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Daily Posts. Colorful Ideas & Inspirations.

Our team of writers brings you daily trend coverage, new products, inspiration, information and fun ideas. With an archive of more than 2,194 articles, you're sure to find something you love. Or if you have a great idea, let us know!

Did The Simpsons Predicts Pantone’s Color of the Year?


simpsons

The Pantone Color of the Year is a calendar event that every designer keeps an eye on. Starting in 2000, the Color of the Year is as straightforward as it sounds. However, are there more nefarious forces at play? The team at Aspire Doors noticed something that may have just blown Pantone’s cover wide open. Kind of…

Before we get into their discovery, let’s discuss the Pantone Color of the Year and its significance…

What is the Pantone Color of the Year?

Pantone was founded in 1962 for the purpose of creating colour cards that would be used by cosmetics companies. The following year they changed course with their colour matching system otherwise known as PMS (Pantone Matching System). What this does is create a catalogue of all colours that can then be used around the world with consistency.

Having consistent colours is crucial for your branding or any other design project and with so many possible colours out there, it became necessary to standardise and quantify colour. Without being able to find and use a colour consistently, design projects would increase massively in logistics and time wasted.

In 2000, they launched the Colour of the Year and it has since made Pantone the global authority on colour. They have moved with the times as well. Before the internet, Pantone would provide solid colour ink printed on paper. They now work in CMYK as well as RGB and have documented and numbered thousands of solid colours for you to use in your web design projects.

How is the Pantone Colour of the Year Decided?

This is where Aspire Door’s discovery comes in. The COTY is supposed to represent the socio-economic conditions of the time and is decided by a number of different colour representatives around the world. They meet in secret to discuss and debate what it should be.

Taking pointers from fashion, art, politics, packaging, branding, film, travel destinations and more, they decide on a hue that best represents that year. Or do they?

The Simpsons-Pantone Connection

Here’s where the truth may lie. Since 2010, the Pantone Color of the Year can be observed in the living room of one of TV’s most famous families, The Simpsons.

As this post from Aspire Doors demonstrates, the 2019 Color of the Year ‘Living Coral’ matches the Simpsons’ skirting boards and thus completes the set from 2010 to 2019. 2013’s COTY ‘Emerald’ matches the carpet, the walls match the 2016 COTY, every part from the magazine rack to the rug can be linked to the Pantone Color of the Year.

Is this proof that Pantone gave up in 2010 and are just pointing to a different part of the Simpsons living room each year? We doubt it, but the coincidence definitely raises an eyebrow.

The Simpsons Future Predictions

This can be categorised as one of many future predictions that The Simpsons have got right. When Donald Trump ascended to the presidency in 2016, viewers remembered the 1998 episode ‘Bart to the Future’ where Donald Trump becomes president. Even the campaign posters were almost identical apart from the slogan. The Simpsons thought he’d opt for ‘America, you can be my ex-wife!’ instead of ‘Make America Great Again’.

This is just one prediction in a long list, from Las Vegas circus tiger attacks to the mass hysteria of the Higgs Boson particle; The Simpsons have had an uncanny ability to see into the future. So, are the writers time travellers?

Probably not.

The truth is, the Simpsons have been going for so long and the world around them has always informed their jokes. In 30 years of writing jokes based on current affairs, some of those scenarios are bound to come true. After all, Donald Trump expressed interest in running for the presidency as early as 1988, a whole decade before the ‘Bart to the Future’ episode and a year before the Simpsons’ first episode in 1989.

‘The Simpsons Did It Already’ is an online meme that is testament to this fact. In 30 years of the Simpsons, they’ve covered so much ground that so many hypothetical situations have already been explored by their writers. It’s made it really hard to come up with ideas for your own TV show, because pretty much anything you can think of has already been done by Matt Groening et al. So, there’s no need to believe in time travel just yet.

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Tips to Start a Freelance Business


freelance

How to start a successful freelance business?

One of the widely popular types of employment nowadays is freelance because it allows organizing one’s schedule and simply being your own boss. Those who are willing to start such business, probably already know about all the perks of this carrier. Here are simple steps to take for launching an impressive carrier.

  1. Know What to Achieve

It is better to see and visualize a final goal first of all. You need to be sure in what you want to achieve, whether it is a full-time freelancing or using it as a tool to get to another goal. You can even make a plan of the nearest steps and conduct research regarding the industry you are interested in. it is also extremely essential to find what sphere is interesting for you and focus on it. Do you like writing? Maybe you are into graphic design? Plan out what can you do and what services can you deliver.

  1. Find your Place and Audience

There is always competition and people willing to charge less. It is more efficient to narrow down your specialty to one particular sphere and become an incredible professional in it. Find the right niche for your talents and try to define your target customers. Who are these people or companies? Why do you want to work with them? How can you interest them?

  1. Choose your Path

There are many ideas and opportunities for freelancers. Some of them choose to work for companies as writers or put their information on a platform providing freelancers with clients. However, if you want to build a successful freelance business it is better to work on your own, create a website promoting your services and invest in marketing.

  1. Learn about Taxes

Depending on the governmental requirements there are several things you need to do. First of all, get a license or permit to provide services regarding the legal requirements of your place of residence. Prepare yourself to separate business and private expenses and pay tax quarterly. It is better to know all the legal details and consult on what exactly should you do.

  1. Make an Inspiring Portfolio

When launching a website it is necessary to have examples of what you can do, whether it is article or pieces of design. You need to promote yourself and interest clients in what you can deliver. It might also be necessary to give a word about yourself, create a resume. You can use resume services or look at the examples online. Put an emphasis on the actual experience and the innovations you’ve made.

  1. Set reasonable price

Do not go for the lowest rate, there will always be someone charging lower. Base the price for your services on a quality. And do not too much exposure projects.

 

Freelancing might seem challenging at first, but with reasonable planning and organization, you can achieve all your goals.

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Best Ways To Start Business When You Are A Teen


teenage business

Teenage business

Teens are often considered to be little children. Parents treat them as dependents. However, there are things that teens can do to ensure that they save enough money for themselves. College is certainly not cheap. A student needs to make sure that they have enough money to cater to their needs while at college. With a job, a teen can make enough money to help them survive their first year in college. Remember that just because you are a teen it does not mean that the taxes and other rules of business operation do not apply. This article will ensure that you understand what it takes to start a teenage business and the ways to start your own business.

Etsy

For teens with a creative mind, it is easy for them to take advantage of these characteristics and create something that can be sold. One can make jewelry, candles, edible goods, jam, swag, and even paper goods. These are great because the payment-processing fee at Esty is small and it requires a small listing. The best part is that they offer you payment collection and a complete storefront. To ensure you make maximum profit from the teenage business, you need to find a source of low-cost materials so that the price you charge will cover the production costs and time spent.

Tutor

Instead of looking for the best website to write your essay, do the essay yourself. That will help you learn as much as you can about the dos and don’ts of essay writing. It will be easier for you to tutor other high school students and help them succeed in their education, at a fee. This is also an excellent way for you to study enough to pass all your exams. Actually, you do not just have to tutor them on their academics, you can teach computer, piano and other instruments or SATs.

Social media consultant

All teenagers today have grown in the internet age. This gives them some serious advantage over the adults. When it comes to understanding the web, search engines, networking and blogging, no one understands it better than teenagers. There are companies who pay good money for people who have expertise in this area. You can make good money as a social media consultant.  If you are unsure about what you need to do, you can always read a blog or a book about it. You can also sign up for a course with Udemy. It is a job you can also do while in college because it is flexible and can be done from anywhere.

Baby sitting

This is one of the great ways to start earning money, especially if you have younger siblings. If you are good at it, you can earn money. The best part about this job is that you do not need to have any start capital. To have an added advantage, you can get some CPR training and a certificate in childcare so you can get all the calls.

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Tips To Grow Your New Personalized Portrait Business For Less


portrait business

30% of new businesses fail within the first two years, according to the Small Business Association. As such, when you’re launching your own personalized portrait business, you need to have solid marketing in place to attract customers. Additionally, you’ll need all the stock and tools required to create an original, quirky, and colorful piece that your customer will treasure forever. But, how do you ensure that you don’t overspend and ruin your growth potential?

Buy Materials in Bulk

Before you even consider launching your personalized portrait business, you should produce a detailed business plan, highlighting how you plan to grow your business and cover your expenses. As part of this plan, you’ll need to thoroughly research how and where you’ll purchase your materials from. In general, buying canvases, paints, and pencils in bulk will save you an average of 45%, according to one wholesaler. However, you mustn’t let the lure of ‘buy more to save more’ tempt you as you’ll have to sell more portraits to make a profit. So, ensure you carefully plan how many portraits you can realistically produce in a three-month period initially, and only buy the materials required to cover this output.

Offer More to Earn More

When you’re starting out in the custom portrait business, it can be tempting to offer customers portraits in standard sizes and formats to keep your costs down. However, customized goods are typically given as gifts, and this presents a great opportunity when you’re keen to get your business off the ground. By offering portrait cards, gifts, gift wrapping, colorful frames, and the option of adding a personalized message to your portrait, your business will stand out from the rest. Of course, this will increase your initial expenses. So, when you’re considering your business costs, you may need to borrow more capital in order to earn more income.

Be Accessible

Customers are prepared to pay high for personalized portraits as a unique and fully customizable design is something you can’t put a price on. But when consumers are sending you images, color swatches, and specific requests, they expect to be able to contact you as and when they need to. It’s, therefore, crucial that you have multiple methods available for them to contact you on. If you’ve met up face to face, handing out a business card is wise, whereas, being active on social media, having an easy-to-use contact form on your website, and an email address is crucial. By providing a good first-time experience, you’re much more likely to get repeat custom, positive reviews, and referrals.

Launching a personal portrait business takes a lot of enthusiasm and investment. But, by being smart with the way you launch your new venture, you can keep costings to a minimum while growing your business at the same time.

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The Most Effective Ways to Make Your Photos Popular


As far back as 2014, an annual internet trends report, published by Mary Meeker, made the astounding claim that 1.8 million digital images were being uploaded onto the internet on a daily basis. Look around you and you will agree that this is a plausible number. With the proliferation of mobile devices that have cameras, everybody has become a photographer. For anyone building a photography portfolio, the number of images around can be a predicament. How do you ensure that the images you take are seen and become popular?

Here are some suggestions on the most effective ways of ensuring that your photos become popular.

Identify your audience

Treat photos as would any other content; create them for a particular audience. Anyone creating content and believing that it would appeal to everybody will fail. Start by determining who you would want to see your photos. Once you are clear about this, determine the kind of photographs these people would want to see and give it to them.

Attempting to create images for a particular audience leads to an important question: how do you know what your audience wants? Research the audience and collect data. With the internet, it has become easy to collect data about the kind of things a particular group of people is interested in.

Follow Search Engine Optimization principles

When many photographers hear about search engine optimization (SEO), they often think that it’s only suitable for written content. This is a misconception because search engines also rank images. Hence, to ensure that your images rank higher on search engines and are seen, you have to use image optimization.

To ensure image optimization, include some relevant text explaining what is happening on the image. If your image is appealing and connected to a topic of interest, it might make sense to the person who looks at it. If it leaves a good impression on someone, they will probably share it. When an image is shared, it is likely to be seen by more people.

To help you understand how to optimize an image, look at the image below.

make popular photos

Photo by Maggie Grace Photography

One of the most important aspects of image optimization is alt text (or alt tag). This is a description you add so that if the image is not available to the visitor for any reason, they would know what is on the images. An example of such reasons would include a person who has turned off images. It is also useful for visually impaired persons using a screen reader.

The following suggestions will help you optimize the image above.

  • Select the right name for your file. Images usually have names that don’t help the reader understand what is on the image such as Nokia555444.jpg. For the above image, you would have something like, trendy-modern-wedding-attire.jpg.
  • Mention photo´s credits if you know it.
  • Ensure the image size is reduced so that it doesn’t take too long to display. In most cases, everything in between 1200 and 700 pixels is fine. We used 800 pixels on the longer side.
  • Make sure the image is responsive (i.e. can display on different devices).
  • Check on PageSpeed Insights whether your webpage loads as fast as before.
  • Compress the image so that it is stored as a small file size if you need it.
  • Caption all images so that people who scan your article will get an idea of what is in the image.

Create value

When people search the internet, they are usually looking for solutions to the challenges they are meeting. If your images create value and help people solve challenges, they are likely to appeal to an audience.

Creating value means making a decision regarding what people would use your image for. For instance, do you intend that people would use your photos as wallpapers? Then you may want to look at what people usually look for when they select wallpapers. The same would apply if you are taking photos that you want people to use for educational purposes.  It is important to inform your audience what you think the photos would be more suitable for.

Share on social networking sites

One of the most effective and scalable methods of getting anything good to go viral nowadays is social media. However, if you are going to use social media, it is important that you ensure your images are the highest quality and they are relevant for your audience.

The mistake that many photographers make is not to clearly request people to share the images they post. Many people will do nothing if they have not been asked.

When posting your images on social media, start by doing your research to determine the time when most of your images are likely to be seen by those you are targeting. You don’t have to have the resources to collect this information, some analytics specialists have probably got the information somewhere. All you need to do is to search for it.

If you follow the advice above, if you are willing to research, and if you understand that there is no magic in getting your photos popular but hard work, you will soon reap the fruit of your labor.

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How to Create a Killer Marketing Strategy To Sell Your Art


marketing strategy

One of the biggest challenges in transforming your passion for art into a business is marketing your work. As a creative soul, you are not necessarily naturally talented when it comes to promoting and selling your work. In fact, many creative find this area particularly challenging as it requires skills which are pretty much the opposite of the artistic and creative skill-set.

The good news, however, is that you can learn these skills and teach yourself to be stronger at marketing. Here is a step-by-step guide to developing a marketing strategy for artists, to let you successfully market and sell your art even if this area is not your forte.

  1. Set Goals and Objectives

The first step in developing a marketing strategy for your art is to define your goals and objectives. This will be the foundation of your strategy, because everything you plan to do follows from what you are looking to achieve.

Start by identifying your goals for your business. You goals should be the broad, overall things that you want to achieve. This could be to make a certain amount of money (either a set figure or enough to be financially sustainable, for example), to create a profile as an artist (locally, nationally or internationally), something else, or all of the above.

From there you can work out your objectives, which are the smaller, more concrete things which will bring you closer to achieving your goal. For example, if your goal is to create a public profile as a well-known artist within your area, an objective may be to attract a certain number of followers on social media.

  1. Define Your Audience

An important part of any marketing strategy is your audience. Every business’ audience will be different, and you need to know what yours is, as this defines the marketing methods and tactics you should use.

In order to define your audience think about your ideal customer: this is the person that is most likely to buy your product for the price you are willing to sell it. Your ideal customer will have an interest in your art, and the financial means to be able to buy it. Think about who this person is, down to factors like age, gender, profession and locality.

From there, explore the lifestyle and habits that person is likely to have: do they spend time on social media and if so what platforms? Are they likely to pick up flyers at community events or read the notice board at local cafes or other businesses and which ones? All of this will help you know how to market to them.

  1. Know Your Brand

As important as knowing your customer is, it is equally critical to know who you are. Every business has a brand, and if you are marketing yourself as an independent artist, you are that brand! Your brand expresses who you are as an artist, and how you want people to see you. This is really up to you to decide: your brand could be professional, playful, fun, quirky, traditional, classic, or something else. Whatever you decide, everything you do in your marketing should reflect this essence.

  1. Pick Your eCommerce Platform

These days the easiest way to sell your art is online. You may also choose to sell your art in person, either in combination with online sales or exclusively in store. However, assuming that you do want to sell your art online, you have a few options. There are a number of sites such as UGallery, Saatchi Art and Artfinder, which specialise in selling art from independent artists directly to the public. There are also sites like Ipicasso which specialise in niche types of paintings, as well as more general ecommerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy.

Another option is to create your own website and sell your art through there. This option involves more work, both in terms of setting up and maintaining the website, and also in marketing in order to drive traffic to your site (compared to other platforms which already have potential customers using that site). However, the advantage of using your own site is that you will receive 100% of the profits rather than giving a percentage to an ecommerce platform, as well as having full control over the process.

  1. Roll Out Marketing Tactics

Whether selling your art through an online art marketplace, a general ecommerce site, or your own website, you need to promote your work and yourself through marketing tactics in order to attract attention from potential customers. Social media marketing is a highly effective marketing technique for artists, especially Instagram. Because this is a visual medium, it is a great way to show your art to a whole new audience, and build a following which could turn into a customer base.

There are also a number of “ghost marketing” tactics which you can use to subtly drive traffic to your site or ecommerce listing. Ghost marketing’s strategies include SEO (search engine optimisation), digital PR and content marketing. It is a good idea to pick one marketing tactic to start and focus on this. From there, you can skill up in other areas and roll out additional strategies as your business grows.

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What A Digital Marketing Agency Can Advise Your Company When Choosing Colors


choosing colors

Colors ignite different types of emotions. Depending on which kind of feeling you plan to entice, colors are useful techniques in reaching out to your audience. Getting customers’ attention can be a challenge, but you can be more effective in this endeavor by using color theory. Many web marketing agencies, like webmarketing123, advise companies to use the right color combinations to provoke a specific response or behavior from their audience. Companies also apply color theory when it comes to their branding or logos.

 

Here’s some more advice for your company when choosing the right colors:

 

  1. Know your audience and your competition

 

Before anything else, you should know your target audience. It is essential that you fully understand the demographics and psychographics. Knowing which demographic your products serve can point you to the right colors you can use for marketing. For instance, if your audience is mostly comprised of females, you will be more inclined to use colors that appeal to the feminine psyche.

 

Benchmarking, too, may help you get an idea on how you are going to present your brand. Observe and examine your competitors’ logos, websites, and color schemes. Knowing about the competition will give you an edge not only by letting you stand out among them, but by letting you avoid copying what might already be an existing design.

choosing colors

 

  1. Know the psychological effects of colors

 

Think psychologically and know the facts of your chosen colors to your audience. Try to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Try to comprehend how they will see the meaning behind your selected colors, or their initial reactions with the colors.

 

Know what kind of face your company is going to wear. In business, your brand’s personality will identify you among the crowd, helping you create a place in the market. This is how people will find you because the market usually gravitates with brand identities that they feel are similar or could relate to them.

 

These are some of the personalities related to colors, which can help you identify yours:

 

  • Red for passion, anger, vigor, speed
  • Orange for fun, liveliness, energy
  • Yellow for friendliness, youth, and cheer
  • Green for nature, refreshment, growth
  • Blue for knowledge, peace, security, trust
  • Purple for royalty, wisdom, authority
  • Pink for nurture, warmth, softness
  • Brown for reliability and toughness
  • White for purity, virtue, cleanliness
  • Black for formality, luxury, secrecy
  • Gray for impartiality, compromise, maturity, composure

 

  1. Be direct and intentional in your approach

 

In choosing the right colors to represent you, being direct and deliberate in your approach is the best strategy. Choose your base, accent, and background wisely. These will function as initial calls to action throughout your site.

 

  • Choosing your base

Choosing the right color as your base is a vital role in building your brand identity. Your base color should match with your brand’s personality as mentioned above. That way, it is much easier for your brand to reach its target audience and attract their attention.

 

  • Choosing your accent

The second thing you need to consider after accomplishing your base is the accent. This can be the most delicate part. It is imperative for your accent to match up not just with your brand’s personality but even with your chosen base. Furthermore, it should never overlook its impact on the audience.

 

  • Choosing your neutral

The neutral color will serve as your background. Hence, try to look for a color that does not attract too much attention. Commonly, colors used as neutrals are white, gray, beige and its variations.

 

Black can be used as a neutral color, too; however, it needs careful attention. Black as a background can be inflexible and only works with specified colors, mainly white. Furthermore, having white text on a black background may slow down people’s reading speed because it’s not the format that most are used to.

 

  1. Stand out

 

Don’t be afraid to set your brand apart and be different. The goal is to be different and to stand out but in a good way.

 

Here are some examples of companies that brilliantly differentiated themselves:

 

  • Cadbury

Cadbury uses purple as its product’s primary color. It unlikely for a chocolatier to use such unique and random color. Commonly, when it is chocolate, warm colors such as brown or red best suit with it. However, Cadbury decided to stand out and utilize the color to bring their product into the pedestal.

 

  • UPS (United States Postal Service)

This logistics company used the color brown as their brand color. In 1916, where the color brown is much perceived as an epitome of luxury, it is a very unfavorable choice. However, UPS proved everyone wrong and used color brown to evoke simplicity and honesty.

 

  • Veuve Clicquot

Yellow for the color of expensive champagne is so unlikely and intriguing. Yellow, which signifies friendliness, youth, and cheer, do not typically match to a champagne product in the general view. Regardless of how people perceive it, Veuve Clicquot just made a visual innovation to promote their brand further.

 

The Bottom Line

 

There is no shortcut in the process of finding the right colors. There is no right or wrong way either. It may sound daunting, but it can also be enticing. Don’t be afraid to try out different things and to follow your gut feeling. The primary purpose of using colors is to convey the right emotions, thus never neglect your own.

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7 Ways to Boost Your Brand Identity Online


brand

Before you can take steps to boost your online brand, you need to know what you want it to be. Your brand identity is akin to your personal identity.

 

The characteristics and traits that differentiate you from others constitute your personal identity. Your brand identity is made up of the look and feel of how your company presents itself including your:

 

  • Logo
  • Tagline
  • Jingle
  • Slogan
  • Typography
  • Packaging
  • Content

 

Your brand identity includes any visual or audio representations that others recognize as your company.

Be Consistent

Brands that consistently and honestly promote their message are powerful. Think about some of the most famous brands. What is it about them makes them recognizable to you?

 

Is it their logo like McDonald's golden arches? Or their slogan like Verizon's "Can you hear me now"? What do you think of when you hear "Good to the last drop?" That's right, Maxwell House coffee.

 

How did these major brands gain such recognition? By consistently and repeatedly exposing the public to their visual, audio, and content-related brand identity.

 

The more consistent you are in your branding, the more familiar your target market will become with your business.

Create a Brand Book

Once your company has established your brand identity and chosen your logo, tone, typography, and design styles, you want to be sure all employees and departments consistently speak in one voice.

 

Creating a professional brand book will keep your entire team on point with your brands message. Also, being able to align your business strategy with your brand position is facilitated by the creation of a brand book.

 

It also saves time for companies of all sizes if you add staff to your team or replace a designer. New employees can get up-to-speed very quickly by referring to your brand guidelines.

Speak with One Voice

Your brand is also reflected in what you do and don’t say on social media. Part of your brand identity is to know your target audience and to speak to them on all relevant platforms in the same voice.

 

Spend more time on the social media platforms where your target audience hangs out. For example, if you are selling clothes for teenage girls, your social media focus should be on Instagram and Tumblr as opposed to Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

Be sure that the type of language you use, like your captions on Instagram or your Facebook posts, speak directly to your audience.

 

All content you publish and share, such as blog posts or social media stories, should reflect your brand and be consistent.

 

Whether your brand voice is humorous, makes use of colloquialisms, or is more fact-based and diplomatic, as long as you "speak" consistently and authentically, your audience will feel a connection to you and be more likely to trust your brand.

Use an Emotional Appeal

Did you know that most purchase decisions are based on emotion? For brands who are trying to get more buyers, understanding this concept can help.

 

Your brand story should communicate feelings by appealing to the emotions of your target audience.

 

Even if someone in your target audience sees an online video, image, or post, and they are not ready at that moment to make a purchase, they will feel a connection to your brand.

 

If they consistently see the same or similar messaging that elicits an emotional response, when they are ready to make a purchase, guess whose brand they will remember? The one they feel an emotional connection to and the one they trust is the brand they will purchase from when ready.

Be Creative

When you are developing your brand strategy, be creative so that your online voice and content is unique, engaging, and compelling.

 

It is vital that your brand stand out from your competitors. So when deciding on your company logo, the fonts you use, the colors you choose, and your overall style, make sure they all resonate with your prospective customers.

 

To determine your correct voice and identity, study the demographics, preferences, and needs of your target market.

Understand Your Competition

For your target market to purchase from you and not your competitors, you should know who is competing with you in the same space and what they are doing to attract customers.

 

Do some research to find out where they are hanging out online and be sure you are there, too. Your goal is to do what your competitors are doing - only do it better.

 

Also, try to identify gaps in what your audience needs to see or hear and develop your brand strategy around what your competitors are not doing.

 

You want your brand to fulfill needs, be the solutions for any problems, and be memorable and recognizable.

Show Some Personality

Some companies decide to create a fun and humorous brand identity. If you are in a niche where being comedic is appropriate, give it a shot.

 

Some major brands create silly or outrageous online campaigns that work. A few examples are:

 

  • Charmin: Using cute and silly campaign strategies, like the hashtag #tweetfromtheseat, help to keep Charmin a leader in the toilet paper industry due to their creative marketing strategies.

 

  • Old Spice: Historically known as your dad’s aftershave, Old Spice chose to rebrand in unusual and humorous ways, including using sassy social media strategies to remain relevant and memorable.

 

  • Squatty Potty: This brand utilizes unusual and comedic marketing to promote a rather bizarre concept. But it works. After receiving financial backing from appearing on Shark Tank, Squatty Potty enjoys market dominance in a somewhat sensitive niche.

 

Creating and building a brand identity is a process, and it is often not a finite one. In the case of Old Spice, they needed to rebrand to remain competitive.

 

Continue to study your market and your competitors. Measure the success of your current branding initiatives and marketing strategies.

 

Make changes where needed and test branding strategies frequently to keep your brand in the minds of your target audience.

 

Image Pixabay CC0 License

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Tips for Strategic Writing for Your Brand


strategic writing

Content marketing is essential for branding. Special marketing content plays an important role to increase the engagement of customers. To get desired results, you have to create engaging web content with a tagline, a catchy message, and call to action. With inspiring stories, you can create the first impression with your customers. Consider the advice of professional writers with the story and essay help to give a different voice to your business. Make sure to engage people with your brand to drive desired behavior.

Every brand needs high-quality, original content to bring your brand to life. Here are some essential components of strategic writing:

  • Tagline (a clear message for your customers)
  • Web content
  • Brand manifestos and brand stories
  • Marketing brochures
  • Important marketing articles

Strategic writing for your brand is necessary to increase the engagement of customers on a deeper level. Feedback and involvement of people are essential to get fresh ideas to make your brand memorable. Original content is authentic and compelling for your customers.

Bring Traffic with Articles

As per Derek Halpern, you have to spend 20% of your time in writing and 80% in its promotion. If you know promotion tactics, you can bring visitors even with mediocre content. Without contagious content, your dream to get tons of traffic can’t become a reality. Communicable means engaging articles. Try to write on interesting topics that force readers to share it with other people. With contagious articles, you can naturally increase your traffic.

Work on a Proven Idea

If you want to increase awareness of your brand through your writing, you have to be shameless to steal ideas of other people. A tool like Buzzsumo may help you to find strong ideas. Type your keywords in the search field and check the most shared blogs and articles based on your anchor texts.

Check community sites to see massively contagious articles and blog posts. If you are blogging in the marketing niche, you can find great ideas from Buzzsumo. It is true that you can steal ideas, but you can’t steal words from other articles. Your readers will ultimately find that you are a copycat. This situation can ruin your credibility.

Keep it in mind that you can improve articles and an original idea so that people can’t recognize it. Here are some ideas to enhance the quality of your article.

  • Write smart articles to impress readers.
  • Articles must contain actual ideas and force people to share it.
  • The article should have practical value so people can get some credit for sharing it.
  • Make sure to create the content that people would like to read.

Before writing on an idea, read maximum articles available on the internet. Keep it in mind that stealing an idea from a person is plagiarism, but stealing from several sources is research.

Use Visual Elements in Articles

People love graphics, so include several images in an article. Make sure to create custom images to illustrate important points. Your article must have these visual assets.

  • Photos of interesting/relevant events, concepts, things, places, and people.
  • Graphs and charts to explain/illustrate the numbers behind a phenomenon or story.
  • Visuals represent concepts, elements or procedures that enable better/faster understanding.
  • Screenshots with explanations/examples/notes of different events
  • Comics, such as storyboards or illustrations that tell narratives visually

Copywriting Techniques

A story can sound completely different depending on the narrator. A few people have extraordinary talent to tell a boring story into an engaging manner. If you are not gifted to write creative stories, you can create viral headlines. A weak headline can kill your article, so create an exciting headline. Clickbait headlines aim to exploit the inquisitiveness gap to provide enough information to make readers curious.

Optimize Articles with Relevant Keywords

Without targeted keywords, you can’t optimize your articles. The Keyword Planner of Google helps you to brainstorm potential keywords. Keyword optimization is essential for link building, content creation, and content strategy.

After choosing focused keywords, you have to mention it in the title tag. Keyword optimization is essential in a link building strategy. Navigational links, breadcrumb links, inbound links, and internal links must have optimized keywords. To get a better ranking, you have to connect with searchers. Target keywords are necessary for your content.

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