Many designers dream about the freelance lifestyle. What’s not to love about taking only projects you love, or working in your pajamas, or being your own boss? But it can be a hard road. Many freelancers break off on their own only to later return to a firm or company because it can be tough to make enough money to support your lifestyle.
Building a reputable freelancer business takes time, work and a lot of dedication. While the pay is not always steady, you can earn a living off freelance projects.March 23rd, 2015 Posted in Business, Freelancing 101
Regardless of when your company’s fiscal year ends, you probably want to start thinking about the dreaded annual report today. Yes, “dreaded.” But it does not have to be. While annual reports are often seen as a design drag, there are plenty of ways to turn this report into a fun and memorable design project. And with better design comes more reading and retention, two positives for your brand.
You need to start thinking about it now. Don’t wait until the report hits your desk to determine a design strategy. Start talking to your team about your story for the year and how to create an annual report that will get people talking.March 19th, 2015 Posted in Business, Layouts
Designers, by nature, are problem-solvers. Every project is a problem or challenge that involves helping other people understand something. Designers have to see through all the fog and clutter to create a solution.
This creative type of problem solving comes naturally in part, but some of the actions are learned. Have you ever stopped to think about how you work to solve problems? Here we will examine 10 ways that designers do just that with a collection of abstract images to inspire some of that problem-solving thinking.February 2nd, 2015 Posted in Business
Nothing brings you closer to the functionality of the final product than prototyping. While wireframes sketch out the blueprint and mockups show the feel and texture of the design, it is the prototype that brings to life the “experience” behind “user experience.” That beautiful call-to-action may look great on the screen, but you won’t know if it works on end users until the clickable prototype. Not only do prototypes help provide proof of concept, they more importantly expose any usability flaws behind the wireframes and mockups.
So how do we actually put into the practice this safeguard against emergency stakeholder meetings, endless revisions, and painful late nights in the development phase? While we previously touched upon proper prototyping in the Guide to UX Design Process & Documentation, let’s dive deeper into how prototyping can make or break a product’s success. In this piece, we’ll begin by looking at the most compelling reasons to prototype and how prototypes improve collaboration, design, and usability testing.January 26th, 2015 Posted in Business, Graphics
If you are a freelancer or self-employed professional, you are probably always on the lookout for tools that can make life easier. There’s just not enough time to get all your work done and then follow up with paperwork.
17hats, a new cloud software tool, takes a lot of the work out of that paperwork. It integrates contracts, invoices, questionnaires, e-mail, to-do lists, time tracking, bookkeeping, calendars and more into a single login. Here’s a look at the tool, some of the key features, pricing and information on how to try it out.January 13th, 2015 Posted in Business
They’re on hundreds of websites, in advertisements, and fill the airwaves – fictional characters that help you relate to a brand or company. These personas are representations of the type of people who use products or services, and are designed to relate to potential users or buyers.
A persona is more than just a face in the design. It is a well-planned and thought-out part of the design process. Designers have to think about the persona during all aspects of a project so that the personality matches the brand and design. From copy and how the persona “talks” to color, typeface choices and other design elements, creating a persona can be an important part of design projects.December 1st, 2014 Posted in Business, Inspiration
While every project is unique, every project also has a set of things and processes that are always part of your workflow. That’s where having a good design checklist comes in. This guide can help you manage projects and workflow, delegate tasks among team members and ensure that everything is complete before a design project is handed over. A good design checklist can help keep you from going astray during a project.
You may need several types of checklists in your toolkit: project design (print or digital), planning, execution, and printing and delivery. These lists can have overlap or not and can serve as starting points for you to create a checklist tailored to your design work.October 29th, 2014 Posted in Business
As a designer, you likely have a closet of finished projects and another equally massive digital file. What do you keep? And what do you do with all that stuff?
The answer is not easy but there are plenty of available tools that can help you manage your design files. Good work practices, multiple filing options and a little bit of keep and toss mentality can go a long way. Here, we are looking at a handful of tools that can help you collect, manage and store your design files.September 24th, 2014 Posted in Business
If you have a website – and chances are that you manage several – you know and understand the importance of good analytics. Understanding the numbers and use of your site by visitors is key to creating, designing and developing a site that will keep visitors coming back and clicking around.
But with so many analytics options out there, how do you know what to choose? Sometimes the answer goes beyond the basic information you can get from Google Analytics. Today, we are taking a look at one of these services – Ptengine – and how it can work for you.September 22nd, 2014 Posted in Business
Many professions have codes of ethics, a common set of guiding principles that help you make fair decisions. Codes often protect both the worker and client from poor business practices.
Designers working in a team or individual environment should be working with a code of ethics. Many designers might even follow multiple codes – one set by an employer, one set by professional organizations and one that is a more personal set of rules and guidelines. One thing is certain: Every designer needs a code of ethics.August 5th, 2014 Posted in Business