Category: Business

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make-money
Business / 23 Mar 2015

5 Ways Freelancers Can Actually Make Money

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.

annual-report-design
Business / 19 Mar 2015

How to Design a Killer Annual Report

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.

prototyping
Business / 26 Jan 2015

How & Why Prototypes Are Mandatory for Good Design

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.

17hats
Business / 13 Jan 2015

Get to Know the New 17hats Tool

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.

freddie
Business / 1 Dec 2014

How to Design a Brand Persona for Your Product

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.

design-checklist
Business / 29 Oct 2014

Do You Have a Design Checklist?

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.

previewptengine
Business / 22 Sep 2014

Using Ptengine to Track Website Analytics

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.

code-lede
Business / 5 Aug 2014

Why Every Designer Needs a Code of Ethics

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.

free101-obstacles
Business / 28 Jul 2014

Freelancing 101: How to Battle Obstacles to Success

It took a while for me to get started, really started, as a freelancer. And I won’t lie; it was not always easy. There are so many obstacles on the path to becoming a freelancer. Whether you are writing, designing or taking photos, the key is not to let doubt sink in. If you want to be successful you have to put your mind to it.

Today, we’re going to look at some of the obstacles freelancers often face in their working life, along with various tips and suggestions for overcoming each one.

101-home
Business / 9 Jun 2014

Freelancing 101: Tips for Working From Home

Working from home can be one of the greatest perks of doing freelance work. It can also lead to the most distractions and enable procrastination. (How many times have you taken the dog for a walk when a project deadline looms?)

You can create a more conducive home workspace that actually encourages you to get things done. Working from home can be an easy, and enjoyable, part of your freelance life if you set yourself up to be productive, happy and avoid home place distractions. Here are 10 ways you can help yourself when it comes to working from home.

about-us
Business / 26 May 2014

10 Key Features of An ‘About’ Page

A great About Us page can make — or even break — your website. For many businesses this can be one of the most visited pages on your website and is a chance for visitors to learn about you and your products.

About Us pages need to be written in clear and simple language and should not be put together as an afterthought. Just like any other page on your site, develop a plan for what message this page should communicate and work from there. Most great About Us pages contain many common elements. Here are 10 things your About Us page needs to include (in no particular order!)

101-sleazy
Business / 12 May 2014

Freelancing 101: How Do I Promote Myself Without Looking Sleazy?

One of the toughest things about working as a freelancer can be getting your name out there. How do you connect with the right clients? How can you help those companies find you and your work? And how can you do it without feeling sleazy?

It can be a tough balance. But there are ways to do it. With the right mix of marketing, promotion and word of mouth – and a few design tools – you can find potential clients and feel good about it.

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