How to Simplify Your Business Graphics using Bannersnack


Bannersnack is intuitive and easy to use online tool for streamlining your visual and rich media advertising and marketing.

Gone are the days when you could get away with using stock images and unbranded visual media. In order to elbow out the competition, your business must be producing their own rich, unique media and high-quality content.

This not only includes the branding of social media, website and third-party platforms but also media buys, advertising and banners.

Why Use Bannersnack

Bannersnack is a rich image creation and management tool that enables you to produce high-quality and branded content for your website. It can create and manage your ad campaigns, social media platforms and rich media marketing online and across platforms.

Bannersnack enables you to keep all of your visual marketing for your media advertising campaigns in one place. You can create professionally animated or static advertising banners and then export them in multiple formats.

You can also embed the banners and rich media you create directly into your website or compatible third-party websites.

Being an online tool, Bannersnack can be accessed by individuals and teams in any location. It enables collaboration and multi-user functionality.

All designs and development can be organised and catalogued across departments, industries, niches and work teams.

Bannersnack Integrations

Bannersnack works with all major advertising networks including Google, Doubleclick, Facebook and more. It provides multiple formats for exporting your rich media, banners and animated artwork.

Social Media Marketing

Status network Smith Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.

The measurements for cover, post images, headers and banners for these social media platforms is pre-configured.

Simply drag and drop the text and features you want to incorporate into your media.

Google Advertising

Bannersnack is fully compatible with Google's advertising network and platform.  The tools within Bannersnack are compatible with HTML5 creation and include all the size variations you need for any Google advertising campaign.

You can create beautiful looking ads with just a few clicks and then either upload your banners to the Google adword manager or use the embed codes.

You can also add clickTag in order to track clicks in your Google advertising campaigns.

CMS Integration

Bannersnack works seamlessly with WordPress and all major cms platforms.

The interface includes full drag and drop functionality and allows you to create stunning and comprehensive visual media and images.

These are the kind of high converting images and banners that will enrich user experience, deliver pop-ups or exit intent marketing to your website.

AMP Compliance

Bannersnack will also create AMP HTML compliant banners and advertising material to use in the amp library.

This is a brand new feature of Bannersnack and has been built using the latest mobile-friendly technology in order to deliver the highest quality ads and banners for mobile users.

The Accelerated Mobile Page Project is a major advance in mobile technology and the delivery of high-quality media to Smartphones.

If you're wanting to ensure that your ads and which media get delivered and are seeing favourably by Google then Bannersnack is your best choice for rich media and visual creation.

Create Individual Items or Complete Sets

One of the things I really like about Bannersnack is that you can flick between a single item and the creation of complete rich media sets or responsive and animated images for your ad campaigns.

This saves a large deal of time and will enable marketers to get their campaign up and running quickly.

Basic standardized advertising images which are static to animated GIFs and fully mobile responsive HTML5, Bannersnack provides a huge number of templates and formats for you to work with.

It's not an overstatement to say that you can begin creating advertising campaigns or basic visual media for third-party sites in a matter of minutes.

Bannersnack can also be used to streamline and ensure consistency when it comes to content design across your website and business channels.

Bannersnack is helping more and more business to accomplish the development and creation of their visual marketing strategy in less time.

With Bannersnack you can give new life and vibrancy to your ad campaigns with little or no technical or coding knowledge.

The tools that enable collaboration are a big plus with Bannersnack. You don't need to work in isolation.

You can collaborate with other key players in order to track, catalogue and produce quality and consistently branded content.

Price-wise, Bannersnack is reasonable for a business of any size. Rather than paying for multiple tools or engaging designers for ad hoc and one of the pieces, your own in-house teams can take control of the quality and consistency of your branding and marketing campaigns.

Read the full post

Another Six Principles of Disney Animation


In our previous article, Six Principles of Animation, we learned about top six rules that leading animators at Disney use in their practice. Today, we will pay a closer look to another six principles that help Disney cartoon characters look so realistic and their movement natural or funny.

 

Arc

 

To create an impression of natural movement, we should pay attention to the arcs created by movements in our lives - for example, the arc that a ball makes when we throw it. By drawing this arc in animation, we add more sequences and make the movement seem more fluid. This technique can help us express the speed of movement as well - the straighter line of object trajectory when being thrown faster, or the arc a body makes on skates when slowing down.

 

Disney castle

 

Secondary Action

 

When creating an action, adding a secondary action to our main one gives more life to the scene. For example, adding the wind behind our character, making him scratch or whistle... These actions are supposed to support the primary actions, but not take away the attention. If the scene is dramatic itself, these actions are better left out.

 

Timing

 

Timing in animation refers to the number of frames per action. The importance of timing is super essential - it determines the laws of physics in your video, the emotional state of the character and even his/hers personality. Bare in mind that these rules here vary whether we are talking about drawing animation or computer animation.

 

Exaggeration

 

Exaggeration is particularly interesting when we are talking about comic animation or caricature, although up to an extent it is also very useful for the dynamics of realistic videos as well. Whether we exaggerate a part of our character's body (Popeye) or just highlight elements in the story line, Disney implemented this in his animations making them more interesting, while staying true to reality.

 

Solid drawing

 

Now, this is important in animating drawings, and it reminds us that it is necessary for artists to understand the bodies in 3D world, the weights of things, the way that light and shadows work, etc. Even though nowadays most artists animate digitally, it is still useful to have a drawing practice for a better sense of how things behave in real life.

 

wall-e saying bye

 

Appeal

 

For the viewers to be interested in your character's stories, they should be appealing to their eyes. This goes for the villains, as much as it goes for the protagonist. To make them look appealing means to make your character feel real and interesting. Most common technique for achieving this effect is to use simple faces and often baby-like faces, without many details.

 

These are the most important tips that best animators at the world's leading animating company wanted to share with us. Do you agree with them? Let us know in the comment section bellow and stay tuned to Colourlovers.com

 

About the author:

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

Read the full post

Why Graphic Designers Should Also Be UX Designers


Graphic design focuses on making things visually beautiful, while UX design focuses on the experience of the design and how functional everything is for the user. Combining both types of design results in aesthetically pleasing designs that are high functioning.

The world changes rapidly in the modern age, and social media has a lot to do with how immediate people expect things to be. Trends show that more and more companies are offering things immediately, including healthcare video appointments 24/7 and chatbots that talk to customers on social media sites. Here are six reasons you should add UX design to your repertoire.

1. Increase Your Income

UX designers make more on average than non-UX designers. In the United States, a graphic designer's average salary is $41,000 and a UX designer's average salary is $74,000. Adding UX design to your abilities increases your income by more than $20,000 per year.

If you work for a company, then understanding user experience may put you up for promotions and raises you wouldn't receive without that knowledge. If you own your own design company, you'll be able to bring in clients specifically looking to up their game and increase the user-friendliness of their sites.

2. Decode Artificial Intelligence (AI)

More and more sites are integrating artificial intelligence (AI) or augmented reality (AR) to create an overall exciting experience for users. However, the technology is still new, so there are bound to be glitches along the way. A UX designer will naturally focus more on the way AI integrates with the site as a whole and how the user is able to navigate various features. What isn't working, and how can it be fixed?

3. Understand Type

Typefaces are super easy to find in the 21st century. There are around 60,000 font families, so designers can choose from any of those or create a font of their own. However, knowing there are plenty of fonts isn't enough. You need to understand the emotional impact different fonts have and the story they tell the viewer. There is a long history of choosing fonts, cutting out elements to lay out on a page and coming up with a design that has elements that all work together.

Even though the process is all computerized today, the same concepts of allowing white space for the eye and using the right combination of images and letters to create an overall story apply. To fully understand what font to use where, you must first understand the background of various fonts and typestyles. Once you know the history and where those styles were used in the past, it's easier to figure out how they fit in today's world.

4. Shift Your Focus

Designers tend to have an eye for detail and want everything to line up perfectly and every pixel of an image to be 100 percent in line. However, UX designers focus more on the overall experience and how everything functions. Learning to shift your focus from general design to UX design may be challenging at first, but can also be a nice break from the perfectionistic tendencies you may have developed from years of graphic design work.

It isn't that you shouldn't present a beautiful and well-designed product to your users, but your focus is less on finding the perfect shade of red and more on how the color you did choose affects your site's visitors. You may conduct some split testing to see which shade they relate best to. You'll do a lot more usability testing as a UX designer.

5. Force Yourself to Be Mobile Responsive

More and more people are using their smartphones to access the Internet. Mobile Internet traffic is now 51.2 percent of all online traffic. As a designer, you're likely aware that more people are accessing the website via mobile devices, but as a UX designer, you'll test how the site looks on those devices. Issues such as loading times become more important as a part of the overall design.

So, if you have the choice to use a big, expansive file of a beautiful image or reduce the file size and slightly sacrifice quality, as a UX designer, you choose the reduced file size that loads fast on the user's screen.

6. Hone Your Problem Solving Skills

Some experts feel that UX design is more about identifying and solving a problem than the design itself. The process of UX design begins with studying the user and seeing what is and isn't working for them. You then design a solution to that problem and build the website or make changes that solve the problem for the user.

An example of this might be an eCommerce site where users are abandoning the shopping cart before entering the details. The UX designer will study the exact point of abandonment. Is it when they're asked to share a phone number, for example? The use of heat maps helps show the place the user is before exiting the site.

Next, the UX designer might poll some of the customers who have abandoned carts and try to identify if it was the request for a phone number that prompted them to leave. Once you recognize the problem, the solution is merely a matter of testing different options, such as removing the phone number field.

7. Resources on UX Design

If you want to expand into UX design, there are many free courses or paid classes online or via a local community college.

  • Udemy – There are a wide range of both general and very specific topics in UX design at Udemy. Prices vary, but courses start at only $9.99 each. Some of the courses include "User Experience Fundamentals" and "Mobile App Design in Sketch 3: UX and UI Design from Scratch."
  • Gymnasium – This site offers a 100 percent free course called “UX Fundamentals.” Lessons includes how to identify users, using wireframes and prototypes and analyzing users.
  • Open2Study - Open2Study is a project of the Open Universities Australia (OUA) and is a college-level course offered online at no charge. You'll learn how to create positive experiences for website visitors. The site also offers accredited courses as well.

These are just a few of the free and inexpensive resources to get you started. Your local community college is also a good source for expanding your UX knowledge.

Expanding Into UX Design

Designers learn from studying other artists, creating new things and taking courses. Hone in on the functionality of design, how to make things usable and the overall framework on which a site is designed. With a little effort, you'll become a pro at UX design and be able to add this element to your designer resume, too.

 

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

Things to remember when starting an art/animation adventure


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

 

practice every day

 

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

 

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

 

study other artists

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

learn on your own

 

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

 

use references

 

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

 

be patient

 

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

 

make something every day

 

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

 

do it out of love

 

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

 

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

 

grow an audience

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Author: Nina Petrov

Read the full post

How to Design Killer Sales Copy for Your Website


.

 

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

 

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

Your Headline

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Bullet Points

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Benefits vs Features

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

Bolding and Highlighting

 

Bolding and underlining emphasise essential points or phrases.

 

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

 

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

 

The Call to Action

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Read the full post

Things Designers Should Use In 2018


I love designers. It’s a strong statement and I can shout it out in front of millions of people, probably WordCamp will be one of the best places to do it. They do a fantastic work in a very difficult, competitive environment.

There are many tools designers as well as developers should use in 2018. They should not need to start from zero to build any new project. Especially when it comes to a huge project like building a directory website, ListingPro got your back.

Also there are multipurpose WordPress themes which are excellent and website builders that are doing a great job.

Below we wrote about almost 30 web tools and services that are effective, fast and wallet-friendly.

 

ListingPro - #1 WordPress Directory Theme

With customers from over 170 countries, prizes as the No.1 Best Seller in 2017 and 5-stars support, ListingPro is absolutely the best WordPress directory website you can get. No additional plugins needed for the basic features and there is no need to have special knowledge. Anybody will benefit by having a ready to go package to launch its own directories like Yelp, Airbnb, Capterra and other directories. Some of the biggest names in the hospitality industry is using this solution.

Their website is super simple, yet packed with the most important info. You will find more than 30 case studies with real examples of directories built with ListingPro. The features page includes more than 40 important things that this WordPress theme can do for you.

If you are looking for a feature or design elements that is not available with the purchase, they do offer customization service, so reach out to their team for a free quote.

The pricing for the basic license is $69 only and you get everything you need. Launch your directory website and start monetizing right out-of-the-box.

 

Userfeel.com | Test any Website or Mobile App‎

Userfeel is an excellent usability website and mobile app test service that is different from A/B testing and heatmaps. Here you will get impressions from real life testers that you will use from the vast network created by Userfeel. You can even add your testers to the project. Testers can be selected from various criteria like age, gender, country, web experience and language.

Userfeel is great for website owners, it is used by web designers, web developers, internet marketers and web consultants who want to open their eyes to the real world of their site's or internet market's users. It’s a good service for pretty much anyone who wants to be sure that his website is offering its visitors the experience they want to have.

A great feature that is making Userfeel even more powerful is the fact that they are working with over 20,000 testers that speak 40 languages. You can test any website in any language and you can ask testers to provide comments in your language.

For $49, the price per desktop test session, you will get a video with voice comments, you will see the tester movement mouse and the written answers to the questions you have provided when launching the project.

 

DealJumbo - Discounted design bundles with extended license!

Dealjumbo is a place where you can find exclusive deals for designers, developers, and pretty much all kind of web professionals. They offer incredible bundles for great prices. Their prices are awesome, the amount of money you save is remarkable and can help you big time in your projects. If you lower your costs you can lower the bid for a project and win it. Think about it.

On their website, you will find everything you are looking for: premium fonts, beautifully designed graphics and more. There is an on sale section and a freebies page, check both of them. You can download 1580+ free fonts & graphics. All comes with standard commercial license.

 

Brizy - Creating WordPress pages should be fast & easy

Forget everything you knew about building websites without skills and effort. Brizy is the best visual WordPress page builder on the market, transforming the user into a professional in an instant. Anybody can now create gorgeous websites that are a perfect fit for their needs and all of that in less than 1 hour.

The Brizy WordPress plugin comes with 150 excellent predesigned blocks, 4,000 icons, and options that are there for you but are not being put all in your face to complicate things. The interface is super simple to use and intuitive, being your close friend from minute 1.

Brizy is free, can be tested right now on their website and the pro version will be packed with even better things.

 

Deeezy.com – Freebies for web designers

With almost 550,000 downloads, Deeezy is a major web design deals where web professionals will find awesome premium fonts, mockups, bundles and much more, everything is hugely discounted. You will get an extended license, that means you can use the items for unlimited commercial projects.

Check Deeezy and get free and premium fonts and graphics.

 

actiTIME

actiTIME is a powerful time tracking software loaded with strong features: simple time tracking, work scope management, project cost control, leave time management, time billing reports and others.

Create project scope, assign tasks to your team, record work hours and keep everything on track with the insightful data.

The 30 days trial lets you test all the features, try it.

 

 Notism - Design & Video Collaboration for creative teams

Notism is a simple collaboration tool, yet very powerful, which includes video collaboration if needed. You can communicate via notes or sketches right on your uploaded work; share, review and sign-off visual content right where it makes sense and much more.

The price starts from $9 per month and it includes 5 projects, 5 collaborators, 10 archived projects and 2 GB space. Collaborate with easy, use Notism.

 

Goodie website - Get your website designed and coded by professionals from only $999

Goodie is a professional web development service which will get your website designed and coded by professionals from only $999. The results are outstanding, discuss with Goodie experts for your next project.

 

Codester.com - Buy Code, Scripts, Themes, Plugins and more

Codester is a huge marketplace where web professionals can buy and sell scripts, app templates, website themes, plugins, and graphics. Everything you need can be easily found on the website.

Always check the Flash sale section where items with huge discounts are being sold.

If you want to make an extra income, sell your items on Codester, they don’t request exclusivity over your products.

 

Designhooks- Free Resources for Web Designers & Developers

Designhooks is loaded with awesome free stuff for web designers and developers. The website is very well structured, items being easily found. There are PSD Mockups, Sketch, HTML templates, WordPress themes and more.

Come and get all you need, it’s free.

 

Uncode - You deserve a stunning website

Uncode is a pixel-perfect WordPress multiuse theme which you can use to build unlimited websites. It is loaded with layouts, icons and all the features you can think of. The drag and drop Visual Composer will help you build stunning pages, you don’t need to write a single line of code.

 

Pixpa – Portfolio websites for creatives

Pixpa is a powerful portfolio website builder with integrated e-commerce. The drag-and-drop builder is making wonders in terms of ease of work and functionalities. Everybody can use it without having any coding skills or experience.

You can try it for free for a period of 15 days to test all the features.

 

Format – Free Website Template Using Bootstrap For Portfolio

Format is a stunning free website template that can be used to create your next portfolio website. It is a perfect fit for designer, web studios, and agencies, with a gorgeous design and useful features. Check the demo and use it in your projects.

 

ContentSnare - Gather Content From Your Clients Without The Hassle

Chasing customers to send the content is a demanding and time-consuming task. Content Snare can do that for you in a few steps so you can focus on the work. You create “requests’ with all the piece of information you need from the client, you set a due date and a follow-up schedule and the rest is being handled by Content Snare. When the customer will send the content, you will be immediately notified.

The pricing starts at $29 per month.

 

uSocial.pro

uSocial.pro is a convenient builder of “Like” and “Share” buttons for your website. More than one hundred button designs with hover effect and counters will help you find a perfect match for any page. uSocial buttons are mobile-friendly and make it possible for your followers to share interesting content with their friends through Viber, WhatsApp, Telegram and SMS in one tap.

 

Instant Logo Design

Whenever you want a beautiful logo in seconds and you want a budget-friendly solution, Instant Logo Design is the perfect software to help you. You simply enter the business name and you will get several options to choose from. The pricing starts at $29.

 

uCalc

uCalc.pro is a service for creating custom calculators that need no coding skills. You can use a ready-made calculator template or show your creativity and make it from scratch. uCalc has many benefits: convenient editor of calculator fields with various design settings, all kinds of available fields (text, number, checkbox, radio button), contact data collection,  SMS and email notifications, PayPal invoices, and even more.

 

Inkydeals

InkyDeals is a powerful name in the design deal industry, being loaded with awesome, hugely discounted items. There are great bundles to get, gorgeous graphics, WordPress and Photoshop items and much more.

Always check the free deals and Best Deals section, great stuff can be found also there.

Subscribe for the daily newsletter so you can know what new deals are available.

 

Crello

Crello is a powerful visual editor that you can use to create gorgeous graphics, everybody can be a designer with this tool. It is packed with 60 million photos, 12,000 templates, 33 design formats and 12,000 free photos and vectors. Try it.

 

MailMunch

MailMunch will help you convert your website visitors into customers, subscribers, and long-time readers. The powerful built-in editor will help you create and customize gorgeous forms that will attract your visitors and convert them.

Start with the free forever plan and upgrade it when needed. The premium plans start from $15 per month.

 

Elementor

Elementor is the Number 1 WordPress page builder with more than 900,000 users. The builder is lighting fast and can be used with any template you have installed and even if you change the theme, your designs will stay in place.

Try it and you will never let it go.

 

Controlio

Controlio will help you monitor employees PC activity from anywhere. You will have real-time surveillance, screen capture, key logging and you will always know what apps and websites are being used.

The software can be used for employee monitoring, insider threats, and productivity optimization. All of that can help any business to grow.

 

UptimeRobot

UpTimeRobot is a service that will check your website downtime every 5 minutes (free plan) or every 1 minute (premium plans starting from $4.5 per month, billed annually). You will be notified very fast via e-mail, SMS, Twitter, Slack, HipChat, Telegram, push and web-hooks.

Never let your website stay offline.

 

InvoiceBerry

InvoiceBerry is an online invoicing software for small businesses, sole traders, and freelancers. Business owners can sign up within 2 minutes and start sending their first invoices to clients. The pricing starts at $15 per month.

 

StickerYou

If you’re looking to create custom vinyl stickers, labels, decals, or other sticky products to market your brand, StickerYou has you covered. You can print any size, shape, and order quantity with StickerYou. Our products are perfect to hand out at events or sell to make extra money.

 

Foxy.io

Foxy.io is a powerful and complete cart and payment page. You can use it to sell physical products, digital products, subscriptions, donations, services, and more. It integrates with WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Webflow, and anywhere you can add a link or embed html. Foxy.io supports more than 90 payment methods (ex: Stripe, Braintree, Authorize.net, Amazon Pay, Bitcoin, Apple Pay) and has powered billions of dollars in transactions for thousands of users all over the world. Be sure to check out their Success Stories page.

 

Pofo - The Best Portfolio, Blog and eCommerce WordPress Theme

Pofo is a highly creative, modern, blazing fast and professionally built responsive multipurpose WordPress theme designed for use by creative individuals, teams, bloggers and agencies. Pofo features an outstanding selection of portfolio, blog and eCommerce design elements, and bundled with the popular and widely-used WPBakery page builder and Revolution Slider plugins.

 

RumbleTalk

RumbleTalk will help you add a web chat on your website without having any coding skills or previous experience. You can do it in a couple of minutes, offering your website visitors the possibility to quickly contact you. This can help increase the conversion rates while spending only a few bucks or even free (they have a free forever plan).

 

WrapPixel

WrapPixel is offering great admin templates, UI Kits, Mega Bundles and even Freebies. Everything is handpicked, that’s why you will see that the quality of the products is outstanding. Check their portfolio.

 

Read the full post

From a self-taught UX designer to a successful creative entrepreneur: interviewing Miruna Sfia


I’ve been working as a self-employed creative person for about 6 years. I say "creative person” because, even though for most of the time I worked as a graphic designer and illustrator - I had about 2-3 years when I also worked as a UI/UX designer for mobile apps and websites, which at the time seemed like a dream job for me. I know, you’re probably thinking it’s a big gap between designing apps and drawing things for a living, and you’re right, but I was always attracted to exploring different visual creative fields and I like how they can co-exist.

In all this time I’ve been working as a freelancer, which involves the whole package of finding clients, doing a briefing, planning a project, doing research and finally starting work on the actual designs. The process is pretty much the same for every new project I take, but of course it wasn’t always like this. Since I’m self taught, I didn’t always have a structure and I used to play it by the ear a lot back when I started, so I made many mistakes that in time helped me optimize the process I have now.

 

First of all, a little background. When I started, I had no experience as a designer, my background was in communication and a little marketing, so I had to learn Photoshop and Illustrator from scratch. It helped that I was always passionate about drawing, but not by much, since graphic design is pretty technical and I was very new to all of that. I also had to learn to find my first clients, deliver the work and get paid, even if I had no portfolio and nothing to show for my work. So I did the easiest thing at the time: started by using freelance platforms like Fiverr or Elance (now Upwork), asking for very little money (yes, I did logos for $5) and pitching my design skills to clients who had no idea who I was. It was hard work and the satisfaction of earning the first money on my own was incredible.

Finding clients

It took me a few months to become a decent designer and increase my fees, after which I started to find clients on my own, among my network. Ever since then, I never actively searched for design jobs, because I would always have people recommend me to other people or, once I got a little exposure on social media, I started receiving many emails from people who just happened to see my work and had a design proposal for me.

I would sometimes become so overwhelmed with the amount of work that came my way, that I would have to say no. That’s also when I learned another thing: as long as the demand for what you do is high, you can raise your prices and filter the projects you decide to take. I realized it's better for me to work on one big project that pays well, instead of working on 4-5 small projects that pay little money and take the same amount of energy as a big project, if not more.

 

So, after the first year in the business or so, I never had trouble finding clients. But I would say that I did two things from the very beginning, that I think helped me get clients in the long run:

  • I took time for personal work, which meant experimenting, playing around with ideas, techniques, styles etc, which is very important because it allows you to play freely and unlock new ideas which you can later use in your paid work.
  • I shared everything I did online. When I was starting out I had this blog called Friday Illustrated, where I would interview artists and designers in order to learn from them (and this was a huge resource for me, in terms of learning). And almost every artist I looked up to said the same thing: always put your work out there, either through a blog or on social media or whatever, but just finish a piece, share it with people and move on to the next. And I started doing that, which helped a lot with getting exposure, over time. People get used to what you do and to your style and they always recommend you to others, or want to work with you when they need something designed - and that’s how I got my first big clients. They were people from my community, from my network, who were starting a business or wanted to redesign their brand and approached me, because they’d been seeing my work on Facebook for years and loved my style.

 

Briefing

Once a client approaches me for a job I’m interested in, the process usually goes like this: we have a first meeting where we both determine whether or not we can work together, and if everything goes well we exchange a few emails where I ask many questions, in order to create a brief and see what exactly my job will be. Based on that, I estimate the budget and I send them a quote. I usually like to work with project based fees as opposed to hourly rate, because I feel like the value of what I’m offering isn’t always about the hours I put in. Sometimes I might spend 3 hours to reach a concept, sometimes it might take me 20 hours, depending on the project. But the value for the client is always about the end results; and the amount of time I spend getting there isn’t always a good indicator of that value.

If the client is ok with the price, we sign the contract, I usually get an advance of 25% (or 50%, if it’s a smaller project) and I start working.

 

My favorite part, the creative one, usually starts later in the process. I first need to dig deeper into what the client needs. In my experience, there’s almost always a difference between what the client says they need and what they actually need. So it’s my job as a designer to do my homework and make sure I ask as many questions as possible in order to get the bigger picture.

If it’s a visual identity project, for example, there is a lot to figure out before I start to design. I usually start by doing research about the brand, get as much info as possible on their core values, their goals, how their customers perceive them vs. how they want to be perceived (many times there are surprises here), I do research on the competition etc. This is very useful in order to offer the client a real solution, other than just execute what they say they need.

Once I have everything clear, I usually start by defining the brand’s personality, along with the client, and creating a tone of voice for the brand, which are the base for everything that follows. All the designs, communication, vibe of the brand, everything relies on these things we define. Ideally, these should be done by an agency, if the client has one, but if they don’t, these are steps you shouldn’t skip, if you want to offer quality work that will last in time. Your client will appreciate you more for it.

 

Creative process

Once we have this structure, it’s a lot easier coming up with a concept and creating the graphic standards around it. Because once you can define “who is the brand?”, “what is it like?”, “what adjectives you can attribute to it?” and other such questions often used in branding, it’s easy to come up with fonts, the color palette and so on. If the brand is formal and conservative, you go with a certain font and choice of colors (taking into account what services they offer, also). If the brand is playful, innovative and cheeky, you might choose a friendly font, you might use hand lettering, playful illustrations and so on.

 

So design has very much to do with context. This is why it’s always a red flag for me when a client says they want their logo in blue because it's their wife's favorite color. Or that they want something similar to someone else’s design (and send me a picture). I can always do that, it’s the easiest thing for me to execute and take the money, but I never do it, because: 1. they probably won’t be happy and will keep coming back for revisions, since that wasn’t what they “really” wanted; 2. because I love what I do and a big part of that is knowing that my work has real purpose.

Here’s a story on that subject. I once had a client who hired me to design his upcoming online teaching platform. When I asked him what kind of logo he wants, he told me he loves the Apple logo and wants something like that. Of course, my designer mind immediately went to the bitten apple symbol, used mainly on grey or black, with a super simple font assigned to the brand. I could do that. But was that what he really wanted? So I started asking question after question, trying to understand what exactly about the Apple logo he liked. Ten minutes later, I got to the conclusion that what he actually wanted was a brand that was "as respected and desired as Apple is". So what he wanted was not the logo, but rather the character of the brand, and he subconsciously associated that with the logo ?

 

This is why you need to ask questions beyond what the client claims they want.

 

Creating the logo and everything else involved usually starts once all this is made clear. And I usually put all this in a document and send it to the client to confirm.

 

Back when I started out, I would usually create 3-4 concepts of a logo and send them to the client to choose which one he liked best. Now, I prefer to work on just one concept, which I consider to be the best solution, and work from there. I always explain my point to the client and I always have objective arguments, so that they can make a decision taking into account my expertise. Many times, the client doesn’t agree with you, but when you explain it to them, they might change their mind and trust you more because of that.

When I pick a color palette, I start from all the above, but once I have it narrowed down to a few color ideas, I start looking for inspiration. I like using color palette websites (colourlovers.com has been my go to for years), but also Pinterest or Instagram accounts like @designseeds. Another favorite is Dribbble, where you can enter a color code and see all the combinations of colors used containing that one color (you can even filter according to the percentage of color present in each composition). It’s an amazing tool when you’re in search of ideas.

 

In this stage, I always like to create a moodboard of imagery that speaks to me, like a collage of color palettes, fonts, patterns, illustration styles and so on. They can be images I find on Pinterest, Instagram, photos I take on the street, images of other work I might have done before, anything that catches my eye. The purpose of this is to immerse myself in the atmosphere of the project and get a better idea of what I want to create. This moodboard, along with a list of keywords that are assigned to the brand, are the starting point to my design process.

 

Once I have the visual style ready and approved, I create a visual identity manual where I write down how everything should be used. Things like versions of the logo, dont’s of the logo with examples like: never stretch the logo, never place X version on a black background, never use the typeface without the symbol or whatever etc, so basically graphic rules. I state what the main font is, what the secondary font is (for both digital and print), what the color palette is (with all color codes), what is the minimum size for the logo in print and you should never make it smaller than that, what kind of imagery is associated with the brand (you might notice there are brands that always use sepia or black and white photos, or brands that always use photos from an up close angle, very detail focused) - all of this is stated in the brand manual.

You usually learn all these specifics over time and after doing many such projects, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look at other brands’ manuals and study how they do it (you can usually find them to download online, or if you have friends who work in advertising or print, they have easy access).

 

This is pretty much the whole creative process. Once all these rules are set (and verified, because you must be sure it all works together the way you designed it), I design all the materials needed. That’s usually divided in two: digital materials (website, social media etc) and print materials (which can vary from stationery to promotional materials or packaging). When I do print I always use a Pantone color code in order to check that the colors I pick are true (and even then, it depends on the type of paper they print it on, but that’s a long discussion). The deliverables can include editable files or not (depending on what we previously agreed on) and I like to use Dropbox to share them.

 

What is something I know now and wished I'd known before?

That the more time I put in improving the brief and narrowing down all the info, the more chances are that I will come up with a design that my client is happy with from the start - and therefore they won’t ask for many revisions, which I know is a nightmare for designers in the early stages of their careers. This is something that used to frustrate me a lot too, and sometimes I felt like the client is capricious and can’t make up his mind.

 

The truth is, if you communicate well and you spend time listening and asking questions, you will more likely be on the same page with your client. I used to be afraid to do that, because I thought if I asked too many questions they will lose patience and become annoyed. But on the contrary, they will end up trusting you more, because you help them define what they want. And right there is why they pay you their money, that’s the value you provide for them.

You can follow Miruna's work on Instagram and Behance.

What do you think about Miruna's story? Did you learn something from her experience? Did she inspire you? Let us know in the comments below.

Read the full post

From "Jeff Job Hunter" to a well-known illustrator: interview with Jack Teagle


1. What was the thing or who was the person that helped your career the most? In what way?

Nobrow. They published one of my comics and it pushed me to jump into self-employment.
I worked on a comic for them called "Jeff Job Hunter" while I was unemployed, and it helped me to find freelance work.
I got a variety of work off of the back of projects I made with them.

 

 

2. We could say you're a famous artist now. Could you tell us about your struggles to get here? What were the challenges? What were the hardships?

As you start to make a name for yourself, a lot of people want your time and attention, but without paying for it.
It's learning when to step away and when you can tell someone is trying to string you along and waste your time.
There still are hardships, to keep consistent money coming in.
I'm too trusting of people. Especially with freelance, give someone an inch, and they'll take a mile.
You need to have contracts written out to protect yourself. Good communication with a client is very important. Some can be very difficult to get a straight answer out of!

3. Was it worth it? What would you have done differently?

Yes, it was definitely worth it. It's extremely rewarding to be creating things to your best ability every day and pleasing clients, as well as fans.
It feels good to make people happy.
I would have told myself to stop making comics a few years earlier when interest started to fade. I'd also tell myself not to do favours.
Don't treat clients like friends. You have to treat it like a business. When you start being friendly, people walk all over you.
Keeping all of that in mind, you can have a very happy, healthy career.

4. If you could give an advice to aspiring artists trying to make it, what would that be?

Don't work for free. There will always be work around the corner. You may think this is your big opportunity and you won't work again, but it's not true.
Your time is the most valuable thing you have, so be vigilant and plan how you want to build your career, and what you want to do. Basically, work smart, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by planning well.
Always focus. Don't try to think too much like an artist, but more like it's a regular job. Just focus on doing the best you can, and if there are imperfections, it doesn't matter, move on. As an illustrator, you want to make a living from this. You're not setting out to make masterpieces (unless of course, you want to create personal artwork in your own time).

To see more of Jack's work, please visit his website and his Behance profile.

What have you learned from Jack's experience COLOURlovers? Has it been useful? Is there something similar that you've experienced you'd like to share with the community?

Read the full post

From drugs to art: An honest interview with illustrator Fil Dunsky


 

1. Tell us about the time when you were starting out. How was that like? Did you have a specific plan for your career?

I was working as a graphic designer in 2006. I was fortunate enough to work in a small company with a very good boss. He employed me as a designer but he knew I liked to draw and gave me a chance to learn more about it at work place. Even if I had something to design he was always giving me free time to experiment with drawing anything no matter if that was related to the current project or not.

At that point I was sort of searching for myself in a wrong way, and also experimenting with drugs. My drawings looked like this:

 

I keep this artwork that dates to the beginning of my career as a reminder and a storyteller of my artistic and personal development. I also use it to see how much I've grown as an artist. It is still available in my portfolio at Behance. What you'll see in this folder is not something we can call illustrations that you could sell for big money. So, the first piece of advice would be: if you want to become a successful illustrator, don't try to draw like this.

 

 

2. What was the thing or who was the person that helped your career the most? In what way?

Well… I think there were a few people and things combined together that made me successful.

  • Office competition. There was a guy in the office I worked in who, too, had a passion for drawing. He showed me the basic principles which I am still using. He  ignited my passion for drawing with his passion and commitment. He inspired me to learn more. Every morning we would come to work showing each other  illustrations or sketches which we had done at home the previous night before going to bed. This started resembling a silent competition between the two of us. Whenever he'd show me something I thought was great, it made me immediately want to do something cool to show off as a response. That’s how it started.
  • Favorite illustrator. He also introduced me to my favorite illustrator Oksana Grivina. I fell in love with her style right away and I wanted to learn how to do it. I started to research and collect all her work looking through each and every pixel, trying to replicate it. My own style started shaping up while I was copying her.
  • Living example of success. Another great guy and one of my best friends Andrey Gordeev worked full-time in the office on the opposite side of our hometown Khabarovsk. He used his nights to draw amazing illustrations for Moscow magazines. Gradually he started to get amazing overseas orders. By the time he had done few advertising illustrations for American Colgate, his skills and earnings motivated me to continue learning illustration. Working at the office and going to work every day was a routine for me. I didn’t want to do it for the rest of my life. Andrey was my role model of a successful freelance illustrator.
  • Personal qualities. Another amazing thing that happened to me was getting introduced to yoga. I was searching for myself in drugs but when I first came to a yoga class, I felt it gave me so much more than drugs even could. I felt it gave me back a peaceful state of mind: my head cleared up from all the thoughts that were bothering me, I felt I always had high energy level and I felt good. It gave me the strength to do something. It made me focus on one thing easily. So I started to do yoga daily and it helped me overcome my addictions and bad habits. I also noticed my bad attitude to other people was transformed, I changed the way I was interacting with family members and it positively impacted all the other aspects of life.

It may sound unreal but it's actually logical. You are the center of everything in your life. What you think and feel, the way you perceive reality... it all influences the way you see the world and how you react to it. If you are at peace with yourself, you will be in harmony with the outside as well. Your attention and how to what you choose to dedicate it can transform your life.

3. We could say you’re a famous artist now. Could you tell us about your struggles to get here? What were the challenges? What were the hardships?

  • I am helpless in drawing. When I was starting, this was my first thought every time I was unable to sell illustrations or make the sketch just the way I imagined it. It is absolutely fine to make mistakes. What you should do is not waste your energy on emotions. It's better to shift your focus and use the same energy to see what you don’t like and how can you improve it.
  • Thinking about the work 24/7. There were lots of projects almost every day. Years of work. Whenever I would walk outside to get a break, I was thinking I have to work. During the lunch time, I was thinking that I am wasting my time, I should work now instead. When I was freelancing under the shadows of a palm trees - I was thinking the same thing again. Whenever and whatever I had been doing I was thinking about work. This was really stressful and it took me 6 years to make life-work balance. Yoga helped in my case.
  • Waiting for an invitation. I never ever offered my illustration services to anybody because it I don't think it works that way. When you are the one that's offering, it means you asking someone to do you a favor. It’s like begging. When your customer comes to you - you have the upper hand. You are in the winning position and you can dictate your own terms and requirements. You can raise the price higher. Because they want you personally to draw it. It’s challenging to behave this way: simply letting go and doing your best creating beautiful things, uploading them to all the social media platforms and just waiting. Once I’ve realized that I took the lead in the situation.
  • Thinking impossible. It was hard to believe that some deadlines are possible to achieve. It was even harder to imagine putting a higher price on my illustrations. But as long as you start thinking about impossible as achievable, you will not get it. Like getting an order for say Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Success is just out of your comfort zone and the line of your sight.

4. Was it worth it? What would you have done differently?

For sure it was worth it! The only thing I would have done differently would be not taking up a couple of orders that I knew from the start would be a lost cause. I am talking about the ones where the customer didn’t know what they wanted nor why they wrote to me.

5. If you could give an advice to aspiring artists trying to make it, what would that be?

  • Copy-Paste. Don’t be afraid to copy others works while starting out. It doesn’t mean you should put them in your portfolio saying they're yours but do it just as a study. Try to adopt others ideas, color palettes, compositions or way of working and you will see fast improvements. People made lots of research regarding the same thing before you and they've already made lots of mistakes so you don’t have to start from scratch.
  • Fake it until you make it. If you want more people to see your work, don’t write  comments like “Please, go through my portfolio, I’ve just posted a new project…” You'll attract more attention to your projects if you apply logos of big and famous companies. I'm not saying you should lie. You should add a tiny caption explaining how that is a made-up project and you're just dreaming about working with big clients. This really makes sense. People usually DO NOT READ. They will look and think you're already working with those brands. This worked in my case on Behance as I really started to work with famous companies.
  • Practice every day. Draw every single day. Draw everywhere. Draw everything you see and like. And just relax. Enjoy the journey.

You can find Fil on Behance,  Facebook, Instagram

What do you think about Fil's story? Can you identify with it? Does it make sense? Do you have a story you'd like to share for COLOURLOVERS blog?
Tell us about it! We're dying to hear.

Read the full post
A Colorful Illustrated Map of London's Great Little Places

A Colorful Illustrated Map of London's Great Little Places


"I know this great little place..." is something you've probably said or heard dozens of times. Well the folks behind Great Little Place decided to gather up people's recommendations for the amazing city of London and do something creative.

Share this Post Pin It

This wonderful illustrated map of London's great little places was painstakingly hand drawn by Charlie Davis, an illustrator and designer based London. There's no doubt that a lot of hours and a lot of love went into every beautiful detail, just take a look for yourself.

Read the full post

Search The Blog

Subscribe & Share

Our Latest Tweets

Attention #colourlovers: "9 colors of Christmas" is out! The first color is PINK! 💗 #colors #ChristmasIsComing… https://t.co/ND5EUMP27m
about 1 day ago
Tweet this ArticleFollow @COLOURlovers

Latest Articles

//View More ›

Latest Colors

//View More ›

Latest Palettes

//View More ›

Latest Patterns

//View More ›