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Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Type tools

In Design, Uncategorized on October 28, 2016 at 9:21 am

This is a great site for type inspiration and pairings.

And this one is a good one for identifying fonts


15 Illustrator Add-ons That Will Blow Your Mind by Peter M

In Design, Uncategorized on September 1, 2016 at 2:23 pm

From Creative Market, this is worth checking out:
15 Illustrator Add-ons That Will Blow Your Mind

Here is a preview list:

1. Catalist

Catalist helps you manage your next design project by creating powerful, easy to use lists within your CS applications. Useful if you’ve got a bunch of resources like a client emails, graphics, or web page links that you need to keep in one place. Be sure to check out the video to see how simple it is.


2. Gold Rush For Illustrator

This powerful plugin gives you all the metallic, glitter and foil effects you could ever ask for. It includes 174 swatches for you to use in Adobe Illustrator when you’re after that glittering look.


3. VectorPress: Illustrator Press

After that sought-after vintage look but want to keep your artwork in a vector format? VectorPress for Illustrator lets you apply rough ink, halftone, distressed or gravel looks in seconds.

See the rest at Creative Market

15 Smartphone Apps You Should Have

In Design, Mobile on March 4, 2014 at 10:02 am

This should really be called 15 Smartphone Apps a Designer/Coder should have. While I wouldn’t use 80% of these, the first two are going to be downloaded immediately. For that reason, I will grab those two and share below. Though, for the full article, written by  for, you can go here.


Live View (iOS) – A great graphic designing and prototyping tool that allows a remote screen view.



What the Font (iOS)  – Want to know what font your favorite brand is using? Take a picture of it and let this tool do the magic.


20 Email Design Best Practices

In Competitive landscape, Design, eMail, Social Media on March 4, 2014 at 9:52 am

Refresher to keep it top of mind…

20 Email Design Best Practices

Even for experience designers, building email newsletters isn’t easy. You receive a lovely looking design, and you crack on with the development. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work as it should in every email clients. Styles don’t display, images aren’t visible, etc.

This is where these twenty best practices come in handy.

1: Keep the Design Simple

2: Use Tables

3: Have Web Browsers at the Ready

4: Sign Up for all the Major Email Clients

5: Use Inline Styles

6: Give all Images Alt Tags

Click for the full article and the rest of the list + explanations, heck here is an additional article that aggregates many helpful email newsletter tips, tricks and hints.

In Design, Inspirational/Advice on February 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

This is my all-time favorite site for infographic inspiration. It’s an oldie but a great-y. Here are some grabs that are visually compelling, I intended to capture more but they were all so huge, and there are so many that it really does them a disservice to not visit the site.


infographic from

Body image infographic from

Tech Speak infographic from

Tech Speak infographic from

From TCG: Growing as a Designer and a Leader

In Competitive landscape, Design, Inspirational/Advice on September 5, 2012 at 11:31 am

I thought this article was a great inspiration piece so I wanted to post and share it. It comes from one of the companies I regularly stalk, TCG.


Growing as a Designer and a Leader

As a professional designer, it’s important to push ourselves daily to be the best that we can in order to create outstanding work. To be successful in our industry, we must continually grow and try new things that will enhance our design skills, and just as important, our leadership abilities. There are tons of ideas on the internet on how to become a better designer through Photoshop tutorials, HTML best practices, and new jQuery techniques. There aren’t as many about becoming a better leader in the design community, although it’s an important trait to have as a professional and a necessary skill to possess in our competitive industry.

Become a better leader

Leaders in every industry are considered trusted sources and experts in the field, which is a coveted spot for anyone and a great position to be in. Promote yourself as an expert and a leader in your community through different leadership positions and organizational roles. People will recognize your ability to lead and think of you when they need your services. Teaching others is also a great way to show your design knowledge and helps to further your own skills at the same time.

Leadership can also be a fulfilling experience, and is not solely about showing off and promoting yourself. Helping others learn a new skill or achieve something they couldn’t before, is a great feeling. It’s also fun to network with other professionals and connect people for the greater good of the community.

Push yourself

We’re taught to learn a skill and then use those skills to perform in our everyday profession. As a designer though, we must continually build our knowledge and never be satisfied with where we’re at currently. It’s important to be your own coach; push yourself and be persistent in your path for greatness. Keep looking for ways to motivate yourself so you don’t burn out or become tired. Finding rewarding and unique ways to get involved while promoting yourself is a great way to build skills and do something different from your everyday work.

Further the education of others

Strengthening your design and leadership skills is also about giving back and helping others, and sometimes this is the greatest way to learn more yourself. Remember, these ideas aren’t necessarily a means of making loads of money, they are about getting out there and meeting people in order to promote yourself.

Host a workshop

The workshop can be on learning Photoshop, basic HTML skills, or anything you feel qualified to teach. This gives you a chance to show off your designer knowledge to your local community but also gives you the opportunity to give back by teaching others and helping them further their skills. Knowledge is power, and it’s always fun to see others discover new things. Plus, they may discover that this particular skill is tougher than they thought and they just want to hire an expert (you!) to complete these tasks for them in the future!

Write a book

Getting published involves a lot of hard work, so don’t take this on and think it’ll be the easy idea on the list! But the results are rewarding, seeing your name in print and happy reviews from people that have read it, would be well worth all the work. Plus, it’s a really great opportunity to dig deeper on a subject that you know a lot about, since there’s always more you can learn.

Be a speaker at a conference

There are tons of local, regional and national conferences that go on every year with many quality speakers on a variety of topics. Make a list of what you would like to talk about and then look into different conferences to see what’s out there. Then connect with a contact person for the conference of your choice to see if you can get on the speaking list.

Help out the design department of a local college

Colleges and universities are always in need of help and inspiration from those in the field. Volunteer to come in to speak one day, run a workshop for them, or work on a project together. It would be a great way to connect with past professors or find new talent if you need to outsource some of your work.

Connect with people

Networking is a great way to spread the word about your services. In large cities and small towns you’ll find business people getting together to promote their businesses and learn from one another. There are tons of ways to connect with people, but it’s always a great way to find new business and learn something new.

Start a networking group

In a small or large community, this is a great way to connect with local business people that might not know about your design services. Many small businesses need affordable design work but aren’t sure where to look. Starting your own group is a great way to promote your services and be the star of the networking group because you’re the leader.

Create a collaborative design group

Getting together other designers is a great way to expand your ideas and come up with better and more creative work. A collaborative group can get together to share ideas, resources or work together on projects. It’s your group, and you can do as much as you see fit with it!

Become a mentor

Helping someone else get to the place you’re at takes some work, but is one of the more rewarding ideas on the list. Seeing someone achieve success with your help is a great feeling and knowing that you had a hand in their accomplishments is fulfilling.

Start a blog community

Community blogs are a great source of inspiration and knowledge for everyone in the design community from newbies to veterans. Starting your own blog community gives you the opportunity to connect with the design community in a big way. You’ll be the main person running the show so you can do anything you like your own way.

Growth is never easy but very rewarding and worth the effort. Try some different ideas and find things that will work for you in your online or local community. It’s important to keep growing in order to be the best at your job and keep providing quality work through the years. What ideas do you have to become a better leader and designer? Have you tried some of the ideas listed here?

About the Author

Shannon Noack is a designer in North Dakota and the Creative Director of Snoack Studios. Designing is her passion in life, she loves to create websites, logos, print work, you name it. She blogs regularly on the Snoack Studios Blog and you can connect with her on Twitter as well.

The Dragonfly Effect

In Copywriting, Design, Inspirational/Advice, Marketing, Social Media on November 30, 2010 at 11:59 am

I came upon this site and was immediately drawn to the single image and the words surrounding it. After clicking through, I found some valuable lessons not solely for social media. Their ideas can be translated  for marketing in general.

The authors report that they modeled the name of their book after the Dragonfly because (loosely recalled) it is the only insect that can propel itself in any direction when all 4 wings are working in tandem.

The same goes for their social media principles. And we can project further: the same goes for a marketing program, a department, a company – or even a family. When the ‘wings’ all work together, you can achieve success.

Take a look at their site.

I have grabbed the 4 Wing principles below, but there is much more that you can find if you  link through like this downloadable Top 10 Dragonfly Tips pdf.

Wing 1: Focus.
How you identify a single, concrete, measurable goal.

Humanistic. Focus on who you want to help rather than jumping to solutions. Empathize with your audience to develop Points of View (POV): [USER] needs to [USER’S NEEDS] because [SURPRISING INSIGHT].

Actionable. Use tactical micro goals to achieve long-term macro goals.

Testable. Identify metrics that will inform your actions and help evaluate success. Run low-cost trials to test your assumptions. Set performance metrics to measure progress, and plan how to solicit feedback from your audience before you launch.  Establish deadlines, and celebrate small wins along the way.

Clarity. Keep your goals clearly focused to increase your odds of success and generate momentum.  Start with the simplest behavior you can change at a low cost.

Happiness. Ensure that your goal is personally meaningful such that the thought of achieving the goal would bring happiness to you and your audience – in some way.

Wing 2: Grab Attention.
How to catch someone’s eye.

It’s like standing in the middle of a busy street, activating your target’s fight-or-flight survival-based neurons. (Think of it as: “Made you look!”)

Personal. Find personal hooks, ranging from physiological to self-actualization needs that can be understood within seconds.

Unexpected. People like consuming and then sharing awe-inspiring information. Draw them in by piquing their curiosity. Look to reframe the familiar.

Visceral. Design your campaign so that it triggers senses– sight, sound, hearing and taste. Music is powerful and can often tap underlying emotions.

Visualize. Show, don’t tell.  Photos and videos speak millions of words. Synthesize your thoughts with quick visuals and show them to your POV for feedback.


Wing 3: Engage Others.
How to create a personal connection.

How to create a personal connection, accessing higher emotions, compassion, empathy, happiness. It’s about empowering the audience to care enough to want to do something themselves…and actually do it. (Think of it as forging a connection, deep and real.)

Tell a story. Find compelling, sticky stories to convey critical information.  Remember: less is more.  Stories have arcs.

Empathize. Build a 2-way relationship with your audience. What really matters to them in your campaign?

Authenticity. True passion is contagious. The more authentic you seem, the easier it is to connect with you and your cause.  Build common ground by sharing values and beliefs.

Match the media. How we say something can be as important as what we say. Align your communication with the right context.


Wing 4: Take Action.
Empower others to take action.

Enable and empower others to take action. It’s about creating, deploying, and continuously tweaking tools and programs designed to take audience members from customers to team members, in other words, furthering the cause beyond themselves. (Think of it as enlisting and enabling an army of evangelists.)

Easy. Make it simple as simple as possible for others to act. Prioritize your calls to action. Your campaign is more likely to succeed if people understand what you need and can take immediate action.

Fun. Consider game play, competition, humor, and rewards. Can you make people feel like a kid again?

Tailored. People glom on to programs that they perceive they are uniquely tailored to them – where they are uniquely advantaged to do well and have disproportionate impact.  Here, people feel special and a part of something bigger than themselves.

Open. No one should have to ask you permission to ask.  Provide a frame – your POV and a story – and empower others with accessible tools.

5 Essential Apps for your Facebook Fanpage (for business)

In Advertising, Competitive landscape, Design, Marketing, Online/Interactive, Promotions, Social Media on March 29, 2010 at 8:47 am

A nice feature of the modern social web is that it’s modular. You can plug in and customize pre-made pieces of software (often created by other users or companies), and mix and match what works best for you without a lot of technical know-how. Facebook works the same way with apps.

Many Facebook apps are built for casual use, like the social games and quizzes you may see your friends using in their personal feeds. But there are quite a few apps that are ideal for a business Fan Page. These are useful for customizing your page with greater detail, showcasing your content from other social sites and getting more information from your customers. Here are five essential Facebook apps that your business may want to take for a spin.

10 Essential Design Tools for Social Media Pros

In Cool Treatment/Idea, Design, Inspirational/Advice, Marketing, Social Media on March 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm

 More good stuff from Mashable…

Good design is a critical part of any web or social media presence. Like the clothes you wear to a job interview or a business meeting, a sharp looking social profile or website is the first step toward being taken seriously online. Whether you’re a professional designer or an armchair artiste, tools aboundPen Cup Image that you can use to snazz up your web presence, and give it that polish that professionals, potential customers, and online friends have come to expect from a social media maven. We’ve talked to the experts about what they use for inspiration, collaboration, and getting down to the business of design in a social media world. Here are some of the suggestions they offered up.

To see the sites and resouces, click here.

Ads of the World

In Advertising, Design on March 13, 2010 at 11:07 pm

This link shows some pretty creative stuff. Its from a site called, you guessed it: Ads of the World (a MediaBistro company).