Level Up Your CSS Skills With These 20 Pro CSS Tips

Original Source: http://webdesignerwall.com/tutorials/level-css-skills-20-pro-css-tips

Front-end development is quickly becoming more and more focused on efficiency – faster loading and rendering through selector choice and minimizing code. Pre-processors like Less and SCSS go a long way in doing some of the work for us, but there are plenty of ways to write minimal, quick CSS the native way. This guide […]

The post Level Up Your CSS Skills With These 20 Pro CSS Tips appeared first on Web Designer Wall – Design Trends and Tutorials.

From Working in a Call Center to Senior Developer: Aaron’s Story

Original Source: http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/from-working-in-a-call-center-to-senior-developer

In the 90s, coding was just a hobby for Aaron Marks and too much fun to consider as a potential career. As life progressed, Aaron began coding less and less. It wasn’t until years later when he was working at a call center – in a job he couldn’t stand and desperate for a career change – that he decided to return to coding. That’s when Aaron joined Code Louisville and began learning with Treehouse.

By the time he finished his first cohort with Code Louisville, Aaron had brushed up his coding skills and successfully landed a software support position, which transitioned into a full-time developer role. Today, Aaron is a senior developer for a law firm and an instructor at a local university where he teachers web and mobile development. In his free time, Aaron is even studying for his Master’s degree in IT and working with local non-profit organizations to help them harness the power of the web to achieve their goals.

We asked Aaron to share his experience going from a call center to senior developer and his advice with other aspiring developers.

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aaron

What first encouraged you to learn to code and pursue a career in the tech industry?

Programming was a hobby for me in the 90s. I started off with BASIC on a second-hand Commodore 64 that my family picked up for me – but I didn’t see it as a career. Code was too much fun to be considered “work”. As the years passed, I wrote less and less code each day until, one day, I had basically forgotten how to program at all! My tech career started on a really bad day at my job in the call center industry. I kept hearing about these coding bootcamps that promised to make you a programmer and I figured “well, I loved this stuff as a kid and I certainly don’t like my job answering phones so… let’s do this thing”.

Code was too much fun to be considered “work”.

What were you doing when you first joined Code Louisville and started learning with Treehouse?

When I signed up for Code Louisville, I had just started my first term back in college after many years. I was working for a cable company answering phones and processing business cable install orders.

You’re now working as a full-time developer and teach coding. Tell us a little about how your career evolved since learning to code.

By the time I finished my first cohort with Code Louisville, I had brushed the dust off of my resume and successfully landed a position doing software support work for a local software company. Not too long after I was hired, my role transitioned into that of a full-time developer. The company was small which allowed me to learn a ton about web development, DevOps, and server management on the job. Honestly, this was my favorite part. I love being a “jack of all trades”.

Currently, I am working as a Senior Developer for a law firm here in Louisville and an adjunct instructor at a local university teaching web and mobile application development classes. At the firm, I am responsible for maintaining 65 – 70 custom applications written over the past 10 to 15 years that support the firm’s internal reporting and operations needs as well as a few web applications that support our clients’ need for data. Like my first job, I am able to wear many hats as I run around the office working on database servers, training users on how to use the applications we’ve created, and otherwise saving the world.

With my free time, I am working on my Master’s degree in IT and working with local not-for-profit organizations helping them harness the power of the web and data to achieve their goals. I used to mentor a cohort at Code Louisville, which I haven’t been able to in a good while. I miss that experience and plan to get back to mentoring as soon as I graduate.

What has the value of a Treehouse education meant to you?

In many ways, learning to code was self-care in that it was a distraction from a pretty tough work situation that also served as work toward an escape from a job I honestly couldn’t stand. Treehouse made the goal of becoming a developer so much easier than I would have imagined. The Treehouse teachers have a gift for making technical concepts easier to understand all while making the whole learning experience fun for their students. The high-quality education offered by Treehouse allowed me to make the career change I so desperately needed to make.

In many ways, learning to code was self-care in that it was a distraction from a pretty tough work situation that also served as work toward an escape from a job I honestly couldn’t stand.

What did you find the greatest challenge while learning to code?

The greatest challenge I faced while learning to code was trying to convince myself that I was actually a developer. Often I would find myself searching Google for the answers to tough situations with code, especially CSS issues. I thought that one day, once my dependency on Google had stopped, that I would finally be able to call myself a developer. Turns out – that dependency only grew. I still struggle with the fear that the day will come when my boss finally figures out that I’m an awful developer and fires me. 4 ½ years later and that day has still not come.

Treehouse made the goal of becoming a developer so much easier than I would have imagined.

What are your favorite aspects of working in the tech industry compared to your past careers?

I love to learn new things and tech jobs encourage and often require a great deal of learning. Recently I had to learn Angular for a project. Soon, I suspect I will be learning React or possibly Vue. Who knows? The only thing that is certain is that my job will never let me stop learning ways to create new things.

I love to learn new things and tech jobs encourage and often require a great deal of learning.

What advice would you share with aspiring developers?

Our chosen career requires us to learn a lot of things and it can get overwhelming. We all have moments where we can’t seem to wrap our heads around a particular concept or chunk of code and we get discouraged. We will seek answers to our questions and, sometimes, the folks we ask won’t be so nice about helping us. If I could tell new developers anything it would be this: you were a developer the moment you decided to write code. Don’t be discouraged by seemingly unsolvable puzzles, hidden answers, or grumpy people in the field. Write code, write better code tomorrow, and always love what you do.

You were a developer the moment you decided to write code. Don’t be discouraged by seemingly unsolvable puzzles, hidden answers, or grumpy people in the field. Write code, write better code tomorrow, and always love what you do.

Self-Taught Developer to Web Development Director: Jim’s Story

The post From Working in a Call Center to Senior Developer: Aaron’s Story appeared first on Treehouse Blog.

16 Books on Our DevLearn 2017 Reading List

Original Source: http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/the-devlearn-2017-reading-list

Last month, we attended DevLearn 2017 where we heard some fascinating talks from interesting speakers, met great people (and customers!), and got to hear new perspectives on teaching and learning.

If you work in the realm of training, are interested in being a Futurist, or if you just want to start thinking about how best to train people at your company, here’s a reading list we compiled during the event that you should check out!

1. Superbetter by Jane Mcgonigal

2. The Signals are Talking by Amy Webb

3. TLC At Work by Donna Dunning

4. Tell & Win by Peter Guber

5. Action Inquiry by William R. Torbert

6. Radical Collaboration by James Tamm

7. Infographics – The Power Of Visual Storytelling by Jason Lankow

8. Learning In The Age Of Immediacy by Brandon Carson

9. Creative Learning – Activities And Games That Really Engage People by Robert Lucas

10. Primary Greatness by Stephen Covey

11. More Is More by Blake Morgan

12. Flex by Jane Hyun

13. Leadership BS by Jeffrey Pfeffer

14. Better And Faster by Jeremy Gutsche

15. Go With It by Karen Hough

16. The Chameleon by Merrick Rosenberg

Have you read any of these already? What did you think? Share your thoughts and recommendations for other books to add to this list in the comments below!

If you’re interested in hearing more from DevLearn 2017, the future of learning and a few tips for how to retain information better, check out our video from the event below.

 

The post 16 Books on Our DevLearn 2017 Reading List appeared first on Treehouse Blog.

7 Compelling Reasons to Work Remotely

Original Source: http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/7-reasons-to-work-remotely

Working remotely – basically working from somewhere other than a traditional office – is becoming increasingly popular with both individuals and companies. In fact, at the start of this year, The New York Times reported on a Gallup survey that stated that 43% of working Americans now spend at least some of their time working remotely. At Treehouse, 52 members (which is the majority)of our team work remotely full-time from cities across the US (and even as far as the UK). We can also confidently say that the remote aspect of our company has contributed to our culture and our success.

There are a lot of perks to working remotely, whether it’s in a largely remote company like Treehouse, as a part-time opportunity from your office job, or as a freelancer. Based on our experience over the last 7 years, here are 7 reasons we recommend you consider working remotely.

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1. Explore as a digital nomad

Working remotely gives you a great deal of freedom, so if an agile workspace appeals to you, working remotely is the best way to make that happen. Provided you’re able to commit to working the hours required for your role, theoretically you can work from absolutely anywhere, all you need is stable internet. At Treehouse, some of our employees have chosen to work while traveling or spend time living abroad. This sometimes means staggering their hours to overlap with our regular US hours to allow for meetings, but in large part, the culture of our team and the tools we use facilitate the digital nomad lifestyle.

remote

2. Embrace the flexibility

While you’re working remotely, you’re able to make decisions that work for you. You’re often able to create your own schedule in terms of how you approach your daily tasks and responsibilities. This can help increase productivity and efficiency. For digital nomads, this can be valuable, but it’s even more so for parents. At Treehouse, 48 of our team members are parents (which is more than half of the company). Due to the remote nature of the team, this allows for parents to make adjustments to their daily schedule that work around their families and routines. For example, that might mean an earlier start to the day with an earlier finish, leaving more time to spend with their kids after school.

3. Harness the tools that make a remote company culture

Although remote teams may be physically spread out, the increased popularity of the remote structure means there are an abundance of tools that help teams work productively and build a strong company culture. At Treehouse, we use Zoom for all of our video conferencing, and we spend a significant part of our week in face-to-face meetings and work sessions. Another fundamental tool for us is Slack, which we use to communicate with one another, to coordinate on team projects, and to chat on our company-wide channel.

Slack also offers a great place for the bonding aspects of our company’s culture. We have channels like “Remote Work Tips”, where we can share challenges and advice, and “Props”, a channel dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating colleagues for the great work they do to reflect our company values. What’s more, Slack has an impressive and growing number of 3rd party apps that are integrated into the tool, including Zoom, Google Drive, JIRA and InVision (all valuable collaboration tools that we use daily at Treehouse).

For more on Treehouse’s remote culture, check out this post by our CEO and co-founder, Ryan Carson.

4. Choose your ideal working environment

If you’re not drawn to the full digital nomad lifestyle, working remotely still gives you the opportunity to find or create the perfect work environment for you. That might be a home office, a co-working space or a local cafe. In many cases, remote companies will even offer a budget towards setting up your home office or working in a co-working space. Personally, after years of experience, my work space is a combination of all of the above with an office at home, a pay-as-you-go hot desking membership at a local co-working space, and the occasional afternoon spent working from my local coffee shop.

work remotely

 5. Find your focus

Whichever remote working environment you choose, the assumption is you’ll be working somewhere that has less distractions, allowing you to be more productive. Being in control of your working day with limited external influences, will naturally help you find your focus to complete projects and tasks. Although your teammates will never be hard to reach with the convenience of tools like Slack and Zoom, you may find your self reliance increases and as a result the time you spend meeting with colleagues is more focused and productive. In fact, the same New York Times and Gallup survey mentioned earlier uncovered that people who work remotely 60% to 80% of their time have the highest rates of engagement (compared to people who work full time in an office alongside their colleagues). In my personal experience, when you don’t get to see your colleagues every day from 9-5, you’ll enjoy the virtual time you do spend with them even more.

6. Expand your job search

One of the reasons so many companies are onboard with remote work is that it allows them to attract talent that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible. The same applies to you. When you start to look at remote positions, you’re no longer restricted by your city or commuting distance. Most remote positions will specify if they require applicants to be in a specific timezone or country, but that could still mean you live in New York and work for a company with an HQ in Portland. Remote work removes that artificial boundary, opening up the opportunities to find the perfect position for you. What’s more, remote companies today often offer increasing competitive packages and benefits to attract the right talent to their teams.

7. Save time (and money)

Now we come to the most practical of the perks, the fact that you’ll save both on precious time and money if you work remotely. When it comes to time, there’s the obvious: no longer do you have to endure a grinding and exhausting commute. Or if you work at a co-working space, you can choose to always travel outside of rush hour. It’s also almost impossible to be late for work, which works in your company’s favor. Closely tied to saving time is saving money. As a remote employee, you’ll save on the cost of a commute, the premium cost of buying snacks and lunch five times a week (as you can rustle something up at home) and even – depending on your industry – you may even save on the cost of an office wardrobe!

Those are some of the greatest perks of working remotely, but it’s important to also mention that there are challenges to remote work. Tune in next week for a roundup of the greatest ones we’ve experienced at Treehouse, and our (tried and tested) recommendations for how to overcome them.  

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Treehouse

The post 7 Compelling Reasons to Work Remotely appeared first on Treehouse Blog.

10 Fantastic Stock Sites To Find Music for Your Explainer Videos

Original Source: http://justcreative.com/2017/11/12/10-fantastic-stock-sites-to-find-music-for-your-explainer-videos/

This article was contributed by Sunny Arora.

Do you often find it a herculean task to create compelling content for your business? Do you often get the drowning to death feeling while generating leads for your business?

You are not alone.

Most businesses doing content marketing, are finding it hard to break the cutter and showcase themselves amidst the increasing noise.

Take a look at this stat:

“60% of the marketers fail to produce engaging content, consistently.”

(Source)

The Power of Video

Video is an exciting medium to create story-driven content for your business. Videos grab audience attention and hook them to your content for longer. A video helps you to communicate complex and long information quickly and effectively. It is lively and provides a human touch to your brand communication.

Videos help you tell your brand story in a way that’s both informative and entertaining. They help you to communicate about the USP of your product in as little as just 30 seconds.

Have you started using videos to market your business online?

Take a look at some of these stats:

“85% of the audience in the US watches videos online.”

(Source)

 Listen to audio 

“61% of businesses have started using video content marketing.” 

(Source)

“E-commerce stores which use video content have an 80% higher conversion rate than those which do not.”

“By 2018, 90% of content shared by Facebook users will be video.”

(Source)

The attention span of an average human being is just eight seconds.

Businesses need to create content that touches their audience on a deeper level. You need to consistently provide valuable and entertaining content to your audience.

Videos help you to breathe life into your content marketing efforts. You can create exciting video content for each of the stages of the buyer’s journey. You can create videos that:

Educate your target audience and spread awareness about your business
Talk about your products and services and their key benefits
Communicate about the success of your business through client testimonials
Thank existing customers for their loyalty

You can create animated videos, documentaries, whiteboard videos, explainer videos, testimonials, corporate culture videos, FAQ videos, personalized videos and instructional videos etc. for promoting your business among your audience.

Ready to create videos for your business? 

Make sure your video builds that connect with the people your business wishes to reach. Your video should have a story, characters, and background music that appeals to your target audience. It is essential to hire the services of a professional video production company to achieve the desired outcome.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which a video’s background music plays a role in its success.

Why the Emphasis on Background Music?

“Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t.”
― Johnny Depp 

Good background music makes your video more entertaining and memorable. It adds to how your audience perceives your video.

It is the tune of your brand video that your audience will remember and even hum.

Take a look at this example from Apple iPod:

The music of this ad plays in your heart, long after you have seen it. The background score of your video helps you to build an emotional connection with your audience. A video with bad background music will always come across as something unprofessional.

Here are some tips to help you choose music that will work well for your video:

How to Choose the Right Background Music?

Before deciding on the music, you should be clear on goals of your video:

Is your video skewed towards being informative or entertaining?
Is it an introductory video or does it talk about a specific product?
Do you wish to create a fast-paced video or a slow paced one?

Make sure your music is aligned with your brand values and your campaign objectives. It should be according to the message you wish to convey through your video.

Decide on your music on the basis of how you want your audience to feel after watching it.

You could explore from a variety of emotions:

Happy
Warm
Excited
Curious
Delighted
Inspired

You must also consider factors like the preferred genre, the density of sound, the instruments as well as the tempo.

Avoid using any music that’s dark or gloomy. Remember, your music runs in the background so you must ensure that it’s not so prominent that it distracts the audience from the core message. This is especially true for videos which have a narrative or a voiceover that talks to the audience.

You can also pick up a popular song and include a section from it in your video.

Create a playlist of the possible background scores that could fit into your video. Once you have a playlist you can narrow down to one option that you will use in the final video.

You must ensure that you are using a video that you have the rights to use. Download your music from a resource that provides you with a license or a way to attribute the creator of the music.

Let’s now take a look at some of the best stock music sites that can help you find that awesome background music:

Top Free & Paid Stock Music Resources

earphones close

YouTube Audio Library

The YouTube audio library has a large collection of free music for your videos. You can easily search this extensive resource for your choice of music on the basis of instrument, genre, and mood.

Free Music Archive

The Free Music Archive is another great collection of free, public domain as well Creative Commons tacks. The site offers more than 1500 tracks that you can readily download.

IncompeTech

IncompeTech is another awesome resource to find free music for your videos. They have a variety of music genres to choose from. You can use the music from this site for free if you provide attribution else you can pay and use it without attribution.

Soundstripe

Soundstripe is a paid resource for finding a wide variety of music for your videos. The platform has a simplified user-interface and gives you the option to choose from different music genres, moods, instruments and pace. The yearly subscription of Soundstripe costs you $135 and offers unlimited licenses.

Audio Sparx

This site provides a wide collection of royalty free music, tracks and sounds. You can sign up to create an account and start buying one off music licenses and packs. The site offers a variety of search options such as mood, instrumental, lyrical and regional.
Public Domain 4U
This resource provides you with some interesting collection of public domain music. The collection is slightly old but it is free to use without attribution.

Audio Jungle

Audio Jungle is an Envato Market product and offers more than 586,000 tracks in a variety of genres. The site also offers a range of music kits and sound effects. The site offers royalty free music and the licensing starts from just $1. It has a lot of reasonably priced music options.

Bensound

You can get some amazing variety of royalty free music from this platform. The site’s name is after its owner Bensound who creates all of the music himself. You can provide attribution and use the music on this site for free. You can buy the license in case don’t wish to give attribution.

Epidemic Sound

If you are looking for high-quality background music then Epidemic sound is one option that you can’t afford to miss. The platform allows you to search for the type of music you are looking for, quickly and easily. The licensing on this platform starts at $0.99.

Gerry Music

This site has music that was created by Gerry Black. The resource provides a variety of music for your business videos. You can use the music on this site for free by providing the requisite attribution. Alternatively, you can get a license to use the tracks which start at just $18.

What is Public Domain Music?

There is a lot of music out there that you can use without providing any attribution or a license fee. You can freely copy, distribute and use this type of music commercially. All such music is categorized as public domain music.

What is Creative Commons Music?

One of the most popular public copyright licenses is Creative Commons. It enables free distribution of copyrighted music. You can use Creative Commons music for free by giving an attribution to the creator of the piece.

If you have just started out creating videos for your business, then I would suggest that you go for Creative Commons music and provide attribution for it in your video. You will find some high quality Creative Commons music in the resources mentioned above. When you have the budget you can pay for the license and use it without any attribution.

Background music is the soul of your brand videos. It plays a critical role in the success of a your video marketing campaigns. Choose the right one, it will surely help you to leave a lasting impression in the hearts and minds of your audience.

20+ Fresh & Creative 404 Error Pages Examples For Your Inspiration

Original Source: https://webdesignledger.com/20-fresh-creative-404-error-pages-just-for-fun/

It’s necessary to have a beautiful and appealing 404 error page. It appeared when a user used wrong URL or broken link. Besides, it can show up when the page URL was changed or redirected.

When a user has landed on 404 page, there is a huge chance he or she will leave without having to see what else your website can offer. Thus, once it happens, you need to help them get back to the homepage.

In this list, we have collected 20 fresh and creative 404 error pages to see just for fun. Or, you can use their ideas to create some cool 404 error page for your site or blog.

1. Dropbox

dropbox

2. The useless web index

theuselesswebindex

3. Bluegg

bluegg

4. Dan Woodger

danwoodger

5. Figma

figma

6. Bitly

bitly

7. tinsanity

tinsanity

8. Lego

lego-404

9. Airbnb

air-bnb

10. Grantburke

grantburke-404

11. BrandCrowd

brandcrowd

12. IconFinder

iconfinder

13. Blizzard

blizzard

14. Cooklet

cooklet

15. Hoppermagic

hoppermagic

16. Template Monster

tm-404

17. ShutterStock

shutterstock

18. MailChimp

mailchimp

19. Repair Pal

repairpal

20. Starbucks

starbucks-404

21. Designoholic

Read More at 20+ Fresh & Creative 404 Error Pages Examples For Your Inspiration

20 Amazingly Creative Wedding Invitation Designs

Original Source: https://webdesignledger.com/20-amazingly-creative-wedding-invitation-designs/

The wedding day is one of the most important days in our lives. Everything has to be perfect: the wedding decorations, the dress, the cake, wedding photos, and of course, wedding invitations. A lot of work is done on wedding preparations.

Wedding invites can be printed or written by hand, in any case, they should carry a personal touch or a couple that is going to get married. In this collection, we have handpicked creative wedding invitation designs that will definitely impress you!

The designers of these invites play around witgh colors, typography, images and get amazing results. So, scroll down, see the wedding invitations and get ideas you can use for your own big day.

1. Teepee Invite

teepee-invite
1-teepee-invite

2. Wedding Invitation Design

Wedding-Invitation-Design-hawaii

3. Wedding invitation Design

sasha-marta
1-sasha-marta

4. Kai+Tuan wedding invitation card

KaiTuan-wedding-invitation-card
1-KaiTuan-wedding-invitation-card

5. Wedding Invite – Overall

Wedding-Invite-Overall

6. Adventure for Two: Wedding Invitations

Adventure-for-Two-Wedding-Invitations
1-Adventure-for-Two-Wedding-Invitations

7. A Paper Record Player

paper-record-player
1-paper-record-player
2-paper-record-player
3-paper-record-player

8. Insta Photo Frame wedding invitation set

polaroid-invite
1-polaroid-invite

9. Wedding Save The Date Balloon Cards

baloon-invite
1-baloon-invite

10. Wedding Invite – Overall

newspaper-invite

11. My Wedding Invites

wedding-invitations-red

12. Wedding Invite Final 2

zachary

13. K+M Wedding Invitations

KM-Wedding-invitations

14. save the date invitation

save-the-date

15. Festive Wedding Suite

Festive-Wedding-Suite
1-Festive-Wedding-Suite

16. Love City Life

city-life

17. The Rabbit & Monday Misfits

The-Rabbit-Monday-Misfits
1-The-Rabbit-Monday-Misfits

18. Chad & Helen | Wedding Stationery

Chad-Helen-Wedding-Stationery
1-Chad-Helen-Wedding-Stationery

19. Save The Date invitation

save-date

20. Wedding Stationery | Ashley & Edwin

wedding-stationary

Read More at 20 Amazingly Creative Wedding Invitation Designs

Top Notch Web Apps for Designers and Design Teams

Original Source: https://webdesignledger.com/top-notch-web-apps-designers-design-teams/

Whatever your business or occupation, you want to make the best use of your core competencies. These might involve web design, project management, or business management.

Your responsibilities can also involve necessary, yet tedious and time-consuming tasks. If these to be done manually, can be error-prone as well.

When these tasks require frequent attention, you’re left with less time to do what you do best.

The best solution is to invest in apps that automate these tasks. In fact, a high-quality web app can make completing them easier and faster. Many of these apps, however, require installation and updating.

These web apps can be superior choices for the solutions you’re looking for. They don’t require installation or maintenance.

 

Apptivo

View video on YouTube

This web app features a powerful online CRM system that sits at the core of an integrated suite of business apps. Apptivo automates your sales and marketing tasks, and provides a total view of your customer base.

You can also access this web-based system from your mobile devices.

 

Webflow

View video on YouTube

This web app enables you to do both design and develop custom, responsive websites — without writing a line of code, or relying on a template. It also lets you create a bespoke CMS for any website, with structured content tailored to the site’s purpose. That’s how Webflow helps creative teams break down their silos and simplify collaboration between design, dev, and content.

 

Paymo

View video on YouTube

This full-featured management app is suitable for individual designers and developers as well as for teams. Paymo enables you to manage your projects, track your time and expenses from start to finish. It also manages your invoicing and resource scheduling.

 

Nutcache

View video on YouTube

Whether you’re an old hand at managing Agile and Scrum projects, or relatively new to the game, you’ll find Nutcache to be extremely helpful. This robust, business-oriented web app manages the total project lifecycle, and does so within the Agile set of principles.

 

pCloud

View video on YouTube

Storing your videos, documents, photos, and other information on the cloud has its definite advantages.pCloud gives you 24/7 access to your stored information, whether it’s from your PC, tablet, or phone. It is also the first cloud storage system to offer lifetime use for a single payment.pCloud is one of the top Dropbox alternatives that you can find.

 

Keep up to date with the latest trends; the easy way

Every day we witness new design and project management tools appearing in the marketplace. Considering the rapid pace of development, it can be hard for a professional to keep up. Time spent on learning about the latest and greatest is also the time that’s taken away from the work at hand.

Nevertheless, you want to know about any new products that appear that can make your work easier. New tools can help you improve processes and deliverables, and boost your productivity.

If you want to save time, you’ll need to let others do the searching for you. Like that, you will still be able to improve your workflow and make your life just a little easier.

Read the reviews, study the pros and cons and find out what the potential learning curve of a new tool might be. By doing so, you can save yourself lots of time and trouble.

 

Summary

Design processes can vary in accordance with project types, team sizes, and the like. However, we tend to settle on a preferred set of tried and tested tools.

There is always a room for improvement. Moreover, continuous improvement should be one of the goals of any web designer.

New and improved tools, including web apps, deserve a close look. You’ll often get a significant return on your investment once you’ve put them to use.

Read More at Top Notch Web Apps for Designers and Design Teams

6 Tips for Selecting a Great Freelance Designer

Original Source: http://justcreative.com/2017/11/05/6-tips-for-selecting-a-great-freelance-designer/

This article was contributed by Nicole Letendre.

Finding a great freelance designer can seem like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: You never know what you’re going to get.

It doesn’t have to be that way. With some self-education, a little research, and a clear idea of your needs, you can find the perfect graphic designer for your project.

You see the efforts of graphic designers all around you. If you notice a design or style that speaks to you, prepare to share it as you search for your freelancer. It can start the conversation rolling for both of you to learn more about the other. You are looking for a partner to help your business succeed; the better you understand and communicate with each other, the more smoothly your project will run.

How to choose the right designer

Here are 6 six tips for selecting a great freelance designer, before you begin your search.

Determine project needs
Determine required skills
Determine budget
Do your research
Interview your shortlist
Understand the contract

Tip 1: Determine Project Needs

Designer Wall

Develop a creative brief to show freelancers under consideration. The creative brief should contain information that will help designers understand the project and whether they have the pertinent skills at their disposal.

In your creative brief, include the following:

Details about your company: what you do or sell, your culture, and your mission
The objective of the project
Specific qualifications and skills required
The project deadline
Any potential obstacles

It’s easy to forget that freelancers won’t have the same depth of knowledge or sense of your business as you do. Providing this information at the beginning will keep both you and the freelancer from wasting time on a project that isn’t a good fit or that does not fit into your schedules.

Tip 2: Determine Required Skills

Graphic designers have many applications to select from when building their designs. If you have a reason for requiring a specific application, such as Adobe Illustrator or Visual Design, make sure your candidates have experience with those tools. Get to know their expertise, specialisations and what they can offer you.

Will you provide stock images for designers to work from or do you require them to take photos to integrate into the design? Some graphic designers have preferred image sources or can help you locate appropriate resources.

For logo design, make sure the designer can provide the design in fully scalable vector format to ensure image quality across mediums and size variations.

Tip 3: Determine Budget

How much should you budget and how much can you budget? There is little in the way of standard pricing between designers, but you should be able to find someone in your price range. Many designers will negotiate their listed prices in return for consistent and ongoing work.

On the other hand, don’t stint. You get what you pay for, and this is an investment in your business. Treat it as such. Good design performs well into the future as a critical marketing tool in today’s business environment.

Be flexible in your payment options. Paypal is a popular method for freelancers as are some other payment applications. Cover the logistics of payment to set expectations of when payment is expected and what form it will take.

Tip 4: Do Your Research

Sketching

An important part of identifying candidates is looking at their portfolios. Use the opportunity to look at their versatility and creativity.

Development of a concept across various media and platforms
Optimal formatting of print advertising, video, and web pages
Use of the latest web coding protocols and the ability to test a web page across multiple browsers and mobile devices for proper display

Looking over their portfolios can help you understand how each designer works creatively and whether it will complement your ideas and sensibilities. Do the graphic elements used in their portfolio designs mesh pleasingly? Does the designer pay attention to detail and demonstrate stylistic and visual integrity?

As you consider various styles and designs, be open to something edgier than usual; it can make your images and logos last longer before being refreshed in the future. If you can find a designer with some experience in your industry, it will reduce the learning curve and allow the designer to connect with your ideal customers more easily.

Tip 5: Interview Your Short List

Designer Interview

Assemble a short list of the graphic designers that most closely match your needs and who have indicated interest in your project if you received responses to a creative brief. If you can, interview in person or via video chat so you can get a better sense of the person and how you both communicate.

Video chat and screen sharing also give you a chance to share images and sketches more interactively. You get a better idea of how it is to work with each designer, an important consideration if you want a long term partnership.

If the designer persists in using jargon you don’t understand, the behavior will probably continue. If you don’t understand what the designer is communicating, you will be frustrated throughout your relationship.
The designer should be deeply interested in your business and will dive deep to learn your needs.
Language comprehension is another important element in successfully communicating and collaborating on design.

Ask them about the inspiration for specific parts of their designs; learn why they made particular choices. Discuss different brands, websites, books, or artists that inspire their work. Their key motivations will give you a sense of their style and may uncover more ideas or unique design elements for your project.

Professional affiliations may play a role in how a designer performs. Some organizations require their members to follow specific ethical standards regarding trademarks and copyright infringement. Also, ask for references and follow through by contacting those references. You need to know if the designer you are considering conducts himself or herself professionally, hits deadlines, and is easy to work with.

If you decide to ask for a small trial project, make sure to pay the designer for the time and effort. Never ask for free work from any creative professional; after all, you would expect to be paid for any of your products or services.

Tip 6: Understand the Contract

Contract

If the graphic designer has a contract, read it and make sure you understand everything it says. If the designer does not have a contract, you should write one yourself. A contract can stave off unpleasant surprises including additional expenses and scope creep. You want transparency in all your business dealings. AIGA provides a contract for free here.

Ask if the timeline and budget you are proposing are reasonable. Also, understand who retains ownership of the work.

The graphic design for your marketing, packaging, and website is the first impression your target audience has of your company. Invest in a designer who performs quality work to the highest standards. Hiring an amateur may sound like a recipe for saving money, but if the design of your website or logo looks cheap, your company will look cheap.

You dress your best when meeting with a client; dress your sales collateral, logo, and website in its best for the public to see.

Do you have any further advice for choosing the right designer?

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Original Source: http://justcreative.com/2017/11/05/%E2%80%8Bvideoblocks-free-downloads/

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