The Hottest Color and Shopping Trends for Spring and Summer 2019


Hottest Color and Shopping Trends

 

Shoppers and retailers have one thing in common: they always want to stay on top of the latest trends. And that is why everyone should be on the lookout for the hottest shopping trends out there.

 

The thing about fashion and shopping trends is that every season, a lot of things fall out of favor and many other trends rise. And yet there are classics that continue to reign, so you should know about those eternal trends.

 

Whether it’s for spring or summer, it can be quite difficult to keep up with these ever-changing trends. So today, we will take a look at the colors and trends that are dominating this year, so that you don’t get left out. Suffice to say, spring and summer 2019 are going to be exciting.

The Colors of Spring and Summer

 

For 2019, the hottest colors are going to be red, clear blue, yellow, orange, and metallic. You can go bold with your color options this year because these hues are going to be everywhere.

 

Wine red, mandarin orange, butter yellow, teal, and mauve are the colors of the season. However, metallic pieces should not be ignored, because these items have been conquering the runway for a while. Even various metallic shades are being used to shake things up: pink, gold, and green that lean towards silver, for example, are worth exploring.

 

For even more options, there are other sleeper picks to look out for. Living coral, which is a salmon-pink color, is a surprisingly popular pick. Dove blue, lemon verbena, dusty rose, and even beige are slowly making a case for themselves.

 

The color theme of spring and summer 2019 is “empowering colors”. These various shades could make anyone feel empowered.

Denim and Leather Remain in the Spotlight

 

Fashion designers are still flaunting their skills by using these two, ever-reliable materials. Denim and leather are all over the runways, and you can expect them to be everywhere this season too.

 

However, crochet and vinyl are hot on their tracks and are eagerly waiting for their moment in the spotlight, because these fashion choices are definitely gaining popularity.

Shoes and Accessories to Wear this Season

 

Instagram really is taking over the social media industry by storm, and that is part of the reason why millennial's are so trend-conscious these days. Accessories that are slowly captivating this generation are micro-sunglasses, fishing hats, scarves, and necklaces. It’s interesting that millennial's are stacking as many necklaces as possible—this is a surprising new trend that remains relevant in spring and less for summer 2019.

 

And don’t underestimate the power of statement earrings. Bigger, angular, and embellished statement earrings are really making their mark on the fashion world these days.

 

As for shoes, you’ll see a strikingly large amount of yellow being worn everywhere: runways, streets, etc. Footwear choices that were popular last season are expected to remain on top of the trends this year. But also try animal prints, transparent bands, and rope/braided slippers if you want to spice things up.

Other Trends to Watch Out for

 

Catwalks were filled with asymmetrical, one-shoulder dresses. But even more interesting is the fact that the polo dress is seemingly making a comeback. The oversized shirt, the so-called boyfriend shirt, and the oversized blazer are also in this season.

 

If you want to keep things interesting, the Wild West remains an important theme that anybody can try. Cotton is combed with heavier suedes and leather. The western focus easily shifts from practical outerwear to more romantic clothing.

Keep up with the latest fashion trends this season and visit The Shops @Rockvale at 35 S. Willowdale Drive, Lancaster, PA 17602.

Read the full post

Beautiful And Original Product Designs


product design

One of the great aspects of technology is that we now have access to more products than ever, no matter where in the world they are manufactured. In fact, all it takes is one click for many of these products to arrive at our doorstep days later. There are some that believe that one of the most important aspects of a product is the way that it is designed, and there are others that even believe that product design can affect human beings to the point where it can change the world. Either way, here are some of the some of the most incredible and original product designs in the world.

 

Dyson Air Multiplier

 

There are few individuals that are as respected in the world of design as Sir James Dyson, and that is one of the reasons why his company, Dyson, has been so successfully, consistently generating billions of revenue every year. The company shocked the world in 2009 when it introduced the Air Multiplier, the futuristic circular orb that marketed itself as the world’s first “bladeless fan”. The product works thanks to forcing air through a circular aperture, and it has an impressive air flow - while still arguably being the most futuristic and original fan design ever created. There’s no question that the Air Multiplier has cemented its place in history.

 

Ember Mug

 

One of the reasons that the Ember Mug is so revolutionary product-wise is because of the individual behind Ember, and that would be Clay Alexander. There are certain individuals that are simply meant to create, and one could certainly argue that Alexander is one of them. This is hard to deny, especially when one considers that he is an American inventor and entrepreneur that has over 100 patents, and started his own company - still active to this day - at the age of 23.

 

One of the greatest things about modern design is that it allows the user to personalize and customize as much as possible. With Ember - you have a coffee mug where the user can actually control the temperature. For coffee lovers, users can actually set a precise temperature that they prefer, and the Ember mug can ensure that temperature for at least two hours. It truly is remarkable how much we can personalize our lives, thanks to technology.

Seiko Presage SARX055

The truth is that there are more smartphones in the world than ever. Specifically, there are well over 2 billion smartphones in the world, which shouldn’t be surprising, considering that technology continues to get more affordable. As a result, many people use their phones to tell time. However, this certainly doesn’t mean that a watch isn’t a necessary part of our wardrobe. It certainly says a lot about a young professional, no matter what gender they are, if they are wearing watches that compliment their clothing, or the situation, as much as possible. It shows a keen attention to detail, and that they care about their appearance, as well.

 

Since smartphones are more advanced than ever, and can do everything from make sure that we stay as fit as possible, as well as a device that we can watch movies on - why not make sure that our watch is as minimalist as possible? Of course, for an executive or a boss - maybe your watch can make a certain statement. There might be a need to show off your own personality or individuality, and you can opt for an interesting design or color. However, one classic option is the Seiko Presage SARX055. The beauty of this watch is that it is simultaneously modern, but also seems timeless because of how incredibly simple it is. While there are some that might worry about a watch being “too simple”, it somehow seems to be modern while still paying homage to the past. The minimalist design has been influenced by none other than the Japanese cocktail bar scene, believe it or not. Either way, the Seiko Presage SARX055 is a great way to make a statement without being desperate for attention.

Read the full post

16 Design Ideas for Student's Dorm


dorm decor

Nothing entirely comes close to the excitement of packing off to campus for the first time, and it gets even better once you realize that you now have your private space-with no parents around!

Unfortunately, though, university bedrooms are not a sight to behold. Not only are most of them dull, but also unfavorably drab. Nonetheless, don’t let it dim the light of your spark! With a few easy tips, you can transform your otherwise dull dorm into a stylish and dashing new abode in no time!

Below are some easy hacks to decorate your student dorm room and make it picture worthy.

  1. Light it up!

What is perhaps among the easiest ways of making your room extra cozy is the use of fairy lights in brightening up your space. For more adventure, you can go with neon lights. With the fairy lights, you can drape them around your room or use them to hold up photographs with pegs.

  1. Create your own deadline board

It is no brainer that as a student, you have a lot of things to remember including exam dates, essay deadlines, and even class hours. Even so, while you could have your room stacked with post-it notes, you can go the relatively neater option of creating a deadline board.

  1. Customize your bookshelf

If you only get a little more creative, you can transform virtually anything to hold your possessions. For instance, you can modify a small stepladder to a delightful storage feature with some attention and love. If you have a bookshelf with a plain panel, you can customize it by adding some of your photos into the empty spaces behind your books.

  1. Don’t forget your drawer space

Simple, innovative measures can transform your drawer space to make it look both attractive and organized. You can take dividers for instance and quickly spice up a sock or underwear drawer instantly.

  1. Make your own removable wallpaper.

dorm design

While this one sounds quite ridiculous, take a moment and understand what it means for you. Word is that you can create temporary wallpaper by using just plain fabric sheets and liquid starch. Imagine that! Surprisingly, all you need to do is pick your favorite material (choose a wacky color) and get a sponge roller to stick it up using the liquid starch! Luckily for you, in case you need to move out, all you need to do is peel it off!

  1. Poke holes in lamp shades

dorm design

You can personalize virtually anything-including plain lampshades. Once you poke holes in the lampshades, you can project any pattern you wish across your room.

  1. Make your own headboard

While it is exciting to get a room on campus, the disappointing thing is that you can have an awfully dull bed staring at you once you arrive there. However, if this is the case, you can create your own headboard to give it a light touch of personality. Luckily, all that is required of you is to make a trip to the closest hardware outlet and pick up a plank of wood. You can decorate this plank with fabric, light, or anything else you fancy.

  1. Use a Washi Tape on Everything…

If you don’t know what a Washi Tape is, it is a remarkable Japanese masking tape which is not only reusable but also removable!  These characteristics render it suitable for numerous diverse roles including creating removable wallpaper, design photo frames, not to mention what is perhaps the most captivating functions, creating pineapple-themed wall art!

  1. Spice things up with cozy cushions

Spice up your bed by pilling up some cozy, patterned, and colorful cushions on it. Any cushions with quirky or eccentric design or slogan cushions can spark some life to your bed area. You can also get adventurous with shapes, prints, or even sizes which contrast against your bedding to make your space pop up with a remarkably cozy bed! You can check out Etsy for these and much more selections to suit any student room.

  1. Personalize your hangers

dorm design

If your room has an open wardrobe that features a visible hanging rail, the whole setup can look quite messy in an instance especially if you are using a load of mismatched hangers. Alternatively, you can decide to purchase a set of relatively cheap hangers and proceed to tailor them to match your room. You can add sequins, and either spray paint them with gold to a chic touch or cover them with fabric.

  1. Add some greenery

While there is nothing much to this little trick, adding some plants across your room is a simple way to spark some life into your room. What’s more, this trick comes with a surprising assortment of health benefits such as making the air cleaner as well as enabling you to study better (for real!). Jade plants, rubber trees, not to mention rubber trees are some few examples of simple to maintain plants you can start with.

  1. Paint your own rug

One of the simplest ways to land a personalized, unique rug is just to paint one. You can find an assortment of cheap rugs in thrift shops as well as numerous other secondhand outlets which you can use. However, for the best results, go for one with a relatively low pile.

  1. Use your furniture to break up space

If your room is a studio apartment, it can give you problems thinking about how to work on the open space. However, there is a simple fix to it! You can make use of your furniture pieces to establish different ‘zones.' As a first, you can set up your working desk along the living room side to separate the living room from your sleeping area. There are multiple ways you can do it… Be sure to visit Houzz to get some inspiration or

  1. Make your desk a creative hub

As you will discover from various sources and surveys, college life is quite a buzz and crucial, and the load you get in school in order to enroll can be so enormous that it’s difficult to keep up. That' why students turn to numerous online essay writers who can get your assignment done for you with ease and on time.

Nonetheless, this is not to say that you still can’t invest in a desk to do your research or review your custom essay.  If you have a desk in your dorm room, it does not hurt to make this place worth sitting at. You can spruce up the desk area with photos, colorful lanterns, or even plants. If you want to attach items to your room wall, you can try the UHU white tack as it doesn’t leave any stains.

  1. Switch your handles

Are you fed up of the fittings which came with your dorm room? If so, there are numerous easy ways you can follow to spice up things a little bit. To start with, you can unscrew handles on old furniture such as your drawers and screw in some new ones of your choice. The options are unlimited, but be sure to put back the old handles once your tenancy is over to avoid getting in trouble!

  1. Organize messy wires

It is no brainer that you, of course, have a phone, or even a tablet and a laptop…right? Each of these gadgets needs to charge regularly. With such a tangle of wires, it is very easy for the electronic cables to pile up and become unsightly. However, we have a solution to it; create your own charging station. It is surprising how easily things get tidier without all these wires entangled around the room.

Read the full post

5 Jewelry Trends for 2019


2019 has observed a rising trend in jewelry that has moved away in the far more preferred chokers and sautoir necklaces of 2018. Jewelry that stands out in the crowd, which is bold and embellished have become the should have pieces of this year. Observed on numerous red carpets, the A-list globe has embraced these should have pieces from the moment. Listed below are just five jewelry trends that have set 2019 on fire.

 

Layered necklace

 

The latest trend inside the world of models, musicians and social media it-girls, is definitely an effortless style to pull off. The layered necklace appear is brash and bold and pretty popular. Without the need of the must acquire anything new, you can produce this appear by utilizing your old necklaces from yesteryear. Gold chained, vintage or studded, the style is versatile sufficient to be used with a range of necklaces.

Tassel Earrings

 Readily available inside a multitude of colours and styles. The tassel earring could be the must have trend for 2019. Observed around the ears of many a Hollywood starlet, they give the wearer a unique and bold appear. With several web sites providing ways to generate your pretty own DIY set, the tassel earring is an straightforward technique to look both fashionable and save on revenue.

jewelry

Bar Necklace

Uncomplicated and understated, however diverse adequate to stand out. The bar necklace is actually a versatile piece of jewellery for your collection. Coming in many shapes and types, the necklace might be as extravagant or as straightforward as you like, and may even be engraved as engravable jewelry for that custom look. Observed about the necks of some of hollywoods most elite, from Emma Watson to Jennifer Lawrence, the bar necklace tends to make for a fantastic every day accessory.

 jewelry

Ring Set

A uncomplicated ring on its own doesn?ˉt make a great deal of a statement, but a complete ring set shows a uniqueness to your style that will have others staring in envy. In whatever colour you favor, a ring set in your fingers will provide you with the confidence of an A-lister.

jewelry

Backed Earrings

A well known jewelry piece for brides around the country, the stud earrings make a massive statement. Intricately crafted and dazzlingly wonderful, they come in a huge selection of components and designs, from kundan to polki. The stud backed earrings are this years have to jewelry piece for finding married. 2019’s jewelry trends have seen a lot of styles emerge. All of which make significant statements, with out ever overdoing it. From the extravagant stud earrings, towards the straightforward and versatile bar necklace, 2019 has been an excellent year for searching confident and standing out from the crowd.

jewelry

Read the full post

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the full post

Things to Keep in Mind to Make Your Website Look More Attractive


website design

All the web designers wish that they work on a well designed and formatted website. However, it doesn't mean that the website has to look all glitter and flawless. It means that how professional and sophisticated your site looks. Reason being, a number of websites are available online that are attractive but are unable to enchant and captivate potential customers. Therefore, web designing is crucial if you want your business to grow when it comes to web designing.

 

This article has clubbed together some of the top ways in which you can make your website look more attractive.

 

  • Keep the basic design simple

You must have noticed that certain websites have dozens of highlights, drop shadows, borders, and colors over the webpage. This would look colorful but might often fail to attract the customers. If you are planning to create a web design that it is loaded with colors and lines, this might be the right to drop it. Reason being, visitors will find it really hard to hunt for the relevant information and might consequently drop the idea of visiting your site.

 

In this era, minimalism in everything is becoming more and more wanted. Therefore, you should adopt a more sophisticated design that looks neat and tidy when approached. Adding tons of flashy elements will ultimately turn off the impression of your content and services provided.

 

  • Make the navigation over your website easy

An ultimate goal that every skillful web designer aspires to achieve is to give the best customer experience. A responsive web designer will make both the ends meet to get the best out of what is available. One of the awesome ways by which he can achieve this is causing the navigation over your website simple. Customers are in a great hurry to hunt for the required information.

 

Therefore, the website should look clean, neat and well organized so that the customers can get what they want easily with just a few hits.

 

  • Use the white space thoughtfully

Having a cluttered website design makes it tough for any visitor to be able to differentiate between various thoughts and ideas. It is necessarily the empty space that is devoid of any text or image and is strategically used to give a neat layout to the site. Moreover, white space determines the readability of the content published on your website along with deciding how appealing it looks to any visitor.

 

  • Use big and high-quality images

Using high-quality images may take a bit of time to get loaded, however, will make your website appear one in a million. Using these high-quality images will enable your site to look more professional. This will attract customers and eventually increase the traffic on your website.

 

Therefore, factors like choice of font, quality of images, use of CTA buttons etc. are essential when it comes to web designing. The first impression over your potential customers must be great. This will make them to visit our website more often.

Read the full post

How to Build Your Website to be Safe From Cyber Attacks


cyber security

Today, at least 55% of all websites are built on content management systems (CMS). Data from Web Technology Surveys show that only 45.4% of websites are coded from scratch.
While CMS platforms such as WordPress present an easier way to build websites and also come with a lot of SEO tools and advantages, they are not without downsides.
The key one is cybersecurity with studies showing that most come with security vulnerabilities. This explains why websites built on CMS are among the top hacking targets on the internet.
Whether you are using a CMS or coding your website from scratch, it is essential that you take precautionary cybersecurity measures.
Remember that the internet users of today are highly informed and super-conscious about cybersecurity and are therefore likely stigmatise your brand at the first sign security loopholes.
Here are some cybersecurity tips to take into account when building a website using a CMS. Some of these measures are also applicable to hand-coded websites.

Ensure secure hosting
Before everything else, you need to ensure that you subscribe to a reputable and adequately secure web hosting.
The first step to determining the best web hosting provider is by reading other customers’ online reviews. It is important to note that some of these reviews may be faked and therefore only settle for a well-known provider.
Also, ensure that the hosting provider offers the necessary tools to secure your site and its functionality. Some of the things to look for include the SSL certificate and an SFTP option. CMS platforms such as WordPress provide free SSL certificates.
Another thing worth checking is whether the hosting provider offers backup tools. These tools protect your data from loss in the event of a system failure. While the task of backing up your data relies on you, you should ensure that the hosting provider has sound backup procedures and they back up their servers regularly.

You should also check whether their servers are maintained adequately and have a published security protocol.
Have a web-application firewall (WAF) in place

Another must-have tool in the website building process is a web application firewall (WAF). This tool can be software or hardware based, and its main purpose includes filtering unwanted traffic between your website server and data connection.
Common forms of cybersecurity issues addressed by WAF include hacks, DDoS attacks, Brute Force attacks, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and Zero-day exploits.
Even better, this tool offers virtual patching before CMS platforms release virtual patches. The virtual patching is on a continuous basis meaning that hackers have no room to exploit unseen security loopholes.

On top of that, a WAF increases site speed and performance via top-level caching mechanisms. In the unlikely event that your website gets infected, a WAF greatly enhances the ability to clean your website faster and efficiently.

If you are using WordPress, there are numerous WAF plugins that you can install on your website. Popular plugins include Wordfence, Sucuri, Cloudflare, Stackpath, and NinjaFirewall.

Have Monitoring tools in Place
Website security monitoring tools are meant to help you to scan for vulnerabilities on your website and take the necessary measures.
Without these tools, you are likely to remain in the dark on the potential dangers facing your website until it is too late.
For most CMS platforms, there are multiple free tools that you can install to receive updates on your website security. The most common with WordPress users is SiteLock, a tool that identifies and fixes threats.
Other common monitoring tools that you should look for include Scan My Server, Sucuri, Quttera, Detectify, Web Inspector, and Netsparker Cloud. Each of these tools has unique monitoring functions, and therefore you should explore each and its benefits.
Use a VPN

A VPN is another must-have tool for your website security. With cyber attacks becoming complicated by the day, cybersecurity experts are recommending an extra layer of security on top what is commonly used.
What a VPN does is to encrypt your internet activity hence keeping off snoopers including your ISP, government agencies and cyber attackers.
In most instances, hackers must identify your hosting details to be able to perpetrate attacks on your website. A VPN alongside SSL completely hide your activities and CMS usage behind multiple layers of encryption.

Whether you are building your own site or for a client, a VPN will help you hide your trails and therefore keep attackers at bay. When shopping for a VPN, only settle for reputable brands and do research on where they stand in terms of speed, security, and accessibility.
There are many VPN options out there, but from our own experience, NordVPN is the best for website security.
Final Verdict
Website security should be a top priority for every web developer irrespective of whether they are coding from scratch or using a CMS. The website building process should involve measures such as researching and installing highly reputable security tools.

Read the full post

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.

Read the full post

Lighting Colour And The Effect On Our Sleep


lamp shade

Sleep is one of the most important activities that we engage in and it’s essential to ensuring optimal health. Lack of sleep can compromise your ability to perform even the most basic mental functions like focusing on a task or processing thoughts clearly. That’s why it’s paramount to not only focus on the quantity of sleep but on the quality as well.

According to experts, light exposure can have a tremendous effect your body’s internal clock. This is what makes us feel sleepy when it’s dark and energized when the suns out. New research suggests that it’s not just the presence or absence of light that affects our circadian rhythm, but the color of that light as well.

This might explain why we feel a certain way when we see a beautiful peachy sunset or the blue light emanating from our electronic devices.  Read on to find out how lighting color can affect your sleep.

 

Blue Light

It’s a well-known fact that the blue light coming from our laptops and smart devices can have a detrimental effect on our circadian rhythm. That’s because it suppresses the body’s ability to produce melatonin and this gives rise to problems like insomnia and restlessness. That’s also why we tend to have a harder time falling sitting in front of a laptop or smartphone screen.

The PLOS Biology journal published a 2015 study which was aimed at understanding how mice responded to light color exposure. What makes this study unique is the fact that it focused on the effect of light color on suprachiasmatic nucleus. This is the part of the brain that regulates time through chemical signals. As such, the researchers checked the mice’s mental and physical chemical reactions to light color changes.

During the research, the mice were exposed to different levels of light intensity and darkness while measuring their suprachiasmatic nerve signals. To achieve this, the researchers used a “fake sky” setup, kind of like in the Jim Carrey movie The Truman Show. The researchers also tested the mice’s response to different light colors like the purples and peaches that you get during sunrises and sunsets.

The data showed that the mice reacted normally to regular light exposure. However, the response of their suprachiasmatic nerve signals showed a 30 minute delay whenever they were exposed to conditions that went from light to dark without any changes in color hue. This is like working on your laptop all night and being exposed to its blue light and then suddenly switching it off without any sort of transition light color.

This research also shows us that the mice actually needed changes in light color to help them transition from light to dark. So the intensity and color of light has a strong correlation to our sleep patterns because science has shown us that there is a strong link between humans and mice in terms of suprachiasmatic nerve signals.

It’s also interesting to note that LED light bulbs may affect our ability to fall asleep because they emit more blue light than other light bulbs. But, according to the Elektra lighting design team, light fittings with specially engineered LED light can actually facilitate better sleep by emiting a unique amber glow.

 

Rectifying the Problem

The good news is that there are certain methods that we can apply to correct the problems caused by blue light exposure. The most obvious solution is to work on drastically reducing your exposure. This is understandably difficult for anyone living in the 21st century because we conduct most of our lives through a screen interface.

But, even if you can’t eliminate the use of blue light emitting screens during the day, you may do so at night. Try and read a book instead of looking at your cellphone, resist the urge to check emails or texts before bedtime, and avoid watching TV for at least two hours before you sleep.

If you can’t completely avoid blue light exposure at night, then wear orange tinted sunglasses while looking at the screen to reduce its effects on your biology. Orange tinted glasses help to block the blue light, thus making it easier to fall asleep afterward.

Read the full post

Why Every Business Needs a Style Guide


style guide

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

Whether you’re a big believer in marketing, or you think that if you build it people will buy it, the fact is that your business is a brand. Your brand is like your business card, and it’s what people will experience long before they actually do business with you. It precedes you, and it’s something that you need to fine-tune constantly if you want to be able to stand out from the crowd.

 

To give you plenty of food for thought, we’ve put together a simple 5 minute read that will tell you everything you need to know about a commonly overlooked creative tool: the style guide. Have a read, sit back and reflect, and then put the hints and tips into action. Your brand will be all the better for it in no time at all.

 

A style guide saves you from wasting time discussing tangential ideas

The first thing to note about a style guide is that it will always save you time in the long run. People will probably think you’re indulging in a drawn out needlessly creative endeavor when you suggest creating a style guide, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

It will take some time to get it right, but that’s just the cost of building a brand that actually stands for something. Commit to finishing your guide no matter what, and always remember that it will save you plenty of time later on. It’s there as reference material for the lifetime of your business, and it will prove invaluable when it inevitably comes time to rebrand, or when you’re launching a new product or service. The more you put into it now, the more it will give back when you need it.

 

It will ensure you stay ‘on-brand’ at every creative turn

Staying true to your brand is easier said than done. When you’re in the thick of it and faced with half a dozen mounting deadlines it can be all too easy to churn out a logo that’s okay, and a tagline that you think is ‘good enough’. The problem is that once you launch them into the market they’re now the face of your brand. If they don’t fit with what you’ve done before then they’ll just confuse people.

 

You could always retract them, but then you just look like you’re chopping and changing the offering based on negative feedback. And that’s a surefire to lose your voice of authority and open yourself up to further criticism. Your audience doesn’t want to believe that you’re just telling them what they want to hear. They want to believe that you’re the authority, the thought leader, and the trendsetter that they’ve been waiting to buy into.

 

They connect your brand to your target audience

If you want to know why style guides matter, all you need to do is think about the last bad branding exercise you saw. It could be a website, fashion label, home collection, or anything that left you speechless. With so many different creative threads to play with, you’ll probably have been confused at how they could have got it so wrong.

 

The issue will, more than likely, have been that there was no style guide in place. The style guide is what you use to ensure there is uniformity and a common thread running through every aspect of a marketing campaign. It’s easy to copy and paste the same old tagline, but there’s a lot more to uniformity than that. You need to tailor each offering so that it’s suitable for every new platform and setting, but in a way that’s sensitive to the core of your brand. Which leads us nicely onto the next point on our list.

 

 

You can express your brand’s core ethos in a variety of different mediums

Your brand needs to have something at the center of it if it’s going to connect with the people you want to do business with. It’s an emotion that it evokes in people, and it will be far stronger than their memory of your latest tagline, sale, or discount offer.

 

The problem with tackling different promotional mediums without a style guide is that most of the time a different person will have input into each platform. You may all be working for the same end goal, but unless there is central creative guide you can all refer back to then it’s unlikely you’ll end up pulling in the same direction.

 

Your customers will actually know what you stand for

Businesses like the The Word Point work in a very specialist niche, and so need to target a specific section of the online market. This means that they need to stand for something, and just as importantly, they need to ensure that their customers know they stand for it.

 

By compiling a style guide that focuses on precision, flexibility, and knowledgeable input they can build a creative framework around their brand. If you can do the same, you’ll be able to tell a potential audience of millions what your business stands for.

 

What should your style guide include?

The specifics will depend on the size of your brand, and what industry you work in, but there are a number of core features every style guide must have:

 

  • Your logo, along with alternative forms that are used in specific settings, or on specific platforms
  • Guidelines on the position, sizing, and background colors of all content pages and their contents
  • Base typography that will be used for all of your content
  • Your core color palette that can be referred to when designing new content
  • A list of things to be avoided at all costs as they are not in alignment with your brand’s ethos

 

Static or dynamic style guides?

A style guide has to be a dynamic document, but one that is governed by a certain set of creative rules:

 

  • Guides need to evolve with the times so that they reflect the changes businesses undergo as the years go by
  • They must adapt to the launch of new sections of the business, but do so in a way that brings the new ventures under the same core brand of the business
  • Style guides cannot be chopped and changed purely because a new idea doesn’t fit in with them. Think about whether the new idea has had anything like the degree of thought put into it as the style guide, and then decide which one you’re going to keep

 

Getting the balance right between process and creativity

The final thing to say is that a style guide is a great way to help you find the right balance between process and creativity. If you have a deadline, it can be all too easy to submit something that does the job and be done with it.

 

What the style guide does in these instances is keep your output honest so that you can see whether your new content actually adds anything to your brand. Often you’ll find that referring back to the style guide points you in a subtly different direction that makes all the difference to the finished article. Ideal if you want to enhance your brand every single day.

 

pauline farris

BIO: Pauline speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian. She travelled the world to immerse herself in the new cultures and learn languages. Today she is proud to be a voting member of the American Translators Association and an active participant of the Leadership Council of its Portuguese Language Division.

Read the full post

Search The Blog

Subscribe & Share

Our Latest Tweets

Attention #colourlovers: If you need any color inspiration, check out our new palette collection on @Behance called… https://t.co/Gpx8tdkU4C
about 15 hours ago
Tweet this ArticleFollow @COLOURlovers

Latest Articles

//View More ›

Latest Colors

//View More ›

Latest Palettes

//View More ›

Latest Patterns

//View More ›