Category: Business

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find-a-freelancer
Business / 14 Apr 2015

How to Find a Great Freelancer (and Keep Them)

There’s a lot of conversation among freelancers about how to find clients and create business momentum. But what if you are one of those businesses looking for a freelancer? How can you find someone qualified to work on your projects? And how can you keep them working for you?

That can be a tough question to answer. There are plenty of freelancers in the marketplace, looking to work for you. Today, we’ll help you find them.

preview
Business / 13 Apr 2015

Introducing Media Temple’s WordPress Hosting

We’ve hosted Design Shack with Media Temple for years. So we were very pleased when they came to us, and asked us to take a look at their new managed WordPress hosting solution.

Media Temple’s new full-featured WordPress hosting solution features four new, customizable and scalable plans. Whether you’re a photographer, web designer or creative agency, there’s a plan that should work for you. Today we’re taking a look at this new hosting product, to see how it stacks up!

design-advice
Business / 8 Apr 2015

15 Things Every Young Designer Needs to Know

Let’s welcome the class of 2015 to the design marketplace. It’s a bright, big, new and scary world out there for the thousands of design grads grasping their diplomas wondering what to do next. (Get a job!)

As we look forward to the new talent entering the marketplace, we also have a few bits of advice for every young designer looking to make his or her mark. It’s a tough and wonderful world out there; welcome to the adventure.

business-sites
Business / 27 Mar 2015

Why Good Website Design Matters for Every Business

Almost every business or individual working in today’s market has a website. Sadly, a large number of these websites are poorly designed or come straight from a WordPress template; this is not going to help you stand out or get ahead.

Good website design is a must in today’s highly visual market. The way your site looks tells users whether they want to interact or do business with you in just a fraction of a second. One glance can turn someone into a customer, or force that person to click away. (As a bonus, today’s post is filled with website design inspiration from the Design Shack gallery. Enjoy!)

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.