Bring Some Quality to your Web Site

“85% of people believe the quality of a business owner’s website is an important factor in earning the consumer’s trust.” —Nielsen//NetRatings, 2007 Obviously, quality is an important element to infuse into your web site. But what exactly determines quality? What is high quality? This is a tougher question to answer than may be initially thought. After working for years with clients who hold little or no design training, I’m amazed at how accurately they can spot quality, but how poorly they can describe and quantify it. Frequently, I have clients who recognize that one web site is more appealing, or easier to use, but they don’t understand why. Often they see that one photo looks better, but they don’t realize it’s because it is properly lit and uses professional models. Or they sense that one site is easier to read than another but know don’t know that it both the style of the writing and the layout of the type…. Continue Reading »

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A Recession is the Perfect Time to Start a Business

Seems like we’re in a recession. We’ve probably been in it for longer than we realize and may stay in this down cycle for longer than any of us would prefer. But we’ve gone through it before, and the economy will grow again. The story of Visible Logic It was during the last recession of 2001 that I started Visible Logic. In the summer of 2001 I was working at Smith Design. The dot-com bubble was bursting and we could feel things slowing down. I was laid off. I had been thinking about starting my own design firm “someday.” Once I had enough experience. After assessing the economic landscape I realized I was not going to be finding a full time design job in the near future. So, I could either freelance for other studios or start my own. Great timing I finally decided to pull the trigger. In fact, after having a few weeks to decompress, I told everyone… Continue Reading »

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The Emotional Rollercoaster of a Web Site Launch

It seems that every web site launch—whether it’s a brand new site, a redesign, a blog launch or just adding new sections, content or features—goes through the very emotional, but somewhat predictable series of ups & downs. Getting beyond denial As with most self-improvement projects, we often have to sink really low before we decide to make a change for a better. This is often the case with web sites that have outlived their original organizational set up, or have content jammed into an out-dated navigational hierarchy. I know with my own site, which I redesigned in the fall of 2008, I had started to absolutely hate it. It used a flash-based navigation system which seemed really cool when I developed it several years prior, but I loathed by late 2008. Also, my publishing work had grown significantly and the book work was hidden within the other print work. Honestly, I was beginning to cringe inside whenever I gave out… Continue Reading »

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4 Branding Tips for Solopreneurs

If you’re really ready to start your business consider these four branding tips: 1. Consider a name other than your own. Many people starting their own businesses are setting up one-person consulting companies. In this context they will be getting most of their work based on their own reputations. In fact, they may even get work from their previous employers. However, it’s best to start thinking of your business as something more than just yourself. When I started my design firm I didn’t just say Emily Brackett, Graphic Designer. I even went beyond Brackett Design. I came up with a name of an entity—Visible Logic—that is more than me (even though it started as a sole propietorship). Your business name allows you to built a brand that is bigger than just you, and gives you more room to grow. This can be especially helpful when you make sales calls. Rather than saying “This is Amy Smith” you can say “This… Continue Reading »

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Use Your Microsoft Word Docs To Build your Brand

Your brand should be apparent in as many places as possible. Considering that most businesses frequently use Microsoft Word to write proposals, reports, estimates, memos etc. You need to make sure that your Word files are continuing your brand as much as possible. Electronic Letterhead Template When you have your letterhead designed, also have an electronic version developed. This will put the graphic elements (logo, contact information, company name, etc.) into the Word file. These should be placed graphics, not typeset in Word itself. This will assure that the typographic treatment exactly matches your printed letterhead. Depending on the layout of your letterhead, these elements can be placed into the header & footer areas of the page, or pulled into art boxes. Font choices When your designer established your corporate identity, one or more corporate typefaces should have been selected. Many times, these are fonts that a design firm owns and uses on their Mac but may not be installed… Continue Reading »

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