Resource Centre

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

Topics for 2016 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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How to Add a Pricing Plan Table in Adobe Muse

By  

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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Read the article at webdesignledger.com

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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Download the free templates at blog.hubspot.com

295 Marketing Mentor Podcasts

Ilise Benun, founder of Marketing-Mentor.com 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 marketing-mentortips.com

 

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Listen to the podcasts at marketingmentor.libsyn.com

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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Read the article at fastcodesign.com

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.

Read the article at forbes.com

Vendeve

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

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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See the collection at designprinciplesftw.com

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. 

Read the article at howdesign.com

How Web Designers & Developers Work Best Together

By 

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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Read the article at webdesignledger.com

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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Read the article at creativemarket.com

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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Read the article at havecamerawilltravel.com

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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Read the article at blog.tbhcreative.com

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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Read the article at creativebloq.com

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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Read the article at millo.co

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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Read the article at http://www.creativebloq.com

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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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

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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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

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. 

 

Read the article at designtaxi.com

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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Read the article at medium.com

Stocksy

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

Visit the site at stocksy.com

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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Read Article at blog.hightail.com

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

By 

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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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

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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Read the article at taxtimehelp.freshbooks.com

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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Read the article athelpx.adobe.com

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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Read the article at Lynda.com

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.

Get the automatic reminders at freshbooks.com

Highrise

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 highrisehq.com

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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See it on mightydeals.com

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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Find it at trello.com

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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Read Article at GraphicDesignBlender.com

favicon.ico Generator

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

http://www.freefavicon.com

Iconfinder

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

See more at icon finder.com

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.

See more at google.com

slickplan

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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Learn more at slick plan.com

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.

Read Article at support.google.com

WhosOn

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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See more at whoson.com

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.

https://www.xml-sitemaps.com

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!
 

Read the Article at blog.canva.com

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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Read Article at GraphicDesignBlender.com

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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See more at storify.com

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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Read Article at creativebloq.com

Graphic Design Glossary

Your free guide to graphic design, web design & development and internet terminology

See Glossary at batemandesigngroup.com

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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Try it free for 30 days!

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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See how far a FREE 60-Day Trial can take your business!

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.

Read Article at creativepro.com

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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Read Article at consultancy.com

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