How To Develop Impressive Design Skills

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on July 27, 2016 at 1:13 pm


Although today’s design market still has enough vacations, in the conditions of increased competition, it becomes harder and harder to get a job and progress as a professional. No matter whether you’re seeking for a freelance vacation or a position in the company, you have to impress the potential employer.

I have been a freelancer for a long time. Moreover, I started my career as an independent performer. As for now I’m working at – a crowdsourcing platform that leads the industry. My path was quite thorny, and I collected many useful notes about how to act in this or that situation. And now I think it’s time to share this personal experience with you.

Before I start, I want to engage you a bit by sharing a few funny cases of a “witty” design. On this url, you’ll find some awkward result of “impressive” design skills.

To my mind, the most convenient way of speaking with the audience is the form of advice – unobtrusive, and at the same time convincing. So, I’ll present you the top-10 rules I’ve got from the industry.

#1 Discipline Yourself

No matter how creative is the task you’ve got – building a website is always discipline, i.e. the compliance with the site production scenario and maintaining the sequence.

#2 Avoid what You Hate

Design sphere is not restaurant business: the client is not always right. Sometimes it’s harder to communicate with the customer than to design for him. However, you have to respect the client’s business. Think positively: negative emotions kill you as a professional and as a person.

To be fair, there are two acceptable outcomes for you:

  • Get excited about the project.
  • Refuse to perform it.

The biggest mistake is trying to finish the project as fast as you can – just for getting the payment. There’s a path to nowhere: it can work for several times, but in long perspective, such approach will ruin your career. Don’t rush and keep searching for good projects (like the ones that can be found at

#3 Be ready to Intellectual Work and Solving the Complex Problems

Actually, design is a solution to the problems, and a designer is a person who has to solve all the tasks of the client. To succeed in it, you will have to precisely determine the problem and then focus on specific points. Therefore, as a rule, the first step is examining the customer’s business. Incidentally, proficient designers always take into account the personality of the client.

Verdict: the top-notch designer is also a researcher and psychologist.


#4 Learn to Listen

It is easy to solve the problem of people who are close in spirit, interests, and social status. But more often the designer has to specifically dive into the client’s life.

You have to understand the world of the customer. Each of us has unique experiences, which determines our attitude to the world. Often we say “Yes, I know that.”But the trick is that the difference is in the details, and sometimes it’s principle.

Therefore, try to miss nothing when communicating with the client and clarify the nuances that may somehow predetermine design solutions. It’s good to ask your clients to write good and detailed briefs.

#5 Carry Out Research

Research is something that helps to develop the high-quality creative concept in the allotted time. Research makes the designer immerse in the context, so, as a rule, he takes substantiated solutions, i.e. the solutions on the basis of logical relationships. This allows to build an effective relationship with the customer and to get a predictable result.

#6 Stay on the Crest of a Wave

Be ready to track the leading websites on a daily basis. The art director is different from the novice designer is not only by the fact that he made hundreds of sites but by his huge experience. He just has seen more designs.

Every designer participates in the development of visual culture, so you have to say modern, to stay ahead. The trendy website is not an end in itself, but, at least, avoid outdated solutions: today they may seem as reasonable conservatism, but the world is changing so fast that six months later your work will look like retro. If you want to keep in touch with the latest trends, never stop monitoring design communities and design websites (for example, you can find good and trendy logos here:

#7 Inspire Yourself

Subscribe to Facebook, Twitter, and blogs of top designers which you find impressive. Professionals are generally distributors of high-quality information: through them, you can learn something new. Watch them out, and you will understand how they think or even adopt their system of values!

It is important to monitor design websites as you can always find good works there. Check out, for example.


#8 Take the Time for a Good Composition

The composition is a basis of any visual product. The poor composition will spoil the work, even if the technology is perfect. People have long tempted to calculate the ideal proportions mathematically (canon of Villard de Honnecourt, the Fibonacci series, and so on), but figures do not allow to create a composition that you feel by gradually changing the position of objects. It is not easy, it requires skill and experience, but this is the most fruitful way to create an impressive design.

#9 Limit the Color Palette and Use the Corporate Font

Use a single color for 4/5 of the design and one complementary color as an accent. One color is the best option. You can try to use two, but please don’t go to three colors. Study the psychology of color.

Each font has a character, so try to pick a font that matches the content. As a rule, one font is enough, but if you want to achieve spectacular contrast, then use a pair of fonts: serif and sans-serif.

#10 Tell the Story

You have to master storytelling. For now, it’s a new format, but soon it will become familiar and natural. Telling the customers an interesting story of the brand or the service, you make them related to the company, evokes the feeling of uniqueness and originality. Digital storytelling is a combination of content and interface.


Of course, this is not all the tips and certainly not a panacea for success in such a controversial and fast-growing sphere as web design. But I hope that my advice will be helpful for you, at least, a little. Feel free to share your ideas and tips in comments.

Guest Blogger: Brian Jens is a former freelancer and a designer/blogger of DesignContest. He’s always one step ahead, in pace with time, and on the crest of a wave. Brian loves research, so you can share your ideas and get something valuable on the paper.

Navigate Office Dining & Drinking Like a Pro

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on July 26, 2016 at 4:58 pm
Have you ever been in a work situation where you’ve had to eat or drink with co-workers? Of course you have: Even if you work the overnight shift, you’ll eat meals, right? But doing so in a professional manner can feel like workplace training that some people never seem to receive. For starters, don’t assume not eating is the right choice. If you do skip meals, you’re going to impact your performance and productivity. But when you’re choosing what to eat, you should also focus on others around you—nothing too messy or too smelly, for example. And the number one rule is to clean up after yourself. If you’re going to join co-workers for a casual, after-hours drink, remember: Keep it professional and neutral. This graphic can help you navigate the pathway to food-drink success at work.

Click to Enlarge Image

Office dining inforgraphic

Infographic by

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Small Business: Location, IT And Equipment Needs

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on July 24, 2016 at 8:44 pm

Once a business concept has been developed and the core management team has been chosen,  there are a few more steps to complete before a business should open its doors. Among these steps are:  finding the right site location, additional site needs, possibilities for an online business, IT and equipment solutions. There are, of course, many other steps to complete, but knowing this information prior to writing your business plan will help to determine financing needs.

Finding the Right Site Location

First, determine the type of location that will be needed. The areas looked at for locations will be partially determined by the type of location needed.

If an office space is needed, the most desirable area will likely be in a business district. Most business districts rent office space where the core business can be conducted and also have clients visit when needed. Business districts are very useful for businesses that offer services, such as attorneys. Customers can come to the office for meetings while offering the business accommodations needed.

A store front will require a location in a heavy retail area. These locations will vary in size, accessibility and visibility of customers, and price. Most business owners will want to look at what the anchor store is, the other retailers in the shopping center, and where the store front is located within the center.

Manufacturing companies need large warehouses to manufacture the product. Some have offices at the front of the main building or the front of the property that allow for office space for the office staff and so customers can visit. Depending on the size of the business, the roster of clientele, and the type of product being manufactured, the location may need only one warehouse, or it may require several. For example if a gasket manufacturing company is being developed, multiple manufacturing warehouses on one property will likely be needed to keep up with consumer demand.


In almost every single instance of looking for the right location for a business, the price of renting or buying the property and buildings will help determine the area in which the business looks for, and ultimately rents or buys. Typically, the owner will look at the allowable funds for the property and determine whether an area or specific location is within that allowable fund limit. In many cases, small businesses will rent a smaller location in an area that is not as desirable to save money while building the business, and then upgrade as the business grows.

Additional Site Needs

That allowable fund limit we were just talking about includes the funds for additional site needs. Many businesses need additional storage space, equipment, separate offices from manufacturing warehouses, a guard house, etc. The list could go on as there are an enormous number of needs based on industry and even specific businesses.

However, there are some areas that require additional housing for external electrical equipment, agriculture or mining equipment, or piping that is at risk of exposure to the natural elements on the property. These areas have extreme weather conditions (i.e. extreme heat or extreme cold) that could destroy electrical or other equipment, or could burst water pipes, which is another structure type to think about. For example, telecom companies are often in need of telecom shelters to protect critical business equipment. Fortunately, there are companies that provide additional options for enclosing these types of units. Building necessary coverings to protect from the elements can provide extensive cost savings in the long run.


Possibilities of an Online Business

Many businesses don’t have a need for a physical business space. With the emerging online business segment, many consumers are doing much more online shopping than ever before. Consumers, in many cases, are willing to forego the instant gratification for a lower price or higher quality product. Many small businesses are more likely to launch online and provide shipping to consumers rather than in a physical location that creates more overhead to pay.

Some businesses, such as an online kratom business, will offer their product both online and in retail locations. However, these businesses will typically sell their product in other businesses, such as mom-and-pop locations that offer a little of everything, Walmart, grocery stores, etc. This eliminates the overhead of operating a physical location, but still allows the product to produce an instant gratification option for consumers who don’t mind paying a little more.

IT and Equipment Solutions

All businesses have some type of IT and equipment needs. Those needs will vary based on the type of business. For example, a retail business will need computers, a POS system, cash registers, computers, the right-sized IT solution, and likely cell phones for the executive and/or sales team.

A services business that works out of an office will likely need computers, cell phones, landline phones, the right-sized IT solution, copiers/printers, and fax machines.

A manufacturing business will need specific equipment to build or make the product. Whereas, an agriculture business will need specific yard equipment. Both types of businesses will need computers, cell phone, copiers/printers, and the right-sized IT solution.

All of these businesses have one thing in common – the right-sized IT solutions. In all cases there will be office personnel, managers and executives that will need to conduct business over the phone, send emails, create and deliver presentations both in-office and on the go, and save and manage documents. In order to do this, a superior IT support company, can be hired to help understand the needs of the business and develop a solution that meets the needs of the business without adding unnecessary bells and whistles.


Understanding the specific needs of the business will greatly aid in the decisions that must be made about location, any additional site needs, whether the business should start out as an online business, and the IT and equipment solutions needed for the business. This is a great starting point of determining how much funding, both personal cash and financing, will be needed to start the business, and keep it running for the next year.

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