World Time

Time Management Fundamentals for the Busy Freelancer

I was a bit bored to write a design article today, so instead i will talk about the most useful skill i ever learned as a designer: Time management.

Sad as it is a week has only 168 hours. And if you find yourself wondering more than once were they have gone, well you are not the only one. As our daily life become more and more demanding from us utilizing efficient time management is more crucial than ever. This is truer if you are a freelancer or work from home. Your work hours and your free time can blend to a point where you no longer are able to draw the line.

There are many people who avoid using time management techniques, claiming they find it restricting or going against being spontaneous. In reality though, they most likely have tried it at least once, and quickly abandoned their time management system because it couldn’t work.

The main problem behind time management systems that fail are most often that they are unrealistic. Time is like money, you can’t spend more than you have. If you try squeeze more activities than your time budget allows, most likely you will become exhausted, or alienate friends and family, and eventually lose every interest in managing your time, since it won’t be working as you expect.

In addition to that people most often forget that time management is to help them have more free time while still doing more things than before. Going to the other side and allocating every second of your newfound free time for work would lead to an unbalanced life eventually, and again cause your time management system to fail.

If you need effort to manage your time you are doing it wrong.

Every journey begins with the first step…

For the purpose of this short guide we’ll start with a time study. To start planning your time, you must first know how you are spending currently your time. Dedicate a week in recording your daily life; observe where and how you spend more time. Resist the urge to judge yourself just observe and record for now. Try to keep track of everything you did during the day even the most mundane things like eating, or taking your newspaper break, or randomly meeting an old friend and talk in the bus stop. And the most repetitive things you do routinely like, surfing the internet or watching TV, going to work or for shopping etc.

You can use an Excel Sheet to track your time or a special app in your smartphone. Personally I am using Google Calendar since I can access it and update it from both my desktop computer and mobile devices.

Whatever method you choose to use by the end of the week you should have a clear idea of where you have been spending most of your daily time. You might find for example that your 5 hours daily gaming in Facebook can be a real time sinkhole. Or you waste too much time on meetings, or maybe with transportations to go from place to place. The more accurate and detailed are your records of your previous week the more accurate you can assess where your time have gone.

Now you can evaluate what you have learned.  It would be easier if you grouped logically these activities. For example meetings, appointments, daily tasks, work, study, unexpected events and so forth. Try the following questions to help you get started with your evaluation:

Are there things that take too much time? If so what you could change to reduce the time spend in that area?

Are things that you thought were taking you less time, but actually take more? Why is that and what you can do to fix it.

Are you spending time in unnecessary things that you could have avoid doing, and instead have used this extra time with your loved ones or to furthering your goals?

Ok, if by that point you wondering: Goals? What goals? Who needs them anyway? The answer is you need them. Keep reading to find out why.

Without a compass you might get lost in the jungle…

Before we get down to planning our time, there is another extremely important factor you need to think and consider. What would you like to make with this extra time? How will it help you accomplish your Goals? And most importantly what are your Goals?

Sounds like logical questions to begin right? Strangely though, most people are not setting any goals. There several reasons for that. They either think that it’s not something important. Or they might be afraid that they will fail, and so maybe thinking better not to even try than try and fail.

So let’s see why it’s important having goals. Goals are like your roadmap in life or a compass, if you don’t know where you want to go, you can never get there. They can give you a clear sense of direction. A sense of meaning and purpose in everything you do. And every step toward them will make you happier and more confident in yourself and what you can do. They are not meant to dictate how you live or what you do in your life.

Do not confuse the sense of direction, with narrow-mindness. Just because you decided you want to go somewhere today, doesn’t mean you should feel the same way tomorrow. And neither should mean you should shut off your eyes to any other opportunity.

Also try not to confuse goals with day dreaming.

What are the key elements that define a Goal?

Let’s examine some key elements that describe a successfully goal. You must probably have heard at one point or another that goals need to be SMART. This is an acronym that can take different meanings for different people. But however you translate the initials that form the word SMART the bottom line is this:

  1. Goals must be clear, specific and written down. Make lots of money or meet the love of your life is not a goal but a dream.
  2. Goals must be measurable. We must always be able to track if our goal is progressing well or not, and adjust our plan accordingly.
  3. Goals must have a deadline. Setting a deadline can help you determine the realism of your goal and to adjust it accordingly if ends up feeling unrealistic.
  4. Goals must be challenging. Always try to aim high (but also be reasonable), know what you can do now, but try to take it a step further day by day.
  5. Your goals should be balanced among several important aspects of your life, like career, family, health etc. Pursuing one thing and ignoring everything else won’t do you any good in the long run.
  6. Best practice is to have a major goal for every life aspect and sub-goals that support the major one.

How we can set a Goal?

So now that we clarify how a goal should be like, let’s see how we can set one:

  1. Make sure it’s something you really want for yourself intensively, and not something that someone else wants for you. You can never be excited for something someone else wants for you, nor work as hard as it might require.
  2. You must absolutely believe in your heart that your goal is achievable. That translates that is something you can do if you work hard enough. By achieving small but challenging goals one at time will help you build confidence and determination.
  3. I mentioned before that a goal must be detailed, clear and written; you should be reviewing your goals at least weekly. That will ensure they are still something you want to achieve and will also help you refuel your determination.
  4. Wonder why you haven’t already accomplished that goal, these obstacles or barriers might still be in place so you must think of actionable steps to overcome them. That might include additional skills, or help from other people etc.
  5. Determine where you are now and where you want to go. Write down all requirements and resources that you will need. That includes time, effort, money and probably some other unique to the goal, requirements.
  6. Determine if it something you can do and you are still willing to pay the “price” of the requirements.
  7. Make the plan that will help you achieve your goal. Write down the objectives you need to accomplish and the actions you will need to make to achieve those objectives along with their deadlines. Also think of how you will measure if the goal has been successful or not.
  8. Don’t give up no matter the odds, repeat the steps and re-evaluate your goal at any point you think its necessary.

It’s time for action

To start out scheduling and planning your daily life in accordance to your goals, you will need some sort of a calendar. Whichever you choose the important thing to look for, is for it to have hours in the daily format. If it doesn’t have hours you will be having to adding them yourself, so not very good thing to do on daily basis. Your calendar need to be accessible at all times, so if you don’t use the traditional paper planner but a digital one, make sure that it can sync across all your devices.

Here are the basics to get you up and running quickly:

  1. I assume you already have figured out your goals and the objectives you need to accomplish to get to them. So it’s important to start working on those objectives immediately. Set a time every day to do just that. And work on your objectives. Even if it’s for a bit, eventually it will add up.
  2. Set some time aside for unexpected events, and I think the name is a bit oxymoron, since we should always expect them to happen! That contingency time is best to be 1 or 2 hours daily. Of course if nothing unexpected happens you can always put something from your task list there. But it’s far better practice as you will see to have a contingency spot, than fill your whole calendar up, and when the unexpected comes all your tasks will left behind and stack up.
  3. To better organize your casual tasks for the week or day you can divide them in four categories A, B, C & now.
    • A-tasks are those you must absolutely do, either because they’ll be due soon, or because they further your objectives, or because they return you the biggest reward with the least effort. Put A-tasks on top of your todo list.
    • B-tasks are those that still need to be done, but can wait to do them later. They don’t have major consequences and are not going to be due any time soon. Put B-tasks below A-tasks in your todo list.
    • C-tasks are those that if you won’t do neither you nor anyone else would care that much, or tasks you wait some action from someone else. Put C-tasks in a drawer, and remember to check it out every week or so.
    • As you complete the A-tasks, B-tasks become A-tasks & C-tasks become either B-tasks or remain in the drawer.
    • Now-tasks are tasks with duration to complete less than 1 to 5minutes, so simply do them now.
    • When you schedule appointments take into account the time you will need to transport to the appointment place as well.
    • Always set deadlines and time-boxes for your tasks.
    • Finally remember that your daily schedule is a living thing, you might need to relocate times, extend or contract tasks duration, and add items if your contingency spots remains unfilled and all your other scheduled tasks are completed.

Know thy enemy

Time management won’t do you any good if you keep up on postponing the difficult or boring tasks that are essential to achieve your goals or are crucial to finish.

The term most commonly used is procrastination, which derives from Latin procrastinationem (“a putting off from day to day,”). In other words do it tomorrow or the day after or never.

Trust me, tomorrow the task will be looking more daunting, because the requirements remain the same, your time to accomplish it has shortened significantly, you are stressed and you feel guilty for putting it off. Congratulations, by postponing the task you made your life more difficult and killed your creativity.

So why people keep evading things they really must do, by escaping to Facebook or Pinterest? Why we keep procrastinating knowing the consequences in stress and the futility of our evasion.

Let’s see the common reasons and some advices for to counter them.

1. You are not really committed on the task at hand

You might think that it’s not something you should be doing. Or that is a waste of time. Or that you have more important things to do.

The real question is why you do have to complete this task in the first place? What will you gain if you do? And what will you lose if you don’t? That train of thought might give you some important insights or motivation to actually go ahead and complete the task. If you still can’t find motivation or reasons to do it, then don’t! Just remove it from your task list permanently and consciously.

2. You are afraid of the task

You might be afraid that you will fail. So you think it’s better not to even try at all.

Or you might be afraid that you will succeed, and then the boss will keep giving you this boring assignment or everyone will be having more expectations for you and so on.

Finally you might just be afraid reaching the end result, not knowing what will happen next, or what should you do after finishing this task.

Remember that everyone is afraid, and fear never goes away. Give it a name & embrace it like an old friend. After all being brave is not the lack of fear, since that would make bravery insignificant. It’s moving forward despite your fear.

3. You don’t know how to do the task

If you feel that you lack the training or the information to work on task at hand then simply get the information or the training. Break the task in smaller more easy to finish tasks. If you are not willing to do so and meet the requirements, then you are not committed to the task so read again advice 1.

Sometimes you actually know how to the task even if you don’t consciously believe it. The advice in this case is “fake it till you make it”. Start working on the task pretending to yourself that you know what you are doing, the results will surprise you in most cases.

4. You put the task low priority and always end up postponing it

That usually happens when the task is boring or when you prefer doing something else instead. Well you would do the task if you were pressed, and eventually you will do it. So you think: why do it now? Let’s leave it for tomorrow or if there is time after everything else is done.

Try to redefine the task in terms of benefits and losses as discussed in 1. If you still find no need to give it higher priority over and over then the task is obviously unimportant for you. Consider removing it from your list, or finding someone else to do it for you.

5. You find it difficult to concentrate

You think I’ll get to the task, but maybe I can check Pinterest a bit first? Hmm let’s also read one more Facebook update! That video is so nice! Let’s watch that too. Oh! That reminded me of a lol-cat photo that I wanted to post for so long in Google+. Let’s tweet it too! Oh and looks like I have new mentions, lets chat a bit! And before you know it, the day has passed…

Take the initiative to confront your concentration issues. Set time reminders, and use a stricter time policy in using the social media. If you really can’t resist, Google for a service that blocks the procrastinate-friendly sites at specified time intervals. Or make this distractions your reward for completing a difficult and boring task.

Nike had it right all along. Just do it!

There are many systems that can help you prioritize and organize tasks, like GTD , The ABC analysis, Eisenhower Method, Pareto analysis, POSEC method and countless others plus their combinations. All can work as easily as not work. Don’t let procrastination stop you.

The key point to remember is this simple truth: having a task list is to prioritize things to DO, so as long they are done the method you follow is irrelevant. For most people, the best method is the one working for them and they consistently use. Searching for the perfect system to organize your life, reading every article on time management like this one, won’t do the tasks for you.

So stop searching for the one perfect system or app that will get you organized and start doing things today! But before that take a few moments to comment below with your own tips, tricks and tools to stay organized and get things done!

Resources

Martin-Suster→Infographic-Resume

9 tips for designing awesome infographics

Have you notice how popular infographics have become?

Have you wondered how you can make your infographics stand out?

Present your info with them more efficiently?

If so keep reading!

Infographics is a way of presenting information using graphics. They tell a deeper and broader story than text alone, and usually take up less space as well. They can also communicate your information more quickly even If your audience can’t read well or doesn’t know the contained language that well.

9 tips for designing awesome infographics   Lemongraphic →Website simplified infographic design

Lemongraphic →Website simplified infographic design

Infographics is still design and need to abide by design rules (or at least break them consciously) in order to be efficient.

So you will need at least a basic knowledge of grids, layouts, elements and principles of design, color and typography. Also you will have to follow the same creative process as usually: understand the brief, research, ideate, sketch, refine. So in addition to the above let’s see what else we can do to make our infographics more efficient! Read more

Petar-Pavlov→Doritos-Packaging-Concept

Important considerations for better package design

Perhaps packaging is the most common design field that we get daily in touch, and i can’t stop getting the feeling that is also the most misunderstood.

Well to be honest, I get the feeling that the designer’s profession is a bit misunderstood too. The strongest – and sadly not only – misconception is that knowing how to use the Adobe suite makes you automatically a graphic or web or a motion designer. This claim is as absurd as someone saying that knowing how to hold a test tube makes you a scientist! But this is not our today topic.

In this article we’ll talk about package design. We’ll discuss several important considerations from technical prerequisites to human perception.

Important considerations for better package design   Happycentro →Sabadì

Happycentro →Sabadì

So package is functional tool, it fulfills various requirements of commerce, and a distinctive package form helps define product’s and brand personality. As you design it, you should take into account its whole life cycle. Design of the structural graphics is the least of your concerns! Yes someone who can open Photoshop can do it too. You as designer should be considering which its place in the brand hierarchy is. And also practical things like its transportation, containment, storage, display, end-use and finally disposal.

– Making a unique package is half the work. Unique constructions in packaging are only commendable if they can be mass produced efficiently and they can accommodate the distribution channels of the company. So make sure your work is within the parameters of the brief.

Important considerations for better package design   Burak Kaynak→Sliced Bread Notebook

Burak Kaynak→Sliced Bread Notebook

– You should be able to understand the feasibility of what you are proposing as package design, and also account for any pitfalls that you will likely encounter. Make sure your design can actually manufactured with the suggested materials, not just in theory but also within the budget.

– Try to think more as your audience. Assume you were in the super market, and haven’t already developed a brand loyalty. And assume again that all other things like perceived quality and price where equal. What would make you pick this brand over another?

– Packaging alone can make us feel that we are buying more than just a product but an experience. The three dimensional form that you can wrap your hands around and feel it – has an undeniably stronger feeling than other design disciplines. Developing an alluring form or a package that Is functioning uniquely can potentially become the cornerstone of an entire marketing strategy. So after determine the target audience the next usual step in package design is to determine its form.

Important considerations for better package design   Alberto Vasquez→3in1 Stick package design for Nescafé

Alberto Vasquez→3in1 Stick package design for Nescafé

– Consider potential harmful by-products and excessive waste that might be caused by your choices on materials and try to eliminate these factors or in worst case minimize them. Making your packaging environment friendly should be your first priority and its necessity in the modern over polluted world we live in is more than an ethical matter!!

– Study successful forms of the past (well generally study the past). Knowing how we got on today’s market will empower you understand it better. Study and analyze even forms of products that have been removed from this specific market. Evaluate what had made them successful and how can you adapt them to your needs, improve them or completely repurpose them.
I hope you enjoyed this article and gave some things to think and consider!

How does packaging affect your choice to buy a product?

Looking forward to hear your comments and opinions!

 

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution Behance Project by Petar Pavlov

Uris-Library-Stacks-by-eflon-on-Flickr

The important principles of visual communication

In last week’s article we had seen the important elements of visual communication. And you might want to read it before moving forward since i will be referring to it in several occasions.

Today we will discuss about the important principles we need to take into account in order to make our visual messages more effective. These principles are universal across the visual culture and applicable not only to design but also art & photography.

  • Focal Point
The important principles of visual communication   Heart By seyed mostafa zamani

Heart By seyed mostafa zamani

The most important thing in a visual layout is having a focal point. That’s the place where you want to guide your audience attention.

The most important rule about the focal point is to simply have one.

That sounds a bit obvious. But having none (or even more than one), will confuse your viewers. And they won’t know which information they need to process first, or where to focus their attention.

Think of the focal point as the beginning of a visual chain if you like.

 

  • Contrast
The important principles of visual communication   Uris Library Stacks by eflon on Flickr

Uris Library Stacks by eflon on Flickr

Lack of contrast will make a layout or composition boring and dull.

Creating contrast can be achieved by combining opposing elements, like light and dark values, empty with filled space, highly saturated colors with desaturated ones etc.

Examine the elements we discussed in the previous article and you will certainly can come up with several ways to achieve contrast using them.

However you do it, it will help your composition stand out.

  • Balance

Most non designers and new designers confuse the term balance with absolute symmetry.

Think of balance as visual weight in your composition, we need our layout to be visually balanced unless our purpose is to unsettle our viewers.

The important principles of visual communication   Demoiselle en OR

Demoiselle en OR by alpha du centaure on Flickr

Balance can be symmetrical, asymmetrical or radial. In symmetrical balance each side of a bisected design, must be exact mirror of the other. This will make the design appear more conservative and traditional maybe too formal, and sometimes unimaginative and boring.

Asymmetrical balance is more visual appealing and interesting. Bisecting our design again we’ll find that sides are not mirroring each other anymore. So to achieve it we need to take into account the visual weight of our elements, and try to balance them out.

For example let’s take space we discussed in a previous article. Positive space tends to weight heavier in our eyes than negative space. Filling up everything with information in a layout will overwhelm and tire the viewer, so we need to balance things out by leaving plenty of negative space as well. In the case of text that translates to a bit more space between each line, at the start of a paragraph etc.

In radial balance the fulcrum lies in the center, and they are often associated with spiritual meanings.

  • Movement

We saw how essential the focal point is in order to grab our viewer’s attention. Now that we have it our next mission is to guide their eyes in our composition.

We can control the eye’s flow using lines, not necessarily visible ones. Lines can create movement, and depending on their style we can then communicate different visual messages.

Horizontal lines for example can define a flow from right to left or vice versa. Vertical lines can communicate inspirational upward motion, or downward movement. Diagonal tend to be more exciting and dynamic movement etc.

  • Rhythm
The important principles of visual communication   Ritmo by Cris Valencia

Ritmo by Cris Valencia

To achieve rhythm we are using repeating elements like patterns in our compositions. Either regular or irregular they will create some sort of movement.

For instance repeating a color or being consistent with some graphic elements, even by using the same fonts for specific things like for example the headlines, that will generate rhythm. Even this styled box every now and then on the post tries to generate rhythm.

Having rhythm will not only result in consistency across our composition. It will also help us to control the viewers’ eyes flow in our composition.

Perspective gives us the sense of depth. It’s a kind of movement if you like from the foreground to background elements of our composition. We can achieve it using the horizon line, relative sizes, linear movement and atmospheric value.

For example moving the horizon line closer to the bottom will give the sense that the distance is shorter. We perceive smaller objects to be more far than bigger ones etc.

  • Unity

Last but not least is unity. A good composition or layout must be consistent, and all its parts should be working together. To achieve this, the parts must be having visual links or relationship to each other, and also consistency in their rhythm.

The important principles of visual communication   The Count by Kevin Law

The Count by Kevin Law

If you enjoyed and found useful this article, feel free to comment and also don’t be shy to ask if you have any questions!

Chris-Piascik→Morgan-&-Milo

Creating more sustainable packaging systems

In a previous article I have suggested some ideas to consider for improving your package design in general. In this one I would like to introduce you to the complex world of sustainability as far as package design is concerned and suggest some ways to make your packaging more sustainable.

Did you know that our present methods of production, consumption and disposal are actually destroying globally our life support system?

Well you don’t have to take my word on it, you can always spend some time researching and contemplating on that.
If you design packaging or want to learn more about package design, you should be aware by now that packaging is not about the structural graphics only, but also of form and materials. You should fully be aware and understand that your choices of materials and material applications have impact and consequences to our natural habitat.

You might be thinking that packaging requires the coordination of numerous industries, but rather than worry and be alarmed by this complexity you should be happy because as the designer you have many ways to reduce the negative impacts of packaging in the environment. As a package designer you are the one who should be knowledgeable and advice your client about these matters.

Sustainability requires us to understand this world as the complex system it is, and interact accordingly.
Here are some things to consider:

Try to use higher percentages of post-consumer recycled content. This encourages the the efficiency and development of collection systems by creating more demand, and is already is significantly reducing energy consumption and deforestation.
Explore the tree-free alternatives such as fast growing plants and agricultural by-products. Plants like hemp, switch grass, kenaf and straw, grow quickly, they need less water and fewer chemicals. Also from a marketing standpoint they provide more innovative opportunities to create unique and more interesting lines of “paper”.

Use papers from certified pulp sources this ensures that everyone in the supply chain gets fair share of the profits. FSC provides this kind of certifications for any wood derived materials. They monitor the sustainability of timber growth and harvest, as well as indigenous peoples and workers rights.

Use less ink coverage. The more ink consumed in the process the more will be the post-industrial and post-consumer waste to recycle the package.

Approximately 20% of the Pantone colors contain especially harmful chemicals. For example metallic colors contain high levels of copper and zinc compounds while many reds contain barium. Fluorescent colors also have a high toxic load.
Investigate and request soy based, or other vegetable produced inks. Soy printing in terms of performance has a higher level of rub resistance thus resulting in less dot gain than petroleum based inks. Soy pigments are much more intense requiring less ink to achieve the same effect. They are more easily removed from paper making the De-inking part of the recycle process more efficient. Soy ink can be cleaned with water based solvents reducing further the VOC (volatile organic compounds) that cause air pollution. Last but not least soy waste is considered much less hazardous by government standards.

Finally design packages with recycling in mind. Plastics used in the package should be easily detached from it and also marked with the proper resin symbol. We’ll further discuss this in a future article!

That’s definitely not all, but will help you get started!

Hope you enjoyed the article! I am looking forward for your comments and opinions.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Chris Piascik on Behance

2756729384_4cae6660f4_z

Elements That Make A Company Brand Logo Unforgettable

Much have been said and written about designing logos. Few write about brand oriented emblems and this article will therefore focus on logos that are meant for the real world. With the influx of free and stock logos, the branding of newly established companies is suffering. Most of the newbie designers fail to realize that an emblem is like the face or mirror of a business. It is not simply about selecting colors, design, shapes, symbols or tagline at random.

Let’s see how a company brand logo can be made memorable.

First Things First.. Research

Yes, it is sound and extensive research that matters the most. It is the be-all and end-all of the logo designing process. Whether you are part of a big team or working individually, the targeted customers should influence the decisions you are taking while creating an emblem. The tastes and preferences of the audience will take your design forward. It is for this reason that you should have a proper understanding of the firm’s promotional strategy. It is as important as placing the initial brick in an edifice.

Research should include everything from font selection to understanding target consumers.

Should Build Trust

The monogram is not only the first impression of the business on the people, but also how reliable that business is. Will the customers be able to trust the brand and avail the products or services? The color, shapes and symbols used should therefore say something about the products of the company. These design elements should be telling a story to the audience about the unique selling points and how the products will benefit users. Only then, people will start relying on your trademark.

A Very Powerful Name

The making or breaking of an emblem depends on two aspects:

–        You give your firm a name.

–        And the name should be given a face.

These are the two essential parameters that will help you in the designing process. It will help you think, conceptualize, plan and finally implement. The name should be powerful enough to be remembered when used with a symbol. Ensure that your concern is recognizable without the use of a tagline. Therefore, think of something that is robust enough to create a lasting impression on prospects.

Simplicity

The making or breaking of a trademark depends on including simple elements. This implies less use of colors, avoiding stylish fonts and inclusion of white space. It is simple designs that people remember and not something too complicated in nature. Follow the KISS (i.e., keep it simple, stupid) principle if you want to be in a win-win situation.

Unique and Distinct

A robust monogram is one that doesn’t tell people what is there inside, but makes it unique and distinct so that your firm stands out in the crowd. Let your creative juices flow and employ your artistic skills to give your company symbol a matchless identity! The success or failure of a logo depends not on the accentuation of the subliminal, but creating a strong impact on the consumers.

Have more ideas to share? Comment.

Featured image: CC – Attribution photo by Nicolas Nova – source

Article by Sreeya roy Choudhary

This aricle is Written by Sreeya roy Choudhary Sharing information on how creating a company brand identity design is a challenging task. Adequate research, building trust, thinking of a powerful name, following simplicity, and creating unique designs are some of the things to consider.

CC Attribution licensed project by Martin Oberhäuser

Targeting Your Audience Effectively with These Six Infographic Design Tips

Infographics have almost become a part of our lives. We can see infographics everywhere be it in the bus stop or in our offices and other places.  If you are still at lurch then let me make it clear. You must have seen giant animated images or a few words on the road or the stations or some pie charts or diagrams or bar graphs which mostly used by the experts while showing information related to finance or weather in various news or debates and quickly grab your attention.  Though these informative bars look quite boring still people find them attractive thanks to those colorful little buttons used in those charts and bars. These are called ‘Infographics’. Following are the few important tips that may help an infographic designer to design an effective infographic.

Targeting Your Audience Effectively with These Six Infographic Design Tips   cee728f153f732b0f6615d34e4fc93da

CC Attribution licensed project by Martin Oberhäuser – source

Be Simple: Many infographic designers tend to design infographics in complicated manner making the viewers confused. Infographics should be designed in such a way so that the people specially the laymen can understand the meaning otherwise it may appear boring to them. Designers designing infographics for general public face much difficulties than those who are designing for a specific group of viewers as they have fair idea about their viewers and the type of words or designs they have to use in their designs. Most of these types of inforgraphics are seen in various magazines which are categorized for the people belonging to different age groups.

Be Innovative:
Infographics facilitates the designers with the opportunity of sharing their messages and ideas using texts through various ways such as through advertisements or slogans. Apart from keeping it simple and user friendly the infographic designers also should also make their designs unique and innovative. They should try to update their designs by implementing latest ideas and thoughts. Apart from interesting images and fonts the designers should also try to incorporate some punch lines to make them more interesting if possible.

Be a storyteller: As a skilled infographic designer you should always present your infographic in the form of stories and you will be the story teller to your clients. The design should be so interesting so that the it force the people to go through the entire presentation.

Be colorful and vibrant: Color plays the role of one of the most important elements in designing a successful infographic. The correct application and mixing of colors can make an infographic the most interesting and a huge hit amongst the viewers. Using right colors is the basic of not only infographics but also all types of designing. It is suggested that the designers should always try to avoid the colors like shocking red and bright yellow which usually make the design lay out too clumsy and both these colors clashes with each other if they are used in the same design. Try to experiment with the colors and go to the most unconventional way possible. Always try to do something different such as if you like other designers want to apply some light colors as background colors then try to use anything that comes in the light shades apart from white. Because this color is used by most o all designers as the background color. You should always use the colors that perfectly combine the background and the text colors so that the reader can read the texts easily. Combinations like neon green font colors on black background should be avoided.

Do not use bar graphs: It is a very common perception that infographics contain lots of pie charts and bar graphs. In fact many companies want their infographics in that way. But showing bar graphs and pie charts not require infographics they can be shown through excel as well. As a designers it is your responsibility to decorate those bar graphs and chart and present them in the most attractive way possible.

Understand the information: As an infographic designer it is quite important for you to understand the information before start designing. Unless you have an idea of the design you will not be able to make your client understand your design.

Infographics are quite a popular concept these days. If you are an infographic designer then you can either work as a freelancer or with any reputed infographic design agency.

Business Cards

How to make your business card stand out

If you’re setting up your own business, or simply want to drum up more interest during the difficult economic climate, you’ll already know the power of an effective marketing campaign. But sometimes, nothing beats good old self promotion – and by that I mean getting out there, distributing your business card and making yourself known to potential clients and partners.

How to make your business card stand out   Fun Facts about Business Cards

The problem is, you won’t be the only person with this idea and if you hand your business card out, chances are the recipient probably has a stack of very similar-looking rectangles of card sitting on their desk. It’s all too easy for people to throw them away, so you need to make sure your business card catches their attention and makes them think: “Hang on a second, this person actually might have something to offer.”

So, where so you start? Well, aside from the obvious information, like your name, job title and contact details, you should consider putting a picture of yourself on your business card. Think about it, if you’re meeting lots of new people every day and all of them give you their business card, you’re going to forget who is who. Maybe you’ll sit at your desk and think: “Oh yes, Brian Smith was the guy with a shaved head, he seemed pretty nice, but who was Mark Robinson? And was Chris Smart the guy with glasses?”

If you have a photograph on your business card the recipient will instantly know who you are when they pick it up and connect your name with your face, meaning they are more likely to think of you when they require a particular service.

The next thing to think of is colours. Most business cards are white with printed lettering. So, imagine you are looking at a desk full of business cards – what would jump out at you? A business card that isn’t white. Consider going for a coloured background that will really make an impact. Red and black are particularly strong colours. However, it is important to ensure the text also stands out and is very readable against such a bold background.

Once you’ve decided on a colour scheme, the next thing to consider are the final details and all the creative extras you can add to your business card to really make it stand out from the crowd and ensure it’s unforgettable. Here’s a list of some things to consider:

  1. Size and shape – Don’t go for a standard rectangle, try something else
  2. Cartoons – Get a custom cartoon commissioned for the back of the card
  3. 3D – Some business cards can be printed so they stand up, fold over and have pop out sections
  4. Die cutting – Specify shapes to be cut into the side of your card, like a bite mark if you’re a caterer
  5. Recipes – Include a recipe if you work in the food industry
  6. Material – Cardboard is boring, try something else
  7. Quotes – Add a famous and relevant quotation on the back
  8. Double-sided – Take advantage of the fact you have two sides of cards and use them both
  9. Stickers – Print one side of your business card on self-adhesive paper
  10. Trading cards – If you run a firm with a few people get trading card-style business cards printed for each member of the team and encourage people to collect them

All of these ideas ensure your business card will offer something a bit different to the rest of the pack and mean it will stick in the recipient’s mind. It’s all about getting yourself noticed and an interesting business card will do just that.

Article by Lesley Sampson

This guest blog was contributed by Lesley Sampson a freelance writer who often blogs about printing and where to find the best 123 Print high quality printing.