biz Stone (Author)

Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, discusses the power of creativity and how to harness it, through stories from his remarkable life and career.

From GQ's "Nerd of the Year" to one of Time's most influential people in the world, Biz Stone represents different things to different people. But he is known to all as the creative, effervescent, funny, charmingly positive and remarkably savvy co-founder of Twitter—the social media platform that singlehandedly changed the way the world works.

Now, Biz tells fascinating, pivotal, and personal stories from his early life and his careers at Google and Twitter, sharing his knowledge about the nature and importance of ingenuity today. In Biz's world:

  • Opportunity can be manufactured
  • Great work comes from abandoning a linear way of thinking
  • Creativity never runs out 
  • Asking questions is free
  • Empathy is core to personal and global success 

In this book, Biz also addresses failure, the value of vulnerability, ambition, and corporate culture. Whether seeking behind-the-scenes stories, advice, or wisdom and principles from one of the most successful businessmen of the new century, THINGS A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME will satisfy every reader.

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The referral network  for women entrepreneurs.

Meet branding and marketing experts who deeply understand your target customer and can help you build a magnetic, profitable, soul-stirring business… finally.

Visit the site

2016 Pantone Colour of the Year

PANTONE 13-1520 & PANTONE 15-3919

A softer take on color for 2016: For the first time, the blending of two shades – Rose Quartz and Serenity are chosen as the PANTONE Color of the Year

As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent. Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

The prevalent combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity also challenges traditional perceptions of color association.

In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design. This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer's increased comfort with using color as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage.

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See Next Year's Visual Trends [Webinar]

Make sure you're ahead of the curve with Getty Images' 2016 Visual Trends Webinar. It's the best way to know our predictions for the visual trends you'll be seeing throughout the world of design and advertising next year.

What I learned from getting designer bids and being the client

by Preston D Lee

Recently, we redesigned the Millo logo with the help of Dina Rodriquez at Lettershoppe. Getting our logo redesigned put me in a really unique situation: normally, I’m the creative and I’m working with a client. But this time, I was the client. And it was my job to get a new logo designed.

In today’s post (and in a few subsequent posts to follow) I want to share lessons I learned as a client that will help us all:

  • work better with clients,
  • land more gigs, and
  • find more success as a freelancer.

There was something that really set Dina apart from the competition.

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Inside Design: Treehouse

Founded in 2013, Treehouse set out to offer kids and adults all over the world an affordable way to learn how to code. The online interactive education platform has a library of over 1,000 videos that teach everything from business to web design, and students put their new knowledge to the test through quizzes and code challenges.

Their dedication to education and great design makes us so proud to have them as part of the InVision community.

We sat down with Treehouse Product Designer Klare Frank to discuss collaborating with remote teams, the value of designers knowing how to code, and designing for success.

Do you think that designers should be playing a bigger role in developing business strategies as a whole?

The most successful organizations have had designers playing a role in business strategy. Designers think more closely to the user base of a product, so they can have valuable insights into what sort of things an organization should be focusing their goals on.

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“We got so deep into content marketing, that we forgot to mention what we actually do.”

by Christopher Butler

“We got so deep into content marketing, that we forgot to mention what we actually do.”

Sounds crazy, right? Well, not really. Just the other day, I was speaking with an agency principal about her firm’s website. We had been talking about what she has observed over the past five years or so of doing what she called “more aggressive digital marketing,” when she made that startling admission. In that time, she and her firm had created a ton of content: blog posts, white papers, case studies, you name it. After stabilizing their content production, they even smartened up a bit and organized it based upon the stages of the buying cycle, making sure to differentiate between content written for prospects who were in early stages of solution research and later stages of evaluation. After that, they revised their calls to action to better speak to prospects in each stage, and made sure to use them in the right places.

And you know what? It worked. They got more leads. But as we talked more, she described the strain that put on the person handling their sales (you guessed it: her). Despite creating so much content that described her firm’s expertise, she found that her sales conversations still began at square-one and required just as much time to inform and orient prospects to engagement possibilities as they had before they’d done all that fancy content marketing. The problem was, her phone was ringing much more now.

I smiled and said, “Don’t worry, you’re halfway there.”

She asked, “What do you mean, halfway?”

I explained that a few years ago, we spent most of our time helping agencies simply get up to speed with content marketing. We helped them break the habit of over-showing on the web by refocusing their websites on telling — namely, what they do and how they do it using actual words — instead of assuming that a glitzy portfolio in an even glitzier container would win them business. But for those whom we converted to the content marketing way, there was more work to do.

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23 Gift Ideas for Designers, Writers, & Creative People

by Sharon McElwee

From Photoshop throw pillows to the newest tools of the trade, our 2015 gift guide has just the thing(s) for your favorite creatives.

Some of these are pretty awesome, so you might want to pick up an extra one for yourself. Who says you can’t put something in your own stocking, too? :)

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Profile: Etsy’s Julia Hoffman on Setting & Leading the Creative Direction

What is it you’re after? Maybe it’s a roast dinner on a plate on a ring, or a headband made entirely of eyes, or it may well be a taxidermy chicken doing a handstand; whatever you’re looking for, chances are you may be able to find it on Etsy.

So, when I was told I had the opportunity to speak with their Creative Director, Julia Hoffmann, I jumped at the chance. After gaining her design chops at the likes of PentagramCPB, and MoMA, Julia’s decision to move on was cemented by the ‘Hand Made Portraits’ video series. She now finds herself at the creative helm of a globally recognised brand.

First thing’s first: what’s your backstory?

I run the global brand design studio at Etsy. I started two years ago when I moved back to Berlin. I was born in Frankfurt, Germany, but lived in the states for 16 years. I moved there in 1999 to start my career, went to school and studied graphic design. I worked at agencies and design studios and then was the Creative Director at the MoMA for five years – that’s when I made the move to in-house.

My husband and I were sick of New York and said, “What are we going to do?” I was six months pregnant and we decided to move to Berlin. “We can have that as our home base and travel around the world!” We thought. Literally, two months later, we arrived in Berlin. A week after that, I started working in Etsy. So our travelling plans obviously fell through…

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Color Meaning and Symbolism: How To Use The Power of Color in Your Branding


Tap into the power of color to express your brand attributes and values.

A brand’s logo and visual identity will comprise a number of visual cues, such as shapes, symbols, number, and words. But the number one visual component that people remember most is color. In fact, color increases brand recognition by up to 80%.

Color has the power to convey and communicate meanings and messages without words. Quick pop quiz: What color symbolizes the US Republican party? How about the Democrats? If you said red for Republicans and blue for Democrats you’re right. Each party is so strongly affiliated with its color that many politicians will wear a red tie or blue tie depending on which party they represent.

When it comes to branding, the power of color is both emotional and practical. On an emotional level, it can affect how consumers feel when they look at a brand, while on a practical level it can help a brand stand out in the crowd.

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Why I Emailed a Dog

By David Koji

As any small business owner will tell you, acquiring new customers is not easy. In order to get a prospect’s attention, you really need to think outside the box of common sense.

There are many different marketing tactics, but one cold email strategy that I use is searching for something unique about a prospect and using that knowledge to deliver a personalized, unique and engaging email. At the end of the day, it’s still a cold email, but you can increase your chances of a response by captivating the prospect and breaking out of the typical cold email routine.

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Design Principles FTW

Design Principles FTW is a collection of the world's most successful Design Principles. Read them, use them and let them inspire you to create your own sets of principles.

Design Principles FTW is a free resource for the design community. It's maintained and curated by Gabriel Svennerberg and Marcela Machuca.

The purpose of the site is to provide information and inspiration for anyone involved in designing digital products. Whether you're an established professional or aspire to become one, we hope that you'll find something of value.

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Top 10 Websites: Graphic Design Tools + More

This month’s  “Top 10″ websites for designers is full of sites that either explore, enhance or function as graphic design tools. You’ll also find a wealth of design principles from the greats, a site for a cool new typeface, and a couple websites that are just for fun. 

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The designer's guide to making budgets work

Smart budgeting: 11 financial tips from the world's best design studios on how to turn creativity into cash.

There's an old-fashioned rule of thumb in the restaurant trade on how to price a dish: take the cost of the ingredients, add tax and times it by three. The creative trade, by comparison, is about as simple to 'price' as a Jimmy Five Spice menu. Each 'ingredient' in a creative project is almost impossible to cost tangibly, meaning the industry is doubly liable for undercharging for expertise, and overcharging for time. 

The result can equate to cashflow problems at best, and in worst case scenarios, trading-deficit and outright bankruptcy.

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When is the Best Time to Send Your Email Marketing Campaign?

There’s nothing we’d love more than to tell you a magic time and day that would give you the absolute best results for your email campaign.

But while we can’t give you exactly that, we do have more than enough data and proven best practices to offer you something more satisfying than the generic ‘it depends’ answer.

Use these 5 steps to find the best send time and day for your business:

1. Look at the trends

Industry trends are a great starting point when you’re first thinking about the best time to send your email. At Constant Contact, we regularly analyze customer email results to collect industry-specific data to help you know where you stand.

In addition to updating you on the average open, click-through, and bounce rateeach month, we also have this helpful chart that identifies prime times to send an email based on general trends by industry.

Based on the data, a clear trend across many industries is the highest open rates often occur early in the week. Monday morning is the optimal time for many different industries — which makes sense as many of your subscribers will approach the beginning of a week refreshed and engaged after the weekend.

Tip: Try sending out your next email newsletter early Monday morning before your subscribers’ weeks fill up with plans and commitments.

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The 3 traits of Digital Agency Designers, and Why Having a bit of all Three Traits are Important.


1. The Trender

The upside: Trenders are typically great layout, production and UI designers and their aesthetics are top notch. They are always up-to-date on not only the latest typefaces and hottest button UI styles; but also street fashion, music and are often "gadget geeks". Trenders make great art directors later in their career, bringing their visual sense of style into large budget photo and video shoots. They are detail focused and will take the time to polish their designs to pixel perfect. There is always a strong “cool factor” to their final design. Their work is typically in very high demand for millennial focused brands and media.

The downside: Sometimes Trenders can focus so much on aesthetics and details of their craft that they lose the message and proper tone for the target demographic they are designing for. They have tendency to over complicate a user experience in some cases.

Trenders take pride in designing for style and the cool factor.

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50 Key Graphic Design Terms Explained Simply For Non-Designers


Getting thrown into the world of graphic design can sometimes feel like learning a new language.

Kerning, tracking, warm colors, cool colors, CMYK, RGB, OMG. There are a lot of technical terms thrown around and it can get confusing at the best of times. But, if you’re finding yourself confused, never fear – we’re here to help.

So, whether you’re a new designer yourself, are just a little curious, or are simply trying to decipher your designer’s emails, sit back and relax as we break down some common terms for you.

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10 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently


The architect Le Corbusier is a great example of how the creative mind does things.

He shunned the regular working day, choosing instead to split his day into his own regime, working alone on his own ideas, drawings and contemplations in the morning, and then collaborating with his team of skilled employees and draughtsmen in the afternoon.

Through years of work, he knew that this was the way he produced his best designs, and woe betide anyone who got in his way – if you were a minute late for the afternoon meeting, you were severely reprimanded. He was then home by early evening, ready for some relaxation and socializing with family and friends.

Le Corbusier know what worked for him, and exhibited a number of traits that are frequently seen in highly creative people. He chose to design his life around the creative process so he could get the most out of it, but also understood that he could not do it alone, and knew that thought, rest, and play were as important for creativity as work.

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Best Times to Publish Content for Social Media Engagement


At AddThis, we’re constantly analyzing data from the 1.9B unique users we see per month across our network of over 15MM websites to learn how people are engaging with content. Last December, we published the best times to post on social media during the winter holidays. That post, as well as a similar one we did earlier that year, proved so popular that we’re doing it again.

Knowing when your users are active on social networks is useful, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. We analyzed data in both the United States (US) and in the United Kingdom (UK) to search for peak social engagement times – when users were most likely to click and share content – on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. These findings are meant to help website owners get an idea of the best times to publish new content to maximize engagement on social media.

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10 Best Email Signature Design Case Studies [With Tips On How To Create Your Own]


They say first impressions are important, but what about last impressions?

If you conduct business via email, your email signature is often one of the final points of communication a consumer has with your service/brand.

A good email signature is simple, informative, professional, and puts the information in the forefront. But, this doesn’t mean your signature has to look dull or boring. There are many ways to get the most out of your email signature, so let’s run over 10 easy tips and look at somebeautiful examples.

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Tips, Tricks & Best Practices to Increase Twitter Engagement

With over 250 million active users, Twitter is here to stay. And for good reason — it’s an extremely effective method for communicating with your user base. AddThis data shows that Twitter users shared over 182 million pieces of content in 2014 — and are on track to more than double that in 2015, with nearly 107 million shares to date. However, it’s more than just a “build it and they shall come” platform.

We often get asked, “What’s the best way to increase engagement on Twitter?” In this post, we’ll share some tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way to help you with just that.

Mastering the Twitter Count: You Don’t Need 140 Characters

In your Twitter bio use the full 160 characters allotted. It’ll not only help Twitter users to find you, but also learn more about you. Make sure your bio is fully optimized and includes hashtags.

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Most Brilliant Print Ads


Break through the advertising clutter with a solid concept and creative design.

We are constantly exposed to advertising in our daily lives, be it online, in print, on billboards or through our television screens. In fact, research suggests we are exposed to, on average, 362 ads per day (not including brand exposures) but only 3 per cent of these will make an impression. That’s just twelve ads a day that actually engage us.

So how do you break through the advertising clutter and make a memorable advertisement for your audience or target market? First come up with a solid conceptand then consider your design. Attention to layout and presentation will help your ad get noticed; but attention to concept and creativity will help your ad be remembered.

Here are fifty print ads that are creatively brilliant. They have a solid concept topped off with great design.

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How to Build a Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Business

With hundreds of active social networks, it can be tough to know where you should start when it comes to marketing a business or building an online community. To help you get a better understanding of each network, and how you can use them for your business, we put together a quick rundown on some of the top sites and services for your to build out your social media marketing strategy.


  • Number of users: Facebook recently reported 1.49 monthly billion users with Asia accounting for 28%, Europe for 24%, USA and Canada for 17% and the rest of the world for 30% of those users.
  • How your visitors use it: Facebook is the largest platform for sharing worldwide, and when it comes to brands, users can share products and content that resonates with them. The social media platform also offers brand pages where users can interact with and review brands based on their experiences.
  • What you can do: Long-form content – with no character or word limit – gets the most Facebook shares and likes, so start writing! Encourage your fans to post reviews or stories about their experiences with your site on your brand page. Facebook is also a great platform to offer insider tips, troubleshooting ideas, meetup and event invites, and promotional offers.

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How Web Designers & Developers Work Best Together


The process of becoming a designer and developer can be excruciating and quite exhausting. Each of these fields has such a depth of study with a lot to earn. And becoming proficient in just design or development can be hard enough. Often times it is easier to pair up and work with a designer/developer for your own projects.

But what are the easiest methods for handling such a relationship? I want to share just a few ideas on how designers and developers can work best together. If each person at least has an understanding of what the other needs to do, it will become a much simpler experience. These two job types should be guiding each other down the path towards creating a wonderful final product.

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32 Clean Minimalist Personal Websites for Creatives


Modern minimalism is vastly overrated for the value it adds to a website. When content is centered as the main priority users are free from excess distractions. Granted not everyone likes minimalism because it can be seen as lazy, simplistic, or just boring. But this is not the case!

The best minimalist websites are anything but boring. In this gallery I’ve put together a series of minimalist layouts for personal creatives like writers, designers, and performers. Minimalism is a powerful tool when used appropriately. Graphics and photos have their place but not always higher than content. Take a peek at these examples and see if you can draw any ideas for your own creative work.

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20 Bold Color Palettes to Try This Month: August 2015

Color affects us in powerful ways. Whether warm and bright or cold and dark, certain tones can impact the way we perceive the messages that surround us. As visual communicators, many of us love experimenting with new color combinations to see where they take our design concepts. To help you out, we've handpicked 20 bold palettes from the most popular ones uploaded toColourlovers.

The best part? All of these palettes are available for download. Just click on the one/s you like and you’ll be able to grab the swatches in a ton of formats including .ai, .html, .zip, .aco and .ase. You'll also find the HEX and RGB specs for each color so that you can use it in your next web or print design project. For each palette, make sure to read the details of its Creative Commons license.

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2015 Facebook Image Size Guide

Ever tried using photos or graphics on your Facebook page? It can be frustrating. So here's an up-to-date, unofficial guide to what's what, what's where, and how big.

In its early days, Facebook was all about text and links. But as it has grown up, images have become more and more important. They’re now more important for design and identity on the user interface, like your profile picture or cover photo. And it’s a great way to share photos in galleries and on the timeline. Facebook photos are now a huge part of the site’s appeal. The site still isn’t as photographer-friendly as Google+, but it’s getting better.

Working out what image sizes to use on Facebook isn’t as easy as it could be and involves some wrangling to get the result you want. Each type of image on a page, profile, and timeline has its own size and quirks. And Facebook never has been very good about making its help pages easy to find.

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MOO’s Keri Lambden discusses Designing Delightful Experiences

It’s often said that your website is like a shop window into your business. Just as you would design your shop to offer a comfortable space and great experience, the same applies to your online visitors too. Creating a delightful environment online means that people will enjoy the time they spend on your website and ensure they keep coming back. That’s what our lead UX designer, Keri Lambden, does for us, and wants you to do it too.

At MOO we combine the two disciplines of UI and UX together. UI is focused on interface design, stuff like the colours of the website, the buttons, the placement of the buttons and so on. UX is about the user’s experience. So, when they go to MOO, how do they feel when they get there? Are we helping them accomplish their goals? That’s the most basic explanation, but it’s much more than that.

Our main focus is our customers: who they are, what their goals are and what they expect us to do for them. We’re more focused on the digital aspect of the product, not necessarily the printed product. We look at the experience that the person has when they’re creating their product.

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50 Brilliant Billboard Ads That Will Stop You In Your Tracks (And What You Can Learn From Them)


With digital ads taking over our lives, it’s easy to start questioning how long other forms of advertising are going to last.

Oh, rest assured: billboards are going nowhere. They are alive, well and getting increasingly creative.

Here’s a scenario: you’re cruising on the highway, pretending to be focused on your driving, blasting some nostalgic hits as loud as it gets. It’s going to take some serious interruption to steal your attention. All of a sudden there it is: an irresistible, overwhelmingly cheesy pizza the size of your car. You *suddenly* remember that you are starving. (Are you really?). Next up you’re looking for an exit number, address, website, coordinates…something! You really do need to get your hands on that pizza. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the magnetic power of a brilliant billboard ad.

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How to Pick the Right Colors for Your Brand

By Ashley Hefnawy

Composition, color, and light are just a few of the factors that come into play when our brains evaluate something visual. Every detail has some influence, depending on the context, on our love of design, art, and imagery. Color plays an especially important role, however — it’s one of the first things our brains process when we register an image. So it’s no wonder companies put so much thought into the colors they choose to represent their brand.

Whether you’re working on a major rebrand or just getting started at a new company, the impact that color has on your logo and brand guidelines can make a huge difference. In order to understand how an audience will see your brand, you might want to first consider the way your viewers will interpret different colors.

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Four Examples of Great Interactive Annual Reports

As more companies begin to go beyond print-only and compliment their annual reporting by presenting this information online, one of the first questions that may come up is "How do you make an interactive annual report?"

Many companies—from Facebook to Proctor & Gamble—host their annual reports online in straight-forward, archival pdf format. This direct strategy makes annual reports easy-to-download and simple to search; however, going with the pdf format limits what can be added with ease in the future and many times it doesn't taking advantage of the Web's interactive capabilities.

Some innovative companies incorporate online technologies to create engaging presentations of their annual report content, often creatively using responsive designs and embedding video. This trend is growing. According to Savage Brands, "electronic/online annual report budgets increased 30% over 2010," and "online tracking of [annual] reports has increased 60% between 2008 and 2012; 80% of those that track do so to improve the follow year's budget."

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How to create a design style guide: 25 pro tips

By Paul Wyatt

A style guide shouldn't read like the work of a control freak, but nor should it be vague and ambiguous. Paul Wyatt explains how to strike the right balance.

When handing over a creative project, most agencies for freelancers include a document known as a style guide. This not only adds an additional air of professionalism to the work but rationalises to your client the creative choices you made and that there really was method behind the madness of the creative journey you took them on. Here are 25 tips for ensuring your style guide does the job right in ensuring others do it right.

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I overlooked this Illustrator feature at first--now it saves me time & headaches

by Rebecca Blaesing

Have you ever updated your Adobe Design Suite but been too busy to really investigate the new features?

You keep plowing along, using the tools the way you’ve always done until they change something that requires you learn the “new way,” promising yourself the whole time that you’ll figure out what you’ve been missing when you “get around to it.”

Sound familiar? (This happens to me ALL the time.)

So curiosity finally got the best of me, and I recently discovered some great Illustrator updates.

Adopting them has made me a speedier, more precise designer…awesome!

Here’s my favorite (at long last!): Easy text box resizing in Illustrator

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24 pro tips for creating inspirational mood boards

Mood boards can be a great way to convey your design idea, win pitches and get an early sign-off. Follow our expert advice on how to create them.

Here we explore mood boards – what they are, how can they help, and how you make one. When trying to convey a design idea, moods, feelings and fluffy stuff like that are hard to communicate. So professional designers will often use mood boards: a collection of textures, images and text related to a design theme as a reference point.

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Design Resources

Are you looking for the ultimate list for design resources online?

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect pattern, the finest font, and the coolest color combo. What if you could bookmark one page that contained all of the design resources and references you’ll need?

That’s this page. Don’t worry, Princess, you won’t have to kiss any frogs here. On this page, you’ll find the best resources on the web (and we’ll continue to update this list and keep it fresh). Whether you’re looking for podcasts or image inspiration, YouTube videos or design communities, we’ve got you covered. We scoured the ‘net to find the best and brightest resources available.

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Color Theory

Remember back to your early school days, when having a 64-count box of Crayola crayons to choose from was the ultimate in creative freedom?

Well, as a designer in the digital era, you certainly don’t have to stick to the colors available from paints, inks, or other pigments, though there’s a lot we can learn from fine art’s approach to color. In fact, the human eye can see millions of different hues — but sometimes, choosing even just two or three to use from those millions can seem like a daunting task.

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For Designers: Awesome Icons To Use For Free By ‘First-Class Designers’

By Valerie Chang

Need icons for your web projects? IconStore is just what you need. 

Touting to stock ‘free icon packs by first-class designers’, you’ll be spoilt for choice at the variety that’s available.  From full colored graphics to minimalist icons made from thin lines, each icon pack is free for use without attribution. 


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A designers guide to creating logo files

So you’ve designed a logo and your clients agreed the design too. Excellent! Now we save and send the file and we’re done? Not quite…

If you want to do a professional job, there’s a little more work you need to do.

The logo will be used in different situations. Be it large or small, black or white, print or web. Whatever the situation, as a professional designer you will want to do all you can to ensure it looks good in every one of them.

You will need to send a number of different files, each intended for a different purpose, so it’s important to know what files you’re sending and why.

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Five reasons why projects fail

As a founder of multiple startups and current COO of Hightail, I’ve led many projects, from launching new websites to rebranding a multi-billion dollar global company. While I’ve had some great wins, I don’t mind admitting that there have also been a few disasters.

A runaway success often seems like the result of some arcane alchemy, but in my experience failure is rooted in the same recurring problems. I’m going to highlight five of these mistakes and the lessons I’ve learned about avoiding them in future projects.


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20 Must-see online portfolios to fuel your portfolio redesign

Hey there – how’s your design portfolio looking these days?

Are you behind on updating it, like me? Excellent! I love not being the only one. Or maybe you’re new to the game and haven’t set one up yet. Either way you’re in luck, because I’ve assembled a little collection of inspirational design portfolios that take a range of approaches to doing their job well.

This collection spans the globe and crosses a wide variety of creative segments and aesthetics. Some make me laugh, some hypnotize me with their beauty and they all make me want to meet the people behind them.

That’s what makes a great design portfolio– it sells your work (and you) in a short amount of time. It’s a magic combination of images, language and attitude.

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Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business

by Bruce Poon Tip

Can a company be cool, socially responsible and still make money?

Welcome to the Looptail. This is the extraordinary true story of Bruce Poon Tip and how he honed his entrepreneurial instincts to create G Adventures, the world''s most successful adventure travel company. Based in Canada, G Adventures operates in more than 100 countries, on all seven continents, and serves more than 100,000 customers every year. In this unique first-person account, Poon Tip reveals his unusual management secrets that allowed him to keep growing his company, his employees fully engaged and energized, and his customers extremely happy.

It''s all pretty amazing for a guy who started the company in 1990 by maxing out a few of his credit cards to finance the start-up. Poon Tip has worked tirelessly to ensure that his company generates good karma for everyone; that is, that "giving back" in life and in business is all about the cycle of the Looptail. Poon Tip has created an entirely new and refreshing approach to management. For example, there is no traditional CEO at G Adventures-instead, every employee is a CEO, empowered to make instantaneous decisions to help serve clients on the spot. But while there''s no CEO, there is a company Mayor who takes the daily pulse of corporate morale. There''s no HR department, but there is a Talent Agency and company Culture Club.

This is a singularly stunning story of why community, culture and karma matter in business, and how one man''s desire to do the right thing and generate profits can be blended into a win-win for all involved.

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a tightly curated collection of high-quality stock photos to anyone seeking modern, relevant, authentic images.

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The big web design trends for 2015

When thinking about web design, you must consider the full spectrum of possibilities that the internet presents. Done boldly, designers can push the limits of human interaction and imagination on a global scale – as is often seen with edgier industries, such as creative agency websites.

In this article, we’ll boil down some of the most prominent web design trends emerging in 2015. It is here that we can find true innovation and new opportunities – a few of which may completely change our understanding of a “modern website”.

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Why web design is losing its soul

by Noah Stokes

As responsive design becomes the norm, designers have developed a reliance on boxes and grids, argues Noah Stokes.

About a year and a half ago, I had seen enough. A tweet came through my stream and like so many others at the time, it was a link to a hot, new, amazing Responsive Web Design site.

"Oh, I love an amazing design," I thought, so I clicked. What I saw was a design casualty: boxes and grids everywhere. This was the 'amazing' new design? To me it looked like every other #RWD out there.

So I did what most people would do; I composed a tweet. "I hate #RWD."

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5 of this year's vertical scrolling trends

What trends are we seeing in parallax and vertical scrolling websites this year, and what does it mean for the future?

Vertical scrolling bubbled through from burgeoning fad to mainstream trend in 2014, and with awesome advertising, prime portfolios and crafted content all benefiting from single page scrolling, it's now certain that the technique is here to stay.

What's left for vertical and parallax scrolling as we move through 2015? As it turns out, quite a lot. The maturity of the best work will be tempered by some of the perils that come with popularity – but this is a technique that won't be going away. Here are five vertical scrolling trends we are already seeing this year, and we expect to see more of...

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I-Want-to-Go Moments: From Search to Store

Thanks to mobile devices, we can quickly and easily find things around us. And we are, in massive numbers. Google searches about location are growing rapidly, and so are consumer expectations. Whether you're a global brand or a local business, learn how to deliver on them in the moments that matter.

If you've ever used your smartphone in line at a store, on the couch watching TV, or under the table at a meeting (admit it), you know this impulse. I-want-to-know moments, I-want-to-go moments, I-want-to-do moments, and I-want-to-buy moments happen all the time. To see how widespread they are, we analyzed Google data and conducted online surveys, exploring the behavior from a number of angles. Here, we focus on I-want-to-go moments—searches specific to location when we are trying to find something nearby.

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How mobile photography has shifted what pics your customers want to see (and 5 on-trend tips)

by Rebecca Swift

Today we’re in an all-consuming visual interchange, where visuals rule as the language of the 21st century. Photos, graphics and videos are now integral to our daily life, led by smartphones, and fueled by the changing way we consume and interact with media.

The main catalysts for change have come through social sites and apps such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram where consumers spare time endlessly scrolling and browsing photos and videos.

As a result, expectations for how images look has shifted, and consumers now seek out authenticity in images, by way of photos that feel real, relatable and regional.

Brands and content marketers globally are taking note. Campaigns are becoming more authentic and real, “street casting” is used more often (as opposed to hiring professional models) and more photographers are shooting with a reportage-style candid aesthetic.

What does this mean for brand imagery?

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6 Design Tips for Marketers

As a marketing designer at AddThis, I work with designers as well as with non-designers. Sometimes with the overload of requests, I can’t get to everything, which means my non-design co-workers have to create their own images or landing pages. Because I know others out there may be in similar positions, I put together a list of best practices for all the non-designers who may need to design something on their own every now and then.

Here are 6 things you should keep in mind while working on your next design project:

Typography Fundamentals

Typography plays a big role in creating visual hierarchy and contrast. One quick tip is to use multiples sizes. Pick your lowest font size first and go from there. If your smallest is 12px, which is the body copy, then use 24px for the heading and 48px or 72px for the title.

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Five creative process tools for the right-brain marketer

19th century department store tycoon John Wanamaker is credited with inventing the money-back guarantee, hiring the first full-time copywriter and being the first retailer to realize the power of full-page newspaper ads. Despite his belief in the power of advertising, this pioneer of modern marketing was also enough of realist to recognize its limitations, as summarized by his famous quote:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Lacking the analytical tools to understand cause and effect, advertisers in the golden age of Madison Avenue considered marketing as more of a creative endeavor dependent on intuition, inspiration and a sprinkling of stardust. Measurements of quantitative return on advertising spend were, at best, approximations based on focus groups and consumer surveys or assumptions made when a boost in sales coincided with a new campaign.

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What We Learned By Looking at 90 Days Worth of Tweets


We’re now a couple of weeks into Q2 and some of us on the marketing team at AddThis are checking in to see what’s working and what’s not when it comes to our social media strategy.

Because we’re seeing great engagement on Twitter, we decided to take a closer look at our tweets to see if we could find trends in what was getting the most attention. Here are the 3 lessons we learned (or had reinforced) from looking at our past 90 days worth of tweets...



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Why self-promotion and marketing is just like dating

By Peleg Top

When you approach self-promotion with a dating mindset, you get surprising results.

Self-promotion can be scary. In fact, I’ve heard that “self” and “promotion” are the two most hated words in the creative business. But there is a totally different approach to promotion that can lead to surprising results.

When you think of the word “promotion,” what comes to mind? For most creative people, promotion equals bragging, and bragging, according to what we learned growing up, isn’t nice. In fact, bragging activates a powerful emotion we don’t want to feel when we want to grow our business: shame. We feel shameful around promoting ourselves because we associate promotion with bragging.

I don’t like to listen to people who brag about themselves. You know the ones I’m talking about. They’re the people that when you meet them for the first time, list their accomplishments, achievements and wins to try to impress you. In fact, they seem to be “shameless” when bragging about themselves. And that’s what we pick up on: The shame that’s inside of us that stops us from promoting ourselves at all.

So we grow up believing that we should be modest. Now, modesty is an important virtue but being too modest will prevent you from getting noticed. There’s a difference between being modest and feeling ashamed. If you believe that self-promotion and marketing is bragging, and if bragging makes you feel shameful, you’ll never do it. You’ll fall into the trap of procrastination, guilt and fear. And that’s no way to grow a business. The ultimate purpose of self-promotion and marketing is to bring love into your business and to keep the love flowing. When you approach your work this way, good clients will follow and creativity and money will flow naturally.

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5 Striking Trends in Web Typography

By: Patrick McNeil

Web typography is a hot topic that demonstrates how a very old dog can certainly learn some new tricks. While much of the buzz surrounds the technical developments of type online, there are ever changing stylistic trends as well. The technical aspects are indeed important, and at times drive the creative side of things. But as any technology matures, it goes from being a novelty that’s acceptable in almost any form to a more mature state in which its usage grows more sophisticated. Web typography has certainly gone through this change. The initial overuse of certain fonts has led designers to develop more creative type solutions. 

Here I will present and discuss a variety of trends at work in the realm web typography. These are visual trends, presented void of the technology used to make them happen. From the designer’s perspective, each choice is more about what each typeface communicates and less about how the website was built. The creative application of web type is nothing new, but as with any design fundamental, it’s being applied in unique and interesting ways today...

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6 Reasons Why Women are Driving Social Media Growth

Do you know the 6 reasons why women are driving social media growth? If not, then keep reading and you soon will! 

For some readers this information may be a surprise while for others it will meet expectations; however there are some very interesting facts anyone involved with marketing should be aware of. 

Women and Social Media 

We crunched the numbers and reviewed the research and the results are in; women are driving social media growth and apparently have been for the past few years.

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How to take great photos for your product Pins

by Carolyn Kao

People use Pinterest to discover creative ideas and plan their futures every day. This is a huge opportunity for businesses because people need your inspiration, products and services to make their plans a reality.

Your business can Pin products, inspire Pinners and drive clicks to your website. A strong image can play a large role in driving Pin engagement. If your business website already has product images, you can start creating Pins directly from your site with our Pin It button for browsers.

Don’t have high resolution product images on your website just yet? This blog post will cover 3 simple tips for taking great product shots and teach you how to upload images to create Pins for your business.

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50 Of The Most Beautiful Twitter Banners Of 2015 So Far


Do you like free stuff? I think the better question is, who doesn’t like free stuff?

The next question: do you realize you have a plethora of free advertisement right at your fingertips? Social media gives you the option to plaster your brand all over your page and completely customize your look. You have profile pictures, headers, and banners galore, but are you utilizing them to their full potential?

Let’s talk Twitter, and how you can customize your banner to best suit your brand and get the most bang for your (free) buck.

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Writing an Effective Design Brief: Awesome Examples And a Free Template To Get You Started


You’ve gotten a lead on a really sweet client.

The kind that makes you do a happy dance. You quickly research their company, their branding and their social media outlets. You’re ready to make a Skype date to talk about their needs and goals. You usually grab a pen and pad and scribble notes while talking with them. And you’re so excited about the project, ideas are already flowing that you can’t wait to start. But what happens when you get off that client call and realize you forgot to ask some important questions? You don’t want to start your design only to discover that what you thought they wanted and what YOU wanted are two different things. Or worse, you thought you knew what they wanted, submitted the designs, and it wasn’t what they needed; you’re not only back to the drawing board, but you may have lost credibility.

That’s where a detailed design brief would set you up to create great design. It answers all of the questions you’ll need for the project — and you won’t have to email the client to ask them questions you should’ve gotten up front. It’s a definite blueprint for the project, with a clear set of expectations and goals.

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How to Keep Your Website’s Content Fresh


When thinking of how to keep your website fresh, don’t underestimate the value of evergreen content, especially in a world where the pace of consumption moves as fast as it does.

If you publish on a weekly basis, you know it can be hard to keep up. Some days you’re strapped for time or resources or maybe the creative well has just run dry. But new content is what’s expected of you and your website, right?

Well, instead of fretting over the task of creating something from scratch every day, put some of your older, more popular pieces back to work.

Here are three ways to get more out of what’s already on your site ...

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RRSPs And Tax Breaks For The Small Biz Owner | Canada

The abbreviation “RSP” stands for “retirement savings plan". Canadian citizens have access to two different types of RSPs:

  • Registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs). RRSPs are legal trusts that are registered with the Canadian Revenue Agency. Funds placed in RRSPs are subject to certain limitations, but get a number of tax advantages.

  • Non-registered retirement savings plans. Non-registered RSPs have no contribution or income limits, but they don't get the full tax benefits of RRSPs. Non-registered RSPs can be opened by anyone in the form of savings, checking and money-marketing accounts.

The focus of this article is on RRSPs, though you may want to familiarize yourself with the best way to use both types of accounts to supplement retirement benefits that may be available through the Old Age Security (OAS) program and the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP).


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The Changing Face of B2B Marketing

There have been interesting shifts in B2B in the past two years. What's changed? To find out, we surveyed B2B decision makers about their research and purchase habits. The results debunk a number of widely held beliefs and have major implications for any B2B marketer.

The business-to-business marketplace is changing. While this may not come as a surprise, the way things are evolving might serve as a wake-up call for some brands. That's because over the past two years, there have been some rather interesting shifts, not just in how B2B buying decisions are happening, but also in who's responsible for them.

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50 Of The Best Email Marketing Designs We’ve Ever Seen


In case you hadn’t heard, email marketing isn’t dead.

In fact, the reality is quite the opposite. By the end of next year, it’s expected that the total number of worldwide email accounts will increase to over 4.3 billion. Like it or not, we live in a time where people like to email. It’s fast, convenient and most important – effective.

As a business tool, McKinsey & Company found emails to be 40 times more successful at acquiring new clients than either Facebook and Twitter – just one of the many interesting statistics to support the success of email marketing.

If you’re a startup or brand wanting to leverage this success, a well-designed email is crucial to break through the pack. Amongst so much competition, a great email design needs to capture the attention of the reader right away to avoid being deleted and risk never being seen.

Engage your customers and create email marketing campaigns to reach a massive audience. Here’s how the pros did it – we hope this post inspires you to create your own awesome email designs!

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71 Brilliant, Clever and Inspirational Ads That Will Change The Way You Think


Eye-catching advertising is a must when you’re trying to capture even the slightest sliver of attention during today’s digital 140 characters or less attention span world.

Finding the right elements to make your product or brand stand out in a sea of sell, sell, sell can be difficult to say the least. We’ve curated some of the best attention-grabbing campaigns to  inspire you when you’re tasked with creating your own advertisements and marketing materials.

The 71 brilliant advertisements featured in this article represent some agencies and designers that have flexed their creative muscles to get it right. As you can see, the tactics that these creative teams used to deliver their messages varied greatly, but they have at least one thing in common – stellar storytelling skills.

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20 Typography Mistakes Every Beginner Makes--And How You Can Avoid Them


Much more than just arranging pretty fonts on a nice background, typography is an essential part of most designs — one that can make or break a whole project.

Unfortunately, typography errors tend to make a bigger statement than good typography. Mistakes stick out like a sore thumb, while thoughtful typographic choices blend so nicely with the overall design that you might overlook them. So if you want to get your message across without distracting typographic errors, learn to recognize some of the most common mistakes below, and use this article as a final checklist before wrapping up your design.

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Creating a table of contents in Adobe InDesign

A table of contents (TOC) can list the contents of a book, magazine, or other publication; display a list of illustrations, advertisers, or photo credits; or include other information to help readers find information in a document or book file. One document may contain multiple tables of contents—for example, a list of chapters and a list of illustrations.

Each table of contents is a separate story consisting of a heading and a list of entries sorted either by page number or alphabetically. Entries, including page numbers, are pulled directly from content in your document and can be updated at any time—even across multiple documents in a book file.

The process for creating a table of contents requires three main steps. First, create and apply the paragraph styles you’ll use as the basis for the TOC. Second, specify which styles are used in the TOC and how the TOC is formatted. Third, flow the TOC into your document.

Table of contents entries can be automatically added to the Bookmarks panel for use in documents exported as Adobe PDF.

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How We Doubled Our Twitter Engagement Rate

By Christian Brink

Keeping up with social media is a 24-hour grind. And I don’t just mean posting and responding to followers, I mean keeping up with changes to the actual platform, learning how to get the most out of it, and modifying your strategy accordingly.

Facebook is a great example. Posting images used to be the leading way to get more reach, but now that’s changed and the recommended style is link-share posts. In fact, some studies even suggest that text-based posts are now getting more reach than photos!

Well, similar to what we try to do with Facebook, we tweaked our strategies on Twitter and found something that clicked. Here are three ways we recently doubled our engagement rate.Engagement Rate as defined by Twitter is the number of clicks, retweets, replies, follows and favorites divided by the total number of impressions.


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Is Email Marketing Dead?

Every once in a while you stumble across an article declaring that “Facebook is dead!” or “Email is played out” or even, “Google is no longer the powerhouse in search”. To all of those, I say phooey. There might be elements of your marketing strategy you need to re-evaluate due to changes on various platforms, but this does not indicate one method being dead. It simply means it’s evolved.

As a result, we’ve changed a lot about our email marketing strategy — and the results have been stellar. There was no one single fix, it was a series of changes we implemented to help boost results, and below I will share them with you.

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30 Great Examples of Blog Post Styling


A brilliant header, clean sidebar, and minimalist footer can go a long way towards making a blog look good. But the one area that’s often overlooked in blog design is the post styling.

Here are 15 blog post areas that need styling and 30 great examples for you to draw inspiration from.

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Surprising ways to do a word count in InDesign: InDesign Secrets

By Anne-Marie Concepción

Adobe InDesign can provide a word count for any story, which is a great feature if you’re trying to stay under a certain editorial limit, fit text within a proscribed layout, or measure readability. But this week in InDesign Secrets, Anne-Marie Concepción shows you how to take it to the next level with scripts.

The Info panel is where the InDesign native word count feature resides. Choose Window > Info to open it. Now if you have a text frame selected, the panel will simply display information like the dimensions of the frame. However, if you switch to the Type tool, the Info panel will also show you data about the content in the frame: the number of characters, words, lines, and even paragraphs.

This panel becomes even more useful when you have overset text (i.e., exceeds the size of the text frame). Simply click on a text frame with the overset icon (the + sign) and the Info panel will show you the visible word count, for example, plus the number of words that are overset.

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Free E-Book: Web UI Design Best Practices UI Design from the Experts

Web UI design is sometimes mistakenly thought of as how the website looks. Interface design isn’t just about colors and shapes, but rather about presenting the user with the right tools to accomplish their goals.

Web user interfaces are much more than buttons, menus, and forms for users to fill out. It is the connection between the user and the experience, the first impression, and a lasting impression that either makes a website feel like an old friend or a forgettable passerby. Great web UI design must strike a perfect balance between captivating aesthetics and effortless interactivity. Like an invisible hand, a web interface should guide users through the experience at the speed of thought.

In this book, we’ll share a wide breadth of expert commentary, theories, best practices, and real-life examples of brilliant web interfaces. To name a few, we’ve included advice from UX and UI design experts like Luke Wroblewski, Marcin Treder, Jakob Nielsen, Jared Spool, Jeff Sauros, Collis Ta’eed, Val Head, Dmitry Fadeyev, and more. We’ll discuss basic concepts like the general principles of visual design and UI design. For more experienced readers, we’ve included how to research and apply web UI patterns, how to create and test visual hierarchies, and how to apply best practices towards individual elements of web interfaces. Our hope is that it helps you see the visual, structural, and experiential details of web interfaces.

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50 Creative Facebook Covers to Inspire You (2015 Edition)


Imagine you wake up one morning to a phone call where somebody informs you that you have been given a small free billboard.

On this billboard you can put anything you like; showcase your latest artistic creation, throw up a link to your blog, make a bold statement, whatever your heart desires. Now, let’s step away from this hypothetical situation a little bit so that I can tell you that you have in fact been given your own personal billboard. In fact, we all have.

Your Facebook page cover photo is a small but powerful tool when it comes to promoting yourself, your services or your business. It’s the first thing seen by anybody who visits your Facebook page and you have the power to decide whether they just scroll past it or stop and have a proper look. Have a look at these creative examples to see how you can make the most out of your Facebook cover!

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Hyphens and Dashes

Hyphens, en and em dashes are among the most misunderstood, and misused, punctuation marks in typography. While their appearance is generally similar, they have distinct designs and serve specific functions. These three marks are not interchangeable, and knowing the difference is key to setting type correctly.

The hyphen is the shortest of the three marks, and is used to hyphenate a word at the end of a line by breaking after a syllable. Hyphens are also used to join separate words into a compound word, such as dyed–in–the–wool; and to separate the digits in phone and account numbers. A hyphen can be designed as a simple horizontal stroke, or it can have characteristics that match the rest of the typeface.

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Your Brand Needs a Visual Style Guide: Here’s How to Create One


One of the most essential documents any business can have is a brand style guide, yet many don’t have one.

Why are style guides so important? They ensure brand consistency throughout any collateral you produce – no matter who created it.

Style guides (or brand bibles) contain all the necessary information to create whatever your company needs. Whether it be a website, advertisement, internal memo, or whatever else, this little document will make your life a breeze. So, if these guides are so important, why isn’t everyone on the bandwagon?

The biggest reason is time. Style guides don’t just magically appear. They take time and effort to create, and time is a precious thing. But how much time does it take to explain to a designer how much space you need around your logo at all times? And how they’re not supposed to change any of the colors? What about finding every font you use and having to relay that to them as well? Not to mention any iconography you’ve got circulating. Then when you hire a second designer since your business is booming, you’ll have to explain it all over again.

Do yourself a favor. Create a style guide now and save yourself a lot of time and frustration down the road.

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Google Plans to Index Tweets in Real Time: How This Could Impact Your SEO

Written by Eric Enge | @stonetemple

Years ago, it was commonplace to find real-time tweets in Google Search results. Twitter and Google had inked a deal that gave the search giant access to the social network's data stream. In turn, Google would display tweets in search results in real time. But that agreement expired, and in the middle of 2011, Google lost access to Twitter's data stream

Now, nearly four years later, the gang's back together. Recently, Google and Twitter announced that they are working together again to index tweets as soon as they are posted.

How should a marketer to react to this news? In this post, I will focus on how you can benefit from the new deal between Google and Twitter. You will need to be active on Twitter to obtain these benefits, but I will include some tips for those of you who are just getting started -- you can still benefit from this development if you're doing the right things. The good news is that it will take some time for Google to implement changes based on the new data they will be getting from Twitter, so you have some time to get ready. But the sooner you get started, the better.

So let's dive into what the deal actually is and learn how you can take advantage of it.

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The Super Bowl Reverse: Marcia Brady Becomes Danny Trejo on a Snickers billboard


For the Super Bowl, Snickers blew our nostalgic minds by making legendary Hollywood tough guy Danny Trejo into Marcia Brady's hungry spirit animal. Now the brand, and agency BBDO New York, shows how it reversed that transition on a painted New York City billboard.

Back in January, before the big game, a seemingly anonymous billboard of Marcia Brady went up in NYC. Over the course of a few weeks—a mustache here, a face crag there—it was Marcia who gradually became Trejo, just in time for the Super Bowl reveal. The billboard is fun enough on its own, but also launched a new online contest for you to submit a photo or video of your own hungry spirit creature, for the chance to win cash and a YouTube takeover for a day.

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10 Essential dos and don’ts of branding your solo business


As a creative entrepreneur, sometimes it feels like you’re supposed to be automatically awesome at creating a stellar brand for your solo business.

The truth is, perfecting your own brand is the hardest job – with the toughest client – you’ll ever face.

So while you may feel like the only designer, illustrator, or artisan out there who’s struggling when it comes to branding your solo business: you’re not alone. All of us have spent long nights brainstorming the perfect brand, and all of us should remember the following dos and don’ts when creating – or refreshing – our business’s brand.

Today’s post will get you started on the right foot. When branding your solo business…

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Digital Content - Part 2 of 4: Let’s Get Visual!

by Jessica Vanderlee

FACT: 61% of consumers prefer companies with custom online content.

Mashable also reports, “80% of decision-makers prefer content to advertising”, so if you’re not using custom content to interact with your audience online you’re missing out. In our last post on “Written Content Types for Content Marketing", we talked about different types of online content, from blogs and white papers to case studies and e-books. In this week’s post we are focusing on arguably the most engaging type of content; visual media

Visual media and graphics are well-known to increase click-through rates and conversions. They are also provide a fantastic way to offer a variety of content on your website and social media pages while contributing to your SEO efforts. In addition to encouraging user engagement, visual content can drive results. Depending on your overall goals and desired outcomes, you can choose to integrate site links, social media pages and advertise promotions and events.

Types of Visual Media 

  • Infographics
  • Memes
  • Posters
  • Animated Gifs
  • Comics/Cartoons
  • Presentations/Slides
  • Social Profile Pictures/Cover Photos/Shareable Images
  • Photography/Images
  • Videos

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Illustrating Uncle Ivan

In the early 90’s I left illustration because I didn’t take it seriously enough. Actually nobody took anything seriously back then — remember MC Hammer? I didn’t think illustration could provide a stable career so I went into design and art direction. But as much as I enjoy advertising and design, an outright fondness for illustration brought me back to it as a fulltime job.

Like me, my work is uncomplicated. I learned very early in ad school to create simple concepts and I strive for that with my illustration work. My philosophy is to deliver an idea as simply as possible, whether it’s an editorial spot for Wall Street Journal, a TV commercial for Vodacom or packaging for the Natural Confectionery Company.

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Three Post-it productivity tricks

In an age of efficiency-inducing digital apps, the physical Post-it note remains a powerful productivity tool. Here are three ways that Post-it notes help people communicate and create more effectively every day.

  1. Give each project a Post-it
  2. Put your Post-its on display
  3. Make Post-its part of the team

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10 Exceptional Promotion Design Projects

By: Natalie Boyd

Over the years of HOW’s Promotion & Marketing Design Awards, we have seen some brilliant and stunning work. The multitude of talent represented in the competition is mind-boggling, and we are proud to showcase the winning designs.

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Downloadable Deadline Reminders | Canada

Want automatic reminders as the tax deadline approaches?

The tax payment deadline of April 30th keeps getting closer but it can be easy to lose focus of how quickly it's coming. Add these pre-made reminders to whichever calendar program you use to effortlessly stay on top of the tax deadline. You'll get periodic reminders with helpful suggestions on ways you can start prepping your taxes.

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Digital Content - Part 1 of 4: Written Content Types

by Crys Wiltshire

By now we all know that the way to any search engine’s heart is through great content, served fresh. However, many companies still struggle to provide a variety in their content marketing mix. It is no longer enough to simply blog. In order to stay relevant and build your authority, you need to provide multiple types of digital content.

By offering up various forms of quality content, you are providing value for your target audience with a selection of engaging tools and resources. Different users will engage more heavily with content that appeals the most to them. By serving up a multitude of content types, you are more likely to reach larger portions of your audience.

While there is a wide range of content types available for your brand, we are going to focus on the most common forms of written content in this article.

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[Webinar] 5 Top SEO & PPC Trends from gShift and Acquisio

by Jon Barrick

gShift and Acquisio are excited to present to you to this webinar where you will learn 5 top trends impacting SEO, PPC and Content Marketing strategies in 2015 from two leaders in marketing technology.

Krista LaRiviere, CEO of gShift and Chris Doran, VP of Marketing at Acquisio, had an interactive discussion on top trends and tips digital marketers need to know in order to earn and maintain a competitive advantage in the digital marketing space.

In this webinar, Krista and Chris discussed how:

  • Mobile has gone mainstream;
  • Search behavior impacts keyword selection;
  • Marketing technology automation is blending and maturing;
  • Native ads for PPC and SEO are a massive opportunity; and
  • Video ads and vlogs should be a part of the digital marketing mix.


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The 3 most important factors in naming your business

by April Greer

Naming your business is probably the single most challenging task in creating a business – and career – you love.

Despite an internet overflowing with business naming advice and a wealth of creative ability, most of us creative entrepreneurs (myself included – read my naming story here) struggle, fret, cry, lose sleep, and admit utter defeat before finally finding the perfect name…sometimes months or years later.

And for many of you, I know you’re still hunting for the perfect name that fits everything you hope your business will achieve.

So while you’re brainstorming your new business name, keep these three essential factors in mind:

  1. Easy to say & spell

  2. Something you absolutely love

  3. Not already taken

Pro Tip! Ask an 8 year-old and an 80 year-old to say your potential business name out loud. If they struggle with how you want it pronounced, keep working on it!

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New Logo for Toronto Raptors by Sid Lee

RIP goes the Dinosaur

Established in 1995 as an expansion team, the Toronto Raptors are the only Canadian professional basketball team in the NBA, playing in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors’ best years came during the late 1990s and early 2000s when Vince Carter was their star player. After plenty of dubious seasons, the team is back at the top of its division with a current 25-12 record. This past December, the Raptors announced a new logo that they will begin using in the 2015 – 16 season, designed by local firm Sid Lee, who were also responsible for the “We The North” campaign launched during last season’s playoffs.

Although the Raptors’ primary logo is the raptor dribbling a basketball, almost anywhere you look it’s the alternate ball-and-claw logo that is being used the most. It’s no surprise. In part because it’s a much simpler and efficient icon and in part because a dinosaur in a jersey and shorts dribbling a basketball is stupid. I bet it’s sold great as merchandise but, really, look at it. Nothing says fierce like a steroid-pumped dinosaur with shoes that have holes for its claws. Point being: moving away from that logo is a good thing, and creating something that ties in with the more aggressive and street-wise We The North campaign is a smart approach.

From the reactions I’ve read online, the logo hasn’t been too well received and the main complaint is that it looks too much like the Brooklyn Nets’ logo, because it has a basketball with type in a circle around it. My disdain for the Nets logo is well documented, so no point in rehashing old stuff. What I will say is that the Raptors logo is far better than the Nets. Mostly because there is at least an idea behind it. And it’s a good one, building on the legacy of the team’s logo over the years and its name. There is no need to show you a dinosaur. We’ve seen the dinosaur handle that ball for years. Now we only see the effect a dinosaur would have on a basketball. It would rip it. I think it’s a great logo that works perfectly with the name and is an even better evolution of the existing alternate logo, removing the actual claws that you still “see” implied in the new one. We don’t need to see a raptor either, we can imagine it — thanks mostly to Jurassic Park. While the execution is a little simplistic — those torn edges could be more convincing — the approach is very right. The typography around the ball is a welcome change from overwrought and spiked sports typography.

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Highrise is an easy contact management tool for small businesses—a flexible contact management tool that helps you stay organized. 

The tools you need, all in one place

Highrise is the just-right, more thoughtful way to keep track of the people, conversations, and tasks that are the lifelines of your business.

Track your tasks & set reminders

Never let a deal fall through the cracks again. Stay on top of your new business pipeline by creating tasks to follow up with leads and check in with customers. View tasks by company, contact, or project, and add reminders to tasks so that you never forget to send an email again.

  • Keep track of important tasks
  • Assign tasks to team members
  • Get reminders via email or SMS

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Get more info at

The New Age of SEO: Why Your Approach Must Change

by Adam Heitzman

The old adage "adapt or die" could never be more true when it comes to SEO strategies these days.

SEO best practices are going to change whether we like it or not. It's easy to get set in your ways and feel comfortable with your current strategy, but this isn't going to be sustainable in this industry. It's important that marketers focus on getting out of their old way of thinking and evolve along with Google and the other search engines in order to find long-term success.

Fortunately, understanding this "new age" of SEO isn't as time-consuming or overwhelming as it may sound, so the sooner you can get started the better and easier changing your mindset will be in the future.

How SEO is evolving in 2015

Understanding how you can evolve your strategy as the search engines evolve starts with recognizing how it's all changing in the first place. A great way to do this is by compartmentalizing different SEO tasks and methods and then looking at what was recommended in the past versus what is recommended by search engines now, in the present.

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What Should I Charge? How to Justify Your Freelance Rates

by Brennan Dunn

When most of us are brought in to a new project, we immediately become technicians. For something like a website, we start asking questions like, “What should the site look like?” or “How many pages should it have?” 

It’s important, though, to realize that no client in the world wants to spend money on what you “technically” create. Whether you’re a web designer, a coder, or a writer, clients don’t pay you because they want a website, an application, or copy.

Instead, clients pay you because they’re hoping that the results of your project will warrant the investment. If a company asks you for a website, what they’re really asking for is more customers. But most of us ignore the customers, and focus entirely on the website and how it will look and function. When you focus on the why behind a project instead of just the what, you’ll win more projects. Clients want you to know what’s at stake and why they’re willing to spend thousands on you. A freelancer who gets the why is less risky, but you’ll also be able to charge a lot more as clients will wager more money on a sure bet.

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How to compete with big agencies as a freelancer


There are established agencies in your town. They get business probably every day of the week. They earn hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year. And then there’s you. The lone freelancer. Maybe you’re just starting out. Maybe you’re just getting your bearings.

Or maybe you’re well-established, but you’re still in these other agencies’ shadow (possibly without even realizing it).

What do you do? You start following these 3 tips as fast as you possibly can…

  1. Let NOTHING (n-o-t-h-i-n-g) slip through the cracks.

  2. Refine your brand and sales messages to the T.

  3. Have personality.

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How to boost your clients’ revenue (and your own) with landing pages


Landing pages are a relatively new type of a page in the web design landscape, that’s for sure. And in general, if you happen to be working with a client who’s just starting their online adventure, chances are they simply don’t know how crucial a landing page can be in defining their success online.

One common misconception circulating around is that a landing page is any page that a visitor might “land” on. But by this definition, every page can be a landing page!

A better definition that reflects the actual usages of landing pages in modern online business is the following:

A landing page is a single-purpose page. It has only one goal – to capture visitor info, so it needs to have an HTML form on it. However, it also offers something in exchange. No one will leave their info without a direct incentive to do so.

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Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur
In Business Stripped Bare, Sir Richard Branson shares the inside track on his life in business and reveals the incredible truth about his most risky, brilliant and audacious deals. Discover why Virgin tried to take on one of the world's biggest superbrands, how Virgin Mobile USA holds the record as the fastest company in history to generate revenues of over one billion dollars (faster than Microsoft, Google and Amazon) and how Richard is the only person in the world to have built eight billion-dollar companies from scratch in eight different sectors.

Combining invaluable advice with the remarkable and candid inside stories of Virgin's greatest achievements, as well as some of its setbacks, Business Stripped Bare is a dynamic, inspirational and truly original guide to success in business and in life. Whether you are an executive, an entrepreneur or are just starting out, Richard strips business down to show how you can succeed and make a difference.

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How to Generate 30 New Content Ideas in 30 Minutes

There are two things that almost every project entails — creativity and deadlines. Unfortunately, those two things usually don't go together so well. When deadlines are looming, I'm almost always pressed for a new idea. But this strategy, which shouldn't take more than 30 minutes, is the perfect way to overcome your writer's block, and have enough ideas to keep you busy for weeks.

Spend 10 minutes on each step below, then get ready to start building your next idea.

  1. Make a list, and don’t stop until you run out of time.
  2. Look at what’s worked in the past.
  3. See what other people are writing about. 
  4. Edit your list and get ready to write! 

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Watch all the ads from Super Bowl 2015 so far


Bud's puppy returns, Newcastle actually does it, BMW goes back in time, and much more.

The week before the Super Bowl has predictably seen a flurry of commercial activity, hype and hyperbole with more and more brands rolling out their big game ads to kickstart some momentum before Sunday. Celebrities! Puppies! GoDaddy even managed to ban its own ad ahead of time.

Not everyone has spilled their Super Bowl ad secrets, but here are all the commercials so far.

See the ads at

2015 Creative Trends

Using insights from our collection of video clips, music tracks, and 47 million images, Shutterstock's annual infographic looks at which searches and styles are on the rise, predicignt what will rule the creative world in 2015.

 5 rising trends set to impact the design world this year include:

  1. Double Exposure
  2. Hipster
  3. Low Poly
  4. Long Shadow
  5. Zentangle

The projected spend in the global online video advertising industry is expected to reach 9.8 billion US dollars worldwide in 2015. credit:

Technology continues to evolve ever more quickly, and this was certainly reflected in our data, with breakout digital  trends like “emoji,” “Internet of Things,” and “selfie” on the rise.

Posts with photos are 35% more likely to get retweeted. 

With more than 2 billion people on social media, it’s no question that what we share matters. 

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Trending downward

By: Scott Christie

More than ever before, trends are fostering a tiresome lack of originality in the creative industry. It is particularly evident in the rote web designs being sold to today’s clients.

Unique brand representation is on the decline as technology makes it easier for trends to quash creativity, and both client and designer are complicit in the problem. If this trend of following trends continues, studios risk both their profit margin and the growth of our careers. The creative studios we admire today will be nothing more than production houses, and design will become a commodity.

“Following Trends Will Only Leave You Behind”

Paula Scher wrote this in her book, Make It Bigger, back in 2004. It is a powerful statement for designers and clients alike. Some clients buy into trends because no brand wants to look old. But when designers sell them the latest off-the-shelf look, it is an act of complacency and insecurity—without discord we give them what they want. Instead, we must ensure clients and designers look at trends a different way. Both should encourage the other to look beyond what’s current and explore new possibilities.

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Insights from your favorite designers brings you tips, insights, war stories, and more from your favorite designers. They've interviewed a ton of popular and well-known digital designers, including Jacob Cass (founder of JUST Creative), Mig Reyes (designer at Basecamp), Ethan Marcotte (founder of responsive web design), Cap Watkins (design lead at Etsy), Alli Dryer (designer at Twitter), and Eric Eriksson (product designer at Facebook), among many others.

Read the interviews at

25 Epic Graphic Design Tips for Non-Designers

by Poppie Pack

Get your graphic design game-face on with these inspiring tips!

Whether you’re a creating graphics for social media or designing an invitation for an upcoming event, the application of graphic design is vast and versatile.

From font pairing and scale, to alignment and white space, the facets of the design world are complex. Let these twenty five epic design tips help you through the pits and the peaks of the creative process.

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iStock Briefing: Top visual design trends for 2015 (archived webinar video)

Move over, 2014. The New Year is making an entrance. And it has a whole crop of new design trends in its back pocket.

From sensory immersion to super still, these are the gems that will be calling the creative shots in 2015. We’ve been taking some serious notes, and we’re going to let you cheat.

Watch the archived webinar to get the beat on the biggest visual design trends of 2015 with iStock by Getty Images’ trends expert Rebecca Swift. See how they can help your work blaze a new trail in the New Year.

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Point of view: placing your customer centre stage

The shaky hand-held camera has long been popular among film and TV directors, placing the viewer in the story. New technology is pushing the immersive viewpoint to the max.

Society has long been interested in stories told through the perspective of the narrator. The subjective viewpoint is immersive and allows the audience to experience an event themselves, as if they’re actually there. From Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye to cinema’s Blair Witch Project, audiences are captivated by filling the shoes of another person.

Eye movement controls 

We’ve been promised this experience through technology since the 1980s, virtual reality headsets and eye movement game controls, but it is only now that these experiences are becoming a reality.

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8 Design Trends for 2015

Hold onto your pixels. New design trends are here, pushed into play by changes in culture and technology. 

From sensory immersion to super still, these are the gems that are calling the creative shots in 2015. See how they’re swaying the brainstorm and helping your designs rise above the rest.


  1. Dynamic Women
  2. Letterbox Look
  3. Monochromatic Colour
  4. All Kinds of People
  5. Point of View
  6. Sensory Immersion
  7. Super Still Life
  8. Busy with Boxes

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Find a Truth: Unilever’s Marc Mathieu on The Next Era of Marketing


I’m now about halfway through a series of conversations the Economist Intelligence Unit had with six marketing pundits who have shared with us their thoughts on everything from the changing roles of marketersnew ROI metrics and the power of authentic, continuous relationships. And I hope you’ve found these as insightful and helpful as I have.

This week, I want to share a recent conversation with Marc Mathieu, SVP of Marketing at Unilever. He explains that while marketing used to be about creating a myth and selling, it’s now about finding a truth and sharing it. And to that I say amen. Technology, Marc explains (and as we all know), has changed the way people communicate, making it more open and real-time. Thus, the onus is on us to understand and embed it into our marketing strategies and approach.

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Design Edge Canada

Voted Magazine of the Year (Trade Category) three times (2008, 09, 10) by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors

Designedge Canada is the country’s leading media brand for the graphic design industry, with a full suite of award-winning print, web, e-mail, social media and event properties engaging designers across the country.

Note: This free subscription offer is currently only available to professional graphic designers with Canadian addresses. Orders outside Canada will be charged $60 USD. To order a subscription outside Canada, please send an email to with your name, title and mailing address.

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Creatives Choose: Best work of 2014

With 2014 in the books, it’s time to look back at the year that was. For our roundup of the best work of 2014, we turned to a roundtable of Canadian pros to pick their favourites from around the globe.

Best-of-the-year projects could be anything: a wayfinding system, a logo, a magazine spread, a beer can, an app, a product, a video game title sequence. The only restriction was that participants could not choose their own work, or the work of their studio/agency.

The choices reflect the breadth of sensibilities that inform our country’s talent pool. From comic books to vodka bottles, here is what inspired Canadian creatives in 2014.

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Mighty Deals

A daily deals site dedicated to massive discounts for web and creative professionals.

This is a legitimate Daily Deals site that offered huge savings on products we'd actually want as web professionals. Products that we'd actually use on a regular basis. 

Customers can save from 50% to 90% off on things like design tools (royalty-free vectors, PhotoShop actions, etc.), professional templates (WordPress, Drupal, Facebook), Mac toolkits, web development lessons and more. Deals are professional products and services heavily discounted for a limited time.

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A review of the best website designs spotted in 2014

Collected and curated by zitrusfrisch.

See the gallery at

5 Beginner Twitter Tips for Businesses

These five beginner Twitter tips will set you on the right track to creating a meaningful presence on the network. Bookmark this page to help you keep the engagement going when your audience isn’t actively on your site.

1. Set Up Your Profile

Of course you’ll need a Twitter profile if you’re going to start building a community there, but when we say “set up your profile,” we really mean it. Leave no bio blank, no picture unloaded, no Twitter stream empty. Completely fill out your profile so the new people you start engaging with know exactly who you are—which is a foundation for engaging with you. Social Media Examiner has a great post that goes over the different ways you can maximize your Twitter profile for mobile users.

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Real-World Networking Tips from Top Design Leaders

by Eric Sams

Each new year is a time for reflection on what you've done, how you've gotten there, and who helped you get there. In 2015, maintaining and growing your personal network is vital to your career development. We want to encourage each of you to take a step in the right direction with these networking tips from innovative and creative leaders. 

Scroll through to read tips from John Maeda, Debbie Millman, Hani Hong and Noreen Morioka. May their words of wisdom guide you into an enlightened and creativity filled 2015!

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Free Best Practices e-Book: Designing a Marketing Email That Works

Tips for designing marketing emails that get opened and help your business grow

First impressions matter.

And when someone opens your marketing email for the first time, what they see is going to determine what they do next.

Chances are you’ll want them to read your email and take a next step. Maybe you want them to visit your website, register for an event, or buy something.

This is where a beautiful, professional-looking email designed to drive action is crucial and that’s why we made a guide dedicated to helping you make the right impression with every email you send.

We’ll take you through the reasons email subscribers delete emails and how you can encourage people to take those next steps.

In this guide, you will find... 

  • The Reasons Readers Trash Your Emails

  • Email Design in Action

  • 5 Simple Tips for Mobile-Friendly Emails

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Free Best Practices e-Book: Turn Your Social Buzz into a Loud Roar

10 Strategies for Social Media Marketing Success

In the evolving world of social media marketing, it can be hard for a time-starved small business or organization to keep pace and know what to do when it comes to connecting with customers and members on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Yelp.

While there’s no “one-size fits all” approach, we’ve assembled 10 best practices for social media marketing success that will help your business or organization, whether you’re just getting started or trying to take your efforts to the next level.

In this guide, you will find these ten strategies explained... 

  1. Have a Goal

  2. Know Who You Are and Portray Yourself Consistently

  3. Be Where Your Customers/Members Are

  4. Tell Your Customers and Members Where You Are

  5. Don’t Just Join Conversations. Add Value to Them

  6. Be Relevant

  7. Be Engaging

  8. Be Active

  9. Respond in a Timely Manner

  10. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

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Free e-Book: Building Your List Can be aThing of Beauty

A guide to growing a permission-based contact list for 2015

Whether you’re a bookshop, a not-for-profit arts organization, a consultant, or an accountant, you need a steady stream of business, referrals, or responses from the people that keep your doors open. 

That starts with staying in regular communication with your audience. When you build an ongoing dialogue, you increase the trust and comfort level they have with you. They look forward to hearing from you. You’ll stay top of mind with them. 

As a result, they’ll become more loyal, spend more on your products and services, donate more frequently, and be more likely to refer you to their friends or colleagues. 

Sounds great, right? The easiest, most effective way to build that dialogue is with email marketing. And that’s why it’s so important for small businesses to have and grow a contact list.

In this guide, you will find... 

  • How to build your list at your place of business
  • How to build your list with social media 
  • How to build your list through your website  
  • How to build your list while networking 
  • What to do with your list 

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Your 2015 Pinterest resolutions

It’s the new year, and we want your business to accomplish big things. Invest more in Pinterest to help you achieve your goals, whether that’s getting more site traffic and sales or engaging with a new audience.

To help you start the year off right, we came up a few resolutions for businesses.

This year, resolve to:

  1. Have a specific Pinterest goal. Decide what you want to focus on this year. More sales? Engagement with your content? Traffic? Followers? While Pinterest is useful for all of those things, it’s always good to focus on what’s most important to your business right now. Track metrics using Pinterest Analytics every week so you can measure how you’re doing.

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2015 Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet and Image Tricks [Infographic]

Social media trends are hard to predict.

You never know which social platforms will take off in a big way, which won’t, or what changes popular networks will make in the months ahead.

One of the biggest trends we’ve seen in the past year is the importance of visual content.

In 2014, visual-centric social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram continued to see their user count and engagement rate skyrocket.

Today, 70 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram daily and 50 percent of Pinterest’s 30 billion pins were added in the last six months.

Great visuals have become a crucial aspect of online marketing. In fact, 63 percent of social media is made up of images!

How can you create the great images for your business’s social channels?

One of the most important things you can do is keep track of the optimal photo dimensions for all the social media channels you use.

Last year, we created a cheat sheet to help you determine the right dimensions to use when sharing images on social media. Because many of these recommended dimensions have since changed, we updated the cheat sheet for 2015.

We also pulled together some of our favorite tricks for using images on each of the top social networks.

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Most Popular Fonts of 2014

As usual, we hold off publishing our Most Popular Fonts of the Year list until the first full week of January. It’s based on the sales data of the entire year which, as few list makers seem to realize, did not end until December 31. To qualify, font families must have seen their first MyFonts release after December 1, 2013. That’s because fonts released in December seldom have a chance to make it big that same year. The list is based on sales revenue (not the number of copies sold); we kept the number of families from the same foundry to a maximum of two, and made sure popular genres are fairly represented. There you go: a type chart like no other, based on sales, just like the pop music hit parades of old (the fair ones). And thanks to everyone who bought a new font. You have helped us put this list together.

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Back to Bricks and Mortar - Creative Packaging Trends

Over the last few years, in response to the growing popularity of online shopping, many retailers seemed to be downsizing and moving more into the online world rather than dealing with bricks and mortar locations. The lure of being able to comfortably shop in your pajamas without having to worry about people wondering if you are sleepwalking has tempted many to turn to their computer screens when in need of something. But wait – apparently this trend isn’t as completely change-inducing as originally thought. Apparently bricks and mortar locations are making a come-back!

A recent study done by Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI) found that 76% of buying decisions are happening in-store, up from 70% a few years ago. Clearly there is still something to be said for trying before buying.

So, knowing that bricks and mortar stores are making a come-back, how then does this impact you and your marketing strategy?

There is significant value in investing in unique and innovative creative packaging that grabs the attention of those customers visiting a retail location.

Think outside the box: does your packaging speak for itself? Does it make use of colour psychology (what’s that?)? Are displays mixing technology and interaction to make customers stop and think? What about print quality – does the colour stand out? Is the image striking and clear? These are all things that you should be considering when it comes to print design and marketing strategy in order to compete.

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15 Online Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2015

by Ashley Kemper

Online marketing is no longer optional for brands who are serious about pushing their businesses forward. Digital marketing often feels like a moving target that's impossible to hit, yet despite the frequent guesswork, there are some clear trends that will be defining the industry in 2015. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a digital novice, these 15 key trends should be on your radar over the next year.


1. More User-Generated Content

If 2014 was the year "Content Is King" became a reality, 2015 will be all about sourcing content from the kingdom at large. The onus will always be on publishers to produce high-quality (and expensive) content, but brand followers are willing, and expecting, to contribute to the conversation. Whether you tap a small handful of ambassadors to create meaningful posts on a corporate blog or promote a branded hashtag that allows the public to share content on your site, take advantage of this engagement opportunity early and often.

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3 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Campaigns in 2015 (and Beyond)

by Ashley Kemper

If you're like most marketers, the past 12 months were filled with their fair share of victories, as well as near-misses, and maybe even a total flop. Step up your game in 2015 by setting (and sticking to!) these three simple resolutions.

Create monthly content calendars, and actually follow them

Whether you create content calendars weekly, monthly, or even quarterly, having a documented plan in place is critical. A well-crafted content calendar provides the high-octane fuel to keep social, SEO, and email channels running effectively. By taking the time to make a calendar ahead of time, you ensure that messaging and promotions are synced across channels, presenting a consistent interaction with your audience.

New to the content-calendar game? It's a versatile tool that is actually very simple to create. At its most basic, a content calendar can be a spreadsheet that serves to document:

- Dates and times that you'll publish your content

- Content format (photo, video, infographic, etc.)

- Key messaging to use

- Distribution channel(s) (Facebook, email, blog, etc.)

Putting together your first content calendar can feel onerous and time-consuming, but you'll be astounded at how much time it saves throughout the month.

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What I Learned About Life After Interviewing 80 Highly Successful People

by James Altucher

Over the past year I interviewed about 80 guests for my podcast. My only criteria: I was fascinated by some aspect of each person.

I just wanted to talk to anyone who made me curious about their lives. I spoke to entrepreneurs, comedians, artists, producers, astronauts, writers, rappers, and even this country's largest beer brewer.

Here is some of what they said:

A) A life is measured in decades.

Too many people want happiness, love, money, connections, everything yesterday. Me too. I call it "the disease." I feel often I can paint over a certain emptiness inside if only...if only...I have X.

But a good life is like the flame of a bonfire. It builds slowly, and because it's slow and warm it caresses the heart instead of destroys it.

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by Jeff Beer

Top agency, digital and brand players weigh in on the year to come.

It’s a new year and time for prediction and anticipation. How much mobile-first, e-commerce-driving engagement will you be programmatically integrating into your 2015 360 strategy?

Marketing has made real, beyond-buzzword shifts over the past year in terms of recognition of the mobile, multi-device consumer, and the importance of creating compelling content, of all lengths, and across all platforms. But how will those shifts manifest themselves, and what new forces will shape marketing this year? Whether it’s via long form content, social platforms, or apps, the challenge of telling a brand’s story in an engaging way is ever present. The pace of culture is something both consumers and marketers struggle to keep up with, and yet the wheels keep turning, with new technologies, platforms and ideas continually challenging, enraging and inspiring us in seemingly equal measure.

We spoke to leaders in brand creativity about their insights, predictions, and prognostications—what they’re looking forward to, the direction they’d like to see their work go, how they plan to make next year more creative and more.

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Trello is the free, flexible, and visual way to organize anything with anyone.

Drop the lengthy email threads, out-of-date spreadsheets, no-longer-so-sticky notes, and clunky software for managing your projects. Trello lets you see everything about your project in a single glance.

Sign up - It's Free.


Drag and drop cards between lists to show progress. Add as many people as you need and drag them to cards. Add and reorder lists as you need. Trello adapts to your project, team, and workflow.

You’ll see everything about your project just by glancing at the board, and it all updates in real-time. There’s nothing to set up and everyone gets it instantly.

Trello is simple on the surface, but cards have everything you need to get stuff done. Post comments for instant feedback. Upload files from your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive. Add checklists, labels, due dates, and more. Notifications make sure you always know when important stuff happens.

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How to Supercharge Your Content in 2015

by Sarah Maloy

Content marketing was 2014's biggest buzzword, but 2015 will be all about how brands can make that content strategic and make it start working for them. 

As you start to look at your content strategy for the new year, take a look at these 5 tips and learn about some of the tools and ideas that will help you supercharge your content in 2015. 

1. Identify Your Brand Values

Every piece of content you create doesn't have to (and shouldn't) be about you. By creating a content mission statement, list of brand values, or editorial guideline, you'll have a solid foundation for which topics fit with your brand.

From there, you can expand beyond just talking about your brand, and start to explore stories that resonate with your audience and show what your company or organization is all about. (To learn more about the brands that are doing this well, check out the "Stop Talking About Yourself" webcast we hosted with AdAge and Contently.)

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The Year Ahead: Creative Packaging Trends 2015

We are getting close to the end of the year, and that means it is time to make our annual predictions for the year ahead. 2014 was a big year in the packaging industry, both as far as new, emerging trends and the continued importance of some old-time players.

Check out our list for creative packaging trends for 2015!

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5 Pinterest Tips for Beginners

A fresh new year can mean a fresh new start in your social media strategy. Get off on the right foot with this simple guide containing 5 tips to help you start growing your Pinterest audience effectively.

1. Invest Heavily in Images

This isn’t to say you need to find a huge budget to buy stock photos all the time. Instead, small and large-budgets can both benefit from taking great snazzy photos from their smartphone to help tell their story. Having beautiful photos on your website pages is the #1 thing that’s going to get Pinterest users back onto your site. (Remember you can’t pin anything without an image, and people love sharing good images and photos.) A successful Pinterest strategy starts here.

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2014 Year in Review [Infographic]: How Social Media Fueled Social Action

Social media had a big year in social action. Huge world sports events like the Sochi Olympics and World Cup took place and garnered nearly 5 million shares on our network. We also saw other stories capture worldwide attention and spur online engagement. Stories like the Ferguson/Michael Brown case and the Scottish Independence vote sparked political outrage both on the streets and online. But there was one thing we found tied all of these events together.

After the Michael Brown/Ferguson hearing and Eric Garner jury decision, people across the world took to social networks to gather information, posts their thoughts, and organize on the streets. The Ukrainian Crisis and Gaza Conflict followed the same pattern: people used social media to gather in protests and spread information quickly. Social media was used as a tool to bring about change in these communities. People were not apathetic, they took charge, and it was the people who empowered social media.

Read on to discover this year’s inspiring social trends in our annual year-end infographic.

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45 top examples of letterpress business cards

Stunning and memorable letterpress business cards could help beat off the competition. Here are some examples of what can be achieved.

Known for producing a clean and elegant style, the letterpress technique is favoured by many designers for creating unique and creative business cards. Here we've picked 45 brilliant examples of letterpress business cards to inspire your designs.

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5 Graphic design tips to shave hours off your work week

If you work in graphic design, you’re probably only too well aware of the value of good time management.


Graphic designers are required to work tight deadlines and navigate around very busy schedules to get projects completed. Shaving even a couple of minutes off design time here and there can benefit your ability to apply yourself fully to a project.

What if we were to tell you that there are ways of shaving a couple of hours off your busy schedule every week?

We’ve got five great graphic design tips that could end up saving you hours – take a look!

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favicon.ico Generator

Create your favicon for your website, tablets, smartphones and desktops online then download to your computer.


Search through 409,653 icons or browse 4,636 icon sets.

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Webmaster Tools - Crawl URL

Google adds new sites to our index, and updates existing ones, every time we crawl the web. If you have a new URL, tell us about it here. We don't add all submitted URLs to our index, and we can't make predictions or guarantees about when or if submitted URLs will appear in our index.

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Slickplan is a website mapping tool. Our super-intuitive sitemap builder makes planning your website easy. That means you can focus on what you’re best at: creating awesome websites for your clients.

Join over 60,000 registered users. Plans start at just $6.99 a month.

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URL builder

Use this tool to add Custom Campaign parameters to your URLs.

The URL builder helps you add parameters to URLs you use in Custom Campaigns. When users click one of the custom links, the unique parameters are sent to your Google Analytics account, so you can identify the URLs that are most effective in attracting users to your content.

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Engage with your customers and create a memorable customer experience with award winning Live Chat Software.

Understanding your customer base and their preferences can help you send improved, more relevant targeted messages.

Live Chat personalization helps website owners identify and deliver a truly tailored online experience to customers, building customer loyalty and increasing confidence in your brand.

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Free Sitemap Generator
  1. Enter your full website URL and some optional parameters in the form below.
  2. Press 'Start' button and wait until the site is completely crawled.
  3. You will be redirected to the generated sitemap details page, including number of pages, broken links list, XML file content and link to a sitemap file. Download the sitemap file using that link and put it into the domain root folder of your site.
  4. Go to your Google Webmaster account and add your sitemap URL.

2014 in Hightail illustrations

It is December, a time to look back on the year that was. Everywhere you look will be lists of the 50 favorite songs, top 10 movies and 47 best Buzzfeed listicles. So we decided to do our own review and revisit our fab Hightail illustrations.

very week, we email our regular users and the message often features a custom-created image illustrating the feature we’re explaining or offer we’re promoting. Thanks to the creativity of our 2014 illustrators, Austin Petito and Dominic Flask, we can look back at vintage year of funny, stylish and smart images. Enjoy.

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Marsala - Pantone's newest color of the year

Pantone's Color of the Year 2015 is a sophisticated new wine hue called Marsala. It has an elegant, grounded feel, a departure from some previous years that used brighter, funkier colors. It's also warmer than last year's Emerald, and a more nurturing color in general.

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Case Study: Kraft Foods using Pinterest for Business

Kraft Foods provides millions of families around the world with the staples they need to make delicious meals. The brand adds thousands of recipes to Pinterest, the greatest source of referral traffic back to

Kraft wants to make it easy for people to discover and share everyday, achievable meals. They joined Pinterest in January 2012 because the service reached Kraft’s desired audience and had significant scale. It also helped that recipes were already one of the most popular interests on Pinterest.

Now, Pinterest has transformed the way Kraft thinks about its content marketing.

Kraft's “Christmas Recipes” board takes advantage of the many searches for recipes during the holiday season.

Kraft learned that well-lit, appetizing food visuals with some color contrast are the most often repinned. Recipes tied to seasonal and social events also perform well. saw a significant traffic lift after testing and optimizing their pins.

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Inside the Design Team at Saatchi & Saatchi LA


Today, we’re talking to Tae Wan An and Charlie Hart, designers at Saatchi & Saatchi LA. We chatted with Tae and Charlie about how design as a bridge between humans and technology, the importance of selling your ideas, and what failure looks like to them.


Saatchi & Saatchi is a full-service global advertising agency. Here in the LA office, we’re the lead creative agency for Toyota. We create almost everything for them, from TV commercials to social media and launch campaigns. I’m an associate creative director on the Digital Enterprise group. We focus on all the digital platforms for Toyota.

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Want Serious Growth? Get off the dance floor and up on the balcony.

By Peleg Top

What if I told you that the more time you spend away from your work the better that work will be?

Remember the last time you went dancing at a dance club? It's fun to be on the dance floor, to lose yourself to the music, to interact with other people and to lose track of time. And then there's the moment when you need to rest for a bit, to take a breath, to regain your energy. So you go up to the balcony, have a drink and watch the people dancing down below.

When you travel up to the balcony, you can lean over the railing and observe the dance floor from this new vantage point. You can see the entire dance floor as one moving piece, and you are separated from the experience. You gain a new perspective. And this is exactly what your business needs from time to time.

Healthy leadership requires moving from the balcony, to the dance floor (your daily activities and operations) and back again-a constant shift in perspective so that we not only understand the big picture, but also our individual role in the actions we take and how they impact the world around us.

Once a year I give myself some "balcony time" - where I get off the dance floor and get up on the "balcony" to watch the dance and get better perspective on what's really going on. I take myself on a personal retreat where I step out of my day to day activities, unplug from technology and gift myself time to think, reflect and create what's next for me and my business. This time is not a vacation. It's essential to the growth of my business.

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Project Holiday: Create Pins and boards for the season

It’s the right time to create Pins and boards for the holidays. Businesses that take advantage of seasonal interests, including products, DIY projects, travel and recipes, can inspire people while they’re in a holiday mindset, ready to take action.

And there’s lots to indicate that many people are already in the holiday mindset. So far, there are more than 604 million holiday Pins and 244 million gift-related Pins on Pinterest. Overall, more than 65 million people are following boards with holiday or gift Pins—a significant chunk of Pinterest’s community. 
With so much activity, it might be hard to know where to start Pinning.

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Inside the Design Team at BuzzFeed

by Connor O'Driscoll

Today, we’re talking to Allison Chefec, web designer at BuzzFeed, an online media company. We chatted with Allison about why you are not your work, her process of creating new features at BuzzFeed, and what challenge has her design team most focused.

BuzzFeed is a social news and entertainment company. Essentially, we do a lot of everything: news, entertainment, video, long-form journalism. In broad terms, we’re a media company, but we’re continuing to explore what that means in this day and age. It's an incredibly exciting time to be at BuzzFeed, as we're growing in so many ways right now. We’re expanding our international presence, building out different areas of our organization, as well as constantly experimenting with new formats for our readers to love.

I’m a web designer on the Product Team here at BuzzFeed. I work on a wide variety of projects that span both desktop and mobile web. I design a lot of the user-facing elements and products on the site, as well as help flesh out and design new features for our CMS.

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Holiday Design Gallery

Oftentimes design will celebrate a holiday or special event, and here at Print we like to, well, celebrate that. After all, that’s why we created Print Celebrates Design, a competition for your cards, gifts & invitations.

In honor of all that is festive, we rounded up some holiday design for you to feast your eyes on

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Infographic: The Top Color Trends of 2014

Using data from our collection of 40 million images and our 400 million all-time downloads, we analyzed which popular colors are set to dominate design in the coming months.

We know how important color is to design — that’s why we created two innovative color search tools, Palette and Spectrum. Color impacts everything: web and graphic design, fashion fads, even home decor. Some of the trends we saw this year, like a change from natural palettes to gray tones, reflected similar trends seen on Fashion Week runwaysand in home design. Others were influenced by global events like the World Cup, the continued rise of social media, and Pantone’s Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid

Check out the infographic below to discover which colors are en vogue around the world, then scroll on to see which images we used to create it, and to explore six colorful image collections inspired by the 2014 Color Trends infographic.

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How to use Pinterest Analytics to change the way you Pin

We recently featured DODOCase, a leather goods company, in our blog to show how they made real business decisions using the new Pinterest Analytics.



We launched Pinterest Analytics last month, and we wanted to give you more information on how you might interpret the data to take action on your Pins and in your business.

We worked with DODOCase, a San Francisco-based leather goods company, to walk through a real-life example of how a business can take action on the content and audience insights gleaned from Pinterest Analytics.

Let’s get started!

We’ll cover:
Your profile analytics 
Your audience
Your website analytics

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The Importance of Corporate Identity

At some point in time, the word “branding” began to be used interchangeably with “logo”. While brands are far more than logos, for many marketers the discipline of creating visual identity has been reduced to mere ornamentation.

Basically, corporate and brand identities are an expression and reflection of an organizations’s culture, character, personality, and its products and services – inspiring trust with consumers, employees, suppliers, partners and investors. In the middle of the 20th century, the development of visual identity systems became mainstay in almost all branding initiatives. Some examples that come quickly to mind are iconic brands that have stood the test of time – Coca-Cola, IBM, Mercedes, Ford, Levis and McDonald’s.

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5 Fall Inspired Color Palettes

By Julya Buhain

Fall is here! ‘Tis the season for crunchy leaves, sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes. When it comes to design, you need to make sure your brand stays on top of seasons and holidays. Show your audience you’re paying attention and are on top of the freshest trends. Color is a good way to stay on track. Put a Fall flair on your design with these color palettes!

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The end of advertising as we know it--and what to do now

By Rei Inamoto

AKQA’s Rei Inamoto argues that the thing we call advertising is over and offers four guidelines for moving into the next era, when 365-day connection, people-focused stories, and business invention will be key.

"How are we supposed to judge a creative idea versus a product idea?"

This was a question that surfaced during one of the many long judging sessions last week in the South of France where I got to preside over the Mobile category, one of the 16 categories at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

It caused quite a stir in the jury room. Some strongly argued that creative ideas and product ideas should not be in the same category, while others countered that real users don’t necessarily differentiate the two. Whether it’s a campaign or a product, brands are vying for people’s time. Another juror posed a slightly more existential question: Why would we assume campaign ideas are creative and product ideas are not?

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Be On The Lookout: The importance of observational skills

by Bob Hambly

Excellent observational skills make us better designers—but like most things, they need practice. One hour into my very first drawing class in my freshman year at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, the instructor asked us to put down our pencils. “You all should know,” he said, “I can’t teach you how to draw.” We all sat stunned. Did we hear that correctly? He then added, “But, I can teach you how to see!”

We had been drawing a stack of wooden drafting tables that were haphazardly piled in the middle of the studio, trying to impress one another with our talent. The instructor informed us that all 24 of us spent more time looking at our own drawings than we did looking at the subject matter. And he was right. “You were drawing what you wanted to see, not what was there.” It was a memorable way to kickoff my four years of art education.

Several weeks later he assigned us with a challenging project—one that involved a block of styrofoam the size of a case of beer. All six sides of the cuboid were marked with a series of connecting lines, both straight and curved. In one week the instructor told us he would cut along all of the lines with a bandsaw to reduce the solid shape into a pile of irregular pieces. It was our task to draw what each of those pieces would look like. The assignment was a true test of our observational skills. Over the course of that first semester, our instructor proved true to his word—he taught us how to see.

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A Look Inside the Design Team at Typekit

By Amanda Hackwith

We’re tracking down InVision users inside the world’s most amazing companies to discover their favorite tools, inspirations, workspace must-haves and the philosophy behind what makes them so awesome. Today, we’re talking to Elliot Jay Stocks & Jake Giltsoff, designers at Typekit.

Typekit, acquired in 2011 by Adobe, are dedicated to providing an ever-expanding library of fonts to designers for both web and, more recently, desktop use. Now a part of Adobe CC, the service is a firm favorite amongst web designers – some of the fonts on this very page are served via Typekit! We chatted to Elliot & Jake about finding a niche, getting a formal education in design, and the future of web typography.

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5 Timeless Marketing Lessons for Today's Brands from Visionary Designer Paul Rand

By Hugh Hart

On the re-issue of Thoughts on Design, Pentagram's Michael Bierut outlines some of Paul Rand's key lessons--still blindingly relevant for brands.

"For an advertisement to hold its own in the competitive race, the designer must steer clear of visual clichés by some unexpected interpretation of the commonplace." That's legendary designer and art director Paul Rand writing in his remarkably prescient 1947 book Thoughts on Design about the value of surprise in marketing. A master of advertising, editorial design and brand identity--his logos for ABC, IBM, UPS and Westinghouse are still in use some five decades after their creation--Rand inspired and influenced everyone from George Lois to Steve Jobs and Jonny Ive. And after a long period out of print, his seminal book, which captured his design philosophy and approach, is available again.

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The ultimate list of mobile business apps for freelance designers

Being a freelancer you’re able to work anywhere you choose, and sometimes you can’t always be tied down to your home setup – but with the help of your mobile device(s), you can work virtually anywhere!

Whether you’re going on vacation, riding the train, or sitting in a coffee shop – your freelance business doesn’t have to be put on hold.

Aside from the regular social media apps almost all of us already have installed (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), here is the ultimate list of mobile apps for freelance designers in alphabetical order:

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One page sites

The one page site continues to be a very popular pattern - explore this lovely collections of samples for fresh ideas.

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9 ways to drive traffic with Pinterest search

Every day Pinterest search drives millions of visits to other sites through referral traffic. We asked our resident SEO expert, Anna Majkowska, for suggestions on how you can help Pinners find your content and get more visits to your website.

Here’s what she said:

1. Name your profile and verify your website: Include the name of your business in your profile name and in your username, if possible. Verify your account so that your profile appears higher in profile search results. Provide a description of your business and the type of stuff you Pin.

2. Get the official Pin It button: Increase the chances of your Pins appearing in search results by installing the Pin It button. The more times Pinners add things from your website,  the more credibility it has, which means it has a better chance of appearing in search results. Make sure to pre-fill suggested descriptions with useful text on your website, too. Pinners frequently keep the suggested descriptions. 

3. Use Rich Pins: This is a powerful way to increase both your search impressions and clicks. Rich Pins add more textual content to your Pins, helping them rank better. Rich Pins have extra information and stand out more on the grid, helping drive clicks. 

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Amateurs Get Angry With Clients. Professionals Educate Them.

by Paul Jarvis

As most experienced freelancers know, sometimes we have to fire our clients, for their benefit and ours. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

I used to think dealing with frustrating clients was just part of being a creative. But then I realized while, yes, there are frustrating parts of any relationship, frustration should be the exception rather than the rule.
There are certainly times when we want to turn into the freelance version of Donald Trump, screaming “You’re Fired!” at everyone we disagree with. But the truth is, we deserve the clients we get. Bad clients aren’t the result of some cosmic force working against us, they’re more likely the result of our own actions.
Frustrating clients are the result of some misstep we’ve made along the way. To do our best work and work with the best people, we need to be diligent in our relationship with our clients.

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Creative Agencies: Online portfolios for creative agencies

The Hottest Web Design Trends on Design Meltdown

Our most viewed categories this week include: Creative AgenciesOnline portfolios for creative agencies

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Want To Be Less Stressed And More Creative? Make Time For A Hobby

The Huffington Post  | By 

Children naturally love to play and explore and use their imaginations -- but as adults, we often get so sucked into work and the demands of daily life that hobbies and creative outlets completely fall by the wayside. When you ask the average working adult what their hobbies are, there's a good chance they'll say "none." But in forgoing hobbies and personal creative projects, we may be doing ourselves a major disservice.

"Finding time for ourselves is key to our own sanity," Joyce E. A. Russell writes in a "Career Coach" article in the Washington Post. "It can actually improve all the other aspects of our lives. Having a hobby may be even more important to people who lead very full and busy lives."

Creative hobbies or side projects -- whether it's gardening, journaling, taking up a new instrument, or experimenting with French cooking -- can help us to tap into a sense of play and boost our powers of creative thinking. And regardless of whether your day job is creatively fulfilling or not, a creative side hobby that's fun but challenging can be beneficial in a number of ways.

Having an outside-work hobby you enjoy (and that also challenges you and keeps you feeling engaged) can relieve stress and give you a new way of thinking -- and it's a good reminder that work isn't everything. Some of your best ideas for a new business plan may not come while you're sitting in front of the computer with the cursor blinking, but instead when you're in a completely different headspace while engaging in a fun creative activity.

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Creative Characters interview with Sumner Stone

This month’s interviewee has been one of the most influential people in digital type design. He was the first Type Director at Adobe Systems, where he supervised the development of the early Adobe Originals. He created ITC Stone, the “superfamily” that included the novel concept of an Informal version. He went on to set up his own Stone Type Foundry, which now has a dozen beautifully drawn text and display families on MyFonts. He is also a teacher at Cooper Union, where one of his students was the young designer that interviewed him for this newsletter — James Minior of MyFonts’ Helpdesk team. Meet the illustrious Sumner Stone.

Your work and teachings have influenced numerous designers. Would you indulge us in an exploration of how your craft and career have evolved?

I studied calligraphy with Lloyd Reynolds at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and then went to work for Hallmark cards as a lettering artist. Reynolds was an inspirational teacher. He taught a systematic, well-organized historical approach to making letters. At the same time he presented a very broad view of the nature of letterforms and their meaning and function in a range of cultures both contemporary and historical.

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Inspiration: Logo Design
Logo Design Gallery on Pinterest, selected by Julie Bateman

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Learn more about your customers with new Pinterest Analytics

We often hear from businesses who change their product and marketing strategies based on insights they learn on Pinterest. For example, Lowe’s introduced a DIY-focused marketing strategy after learning that their “create-your-own-colorful-doormat” Pin got more than 200,000 repins. And UK-based Juniper Cakery came up with new cake design techniques after learning about their customers’ confection preferences through Pinterest analytics.


Well today, we’re excited to announce a new, smarter analytics tool to help businesses worldwide continue to improve how they work, with meaningful insights about what their customers are interested in.

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75 books to kick-start your design thinking

Being big bibliophiles here at InVision, we asked some of our favorite designers to recommend the book that inspired them the most this past year. Check out the 75 most popular answers and the top designers who recommend them, plus 5 inspiring periodicals.

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SUCCESS STORY: Lowe’s Inspiring home improvement on Pinterest
Industry: Retail
Pins about: Home Improvement, DIY, Design

A big part of Lowe’s marketing strategy is helping people feel like they can take on home improvement projects on their own. To share project possibilities, they added a Creative Ideas section to their site. Because Lowe’s has the Pin It button installed on their site, people who browse Creative Ideas can pin projects they want to take on later. Once these projects are on Pinterest, other pinners can discover and pin them, too!


Lowe’s also created a few Pinterest boards dedicated to smaller home design and decor projects. Their most repinned pin—a create-your-own colorful doormat project—has gotten more than 200,000 repins so far, and has helped Lowe’s understand that their strategy of helping people DIY is a sound one.

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Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming

 Paperback – Jul 13 2011 by Ellen Lupton (Editor)

Creativity is more than an inborn talent; it is a hard-earned skill, and like any other skill, it improves with practice. Graphic Design Thinking: How to Define Problems, Get Ideas, and Create Form explores a variety of informal techniques ranging from quick, seat-of-the-pants approaches to more formal research methods for stimulating fresh thinking, and ultimately arriving at compelling and viable solutions.


In the style with which author Ellen has come tobeen known hands-on, up-close approach to instructional design writing brainstorming techniques are grouped around the three basic phases of the design process: defining the problem, inventing ideas, and creating form. Creative research methods include focus groups, interviewing, brand mapping, and co-design. Each method is explained with a brief narrative text followed by a variety of visual demonstrations and case studies. Also included are discussions with leading professionals, including ArtChantry, Ivan Chermayeff, Jessica Helfand, Steven Heller, Abott Miller, Christoph Niemann, Paula Scher, and Martin Venezky, about how they get ideas and what they do when the well runs dry. The book is directed at working designers, design students, and anyone who wants to apply inventive thought patterns to everyday creative challenges.

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Inspiration: Pull Up Banners

Pull Up or Pop Up Banner Design Gallery on Pinterest, selected by Julie Bateman

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Four Steps to a Better Agency Homepage


Over the years, there are few aspects of a website that I've come to think about as differently as I have the homepage. What should a homepage do? How should it look? How much information should it contain? These are questions I've answered very differently, sometimes depending on who is asking — and what kind of homepage we're talking about — and sometimes simply depending upon what I've seen work and not work. There are many things we've loved to stick on homepages that never worked, just as there are many things that have worked whose time has passed.


So here's my latest thinking on this.

First and foremost, it's important to reiterate the eternal truth of the homepage: it is not always the first page. The number of visitors to your site who will first arrive via a sub-page is in direct proportion to the amount of content your site contains. The more pages you have, the more first pages you have. But most of the people who arrive on a sub-page that don't leave after reading it will probably head to your homepage next, armed with predictable questions: What is this site? Who made it? What are they about? Should I stay or go? Your answers to those questions will be suitable for a first time visitor, too, so they should definitely shape your homepage design approach.

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This painful, terrible, amazing exercise forced me to become a better designer

By David Tendrich

This exercise teaches you that you can always do better. When you create something that you think is amazing, and you throw it in the trash, it’s a statement to yourself and the universe that says,

“Wait till you see what’s next.”

Because the truth is, the moment you create something, your skills evolve beyond it. You really can do better the next time.

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Introduction to Data Highlighter

Learn about how you can use the Data Highlighter feature in Webmaster Tools to show Google patterns of structured data on your website without modifying your pages.

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100 Unused Logos and What they Reveal about my Design Inclinations

This past Wednesday I gave a presentation at the HOW Conference in Atlanta, GA. As a respite from the pristine show and tells of finished work sprinkled with anecdotes that support the fabulous work on screen I wanted to focus on the unglamorous side of graphic design. The endless revisions, the variations, the changes, the odd requests — “I like turtles, can my logo have a turtle?” — and the inevitable doom of much of the work we do as bezier- and pixel-based compost for piles of archived CDs, DVDs and 200-gigabyte hard drives.

For my slide show I went through almost ten years of archives looking for all the files that never quite made it… the good, the bad and the ug… nay: The tired, the poor, the huddled files yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse, the homeless and, yes, even the tempest-tost. (With apologies to Miss Liberty).

For a section called “75% of your files are trash” I specifically looked for 100 logos that were never selected — or never actually used if they were selected. This is not a Best Of selection. Some of the logos are embarrassing: Half-cooked, half-assed, off-topic ideas with sloppy kerning and poor execution. Equally, there are some very competent logos in there, ready to be printed and shipped. Most of these, if not all actually, were shown to a client. Some were mocked, others praised and a few more ignored.

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Papirmass - Art in the Mail

We are run by artists who are obsessed with quality. Join us and we will send you an exciting range of art and literature. 


Nescafé Reknits Under Rebrand

By Cathy Lane

CBA has worked with Nescafé for the past three years to reunify a brand that has splintered into many personas around the world in the past 20 or more years. The new logo and brand identity still hearkens back to Nescafé’s original mark, but capitalizes on some specific, long-standing devices.

From the CBA website: “The first, the classic red mug, is an historic landmark for the brand and a symbol with a long and positive association with Nescafé. Previously linked with the classic ‘Original’ variant, it has been modernized and ‘iconized’ for use across the widest range of touchpoints.

“For the second evolution, the final accent on Nescafé has taken off and become red. The accent takes its place in an evolved logotype that allows the brand to better express its warmth and conviviality and symbolizes the inspiration that the brand seeks to bring to its consumers.

“The final new element of identity is ‘the hub,’ a simplified top down view of the mug that acts as a window into the world of Nescafé, a place to express brand stories and emotions.”

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2014 Logo Trends from LogoLounge

By Bill Gardner

If home is our first place, and work is our second place, then mobile screens have definitely become our third place. Smart phone use has increased from 21 percent in 2010 to more than 63 percent today, and with 83 percent of all Americans online regularly, that percentage of mobile users is bound to keep edging up.

The fact that so many people now view the world through a window the size of a business card has spelled an inevitable change in logo design. It used to be that minute favicons had to be kept extremely simple: Now, as a rule, logos must be as well, but that doesn’t mean boring. Designers continue to push back and evolve the meaning of “simple.”

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8 steps to designing the perfect infographic

by Jessica Draws

Last month, while happily nibbling on a canapé and sipping a cocktail at the monthly I Am Woman networking event I was chatting away to some businesswomen and the obvious question was asked: "So, what do you do?" I launched into my usual explanation of some of the services I offer including print/web design, illustration and infographic design and I noticed a couple of blank faces among the ladies. "What's an infographic?"

It occurred to me that this is the most common question I get asked – even when I've been approached by a new client wanting an infographic! Quite often they're even unsure of what exactly one is but have heard that it's a great marketing tool for businesses and so are keen to commission their own.

So, in the hopes of demystifying the infographic design process and hopefully sharing some tips on how to create great infographics I introduce my guide to infographic design. Enjoy!

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Pixar: How to Create a Creative Culture

by Stephanie Kaptein

Ed Catmull, cofounder of Pixar, shared with Harvard Business Review how to create a work environment that encourages creativity in everyone. The interview is long, and well worth the read, but his three main takeaways are:

Anyone can talk to anyone: Individuals from every department should have the ability to speak with each other without having to ask for permission. Keep the communication lines open so people can learn and be inspired by each other.

Everyone has ideas: Learn to give and receive feedback in a positive way on unfinished work. Early criticism provides the freedom to try new things because it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. Ensure that every department, regardless of discipline, has the opportunity to comment.

Build subcultures: Break up formal departments by creating new ones. Pixar University offers classes for people to try a new discipline or something unrelated (like pilates or yoga). You never know what may come from a chance encounter with another department.

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19 LinkedIn Mistakes That Make Me Pull My Hair Out


If you aren’t getting the results you are looking for, it’s highly possible you’re making one (or several) LinkedIn mistakes that are turning off potential clients. Turning people off doesn’t always have to provoke a dramatic response that involves the other person slandering your business on Yelp but even in its most harmless form, it hurts your bottom line.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression and when you waste it on making rookie LinkedIn mistakes, you’ve already shut the door on what could have been a mutually beneficial relationship.

Take a few minutes to review the 19 most common LinkedIn mistakes I see to make sure you aren’t making any of them. It could be the difference between making or breaking your next sale.

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Social media: 4 tips to communicate visually

By Jessica Ann

Swipe-stopping images are one of the best ways to communicate visually on social media. But wait…what does swipe-stopping mean?

Whether you’re reading this article on your mobile or computer, you most likely have the option to “swipe” through what you’re viewing. When what you view is visually stunning, you “stop swiping” through your feed to start looking at whatever image caught your eye. You’ll either slow down your swipe, or stop scrolling entirely to view the photo in more detail. This is what “swipe stopping” means. So, here’s some ways to start showing more scintillating visuals on social.

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7 Ways to Boost Your Creativity

by Gregory Ciotti

Creativity can seem innate, but like many things, it is actually a delicate balance of nature and nurture. In other words, creative thinking can be enhanced by external forces, and isn’t necessarily reliant on “good genes” or natural ability.

Luckily, new research points the way to a variety of mental and environmental approaches that can help us improve our creative output

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Storify - Make The Web Tell A Story

Collect media from across the web. Publish on Storify,  embed anywhere.  Share and notify sources, go viral. Storify is completely free to use. You can upgrade to Storify VIP for real-time updates and full customization options.

Storify helps make sense of what people post on social media. Our users curate the most important voices and turn them into stories. Together, we are building a new information network that will give you the social perspective on any event. 


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A Look Inside Design at Zappos

By Andy Orsow

We're tracking down InVision users inside the world's most amazing companies to discover their favorite tools, books, methods, and the philosophy behind what makes them so awesome. This week we interviewed Donny Guy, a User Experience Manager at Zappos in Las Vegas.

What is your favorite part of the design process?

I just love innovation, and ideation, and creating things. It’s those small, innovative tweaks we do that get me excited because it just makes sense. That’s what I love: the things that the user just does without realizing they did it. They had no clue that they clicked on something small because it was in their normal flow or it just made sense in their mind. And you’re like, “Yep, nailed it.”

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The way you design web content is about to change.


We’re Done With Dumb Content

For the entire history of the web so far, we’ve generally handled content in two ways.

  1. Basic, one-size-fits-all pages, or
  2. Complex, custom pages

We thought this made website planning easier. As it turns out, it’s just made it dumber. The conceit of this approach is that for any content or content arrangement that can’t be done using a basic content area and its friendly WYSIWYG editor, we can create a custom template with its own set of fields and logic.

 In the old days, when most content was quite at home in a single column of text with the occasional image here and there, the idea that special content could have its own definition in the CMS and its own, unique template seemed quite sophisticated. We were crafting this content just so. Had we known better, we would have called it “artisanal.” Maybe then it wouldn’t be so obviously outmoded today.

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UX Magazine

UX Magazine is a central, one-stop resource for everything related to user experience. We provide a steady stream of current, informative, and credible information about UX and related fields to enhance the professional and creative lives of UX practitioners and those exploring the field. Our content is driven and created by an impressive roster of experienced professionals who work in all areas of UX and cover the field from diverse angles and perspectives.

It is also a primary goal of UX Magazine to foster communication between groups that are typically siloed but who must collaborate effectively for good UX outcomes to be achieved.

UX Magazine was created because there was a strong unmet need in the industry for knowledge resources about how UX fits into technology initiatives, customer experience strategies, design thinking, project planning, and project and organizational dynamics. Most of the UX knowledge resources available consist of designers talking to other designers, technologists talking to other technologists, industry insiders talking to other insiders, and business investors talking with other business executives. While UX Magazine we want to continue to foster discussion and shared learning within the community, we also want to create an environment where people and companies from all disciplines within and outside of the UX field can collaborate and learn from each other.

UX Magazine’s mission is to be the destination for people and companies looking to understand the value of experience-orientation, and to learn the tactics and strategies behind successful user and customer experiences.

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A Look Inside Design at Houzz

By Amanda Hackwith

We're tracking down InVision users inside the world's most amazing companies to discover their favorite tools, inspirations, workspace must-haves, and the philosophy behind what makes them so awesome.

This week, we chatted with David Anderson, UX Designer at Houzz, the popular home remodeling and design platform that CNN calls the “Wikipedia of interior and exterior design.” Its founders were frustrated by the lack of resources and inspiration available to help them articulate a vision for their home and to find the right professionals, so they created Houzz to help make the building, remodeling, and decorating process more fun and productive.

Today, 200 employees power Houzz’s apps, website, and online community, which cater to more than 20 million monthly unique users interested in architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape design and home improvement as well as over 400,000 home remodeling and design professionals.

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Anna Kendrick - 8th Most Creative Person in 2014

By Josh Eells

For knowing that her best role is herself.

Each of the actresses in Kendrick's loose cohort has forged a connection with her fans in her own distinct way. Lawrence does it by charming talk-show audiences with embarrassing anecdotes and navigating awards-show red carpets like they're filled with marbles wrapped in banana peels. Dunham does it with her brilliantly honest HBO show, Girls, and her liberty with her body. And Kendrick does it via the Internet.

If you scroll back through Kendrick's online history, a few themes emerge. Dogs. Baked goods. Jet lag and/or hangovers. Sweats, Snuggies, and other comfy clothes. Game of Thrones. She also has a few social media rules she thinks everyone should abide by, about which she is surprisingly passionate. Two Instagram photos a day, max. ("I've got a really itchy unfollow button.") Links, @ and # signs, and quotation marks should be avoided. ("It looks like I'm reading fuckin' code.") Melancholy is okay on Instagram, but not on Twitter. ("Just say something funny.") And above all, never, ever overpromote. "That's one of the things that annoys me most," says Kendrick. "When my entire time line gets filled up with actors being like, 'Check out my short!' or 'I'm on Craig Ferguson!' It's just bad business."

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The Post PSD Era doesn’t want to kill designers. In fact, it needs them more than ever.


As an interactive designer, I am of a dying breed. I am one of the many interactive designers who is slowly being nudged (pushed, shoved, tossed) out of the digital design process. And I have the Post-PSD Era to blame.

The Post-PSD Era is a product of the successful web. Due to the rise of mobile and constant innovation in our development standards and processes, it is becoming increasingly outdated to provide PSD Mock Ups for each screen of a website or app, or even to provide more than a handful. In some cases, PSDs can be avoided altogether. This is to the benefit of clients, developers, businesses, pretty much everyone?—?even, in fact, the designer. Learn how all designers can adapt in the Post PSD Era.

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Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition)

By Steve Krug

Since Don’t Make Me Think was first published in 2000, hundreds of thousands of Web designers and developers have relied on usability guru Steve Krug’s guide to help them understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design. Witty, commonsensical, and eminently practical, it’s one of the best-loved and most recommended books on the subject.

Now Steve returns with fresh perspective to reexamine the principles that made Don’t Make Me Think a classic–with updated examples and a new chapter on mobile usability. And it’s still short, profusely illustrated…and best of all–fun to read.

If you’ve read it before, you’ll rediscover what made Don’t Make Me Think so essential to Web designers and developers around the world. If you’ve never read it, you’ll see why so many people have said it should be required reading for anyone working on Web sites.

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7 Habits of Incredibly Happy People

by Gregory Ciotti

While happiness is defined by the individual, I’ve always felt it foolish to declare that nothing can be learned from observing the happiness of others.

In our day-to-day lives it is easy to miss the forest for the trees and look over some of the smaller, simpler things that can disproportionally affect our happiness levels. Luckily, we can go off more than just our intuition; there are lots of studies that aim for finding the right behavior that leads to a happier life. 

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10 Creative Rituals You Should Steal

by Sean Blanda

Benjamin Franklin made sure to end every day by asking “What good have I done today?” Maya Angelou only wrote in tiny hotel rooms. Jack Kerouac made sure to touch the ground nine times before writing.

Sustained creativity doesn’t come from a flash of brilliance or a single afternoon of inspiration. It comes from a consistent routine that serves as the bedrock for getting things done. At 99U we’ve spoken with dozens of entrepreneurs, researchers, and creatives about their unique routines. Below are some of our favorites.

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Likeable Business: Why Today's Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver

by Dave KerpenTheresa Braun , Valerie Pritchard

It pays to be LIKEABLE!

You can have a rock-solid business strategy, unlimited resources, and the most talented people on staff. But only one thing is guaranteed in today’s hyperconnected society: if your business isn’t likeable, it will fail.

Dave Kerpen knows how important it is for a business to be liked—by customers, employees, stakeholders, and the general public. He wrote the book on it. His groundbreaking bestseller Likeable Social Media changed the way businesses interact with their customers on a daily basis. Likeable Business lays out 11 strategies for organizations of all sizes to spur growth, profits, and overall success. Dave Kerpen reveals the remarkable returns you’ll get when you gain the trust of your customers and stakeholders. In today’s social media world, it literally pays to be likeable.

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Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

From Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, comes an incisive book about creativity in business—sure to appeal to readers of Daniel Pink, Tom Peters, and Chip and Dan Heath. Forbes raves that Creativity, Inc. “just might be the business book ever written.”

Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture—but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.

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How to set up Ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Ecommerce tracking is available for both web and app properties but must first be enabled at the view level.

A qualified developer should then complete additional technical set up following the detailed instructions in the Developer Guide for your specific environment.

No Ecommerce data appears in your reports until you set up Ecommerce tracking.

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Three Digital Marketing Trends for 2014 and Beyond


Earlier this fall, I keynoted at Lee Jean’s Digital Days, a day long event for Lee Jean’s marketing teams and their agency partners. They asked me to share a few digital marketing trends that were beyond the tipping point. I discussed three: Real-Time Marketing, Creating Youtility, and Empowering Employees & Fans.

The term Real-Time Marketing is overhyped. I’m sure a few of you are rolling your eyes right now. I get it, but I don’t think we – in the digital marketing industry – have really defined it and provided the rationale for a more steady state of Real-Time Marketing.

What does Real-Time Marketing mean?

Real Time Marketing is using data analytics with a process flow to shift marketing messaging in real time or near real time.

The key words in my definition are really process, flow, and shift. Real-Time Marketing isn’t going to work without a documented and blessed process flow. If there is no shift in your marketing messaging, then there’s no “real-time” element.

You can call it whatever you want if you think the term “Real-Time Marketing” is too limiting or overhyped. Call it Agile, Marketing in the Moment, Engagement Marketing…

Really, at its core, it is simply Marketing.

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The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014


The Internet has drastically altered the way in which information is shared, and has had a profound impact on marketing. Over the past few years, there has been more of a shift toward inbound techniques, while many outbound tactics have become antiquated. More businesses are finding success publishing original content rather than embedding advertisements within external content, because of the additional benefits these tactics offer, such as branding and audience growth.

With these trends in mind, let’s discuss my predictions for the top online marketing trends of 2014.

1.      Content Marketing Will be Bigger Than Ever

One of the main ways that companies are establishing authority and gaining trust with consumers is by consistently creating valuable content through a variety of channels. This typically involves relevant industry information that provides insight or entertainment to an audience. Doing so allows a company to steadily build rapport with its demographic and develop a loyal following. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the top B2B content marketing strategies are social media, articles on a business’s website, eNewsletters, case studies, videos and articles on other websites.

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Set up, edit, and share Goals in Google Analytics

Goals let you measure how often users take or complete specific actions.

Goals are set at the view level. To find a view, click Admin, then select an account, property, and a view. Click Goals, then Create a Goal.

Follow the step by step flow in your account to set up a Goal. As you complete each step, click Next step to save and move on. Click Save Goal to finish. To quit the process without saving, click Cancel.

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My 9-Step Guide To Attracting “A”-level freelance clients

By Bianca Board

Difficult clients suck. They crush your creativity, make you second-guess your ability and give you headaches you don’t need. Not to mention put a massive time drain on your resources.

I’ve had my fair share of them from 10 years in business. I’ve learned over the years however to spot them a mile off and I have some built-in receptors on high alert to send smoke signals to my team when they approach.

But what if I told you there was a way to avoid clients like that?Not all of them (hey even I’m not bulletproof) but there are ways you can protect yourself from the pain and ordeals caused from less than ideal clients. Well there is…

Welcome to my 9-Step process for attracting ‘A’ class clients (without offending those who aren’t).

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The 43 Best Photoshop Plugins

By Sam Hampton-Smith

Create amazing images and designs with this selection of the most creative, useful, time-saving and powerful Photoshop plugins available.

In this article we've lined up some of the best Photoshop plugins available for Adobe's photo editing giant today. Photoshop is an amazing tool - capable of producing sublime images, high-quality video and even create very passable 3D renders.

All this power offers a world of possibilities - but occasionally it's worth adding a few optional extras to get the most out of your investment.

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A Look Inside the Design Team at Happy Cog

By Amanda Hackwith

We're tracking down InVision users inside the world's most amazing companies to discover their favorite tools, inspirations, workspace must-haves and the philosophy behind what makes them so awesome.

This week, we chatted with Jason Dziak, design director at Happy Cog, an award-winning web design, development, and user experience consultancy with offices in New York, Philadelphia, and Austin. Founded in 1999, Happy Cog now has 30 employees working on clients such as MTV, Ben & Jerry’s, and AMC Theatres.

What separates a good designer from a great one?

It’s important to understand and accept the contrasts that exist in design. Right now there's a big trend towards patterns and using frameworks, and there's a lot of efficiency in that, but I think that can be at the cost of innovation. Relying on design patterns leaves no room for true innovation. You have to balance that and figure out ways to use that to your advantage. Innovation is as important as pattern, emotion as important as logic, dark as important as light, variety as important as consistency. Design should be logical, but it also should connect with people on a human, emotional level.

As a designer, you can’t be afraid to completely start over when something isn’t working. Sometimes to get to the right solution you have to throw out things you thought were really important but at the end of the day were becoming a roadblock.

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Insights for 2013: Understanding Your Customers & The Full Value of Digital

 by Paul Muret

We’re just a week into 2013, and we’re undeniably living in the new multi-screen age. Our day-to-day interactions with technology—and our expectations—have increased dramatically. We’re no longer content to wait until later to buy shoes or schedule travel or find a hot spot to eat. Technology lets us act now, and we expect reliable results. In fact, we’ve become so dependent on being connected all the time that 43% of U.S. adults would be willing to give up beer for a month if it meant they could keep accessing the Internet on their smartphones, and 36% said they’d be willing to give up chocolate.*

What does this mean for you? Many businesses have fallen behind consumer behavior—in a world where people look first to mobile devices and real-time streams, the digital journey has grown more complex, and it’s become more challenging to gain a clear picture of these interactions. As a marketer or analyst, your success depends on adapting to this new reality. We’re working to provide tools that let you connect the dots, so you can regain visibility into your customers’ preferences and behaviors and take advantage of the full value of digital.

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Storytelling and Real Storytelling

By Bill Baker

Bill Baker (no relation) is nicer than I am, so don't pin any of my introduction on him. I recently spoke to an auditorium of C-level executives, and the title of my presentation was long but revealing: "The Happy Death of Branding, the Next Fad of Storytelling, and the Hopeful Rise of Alignment."


I guess that expresses my view of branding: there are a few firms really doing it, and the rest (and majority) aren't doing anything differently than they did before, but now they are calling it branding because it sounds upstream. There was no training in marketing, no classes, books, or even real processes. The typical four circles with the ubiquitous use of alliteration doesn't count and should be taken off your website.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with my view of branding, it clearly is yesterday's news, and storytelling comes up frequently. Rather than being marginalized even more, I think we ought to jump on this one early so that we don't relieve the word of even more meaning.

Bill (disclosure: a client) is one of the very few people really doing story telling. While the concept has been around since people wrote on cave walls, modern storytelling was really maximized by E+S (Envisioning and Storytelling) in Vancouver roughly three decades ago, a place where Bill was Chief Strategic Officer. Now, under BillBaker&Co he continues that great work with clients like GE, Relais & Chateaux, Johnson & Johnson, The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, etc. Here are some of his thoughts on the difference between faux storytelling and real storytelling. Real storytelling is a very complex skill, and I can sit for days listening to Bill point out the subtleties involved. This is just the outer layer.

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33 Experts Share Their Secrets For Improving Reader Engagement

By Adam Connell

A while ago I published a huge article on reader engagement which featured not only tactics, but also tools and examples of great reader engagement and the post did really well in terms of traffic, shares, feedback and all that fun stuff. (If you’d like to check out that post, you can find it here).

That got me thinking – how does everyone else increase engagement with readers on their own blogs?

More specifically – other industry leaders and experts.

Reader engagement is a topic that isn’t anything new by any means but it’s not talked about all to often in comparison to other topics.

So I set out on a quest to approach a number of industry experts and influencers and ask them exactly how they do it and then collate their answers into a group interview.

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11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs [Infographic]

by Demian Farnworth

So. You think you’ve got yourself a good blog post.

You chose your writing style. You knocked out the first draft. You allowed it to sit for an hour or a day.

Now it’s time to edit that bad dog — ruthlessly. So that it has a fighting chance in the trenches.

You’ll want to pay attention to the details like avoiding goofy, but common, grammar mistakes. You’ll want to choose your words carefully so you say what you mean.

This will allow you to shed excess copy so that you have a lean, muscular article.

But you’re not done. You also must ensure that your blog post has all of the essential ingredients it needs.

Ingredients like these, as presented in this infographic by our lead designer Rafal Tomal. Print it, pin it, but whatever you do … use it.

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Facebook in 2013: More Growing Pains Ahead

By Chris Taylor

We'll get to our Facebook predictions for 2013 in a minute. First, here's a pertinent prediction from 2011.

In January of that year, when Goldman Sachs had just become an investor, Facebook could do no wrong. Business blogger Albert Babayev made what was seen as a sensible, middle-of-the-road prediction about the social network's value, one which presumed it would grow linearly, not exponentially. By 2013, he estimated in a comprehensive spreadsheet, its market cap will be around $224 billion, give or take.

Facebook's market cap this week, as we head into 2013, is $55 billion, give or take.

How did analyst expectations underperform by anything like $175 billion in corporate value? What happened? The answer, in four numerals: 2012. I've been wracking my brain, but I can't remember a comparable year in which events went south this fast for a technology company.

It was supposed to be Facebook's coronation year. Hard to remember now, with all that frenzy over the IPO, but plenty of folks felt we were on the edge of enjoying another publicly traded tech titan, a growth engine to rival Google or even Apple. 

Facebook had the pulse of the planet. It was social media. True monetization of that capital, solving the ad problem, solving mobile, was all just a matter of time. Why wouldn't the IPO go well?


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10 Best Practices to Help Big Brands Get Started on Twitter

by Shelley Pringle

While a relatively small percentage of the adult population is active on Twitter, there are still plenty of solid business reasons for brands to engage on this social media platform.

Consumers may be conversing about your brand—in either positive or negative ways. Competitors could be active on the platform, dominating your category with their 140-character tweets. Twitter is also the place to reach people who have influence elsewhere, including relevant bloggers and even traditional media contacts.

However, it is not wise to start tweeting up a storm without thinking through your goals or how to measure your activity.

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Content Marketing Advice from 17 Online Marketing Experts

By Steven Sefton

Content marketing is becoming an increasingly sought after skill in the world of online marketing. Traditional link building for SEO purposes is becoming a riskier business, and with the amount of online noise, it is harder than ever for your content to stand out from everything else that is happening on the internet.

From 6 second vines to 30,000 word guides, content marketing principles can be applied to just about anything that you need to promote online, regardless of the medium. has some of the best online marketing related content around, shared by some of the best online marketers around. I asked 17 of the top rated members of this question: What is your best content marketing tip? And here’s what they had to say…

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Why Use Google Plus? A Quick Guide and Glossary to Google+

By Kristen Curtiss

Google Plus remains a mystery for many small business owners and nonprofits. Why? People feel that there are so many social networks to choose from. They also can’t seem to find the benefit in starting a completely new presence on yet another completely new platform, especially when they don’t know ANYONE else using Google Plus.

Here’s a quick guide and glossary that will explain why you should use Google Plus, the benefits of using it, and what you need to know to get started.

Relationship building is key

Creating relationships with industry influencers (who may have big followings on Google Plus) might not seem that important to your business, until you realize that those relationships could extend your reach and help you become visible. Let’s say you run a flower shop in Topeka, Kansas, and you’ve nurtured relationships with national brands and/or influencers who live in another area. Who do you think those people will recommend when one of their thousands of followers need flowers while visiting Kansas? No, not your competition down the street…you! They know you, they trust you, and your name comes to mind first because they have held conversations with you.


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21 Simple Ways to Get More Followers for Your Google Plus Business Page

By Stephen Walsh

Google Plus has more than one billion registered (and 359 million active) users, as well as some of the most business-friendly features of any social network, this is the time to start building out your business page, if you haven’t done so already.


As additional incentive, Google Plus has been shown to dramatically improve search engine rankings, which, in itself, is a sufficient reason to join the platform. By building your brand through this social media channel, you will be able to boost your SEO efforts and increase your business’s online exposure.

So, let’s jump in and take a look at some of the awesome ways to increase your exposure on Google Plus.

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Graphic Design Glossary

Your free guide to graphic design, web design & development and internet terminology

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The Fastest Way To Track Time and Invoice Your Clients

FreshBooks is simple and intuitive, so accounting isn't intimidating. Plus you can talk to a real, live person anytime you have a question, 9am-6pm EDT, Monday to Friday.

Work Anywhere

With FreshBooks, your business is accessible from any computer or mobile device (iPhone, iPad and Android), and your data is always backed up and secure.

Save Time Billing

FreshBooks is built for small business owners to get organized and get paid. You'll be tracking timelogging expenses andinvoicing your clients in no time.

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Email Marketing and Online Surveys

Our partnership with Constant Contact makes it quick, easy and affordable to connect with your customers.

Constant Contact's email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online survey tools help small organizations grow their businesses by building stronger customer relationships.

More than 500,000 small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and member associations worldwide rely on Constant Contact's easy-to-use, affordable online tools to create and deliver personalized, professional communications that engage casual customers, members, prospects, and passionate customers wherever they congregate online — from their email inboxes to their social networks.

All Constant Contact products come with unmatched education, training and personal coaching services, and award-winning technical support.

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15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly

by Brian Clark

We’re big advocates of conversational writing that’s engaging, persuasive, and fun. So that means it’s perfectly fine to fracture the occasional stuffy grammatical rule (and many times it’s preferable).

On the other hand, making some grammatical errors just makes you look bad, and hurts your effectiveness. Sometimes we even misuse words simply because we hear others use them incorrectly.

So, we’ve assembled the 15 most egregious grammar goofs into one helpful infographic. With this handy reference, you’ll never look silly again.

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How to Stand Out in a Crowded Market by Forging an Emotional Connection With Your Prospects

Standing out in a crowded marketplace. That's one of the biggest challenges most of us face today as freelancers and solopreneurs.

How do you cut through all the noise? How can you become the obvious choice?


We've addressed this issue a few times in the last few months. But in this week's episode, you'll learn a different way of looking at the problem.

My guest David Tyreman, founder of World Famous Company (yes, that’s his company's name!), will show you how to become the obvious choice in your field by forging an emotional connection with your audience.

David is an engaging speaker with a powerful rags-to-riches story. I think you'll really enjoy what he has to share. And you'll walk away with some actionable, game-changing ideas.

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4 Myths About Apple Design, From An Ex-Apple Designer

by Mark Wilson

Apple is synonymous with upper echelon design, but very little is known about the company's design process. Most of Apple's ownemployees aren't allowed inside Apple's fabled design studios. So we're left piecing together interviews, or outright speculating about how Apple does it and what it's really like to be a designer at the company.

Enter Mark Kawano. Before founding Storehouse, Kawano was a senior designer at Apple for seven years, where he worked on Aperture and iPhoto. Later, Kawano became Apple's User Experience Evangelist, guiding third-party app iOS developers to create software that felt right on Apple's platforms. Kawano was with the company during a critical moment, as Apple released the iPhone and created the wide world of apps.

In an interview with Co.Design, Kawano spoke frankly about his time at Apple--and especially wanted to address all the myths the industry has about the company and about its people.

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Why Branding Is An Artifact Of The Past

By Brian Millar

A short while ago, I wrote an article on this site suggesting that you can’t build a brand simply by setting out to build a brand. And in fact, thinking too much about brands can actually get in the way of the real business of your company. I suggested that you try an experiment: Stop talking about brands for a month, and see what happens. The article got a lot of attention on Twitter, and provoked a lively debate in the post’s comments section.

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Richard Branson on Dealing With Setbacks

By Rod Kurtz

For many around the world, Sir Richard Branson has become the puckish face of entrepreneurship -- a high-flying daredevil who takes about as many risks in business as he does kitesurfing across the English Channel or attempting to circle the globe in a hot-air balloon.

Yet, when you see the iconic founder of Virgin Group sitting with his feet up, in a First Class seat on one of the many airliners in his global fleet, it's easy to forget that those same risks have resulted in a number of near-disastrous setbacks along the way.

Virgin Records may be part of entrepreneurial lore, but who remembers Virgin Brides? (No, it's not what you're thinking -- Branson launched a since-shuttered chain of bridal shops in the mid-1990s.) And, of course, there's Virgin Cola, the billionaire's attempt to dethrone Coca-Cola -- for which he famously drove a tank into Times Square to announce -- that he admits is perhaps his biggest business stumble.

But Branson hasn't wasted much time letting the missteps or naysayers get to him. He found his entrepreneurial calling early, starting a magazine called Student in his friend's basement at age 16. When he quit high school to pursue it full time, his headmaster famously wrote him, "Congratulations, Branson. I predict that you will either go to prison or become a millionaire." That prediction was wrong by a few zeros: Branson eventually sold his edgy record label for a cool billion in 1992, using the funds to stave off a threat to his startup airline, Virgin Atlantic, and help propel the Virgin empire to some 400 companies today.

We recently sat down with Branson to talk about (mis)adventures, the joy of setbacks and how to compete in a world of Goliaths.

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35 Ways to Make Your Business Look Bigger

By Scott Steinberg

Current lack of budget, manpower, and resources aside, you know your bedroom start-up has what it takes to compete with industry leaders. But do your customers know that?

If you're not doing it already, it's time to start dressing the part.

What follows is a list of cost-effective tech tools that will help you look bigger and more professional—without the crippling overhead.

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10 Essential Tips for PDF Comments

Written by Mike Rankin

When you have to communicate with colleagues about the content in a PDF, it’s much more efficient to put comments in the PDF itself rather than in an email or elsewhere. So here are ten essential tips for working with PDF comments in Adobe Acrobat or Reader.

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How-to: Package Your Services Like a Pro

by Justine Smith

Service providers sometimes find it tough to actually sell their services, especially when it comes to selling them online. The services offered may, in fact, be the best in the industry, or even in high demand, but people just aren’t clicking to buy. Why is that? 

Most often the issue is something simple: it’s the website copy. The copy is failing to give potential clients clarity on just what the service provider can do for them and how it will benefit them.

It’s much easier if you’re selling your services face-to-face, since you’re working from a real conversation with the client where you can build rapport, and then probe for their pain points. From there, you can make best-fit suggestions for each client, and then even up-sell to offer a more complete solution. But when you rely on your website to generate leads or sales, your copy needs to do the face-time for you. So, where to begin?

For starters, many businesses will offer either too many service options, or too few. It’s easy for service businesses to fall into the trap of offering an extensive, laundry list of “things you can do” for clients and leave it at that. The common mentality is that the more options there are, the better, since there’s “something for everyone” on your list.

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Act like an expert, not a designer

by Mark Busse

As a young design producer I was convinced my job was to keep clients happy. To service them to death. To deliver what they asked for on time, on budget, and with a smile. I also thought it wasn’t my job to do sales. I was wrong. 

I recently read a powerful book called The Challenger Sale and attended a workshop presented by the author Matthew Dixon, executive director of strategic research at the business performance consulting firm Corporate Executive Board. Based on extensive study of sales professionals, their customers and the buying process, Dixon has turned the conventional view of business development and sales on its head. Turns out most of us have it all wrong.

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2014 Online Marketing Industry Survey

The past year was eventful for the online marketing industry. Once again, we set out to discover how the year's changes impacted your jobs, clients, and tactics.

Over 3,700 of you participated in this year's industry survey (thank you!), and we've compiled theresults below. Across the board, content marketing is on the rise and fewer and fewer of you are actively link-building. Keyword research and rank-tracking are still a big part of many of your jobs. Budgets for tools are increasing, and demand for services is strong.

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3 Small Business Marketing Predictions for 2014

By Stephen Russell

As we march through the final month of 2013, it’s a great time to reflect on the year that was. It’s also an opportunity to look into the crystal ball to see what’s coming in 2014.

Here are three to watch out for in the year to come:

  1. Big data for small business
  2. Mobile commerce becomes the norm
  3. Show, not tell, on social media


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Free e-Book: Breaking the Time Barrier

Learn how to charge what you're really worth

Read this book and find out how you can earn twice as much as you do today.

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The Best Days to Post to Facebook, Based on Industry (Infographic)

by Michael Sebastian

Among the greatest challenges is determining exactly when to post a given piece of content so it attracts the most “likes,” comments, and retweets. A recent infographic from Linchpin SEO could help crack that code by showing the best days to post to Facebook. Even better, it organizes the information by industry.

For instance, companies considered “general retail” will find more engagement on Mondays, whereas nonprofits will see greater success on weekends, according to LinchpinSEO, which analyzed the user engagement of more than 1,800 Facebook pages from the world’s top brands. The data were collected from April 1 to May 31.

It’s important to remember that each brand will have a different best day and time to post to Facebook. This infographic could help you identify it. 

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Pinterest Marketing: Using Pinterest for Business


Pinterest is the world’s fastest growing social network and thus many companies are adding Pinterest marketing to their overall strategy. Having achieved 2000% growth in 2012, with 28 million US visitors as of December, up from 25 million in September, Pinterest is achieving a trajectory comparable to Twitter a few years ago.

However, for businesses it has not been the easiest social network to get to a grip on. They recently launched Pinterest for Business, but they are still holding back on unveiling a long awaited public API.

The Hidden Value of Pinterest Marketing

According to the LA Times it is “ranked by Experian as the third-most-popular social network behind Twitter and Facebook.” Its real strength for businesses lies in the demographics. Forbes reports Pinterest is very popular with “college-educated females between the ages of 25 of 44.” Known as a ‘sweet spot’, for brands, due to their purchasing power, and prolific use of e-commerce and social networks.

Wired notes that “a Pinterest user is 72 percent more likely to have found an item to buy on the site than a Facebook user.” If you are an e-commerce company, or drive any significant amount of your revenue from these demographics, then marketing Pinterest for your business is something you are going to want to dedicate time to in 2013.

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10 Twitter Header Images Done Right
By Bob Al-Green
Since Twitter CEO Dick Costolo revealed the site's design updates Tuesday morning on The TODAY Show, users have been testing out the new header image feature — with varying degrees of success.

Twitter has adopted a Facebook Timeline-like cover display for main profile pages, opening up a new avenue for visual creativity. Early adopters of the header image include Ryan Seacrest and The TODAY Show's own Al Roker.

In case you're feeling stumped, visually challenged or just weary after updating your Facebook cover photo, we've compiled a slideshow of 10 Twitter users who are already doing it right.

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These Five Brands Are Nailing It on Pinterest

by Hannah Clark

When it comes to Pinterest, many brands aren’t quite sure how to turn boards and pins into followers and potential customers. However, now more than ever it is important not to overlook this image sharing social network.

Pinterest users have proven that they trust their Pinterest networks to endorse solid products. These people trust their networks so much, in fact, that 47% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from Pinterest.

Pinterest also generates 4x more revenue per click than Twitter and 27% more per click than Facebook.

There are a few brands, however, who have figured out the business potential of Pinterest. See how these 5 brands have been using it to the fullest. 

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Free e-Book: Turn Your Social Media Buzz into a Loud Roar

10 Strategies for Social Media Marketing Success

In the evolving world of social media marketing, it can be hard for a time-starved small business or organization to keep pace and know what to do when it comes to connecting with customers and members on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Yelp.

While there’s no “one-size fits all” approach, we’ve assembled 10 best practices for social media marketing success that will help your business or organization, whether you’re just getting started or trying to take your efforts to the next level.


Best Practices for Social Media Marketing:

  1. Have a Goal

  2. Know Who You Are and Portray Yourself Consistently

  3. Be Where Your Customers/Members Are

  4. Tell Your Customers and Members Where You Are

  5. Don’t Just Join Conversations. Add Value to Them

  6. Be Relevant

  7. Be Engaging

  8. Be Active

  9. Respond in a Timely Manner

  10. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

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Free e-Book: People "Like You", But Do They "Like You" Like You?

28 Tips for Better Facebook Marketing

When it comes to Facebook, many people struggle to just get “Likes” for their Page. And believe it or not there are actually varying degrees of “Like.”

There are those that connect with your Page but never engage with it. And then there are those that like, comment, and share almost all of your content. 

We’re interested that second group. You know, the ones who like you, like you. Their interactions with your Page help you spread the word about your business or organization. They’re the ones who attract new “Likes” to your Page and help you make the most of your Facebook marketing.

So how do make sure you keep your best fans engaged?

Good question. And that’s what this guide is about:

The goal of your Facebook Page should be two-fold:

  1. How to engage your best fans.

  2. How to drive actions that will bring you real results.

In this guide, you’ll find 28 tips for better Facebook marketing. From choosing between a profile and a Page (really, there’s no contest) to creating simple, straightforward calls to action, we’ve got it all covered.

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10 Small Businesses & Nonprofits with Great-Looking Email Templates that Drive Action

By Blaise Lucey

Did you know that more than half of Americans now own smartphones and 88% are using those smartphones to access email?

And, in the U.K., the figures are similar: almost 40% of adults are using smartphones and over half use their smartphones to access their email.

Of course, this means that small businesses and organizations using email marketing now have to consider this smartphone usage when creating their email communications.

If you want people to engage with your emails from their smartphones, it’s important to keep your messages short, focused, and visual.

Over the last few months at Constant Contact, we’ve been rolling out batches of beautiful-looking, modern email templates.  The best part is that they can be used for any industry and matched to any brand – and many of them also look great on mobile.

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The 9 Must-Have Components of Compelling Email Copy

by Corey Eridon

Email marketing has come a long way in just the past few years, but with all the fancy new functionality brands are utilizing, you know what’s kind of funny? A well-written plain text email can perform just as well, if not better, than a highly designed email with tons of bells and whistles. In fact, no matter how fancy your marketing emails look, if they’re devoid of well-written content, your subscribers will stop opening and start deleting your messages, and your list will quickly dwindle in value.

So how do you write a great marketing email? It all comes down to a few copywriting best practices that you should apply to both the subject line of your message, and the message body itself. Next time you draft a message for a lead nurturing campaign or just a one-time email send, ask yourself whether your copy meets all of these guidelines first.

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The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King

by Michael Margolis

If you’re a designer, entrepreneur, or creative – you probably haven’t been asked for your resume in a long time. Instead, people Google you – and quickly assess your talents based on your website, portfolio, and social media profiles. Do they resonate with what you’re sharing? Do they identify with your story? Are you even giving them a story to wrap their head around?

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How NOT to write a personal biography

by Jacob Cass

Most of us have written a description about ourselves before, whether it be on TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedIn or our CV. It’s not an easy task but it needs to be done, and it should always be evolving. Your bio should sell yourself and your story. It should show your credentials, your passion and expertise. It should be unique to you and you only. It should not be copied & handed out at whim.

Wouldn’t you agree?

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How to Write an Attention-Grabbing Professional Bio

by Alyssa Gregory

A professional bio is simply a story-based version of the information you would typically include in a résumé. The format is less formal, and it gives you an opportunity to highlight some interesting facts about yourself while injecting a little of your personality.

The main goals of a bio are to give the reader an accurate sense of who you are and what you do, to establish expertise and credibility, and to qualify your experience and background. All of these elements combine to develop trust in you and your brand.

Even if you maintain a current résumé, there are many situations when you will need a bio, including:

  • Posted on your website and blog
  • Included in your marketing materials
  • Provided with proposals to clients
  • Submitted for speaking, presenting or teaching applications
  • Included in any books, ebooks, reports or professional documents you develop

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TypeTalk: Know Your Figures

by Ilene Strizver

Today’s OpenType fonts provide designers with a broad range of options never before available in one font. One extremely useful, but often overlooked feature of some OpenType fonts is the availability of more than one style of numeral, which can provide practical and sophisticated options for setting dates and years, quantities, prices, measurements, and a lot more.

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Let Your Personality Get You Noticed

by Julie Bateman

My email inbox is out of control. So is my mailbox. And there’s that pile of newspapers and magazines sitting over there…

Some days I can barely skim the subjects of my emails, or flip through my mail. It makes me wonder if my email and marketing messages are getting read, or lost in someone else’s stack.

Whether you’re sending out a marketing message, or simply corresponding with a client, your message has to get read. But how?

It’s your personality.

Most of the copy I read is full of jargon and lacks warmth. The images used are often cliché or over used. They don’t mean anything to me. It doesn’t pull me in or engage me, so I don’t read very far.

The messages that stand out to me have a different tone to them. That difference is personality. What moves me, makes me stop and listen, no matter what the subject, is a genuine voice.

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From the Couch

'From the Couch' is an Online Video show, hosted by brothers Marc and David Perel, which covers everything web orientated. We show you CSS tips, how to create websites from nothing and also chat about news in the web world. 

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The Four Benchmarks for the Business-Generating Independent Agency Website


Are you happy with your website? 

If you're like most small agency principals (owners of agencies with fewer than 100 full-time employees), I know the answer is probably no. The typical agency principal is unhappy with their site.

But why is that, and what's the fix?

I don't know if it's something in the water or what, but the theme of 2013 so far seems to be "all or nothing." It feels like a high-stakes year, and this is a high-stakes topic. There's only one thing that I think will make and keep you, the small agency principal, happy with your site: money.

If you know that your site is generating business, you're going to be happy with it. If it's not, you won't be. Sure, you were excited when you put your new site live, but you never were completely happy with the design, were you? Furthermore, the web is a shrine to entropy — what's revolutionary today is dated tomorrow, and I know that agencies feel the burn of this as much as anyone...

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TIME Magazine Unveils Redesigned Website

By Jillian Wong

TIME Magazine has unveiled its new redesigned website, which rolled out on Wednesday night and will continue throughout Thursday. 

The redesign features a new interface designed for mobile users, which make up half of the website’s traffic. 

The left side of the homepage has a scroll bar that houses breaking news, while the center features ‘The Brief’ containing 12 of the most important news stories of the moment. Columns, interactive features, graphics and photography spreads are located on the right side of the page. The website also incorporates responsive design that changes to accommodate viewing on computers, smartphones and tablets.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO): An Hour a Day [Paperback]

By Jennifer Grappone (Author) and Gradiva Couzin (Author)

Getting seen on the first page of search engine result pages is crucial for businesses and online marketers. Search engine optimization helps improve Web site rankings, and it is often complex and confusing. 

This task-based, hands-on guide covers the concepts and trends and then lays out a day-by-day strategy for developing, managing, and measuring a successful SEO plan. With tools you can download and case histories to illustrate key points, it’s the perfect solution for busy marketers, business owners, and others whose jobs include improving Web site traffic.

  • A successful SEO plan is vital to any business with an online presence
  • This book provides strategies for setting goals and gaining corporate support, developing and implementing a plan, and monitoring trends and results
  • Offers hints, tips, and techniques for everyone from one-person shops to Fortune 500 companies
  • Companion Web site includes downloadable tracking spreadsheets, keyword list templates, templates for checking rank and site indexes, and a calendar with daily SEO tasks that you can import into your own calendar system

Fully updated and expanded, Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day, Third Edition will help you raise your visibility on the Web.

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How Google Search Works

Learn how Google discovers, crawls, and serves web pages

When you sit down at your computer and do a Google search, you're almost instantly presented with a list of results from all over the web. How does Google find web pages matching your query, and determine the order of search results?

In the simplest terms, you could think of searching the web as looking in a very large book with an impressive index telling you exactly where everything is located. When you perform a Google search, our programs check our index to determine the most relevant search results to be returned ("served") to you.

The three key processes in delivering search results to you are:

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Best practices to help Google find, crawl, and index your site

Following these guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site. Even if you choose not to implement any of these suggestions, we strongly encourage you to pay very close attention to the "Quality Guidelines," which outline some of the illicit practices that may lead to a site being removed entirely from the Google index or otherwise impacted by an algorithmic or manual spam action.

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5 Easy Tips for Maintaining a Great Website

By Rebecca Rockafellar, as seen in Dynamic Business

During the current economic climate, small businesses need to be able to communicate their brand values and unique selling points successfully, and an engaging and easy-to-use website is key to this.

The key points – whether in text, image or video format – should be made prominent on the page, while at the same time you should look at creating room between elements and scatter images throughout.

Click here for five tips for creating and maintaining a successful website at an affordable cost.

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19 Beautiful Examples of Texture in Web Design


After showcasing examples of designs that embrace clean and minimal styles, that are flat, that use white and so on, today we decided to gather examples of beautiful websites using textures.

Textures are a nice way to add personality to a design, and as you can see in our list, you can go from minimal to super textured pages. Just choose your favorite approach and go for it on your next project.

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What Makes a Website Look Dated?

by James George

As designers, we always want to create work that is either on the cutting-edge or “classic” and timeless. It is important to have a design that looks great and is conceived deliberately in a current style. Having an outdated style for your website can leave a negative impression with your visitors, reduce your overall traffic, and lower the interest and credibility of your site.

Retro or vintage designs are great, but retro/vintage and outdated are two entirely different concepts, and no visitor will interpret an outdated site as a purposeful throwback to an earlier time. You can avoid the dreaded dated look by steering clear of these seven pitfalls.

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85 Amazing HTML5 Examples

We hand-pick some great HTML5 examples, and talk to the designers behind them to find out how they went about it.

HTML5 is the latest version of HTML - the markup language used to display web pages. Although it's technically still in development, it's very much ready to use today, to build websites and web apps. And here are some great examples of HTML5 in action, to see exactly what you can achieve with it.

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40 of the Best Websites of Non-Profit Organizations


Budget limitations are common with non-profit and charitable organizations. As a result, organizations often compromise on the need for an effective and attractive website. However, the websites shown here represent some of the most well-designed websites of non-profits.

Those organizations that put a priority on the website can have see benefits like increased donations, better involvement from members and supporters, increased visibility and awareness for their cause, and improved promotion for organization events. All of these things can make it worth the time, effort, and cost to create an effective and attractive website.

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Optimizing UI icons for faster recognition


What makes an icon a valuable addition to the interface, rather than a mere decorative element? Intuitiveness, aesthetic value, memorability, intercultural perception? While an effective icon would combine many of those characteristics, I’d like to focus on one measure–speed of recognition, or how fast a specific icon can be discovered and identified.

In a simple leisure app, the difference in speed of recognition may be too subtle to have any noticeable effect on the overall experience.

This may be different for a complex trading application: The requirements for iconography here are more likely to prioritize speed, since every second spent on processing individual elements can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the overall interface.

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3 Reasons Why Responsive Web Design is the Best Option For Your Mobile SEO Strategy


As smartphone and tablet adoption rapidly increases, so does the importance of mobile-friendly websites.

If SEO is a core component of your digital marketing strategy, having a mobile–friendly website is becoming essential.

Mobile sales have already overtaken desktop sales, and mobile Internet usage is predicted to overtake desktop internet usage by 2014. It is only logical that mobile search will overtake desktop search at some point in the near future as well.

Since 67 percent of users claim they are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly website, companies that rely on SEO are wise to begin making the transition to mobile-friendly websites, andresponsive web design specifically.

The argument between whether to choose a responsive website or a separate mobile website is a highly debated topic. However, the truth is that both options have their pros and cons.

The option that is best for your business depends on many factors, such as the purpose of the website, the intended target audience, and whether SEO is a factor.

If SEO is a factor, here are three reasons why responsive web design is the best option for your mobile SEO strategy.

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18 wireframing tools and resources for responsive design

by Chris Lake

You’re probably growing tired of the phrase ‘responsive design’, but it isn’t one of those overly-hyped buzz phrases that you can ignore, and it’s not going to go away anytime soon.

The reality is that many sites – ours included – still need to figure out how to deliver a consistent user experience that adapts to devices with different screen sizes.

So, I thought I’d compile a few resources, and some lovely tools, to help you (and me) to go down the responsive design route. 

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Top 10 Web Design Trends for 2014


Web designers had a great time last year with lots of new ideas setting sail. Although some sank, others took off and created a permanent impact.

The trends that made a big splash in 2013 will become house-hold names in 2014, while emerging trends continue to get polished and refined by designers everywhere.

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Informative And Usable Footers In Web Design


Website designs have so many different elements that work together to convey information in a usable and organized manner. For a website to be effective, every element on the page, from the header to the footer, needs to add to its overall usability and readability.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the footer and see what exactly makes for a good website footer. Keep in mind that just because the footer is at the bottom of the page doesn’t mean you should slack off with good design practice.

We’ll look here at what to include in footers, the importance of site maps, usability practices and styling ideas and trends. We’ve also compiled almost 50 well-designed footers to give you ideas and inspiration for your own footer designs.

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Quick tips for writing cleaner copy

By Laura Aiken

Whether you’re a writer, marketing professional or graphic designer, you’ll inevitably go through the process of merging words and design. 

One of the most common grievances between writers and designers is the struggle for clean copy. Making text changes at the design stage is time consuming for everyone and every change is an opportunity for new errors.

Working with error-free copy at the production stage is always the goal but it’s easy to underestimate how difficult that can be. Here are a few easy ideas to help create cleaner copy.

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How to Keep your Content Current - and Why You Should

 by Julie Bateman

Content marketing is the new buzz word—but it’s not just a fad. Search engines have moved from being focused on keyword density alone to refreshed content—the more current content you have on your page, the higher your page will be ranked in Google.

What is content?

Content can include everything from the words on your home page to blog posts—the more often you update your website with fresh content, the better. The idea of content also includes social media, especially if it is linked with your website. Not only can you have a direct link from your website to your Facebook page (therefore capturing traffic and converting them into “likes”) but you can have a Twitter feed that appears right on your site.

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Type Classifications

By Allan Haley

Most typefaces can be classified into one of four basic groups: those with serifs, those without serifs, scripts and decorative styles. Over the years, typographers and scholars of typography have devised various systems to more definitively categorize typefaces – some of these systems have scores of sub-categories.


A classification system can be helpful in identifying, choosing and combining typefaces. While four categories are clearly inadequate for design professionals, dozens become self-defeating. We have put together a somewhat hybrid system of 15 styles, based on the historical and descriptive nomenclature first published in 1954 as the Vox system – and still widely accepted as a standard today.

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60 Brilliant Typefaces For Corporate Design


Typography is more than being legible and looking good. Among other things, effective typography manages to achieve two important objectives: a) to create an appropriate atmosphere and enable users to develop trust toward the site and b) to make sure visitors get the main message of the site and (if possible) become interested in the services offered on the site. Since written text is the most efficient instrument to communicate with visitors precisely and directly, the power of typography shouldn’t be underestimated.

To communicate effectively, typography requires appropriate typefaces. Last year we’ve presented 80 Beautiful Typefaces For Professional Design, a selection of excellent typefaces one should be aware of when developing web-sites. Now it’s time to update our selection with typefaces we’ve missed then and new typefaces which have been developed over the last year.

Below you’ll find over 60 first-class typefaces for corporate design. Please notice that they are not free; however, we’ve focused on typefaces which are definitely worth spending money on. So which typefaces are “bulletproof”? What fonts can be used effectively in almost every Corporate Design? And what are the options for unique, but still incredibly beautiful typefaces? Let’s find out.

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The Best 65 Business Cards Of The Year

Here you have the BEST and just the best 65 business cards of the year hand picked directly from my most famous posts and from behance, flickr and OMG it even has a watermark.

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3 Easy Exercises to Boost Your Creativity

By Nadia Goodman

As an entrepreneur, your job is to be one step ahead of the market, always ready with the next big idea. Whether you want to design a new product or disrupt a market, you need to be able to come up with creative solutions for problems of everyday life.

Creativity often eludes us because we're accustomed to certain norms. "We're highly socialized and have fixed assumptions about what the world looks like," says Barry Staw, an organizational behaviorist at University of California, Berkeley. "You have to try to envision another world."

To do that, Staw suggests a series of exercises, all designed to help you consider a wider range of options as you brainstorm.

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Design trend predictions for 2013

By Rob Carney

When some creatives hear the word 'trend' they back into a corner, refusing to acknowledge these 'trends' dictate what they do. And it's true that following trends consciously can be a bad thing to do. After all, if you're not innovating and pushing yourself, your own work will never reach its full potential.

But at the end of the day, clients want your work to be at the height of trends - so having a handle on what is going to be a popular style, or way of working over the next year will only improve your chances of getting better client work.

We've asked a number of top creative professionals, from animators to illustrators to app and editorial designers, to see what they predict for 2013. 

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10 Imaginative Annual Report Designs

Annnual report design doesn't have to be drab and boring. Here are 10 awe-inspiring examples of designers who've taken the format and let their imaginations run wild.

They're part of the staple diet of design work the world over, seen by many as just part of the dry, bread-and-butter grind that pays the bills and paves the way for more exciting, imaginative work. But annual reports don't have to be dull, as these beautiful examples show. From cutting-edge print techniques to stop-motion animation, artful infographics to bold use of colour and integration of classy free fonts, it's all here on display to inspire your own daily work.

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36 Stunning Magazine and Publication Layouts for your Inspiration

By Tom White

Here I have compiled a fine collection of magazine and publication layouts to help inspire and motivate you throughout your projects. 

When it comes to creating a new, unique and creative publication or magazine layout it can quickly evolve into something screen smash' worthy, which is why it is often a good idea to sit back and look at how other people approach the same dilemma.

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Colour of the Year 2013

"Lively. Radiant. Lush… A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony."

PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, a lively, radiant, lush green, is the Color of the Year for 2013.

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Typographical twins: 20 perfect font pairings

by Nick Carson

We reveal 20 font duos that are made for each other. Ideal for your design projects, some may surprise you!

It's a classic conundrum for any graphic designer: picking two (or more) typefaces that set each other off, don't fight the eye for attention, and harmonise without becoming homogenous and dull. The age-old rule goes as follows: concord or contrast, but don't conflict.

The easiest way to achieve 'concord' is by using different fonts within the same overarching typeface family. Find a so-called 'superfamily' and you'll have a ready-made range of weights, styles and classifications that are specifically designed to work together.

A good superfamily will include serif and a sans serif version of the same typeface: famous examples include Lucida/Lucida Sans and Meta/Meta Sans.

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17 Examples of Beautiful Typography in Web Design


Back in May we showcased here 19 Inspiring Examples of Text Over Images in Web Design and we had a really good response on the designs we featured. So for this post, type will take the center stage again. This time showing you beautiful ways to draw attention to your text.

We will show you more examples of text over images, and also other approaches to making beautiful typography choices in web design. From pretty clean and simple designs to colorful and bold ones, there are certainly some good type inspiration here to spark your imagination.

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2013 Logo Trends

Current Logo Trends By Bill Gardner

Forecasting the near future in design is a reflection of society’s concerns. With such rapid shifts in technology and social media, consumers react to a fear of being left behind. At one time, keeping up with trends meant reading a monthly journal. Now, not only do we have to read daily blogs, but we are expected to contribute as well. Consumers who are not participating are growing ever more anxious about the specter of being technically eclipsed.

This chasm is revealed in the decisions made daily by brand designers. More and more identity design is trying to find a way to span the gap or choose a side. This carries forward to products and services that we build affinities with. Sports teams find themselves inventing updated generations of mascots. Long standing consumables are reinventing themselves with new packaging and product design.

Digital products and their user interfaces—UI—have become major drivers in the identity field. Consumers are predisposed to transfer confidence from one app or product to another if the experiences share a visual vernacular. Flat solid color is edging forward with momentum over images that mimic three-dimensional surfaces like glass, leather, or metal, for example. Simulating surfaces like these in an environment out of context is referred to as skeuomorphism. Though it is losing its grip, it is not going away: Clichés work because they are clichés.

Smaller companies are not afraid to adopt a logo that shows them at the size they are. More approachable is a good thing, if it is authentic. Larger companies are tending to loosen up a bit to avoid pretensions and work multiple generations. Ebay, USA Today, Windows and many more over the last year have adopted wordmarks and logos that eschew styles with shorter expiration dates.

Increasingly, consumers have become comfortable in their role as contributors and not just spectators. There is a universal desire to identify even the most niche elements. The ubiquitous profile pictures on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter have turned into an opportunity to identify one’s self. Personal logos and monograms have reached epidemic proportions. Avatars allow us to self-edit and reinvent ourselves visually. This has become the micro-world of self-identification.

Designers are experimenting and making smart decisions for smart clients.

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24 Elegant and Colorful Logos


I’ve always found logo design to be one of the most challenging things to get right. There’s so much that a logo can say about a brand without actually saying it.

The tone, style and overall fit and finish of a logo can reveal a lot about the feel of the brand too – from elegant, professional and refined brand identities to fun, colourful and quirky (and everything in between). It’s also possible to create logos that fit right in the middle, matching elegance and colour to create a feel that’s professional, but slightly playful.

I’ve collected some examples of my favourite logo designs that all pair colour with elegance. Some of these are bold and bright, while others make use of more muted colours, but each of them have been designed beautifully with real care and attention taken. There’s something quite fun and invigorating about a design that isn’t afraid to use a plethora of colours, and so I hope you find the collection inspiring and interesting too.

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Is following design trends good or bad for business?

By Ben Brush

Design, like most everything else, changes with the times. There are landmark art and design movements that we are taught about in school. These come about as there are massive shifts in technology and popular culture.

There are also more fleeting, yearly and even monthly design trends that can be a lot tougher to keep up with.

So should you even try to keep up with the latest trends?

Keeping up can be a very positive thing. It makes the work you do seem cutting edge. This in turn keeps your clients on trend which will no doubt keep them happy.

That being said there are a few things to keep in mind before trying your hand at the latest and greatest design trend.

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TypeTalk: The Best of 2013

 by Ilene Strizver

In the world of fonts, January is a month of lists. Whether they’re called Best of, Favorites, or Best Sellers, they all enable designers to see what’s new, what’s hot, and what’s trending. 

Some lists are from major font resellers whose libraries consist of not only their own designs, but also the work of numerous other foundries as well as individual type designers.

Others are listings of the personal favorites of the author or blogger. But no matter what the source, they are all worth a looksee, as they provide an opportunity to take note of any typefaces that catch your eye, appeal to your typographic aesthetic, and seem potentially suitable for your next project or two.

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Top 10 Most-Talked-About Logo Redesigns Of 2013

By Jillian Wong & Kelly Koo

To kick off our ‘Year in Review’ series, we have selected 10 of the top logo redesigns of 2013. From the subtle changes of Instagram’s logo to Yahoo’s complete design overhaul, it seems like brands tend to favor the ‘minimalistic’ look.


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