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The Design Blog

Welcome spring with an inspired side project

During wintertime, the color drains out of the landscape. We hunker down in our familiar studios and apartments to avoid the bitter cold, effectively cutting ourselves off from novel sights and sounds. It’s dark and drab and a bit depressing.

It’s not uncommon for creatives to hibernate during the winter. Even if we don’t choose to hibernate, we may feel as if somehow our creative energies are diminished, as fleeting and unsatisfying as the few hours of sunshine we experience.

We might panic, feeling as though we’ve lost our creative drive forever. Or attempt feverishly to stoke some sort of inspired pursuit that just doesn’t seem to thrive in the stark, freezing weather.

And that’s ok. It’s ok to use the winter to rest. Creativity takes effort and energy. It can be exhausting. And winter offers respite. An excuse to stay tucked into bed reading or watching old films under a blanket on the sofa.

But spring is peeking out from under the dark debris of winter now in the form of hardy yellow daffodils. It’s waving its cherry blossom pompons in celebration. It’s spilling out onto the sidewalks where street vendors are displaying their braided bracelets and gemstone rings.

You’ve probably felt it stirring your imagination. New ideas are bubbling to the surface. Fresh excitement over artistic possibilities. In short, if winter is the perfect time to give your creativity a break, spring is the ideal season for exploring new creative side projects. Read More

How can I improve my brand strategy?

While your brand represents your business story, if done well it also becomes representative of your audience’s stories. For many Americans, McDonald’s is a fixture of childhood happiness that makes it difficult to disentangle from the brand (even when you know it’s not good for you). It’s too entrenched in memories of kiddie birthday parties and colorful Happy Meals. The golden arches become symbolic of the easy comforts of youth. They become personal triggers.

To have that kind of lasting impact on your market, it’s not enough to choose colors that you like or fonts that are trending. It’s necessary to think carefully about your brand and your audience in order to develop a consistent, compelling brand strategy. How can you improve your brand strategy if it doesn’t seem to be catching on? Read More

Use design thinking to improve your business

You are a designer.

I can hear some protests now. You might argue that you’re not a designer. You’re a baker or a marketer or the owner of a small retail shop.

After all, design is something professional designers do. Engineers. Inventors. Architects.

Nevertheless, you are a designer. Read More

3 clever tools busy designers can’t live without

Achieving success as a designer in a crowded market is enough to make any graphic artist giddy. You’ve put in the time. You’ve earned a reputation for professionalism, skill, and ingenuity. You’ve got more projects lined up than you know what to do with.

Which is the only real drawback to success. And it can be a biggie.

Identifying brilliant ideas and bringing them into the world is one thing. Managing all of the moving parts of a project (or multiple projects) is another thing entirely.

With our tendency towards non-linear thinking, timelines can spiral easily. Our propensity towards losing ourselves in the creative process might lead us to spend more time hunkered down over the drawing board than communicating with clients.

So how can busy designers like you and me keep all the plates spinning? I’ve got a few tools that help me keep projects moving forward fluidly. Read More

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