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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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