How Often Should You Redesign Your Business Cards?

This is a question I ask myself every so often. I’m a big advocate of young talented people establishing their identity with business cards. I’ve had them since I was about 13, and I’m 17 now. In four years, I’ve gone through four redesigns. For me, I make an update when the crucial information changes (portfolio, etc).

For some, information might not change very often. I think it’s best to make changes on these factors: outdated designs, outdated information and new logos.

In order to fully express my creativity, I make sure each design is totally different than the next.

So, how often should you change your business cards? Think about the nature of your business, the people receiving these cards and the image you wish to portray. Does your information change frequently? Do your current cards give off the reflection you want it to?

This picture shows the first business cards I ever designed! Share yours!

 

Need new business cards? Check out BusinessCards.org templates!

5 years ago

Ageism in the Design World

This is a guest post written by Nicole Foster. Nicole Foster is a professional website designer who loves to help businesses and other designers succeed. She offers various custom design services for all types of businesses. Follow her on Twitter or Like her onFacebook.

Being a teenager in the design world is tough. You’re an outcast, a minority, but also somebody very unique. However, some people believe teenagers can’t compare to their older, more “experienced” designer counterparts. This is a form of Ageism, which is defined as “stereotyping of and discrimination against individuals or groups because of their age” (Wikipedia). This mentality is common across all generations, and is a problem because it discourages teenagers from being passionate about design. It makes them question their abilities and feel less talented than an older designer.

Don’t let this discourage you from enjoying the world of design though. Being a designer at a young age allows you to learn more and start your future career earlier. Personally, I started designing websites 6 years ago when I was 12 years old, and I was able to absorb more information on design and programming than people older than me. Nonetheless, I experienced ageism several times since I started my freelance business in 2008, but using these tips, I was able to combat it and prove myself as a competent designer despite my age. Implement these basic tips and you will begin getting the respect you deserve.

Create a Professional Online Image

As a designer, it’s important to have an online presence. You can reach out to other designers, potential employers or potential clients through social media websites like Twitter and Facebook. However, younger people often use them for their personal lives and do not consider how this could affect their image. Separate your personal life from your professional life with these tips:

Dress Professionally

When it comes to impressing people, your appearance is the first thing somebody will look at. If you’re looking to impress people and have them take you seriously as a designer, then you need to dress like you want the job, the client, or the respect.

For Girls – When I was 16, I invested in a suit jacket and it was the best investment for my business. I was able to snag one at a Calvin and Klein’s outlet mall for only $60, so I would suggest searching through department stores and outlet malls for great deals on suit jackets. Underneath the suit jacket, find a simple, one color tank top in any color you like. I usually wear blue to convey professionalism or pink to appeal to my female clients. Lastly, black dress pants and small heals will create the perfect professional look to impress employers, clients and other designers.

For Boys – If you have the money, a full suit and tie combination will do wonders, but cheaper alternatives will be just as effective. An alternative to a full suit is to get a button-up shirt with a complimentary tie. Any color can work for boys, but be aware of the psychology behind the color you choose. Also, buy matching dress pants and comfortable work shoes to complete the look. You can find this all at your nearest department store for affordable prices. As long as you have a complete look, you will be able to gain the respect you deserve.

How to Present Yourself – Now that you have the right outfit, you will need to learn how to present yourself properly to other designers or employers in person. The number one rule is to always shake the hand of the person(s) you are meeting. Never shake too hard or too fast, but a handshake conveys your maturity and will gain you respect immediately. During the meeting or chat, always listen and smile. As long as you create a productive conversation and keep things friendly, the other person will be impressed with your professionalism and they will forget the stereotypes of teenagers.

Have Business Cards

Lastly, and most importantly, have a set of business cards and always carry them with you. You never know when a friend, family member or potential employer could be interested in your design skills, and a business card with your contact information will be the perfect gateway to respect.

Have a Unique, Personalized Design – Every designer has a different style and that should be reflected on your business card. Generally, the business card will reflect the style of your website, but if you do not have one, then base it off a style that describes your personality. Simplicity is the key for effective business cards because it will save you on printing costs, but don’t be afraid to get creative, and stand out. If you have a nice set of business cards you can pass around, it will add to your professional look.

Include the Right Contact Information – Always make sure to include several different ways for people to contact you on your business card. On my business card, I include my website, my phone number, and email address. This allows for potential clients to call, email or learn more about my services on my website. At the least, I would suggest your website link and email if you are not comfortable with giving away your phone number. The more contact options you have, the more likely the person will get a hold of you.

Hand Them Out – Just hand them out to friends, family, teachers, etc. and encourage them to recommend you to people they know. Get them in front of as many people as possible by putting them up on community bulletin boards, business fronts and other places you can think of. The more seen your business cards are, the better your image as a designer will be.

Have any tips of your own?

I recognize there are many other things you can do to be respect in the design world despite your age, but these are basic tips that will benefit you in the long run. In the comment section below, share what you did to defeat ageism and gain the respect you deserve. Also, post any questions you have about this topic; I am very willing to answer any questions and give tips that have personally worked for me.

6 years ago

5 Reasons Websites Should Borrow a Page from Print Designers

This is a guest post by Mike Barbre. Mike Barbre is a social media professional and technology enthusiast. When he’s not using Intermedia’s Hosted Exchange, he can be found following Intermedia on Twitter and as a fan of Intermedia on Facebook.

Print is so last century, Right? Not always the case. There are reasons why print magazines and newspapers continue to sell. Some of them might be personal inertia and the slow penetration of electronic publication.


Photo Credit

However, a glossy print magazine still has a strong appeal. How can a website designer take the good parts of print and use them to make an even better site? Here are a few tips:

1. Browsing is often easier in print. Pick up a magazine. It has a table of contents in the front and all you have to do is flick to the right page. It’s often a temptation to make your index page complicated with nested drop downs, but consider taking a leaf from the print book and going with a table of contacts with each header linked. More and more, users want everything simple and uncluttered.

2. Imagery. Most web sites have standard clip art, which is readily recognizable…from three sites ago. Paying the extra money to get custom graphics for your site, just like print magazines, will make your site stand out from the crowd. What makes you pick up that particular magazine? The glossy, original cover image. Even taking your own camera out and collecting a few suitable pictures is better than going to the clip art library.

3. Fonts and text. Not that long ago it was Helvetica everywhere. You used to have to be sure your site could run on any computer, and that meant the lowest common denominator. These days, that limitation is all but gone and the imagination can run wild. The best print magazines use a distinctive, yet readable font, one that makes you know immediately you have an issue of National Geographic or People in front of you.

4. Advertising. Look at a print magazine, and you will see careful thought put into every ad. Right columns are a different size from left columns. On the web, there is a tendency to plug in an algorithm and use a standard size. If your ads change often, then this is a good idea. However, if you sell your own advertising and can spend a bit of extra time making sure that the adverts smoothly fit in with the page and truly match the content, then your customers will be far less likely to reach for that ad blocker.

5. The rhythm of the book. When you read a magazine or a periodical, there is a flow to it, one that comes from the careful selection of articles in a specific order. Because on the web people go to ‘whatever interests them’, designers seldom try to seek a coherent rhythm to a site. But rhythm is what makes you turn the next page. A careful use of font size and color can keep your readers going from one article to the next, leading them along a good ‘route’ through the site.

There are many other ways in which applying print techniques to the web can make your site more appealing and keep visitors there longer. This trend is likely not a fad or a flash in the pan, but a long-term evolution of web design as technology improves and as tablet devices become a more common way to browse the web.

 

6 years ago

Does Your Design Company Communicate with You?

When you hire a graphic design company, there are a lot of different things you need to consider. Things like their experience, their level of skill, and their fees are just a few of the considerations that will influence your decision. But one of the most important factors that you should look at when comparing web design companies is something that most clients don’t think twice about: their ability to communicate.

See, the marketing process is an ongoing, complex process. There’s a very important need for consistent communication between the marketing company and the client. If that communication isn’t there, then you’re going to have a serious problem. Without proper communication, your logo design and marketing firm could end up creating a campaign that doesn’t mesh with your vision or help you meet your business objectives.

So, what are some of the ways the best marketing agencies communicate with their clients?

Well, it all starts at the beginning. From the initial consultation, your marketing firm should get the conversation going. They should be committed to learning everything they can about you the client. They should perform an in-depth opening interview to gather as many details as possible about your company, your competitors, your goals, your target audience, your unique selling points, and so on. If your marketing agency doesn’t do this from the start, that’s a pretty big warning sign that you’ve chosen the wrong firm to handle your brand.

After the initial interview, your marketing company should continue to keep the lines of communication open with you, because the next step is the development of your campaign. Depending upon the scope of your project, this could mean the design of a range of marketing collateral (website, brochures, print ads, etc.), the development of your messaging (copywriting), and general strategizing.

Obviously, it’s important that you play a role in this. After all, it is your company, so you should be involved in developing your marketing strategy so that you can be sure it’s in line with your vision and your objectives.

But that’s not all. As your marketing campaign gets implemented, you should still be communicating with your marketing agency. They should be keeping you updated on the current status of your campaign, and they should be measuring results to let you know how it’s performing. This could mean that you have weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meetings with your marketing agency to keep you apprised of all the latest happenings surrounding your brand’s development.

In short, communication is an essential part of the marketing and design process. The best marketing agencies know how to communicate effectively with their clients, helping to ensure your voice is always heard and you continue to remain satisfied.

Photos by: arinas74 and OmirOnia

6 years ago

On Facebook’s New Changes — Tiny Text and More

I am a very observant person, therefore, when Facebook rolls out some new changes, I’m the first one to notice. On November 4th, I saw that they made some minor yet harsh changes. First, they made the text at least one size smaller. This is really detrimental towards Facebook’s older population. Even I, as a 16-year-old, had a hard time coping with the change. My retinas were feeling the burn.

Next, the placement of a person’s name with their status changed. Before it was like so:

Nicole Dominguez is writing a post for SoDevious.Net

And now it’s

Nicole Dominguez
Is writing a post for SoDevious.Net

I have noticed that this change is only for news feeds and not walls, which is good but it won’t save our burning retinas. Also, the ‘activity’ buttons have gotten painted with a fresh coat of not-so-facebook-blue. (A lighter tint of the blue than it used to be) I hope that these visuals help you see the clear problem.

There has been another big change. When viewing a friend’s profile, there is a link under their photo that directs you to the ‘friendship’ between the both of you. It’s quite interesting actually. It shows any mutual friends, pictures that both of you are tagged in, wall posts and mutual likes. The coolest part is that ‘friendships’ are available for any of your friends, including between each other.

So, we have:

Tiny Font

Feed Changes

Color Changes

Addition of Friendships

Facebook has addressed the text problems in a recent tweet.

…Sigh. Oh Facebook, why?

6 years ago

The Many Seen and Unseen Faces of SoDevious – The Finale

Alright guys, this mini-series has come to a close. Here are the last of the looks that SoDevious has sported in recent times. I hope you enjoy them! They really do bring back some memories for me.

And guess what? NO celebs 😉

So what do you guys think? Any improvements?

6 years ago

The Many Seen and Unseen Faces of SoDevious – Part 2

Alright folks, here’s part two! I hope that you are enjoying these as much as I am. As promised, here is the image that our favicon came from!


Stay tuned for part three! Keep in mind that not all of these layouts were used, but most of them were. What do you think guys?

7 years ago

The Many Seen and Unseen Faces of SoDevious – Part 1

Oh wow. I have spent the hour going through all of my old design work. And let me just tell you, SoDevious has had so many changes; it’s amazing. So, today I’ll show you the many seen and unseen (meaning that some of these actually went live and others didn’t) faces that I have given SoDevious over the past few years. I’ll try to go in chronological order.

WARNING: Crap ensues.


CREATED WITHOUT PHOTOSHOP
CREATED WITHOUT PHOTOSHOP

CREATED WITHOUT PHOTOSHOP

Interesting, huh? To those of you who are long time visitors, what do you think of the changes over the years? And to new visitors, how do you feel about this blog’s growth? Stay tuned for part 2 for more!

PS: If you’re wondering about that cute little favicon of ours, the layout it originated from is coming in part 2!

7 years ago

Cross-Browser Website Testing

Cross-Browser Website Testing banner including the logos of 5 Web browsers.
Cross-Browser Website Testing banner including the logos of 5 Web browsers.

Ok, so let’s go through the typical scenario.

You design and develop a Website in Google Chrome 4, and it looks beautiful. You upload the Website for the world to gaze and admire your masterpiece, but the audience is using Internet Explorer 8. Guess what? It doesn’t look so beautiful anymore!

Because there are so many Web browsers available which each have their own Web page rendering engine and because people use different Web browsers you can never really tell which Web browser your audience will be using to view your Website. The best thing for you to do when in the production stages of your Website is a best practice technique known as cross-browser Website compatibility testing. That means testing your Website in the most popular Web browsers to ensure your Web pages look almost the same (pixel perfection would be great though) in each of these browsers.

It is common for Web Designers to test their Web pages in the following most popular Web browsers (version numbers correct at the time of post):

There are also a number of other popularly used Web browsers which are listed at the Information Regarding Web Browsers – Browser Choice Website. Have a look at them, download them if you like, and test your Websites in them to make sure everything looks as it should. Alternatively you could instead use a cross-browser compatibility testing tool to do the dirty work for you. The three most popular and advanced cross-browser compatibility testing tools available right now are Browsershots, Adobe BrowserLab, and Microsoft Expression SuperPreview. I would personally recommend Browsershots as it doesn’t require you to download anything and it is also free however, Adobe BrowserLab and Microsoft Expression SuperPreview are much more advanced (but also come bundled with a price tag too).

If you manage to create a solid layout that has good markup foundations (HTML) and cross-browser standard styling and presentation features (CSS) then you won’t have too much to worry about when it comes to testing your Web pages in different browsers however; it is creating this markup and the style sheet that can be the tricky part. Not to worry though as you can always receive help in the SoDevious Forums. If you want some further reading on this topic then Alexander Dawson has published an in-depth article on Web Designer Depot about Browser Testing: A Family Tree.

The advantages of testing your Web pages in a number of different Web browsers is that you end up with a Website that can be viewed as it was designed by a large number of people, no matter what Web browser they’re using and what rendering engine that particular Web browser uses. The only disadvantage to testing in so many is that you obviously lose some development time however; it is necessary to test in different browsers. If all browsers rendered Web pages as they should, which would mean they would all render pages in the same way, then we wouldn’t have to worry about so many browsers, sadly that isn’t the case!

If you already test your Web pages in different browsers, what browsers do you test in? Do you only test your Website in your own browser or do you test it with as many as you can get your hands on? Leave a comment below or start a discussion in the SoDevious Forums!

7 years ago