How to Become a Better Graphic Designer

Drafting table with graphic design tools

Drafting table with graphic design tools used pre-computer design. © Alison Gilbert

Graphic design is a huge part of working on the web, and if you want to push your business further then being able to make crisp and professional looking digital images is an incredible edge to have. Many people will choose which products they buy and which websites they spend time on almost entirely by the way they look, and if your imagery is low definition and poorly designed then you’ll damage your reputation and make yourself appear amateurish.

It’s a great skill to have then, but not one that everyone is naturally gifted with. So if you need to improve your graphic design abilities, here’s how you can get better:

Get the Right Software

adobe master suite cs6 graphic designWhen I was younger I used to play the piano, and when my Mum got me my first Yamaha keyboard I remember suddenly feeling like Rick Wakeman (if that went over your head then look up Yes on Spotify…). The point is that with the right sound effects and beats anyone could sound amazing and Adobe has a suite of software that can help you do this. PhotoShop is kind of the same thing – adjust the colours, use a couple of filters, and even the ugliest picture will end up looking passable. Spend a little more time with it and you be able to crop, shadow and enhance just about everything you touch.

Learn the Features

Of course to really make the most of this though you’ll also need to know how to use the filters and the colour adjustment tools – and to do that you’ll need to spend some time watching tutorials online or getting a friend to show you. YouTube has a wealth of FREE knowledge on how to do just about anything and if you have a dual screen setup you find it goes even faster as you can work as the video progresses. A lot of it is just tinkering and messing around, so set aside some time to just experiment and see where it takes you.

Take Your Time

One thing you cannot be when you do graphic design is impatient. If you find yourself ever saying ‘that will do’ then your site or logo isn’t going to look great. You really need to spend your time if you want to end up with something that looks professional (you think Microsoft ever say ‘that will do’ when they design Windows icons?). As a best practice consider graphic projects like wine, sometimes you need to open them up let them airout before you can enjoy them. Try to at least put a few days between creating and the final design, it’s ev en better if you can work on something else in between.

Use Other Elements

If you simply don’t have time to make your image as intricate and smooth as you’d like it to, then one solution is to use another image as a resource. For instance a great way to make an abstract design is to take a photo out of a moving car and then enhance the colours/warp the image. Alternatively you can use a stock logo that’s in the public domain and then edit it to make it unique. It’s kinda like cheating, but it works. Stock images are a great sorce for jump starting creativity or bringing an idea to completiion.

Pay Attention to Details

It’s very important if you want your site to look its best that you pay attention to the minor details which means for instance things like the font. Often when someone designs an image they will forget that they’re using the default font and this can make an otherwise good-looking image appear very lazy. Create a check list and make sure you’ve done everything you can to make your images their best.

Outsource

Design still looking like a child drew it? Then it’s time to outsource your images and design and get it done by professionals. It might be a bit more money and a bit more time, but ultimately it’s one of the most important investments you can make for your business. Once you decide to go outside just be prepared to get what you pay for, riverr has lots of logo offers for $5 but don;t be surprised if they too look cheap or if you see them pop up on other sites looking sinmalr to your design.

James Sax is a technology lover and an avid blogger who is currently working as SEO manager for Link Wheel SEO You can follow him on Twitter to read his insightful tweets.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

How to Become a Better Graphic Designer

Graphic design is a huge part of working on the web, and if you want to push your business further then being able to make crisp and professional looking digital images is an incredible edge to have. Many people will choose which products they buy and which websites they spend time on almost entirely by the way they look, and if your imagery is low definition and poorly designed then you’ll damage your reputation and make yourself appear amateurish.

It’s a great skill to have then, but not one that everyone is naturally gifted with. So if you need to improve your graphic design abilities, here’s how you can get better:

Get the Right Software

When I was younger I used to play the piano, and when my Mum got me my first Yamaha keyboard I remember suddenly feeling like Rick Wakeman (if that went over your head then look up Yes on Spotify…). The point is that with the right sound effects and beats anyone could sound amazing and PhotoShop is kind of the same thing – adjust the colours, use a couple of filters, and even the ugliest picture will end up looking passable.

Learn the Features

Of course to really make the most of this though you’ll also need to know how to use the filters and the colour adjustment tools – and to do that you’ll need to spend some time watching tutorials online or getting a friend to show you. A lot of it is just tinkering and messing around, so set aside some time to just experiment and see where it takes you.

Take Your Time

One thing you cannot be when you do graphic design is impatient. If you find yourself ever saying ‘that will do’ then your site or logo isn’t going to look great. You really need to spend your time if you want to end up with something that looks professional (you think Microsoft ever say ‘that will do’ when they design Windows icons?).

Use Other Elements

If you simply don’t have time to make your image as intricate and smooth as you’d like it to, then one solution is to use another image as a resource. For instance a great way to make an abstract design is to take a photo out of a moving car and then enhance the colours/warp the image. Alternatively you can use a stock logo that’s in the public domain and then edit it to make it unique. It’s cheating, but it works.

Pay Attention to Details

It’s very important if you want your site to look its best that you pay attention to the minor details which means for instance things like the font. Often when someone designs an image they will forget that they’re using the default font and this can make an otherwise good-looking image appear very lazy. Create a check list and make sure you’ve done everything you can to make your images their best.

Outsource

Design still looking like a child drew it? Then it’s time to outsource your images and design and get it done by professionals. It might be a bit more money and a bit more time, but ultimately it’s one of the most important investments you can make for your business.

James Sax is a technology lover and an avid blogger who is currently working as SEO manager for Link Wheel SEO You can follow him on Twitter to read his insightful tweets.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

Beyond A Pretty Face: What Graphics Mean For Your Site

When it comes to web design, people are pretty much over being wowed by graphics. In fact, good graphics are more or less expected of any professional site. If you’re working with a firm that provides graphic design, you’ll want to discuss with them the value of graphics beyond making your site look better. This includes such things as:

  • Functionality
  • Accessibility
  • Branding
  • Look and feel
  • Usability

Good graphic content on your website can go far beyond making your website look pretty. In fact, if you’re working with an SEO firm, they’ll let you know that there are elements of your graphic content that need to be optimized for the search engines, as well as for the human eye. Putting this all together can get a bit complex, but here are some of the basics.

Accessibility, Functionality and Usability

When you’re working with a firm that handles graphic design, you may be surprised to find out that there are some concerns that go into graphic design that you hadn’t thought about. For instance, if you had the idea of making a red logo with green lettering, a good graphic designer would warn you off from this. People who are colorblind will not be able to read your logo. This addresses accessibility and usability.

Graphics should be clearly visible and should not distract from the rest of the content on the site. This is important for users. If the graphics make it harder for them to use the site, they’re likely to see it as a very unprofessional site or one that completely disregarded their needs from the start.

Some graphics are functional. For instance, image sliders may be provided with links that allow people to click on the image and go to an article. If the firm you find has SEO services among its offerings, though make certain that the graphics and the accompanying materials are set up in a way that ensure that the search engines can properly decipher and index whatever content goes along with that graphic.

Branding and Looks

Graphic design firms can do wonders for your branding efforts. If the company that does your graphic design is good, they’ll be able to redo existing logo so that they look more modern and attractive and will be able to come up with compelling new logos they give your business a branding edge.

Graphics are much more than things to look at. In fact, some of the most useful sites out there also have great graphic content. That graphic content tends to make it easier to use the site, easier to understand what each of the different functional elements of the site do and, quite simply, make the site look more professional. Talk to the company that handles your web development about good graphic design for business websites and how it may contribute to the overall success of the site that you have designed for your business.

Article provided by Division [1] Web Design, a web design, software application and web development company. To read more articles click here.
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About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING & GRAPHIC DESIGN [OPINION]

INTRODUCTION

It is difficult to pin point the exact date or event that signaled the death of graphic design. It took place sometime around the turn of this century.

THE CAUSE

What was the cause? In two words, it was social media. There was little need for visual input in this new technology. Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn, the three most popular, relied on verbal communication.

In fact, a short hand of sorts evolved with twitter since the maximum was

140 characters. Texting was the biggest culprit. It qualifies as a foreign language to anyone over 50.

It seemed like things were pretty well covered by the newly developing 21st Century social media. But then, was it? Something started to happen.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT

A new app came on the scene. Its name was Pinterest and it was all visual. It took the social media scene by storm. No one could figure out why or how but it skyrocketed to extraordinary popularity surpassing many of the ‘veteran’ social media apps.

In addition, Google bought YouTube, Facebook bought Instagram and Yahoo absorbed Flickr. Although these were image and video venues, their acquisitions certainly signaled a return or a move forward to reconciliation.

Social Media Marketing Graphic Design came about as the fusion of the best of both twentieth century design and twenty first century technology. The fusion creates a synergy that provides the best possible opportunity for businesses to promote themselves.

CONCLUSION

As a result, many Facebook and Google + pages are now outstanding. They provide invaluable information both visually and verbally. They use each tool to maximize their impact and reach. Here is one of my favorite pages. I think you will see how well visual and verbal elements work together in a way that neither could do alone.

 

About Alison Gilbert

Through decades as an entrepreneur, I developed ventures in over a half a dozen industries including HEALTH FOOD | GRAPHIC DESIGN | BUSINESS PROMOTION | HOLISTIC HEALTH | DECORATIVE PAINTING | SOCIAL MEDIA | PUBLIC SPEAKING | WRITING. Eventually under the umbrella of ALISON*S ART, INC, they evolved into the dba MARKETING BYTES, a hybrid company specializing marketing small business using social media marketing and traditional graphic design services. Currently retired, I am focusing on teaching social media marketing graphic design and visual journalism. I can be messaged through www.facebook.com/alisondgilbert and tweeted @MktngBytesMaven and @AlisonsArt.

Top 15 Must-See Websites for Designers and Illustrators

http://www.gfmarketing.co.uk/web-design/

From visiting the museum to riding the bus, inspiration can come from anywhere. However, finding inspiration is not that easy for some designers and illustrators. Sometimes, designers suffer from what they call an artist block. Imagination can actually dry up and leave the designers with an awful feeling of blankness. Luckily at this day and age, the World Wide Web offers a multitude of creative information and ideas from all over the globe to those in dire need of inspiration. Overcome artist block with the list below that features the top 15 must-see websites to get designers and illustrators motivated.

These ultra-modern websites range from personal blogs to online galleries of graphics and images, are definitely awe-worthy and rousing. The creative images and works to be featured here are products of the hard work and passion of other designers and illustrators. These are great sources for inspiration but are not meant to be copied. They’ve put much love and soul to their works and deserve the respect and admiration of everyone.

1. Inspired Mark

This is the personal website that features a range of scribbles, outstanding illustrations, and awesome designs by web architect Mark Collins.

Find them on Twitter or Facebook

2. We Love Illustration

Another good resource for inspiration and motivation, We Love Illustration is a real haven for art and illustration lovers to find inspiration and share their works. This is a place that showcases the amazing talents of different artists from all over the world.

Find them on Facebook

3. Leivos

Managed by designers Shyra and Veronika, Leivos provides more than just creative images and pictures with their daily posts. This virtual pin board also features the coolest interviews with well-known artists and other new artists worth knowing.

Find them on Twitter or Facebook

4. Daily Design Inspiration

The name says it all. With artworks from brilliant designers, this website offers a great deal of fresh design inspiration every day. It features the best logos, cool websites, illustrations, creative photos, and never before seen patterns made by the most talented designers worldwide. Daily Design Inspiration is a hodgepodge of everything artistic and original.

Find them on Twitter or Facebook

5. Sketchblog

According to website owner and professional art director, Rob Sheridan, Sketchblog is a creative playground he set up to encourage himself to draw and create more often. But with his cool and unique artworks, Sketchblog does more and inspires even aspiring artists worldwide to live their dreams start sketching.

Find them on Twitter

6. Ads of the World

Owned and managed by Web Media Brands, Ads of the World is an advertising archive and community. It features inspiring print ads and marketing campaigns done by the world’s top advertising agencies. Students and beginners also post their works at this site to get constructive criticism from the industry experts. There’s also a forum page where artists and designers can exchange ideas for their projects.

Find them on Twitter or Facebook

7. Print and Pattern

Print and Pattern is a gallery of nothing but awesome prints and pattern designs. Print and Pattern transforms your fabrics, wallpapers, cards, and gift wrappers into works of art. The innovative mix and match of colors, shapes, and lines is a must-see for all artists.

Find them on Twitter or Facebook

8. Cool Hunting

Founded in 2003, Cool Hunting has grown from one designer’s personal reference into an award-winning publication. Composed of a global team of editors and contributors who highlights creativity and innovation in technology, design, travel, food, and culture, Cool Hunting provides daily updates and mini-documentaries that attract creative people internationally.

Find them on Twitter or Facebook

9. Orange You Lucky

Cute, colorful, and imaginative are the three words that best describe this website. Owned by an illustrator, designer, and a mother of three pretty girls, Orange You Lucky offers fun and fresh art and drawings.

Find them on Twitter or Facebook

10. Theartcareerproject.com

This website is creativity to the max.  Really sleek cool design that gets your artistic juices flowing.  The site is owned and hosted by a sharepoint hosting company in California and so far has become very popular within this last year.

Find them on Twitter 

11. Web Designer Wall

Toronto-based web designer, Nick La started this website in August 2007 as his personal wall of design ideas, trends, and tutorials. It has quality content and eye-catching design that makes it a must-see website for designers.

Find them on Twitter

12. I Love Typography

Often taken for granted by designers, a good typography is vital in creating the best quality designs and artworks. I Love Typography has the prettiest and most unique type design, lettering, and fonts, from road signs and shampoo bottles to billboards and posters.

Find them on Twitter or Facebook

13. Fuel Your Creativity

A great website to spark your creativity and generate awesome ideas, Fuel Your Creativity is a brilliant design blog that has inspiring articles and links to various design websites.

Find them on Twitter or Facebook

14. Design is Kinky

Design is Kinky brings design and art goodness from Sydney, Australia since 1998. A blog that features new designs, photos, and artworks from all over the world, this site has been inspiring many artists for years.

Find them on Facebook

15. Monster Meltdown

Founded in 2005 by design lover and cool dude, Patrick McNeil, Monster Meltdown is a funky website that has the cutest little monsters in the web. It has a variety of design styles, trends, and elements. Its mission is to provide the largest and most exhaustive inspiration sets possible.

Find them on Twitter or Facebook

Rob Smiel is a advit design art fan.  Rob especially likes graphic design and web development.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

Amazon Self-Publishing for Beginners

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

With all the new blogs and recent news articles urging writers to publish their eBooks on Kindle, the topic is probably one you’re at least familiar with by now. As most people know, Amazon has leveled the playing field for authors by making the process of publishing eBooks as simple as a few mouse clicks and a couple of file uploads.

Before the recent self-publishing revolution began, the difficult part was getting your book in the hands of readers to begin with. However, that’s the exact same challenge that independent authors face when publishing for the Kindle as well. It turns out that making your book available is much easier than getting people to actually buy it or be interested in reading it!

This low entry bar also creates a new challenge for debut Kindle authors – since anyone and everyone can now publish whatever they want, that’s exactly what is happening. The result? A fair amount of low quality eBooks and a highly competitive environment for unknown authors.

Learning to Stand Out in the Crowd

So how do you stand out in such a crowded and popular new marketplace that is open to anyone? What does it take to attract the type of author publicity that helps build a brand and sell more eBooks?

Here are a few eBook marketing ideas that have proven effective for many debut authors using Kindle to publish:

  1. Write and distribute a press release after you’ve launched your eBook. If you are not familiar with press release writing, outsource it and consider paying for distribution. Include quotes, contact information and hook in readers with a strong headline. Remember, you have a tiny window of time to capture the interest of readers who are likely skimming headlines and you must find a clever way to set your story apart from all the others. The main idea of a press release for your book is to generate curiosity and get people excited about the story you have to tell.
  2. Encourage book reviews. This is probably the most obvious way to promote books or anything else, for that matter. It’s probably the first one that comes to mind as well. Alas, it is also going to be the hardest form of promotion to land as a debut author. Don’t let that get you down though. Reach out to book review bloggers, fans from social media or anyone else who might be willing to share their thoughts on Amazon or elsewhere on the web!
  3. Start living and breathing social media life into your author platform. Just remember that you are not limited to Twitter and Facebook. Find the communities centered around readers and books. GoodReads is a great example and it offers tons of innovative ways to share and promote your writing. Get started by setting up an author profile and adding your eBooks. Next, experiment with groups, quotes and book giveaway contests. There isn’t a better online community for finding passionate readers.

These fundamental tips should give new authors a viable starting point. As with any type of marketing, your ultimate goal should be to determine who your target audience is and find out the best ways in which to engage them and turn them into loyal readers.

Author:

AshlyLorenzana is a freelance writer, published author and passionate blogger who lives in the Portland, OR area. Her interests include social media, online marketing and digital publishing. You can follow her on Twitter @ashlorenzana

Sources:

  1. 9 WaystoUseSocialMediatoLaunchABook
  2. PromotingYourBookOnlineThroughSocialNetworking: GoodReads.com
  3. AnatomyofaSuccessfulPressReleaseforBookPromotion

 

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

Consistency Is Key In Your Integrated Marketing Strategy

Consistency is an important concept in marketing that many companies fail to deliver. It’s the key to success…so why is it overlooked by so many marketing executives?  The answer is that most marketing is fragmented and coming at people from too many different directions. Between TV, radio, print, outdoor billboards, email, direct mail all competing for your attention – consumers don’t know where to look next.   It’s important for companies to integrate their campaigns and not rush launching too many campaigns at one time.

Here are some guidelines to help deliver a consistent identity with a cohesive integration plan:

Select Your Logo, Tagline, & Colors – Keep your colors and logo consistent in all marketing messages. This includes print advertisements, TV Commercials, direct mail, etc.  Your tagline needs to be present on every single marketing piece to drive home what you do!  Be clear in telling people what you can offer them.  However, this is still not full integration.  Integration requires the entire company being able to state what you do in the same manner.  You need to integrate your message throughout your entire organization.

Message Longevity – Marketers tend to be in a rush to meet the next deadline or get the next campaign out the door.  It’s important to realize that integrating your brand takes time. Don’t continue changing the direction of your campaigns. Keep it consistent for years if you need to…….there is no time limit to branding your company.  Don’t lose patience and stop the momentum of keeping the same messaging out there.  The worst thing you can do is confuse people with mixed messages.

Verbiage – Create messages that can be easily understood by your target audience. Don’t speak in terms that people don’t understand. A perfect example would be a company that has technical terms in a print advertisement that would be better suited for engineers.  It’s important to make sure that your audience clearly understands what you sell and how the product will benefit them.  Focus on the solutions you offer to take their problem away.  This should be in every single piece of marketing communication that is sent out by your company.

A perfect time to use integrated marketing communications is during an acquisition. When a large organization acquires another company…..it’s important to have an integrated marketing plan in place. The time right after the acquisition is crucial to branding the new company and making sure people understand how the brand integrates into your own.  An example would be a security integrator who installs security products and just purchased a security software company.  Your marketing message would need to show how this new software company integrates into your existing company.  The security integrator should show how they are working hand and hand to produce the ultimate security solution for the end user.  In my experience, the company that is acquired usually changes their brand image to reflect the parent company. There have been some cases that the brand image was changed over time.  As long as you have an integrated marketing strategy in place that delivers consistency….you will be ahead of the game.

Author: 

Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit:  www.infusiondirect.com or call 631-846-1558

Sources:

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

Facebook Facelift From the Inside Out

THE OPERATION BEGINS
Far brighter minds than mine have started and will continue to explore and explain the facelift that facebook is once again giving itself. First it was timelines for profiles (these are for our personal not professional or business use). Many surrendered to this initial makeover kicking and screaming. Personally, I loved the change since I would rather post and look at photos and images most of the time, anyway. Now, we have been informed by facebook that as of March 30, 2012 all facebook pages (these are the business/professional ones) will have the timeline format, as well. They are in preview now and none but the hardy are taking the plunge. Most marketers a very hardy. 

the icon for the facebook conference for marketers held 2.29.12

The icon for the facebook conference for marketers with a slight facelift of some red and yellow. Original icon in blue and white © facebook.

HOW IS THE OPERATION GOING?
Murmurs of protestation have already begun. But I decided to jump right in and give it a try as I did with my personal profile. I liked that change. I had no objections to it. So I assumed the same would be true of the pages makeover. As I began to explore this latest facelift, I realized it might not be as simple as I initially thought. I got a bit concerned about all those great tabs, apps and other features I had begun to explore, conquer and love. 

The first facebook conference for Marketers 2.29.2012

The first facebook conference for Marketers 2.29.2012

A BRIEF PANIC
But then I was reminded of the conference facebook gave in NYC this past week and the webinar given by Lujure that will be repeated next week. My faith was restored. With this information and the help of my colleagues, even I would eventually get it, again.

The Lujure webinar

The Lujure.com software and webinar information. To be held on March 6, 2012

WHAT NEXT?
So I started with what came easiest to me, the covers. It reminded me of grade school when we had to write book reports. I was not much of a reader or writer then but I loved to do the cover artwork. In that same spirit, I found some images I had made over the last few years for the various websites that correlated to my facebook pages and began to install them as my covers. Then I got a comment from a friend on facebook:

A quote from Rick Milne about the facebook page covers and the rules to make them

The Rules for Facebook Page Covers

Here is what Rick Milne was referring to courtesy of  a source from Craig Yaris’ sources.
This is # 6 on the list of 7:

7 Crucial Things About Timeline For Facebook Pages
The cover photo can be up to 850 pixels by 315 pixels but may not contain any of the following:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40 percent off” or “Download it at our website.”
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section.
  • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features.
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

PROCEEDING WITH GREAT CARE
Oh dear, there I was again. Using old technology thinking for 4th dimension communication and expression. Well, back to the drawing board I went. In this case, it was to Photoshop on my computer. I really let my mind go and took flight of fantasy. Here was an opportunity to be as creative and expressive as I wanted. So I began.

This is my contribution to the facebook facelift from the inside out. Combining my spirit as a visual artist, my training as a graphic designer and my decades of experience in various design disciplines, I began to create unique and creative visions for my page covers.

LOOKING GOOD
I have begun to get a positive reaction to my cover art. I am proud to include a comment I made to Lujure.com and the personal response made by Nathan Latka, owner of Lujure.com. I sent him one of my designs. It is at the end of this post. I am saving the best for last.

Here is my comment and his personal reply on facebook:

Nathan Latka's comment on my facebook cover page design

Owner of Lujure.com, Nathan Latka, replied to my comment on his site.

First, I would like to share a two covers; an original designs which was rejected for reasons explained underneath it:

The original cover for Little Bytes of Art with logo, too much type, cluttered and ad like.

One needs to keep it simple. This is meant to be a brand statement not an ad or promo.

The follow up comment I made to the posting of the above design is, “This cover does not work. It is too crowded, looks too much like an ad and is promotional rather than creative. I have redone it more in the spirit of what facebook is looking for from us in making creative, inspired artwork.”

Here is the replacement. It is based on a painting my husband did of me, wearing one of my hats, holding up one of my decorative painted pots. I use the entire painting as my avatar. The cover is a sliver of the painting to make a statement:

The cover for LIttle Bytes of Art on my facebook page.

A simple statement branding 'Little Bytes of Art, Wearable & Shareable Art'

And for dessert, I would like to share my two favorite designs. One is for Alison*s Heirloom Projects facebook page:

The cover for Alison*s Heirloom Projects

The brand and cover for Alison*s Heirloom Projects

This one is for the Marketing Bytes Blog facebook page:

The brand for the Marketing Bytes Blog

Branding the Marketing Bytes Blog new facebook page

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?
I would like to know what you think and I would love to see what you are coming up with. So please send me your comments and your links. Thank you and have fun, too. I have just one final word. The dramatic change facebook is making has a lot to do with branding. And branding is very much about simple statements mostly with the clever and creative manipulation of images and pictures. Bear in mind the saying. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’

AUTHOR:

Alison Gilbert is the Digital Age Storyteller. She is a regular contributing author to DBME, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz.

Located on Long Island, New York, MARKETING BYTES serves clients virtually everywhere. This boutique style – very personal service –  hybrid company specializes in helping local/small businesses generate sales leads by transitioning from traditional advertising to online marketing. E-mail us at info@marketingbytes.biz.

SOURCES AND RELATED INFORMATION

About Alison Gilbert

Through decades as an entrepreneur, I developed ventures in over a half a dozen industries including HEALTH FOOD | GRAPHIC DESIGN | BUSINESS PROMOTION | HOLISTIC HEALTH | DECORATIVE PAINTING | SOCIAL MEDIA | PUBLIC SPEAKING | WRITING. Eventually under the umbrella of ALISON*S ART, INC, they evolved into the dba MARKETING BYTES, a hybrid company specializing marketing small business using social media marketing and traditional graphic design services. Currently retired, I am focusing on teaching social media marketing graphic design and visual journalism. I can be messaged through www.facebook.com/alisondgilbert and tweeted @MktngBytesMaven and @AlisonsArt.

How to Create A Memorable, Social Media Savvy E-mail Signature

TO START
We all know the rudiments of making a good first impression with in-person networking. Dress neatly and professionally. Smile and shake hands with a firm, not limp or crushing, grip. Be a good listener. Exchange business cards and jot down notes on the back of received cards as a reminder of where you met and other important business details.

But there is another spin on the first impression scenario. What if one does not have the opportunity to make that good first impression in-person or needs to follow up that good first in-person impression with another form of communication. Let’s say using e-mail. How do you make a lasting impression that can also promote your business using e-mail?

I used to say and still find that volumes can be told about a person and their business from their business card. The same holds true for e-mail signatures. So let’s explore some tips to see if they work for you.


WHAT NOT TO DO

First I want to suggest what NOT to do. Have you ever noticed how some people sign off with a long underlined text list of all their contact info, including Skype and chat contacts, social media, etc.? It is a vertical blur of one monotone link after another. For example, one person I needed to speak with ASAP had about 10 linked lines of copy for how to be reached. I visually scrolled down the list only to find there was no phone number. (Growl), that was frustrating.


WHAT TO DO

Let’s see if we can come up with a list of what to do to not only make a really powerful and memorable first and lasting impression but also throw in a bit of social media marketing, too.

A list of how to create a memorable, social media e-mail signature

A list of things to do to create a memorable, social media e-mail signature @ Alison Gilbert

Let me add one thing about phone numbers. With so much promotion taking place for local businesses with the flourishing of Google places pages and Local Online Business Directories, potential customers want to see a local number to get a sense of where a service provider or vendor is located (especially if an address is not included).

Since business has become global, I suggest adding time zone, state and country, info. The last thing a home based business owner wants is to be called at 2 am because the potential customer thinks it is 2 pm. Here is an example of how I write my home number (a fictitious example) 987-654-3210, EST, NY, USA.

Here is an example of what this all might look like:

A memorable e-mail signature

A memorable e-mail signature @ Alison Gilbert


CONCLUSION

Let me know what you think, if you find this helpful or if you do not agree with these suggestions. Thanks.

AUTHOR:

Alison Gilbert is a Digital Age Storyteller and photojournalist. She is a regular contributing author to DBME, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz. She has been a marketing pro and entrepreneur for over three decades. Her company specializes in local/small and start up businesses with a boutique (very personal style) approach to client service.

The MARKETING BYTES ProTeam consists of experienced marketing, design, technology and writing professionals offering the latest online Inbound Marketing technology, social media, graphic and web design, illustration, photo and video, content management as well as the best of traditional advertising. Her client base has covered just about every commercial industry.

Although located on Long Island, NY, MARKETING BYTES serves clients everywhere there is Internet access. To learn more, visit our site, Marketing Bytes, our local biz facebook page, Marketing Main Street USA, and join our local biz facebook group, Local Biz Is The Solution.

To contact us: e-mail or call 516-665-9034 (EST, NY, USA).


SOURCES AND RELATED ARTICLES

About Alison Gilbert

Through decades as an entrepreneur, I developed ventures in over a half a dozen industries including HEALTH FOOD | GRAPHIC DESIGN | BUSINESS PROMOTION | HOLISTIC HEALTH | DECORATIVE PAINTING | SOCIAL MEDIA | PUBLIC SPEAKING | WRITING. Eventually under the umbrella of ALISON*S ART, INC, they evolved into the dba MARKETING BYTES, a hybrid company specializing marketing small business using social media marketing and traditional graphic design services. Currently retired, I am focusing on teaching social media marketing graphic design and visual journalism. I can be messaged through www.facebook.com/alisondgilbert and tweeted @MktngBytesMaven and @AlisonsArt.

Brand Development

INTRODUCTION

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to become authors for the Digital Brand Marketing Education Blog know intimately the four pillars that comprise the edifice of the DBME blog. We know their interrelatedness, their synergy and we continually learn more as the skyrocketing technology raises the roof on the other three pillars.

The charrette apple with white helvetica type and the white compass

Charrette Took on the 'Big Apple' Design Scene @ Charrette Corporation


DIGITAL, BRAND, MARKETING, EDUCATION

A piece of writing can illustrate the interrelatedness between digital technology, branding, marketing and their value as educational tools if seamlessly crafted by a seasoned professional. Basil Puglisi, the founder of DBMEi, expertly summarizes the process, in less a minute, in the above video.

This blog post, Brand Development, will focus primarily on two of the pillars, branding and marketing. Ironically, the emphasis on digital technology is antithetical because the story is about a company that primarily pre-dates the transition from the analog to digital world. Nonetheless, this exploration of branding is a study worth anyone’s attention, those who are ensconced in the digital world and those who know nothing about it.


HOW A BRAND IS DEVELOPED

The charrette 1969 catalog

The Charrette 1969 Catalog @ Charrette Corporation

A brand ultimately needs to become that ‘entity’ by which a company or organization is known and recognized. It can be comprised of visual, verbal, audial and other sensory components. It can start out simple and grow to become more complex. It can start out complex and be simplified. It can also start simple and stay simple, start complex and stay complex. In my opinion, one way is not superior to any other. All that matters is that the end result works.


MY FAVORITE PRE-DIGITAL BRAND

My favorite pre-digital brand is an extraordinary example of simple stays simple. And it did work. For our present day digital technology purposes, there is much to observe and learn from this masterful example. This brand was for a company that existed in the last quarter of the 20th century. It business and products were predominantly pre-digital. The shift to digital did not represent the true spirit of the company or its brand.

charrette bag, stickers etc all showing the brand

The Proof Is In The Brand @ Johanna Bohoy for Charrette Corp.


THE ELEMENTS OF THE BRAND

The basic element was a single color, red. It then grew to include one word of type, charrette. The style was Helvetica and the color was white. The Charrette Corporation was the largest distributor and retailer of design tools in the industries of architecture, graphics, landscaping, interiors, engineering and fashion during its time. Its reach was from New England, south on the East Coast, and west into the Heartland.

The primary source of income from the corporation was the commercial side accounts. The commercial accounts included even various branches of the US government. But the retail side was where Charrette really showed what its brand was made of. The retail side consisted of such an exclusive group of famous clientele, designer, actors, writers, etc. that this ‘sought after’ list is still safely guarded and unpublished to keep the anonymity of this extraordinary group of customers.

The charrette van

The Charrette Van @ Charrette Corporation

THE RESULTS

The brand was so powerful that even when some of the elements were changes over its decades of existence, the integrity was always maintained. One could identify a Charrette store, vehicle, product, and packaging. The impeccable job creating and permeating their brand which embodied an attention to detail and clean, simple lines  reflected its corporate culture and philosophy, spilled over into its marketing and its very soul. This was so well done that I believe customers (myself included) would buy their products not only because of their superior quality but also to own a piece of that brand and to be a part of that amazing culture, its spirit and soul.


IN CONCLUSION

The Charrette Corporation is gone in body but the memories and memorabilia of this brand live on. Charrette was easily able to do extraordinary marketing because of the impeccable attention to detail both in their products and the branding of everything they produced.

The charrette building now

A deserted Charrette building now @ Charrette Corporation

The Charrette culture, their religious approach to quality and attention to detail live on as an extraordinary lesson for all of us who have an interest in brand development and marketing. Digital technology can spread the words (and images) faster than we ever could before. Charrette did not have that advantage. But what they had was something remarkable to share. For the time that Charrette was at the top of its game, it did a job that set the standard for many other industries that I believe has not been surpassed today.

SOURCES

A Fond Farewell to the Charrette Corporation

Brand Development

Finding Your Brand Voice

About Alison Gilbert

Through decades as an entrepreneur, I developed ventures in over a half a dozen industries including HEALTH FOOD | GRAPHIC DESIGN | BUSINESS PROMOTION | HOLISTIC HEALTH | DECORATIVE PAINTING | SOCIAL MEDIA | PUBLIC SPEAKING | WRITING. Eventually under the umbrella of ALISON*S ART, INC, they evolved into the dba MARKETING BYTES, a hybrid company specializing marketing small business using social media marketing and traditional graphic design services. Currently retired, I am focusing on teaching social media marketing graphic design and visual journalism. I can be messaged through www.facebook.com/alisondgilbert and tweeted @MktngBytesMaven and @AlisonsArt.

Digital Media Monthly

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