YAY! It’s video 1 for the Rebrand

Hi, yes this is it. I’ve sent out my first Rebrand email to the group, and now here’s the first video as well. In it, I talk a bit about how hard it was to let go of my attachment to my workbook and put pics of it into a public space (it was stomach-clenching stuff! Haha probs should have thought more about that before promising such a thing…), and importantly, I talk about WHY I’m making this rebrand public.

 

 

The first email is about your Brand Personality, and how to figure it out. Like I say in the video, it’s not rocket science! But it IS one of the three basic pillars of your brand. You MUST understand who and what you are before we get to doing any of the juicy visuals.

If you’d like to jump in the email group and get all the specifics of my rebrand (including MORE sneek peaks into my workbooks!) AND chances to win coaching sessions or ebooks, join in here.

See you next time!

Julie xx

Graphic Design Trends for 2016

Graphic Design Trends for 2016 – a guest post by Brian Jens.

This article is particularly useful if you’ve got some tech knowledge – it talks a bit about the stuff behind the screen and how that’s all going to happen in 2016; but even if you’re like me and a bit scant on this knowledge, it’s still got some fab pointers on what everything’s going to look like! Read on…

Graphic Design Trends 2016

graphic design trends for 2016

Web design trends come and go all the time. But unlike many other areas, web design has constantly changed under the pressure of ever-evolving technologies that constantly changes and moves forward. Therefore, new web design trends are often the result not of designers’ changes in taste, but of the emergence of new functionality in the industry.

No doubts about it, 2015 was quite interesting. The overall picture remains almost unchanged compared to 2014, except for a greater promotion of minimalism which is gained popularity in recent years. But no one can dispute the fact that the technology platforms underlying the production evolve. First of all, browsers of mobile devices: a growing “mobile” trend forces the majority of Internet users to move to mobile gadgets at least when browsing the web. These changes have resulted in the focus on the quality and usability of websites to make them adaptive for mobile.

All the above means that this year web design will be a playground open to experiments, innovations and creative approach. Up-to-date designers should use all their skills and abilities to create something new that contributes to the industry.

To be on the crest of a wave, you should be able to predict the upcoming trends. To help you a little, we decided to collect the strongest tendencies that will dominate in 2016 in our opinion. Let’s check them!

Material Design

graphic design trends for 2016That’s a sphere where there was a small revolution last year. Google has adapted all of its services under the developed “visual language” named as Google’s Material Design. Material Design is the intersection of good visual design, and usability for users.

This trend reflected in the habits of many users: Material Design is now used on Android, as well as on the popular services like YouTube, Google+, and so on. Looking at the extent of its spread, we can say it has opened the new era of design.

CSS3 as the Basis in the Markup of a Page

graphic design trends for 2016

Support for CSS3 has been developed very actively in the past few years, and finally it reached the stage when new cool layout modules could be safely used without any fear of being displayed incorrectly. CSS3 Flexbox works well in the latest versions of popular browsers.

Flexbox offers a simplified solution as compared to the layout-paradigm, which was used on the Internet for a very long period of time. Flexbox increases speed of loading pages and reduces number of vulnerabilities; when using Flexbox, layout becomes a kind of creative work.

In 2016 the layout principles won’t be changed, but the process will be significantly simplified.

Bright Typography

graphic design trends for 2016The use of typography is an important marketing tool. With the help of typography and color, you can create a strong association with your brand in customers’ minds. Every designer knows that the choice is often constrained by the technical limitations and what the means for the safety of the brand’s identity. We expect this will change soon.

The last couple of years we’ve seen a general transformation in web typography: web fonts became much more affordable, giving some “freedom” to designers. Colours remained muted, but designers have become much bolder when choosing fonts, so the typography plays a lot bigger role now. Consequently, large text became a kind of web design trend. 2016 will be marked as a year of colour experiments n typography. Actually, they’re already begun!

Cinemagraphs’ Growing Popularity

graphic design trends for 2016

Looks like there’s nothing new…cinemagraphs can be seen in the past few years in a form similar to the present one. But 2015 had brought us a few events that somehow refreshed this field both among designers and consumers. The strongest influence was made by the “Live pictures” on the latest models of Apple smartphones. When the smartphone takes a picture, it captures a short period with the movement (on the same principle as it captures video), and when you look at this picture a few seconds after you start watching, it “comes to life”, playing captured movement. Cinemagraphs represent a similar visual effect.

Another change that has contributed to a renewed interest is improving the technology that underlies the effect. HTML5 Canvas makes possible to display effects in real-time without any restrictions.

Illustrations Prevail Over Photos

graphic design trends for 2016

The era of websites with huge super-quality photos has come to the end. This may seem contradictory to the previous trend, but in fact we’re talking about a different thing. “Live pictures” look like the homemade variety; and when we’re talking about photos that headline websites, we mean the professional pictures.

What 2016 may bring is illustrations and drawings made from photos. The advantage of an illustration is that it can be stylized during its creation, giving you something that distinguishes you from competitors and increases your brand’s awareness. Some illustrations may even become a part of your style, or lie at its core.

So the essence of the trend is that photos will be replaced by illustrations, which will connect with the audience in a more personal manner and become a part of an individual style.

Patterns Instead of Pages

Modern design teams have moved to a new operating principle: to develop UI [User Interface] -components as the base for pages of the website or service. In 2016 this principle will be used by the teams all over the world.

Animation

CSS, HTML5 and jQuery already allow you to create full-fledged animation effects, similar to Flash. Until now, not all designers have learned how to use animation in the interface; however, in 2016 there will be more successful examples of how to use these animation effects.

Blur Images

graphic design trends for 2016

Facebook uses a blur effect and scaling when loading image and web pages. Thus, the user can see the image before it’s fully downloaded. According to Facebook, this speeds up page load time by 30%.

Scrolljacking

Scrolljacking is a technique whereby the content changes as you scroll your mouse.

However, according to many designers, this method is not always convenient for users, since the content changes are not synchronized with the scrolling. Because of this, the use of this interface may be uncomfortable for some. But we still expect that in 2016 there will be more and more pages with lots of effects and animations, so it will be more difficult to interact with the interface.

Eaten Hamburger

graphic design trends for 2016

In 2016, designers will abandon the use of the “hamburger” icon with hidden menus in favour of visible elements. For example, YouTube has already moved from the “hamburger” to the horizontal menu with tabs.

Heavy pages

Despite all the efforts to accelerate the pages loading speed, it’s indefatigably growing. In 2010, the average size of one page was about 700 KB, while in 2015 it was approximately 2200 KB. It seems that no one thinks about the limitations of this growth – of course, if the loading speed is acceptable.

2016 does not promise us to be a year of great upheaval. So, stay alert and continue to monitor the development of the web design industry.

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Brian Jens, a blogger and designer of DesignContest, is always on the crest of a wave. He tracks the latest marketing trends, as well as technical innovations and even crucial politics changes. Novelty is Jens’ primary passion.

Creative ways to get your brand noticed

Creative ways to get your brand noticed:
how to get your brand noticed

Guest Post by Lilly Adams

Today’s market is teeming with competition, and businesses both big and small must strive to stand out. Some brands have become so well-known that their names now replace the generic terms that used to denote similar items. Achieving such a pinnacle of brand awareness is a daunting task, but also the goal that is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.

The road to success most often requires you to go step by step, but those who step up can make leaps and bounds. So, it is time to get your creative juices flowing and capture the imagination of the customers. Get the word out and plug your personality and business identity wherever you can, both in the digital and the physical realm.

Silence is not golden

Your products speak for you and your business, so you need to make sure they possess a golden tongue. Do your best to create a captivating design, and send free samples to influential bloggers and industry influencers for a review. A product sampling campaign is a great way to enhance the online visibility and make your brand recognizable. Word of mouth promotion can get your small business off the ground, but digital realm is only one part of the strategy.

One must not forget about the real world, and make an effort to make products visible in it too. Car wraps are one of those items that can feature a great customized design. They can cover the whole car, and that sure attracts a crazy amount of attention. So, wherever you go, you can take your brand’s visual identity with you. Do not hesitate to wrap your personal vehicle as well and turn it into a four-wheeled moving piece of promotional magic.

Think outside the promotional box

One of the brilliant examples of nailing a creative promotional product involves the legendary toy brand Lego. Kids adore those little building pieces, but they can turn the room into a minefield that causes pain to their parents. That is why Lego launched specially-designed slippers with thick, Lego-proof soles. They also look like one of the coolest pair of slippers I have ever seen, making them a perfect Christmas gift.

Everyone likes free stuff, there is no doubt. But, I think that we are all fed up with boring, generic gifts and want something that is not only functional, but also unique and adorable. Not many people know, for example, that you can make a personalized visa gift card which features your favourite picture, message, brand, logo, etc. Turning mundane objects into charming items customers are going crazy over is an ultimate art of promotional marketing.

Create stir in social media

Social networks are an immense ocean of opportunities for low-cost and effective marketing. You can use them as a megaphone to shout from the rooftops. So, create a contest and ask people to submit their photos or videos, and vote for their favorites. It is likely that many participants will share their content with friends and family to increase their chances of winning. That way you are building brand awareness effortlessly and in a combined effort with other people, which is a win-win scenario. Embrace trends as well, because things like going green can help you steal the show these days.

Now, do not spread yourself too thin on social platforms and choose those that suit your particular needs. Or to put it in other words, be where your audience hangs out. Surprise them with striking how-to videos and multimedia content. Small businesses in the creative industries can also profit greatly from focusing on Instagram or other photo-heavy websites such as Pinterest. You might have to dig into some analytics and see where your referral traffic is coming from.

Convey a story, add humour

The bulk of memorable brands has attained their present position through the craft of top-notch storytelling. This is the greatest tool of communication we humans have been blessed with, so get familiar with its incredible power. The trick is to connect with an audience on a deeper, emotional level and touch their hearts and soul. One of the best ways to do this online is to make good use of blog posts and boost the online organic traffic with fresh content.

Now, this does not mean you need to be dead serious about it. It is always a good idea to inject some humour and lightheartedness into your efforts. Show a fun aspect of your brand identity and introduce a dose of comedy. Take the example of a hilarious Old Spice commercial or Dollar Shave Club. These promotional videos went viral, and were shared across social networks. When that happens, you can expect your sales to go through the roof.

Finally, establishing a lasting connection and building the essential trust of customers is within your reach.

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Lilly J Adams has worked for six years in different marketing agencies across Australia. Her specialities are advertising, digital marketing, marketing for small businesses and consumers behaviour. She loves art, books and watching crime TV dramas. She’s a regular contributor at BizzMarkBlog.

It’s the little things : how to make your brand sparkle

How to make your brand sparkle

brand sparkle - god

 

“God is in the details” said the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

I’m inclined to agree. Structure is essential, and having an overall plan is a must, but the thing that makes it sing is in those little bits at the edges of perception – so, so good when you find them. It’s not just choosing the right font, the perfect colour; it’s how you use them, it’s what you add, it’s what you alter in a subtle way, it’s those bits that’ve been thought about, it’s how it’s finished.

When it comes to branding, I’m talking borders, overlays, underlays, textures. Not to mention devious twists.

Whatever you choose to add in, ALL of it should be filtered through your brand personality first. Of course, when you’re using colour – use your brand colours! Beyond that, when you’re choosing your flourishes and your curlicues, always ask yourself, what fits?

Before we go any further, Mies Van Der Rohe had something else to say.

 

Less is More.

 

Now you’ve got that, we can move on 😉

Let’s take a look at one of my favourite sites on blogging – Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog.

Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog

Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog

 

Marianne uses blocks of colour in her sidebar to group things together – not only does this separate it effectively from everything else, it also draws attention to different aspects of what she has to offer. And of course, she does it in her brand colours of coral, aqua and grey. Another way she adds interest is to use circles to draw attention to specific things on her site – her profile photo, and the word “lovely” on her blog header.

You can add life to your own site by adding in simple blocks of colour in strategic places – across the bottom of your website banner, as the headings of your sidebar sections, on your business cards and stationery, and on any press releases, e-books or other material you publish.

If you’d like something a bit more delicate or homey, use a fancy border style instead – zigzags or scallops add instant fun. Here’s an example of a very pretty WordPress theme from my friend Libby at Crimson Pear.

brand sparkle - crimson pear

The ‘Eloise’ WordPress theme from Crimson Pear

 

Or, try this sweet sewing border detail across the top of the beautifully clean yet feminine SewSewShoppe.

It's the details! Love the zigzag stitch border on SewSewShoppe

It’s the details! Love the zigzag stitch border on SewSewShoppe

 

Another idea to tie all of your design together is use a simple overlay. The immensely talented Jo Klima at The Darling Tree uses her own snowflake mandala-style geometrics to overlay images, with a wonderful result. Note too, the matching triangles in both the Menu tab and the shapes within her geometric. She always uses lots of white to offset the stronger main brand colours of purple and magenta and accents  with tiny bits of black.

one of Jo Klima's offerings at The Darling Tree

one of Jo Klima’s offerings at The Darling Tree

 

 

Special effects are also a great way to add in personality – try watercolour or goldleaf.

watercolour themed home page for ReverieMade.com

watercolour themed home page for ReverieMade.com

Watercolour’s been around for a little while, but I don’t see it going away any time soon. ReverieMade is the website for a New Jersey event manager.

Adding gold leaf (or any other texture – basketweave, crumpled paper, grass, velvet…) to an image is very easy if you want to add that kind of sparkle to your site. Marianne’s got a fab tutorial over at DYOB here.

how to add gold leaf (or any other texture) to text and images, on DYOB

how to add gold leaf (or any other texture) to text and images, on DYOB

 

Of course there are a zillion more ways of adding interest  your site; try googling a term like “feminine website design inspiration” to find plenty more inspiration!

 

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Have you seen any great details on sites recently, big or small? Tell us about them! Share your inspiration around, and help make the world a prettier place for everyone.

Julie X

How do I choose the right font for my Brand (Part 2)

 

How to choose the right font for your brand part 2

 

Carrying on from Part 1 here, in which we looked at things to watch out for when choosing a font (like why you would pay for one when there’s so many for free), here we’re digging into the specifics of font shapes, and how/why they convey the feeling they do.

Let’s have a look at a couple of fonts in detail.

You know that serif fonts are the ones with little ‘feet’, and as a group, they generally convey ideas such as “classic” and “conservative”. But what if you have a business personality that is classic, AND dynamic? You want something with a bit more pizazz.

 

font - alegreya.regular

 

Alegreya is certainly classic. But there’s something a bit more interesting about it, right? Let’s look closer.

font - alegreya caps - details

 

All the corners are crisply finished; this gives us ideas of precision and attention to detail. Anything with diagonals is perceived as ‘active’,  and nearly all the serifs are not only finished diagonally, but are parallel. Strong uprights such in the “L” and “E” are evenly tapered, slightly thicker at the top, and the tail on the “Q” is generous. Altogether, the strong alignment, the crisp corners and smooth tapers convey ideas of well-organised, strong, and systematic, while the kicks on the serifs and the inclusion of diagonals conveys sharp innovation.

 

font - knorke - details

 

Knorke is also a serif font, and in many ways classic. HOWEVER, it’s a totally different kettle of fish to Alegreya. Knorke is trickier, more lively, and even a teensy bit subversive. Look closely, and you’ll see uneven serifs, wobbly tapers, unaligned strokes, and outlines aren’t smooth. It also has no crisp corners; it looks a bit stocky and a touch overweight, like Mundungus Fletcher. All adding to that feeling of being a little bit less predictable.

 

Add a bit of fun

Of course, if you want to be totally subversive, go all-out whacky with your font. If you just want to add a bit of humour, you might want to try something like these –

font - boingo

font - eskargot

Note that each of these fun fonts includes tightly wound curls – it’s a whimsical and lavish flourish that’s both generous and friendly. The roundness of Boingo, its curves in both serifs and uprights and the fact that it ignores the baseline (the imaginary horizontal line that all the letters sit on), all add to its loud, bouncy, upbeat nature. Great for if you’re selling kids toys.

Eskargot on the other hand, is a bit quieter. It sits well on its baseline, and its uprights are straighter (although not quite…). It’s still very definitely funky and upbeat, with uneven strokes, slightly off angles, and crooked lines making it look fresh and lively. You might want to try something similar if you’re selling unconventional jewellery, or even cute plants.

 

 

So, next time you’re agonising over “WHICH FONT?”, stop; zoom in, and take a much closer look. Look for angles/straightness, look for look for tapers/parallels, look for smoothness/unevenness – and think hard about how all that makes you feel.

 

One last word for today. Don’t use the fonts that came on your computer for any of your graphics (you know the ones I mean – Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, and the like) – they’re about as interesting as a stale biscuit. And don’t EVER use Comic Sans. For anything. Because it’s ugly.

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Stay tuned! After a question from Jess on my Facebook page recently, next week we’ll be talking about how to pair fonts – for when you need more than one to say what you have to say. There are definitely techniques to this! 

If there’s something YOU’D like to see here, or any questions you’re curious about, drop a comment and ask me here, I’d love to help out.

See you next time, Julie x