November 12, 2010 Off

5 Useful Resources for Web Designers and Developers

By in Review

Speed and productivity are two important factors for web designers and developers. Cheat sheets, code snippets and web applications are handy for web designers and developers, and are great time savers. Some web based tools can help you with productivity while others increase your work flow. I tried to gather some time saving resources for web designers and developers. Feel free to share interesting tools and services which are not mentioned in this article.

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October 11, 2010 1

SEO Advice from Experts – Videos

By in Review

If you are bored of reading lots of SEO advice across the web, here is a breather. This post covers an interesting list of useful SEO related videos which enable you to keep up with the current trends of Search Engine Optimization and get to know some great people in the industry associated with SEO.

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October 4, 2010 3

10 Useful SEO Add-Ons for Google Chrome

By in Review

Web development not only involves designing and hosting of web pages, but also optimizing them so that they are easily visible in the search engine result pages. The process of optimizing websites so as to increase it’s visibility and hence traffic, is termed as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is one of the most tricky and important part of web development.

With the popularity of Chrome, many developers started developing extensions for Chrome so as to extend it’s functionality and improve it’s usability. There are various extensions that also help in search engine optimization of websites. Below are few of the best SEO extensions for Google Chrome. Read the rest of this entry »

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September 21, 2010 3

Five (Really) Useful SEO Resources

By in Review

SEO: Free Beginner’s Guide from SEOmoz

The free SEO guide from SEOmoz provides you with comprehensive information on how search engines work and basic strategies on how to make your websites search engine friendly. This guide provides useful information on how search engines operate, how to increase your link popularity, keyword research, and measuring and tracking success.

This SEO guide describes all aspects of Search Engine Optimization – from choosing keywords and phrases that will improve your website traffic, making your site search engine friendly, marketing strategies, building links and more. Read the rest of this entry »

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September 11, 2010 1

10 Useful Web Tools and Resources

By in Review

Web based tools are always handy for web designers and developers to improve work flow and test chunks of code without having to install software on a system. Following are some useful online tools and resources pertaining to SEO, CSS and testing source code.

CSS Desk

CSS Desk enables you to hand-code HTML/CSS online and view the output simultaneously without having to save changes or refresh your browser tab. CSS Desk provides an option to toggle on/off code highlighting. It enables you to download the HTML/CSS code, once you are satisfied with your code. This web based tool is quite handy to test HTML and CSS without having to write code in a text editor, save changes and preview the output in a web browser.

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August 30, 2010 Off

The Creative Brief

By in Advertising, Design

When you’re brainstorming concept ideas for your ad agency’s next campaign, those ideas have to begin somewhere. As brilliant as us creative folk are, we sometimes need help to hone in on a good idea. We need to be pointed in a certain direction. Without knowing which way to go, a creative mind can run here and there and come up with creative concepts that are no longer relevant or practical. This is where the creative brief comes in. A good brief can inspire a creative team, clarify exactly what is needed to achieve certain goals, and give the perfect run down of who the creative should speak to. A bad brief can leave a creative team feeling uninspired, confused and uninformed. It’s important to know if the brief in your hand is going to lead your creative team to a good or bad place.

Some creative briefs like to ramble on and on. This is often the result of trying to cram in every tiny detail so absolutely nothing about the client or product is missed. Unfortunately, what starts out as good intentions can end with a lot of confusion. As with many things, simplicity is best. There should be only one key communication objective, it should be one sentence and it should be dead simple. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 28, 2010 Off

10 Useful WordPress Contact Form Plugins

By in Review

If you are running a blog, you need a contact form that let your viewers reach you for more information. For instance, if you run a personal blog, you need contact form so that advertisers can contact you easily. Contact form is one important entity for all websites / blogs.

Here are ten popular WordPress plugins that let you create contact form, survey form and registration form without the knowledge of web programming language. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 23, 2010 Off

Finding the Right Career Path in Design

By in Job Finding Tips

When you have a solid background in design, the world is your oyster. Today there are countless avenues that you can explore if you’re a skilled designer with the education and experience to back it up. Design has become such an integral part of many industries, so opportunities to explore different areas of design are no rare thing. As much as I think it’s great to really flourish in one industry, it can be equally important to delve into several. Showing off that your skills are applicable to many industries and that you’re a versatile designer can only help your portfolio – and maybe you’ll even find yourself meandering down a career path you never imagined for yourself and actually enjoying it.

There is of course working in advertising. Your experience in this field will vary based on what ad agency you work for, but most designers I know in advertising seem to really enjoy their work. Being part of a creative team, doing pitches to clients, letting your creative juices overflow – it’s all a part of advertising. When you have open-minded clients you have the opportunity to go wild with the work and come up with some really cool concepts and designs. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 19, 2010 Off

10 Useful eCommerce Plugins for WordPress

By in Review

Following are ten useful eCommerce plugins for WordPress which enable you to customize and use WordPress content management system as an online store.

1. PHPurchase: It is one of the best plugins that many WordPress e-commerce sites use. This plugin let you quickly integrate online shop with fully functional shopping cart.

Some of the features of this plugin:

  • The most customizable e-commerce WP plugin.
  • Integrates Paypal and Authorize.net and more.
  • Track the inventory

2.  Simple Paypal Shopping Cart: The WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart is a very elegant plugin which allows you to add Add to Cart’ button anywhere on your wordpress blog. It also allows you to add the shopping cart anywhere in the posts/pages. The payment is processed by Paypal.

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August 17, 2010 Off

Creative Differences

By in Advertising, Design

It’s no surprise that the advertising industry is full of egos. A company full of creative minds is bound to have some friction from time to time when ideas don’t agree. And of course some of those stereotypes about creative people are true – that they can be overly passionate and attached to their own ideas, unwilling to listen to others and certain that their way is best. However stomping your feet up and down till you get your way is no way to act on the job, no matter how tempting the idea may be. Believe me, I know how crappy it feels to get your ideas dismissed, laughed at or have someone else come along and tell you how it would be way better this way. So here are some pointers for all those times you need to stand your ground while remaining professional.

First of all, recognize that differences of opinion and ideas are a natural part of life. That’s actually what makes life interesting. Imagine if everyone loved every half-baked idea that came out of your mouth. That would be pretty boring. The differences are there for a reason – to offer you a new perspective, to open your eyes, to challenge you. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 12, 2010 2

10 Useful CSS Tools for Web Developers and Designers

By in Review

Useful web based tools are always great. Following are some handy CSS tools and resources for web designers and developers.

CSS Type Set

CSS Type Set is a web based typography tool that enables web designers and developers to interactively test and learn how to style their web content.

This tool allows you to set the font family and size, line height, word spacing etc., The CSS file will be automatically generated for you, while you can see the changes taking affect instantly. It is a handy tool to test and experiment a suitable font type for your website. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 9, 2010 1

Networking in Design

By in Job Finding Tips

Every job has its ups and downs. And depending on who you are and what you like, those ups and downs are different for everyone. No matter how you slice it, networking is a part of the advertising industry. If you’re an outgoing, bubbly and talkative person then this aspect will not only come naturally to you, but you’ll look forward to it. As for the more reserved types, this might be the aspect of advertising that makes you want to run for the hills. Regardless, it’s a must-do so you might as well learn how to do it effectively and accept it as one of the “downs” of having an all-around awesome job.

One truth that always sounds like a lie is “fake it till you make it.” The first time I heard of this notion, I thought it was a pile of crap. How can you fake something when you KNOW it’s untrue? Yet, as crazy as it sounds in theory, it tends to work pretty well in practice – and that goes for many areas of life. If you just learn to turn the volume down on that voice that’s screaming about how much you hate networking or how awkward you feel and just PRETEND you love it and PRETEND you’re good at it, you’ll be surprised by how much less painful it begins to feel. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 5, 2010 Off

5 Useful Tools and Resources for Web Designers

By in Review

Following are five useful tools and resources for web designers and developers. These utilities help in improving your work flow and in enhancing the functionality of your websites. The resources include CSS generator, JavaScript debugging tools, APIs for building web applications and more.

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August 3, 2010 Off

Design Can Change

By in Design, Review

Once in awhile, I start feeling just a tad selfish for going into advertising. I have friends who are going through hell to become doctors, occupational therapists, nurses, and friends who just do charity work and volunteer in their spare time. I on the other hand, love to write. So that’s what I do. I don’t know if it really pleases anyone else and I doubt it’s improving anyone’s quality of life. Sometimes I think I should be doing more with my talents and time.

If any of you designers are feeling the same way, you should know about a website called www.designcanchange.org. This website essentially brings designers of all kinds together to positively make a lasting change. The focus of the site is reducing climate-related natural disasters, which obviously is a good thing for everybody. By joining this site, designers can put their talents to good use. We can all take a closer look at the environmental impact we have in our day-to-day lives. The increase of greenhouse gas emissions, global warming and climate change are becoming more and more of a concern for all of us. Yet some of us don’t even really understand what all these terms mean. The site provides you with a simple explanation of what global warming is, what causes it, what the effect of global warming is, and how we can help change it. Read the rest of this entry »

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July 26, 2010 Off

The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Freelance Designer

By in Design, Job Finding Tips

Freelance art direction and design work is a path considered by most designers at some point in their career. The thought of designing work for big clients while in your pajamas just sounds too tempting to pass up. You get the comfort of working from home, on your hours, and you only answer to yourself and your clients. You don’t have to please upper management – you are your own boss. You have a whole lot of freedom and you’re in control. But as with any job or anything in life really, there are both pros and cons. You should be aware of both and have a solid understanding of how to become a successful freelance designer.

First of all, you must have the personality to be a freelance designer. I know you might be wondering what personality has to do with it, but when you’re running your own business you have to be a certain kind of person to make it work. You should be able to work well on your own, be highly disciplined, productive, and have the ability to stick to time schedules without any pushing from co-workers or higher ups. Read the rest of this entry »

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July 24, 2010 Off

7 Useful Project Management Resources for Freelancers

By in Review

If you are a freelancer, the  following resources will help you stay organized and manage your clients and projects effectively.

Backpack – Helps you better organize your business. With backpack, you can quickly share information with your team and keep your documents, discussions, and schedules at one place. A Backpack page can have any combination of to-dos, notes, images, and files. You might want to go through some examples. Read the rest of this entry »

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July 19, 2010 Off

The Creative Team

By in Design

When art directors and copywriters work as a team, it’s important that they work well together. But it’s hard to say where one’s role ends and the other’s begins. Of course advertising is an industry full of big egos, and creatives don’t usually appreciate their work being critiqued. As a copywriter, I want to be the one doing the writing. If an art director comes along and says “hey that line is alright, but how about if we said it this way instead?”, my gut reaction tells me that this person is just an art director and doesn’t know what they’re talking about. But if we can learn to silence the egotistical voices in our heads and listen to what our team members have to say, art directors and copywriters can work together quite well.

There are some pieces that a copywriter can easily write on his or her own, without much input from others. But for other projects, especially if they feel less knowledgeable about the material or if it’s for a new client, a brainstorming session can be really helpful. That way they can get a good handle on the direction and message of the writing, without the art director putting words in the copywriter’s mouth. Read the rest of this entry »

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July 12, 2010 Off

Stock Photography – A Designer’s Friend or Foe?

By in Design, Review

For art directors and designers, stock photography can either be a friend or foe. There are both upsides and downsides to stock photos, and designers usually have strong feelings towards them. Some ad agencies refuse to use them, and others rely on them completely. Either way, I believe stock photography can certainly be useful if you approach them with a sense of caution.

Stock photography can really help out a designer when time is of the essence. If you’re in a jam and you need a picture of a smiling real estate agent standing in front of a sold sign ASAP, then stock photos are your best bet. Finding a picture that works can be super fast, easy and convenient. Also for smaller ad agencies who don’t have the resources to have a photo shoot every time they’re producing an ad, using stock photos can help cut down on expenses and time. Read the rest of this entry »

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July 9, 2010 6

How to Get a Text Message or an Email When a Website is Down

By in Review

Whenever your website goes down, it causes a lot of inconvenience to your valuable readers as well as causes a precious loss of traffic subsequently leading to loss of revenue. Hence, it is very important to monitor your website frequently in order to prevent such losses. But, whenever you are on a vacation or when offline, it becomes very difficult to monitor your website. In such a situation, how can you check if your website is up or has gone down? Read the rest of this entry »

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July 5, 2010 Off

Choosing the Right Agency for You

By in Job Finding Tips

When it comes to agencies, size does matter. As a designer you’re going to have a very different experience working at a large agency than you would working for a small agency. Before you start showing your portfolio all over town, you should get a better understanding of yourself, what kind of working environment you would prefer, and what the pros and cons are of each agency size.

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