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I often tell business owners just starting up that good design is a "shortcut to professionalism." With the right branding and consistent application of styles, a company can appear more established than it actually is. Well-designed business cards, a sharp website, and sleek marketing materials can give the impression that...
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I recently ran across an unfortunate web article called "How to Design an Awesome Logo" by Gary Simon. In it, Simon suggests that an "awesome" logo design is as easy as: 1. Opening Photoshop (mistake #1) 2. Typing some fonts (ugh) 3. Vector-tracing a raster image (are you kidding?) This...
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One pillar of effective marketing is consistency. Presenting a business or product in the same way serves two purposes: First, it repeats the image made on the viewer to increase brand recognition; secondly, it provides an impression that the business is established.  How often have you seen a business card...
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One of the hardest parts of managing long-term projects is making sure the elements--which may include copy, images, data acquisition, editing, approval, quality-assurance--come together in a logical and efficient way, especially when others are in charge of generating or claiming responsibility of those elements while your role is assembly and...
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Unfortunately for the publishing industry, there are many options today that make self-publishing a viable alternative to securing a traditional publishing contract. That doesn't mean it's easy or inexpensive: Expect to shell out time and money to find the right combination of solutions to fit your plan. Also know that...
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LetterCult.com, a site dedicated to "highlighting artists and designers doing remarkable work with Custom Letters," includes me on their Letter Makers list. Cool-wee. "It's nice just to be nominated," but seeing the variety of high-quality competition serves as fuel to innovate. (For instance, I could stand to broaden my hand...
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Automaker Mazda's website has a good article about rebuilding their brand and making it globally consistent. In addition to addressing their own company's efforts, the piece offers solid general information about the importance of branding and what it can mean to your business. Namely, personality and emotional connection with consumers...
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When I sit down to work, I need a clean desktop: The physical desk where I'm sitting should be uncluttered, and the virtual desktop of my computer should be neat and organized. Clutter in all its forms paralyzes me, so when it accumulates, I find that taking a few minutes...
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So, for probably about a year, I've been seeing people using post images they created with the "Mad Men Yourself" feature at AE.com. Since its inception, the avatar generator has been improved with added features, and some of the most recent images I've seen include new backgrounds and larger sizes....
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Designers and other creatives are often stereotyped as lazy slackers with diva attitudes .There's a new commercial (for Intuit's build-your-own-website service) that shows one dissatisfied customer saying, "I hired a designer to build my website... five months ago..." with a been-there-I-can-relate overtone. Strangely, though, it's been my experience that many...
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If you're tempted by the prospect of requesting free work from someone or participating in a spec relationship, take a moment to fill in the blanks of this paragraph and read it back to yourself. _________ is a gifted _________. He/She is good at what he/she does, so skilled at...
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What is "spec work" and why is it bad? "Spec" stands for "speculative." Spec work is "work done prior to engagement with a client in anticipation of [possibly] being paid," according to AIGA. (Boiled down: Spec is knowingly working without a guarantee of compensation.) Spec work can be disguised as:...
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Some movies are visually memorable because the director uses a limited palette (or applies a filter to mute colors). Here are three favorites: Swept Away: Yes, everyone knows what a crapfest this movie was, but no one can confidently deny the beauty of the cinematography. And when it comes to...
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What makes a great logo? It's hard to say, since there's such variety to successful logos. Nike's swoop is recognized worldwide, but it doesn't exactly represent the name--and the glut of logos that have used a nondescript "swoosh" since are fodder for mockery among designers. Some companies use an icon...
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I just saw the new issue of In Style at the grocery: It immediately looked weird to me, but I asked Dan, and he didn't see the strangeness of the image. So I quickly roughed in what SHOULD show for comparison: Someone hacked off half of poor Drew's body! Help....
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