Tuesday, November 17, 2009

your opinion counts!

> In a June entry, (http://betterdesignbym.blogspot.com/2009/06/clocking-creativity.html), I mentioned my annual holiday promotion, and that I was thinking about ideas back then. Well, now it's time to start production! I had so much positive feedback about the CD calendars that I gave out last year that I asked several people about doing them another year—and I got a lot of definite "yes's".

> I also considered custom gift tags following the theme "The 12 Days of Christmas". I threw that idea around and just got more positive response...which wasn't getting me any closer to making a decision. So, I put it to a vote. I asked the recipients of my monthly email newsletter (muse) to vote by email or on my FaceBook page, and said that I'd do a drawing, giving promos to 3 voters. I got a pretty good response, and it was a landslide...the calendar won!

> So, I'll be setting aside a little time each day to work on getting the promotional 2010 calendar finished and ready to send out as holiday gifts to clients, vendors, friends of mGraphicDesign, and those 3 lucky FaceBook fans! Sometime next month, you'll get to see what it looks like here on my blog.

Monday, November 9, 2009

a good mood (board)

> Not long ago, I was doing research for a project, and ran across something that helped me with a different one. I was simply looking for baby-related things to get in that mindset for a web site I'm designing, when I ran across this blog on "Mood Boards", Flickr calls them "Inspiration Boards". The article (http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2008/12/why-mood-boards-matter/) explains how creating one will help translate your client's expectations into a visual tool that establishes an aesthetic feel for projects, showing everything from photographic style, typography, color palettes, patterns, to an overall look and feel. The client's approval at this stage ensures that you're heading in the right direction with subsequent projects, as you use this tool to focus your design process.
> This was a great help to me, as I'm also working on a project for a client who underwent a recent merger. The new company has agreed on a name and logo, but has not resolved brand issues nor decided on a single focus and direction. How do you create a project that satisfies a company's direction when they don't have one? They don't want to rebrand, so I faced a difficult task.
> After reading this blog, I was inspired. I created what I am calling a "Visual Message* Board", compiling important information about the client and what they know about their brand and company's focus (*you'll read a lot more about "visual messaging" in my new web site--coming soon!).
> I presented the document with my recommendations on a single-focus for the new company. I look forward to receiving their feedback, making any course corrections, and feel confident that at that point, I'll know exactly what my next step will be in achieving a successful design.

Monday, November 2, 2009

smile when you say that

> Years ago, before I got my degree, I had a summer job doing telemarketing. Not one of my favorite jobs, but one that taught me some valuable lessons (the first being that I didn't want to be a professional telemarketer...). In the small amount of training I was given, they pointed out that when you're on the phone, the person on the other end can "hear" if you're smiling. And it's true. To this day, I still subconsciously smile while I talk on the phone, and I can hear the difference in my voice, so I know others can too.
> I recently ran across an article about non-verbal communication, and the first tip was to smile while on the phone. I'm always pleased when I find out I'm doing something right. The article includes several other great tips: http://freelanceswitch.com/clients/17-ways-to-use-active-listening-techniques-in-online-communication/
> I still don't like getting calls from telemarketers, but since then, I have a little more empathy for them. I don't instantly hang up on them, I give them a few seconds to give their pitch, then smile when I tell them I'm going to hang up. Who knew a telemarketer might actually tell you something that was worth your time.