I had such a great time reading the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris that in the end I felt I was left with that little feeling of wanting a bit more. At least in the end of that book Tim recommends a few other books and I am now trying to tackle those. I just finished one of them, another excellent book, The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. There are so many good tips in this book that I had to recommend it here as well. Millions of people around the world have improved their lives through the timeless advice David Schwartz offers in The Magic of Thinking Big . In this best-selling audiobook, Schwartz proves you don't need innate talent to become successful, but you do need to understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that will get you there. Publisher's Summary With more than six million copies sold worldwide, David Schwartz's timeless guide and best-selling phenomenon, The Magic of Thinking Big , is now available for the first time as an unabridged audio edition. Millions of people around the world have improved their lives through the timeless advice David Schwartz offers in The Magic of Thinking Big. In this best-selling audiobook, Schwartz proves you don't need innate talent to become successful, but you do need to understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that will get you there. Filled with easy-to-understand advice, this unabridged audio edition - perfect for gift giving - will put you on the road to changing the way you think, helping you work better, manage smarter, earn more money, achieve your goals, and, most importantly, live a fuller, happier life. ©1959, 1965 Prentice Hall. All rights reserved. (P)2015 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved. Video Buy it from Amazon
Every new year comes with new resolutions, among them at least for me there's always one that is always there at the top of the list, which is to read more books. This year my goal is to vary the styles and move away from design books to focus more on subjects that can improve my personal and work life. The book I will start this week and recommend in this post is What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith. I found out about that book while reading another one and got really curious about it. About the book America’s most sought-after executive coach shows how to climb the last few rungs of the ladder. The corporate world is filled with executives, men and women who have worked hard for years to reach the upper levels of management. They’re intelligent, skilled, and even charismatic. But only a handful of them will ever reach the pinnacle -- and as executive coach Marshall Goldsmith shows in this book, subtle nuances make all the difference. These are small "transactional flaws" performed by one person against another (as simple as not saying thank you enough), which lead to negative perceptions that can hold any executive back. Using Goldsmith’s straightforward, jargon-free advice, it’s amazingly easy behavior to change. Executives who hire Goldsmith for one-on-one coaching pay $250,000 for the privilege. With this book, his help is available for 1/10,000th of the price. Editorial Review from Publishers Weekly Goldsmith, an executive coach to the corporate elite, pinpoints 20 bad habits that stifle already successful careers as well as personal goals like succeeding in marriage or as a parent. Most are common behavioral problems, such as speaking when angry, which even the author is prone to do when dealing with a teenage daughter's belly ring. Though Goldsmith deals with touchy-feely material more typical of a self-help book—such as learning to listen or letting go of the past—his approach to curing self-destructive behavior is much harder-edged. For instance, he does not suggest sensitivity training for those prone to voicing morale-deflating sarcasm. His advice is to stop doing it. To stimulate behavior change, he suggests imposing fines (e.g., $10 for each infraction), asserting that monetary penalties can yield results by lunchtime. While Goldsmith's advice applies to everyone, the highly successful audience he targets may be the least likely to seek out his book without a direct order from someone higher up. As he points out, they are apt to attribute their success to their bad behavior. Still, that may allow the less successful to gain ground by improving their people skills first. (Jan. 2) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Buy Now
Fortunately for web designers, their skills are still in high demand now and years in the future, even with web builders that advertise anyone without development or design experience can design their own website. So, why are site builders not putting web designers out of commission, and, in many ways increasing business for them? Although website builders provide a very professional site for businesses, the designs are templates - basic and unbranded. In fact, web builders are an excellent tool for designers, especially for those who lack development experience. And, no, it's not "cheating" to use a template to build a website. Your client does not have the skills to customize for their brand like you do. And if you have some SEO experience, all the better. While many site building tools include some SEO customization, there's a lot there that still needs to be added for best results. So, if you are a web designer with little to no coding skills, you may want to strongly consider checking out the following website builders. The list below includes a variety of web builders for a variety of needs, at a variety of costs, and with varying degrees of customization. Different clients may require different features, so you may find that you use several of these, depending on your clients. However, some of the following do have designer account options with which you can create multiple websites and domains for your clients all underneath your account. WebStartToday While WebStartToday.com is one of the easiest and most basic web designer tools in this list, it comes with many features with which not even the more expensive web builders can compete. For instance, WebStartToday has one of the largest template libraries with 1,000s of highly customizable designs. Even better, their templates are organized well so that you won't spend hours looking for the right design for your client. In fact, they advertise that you can set up a website in only minutes. Every template also comes with a variety of stunning color themes, and their image editing tool is more than capable of handling intermediate editing. And, as always necessary when setting up a site for a client, their templates come with a CMS so that your clients can make basic changes on their own, calling on you only when they get stumped. The pricing for this web builder tool is quite affordable at $9.99/mo (or discounted at $99/yr if paid in a lump sum), and this comes with a unique domain name and free hosting. If you don't want to pay the fee until after your client views the site first, then you can simply set up the free version using a domain of businessname.webstarttoday.com for up to a year. You can switch at any point during this free version to the paid version. Here's a few more reasons why WebStartToday is a great option: Page content is industry-specific and editable Templates and content available for 72 industry verticals SEO and Google Analytics support Google Apps Interactive options including maps and videos Absolutely unlimited storage for data! 24/7 support system Breezi Breezi.com was made specifically for creatives with no development experience, and at only $9/mo, this web builder is quite a steal. Taking a look at all of the design features, you can see just how perfectly it fits designers, as it would probably leave business owners without design experience a bit at a loss. With Breezi, it does take more time to launch a website than with other web builders, but you get some amazingly fun tools for creating a highly unique website. For instance, let's say that you set up your layout and have entered the content and apps and such. Then your client comes back and says they just don't feel like the style fits their brand. No problem! Simply try a different skin - no need to start over from scratch - your layout and content remain intact while you scroll through and try on different skins. Or maybe you need to change up some of the CSS but you know absolutely nothing about code - Breezi allows for visual editing of CSS content. The complete control of your content along with incredible tools such as the image editor and tons of apps make Breezi quite a robust web builder. Here's more: FTP and DropBox syncing Designs are responsive/adaptive for mobile compatibility Store templates also available Domain hosting CMS for clients to easily maintain Easy layout builder Unlimited storage and bandwidth IMCreator With IMCreator.com, you can choose from a regular account or a designer version. Both allow for easy drag and drop customization of HTML templates, but the designer version comes with more options, such as a CMS and the ability to upload your own template. You can also submit designs and receive an income whenever they are used. While there are not a huge amount of templates from which to choose, all are extremely stunning, highly professional, and fairly original since they were created by individual designers. Plus they are all very easy to edit completely for your client's brand. You can also choose to use the stock photos included in the templates or upload your own. Image galleries include slideshow options, and other awesome, editable features included are contact forms and video players. Check out more of what you get with IMCreator: Use IMCreator domain and hosting or your existing one Templates organized by industry including restaurants, musicians, models, etc. Google indexed Custom email address Compatible with PCs, Macs, mobile, tablets, and most browsers SquareSpace Start on SquareSpace.com with the most common pages of a website - home, about, blog, gallery, store - and add or subtract from there. If your client needs a full website and e-commerce combo, SquareSpace provides quite the robust web builder and features for such a task. For instance, their store management system provides great tools to make it easy for your client to keep up with items such as inventory and printing packing slips. You can even choose to remain the main admin and add your client and others as additional contributors. While the templates are search engine optimized, you may need to do a bit more customization in this area for your client, but SquareSpace allows you complete control. There are three pricing options and a 14-day free trial. And all versions come with a free custom domain. For $8/mo you get 20 pages, 500GB bandwidth, and only 2 GB storage. However, for both the $16/mo and $24/mo packages, you get unlimited pages, bandwidth, and storage plus much more. Other awesome features include Incredibly stunning editable templates Ability to use preset designs or customize your layout, colors, and fonts Easy drag and drop editing Awesome image editing tool Blog posts come with auto-publish options All templates are optimized for mobile viewing Analytics are built in to every template 24/7 support Site2You Site2You.com boasts the ability to create a website in only minutes and comes with a 7 day trial. After the trial, you can choose from several packages. The monthly packages come with different webmaster assistance allowance. This webmaster assistance is basically free help in customizing and adding features beyond what their web builder tool is capable of doing, which gives designers the ability to really take a website above and beyond without any need to learn code. For $24.95/mo you get 10 hours of webmaster assistance. For $49.94/mo, you get 3 hour/month webmaster assistance. Another amazing option available with Site2You is that they allow you to download your source files, no strings attached, with the purchase of one of the Turnkeys packages. Both Turnkeys packages are yearly subscriptions and come with $15/hr webmaster assistance. The Turnkeys 2.0 package requires you to purchase hosting on your own, but as with the monthly packages, the Turnkeys Facebook package comes with free hosting with Site2You. More incredible features include Ready-to-use website content Templates with various forms, maps, SEO keywords, and much more Use of webmaster to match color scheme to your logo colors Store designs with PayPal button and shopping cart feature Excellent 24/5 support Use licensed stock photos or your own Additional services available for further customization Jimdo The appeal of Jimdo.com is how much you get for the cost. The business/store option is $240/yr and creatives option is $90/yr. But both paid versions come with 1,000s of incredible features. And there's more good news - Jimdo does have a free version that includes a 5 item store with the ability to accept PayPal or credit cards, widgets, varied designs, photo gallery, blog, and much more. The paid versions come with a newsletter system, meta tags, email accounts with forwarding, domains, lots of payment options, and much more. Creating multimedia sites is very easy with Jimdo's amazing tools and easy-to-edit layouts. And the speed is very fast, especially for the paid versions. While the content is not optimized for search engine, the layout of the templates are tweaked for search engines, including in the free version. Here are just a few more reasons why you may want to check out Jimdo: Store and website both work for mobile Flash and HTML photo galleries Use stock photos or your own Add text with photos Contact forms, reservation request forms, guestbook Social media tools Many customization features - widgets, blog, images, RSS feed, Flash Customizable layouts WebsiteBuilderPro WebsiteBuilderPro.com comes with lots of pricing options, making it easy for designers to choose one that works best for their clients. Prices start at $4.99 and go up to $25.99/mo and include varying amounts of bandwidth and number of sites. So, if you plan on using WebsiteBuilderPro to create several websites for several clients, you may want to go with the Plus version (10 websites) or Max version (unlimited websites). And amazingly, all price versions come with an unlimited number of pages, which means you can add pages whenever you want. To create a website, you simply choose from one of their many templates, add pages, and add content. The templates come with the ability to be customized completely. Like most website builders, there is no need to pay until you decide to launch your design. Other great features include Google Adsense, free hosting, store, no ads, and much more: Choose from stock images or use your own Upload videos easily Click to edit any part of the page Product catalog and shopping cart Mobile optimized Add members and creative private pages Forums, chatrooms, contact forms Weebly Choose between the completely free version or the white labeled designer version with Weebly.com. In fact, the designer version is extremely affordable at only $7.95/mo and the ability to design multiple sites with CMS. There are only 100s of designs from which to choose, but all are highly professional and very customizable. Like most web builders, you simply drag and drop content into place. Plus, you get free domain hosting that Weebly monitors 24/7. If your client is a blogger, they may really enjoy Weebly's easy drag and drop blogging. Or if your client also needs a store, e-commerce solutions are also available. Let's say you are on the go but need to make some quick changes to your client's site. Simply make edits on your iPhone. Weebly also comes with the option of using their website statistics tracking system or also adding Google Analytics for further data tracking. More amazing features include Photo galleries with slideshows Video and audio players Easy form builder Excellent image editor Full HTML/CSS control Templates are mobile optimized Ecommerce features SEO with additional settings available If you are unsure which of these web builders is right for you and your clients, remember that all come with, at the least, the ability to design a website for free. While all of these site builders listed above are excellent options for web designers, you may need certain features one of these have that the other don't. So take a look, try them out, and choose which one you are most comfortable with. Then see just how easy it is to become a successful web designer without the need to learn any coding at all! Tara Hornor Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She is a Senior Editor for Creative Content Experts, a company that specializes in guest blogging and building backlinks. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.
We live in a world where everything is moving at an incredibly fast pace. I've talked about it before, and I will say it again, 3 years ago we didn't have tablets, I wouldn't be writing this on my Nexus 7. With constant change, we see trends coming and going at at warp speed. It's interesting to see that we designers seem to just follow trends without even questioning why. Being curious is the most important thing for a designer, it is so important to challenge the status quo, like being a child again. The only way we can do that is by asking questions. It is understandable that it is cool to show off skills or that you are up to date with the new trends. When creating a visual design, however, do you understand exactly the problem, the brand and the audience? Do you also ask yourself questions like: Why am I doing this? Is it really necessary? How can I simplify? In my opinion the difference between design and art is the need to make something for others and not for yourself. Unless, that is, you are designing a personal project or a product that is for your demographic. Otherwise we end RHINOS HUNT IN PACKSDesign by Aled Lewis So think about it and start asking more questions. We live in a era that sharing is super simple and easy, we are creating more which is fantastic, however, as you move forward in your design career make sure that you keep the curiosity as a high priority. Try to understand why you make the design decisions you make before embarking on a new project. "Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much". - Francis Bacon
Lately we've been talking a lot about ways we can get closer to you, the readers and members of our community. A few weeks ago we did our very first livestream, which might have lacked a bit in organization since it was, after all, our first go at it, but hopefully you guys enjoyed it as much as we did. We hope to incorporate these streams into our regular schedule to give you guys some insight into why we do what we do and to let you get to know us a little bit more. In efforts to further bring us closer to you, we've decided to start a weekly installment of posts in which we will answer one question you might have per post. We receive a lot of emails with your questions, and often times most are the same. By publicly posting and answering these questions directly on the blog, it helps not only you but also others seeking similar answers. Realizing that most of your questions are opinion-based, instead of offering you one straight answer, each one of us will give you an individual answer based on our own unique experiences. So, if you have a question, we want to hear from you! Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Public Questions" as the subject and every Tuesday you'll get an answer.
I've been working and, you could say, living as a designer for over 12 years now. Throughout these years a lot has happened, all of which caused me to grow as a designer and learn new things. In the beginning I had a vague idea of what was necessary to get better and succeed in the design industry, but it took me quite a few years to discover some basic concepts that really made me become a better designer. I will share some with you today. Promote your work "Put yourself out there, being awesome is long tail" - Allan Branch In the beginning I was naive. I thought if you were good enough people would find you. I was never promoting my work until my office got robbed. Then I decided to create Abduzeedo and put my work out there. I made a Flickr account, DeviantArt, Behance... you name it. These services are much more important in promoting yourself than an own site can be. If you use the right tags and produce good work, these sites will make you more visible to the community. Tips Start posting your work on sites like Flickr, DeviantArt, Behance, Carbonmade. Participate in groups on sites such as Flickr. It's an easy and simple way to get your work out there. Eventually create a separate portfolio site as well. It will give you more credibility. Illustration tag on Behance Smashing Network is selecting good blogs to be part of their network, when it comes to Smashing Magazine, we cannot expect anything less than let's say smashing ;) Experiment Your best work is your expression of yourself. Now you may not be the greatest at it, but when you do it, you’re the only expert - Frank Gehry I think one of the main things that I really learned, is that personal projects are the best way to evolve when it comes to techniques and aesthetics. Being our own client and consumer, gives us the freedom and time to do what we want. Every time I see a nice effect in movies, posters, magazines, books, etc., I make a mental note to myself and then go home and try and recreate that effect. Doing that has really increased my arsenal of skills. It gives me more confidence when I have to start a new work for a client. Another great thing about experimenting is that it makes your portfolio bigger, better, and more versatile. Tips Try to recreate effects you see and like just to learn the technique. Experiment with new trends that way you will be able to absorb those details that characterize the trend and apply them to future projects if necessary. "Chocolatopia" - Personal illustration, that I worked on during 2008 in my lazy spare time. with some longer breaks... Basically it's a photo montage, with some strong retouch / paint work and some 3d additions. - Pawel Nolbert Personal project inspired by a scene from the Ironman movie This is a Personal Project to launch my nw website to middle of November. A little preview of the new image and brand of PLAYFUL. A lot of fluorescent colors, shapes, geometries, typography and tones of LOVE. - Pablo Alfieri Encourage Feedback Feedback is really important for designers. Sometimes you might get a lot of criticism, but that's okay, it's part of the game. The secret is to use the criticism as a motivator to evolve and not as a reason to get angry. You might even get some useful tips and advices. Sometimes we get so used to what we're doing that we become oblivious to some details in our work that is pretty clear to everybody else, it's important that we let other designers or really just anybody to take a look at our work. The small details are what will make your work better and unique. Tips Ask questions when posting your work. Respond to the comments and post versions of the images with the suggested adjustments. Never argue or get extremely upset with the criticism, it not only won't help you but it might also ward off others from commenting. Signalnoise Live Broadcast is a great example from James White on how to interact and get feedback from the community Give Feedback “It looks good” is the worst feedback you can get - Whitney Hess When it comes to design, giving feedback is as important as receiving it. Participate in the community expressing your opinion when people ask. Try not to be rude or cocky. The idea is to help, get help, and evolve. The clash of ideas and point of views will really broaden your design skills. Comment on posts and sites where images are shared. Help others by giving valuable tips and ideas. Share The easiest way to promote yourself as a designer is by sharing your skills. Before Abduzeedo, I used to experiment in Photoshop, Illustrator, etc but I used to keep them to myself. Then my office was robbed and I lost everything. So I started Abduzeedo and with it, the tutorials. At first the tutorials were just a way for me to backup my files and have a quick overview of my techniques, but some became really popular which made me realize how important it is to share what we know. I get a lot of emails with people asking me what the point is in making these tutorials and giving the source files away. Well, my answer is simple. I can show someone how to create a light effect or how to use Photoshop filters, but I can't show them how to come up with the idea themselves. The tutorials are about how I use the apps to make the ideas come true. Tips Write quick tutorials showing some techniques you think might be useful to others. Write guest posts for other sites sharing your experiences and thoughts. Reader tutorial by Chanito You can even make money by sharing your skills. Sites like PSDTUTS pay you to write for them Pursue Simplicity “Design is so simple, that’s why it’s so complicated” -Paul Rand Less is more. That was one of the Bauhaus mottos almost 100 years ago and it's still new and true, even more now in the internet age where we live with an overflow of information. It's important to be simple and efficient. Everything that is good is simple, but not everything that is simple is good. Making something simple and good isn't easy. It requires a deep understanding of what we have to do and whom we're doing it for, so we can simplify things. I believe simplicity is all about being confident in the thought that less is more and making decisions to remove unnecessary features and elements. "Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent". — Joe Sparano Like I said, it took me more than 10 years to fully understand these things. I can call it experience because most of them I learned through my own mistakes. Now it's up to you to see if it'll be worthwhile for you. These aren't exactly rules, just thoughts and suggestions. I would love to hear your take on becoming better designers. Magazine cover for Super Interessante based on a tutorial that the client saw and liked.
The main problem designers face while beginning their careers is to find a client without having a portfolio to show. It’s hard to find a client to trust you to design him something without having any quality previous work to show him that you can make it. Here you will see and learn many ways that you can find to create a good quality portfolio without having that first client. Creating a portfolio without a client doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do any work. This is not going to be easy and quick; this will take a lot of work and time but it all pays off at the end. Be Organized Organization is the key for saving time and being more productive. If you willing to put time and effort to work on creating a portfolio that can set your freelancing career you will have to organize your self and make a schedule in order to be able to produce more. Organize your work space and set working hours, that’s the only way you going to get yourself to produce something. For more time and organization tips read: How To Find Time For… Everything! Work for Yourself Work on personal projects that can further help promote your work. Designing something for yourself will be your first task, the good thing about working for yourself is that you have total freedom on the design but remember that is very important to set deadlines based on the time you have to work the same way you would if the work was for a client. Design Wallpapers Start working on a set of wallpapers, 3 to 5 wallpapers based on a theme, also make sure to transform them into iphone wallpapers as well. When you done creating your portfolio this will help promote your work. Wallpapers by Pablo Alfieri Design Posters Designing Posters and printing them can give you an extra edge to your portfolio and give a future client the feeling that you have good knowlegde of what you doing both in designing and printing. The same way you worked on a set of wallpapers work on a set of posters based on a theme, that can help you create a series of posters related to each other which can be a rich set on your portfolio. In the future you can giveaway a couple prints of your posters to help promote your work. Typography Posters by Stefano Joker Lionetti Design a Calendar Designing a nice and creative calendar can show a lot of your creativity and print solutions, this is a chance to make something inovative to show your future clients what you capable of creating. In the future you can giveaway a couple calendars and also promote your work. Design a Picture Book Select a few of your own photos and make a nice picture book, mix it with some good typography and have a one of a kind piece in your portfolio. This can also bring the interest of your friends and family to getting one too, it all ads up on your portfolio. Composition and Content by Andre' Wright Jr Design for Contests Designing for good contest can put a nice piece on your portfolio and also carry a name to it. Such designs contests like HugoCreate give you the opportunity to work on your own for a big brand. You don't have to win the contest, just by making a good piece to later display on your portfolio is already a win. Hugo Create work by goshaptichka Collab Work Do a collab work with other designers that are in the same situation as yours. It's a great way to expand your work and learn more about working in group. Look for people that are hungry for work just as much as you are and invite them for a private project, trade ideas and built a design concept, at the end it's all going to your portfolio. Collab work from Matt W. Moore and Magomed Dovjenko Brand Yourself Now that you already got some decent and creative pieces on your portfolio it's time to move on and get your self a nice logo and a website, that's another way to improve your portfolio within your own work. Every client that goes in your website will analyze it as well as your portfolio because it's also part of it. Here is a great article on The Art of Branding Yourself and Your Freelancing Business Design a Logo Your first identity client can be you, design a nice logo for yourself to show as reference on your portfolio. Make sure to read Vital Tips For Effective Logo Design Logo for his own studio by Hoang Rabbit Design a Website Designing your own website can be a challenge but at the end it you can say you did, get help from web designers if you need. There is a lot of services that convert PSD to HTML in case coding is a problem. Remember to stay away from templates in order to remain original. Design a Business Card Now that you got a nice portfolio with a website to display them, it's always good to have a nice business car that you can give away everywhere you go, remember that the business card will represent you and your work when you not there. Here are some great samples and good finish options to print it: 5 Finishing Options to Print a Business Card Each worker got their own business card at ID Branding Conclusion If you follow through you will get the experience of designing different projects for different medias and learn a lot on your own with your own mistakes. Building a portfolio on your own without clients is very difficult, very difficult to stay focus on something that doesn't pay off right the way. Make sure to set deadlines to every project and work on it as if it was worth a million dollars, it all pays off in the end. Now all you need is a client, with a nice portfolio it will be like a lot easier than before. "Everybody makes mistakes at first; and if a painter never learns what his mistakes are he will never correct them. Therefore test your work; and if you have made mistakes correct them; and don't make the same mistakes again." Leonardo Da Vinci Good Luck!