Category: Business


Business / 21 Aug 2012

How to Find Work When It Doesn’t Find You

Freelancing for a living is flat out nuts. Some days you’ll be so buried in work that you never think you’ll see the sun again. Other days will make you wonder how in the world you’re going to make rent this month.

This article will focus on the latter situation. You’ve reached the end, you’re finished. There’s no more work, the economy sucks, no one’s calling, now what?

Business / 12 Jun 2012

You’re a Designer and Don’t Have a Website? Get Started Now

It is still hard for me to imagine that there are print and even web designers who don’t have their own websites. It is imperative in today’s business climate that everyone has a digital portfolio and that it is up-to-date. The hard part is just getting started.

What you don’t need is a world-class website filled with animations and color and gimmicks. What you do need to have is a clean, easy to navigate site that showcases your work. You can go all out and design a site from scratch or for a quick fix, use one of the many (and often free) host sites available to create get your portfolio and be online by the end of the week.

Business / 25 May 2012

What if I Don’t Like the Work? Dealing With a Design Project Gone Wrong

Typically, the articles that I write on Design Shack are from the perspective of the designer. One topic that comes up regularly is how to deal with clients on various issues. However, today I’d like to flip things around and jump to the aid of the other team.

Designer/client relationships go both ways and just as often as there is a frustrated designer, there’s a disappointed client. Today we’re going to tackle the question of what to do when you hire a designer and just don’t like the work that resulted.

Business / 27 Apr 2012

10 Things to Learn From Failure

We’ve all had them – the dreaded unsuccessful or failed project – and we’ve all had to bounce back. From graphics busts to web disasters, some good can come from projects you’d rather forget. Even big companies, such as Gap with a logo change and subsequent reversal in early 2011, have had to deal with design snafus.

Start the recovery process by taking a minute to figure out what went wrong and then make a resolution to gain something from the process. Learn how to improve yourself, your team and your next project. Although you should not dwell on it too long, here are 10 things you can learn from failed projects.

Business / 23 Apr 2012

The Freelancer’s Secret to Learning Any New Skill

As a designer, developer and all around creative person, there are some skills that likely came very naturally to you. The learning experience just sucked you in and you enjoyed yourself enough that you picked up this new talent in an impressively brief timespan.

Other skills however, prove to be more difficult. Sometimes you can feel like your brain is simply full and that there’s no more room for this old dog to learn a new trick. How do you overcome this mental block and force yourself to learn that new skill you’ve been wanting to pick up? There’s a secret that many freelancers know well that is a sure fire way to learn almost anything new in your given field. Read on to see what it is!

Articles / 13 Apr 2012

How to Sell Your Design Idea

Sometimes getting others to visualize your great idea is not so simple and takes some “selling” on your part. It may even take advance (or free) mock-up work to help some of the non-visual people in the room get on the same page with your idea.

Here are a few things you can do to help you get your idea on the fast-track to approval and how to really sell your design concept.

Articles / 6 Apr 2012

10 Tips for Writing for Designers

Ever get that feeling that some members of your creative team just aren’t quite with the program? It is entirely likely. Sending out communications and messages that will reach your whole team can be somewhat tricky because of the differences in how people think.

Creatives sometimes tend to be a little more free-thinking and less-structured than some of their office counterparts. Research has shown that people who use more right brain functions, such as designers and creative thinkers, also respond to and process the same information differently than left-brain thinkers, who tend to be more organized and logic-oriented. (Some studies have even shown that the highest rates of dyslexia, which affects reading and comprehension, have been found in right-brain thinkers.) With just a few tweaks, you can more effectively get your message across to everyone.

Articles / 30 Mar 2012

Have a More Successful Brainstorming Session

One of the most important aspects of the creative and design process is the sharing and development of ideas. Seldom does a first draft of anything — from an ad concept to a new web layout — see the light of day without planning and revision. Jumpstart the process with more productive and creative brainstorming sessions for your team. The concept sounds simple, right?

The best planned brainstorming sessions take some work. As the leader of the group you must decide how many people to invite and what ground rules will be set. Most of all you want to help bring something positive away from the meeting. Try these tips to spice up your next brainstorming session.

Business / 21 Feb 2012

The Brutally Honest Tale of My First Web Design Meetup

You should connect with the web design community in your area. At least, that’s what you keep thinking. It’s one of those bucket list items that you always mean to do but never really get around to pursuing. As someone tirelessly dedicated to brining you the scoop on all things design related, I took the plunge for you.

I researched local gatherings of web designers, chose a group, made the drive and talked to real people face to face about their pursuits in web design. I’ll walk you through the entire experience, including that inevitable part where you’ll simply decide not to go, so you can follow in my footsteps and do something similar in your area. Was it difficult to find a meeting to attend? Was the entire experience a socially awkward nightmare? Do I recommend it? Will I go back? Read on to find out.

Business / 25 Jan 2012

Addictive UX: Why Pinterest Is So Dang Amazing

Today we’re going to examine a very specific example of good design and discuss what makes it so successful. Along the way we’ll discover the importance of good design and how to structure experiences that turn users into addicts.

We’ll hone our sights in on Pinterest and perform a seriously in-depth analysis to see why this seemingly generic idea seems to stand so far out from the competition. The ultimate conclusions will equip you to design experiences that your users will absolute love.

Articles / 10 Jan 2012

Is It Time for Your Business Cards to Go Digital?

Are traditional paper business cards becoming obsolete? Have you considered a digital option? The type of card you use and how it looks can say a lot about you and your work. The style of card – from simple embossed text on a white card to ornate colors and fonts – can be a client’s first impression of your work.

You want to use a card that represents your style and works with the kind of clients you work with. When looking for a business card, consider both digital and paper options and integrate your digital self into paper cards. A business card does more than provide your contact information, it is a gateway to your portfolio as well.

Business / 5 Jan 2012

Know Your Weaknesses: How to Improve Your Creative Review Process

Every designer has to answer to someone. Freelancers turn their work in to a client, company guys hand theirs over to a team or supervisor, there’s always someone next in the chain of command that gets to take a look and offer an opinion. It’s at this point that the initial draft ends and the creative review begins.

This critical point can have a dramatic effect on the future of the project. Sometimes this is a good process that takes the piece to new heights that it could’ve never reached without some fresh insight. Other times the creative review process kills the genius of the initial draft and results in a misguided final product. One factor that plays a key role in this is the size of the review team. How many people should review a design and offer ideas? Should it be a small team? What are the pros and cons of each? Let’s discuss.

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