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How to Handle Tough Clients (And Not Want to Punch Everything)


stress

Business can be stressful, especially when you add agitated or angry customers to the mix. Every once in a while, you’ll come across someone who is particularly vile. Maybe they call you names, refuse to treat you with respect, make lofty claims or refuse to pay for goods and services.

It’s not an easy situation to deal with, but we’ve all been there. The most important thing is to keep your cool in the moment so that you don’t lose yourself and damage the brand’s reputation. It’s almost always true that others are watching — including like-minded clientele — and if you explode, it’s not going to be good for anyone.

I’ve had my fair share of dealings with testy customers, and I’ve discovered many ways to make it through to the other side.

Relax, Don’t Do It

Frankie Goes to Hollywood said it the best: “Relax, don’t do it.” Of course, the song has other connotations when you get further in, but the hook sure fits because first, you need to relax. When emotions are running high, it’s not the time to make split decisions or react to others around you, at least not without calming down. That’s when you make mistakes, which can lead to harsh reactions or responses.

I’m not going to spill some mantra about finding your center, going to a happy place or doing yoga right then and there — although yoga and exercise can help. Instead, I’ll share a few tips that help me calm down in just a few minutes, like a spot treatment. If you’re susceptible to panic attacks like I am, you’ll want to remember these.

  1. Sit Down and Close Your Eyes

The eyes are the window to the soul, or so they say. They’re also the main point of sensory stimulation for your body. By sitting down and closing your eyes for a moment or two, you can give your brain a much-needed break, severing an endless stream of sensory input. That's likely why people who are stressed find comfort in sleeping. Besides feeling great, it also gives them a break from the outside world for a small time. And since some people are more sensitive than others, it definitely helps.

It’s rude to close your eyes without saying a word, of course, so just ask for a moment to compose yourself, then retreat to a remote office or isolated area. Sit for a moment, close your eyes, and let your body simmer down. Your client(s) can wait.

  1. Take Deep Breaths

Breathing exercises are phenomenal for reducing stress and anxiety. Close your eyes, inhale deeply for about three to four seconds — letting your diaphragm expand as much as possible — then exhale for the same amount of time. Take it slow and repeat it as many times as you need to calm your nerves.

  1. Relieve Stress Tension

Lots of people squeeze or play with actual stress balls — they feel and work great. But if you don’t always have one lying around, remember that tennis balls are just as effective. Roll it around in your hand to tighten up and stretch your muscles. Doing so will help to release tension.

  1. Use a Fidget Toy

Fidget spinners are a bit ridiculous to some, but others swear by them. I prefer something a little different. It’s still a toy, mind you, but it plays on the idea of euphoric sensory input. It’s a cube with a variety of buttons, toggles, switches and interactive elements on it. When I’m really stressed, I just palm the toy and play around with it a bit. You can use the same toy or find something different, as there are tons of options for adults.

  1. Try a Music Break

You can’t do it right in front of the customer, but when you get a moment to yourself, return to your desk or personal area and put on some of your favorite music. It’s even better if you get up and move, dancing to the beat. It doesn’t matter whether you’re listening to Beethoven, Five Finger Death Punch or Lady Gaga — just get up and move.

  1. Go for a Walk

If you’re agitated or feel uncontrollable rage, it’s probably best to just get away entirely. It's a good time to take a walk, which will increase your circulation, especially if you’ve been sitting most of the day. Walking also releases a lot of built-up static energy.

Relaxed? Good, let’s move on.

Dealing With Your Tough Clients

Since many different situations can play out — all clients are different — it makes sense to specifically look at what’s happening. For example, what you should do when a client doesn’t pay on time or flat out refuses to collaborate is different from handling a micromanager.

While freelance is one of the most frequent places to find these tough clients (and more), they exist everywhere, even in retail. It helps to know how to deal with them and proceed with your work so that you can stay focused on the finish line.

Keep in mind that sometimes it’s not worth dealing with these clients at all. If you have the power, it may be necessary to cut them loose. If that’s the best option, I’ll point it out first. Don't worry, I've sent many a client packing myself — it's something we all need to do every now and then.

Here are some of the most common troublesome clients and how to deal with them.

1. Clients Who Don't Pay on Time

The client approaches you for your help, you discuss the project and finalize a deal. Everything goes swimmingly until it’s time for the client to pay up. They flat out don’t pay, drag their feet or continue making excuses. In the end, you deserve to be paid for your work, and you invested your time, so what can you do?

  • Always draw up a contract at the beginning of the project and be sure to include a statement about late fees. Absolutely collect the fee when a client doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
  • For larger projects, get payment up front, or at least collect a portion of the total compensation.
  • Stop working for the client immediately.
  • Don’t stop contacting them. Continue sending emails, reaching out via direct messages, texting or even calling. The more persistent you are, the more difficult it is for the client to forget or brush you aside.
  • Find other contacts at the company or other forms of contact if you’re getting no response. Sometimes a simple callout on social media can light a fire under their butts.
  • Start factoring right away.
  • If all else fails, seek legal action.

It’s a smart idea to cease future projects with the client even if they pay well. Once they start giving you trouble with payments, it’s time to move on. There are exceptions such as emergencies or major personal events, but that’s up to your discretion.

2. Clients Who Micromanage Too Much

Sometimes, the client thinks they know best — better than you — and will lob an endless swarm of suggestions, requests and comments at you. Incorporate what you can, but remember, they came to you for help. At some point, you’ll need to use your own judgment and experience to decide what happens next. What you know absolutely trumps what a client “thinks” they want — but don’t tell them that!

Don’t placate the client every time. Follow the process that you think is best for the project and its outcome. Politely explain to the customer that you have more experience. If they do not understand or continue to fight you, it may be best to set them free.

3. Clients Who Communicate Poorly

Poor communication is never good. Whether the client is not sharing enough about what they want, sharing too much or being incredibly vague, it can certainly grind a project to a halt. Find ways to meet with the client in person and be specific when you're asking questions or trying to collect ideas. Show them visual examples or past work and try to glean their likes and dislikes as early as possible. Doing so will help you avoid major revisions later.

4. Clients Who Disappear

Poor communication is one thing, but when clients disappear altogether, that’s another. It’s even worse when they’re missing and a big decision needs to be made. That situation can result in your entire team waiting around to complete work or continue.

Of course, you won’t know the client is going to disappear beforehand but get as much information about the project as you can upfront. If you come to a crossroads and they’re not around, move to another part of the project that you do have information about.

5. Clients Who Continually Alter the Project Scope

The client seemed a dream, you’re nearly done with the project and you approach them with what’s ready. Suddenly, they decide the work you put in is not good enough and they want something entirely different. If you continue, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.

If you made a mistake that caused the change, own up to it. If no mistake was made and they’re just being demanding — which happens more often than I’d like — make it clear that you kept to the original plans and you expect to be compensated. Be firm, be persistent, but don't be rude.

Explain to them that the costs will increase for the new approach and that the work will take longer to complete. If the client cannot understand that changing the scope near completion causes too much extra work — and may even ruin the deadline — it’s not someone you want to be working with long-term anyway.

6. Cheap Clients

I get this all the time in freelance. Clients don’t want to pay my rates and often tell me I either charge too much or have an inflated sense of self-worth. They want to pay an incredibly low price for lots and lots of work. If you’re not careful, they’ll continue to increase the workload as time goes on, but they certainly won’t pay what it’s worth.

If you notice the clients are cheap up front, just walk away. Take a moment to explain that the cost is the cost and you won’t budge. If they can't accept that they have to pay for quality work, they don’t need to be seeking help.

“I can do that in X time so much better!” Great, go do it then, bud.

7. Multi-Team Clients That Cannot Make Decisions Effectively

With larger teams — organizations especially — managers aren’t truly managers, at least when it comes to making decisions. Generally, they have to go through a system of checks and balances. This process means consulting others on their team, including alternate executives. Dealing with these kinds of clients is challenging because getting a straight answer is rarely possible.

Make time at the beginning of the project to sit down with everyone involved, get the appropriate input and collect all the necessary contact information. In some cases, it may be necessary to go right to the source, asking outright what they want or what should be done, as opposed to going up the chain of command one by one.

8. The Clueless Client

The client wants something and may even be specific, but they have absolutely no clue what kind of work, value or time is required to get it done. Maybe they want you to complete an incredibly difficult project in half the time you usually do, or perhaps they’re offering a fraction of the overall cost. Again, this is best left to your discretion. Is the compensation they're offering worth all the trouble? If not, walk away.

I have found that the best approach is to educate the client using industry-specific examples as evidence. Show them your past work and explain how long each project took. Point out the value in your efforts and politely explain why the costs are higher than what they want or why it will take longer. Smart clients will recognize right away that you know what you're talking about.

Remember to Protect Yourself and Your Team

You probably can't afford to turn away every difficult client. Sometimes, even I have to accept the undesirable client to make sure I can pay my bills on time, that’s just the nature of the business. That said, it’s not healthy to build an entire portfolio with these types of clients. Avoid working with them on future projects when you can, especially if they don’t pay, change the scope of the work entirely or remain unsatisfied with your work. Some relationships just aren’t meant to be.

When you're choosing what clients are good to work with, assess the impact on you and your team's health. If they're too difficult and it's going to cause stress for everyone, it may not be worth the trouble.

 

 

 

Lexie is a graphic designer and typography enthusiast. She spends most of her time A/B testing websites and creating style guides. Check out her blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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Color as a Factor in Enhancing Student Learning


Everything is associated with a particular color. For painters, marketing professionals, and designers, it is vital to use various color shades to achieve business success. But very few know that color can affect learning abilities as well.

Most educators admit that colorful desks and chairs along with glowing bulletin boards can turn a faded classroom into a bright place that holds students' attention. Colors do more than just animate a surrounding environment. They are so powerful that if used incorrectly, they can cause students to become overexcited and overactive.

The use of a particular color can greatly affect the learners' feelings and performance. Thus, when it comes to the design of classrooms, it is crucial to understand the psychology of colors so that one can find out which colors to use and which ones should be avoided.

Green Helps to Concentrate Better

You have probably noticed that by having a walk to the woods. Along with delivering fresh air, green trees make people restful and calm, boosting their creativity and increasing their focus. Therefore, this color is a great choice for sharpening students' concentration. Except for being one of the best for our eyes, it is associated with nature. For this very reason, actors relax in green rooms while not performing. This color helps learners to maintain their concentration for a long time, making it a perfect choice for school. The same cannot be said about red, which produces an opposite effect.

There is scientific evidence indicating that those who study in green classrooms show better academic performance than those who don't. In fact, the color enhances the students' mental state and thus improves their learning capabilities. It is recommended to use green in the school design so that students can always look at it for a while to revitalize and turn their focus toward educational materials with ease.

Orange Enhances Mood

Orange can enhance mood, promote comfort, and boost the brain functioning of students. There are facts indicating that an orange surrounding affects the oxygen supply to the brain and stimulates attentiveness. When learners get an increased amount of this color, they start to feel more revitalized and ready to put things straight. There are many examination halls painted in this color to improve students' results.

Schools should remember that bright orange can overstimulate those who are inherently highly energetic. This color is perfect for underlining the content presented on the screen as it draws the recipients' attention. Thus, many teachers refuse to use the usual red color in favor of this color for obvious reasons.

However, because it is very bright, it can create an overwhelming effect. In ancient China, this color was used for sharpening concentration and promoting self-discipline. But then again, they avoided bright orange as it could have caused them a headache. Taken all, it is good but only if used in small doses.

Blue Increases Productiveness

The conducted studies have shown that those with increased cognitive load, such as educators, learners, and so forth, feel better when surrounded by blue. But with all this, it is nonsense to live in a monochrome environment - cool colors should be combined with warm ones. The best solution is to balance one color with its complementary one.

The blue color helps to learn in challenging situations. It also helps readers to better assimilate information. Therefore, the use of blue paper and ink for employment is a fairly reasonable solution. While this color, especially its light shades, seems to be soothing and calming, its darker shades may cause anxiety.

As for professionals, many of them advise to combine blue with orange, especially for drawing students' attention to important educational materials. In a nutshell, blue can help teachers to engage learners in a high level of thinking, but too much of it can cause apathy and unamiability.

Classroom Design

In preschool and elementary school, it is advisable to use warm colors, which greatly complement the extroverted nature of kids. In middle and high educational institutions, cool colors can do the trick as they help students to relax and focus on educational materials better. Light shades of green will work well in libraries as they promote calmness.

Even though most educators cannot decide on what colors to use for walls in classrooms, they can choose school desks, chairs, bookcases, and wall decorations. Therefore, instructors and learners can benefit from the colors of school furniture and decorative elements. Using brightly-colored desks and chairs in places where students are supposed to acquire new information can make a difference. Cool colors will work well in areas where kids are supposed to relax and get more concentrated.

When it comes to bulletin boards, there is no need to combine too many colors; two or three colors complementing each other are more than enough. If schools overdo with colors, students can get overwhelmed and confused, and have the only desire that someone, for example, Pro-Papers, will do all the tasks for them.

Like schoolers, educators also come under the influence of colors. It is important for them to be surrounded by proper colors as they have to spend a whole working day at school too. To stay motivated and inspired, teachers should use soothing shades around their desks.

In conclusion, many studies show that every color has its effect on both the psychological and physiological states of a person. While some colors are soothing, others seem to be more stimulating. By applying an understanding of the psychology of colors to school design, one can see how vital it is to make sure that the colors used in school settings bring maximum results in terms of the academic progress of children.

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Best Christmas Card Designs 2018


If there ever was a perfect time in the year to show to your customers how much you care, we couldn't imagine a better holiday than Christmas. Aside from showing gratefulness, Christmas is the time of the year you should invest all you got into astonishing marketing, and spend the rest of the year watching how it paid off.

 

There are infinite creative possibilities to boost your market and reconnect to your old customers; one could really go wild with ideas. Although, whatever we come up with, nothing really shows care and dedication as sending Christmas cards. This is a very elegant, classy way to send best wishes to your mailing list, and you can rest assure that everybody will love it.

 

Following the cozy holiday spirit, Colourlovers are looking through the most personal, stylish designs for Christmas cards, which famous brands prepared for 2018.

 

1. Unique snowflake

cards

find project here

This year, Ideas Factory decided to send Christmas cards to its clients with a personal touch to each card. They developed an app which draws a special snowflake generated by the input which is mathematical value of the clients name.

 

2. Wrapped up present

christmas card

find project here

Alexander Boys from UK created something much more fun than the card - their card is a model for a 3D decorative box with a vintage bicycle design, and instructions for folding. This is a present for them, which can be used to wrap a present for you.

 

3. Handmade with love

christmas card

find project here

The designer Laura Louise drew her Christmas cards by hand, which is an intimate gesture, although not very practical if you are making an effort for a large number of people. If you are drawing digitally, you can also change special details for every client automatically.

 

4. Color yourself cards

christmas card

find project here

We Are Scout created the cards which are half way finished - and the final part is left to the recipient to play. By drawing the patterns, they involved the audience in the coloring process and left the choice of colors to them.

 

5. Wooden cards

Christmas cards

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Collective 88 had their cards designed by Elly Ang, and printed on wood. This effort reached the heart of the clients and fitted into the warm Christmas atmosphere, while the palette of gray and brown perfectly matched the material they choose.

 

6. Paper and photo

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New World School of the Arts had their Christmas card designed by a team of two - David Garcia and Camilo Rojas. They created the whole message from origami objects and letters in 3D, and then arranged them for a photo that is sent as a card. This interaction between 2D and 3D mediums speaks about experiment and dedication.

 

7. Christmas-up your brand

christmas cards

find project here

Here is an idea! Why wouldn't you use your own products and give them some Christmas magic? Nicko Dalton made an interesting choice of using Handy Haynes' builder's trowel and redesigns it to look like a Christmas tree with green paint over it. This was their choice for the Christmas cards, but also a great marketing campaign trick.

 

8. The card you keep

unique Christmas cards

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Another interesting 3D card example is created by Hank And Maxwell. They used leather, shaped to be folded into a 3D reindeer. Their card is not just a card; it is a Christmas present you will be happy to keep.

 

9. Make the best of it

christmas cards

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Miles Design had an impressive way to engage their recipients by turning them into something really useful. Their card can in fact be broken into a set of coasters, which the client will be more than happy to keep long after Christmas.

 

10. Oh, so white

christmas cards

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A beautiful image of pure whiteness coming from Ink Designs is their choice to show sophistication of their brand. They imprinted their white logo on the white background to present an image of a reindeer with a cute blue nose for their special cards.

 

11. DIY collage

christmas card

find project here

One of our favorite ideas for this year's chic Christmas atmosphere in love-giving marketing is coming from Pop and Pac. Their Christmas card is actually a set of cards, presenting different patterns in different colors, and a card of a Christmas tree. Their idea is that everyone can decorate their tree as they like, and change the design when they feel like it.

 

12. Digital, yet real

christmas cards

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Last, but not least, the card that was popular five years ago made its comeback for millions of Christmas-lovers, available for purchasing on Etsy. The card is written in CSS code, while on the other side we can see the outcome of the code - the font, the size of the letters and the color. This might be a geeky choice, but it is still pretty creative and fancy.

 

What did your Christmas card look like? Tell us in the comment section bellow.

 

The COLOURlovers team is wishing you a merry Christmas!

 

About the author:

Nina Petrov is an activist, poet, performer and mathematician. She communicates with the world mostly through words, movement and equations, but sometimes also by speaking very loudly. The only truth she could say about herself is that she keeps changing every day, never stops learning and interacting with her surroundings.

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Six principles of animation


Did you ever wonder what is that makes animated characters look so realistic to you and how you can relate so easily? Are you working on developing your animated video and are wondering how to keep all laws of physics in order? Twelve Basic Principles of Animation is a book published by Disney and written by his animators, trying to explore the keys to lifelike animation. These principles apply regardless of whether you draw by hand or, much more likely, are using computer animation. Here are the first six principles:

 

Squash and Stretch

 

Rule number one is the most important rule which talks about giving a sense of weight and flexibility to your objects - this is especially important for facial expressions, although if you want to create a comic effect you can take this stretch into an extreme.

 

Anticipation

 

When developing a situation on screen, try not to make sudden frames, but rather prepare the audience for an action - focus the attention on the keys in the lock, before the character unlocks the door.

 

animation principles

 

Staging

 

This principle comes from techniques of staging from theater and film - simply know what is important and what needs to be in focus of each frame. Avoid unnecessary details that take the eye's attention from the point.

 

Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose

 

These are two different drawing techniques you can use in animation. Straight Ahead Action means that the process starts at the beginning and fluidly moves towards an end, drawing frame by frame, while Pose to Pose means that you start with some keyframes and then develop the story behind it. Most often the combination of these techniques is used, especially in computer animation, since the software removes the trouble of finding the right proportion and putting sequences together.

 

Follow Through and Overlapping Action

 

These two techniques are the ones that keep your character and objects under the rule of physics in real life. Follow through roughly means that arms of a walking character move while he is moving, and keep swinging just a little bit after he stops, in a synchronized movement. Overlapping Action considers that different body parts can move in a different rhythm, while a technique called "drag" does that well-known scene when a character starts the movement, but some body parts are catching up in the next frame.

 

Slow In and Slow Out

 

This is a notice that will help you make your scene look more real - when moving a character from one pose to another, draw this movement with many frames in the beginning and end of the action, with fewer frames in the middle. Try to make those frames full of details of the movement - facial expression, stretching of the body, etc.

 

Stay tuned to COLOURlovers to discover other six principles that guide the world’s most famous animators.

 

About the author:

Nina Petrov is an activist, poet, performer and mathematician. She communicates with the world mostly through words, movement and equations, but sometimes also by speaking very loudly. The only truth she could say about herself is that she keeps changing every day, never stops learning and interacting with her surroundings.

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Top 5 reasons why the color yellow should be part of your wardrobe


Hi there!

 

One of the reasons why you spend time on ColorLovers is because you love colors, all about them. Today, we want to share five reasons why we absolutely adore the yellow color in our closet, at all times.

 

1. It will totally light up your day

 

You don't need to understand the color theory to agree with this. Yellow is the kind of color that makes us feel good, it will make other people feel comfortable and pleasant in your company, which makes it perfect for a job interview, but also for a birthday party.

 

wear yellow

 

2. It is perfect for all seasons

 

Yellow can be your summer color - bright, cheery and delicious; but it can just as much be this autumn's number one in your closet. Whether you combine it with a flower-based pashmina or a warm dark red scarf, it will be your first choice for the whole season.

3. Ideal for matching

 

This color is offering a great solution for combining your plane clothes which occupy your wardrobe. Whether it's a darker shade of yellow or not, this color can go with the dozen shades of gray you have in your palette. It will break the monotony and refresh your style completely.

african lady wears yellow dress

 

4. It will never go out of style

 

We all know what it is like when there is a sudden mania drawn by a certain color. Black might be the new black, but yellow never truly left the spotlight. Yellow goes with a positive, optimistic attitude and fits your smile. You will always want to shine it out at the happiest hour, or have it make your gloomy day. Your environment won't stop loving it on you either, along with the optimism.

 

5. You will have your everyday combination

 

Yellow top is for your upper body what jeans are for your bottom. And it doesn't come as a surprise that two of these match like lemon and juicer. With these outfits you can be both the girl next door and a top model that just came down for a cat walk around the block.

 

white lady wears yellow dress

 

Be an absolute diva every single day by implementing few simple yellow pieces to your wardrobe! Show the world your inner glow!

 

About the author:

Nina Petrov is an activist, poet, performer and mathematician. She communicates with the world mostly through words, movement and equations, but sometimes also by speaking very loudly. The only truth she could say about herself is that she keeps changing every day, never stops learning and interacting with her surroundings.

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Paletton - Color Theory Live


Remember everything you had to learn about color theory so far? Now you can finally sit back and relax, stop thinking about which shades work well together and which don't, because one app knows it all and works for you!

 

Paletton started off as Color Schemes in 2002, and it has been evolving through Color Scheme Designer, only to finally become what it is today - one app for optimizing your designer capacity by resolving all your doubts on adequate palettes. It was originally developed by Petr Staníček ("Pixy"), a Czech UI/UX designer, with the intention to be used by other designers. Petr is a designer, analyst and consultant, whose useful books on design can be found online, on his webpage.

 

The application allows you to mix and combine the shades for a perfectly packed palette from the spectrum. You can create palettes using one color (monochromatic), three colors (adjacent or triad), four colors (tetrad), or free style combination using as many colors as you desire. You can extract your palette by reading it's RGB from the website, and insert it straight into your design.

 

colorizer

 

Developed by Paletton

Even though we are super amazed by this cool software, this is far from everything that Paletton has to offer. Along with this color loving website, they have developed a widget called Colorizer - a simple peace of code you add to your website for every user to see and adapt the website palette as they find it most interesting. In the sea of tools developed every day in design world, Paletton Live Colorizer in its current beta version is a new, refreshing appearance, especially for web design. It offers a unique, interactive user experience, keeping your audience engaged and enjoying.

 

But, that's not all! Maybe you've heard of Colorpedia - a Wikipedia spin-off dedicated to all you can learn about colors, color blindness, color theory, complementary color scheme, color space and many many more. It is a developing trend, getting richer with information every day, for all of us who love exploring what we love in the color universe, learning new fun facts and useful skills.

 

Palette engine also allows you features such as presets and randomized palettes, and at this stage they also scheduled a mobile app for their users. Learning about new versions of Colorizer and Colorpedia developed by Paletton, we certainly could not keep this treasure discovery to ourselves! We can now say, without a doubt, that Paletton is something every designer will implement in its set of tools, and we are looking forward to many more features this talented team will develop! We wish you a lot of fun while playing with these fancy apps.

 

About the author:

Nina Petrov is an activist, poet, performer and mathematician. She communicates with the world mostly through words, movement and equations, but sometimes also by speaking very loudly. The only truth she could say about herself is that she keeps changing every day, never stops learning and interacting with her surroundings.

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8 awesome names inspired by colors


What is your favorite color? We all have certain colors we like better than others. Today we'll go though the list of eight beautiful colors, which were so popular that they made it into names, and they are still used around the world.

 

1. Pink

Name Pink is standing for "a healthy person", inspired by this enthusiastic, cheerful color. Clearly, the singer Pink had something to do with the trend of this name in 2002. It might have not been that much popular since, but it still remains one of the most beautiful unique names.

 

2. Gray

Gray is sometimes shot for Graham, but it sound super elegant as a middle or last name. There is something sophisticated in gray colors, simple and decisive. Gray would be the head of the company with that name.

 

3. Violet

Violet is a very popular name today. It gained it's popularity from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" book and movies, where we were introduced to Violet Beauregard, who loved to chew gums. Purple color stands for nobility and ambition, yet violet somehow has a touch of innocence and purity in the spectrum.

 

 

4. Rose

Rose has been shown to be a timeless name, it is good choice for first and middle name at all eras. When we think of this name, some might think of the "Titanic", but what the color itself is presenting within this name is someone to be admired and someone who is a happy and honest person.

 

5. Aurelia

Aurelia and similar versions of this name come from a Latin word actually. The meaning of this word is "golden". Golden color, being close to yellow and brown, is what we associate with magical, illuminating and wise.

 

 

6. Ruby

Ruby is a powerful and hot name. It comes from ruby red color, which is strong, independent, exciting and dangerous. This color is what suits a passionate, motivating leader, a person who is bold and goes for challenges.

 

7. Melanie

The origin of this name is Greek, and it comes from the color black. A person that this color and name would suit is someone mystical, gentle, authoritative and prestigious. If your parents gave you this name, they must have had high expectations :)

 

8. Green

Not many people have this name as their surname, although it works great for a "Friends" character, Rachel Green. Still, this remains an interesting middle name and it's very nature friendly, energetic and optimistic. Personally, one of my favorites from this list.

What do you think of our choice? Do you have your personal favorites? You can tell us in the comment section bellow.

 

About the author:

Nina Petrov is an activist, poet, performer and mathematician. She communicates with the world mostly through words, movement and equations, but sometimes also by speaking very loudly. The only truth she could say about herself is that she keeps changing every day, never stops learning and interacting with her surroundings.

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Things to remember when starting an art/animation adventure


Are you the type of colorlover who enjoys watching 50 videos a day of people drawing and animating such cool stuff online? Do you consider starting your own journey through character and visual story creation? Just before setting your mind to start, here are some important points to remember.

 

practice every day

 

Most people lose their motivation at a very early start when their work is not as glamorous and fabulous as they would expect. Looking at the astonishing work of these online artists makes you rethink your choice and lose the belief you will be good enough for your own criteria. Well, believe it or not, the road of every artist is full of countless sketches, many ridiculous drawings and failed attempts of creating something super duper. What takes for you to publish that amazing thing that appeared in your sketch book is hours and hours of practice, experiments and hands-on (or better yet pencil-on) learning from your drawings.

 

Also, don't be afraid to draw things you've never drew before. Draw the things you don't like as well. This is important for opening your experience and it contributes to your becoming a broader artist.

 

study other artists

 

We all have our favorites. These awesome people who share their techniques, styles, step-by-step projects on the internet. Use this wide resource - watch tutorials and study all the time. It's free and you can discover so much by trying out things you like and experiencing these styles yourself.

 

 

There are some cool Youtube channels such as Draw With Jazza or Alan Becker Tutorials, where you can learn all kinds of tips regarding your future practice.

 

 

learn on your own

 

Sure, you can start a course, study for hours, watch as many tutorials as you can find, but nothing really matters unless you try it and do it yourself. Watching and understanding someone's drawing is far from taking a pen and drawing yourself. Nothing will happen unless you start doing and experiment with your own fingers. This is essential for developing your style, learning what you like most, what you're good at, dive into your sketch book and practice, practice, practice!

 

use references

 

Using images for creating a drawing is not cheating! In fact, this is very important for developing your characters, looking for inspiration and drawing by a model is what can enrich your work and help you find the right colors and clothes for your animation. Just to be on the safe side, we have to mention that developing your own character and coping other characters are two essentially different things - use a model and don't just change the clothes and call it your character.

 

be patient

 

Just because it's yours, it doesn't mean that it's going to be spectacular. Not every work of yours is going to be mind blowing, and that is okay. As long as you keep on doing it and learn from your own lines, your visual story is getting built up and you are slowly getting to the amazing reality.

 

make something every day

 

Our brains learn from repetition and practice. If you really want something, you have to find the time to do it. Be dedicated to your goal and don't be afraid to start. Stop looking for excuses, keep going and every time before you go to bed grab a pen and draw something.

 

do it out of love

 

Remember why you are doing it, what made you interested in the first place, what got you motivated to start. You are doing it for yourself and because you enjoy it, not because of money or fame or because someone else told you to.

 

Enjoy making content and making characters, enjoy giving them life and sharing them with the world. Every step of this journey is supposed to be fun and creative. Don't let yourself forget about it.

 

grow an audience

 

So, now that you are on the right track to draw an amazing piece of art, a brand new personality with a name and a fun story line, it is time to consider where to publish your character and how to grow an audience so as many people get to hear your story.

 

Obviously the most practical starting point for drawings and animations is Instagram. Instagram is super useful for the new era of visual thinkers, it's great for finding inspiration and getting in touch with all the artists you admire. If you are focused on visual storytelling and are developing videos - Youtube is still number one platform for reaching a wide audience. With these two being good places to start, in finding even more people who will fall in love with your work you can rely on Pinterest, which is super easy and these three should be enough to get you started.

 

For further development of your community, in more artistic circles, check out platforms such as Amino, DeviantArt, Behance, Dribble, 500PX.

 

Now, stop procrastinating and grab that sketch book! Good luck!

 

Author: Nina Petrov

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How to Design Killer Sales Copy for Your Website


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The quality and design of your sales copy are just as important as your product or service. You may have the most outstanding product or service in the world, but if the design of your copy is not compelling, It may not move your audience to become loyal to your offering.

 

If you want your sales copy to convince and convert here are some of the things you need to keep in mind as you move from the basics of grammar, vocabulary and syntax.

Your Headline

 

The headline is the most critical part of your sales copy. Your headline should capture the attention of the visitors and suck them into the body of your sales copy.

 

Remember you have only ten seconds at most to capture the attention of your prospects or they will just click away. You can quickly achieve that by having the most significant benefit of your product in the headline of your sales copy.

 

Put simply, the headline should be benefit-driven, attention-grabbing and made to persuade the reader of your sales copy to keep reading.

 

Beyond the words used, you need to factor in colour and headline design. Colour, for example, has a significant impact when it comes to the users' response.

 

Facebook demonstrated this when they switched from blue notification icons to red ones.

 

To keep their branding recognisable, then initially used blue icons. But nobody clicked on them. When they changed to red icon notifications, everyone clicked on them almost immediately. The colour became irresistible.

 

So too with your headlines. If you want to capture the attention of your audience, who often do not read beyond the headline, you need to factor in branded and persuasive colour and typography into your sales copy titles.

 

Bullet Points

 

You should use bullets to highlight the benefits of your product or service.

 

Bullet points are highly readable, and they tend to stop the reader in their tracks and enable them to absorb short, simple facts or suggestions.

 

As a matter of design, indenting those bullet points has a significant impact on readability and should be factored into your overall sales copy design.

 

Remember, most people will not read the sales copy but skim through it and bullets enable you to focus their attention on the benefits of your product.

 

Benefits vs Features

 

We already know how important it is to focus on the benefits of using your product as opposed to the features of your product.

 

For example, the phrase “comfortable mattress” describes a feature but “Wake up relaxed and ready to face the day ahead” goes further to show the benefits of the feature.

But equally important is the layout and use of colour to distinguish between benefits and, features - both positive and negative.

 

The use of lookbook creators to highlight features and comparisons in fashion and clothing is a great way example of using colour and design to highlight a product's features.

Bolding and Highlighting

 

Bolding and underlining emphasise essential points or phrases.

 

Highlighting those same points in yellow and adjusting the typography and position can make those points even more compelling and effective.

 

Of course, you don’t want to overdo it, or you will lose the intended purpose in the first place.

 

The Call to Action

 

You should have an active call to action throughout your sales copy. For example, you can include such calls to action as “Click here to unlock your potential right now!” or “Click here to discover the secrets now!

 

You should also create a sense of urgency so that your prospects are motivated to take action right away.

 

Writing a good sales copy is one thing that you must invest your time to learn and practice if you are to make good money from your sales copy efforts.

 

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7 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Choose Your Final Design


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Whether you are creating a wedding stationery, a billboard ad, or a portfolio website, the one step that designers should almost always need to perfect is their choice of final design. After all, this is what clients pay you for and what will make your business more valuable in the eyes of your customers.

 

But before you can come up with the best final design for any kind of project, a certain level of introspection is required. As a lead designer of a project, you need to develop the necessary skills that will allow you to effectively choose a final design that matches the client’s brief.

 

And to help you with that, we have compiled the top 7 questions that any graphic artist should ask themselves before deciding on a final design. Read each question carefully and make sure to answer them as honestly as you can.

 

What is the design theme?

One of the first things to consider when creating any kind of project is its theme or motif.  At the beginning stage of the design creation process, following a theme will help direct creators on the right path for that specific design.

 

But this is not where the importance of a project’s design theme ends. As the lead designer, you still need to make sure that your final design sticks to the original theme you have decided with at the beginning.

 

To illustrate, if you are creating a billboard design for a mid-range activewear clothing brand, the final billboard design should adhere to the active lifestyle and market demographic that the brand caters. Of course, your clients will still have to approve a specific design or not. What is important is that you (as the lead designer) would have already narrowed down the design choices so that your clients will no longer feel overwhelmed on what final design to choose and use for their respective projects.

 

Is it too trendy?

Before choosing a final design, the next question to ask yourself is whether or not a design is too trendy. There can be a few instances where trendy designs can work out well for brands. But if having a project design that can be used for multiple instances throughout the years is your goal, you may have to evaluate if a certain design is trendy or not.

 

As with any kind of design project, designers are given a project brief or a description of what the client wants to have or achieve for a specific project. And most often, clients will prefer a design that will withstand the test of time and something that can be incorporated well into other marketing and informational corporate publications. As the lead designer, you need to determine and choose a final design that will match the client’s desires and, at the same time, not be too stylish that everyone else in the industry is doing it.

 

Can the design be easily understood?

Most graphic design projects are meant to entice and make another person think by just looking at it. This is the reason why most clients demand the creation of simple yet impactful design suggestions.

 

It is then your job as the graphic designer to translate the client’s objective into something that can be easily understood by the public. In short, you are the storyteller. And you need to choose a final design that will best tell the brand’s story to your audience.

 

For instance, if you are tasked with the creation of a company logo of a family-owned restaurant, you need to choose a final design that will imbibe the spirit of a family cooperation, easy meals, and fun times all in one tiny logo. Achieving the perfect logo design that perfectly fits the bill can be difficult. However, if you begin with the company’s storyits beginnings and how it continues to provide hearty meals for familiesyou will have a story to tell and you can begin developing design mockups that match that narrative.

 

To determine if your design can easily be understood or not before submitting it your client for review, you may take inspiration from real-world examples of projects found on graphic design inspiration blogs Behance, Dribbble, Template.net, Canva, and colourlovers.com.

 

Are all included graphic design elements licensed and legally obtained?

In most cases, graphic design projects will involve the use of different kinds of graphic design elements. From flat icons to logo designs to certain typeface families, designers will need to, one way or another, source these key design elements from different people or sites.

 

This is why, if you are now on the penultimate stage of the design process, you would most likely need to make sure that all the graphic design elements incorporated in any of your final designs are all sourced legally.

 

For instance, this means that you need to ask yourself and verify if a certain font style was bought and downloaded legally. As the lead designer, you also need to recheck if these design components can be used for commercial purposes. One main reason for asking yourself these questions is to make sure that you (and your client) will not be sued for intellectual copyright infringement in the future.

 

Ask yourself this question before you choose a final design and you will save yourself (and your client) any potential legal headache in the future. And even if you do not get sued in the future, the negative publicity associated with using someone else’s design or a derivative thereof without their written permission may break your own and your client’s credibility.

 

How does the design measure up against its competitors?

One of the main purposes of creating impactful design is for marketing. Brands and businesses frequently need to come up with a creative and enticing way to present their services and their products to any potential client in order to continue their market leads or to break into a specific market.

 

And using creative designs on various advertising and marketing materials is one way to get the attention of their targeted audience base. This is the reason why, as the design head, you need to ask yourself if a certain design can measure hold up well against its competitors in the same industry or not. Your answer to this question will greatly help you determine how a client will react to being presented with a specific design mock-up or suggestion.

 

By keeping this question at the forefront of your mind before you choose a final design, you will already have gauged how your design can be compared with and measure up against the designs of other services or products in the market. Clients will certainly appreciate it when you have already taken out the competition comparison task out of their hands and they will only be left with a design that can do wonders for their own businesses.

 

Is the design too expensive or difficult to reproduce?

As we have mentioned earlier, creative designs can be used in and incorporated into different end products and for various purposes. For example, a company letterhead design may be used in official company letters or memos while the design itself can be used as the official seal or logo design.

 

However, in some cases, some graphic design projects may call for complicated configurations or the use of non-traditional art mediums. To illustrate, if you are tasked with the creation of a luxury fashion house’ corporate branding designs and you opted to incorporate 3D elements as the design base, the entire project can be costly to reproduce and make it work for different design mediums due to its complexity. Of course, high-end fashion houses can certainly pay for this kind of project. But this may not be the case for other businesses.

 

This is one reason why graphic designers and artists need to ask themselves if any of their design suggestions is cost-effective or easy to reproduce or not. It is the job of the designer to create designs that will fit the client’s budget. You need to choose a final design that can be used on different presentation mediums without affecting the design end quality.

 

Does the design bring you joy?

This last question may not sound too pragmatic but it is a good way to assess whether or not a specific design is worthy of being the final design for any kind of creative project. Before you decide on what final design to use and/or present to your client for approval, you first need to ask yourself and your team (if applicable) if a certain design suggestion brings you joy or not.

 

It’s a simple yet important question. As the creator, you first need to be satisfied and be happy with a certain design yourself before you can wholeheartedly suggest its use to a client. It also matters that you are comfortable with how a final design will be used by your client. You need to ask yourself if a design brings you joy because it is only after honestly answering this question can you facilitate the use of your design to bring joy to other people’s lives.

 

Are You Now Ready to Choose Your Final Design?

 

Graphic design plays an important role in business and in daily life. As a graphic designer, just like any person who has a passion for creative arts, you need to carefully balance creating for yourself and for an audience. With the use of the seven questions that we have listed above, we hope that you can more accurately choose the best final designs for whatever project you may be working on.

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