It is now the time to Nominate Your Designs

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Colorburned/~3/AKbqeuzPwLs/

A’ Design Award is the World’s leading international annual juried competition for design. The A’ Design Competitions are organized in many creative fields to highlight the very best designers from all countries in all disciplines. Entries to the A’ Design Competition are blind peer reviewed by an expert jury panel of leading scholars, prominent press members and experienced professionals. A’ Design Award & Competition promises popularity, prestige, attention and international recognition to The A’ Design Award Laureates through the Coveted A’ Design Prize which is given to celebrate all awarded designs.

Entering your work to A’ Design Competition is a great opportunity for everyone who produces original design work. The A’ Design Competition is an exceptional medium to publicize good work to millions of design oriented audiences including design buyers and press members. Indeed, as a part of the A’ Design Prize, the laureates are given services such as exhibition of awarded works, inclusion of awarded designs in annual yearbook of best designs, a special public relations campaign for laureates, invitation to the glamourous gala-night and award ceremony and most important of all, the ability to use the award winning design logo on your marketing and communications. Here is what A’ Design Competition laureates get; Checkout the complete A’ Design Prize.

The A’ Design Award & Competition has a philanthropic goal to advance society by pushing the frontiers of art, design, creativity and technology forward by pushing innovators to come up with better ideas. The “A’ Design Award’s Award Winning Design” logo, given to award winning designs, signifies authentic, useful and efficient designs that help the world become a better place.

Every year, original design work that focus on positive change, art, design and creativity from across the globe are awarded with the A’ Design Award. Entries to A’ Design Award are accepted in categories such as Architectural Design, Graphics Design, Industrial Design, and more. The unabridged list of competition categories are available here.

Nominations are accepted annually until February 28th (For 2016, the deadline has been extended to March 7th) and results are announced every year on April 15. Designers, agencies and brands worldwide are called to join the accolades by nominating their best works, projects and products. Discover A’ Design Award and see past winners at A’ Design Award Press Page which is a showcase of great design work worldwide.

Join with Your Designs today to The A’ Design Award : Nominate Your Design Project.

See some of the award winning works below.

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Barb Perfume by Roma Lazarev – Platinum A’ Packaging Design Award in 2015

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Maxplo by Hae Rim Jung – Platinum A’ Futuristic Design Award in 2015

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Nemesis Fins by Speedo Usa – Platinum A’ Sports, Entertainment and Recreation Equipment Design Award in 2015

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Calendar 2015 “town” by Katsumi Tamura – Platinum A’ Graphics and Visual Communication Design Award in 2015

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Chhatrapti Shivaji International Airport by Mumbai International Airport Ltd. & SOM – Platinum A’ Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award in 2015

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Williamson Tea Elephant Caddies by Springetts Brand Design Consultants – Platinum A’ Packaging Design Award in 2015

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Tactica One by Michael Chijoff – Platinum A’ Bakeware, Tableware, Drinkware and Cookware Design Award in 2015

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Ice Krakow by Ingarden & Ewý Architects – Platinum A’ Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award in 2015

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Sarp 46m by SARP YACHT – Golden A’ Yacht and Marine Vessels Design Award in 2015

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Onebip by Gokmen Atak – Golden A’ Mobile Technologies, Applications and Software Design Award in 2015

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Kawaii : Cute by Tetsuya Matsumoto – Golden A’ Interior Space, Retail and Exhibition Design Award in 2015

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Sterling Bag-The Epitome of Versatilit by Alejandro P Figueredo – Golden A’ Fashion and Travel Accessories Design Award in 2015

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The Cut by Alessandro Isola – Golden A’ Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design Award in 2015

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Pooleaf by SIL GI , LEE – Golden A’ Art Materials, Stationery Supplies and Gift Items Design Award in 2015

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Musik by Clive Choo – Golden A’ Advertising, Marketing and Communication Design Award in 2015

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Baan by Mr. Paitoon Keatkeereerut, Mr.Chawin Hanjing – Platinum A’ Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design Award in 2014

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Tango Pouch by Gretchen – Anne-Christin Schmitt – Platinum A’ Fashion and Travel Accessories Design Award in 2014

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Profit Sports Drink by Jeff Klok – Golden A’ Packaging Design Award in 2014

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Multimedia Exhibition Lsx20 by Design studio H2E – Golden A’ Interior Space, Retail and Exhibition Design Award in 2014

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Frohne Eclip by Derrick Frohne – Golden A’ Digital and Electronic Devices Design Award in 2013

Hope, you liked the designs above. We will publish select award winning projects on April 15, once the results are announced. To have an opportunity to have your design published, featured and exhibited, remember to nominate it before the deadline. Send Your Designs today to The A’ Design Award & Competition : Send Your Best Design Project.

The post It is now the time to Nominate Your Designs appeared first on Colorburned.

6 Tips for Designing Stickers and Labels

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Colorburned/~3/ZSCa1_Jx_7c/

Stickers or labels you’ve designed can be a great addition to your portfolio. Labels are a prominent part of package design – a growing industry. Stickers are a great tool used for promoting businesses, products, events and even people. Designing custom stickers and labels is very similar to designing for traditional print, with a few mall changes. Ensure you get the best results with these tips and tricks from StickerYou, sticker printing professionals.

 

LabelDesignTips_Header

 

Beware the bleed. As with traditional printing, it is important to add a bleed of at least 1/8 inch to your design to account for subtle shifting in the cutting of your stickers or labels. Adding a bleed will ensure there are no slivers of white around the edges of your design. Die-cut stickers or labels without a border or colored background are typically printed with white padding around them to prevent parts of your design from being accidentally trimmed off.

LabelDesignTips_Bleed

 

2. Know your materials. Just like paper stocks, there are a vast number of different label or sticker material stocks. Depending on the printing method used and the stock used, your stickers or labels will have different appearances. Various stickers and labels are also used for different applications. Ex: Will they be used outdoors and require lamination or a coating to protect the design? Will the end us require that the stickers or labels be permanent or should they be removable? To get the best results, these are all questions you need to ask before choosing a sticker or label material.

 

LabelDesignTips_AnyShape

 

3. A simple design is better. Complicated or overly detailed designs are more likely to be passed over. A sticker or label that is less complicated and vibrant will likely gain more attention. Simple designs are also easier to print and leave less room for print error.

 

4. Use the right color combinations. As with most print projects, color is tantamount. Make sure you are using the right colors for your design as well as any text. Avoid thin light text on dark backgrounds, dark text on dark backgrounds, or highly contrasting colors. Instead opt for a color scheme that compliments each other.

 

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5. Use the right color mode. When you are designing for print, your colors will be most accurately represented and printed when you design in CMYK color mode. The same goes when you are designing for printed stickers or labels. If you need precise colors for a brand, you will need to use pantone colors or spot colors and may be charged extra for this.

 

6. Resolution matters. If you have a small print file and are printing it at a large size, you will experience resolution issues. Vice versa, if you have a large print file and are printing it as a small sticker or label, you will have resolution issues. In both cases, your printed stickers or labels may have blurred edges or appear to be of a lower quality. A good rule of thumb is to use a 350 dpi print file.

The post 6 Tips for Designing Stickers and Labels appeared first on Colorburned.

25 Inspiring Examples of Ultra Minimal Web Design

Original Source: https://line25.com/articles/25-inspiring-examples-of-ultra-minimal-web-design

Sometimes, less means a whole lot more! Get inspired by these ultra minimal web design examples and discover what makes them stand out.

The latest web designs with loud colors, trendy headers, and stunning imagery are indeed attractive, but sometimes it’s nice to admire the everlasting style of minimalist design. The ultra minimal websites in this list focus on composition and typography to create stripped back, naked designs that are just as beautiful as those full of glamour.

If you feel the need to change things up and try something new, here are 25 inspiring examples of ultra minimal web design. Browse through this selection and discover new web designs.

Socket Studios

Nowadays we don’t need so many words to express ourselves. A good picture placed in the right place provides us with all the information we need to draw our own conclusions. This web design is the perfect example for this.

Socket Studios Website Design

Jac in a Box

This website is a great inspiration and a place to rest the eyes in the pastel colors after a busy day of hyper advertised sites and streets!

Jac in a Box Website Concept Design

Cove

All you need is within reach on the first page. No complicated menus, no submenus, no advertising and the message becomes very clear to everybody!

Cove minimal web design

Arne Meister Contemporary Art

This is an excellent minimal web design example which focuses on large, bold typography while making the best use of white space.

Arne Meister Contemporary Art minimal web design

Ape Unit

The color changing for each topic and the picture fading in the background really captures the interest of the viewer, shifting the focus from one topic to another.

Ape Unit Website Design Concept

Italic Studio

This site has a beautiful expression which is obtained through a minimalistic design. The use of neat animations is a great way to make this design pop!

Italic Studio minimal web design

Ten & Bourne

If you are tired by information crowded websites then this minimal web design will sooth your eyes. Check out this minimal presentation and discover its full features.

Ten & Bourne Website Design

Wingmen

Enjoy the unique design of this website and the creative navigation. This minimal web design has a beautiful home page with an eye-catching animation effect.

Wingmen Website Design Concept

Derek Boateng

Get inspired by this awesome website which takes the minimal design very seriously. This website includes beautiful geometrical elements and lovely colors.

Derek Boateng Website Design

Oh My! Digital Design Studio

Elegant website design which is a great example of a minimalistic and professional design. This website has an exceptional animated background which gets your attention.

Oh My! Digital Design Studio minimal web design

Alexander Collin

The minimalistic design, as well as the contrast between black & white, makes this design stand out. Browse to unveil the full layout.

Alexander Collin Website Concept

Quentin Morisseau Interactive Designer

Another online portfolio presented in a unique manner, a list of projects differentiated between the great public and the close friends with password protected works.

Quentin Morisseau Interactive Designer Website Concept Design

McChillin Chicago Web Design & Web Development

This website has a beautiful minimalistic design which stands out thanks to the continuous color changing font and background.

McChillin Chicago Web Design & Web Development Website Design

Landscape – An Independent Design Studio

An animated background design can really make your design stand out. This portfolio website has a creative minimalistic design with a creative layout.

Landscape An Independent Design Studio minimal web design

RHYTHM Design Studies

Here is another excellent example of a professional website with a minimalistic design. It’s a one-page website with a creative navigation.

RHYTHM Design Studies minimal web design

Yaron Schoen

You only need a message and a creative way to showcase it to the public. This minimalistic website also includes a full-screen menu design which can be accessed from the sticky logo design on the top left.

Yaron Schoen minimal web designt

The Office of Jason James

A minimalistic design can say a lot about your website. This is a stunning portfolio website which uses a side menu and a creative clean design.

The Office of Jason James Website Design

Huncwot

Sometimes a surprise in your design can keep your users engaged and connected. This website has a grid layout which comes to life when hovered over.

Huncwot Website Concept Design

Omar Folgheraiter Web & Graphic

Minimalistic or not, a successful website requires powerful features to ensure its success. This layout includes a parallax scrolling effect, a well-designed timeline, and other great features.

Omar Folgheraiter Web & Graphic Website Design

The Post Family

Discover the full layout of this minimalistic website. It begins with a black & white screen which showcases a big heading, the menu, and the logo design. Also, you can navigate through the site using your keyboard.

The Post Family Website Design

Lunar Gravity

This website includes a neat parallax effect which makes everything come to life, giving another dimension to the entire layout.

Lunar Gravity Website Concept Design

Werklig Brand Design Agency

You can express more with less! This website uses a white background and a grid layout to showcase each project.

Werklig Brand Design Agency Website Design

Dennis Adelmann

Enjoy this minimalistic design and get inspired by this creative way of showcasing each project.

Dennis Adelmann Website Design

Brian Nathan Hartwell

This website is well-organized into a grid layout which includes a certain project. Each one has an amazing animation which comes to life when hovered over.

Brian Nathan Hartwell Website Concept

We Ain’t Plastic

With a minimalistic design, a soft colored background ordered content and soft animations, this website will definitely get your attention.

We Ain’t Plastic Website Design Concept

The post 25 Inspiring Examples of Ultra Minimal Web Design appeared first on Line25.

7 Best eCommerce Platforms and Shopping Carts

Original Source: https://line25.com/web-development/best-ecommerce-platforms

eCommerce is on the rise and people have started to have more and more confidence when buying stuff online. With online shopping trending, more and more businesses have noticed the importance of a strong online presence and an online shop to sell their products on. This is where eCommerce platforms and shopping cart solutions come in handy and dramatically reduce their setup costs.

There is a wide market for eCommerce solutions and plenty of tools and software to choose from. Some are simple tools for selling individual products, while others are created for large volumes and online shops with lots of products.

If you’re starting your online shop, this roundup will help you a lot in choosing what’s the best solution for you. We’ve analyzed some of the best eCommerce platforms and shopping cart tools on the web and selected 7 of them.

These eCommerce solutions are used by a wide range of stores and have different features, such as listing your products, building your site from scratch, adding shopping carts and payment processors, and more.

Here they are! We’ll guide you through their core features below.

1. nopCommerce

nopCommerce is an eCommerce platform for any kind of business, small or large and from any kind of niche. It can be used for selling both physical and digital goods and combines best features of an open-source and commercial software. Plus, it is absolutely free, so the cost of ownership is basically limited to hosting.

nopCommerce offers a plenty of features and capabilities to create an online store. It comes packed with all the necessary tools, plus they are always adding new ones.

In our opinion, this platform has a great value-money ratio, so we have provided a more detailed overview of what it has to offer.

nopCommerce

nopCommerce Features

Mobile friendly

Having a mobile-friendly, responsive website is a standard nowadays. Living in the mobile age, you can lose many customers if your website and shopping cart aren’t optimized for smartphones and tablets. nopCommerce offers an online store interface that’s viewable and convenient on any device and in any resolution.

nopCommerce - ASP.NET Open-source Ecommerce Shopping Cart Solution

Product details

Whether you need just a couple product details for your shop, or multiple ones, such as SKU, size, weight, stock, and more, nopCommerce offers a wide range of editable and tweakable product details you can use.

nopCommerce - ASP.NET Open-source Ecommerce Shopping Cart Solution

Checkout

Having a well-optimized checkout page is crucial for a good store. nopCommerce lets you choose from a variety of check-out options such as one-page checkout, anonymous checkout, the addition of check out attributes, and more.

nopCommerce - ASP.NET Open-source Ecommerce Shopping Cart Solution

Marketing Special Tools

Do you need to have discount codes, gift certificates, product ratings and reviews on your online shop? No problem, this eCommerce platform comes already integrated with the most popular special marketing tools for online shops. Moreover, it offers statistics automation and content marketing.

nopCommerce - ASP.NET Open-source Ecommerce Shopping Cart Solution

Multi-vendor and multi-store support

With nopCommerce, you can operate a multi-vendor marketplace if you need to re-sell items supplied by other vendors. Your vendors benefit from a dedicated admin panel and they are not interfering with each other. Also, multi-store support allows you to operate multiple online stores with different URLs using a single admin dashboard.

nopCommerce - ASP.NET Open-source Ecommerce Shopping Cart Solution

2. Shopify

Shopify is a popular online store platform that offers a powerful all-in-one e-commerce solution. Shopify lets you add an unlimited amount of products, it has a user-friendly admin interface and comes with a bunch of free themes for creating your site from scratch. This solution is scalable for any type of business, plus it offers apps that are both free and paid and which you can use to power-up your website.

There are many different categories of apps you can choose from, for marketing purposes, SEO, product list customization, social media integration, shopping cart add-ons, and more.

For someone who has no experience in web design or online commerce, setting up a Shopify website can be a little overwhelming. But, nonetheless, this is a great tool that doesn’t require a strong web design background to use.

Ecommerce Software - Best Ecommerce Platform

3. Wix

Wix is another popular platform for building any type of websites. It comes with a drag-and-drop site editor, packed with customization features. Like Shopify, if you want to extend your website’s capabilities, there’s an App Market that solves the issue.

When starting with Wix, your first step is to design your website using the integrated builder. You can choose the pre-made templates as a starting point and customize texts, images, and more. You can also add a blog and online shop to your website.

In the App Market, you can find tools for creating forms, live chat, booking, social media, and more.

Free Website Builder

4. BigCommerce

If you’re already selling on sites like eBay, Shopify, Volusion, Amazon, and other eCommerce platforms and want to transfer to BigCommerce, this can be done easily and without any problems.

BigCommerce includes all the features needed to run a successful store. It offers many themes you can choose from, support tools, finance tools, and pretty much anything else you could think of.

If you want to still sell your products on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other marketplaces, BigCommerce can cross-list your products. This is done while maintaining your inventory and listings.

Ecommerce Software

5. Woocommerce

Woocommerce comes as an extension to the most popular blogging platform, WordPress. It is completely free to setup and use. It has hundreds of free and paid WooCommerce extensions, to satisfy all your logistical & technical requirements.

WooCommerce helps you sell anything, anywhere. It’s mobile-friendly, has extended customization options, and the best thing about it is that it’s free. However, unlike all the other eCommerce platforms mentioned in this list, you will probably need a web developer/web designer to create the website for you, as you’ll need some coding knowledge to set it up.

WooCommerce Best eCommerce Platforms

6. Gumroad

Gumroad is the easiest solution for selling individual products or simple, fuss-free subscriptions/memberships. You can list multiple products on Gumroad and it doesn’t require any coding knowledge at all. They have the option for a free and premium account. The free account has a higher per sale

The free account has a higher per sale commission of 8.5% + 30¢ per sale (including payment processing), and the paid on requires a small monthly fee of  $10/month plus 3.5% + 30¢ per sale.

Gumroad Best eCommerce Platforms

7. Big Cartel

Big Cartel is a cheap way to start your online store. It’s even free for less than 5 products, but even the paid version is reasonably priced.

Setting up the store can be done quickly and easily. There are plenty of free, built-in themes to choose from or you can customize your own with a little bit of coding.

Big Cartel is targeted to smaller stores, with a maximum of 300 items you can list in a store.

Build a free online store

We hope this list of 7 best eCommerce platforms will help you set up a successful online store!

The post 7 Best eCommerce Platforms and Shopping Carts appeared first on Line25.

4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Website to Keep Building Brilliance

Original Source: http://justcreative.com/2017/08/09/tips-to-upgrade-your-website/

Last year I engaged in a campaign with Liquid Web Hosting on How to Build Something Brilliant and a few months later I’m here to offer some advice on how to “Keep Building Brilliant” by upgrading different aspects of your website.

Disclaimer: This post was written by me through an activation with HireInfluence on behalf of Liquid Web. Although I received compensation for participating in the campaign, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Follow along with the hashtag #KeepBuildingBrilliant.

1. Improve the Visual Design / User Experience
a) Simplify based on Goals

What is the purpose of your website? Is it to provide information, sell a product or service or simply to grow your email list? Asking yourself these questions will allow you to simplify your website, based on your goals. For example, if your main goal is to get an email address, then your website’s design should be focused around this goal and one way of achieving this, is by reducing clutter and having a clear focus. See here for the top 5 design mistakes killing your conversions.

b) Reduce clutter

Can pages or sections of your site be removed or reduced? Can more white space be added to guide the user and improve the user experience? What aspects are distracting from your main goals? See here for some tips, case studies and best practices for doing just that.

c) Sell benefits, not features

Drill Hole Example

Tell a story, rather than hard sell your customers. What benefits will they derive from your product or service?

An old ad age is the drill and hole example… User’s aren’t looking for a drill, they are looking for a hole so sell them on the end product of “drilling perfect holes with ease”, rather than on the drill itself.

2. Build a following

Why would user’s want to follow you or your business? What value are you offering them? Always keep this in mind when building your list or followers.

a) Build your email list

Email marketing is one of the best ways for your audience to stay engaged and connected, but how much attention are you paying to building your list? Add some lead generators to your site. I personally use the service ‘OptinMonster’ for gaining emails and offer a free logo design eBook ‘lead magnet’ to entice users to sign up.

b) Remove or reduce advertising

How much money are you actually making from those Google ads? Generally, they’re just adding unnecessary clutter. Consider removing them and focus on your goals of gaining important leads, not just a few bucks.  

3. Increase site speed

Increase Site Speed

The speed of your site is going to directly affect not only the experience of the user, but also your search engine rankings, so pay special attention to your website’s speed.

a) Upgrade your Web site platform

What platform are you using for your Web site and is it best suited for your business’s goals? Maybe it’s time to ditch that slow DIY website and upgrade to something more professional. A popular choice would be WordPress, and there are literally thousands of professional themes to choose from. See how to start a website or blog here.

b) Make more mobile friendly

Your website should be responsive by now… if not, then crawl out from under that rock. But don’t just stop at being responsive, consider what elements can be removed or reduced entirely to ensure fast loading speeds on mobile. See here for some tips on making your mobile site load faster.

c) Use a CDN

Hosting your files on a CDN (content delivery network) is one of the best ways to speed up your site, and can often save up to 60% bandwidth.

CDNs work by hosting your files across a large network of servers around the world. When a user visits your site from New Zealand, they are downloading files from the server that is closest to them. This reduces the load on any single server, making the site faster.

See here for getting started with a CDN.

4. Upgrade Your Web Host

Liquid Web Team

A lot of the above factors are reliant on where your website files are hosted – aka your web host – and when choosing a web host, there are a number of factors you need to consider such as reliability, security, performance guarantees, customer support and more.

Do you need dedicated server hosting, managed VPS hosting, managed WordPress hosting, cloud hosting or just standard server hosting?

There are many hosting options out there, and Liquid Web Hosting is one company to consider if you’re wanting to upgrade your web host. Their vision is to be the “The Most Helpful Humans In Hosting™” so you can rest assured you’ll be in good hands for your upgrade. They have everything you need to grow, as well as managed services (not just a server) and wholly owned data-centers for your peace of mind. And just look at their smiles above…

Have any further ways to upgrade your website? Let us know in the comments below.

Agencies, Product, and the Business of Building for People

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/buildinternet/~3/PUc9bZ5jj-Y/

“You have clients? So you’re an agency?”

For the first two years of One Mighty Roar, the question of “What do you call yourself?” came up a lot. Externally, people saw as a company with a growing portfolio of brand clients and a trail of websites and social campaigns behind it. Internally, our team saw a growing stockpile of self-made code and tools which tied those projects together. Whatever OMR was didn’t feel exactly like an agency, but it was close enough. So we relented and embraced the byline of “Digital Agency” for the next two years. It wasn’t a perfect description of what we thought made the company great, but the people who mattered understood the difference and that was good enough for us.

A funny thing happens when people hear you have clients — they categorize. Consultants have clients. Agencies have clients. Product companies have customers. Customers who buy widgets or subscriptions to things — prebuilt stuff.

The “sort of” agency

In the early years, being labeled an agency on the outside wasn’t bad. We got to solve challenges for a constantly evolving group of interesting brands and individuals. The answers tended to be websites and mobile applications, but the freedom to build foundations for others inspired us. Our team approached client projects like a product team would. Instead of building for an expiration date of rotating seasonal campaigns, we focused on making reusable building blocks. Some of those blocks were pieces we would later assemble to be products.

At the time we thought product companies required outside funding to get started, and being self-funded is an opportunity you protect. Unlike many early product companies, our business model did not require hitting user count or investment milestones to succeed. Our “funding” came from the projects we contracted. Building for others was great because we were handed challenges to solve pre-validated by the brands and budgets behind them. It afforded us the opportunity to remain self-funded with access to top brands.

From agency to product thinking

Client services aside, One Mighty Roar has two products with enough traction and revenue to have “made it” as independent business models.

One is You Rather, a giant predictive modeling engine based around the game of “would you rather”. At time of writing, it tracks about ⅓ billion responses and a few million views each day. The second product is Robin, a platform that connects digital and physical things by bringing digital layers into physical environments. Despite being early to the “connected device” and “Internet of things” game, Robin has been fortunate to see use from global brands and has grown to a key initiative that powers much of the work we do.

When we interview for open positions, these are the things we talk about first. Without understanding our toolbox, a candidate won’t understand the problems our team can solve. When prospective clients come to us now, we greet them with thinking that supports the products we’ve made. In many cases, it works better than the mobile application or Facebook campaign they originally wanted.

We don’t view product as a way to escape client work. It’s all the same — our client services help evangelize our products. Our products are designed to make certain problems easy to solve. We love when there is a fit, but it’s not a requirement. We are like a toolbox filled with both general tools and some that are unique to us. Some of our best web and mobile application projects have led to new internal workflow, open source projects, and foundations for future products.

Product is a foundation not a department

The products are a part of our thought process right from the start. This is one of the things that a lot of larger agencies get backwards. Let’s take the recent “labs” trend popping up among large agencies. A 500+ person agency tries to recapture its agility by creating a “labs/innovation” department. On paper, lab initiatives feels like product — smart people in a room tinkering with the latest technology to build things their clients can use. What happens instead (unfortunately) is the lab becomes little more than a media kit checklist item to show they are forward thinkers. A handful of interesting experiences might come out of it every year, but the rest of the company doesn’t benefit from the new process, only the results.

Today’s 500+ person agency doesn’t have the cultural foundation to support a product startup inside of it. Hell, there are fifty person agencies that would have a hard time making the product shift. They scratch itches instead of solve problems and fail the test of “different or better?”. Being scrappy is something you can lose with size, but scrappiness is also the catalyst needed for compelling product direction. Scrappy can’t afford to build things with expiration dates.

Clients can sponsor features

Clients can (and should) have goals that extend beyond a single project launch. When building with a product toolbox mentality clients become sponsors for new features, either directly or indirectly. The client gets what they want for their project and we get a good reason to bump a new, client validated feature to the top of the list.
This isn’t to say that you build generic results. The difference is in approach. Simply asking “How would this be done if it wasn’t just for this use case?” nets a lot of design and development decisions which ultimately make stronger product design.

Good products come from domain expertise

People build solutions to their own problems. If enough other people have the same problem, you have a product. If enough people buy in (and they don’t always), you have a business.

Building to a product rather than a project means something is always left to improve. We believe in constantly iterating towards a goal or at least a larger narrative. Whether the product fails or succeeds, you’ll still have the “why did we make this?” to inform the next steps.

Product people and project people

At One Mighty Roar, we are product people who take on client projects. When we interview people from larger agencies, a common thread for departure is burnout from shelved projects or great work that doesn’t exist anymore. Dan Ariely covers a lot of these points in his talk called “What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work.”

In project based work, it’s harder to be deeply invested in something the moment an expiration date is established. Product represents something to always come back to. Coupled with the diversity of challenges and the brands agency style work comes with, we find a product company with client services gets the best of both worlds.

The fabled “20% time”

Our friend, Richard Banfield of Fresh Tilled Soil, recently wrote an interesting piece which cautions design companies that try to tackle agency and internal product work. One topic covered is the danger of viewing 20% time as an adequate amount of time to develop a product. This magical time is the first to go in busy situations, which can all but halt product development.

Interpretation has changed over time, but the gist is a company spends the majority of time thinking specifically, and the minority is thinking broadly. Google and 37Signals get a lot of credit for being the pioneers in this regard, but it’s 3M we have to thank for subsidized personal projects at the workplace.

We don’t believe that client work disqualifies a company from doing product if you hire the right people and build for the right companies. Put another way, we spend 80% of our time building out customized iterations of our services, then 20% refining for the big picture.

It’s a business, not a lottery ticket

Products aren’t lottery tickets to aid in the escape from your core business. We’ve come to view products as a broader framework for solving problems by improve the toolbox and workflow we tackle projects with. You can’t force it, but if you’re looking for opportunities they will come up a lot more than if you have project tunnel vision.

Products are often, to quote the famed Bob Ross, “happy accidents”.


How to Bring Spring Colors to Life with 9 PicsArt Effects

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Colorburned/~3/rW70RP6ai_E/

Spring doesn’t just bring out the colors in nature, it brings them out in us. This is a time of year when we really want our photography to sing and feel alive, but touching up a photo can be a fragile process. Knowing which effects to use and how far to push them is critical to finding that sweet spot where we’re getting the most out of our colors.

This guide will show you how to make your colors pop using the PicsArt photo editor, and introduce you to some really fun and useful photo effects. Each of these effects has the potential to breathe life into a particular situation. The key to getting this right is understanding how to further the color story already being told in your shot. Let’s get started. 

1. Warm Color

IMG_6385

The Warm Color Effect does as advertised, it warms up your shot! It’s often best used with a light touch, like blowing a gentle warm breeze through a cold background. It also has a way making skin look lush and healthy. A good tip is keeping the effect just under the point where skin starts to look like an orange spray tan, so that your photo will keep its natural beauty.

2. Dodger

IMG_6395

Dodger puts an ocean deep blue hue in your black shadows. The most interesting alterations from this effect, however, are not where there is already blue but where there was none to begin with. Just look at how the blueish shadows create a beautiful interplay with the red tones in this young woman’s face.

3. Sunny

IMG_639777

The best way to describe the difference between Sunny and Warm Color, is that the Sunny effect is hot. You can feel the temperature change, and the heat becomes a defining trait of your photo. It can add a lot of character to harsh midday light, and create a really immersive sensation of being in the thick of a sizzling hot day.

4. Cinerama

IMG_6401

Cinerama is perhaps one of the most useful effects in the PicsArt library. It has an amazing way of letting in the light without drastically altering the temperature or over intensifying the bright spots. Cinerama is like pulling back the curtains on your photo, or stepping out of the shade.

5. Vibrant

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If every color had a slider, the Vibrant effect has a way of turning up the juice on all of them. This effect is best avoided in photos with really diverse multicolor pallets, and is most effective when you have three or four bold colors sectioned off in well-defined chunks.

6. Drama

IMG_6405

Lighting and color are inseparable, because they help define each other. The Drama Effect creates darker shadows and brighter light, defining the shape and tonal range of your image. Here, the added pale brightness around this woman’s mouth creates a starker contrast with her deep lipstick. It makes that red pop and creates a stronger image.

7. Seafoam

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Seafoam has a way of bleaching your light with a pearly veneer. In a photo with a lot of bright diverse colors, this can wash them out into a pale fog, but if most of your colors are stuck in the darker spaces, washing out the boring bright spaces is a good thing. The warmly lit t-shirt in the original image above blends in too much with the red wall behind it. With Seafoam, suddenly you can appreciate those colors in the background.

8. HDR 1

IMG_6391

HDR 1 is a really handy basic enhancer, but it works better with wide shots. It brings out the textures in an image, and create a steeper and harsher color pallette. That kind of definition can really bring out the attitude in a photo. The soft pink of the original photo above is intensified with hot pink highlights for example.

9. HDR 2

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By @averydalessandro

HDR 2 is also a good go-to enhancer, but it’s much softer so it plays better up close. It also has a saturation slider that lets you juice up your colors, which is great for some of your more wild shots.

To breathe life into your spring colors, Download the PicsArt app for free on Android, iOS or Windows Phone.

This post was provided by PicsArt, a mobile photo editing app that provides people with a canvas for creating, collaborating, and exploring. With a full creative suite for photo editing, PicsArt makes it easy to create beautiful images, no matter where you are.

 

The post How to Bring Spring Colors to Life with 9 PicsArt Effects appeared first on Colorburned.

Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: May 2012

Original Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/visualswirl/~3/9J38q7D-HV8/

Before spring fades to summer let’s get those desktops cleared with some virtual spring cleaning. Welcome to another collection of fabulous desktop wallpaper calendars for the month of May. These wallpapers have been hand-picked from some amazingly talented artists and designers to give you a variety of options for making your desktop look nice. Feel free to share your favorites and check back next month for some great new desktop calendars. As always, if you’d like to include your own design in future roundups, drop me a line.

6 Springtime Desktop Wallpaper Calendars for May 2012
Wallpaper by Ibrandstudio

Wallpaper by Paper Leaf

Wallpaper by MonkeyMan504

Wallpaper by Webgranth

Wallpaper by Studio of Mae

Wallpaper by Kriegs

The post Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: May 2012 appeared first on Visual Swirl Design Resources.

Wood Textures in Web Design: Showcase of 15 Websites

Original Source: https://line25.com/articles/30-web-designs-that-make-wood-textures-cool-again

This post rounds up a showcase of web designs that are all helping make the wood texture cool again. Wood textures in web design aren’t anything new, actually, they were pretty trendy after the days of “web 2.0” until they kind of lost their coolness.

Recently though, we’ve begun to see wood textures make a return in website designs and iPhone and iPad app interfaces. There are many styles, depending on what you are looking for. These websites will definitely inspire your future designs, making things even more professional.

Poogan’s Porch Restaurant

This website uses a teal-colored wooden background which makes the photos and texts really stand out. The site has a friendly atmosphere, perfect for a family restaurant.

Poogans-Porch-Restaurant

Vector Mill

This website has a simple layout with a beige background for the website, plus a light wooden colored textured background for the content block. it has an overall vintage style.

wood textures in web design

Barrel and crow

This website is a perfect example of how to use wooden backgrounds in modern web design. It also uses another popular trend – large, bold typography on the homepage.

Barrel and Crow wood textures in web design

Leathermilk

This retro-themed, dark website design uses subtle wood textures that pair nicely with the vintage style and realistic images.

Leather Milk wood textures in web design

Stikwood

This website doesn’t use wood textures as background, but it has plenty of wood elements in the photos. The slider is perfect for this kind of small online shop.

Rethink Your Walls wood textures in web design

Night Owl Interactive

You could barely tell, but this website has a very dark wood texture as background. The texture is very subtle and looks modern.

Night Owl Interactive wood textures in web design

Voltage new media

Here’s an example of how to incorporate realistic wood images into your design. This image is perfect to be used as a background.

 Voltage New Media - Shopify eCommerce Web Design
Curts

Here’s another example of how wood photos can be used as backgrounds. This adds a homemade atmosphere to the whole website.

Special Recipe wood textures in web design

Keepsareal.com

Instead of showcasing their products on a plain white background, this apparel online shop decided to use dark wood textures instead. It looks really good!

Keep SA Real wood textures in web design

Taptaptap

Here’s a unique way of featuring your social media accounts – use a light wooden background for the icons!

taptaptap wood textures

Sheldonfarmbaskets

This website’s theme is “countryside” and it’s perfectly created using old/aged wood textures as backgrounds, plus some realistic, 3D objects.

sheldonfarmbaskets wood textures

Fishmarketing

This simple website design successfully combines realistic objects, with wood textures.

fishmarketing wood textures

Domino Box App

This is the presentation website for an app. It combines cardboard textures with wood backgrounds and looks really good, matching the app’s style.

 wood textures

Cottonseedoiltour

This wood background may be too harsh, but it really matches the website’s niche and overall style.

Cottonseed Oil wood textures

Fine Goods Market

Here’s another great example of how to use dark, wood backgrounds in web design. It also uses realistic 3D images and texts.

 wood textures website

The post Wood Textures in Web Design: Showcase of 15 Websites appeared first on Line25.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page for Your Business

Original Source: http://justcreative.com/2017/08/07/anatomy-of-a-perfect-landing-page/

This is a guest article contributed by Matt Janaway.

Having a landing page exit-rate that stinks can be quite depressing. This is especially true if you and your team spent blood sweat and tears to create a professional-looking landing page, only to see your audience ignore your call-to-action buttons.

The thing is, there is more to a high-converting landing page than just its looks. Relying on your page’s aesthetics alone isn’t going to cut it since it can only do so much for you.

If you want to create a landing page that’s going to bring home the bacon, then allow me to share with you the anatomy of a perfect landing page for your business.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Compelling copy.

Just because your copy reads well and it doesn’t have any typos or grammar mistakes, doesn’t mean that it is enough to compel your audience to take action on your CTA’s.

Compelling copies have psychological elements embedded into them like social validation, tapping into the audiences’ fear of loss, etc.

These elements are often what compels the audience to take action.

2. Sprinkle your call-to-action buttons in strategic places.

Netflix Landing Page Design

Where these strategic areas are specifically, I’m afraid I won’t be able to tell you. Simply because these things vary depending on the dynamics of the type of landing page that you’re using (yes, there are different types of landing pages), and your design among other things.

However, I can tell you that as a general rule, it is a good practice to add your CTAs in areas where you’ve provided massive value to your readers like the image above, taken from Netflix. That way, if they are convinced that they need your help, then they can contact you immediately without having to look for your CTA buttons.

Adding a floating CTA also works. A good example is Furl.co.uk’s “Talk to Us” button. A quick visit to their website and you will see that no matter where you’ve scrolled at the page, their “Talk to Us” button is still highly visible because it is floating.

3. The relevance of the page is apparent.

Those who arrive on landing pages often have a goal in mind. That is why you need to convey to your readers immediately that your page is relevant to what they’re looking for, otherwise, they might think that they’re in the wrong place which will then cause them to click away.

A perfect way to deal with this is to make sure that your title directly addresses their concerns. Since your title is one of the first things they’ll see immediately after arriving at your page, the issue of relevance no longer becomes a threat.

4. No distractions.

Busy Web Design

It is ideal to use one type of call-to-action per landing page. That way, your audience doesn’t end up getting confused or distracted from doing the primary goal that you predetermined when you created your landing page.

That being said, do not ask your audience to share, buy, or contact you all at the same time and be careful not to distract your visitors from your main goal. Here’s an example of a homepage which distracts the visitor from completing a goal (in this instance, a purchase).

Just pick one type of CTA then sprinkle it strategically across the page. Also, make sure that your CTA buttons “pop.” If they aren’t highly visible, then your audience might not see them.

5. Carefully crafted headlines.

Your headline needs to be clear, concise, relevant, and punchy. These characteristics will ensure (somewhat) that your audience will continue reading the copy on your landing page.

See here for some tools for optimizing headlines and the ultimate list of headlines.

6. Add testimonials.

Malibu Web

Adding testimonials on your landing page will skyrocket its credibility. What makes it so effective is the fact that testimonials are not sales pitches, and they come across as unbiased.

To make the testimonials on your landing page look more credible, add your client’s profile picture and a short information about who they are.

At Marketing Labs, we include our clients’ name, their position in the company, and their business names. This is how our testimonials section looks.

When your prospect customers see the testimonies shared by your previous customers about how positive their experience is with you, it becomes a lot easier for them to trust you and do business with you.

7. Use images or videos that are relevant to the copy.

Countless case studies are showing that images and videos can boost your conversion rates. The thing with images and videos is they can help your audience create a clearer mental picture of the ideas that you want to convey.

Of course, the ideas that we’re talking about here are meant to influence them to take action on your offers. This effort from Spotify is excellent and encapsulates the impression of peacefulness.

Music Landing Page

When your audience can create a mental picture of themselves experiencing happiness, convenience, and joy (among other things) because of your product, it becomes almost impossible for them to leave your landing page without taking action on your offers.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page Infographic

Anatomy of Perfect Landing Page Infographic

Infographic by SmartBugMedia.com

What’s next?

I know for a fact that I’m just scratching the surface with the points that I shared above. If you have wisdom bombs that you’d like to share about creating a high-converting landing page, then please share them in the comments section below. Cheers!