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What to Expect When Designing for Startups


Designing for startups can feel more like a whirlwind than an actual design project. The process can be a rough road to travel if you are not prepared for the full experience.

Thankfully, startups are realizing the need for effective web design and many are hiring professionals like you to get the job done correctly. Great design is becoming more and more important as business owners realize it is an integral component of their growth strategies.

What Startups Expect

For startups, great web design is more than just colors and buttons on a web page. It’s how they will reach their audience, sell their products, outperform their competition and grow their establishment. Startups do not always think in terms of complex code; they simply want a superior solution.

When you can find the union between what startups expect and what you know as great design, you will have a winning combination.

Wells Riley, a graphic, UX and interface designer, wrote a lengthy piece on the importance of design for startups. In it, he is speaking to startups directly.

Here is a statement from his article:

“Companies like Apple are making design impossible for startups to ignore. Startups like PathAirbnbSquare, and Massive Health have design at the core of their business, and they’re doing phenomenal work. But what is ‘design’ actually? Is it a logo? A WordPress theme? An innovative UI?…It’s so much more than that. It’s a state of mind. It’s an approach to a problem. It’s how you’re going to kick your competitor’s ass.”

Startups need stellar web designers whether they realize it or not. Design is the face of their company and it offers a first impression to their online audience.

The Key Elements of Design

In his piece, Wells identifies the key elements of design for startups. He attempts to elevate startups’ perspective on design and explain what it is and how it can help their establishments.

Wells lists what he feels are the true purposes of design. I summarized them below in my own words and quoted some of his statements. Do you agree with Wells?

Innovative – Innovation in design is constantly moving in a forward direction. As technological development expands, innovative design should keep up with the momentum. According to Wells, “Innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.”

Product Usefulness – The usefulness of a product is identified by the psychological connection it brings as well as its aesthetic. Well thought-out design highlights a product’s usefulness and is careful to ignore creating any elements that do not satisfy this goal.

Aesthetic – A product’s aesthetic quality is a component of its usefulness. People use products daily and their appearance affects their well-being. According to Wells, only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

Makes product understandable – Design makes the product come to life. It allows the product to speak and answers all of the user’s questions. Essentially, it is self-explanatory.

Unobtrusive –Wells identifies design as neither a “work of art or a decorative object.” It fills a purpose and should be neutral so users can input their own form of self-expression. If design overwhelms and detracts from a user’s experience, even if it is beautiful, it has lost its true purpose.

Honest – Design must be true and honest and never suggest a product is more innovative and powerful than it actually is. It should never manipulate a consumer nor make them think a product is something it is not.

Long-lasting – Great design is not trendy. It lasts forever much like timeless fashion. It will never appear antiquated or behind its time.

Thorough – A great design process must include attention to thoroughness and accuracy. A good designer will express care and respect towards the consumer by finishing a project while leaving nothing to chance.

Environmentally friendly – According to Wells, “Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.”

For startups, the “less is more approach” is ideal. The design should focus only on the essentials and never be burdened with non-important elements just for the sake of beauty. Purity and simplicity will make more of an impact.

What do startups consider the most important qualities of design?

To answer this question, Wells asked 78 CEOs, marketers, and designers about how they define design. What he found was that both parties viewed design similarly.

Below are the criteria Wells used to perform his research:

CEOs, marketers and engineers had similar definitions as compared to web designers. The most important to both groups was aesthetics, while “making a product useful” came in close second. Innovation was right behind in third. These three definitions topped the list for both entrepreneurs and the designers that create their websites.

Are these your top three?

According to Wells…

“Now we’re getting somewhere. Great design is taking root in startup culture, and it seems like many people are open to change. Not only do many entrepreneurs, devs, and engineers see substantial room to improve their own products, they overwhelmingly believe that designers belong on a founding team… Design is becoming a key differentiator for companies to acquire funding, press coverage, and loyal users.”

“For a long time, a pair of co-founders consisted of an executive and an engineer. It worked for Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple, just to name a few. These companies have excellent designers today, because it’s a necessity they can’t afford to ignore. It seems like design is becoming more and more prevalent in new startups as well “

How to Survive the Startup Design Process

To become successful working with startups, consider a few tips…

Quick Changes

When designing for startups, outline your objectives in detail along with your quote. Since the startup’s goals can change daily, if you don’t outline your fees appropriately, you will end up offering more of your time for less money than you are worth.

When startups change direction, the design may change in process so if you are not set up to be paid for additional time, you could lose money.

Lay out the details of your services and include a clause defining the rates for any additional work beyond the confines of the project. I learned this lesson after working with a few startups on their website copy. They changed their minds partway through the project and because I had not set up my quote correctly, I ended up spending double the time I normally would without receiving any additional money.

Tip: This tip also applies to any project, but it is most important with startups due to the more chaotic environment.

Chaos

Design for startups involves problem solving. Startups are faced with many dilemmas and chaos is often a common variable. With so many growing pains to endure, the environment can be somewhat indecisive. Your ability to stay calm throughout the process will work in your favor.

Low Budget

Many startups are bootstrapped and they try to make every penny count. Because their budgets are low, web designers working with startups often need to expand their skillsets to include user experience.

One of the goals of creating an effective web design for startups is to get a clear picture of who will be using their website or application. During your consultations you will need to extract as much information as possible even if the client is not completely clear on its audience.

When designing websites, you must know the audience even if they are fictional. During your consultation you want to understand the users’ potential behaviors, how they will use the site, what emotion they should feel while using the site, and what actions they should take. Every attribute you learn about your audience can be applied to the design to ensure your client receives a good level of conversions once the traffic pours in.

If your clients are unsure about their users, don’t be afraid to share your ideas with them. This will not only position you as an expert, but it will also make your design highly effective since this information is so crucial to online success.

When I meet with clients I ask them to fill out a detailed questionnaire. The questions are designed to probe the client for essential details about their target audience. Without this information my website copy would be meaningless because it won’t stir an emotion or compel the user to remain on the website. In order to keep users on the site, I have to get inside their minds and know what makes them tick. What are their behaviors? Desires? Stresses? Problems?

Knowing this information about the target audience will give you the edge and allow you to create a high-converting design that aligns with the startup’s vision.

And even if that vision changes, you will be paid because you outlined your fees correctly in the contract!

Have you done any design work for startups? What has been your experience?

Here are some examples of startup design:

Square

Path

Massive Health

Shall I Buy

Mobilastic

NoteBox

Meetings.io

Source: http://designmodo.com/design-startups/#ixzz1zmWT2X5H

Why Business Logos are So Integral to Success


A logo is a critical and essential part of formulating and promoting a brand or identity, and every business needs identity in an often overcrowded market.  When you attempt to sell any service or product it is essential that you inform your consumers of precisely who you are. A logo does that in a fraction of a second. At a glance, one can see who you are when they see your well-designed business logo graphic.

There are very few businesses that function without a logo. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that it is almost unheard of.  Having a logo will, over time, allow the public to not only recognize, but start to trust your company in order to gain repeat customers, which in turn increases your company’s reputation by proof of your worth in the social world.  If you have no logo or identifying message or symbol, then how will customers be able to associate products to your brand?  Take the Coca-Cola product range and brand for example: when customers see the Coke logo they often instantly think of refreshment, and they have trust in that brand.

Benefits of  a Good Logo:

  • solidify your brand
  • increase recognition
  • instill trust
  • develop repeat customers
  • rise above competition

Promote Your Logo

Promotion Why Business Logos are So Integral to Success

However simply creating your logo is not enough on its own.  In order to create the sort of brand identity and consumer respect Coca-Cola or Pepsi enjoy, you need to promote this logo and image in every marketing advert or promotion your produce.  It is essential to have your company logo displayed prominently in order to gain maximum exposure.  In fact, a unique and attractive logo can actually gain your company a worldwide following in itself.

Site Features as Logos

Facebookk Like Why Business Logos are So Integral to Success

And remember, if you have a unique feature on your website that has a graphic to go with it, that becomes a type of logo in itself, that will forever be associated with your company. Think of Facebook, for example–the “like” button, which is essentially an extension of their main logo, arguably helped increase the massive worldwide following they’ve experienced. So careful consideration must go into those special feature graphics. You don’t want to just slap on any graphic in order to get that part of building your website done, especially when such graphics can become great catalysts for change in your company.

Beware of Bad Logo Design

Gap Logo Why Business Logos are So Integral to Success

There is a small word of warning however which you should take note of, take logo creation extremely seriously as it could literally make or break your business in the long term.  Think of GAP and their disastrous re-launch a couple of years ago; their newly released logo caused so much upset amongst their customers who eventually threatened to stop shopping at the store.  This then forced GAP to revert back to their original design or face a massive decrease in sales.  It is thus essential to have your logo created by a professional design agency who will be able to assist you in the choosing of your design and the creation of a worldwide brand.

Conclusion

A logo is essential to the longevity of any business, no matter what market you are currently operating in.  A brand facilitated by a logo allows your company to stand out about above competitors whilst building a repeat user base and sometimes even a solid fan base, all things which will help your business not only survive, but potentially gain a massive market share. To show you some successful logo designs, we collected some incredible examples. Feel free to check them out, and get inspiration for your own business.

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8f3c85b19770bbf2bfbeab28978f98c11 Why Business Logos are So Integral to Success

1df8de4c14219c58f010678d4fe74bb21 Why Business Logos are So Integral to Success

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2bdc0d7fbaec7c38e78c1fc252ed851e1 Why Business Logos are So Integral to Success

442961cb8ce36559e6061f42f32b87161 Why Business Logos are So Integral to Success

ab7aef53f8c6e8bbd01dd3a231aff5421 Why Business Logos are So Integral to Success

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What are your thoughts on this topic? Did you like the short but sweet logo collection above? Don’t be shy, share your comments below! Please don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS-feed and follow B-EZ Graphix on Twitter + Facebook (100% Spam Free!) If you enjoyed the following article we humbly ask you to comment,  and help us spread the word with your peers!

Impressive Print Designs


In design, it’s all about creativity and efficiency. If you have these, then success is guaranteed. Like in all areas of design, this principle is also applied in print design, where the results should not only be creative and attract attention but also efficient and deliver the message that they were intended to deliver.

 

Product Superior Greeting Card

Product Superior Greeting Card Print Design Inspiration

Espresso Republic Business Cards

Espresso Republic Business Cards Print Design Inspiration

Wired Magazine

Wired Magazine Print Design Inspiration

Product Superior Holiday Card

Product Superior Holiday Card Print Design Inspiration

Eureka Magazine

Eureka Magazine Print Design Inspiration

20 FOLD Flyer

20 FOLD Flyer Print Design Inspiration

India Song Screenprint

India Song Screenprint Print Design Inspiration

The Pli Postal Stationery

The Pli Postal Stationery Print Design Inspiration

Planet of the Apes Cartoon

Planet of the Apes Cartoon Print Design Inspiration

Spencer Charles Poster

Spencer Charles Poster Print Design Inspiration

THE DOOR TEST

THE DOOR TEST Print Design Inspiration

Baby Norah’s Shower Invites

Baby Norah’s Shower Invites Print Design Inspiration

How to Grow a Great Beard Poster

How to Grow a Great Beard Poster Print Design Inspiration

Michaela & Christoph Wedding Invitation

Michaela & Christoph Wedding Invitation Print Design Inspiration

Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society Print Design Inspiration

Big Scary Monsters CD/DVD Package

Big Scary Monsters CD/DVD Package Print Design Inspiration

Dreaming of Piracy

Dreaming of Piracy Print Design Inspiration

Social Media Weather Sentiment vs. KNMI Weather Data Poster

Social Media Weather Sentiment vs. KNMI Weather Data Poster Print Design Inspiration

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon Poster

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon Poster Print Design Inspiration

Poster Calendar 2012

Poster Calendar 2012 Print Design Inspiration

A Single Second

A Single Second Print Design Inspiration

Typographic Matchmaking Poster

Typographic Matchmaking Poster Print Design Inspiration

School Magazine

School Magazine Print Design Inspiration

Type A Press Business Card

Type A Press Business Card Print Design Inspiration

Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek Print Design Inspiration

Shake Hands & Bend an Elbow Gift

Shake Hands & Bend an Elbow Gift Print Design Inspiration

LuckyRice Festival

LuckyRice Festival Print Design Inspiration

NEXED Business Card

NEXED Business Card Print Design Inspiration

Strumenti Spaziali

Strumenti Spaziali Print Design Inspiration

Magma Press Letterpress Pattern Cards

Magma Press Letterpress Pattern Cards Print Design Inspiration

Inspirational Love & Heart Logos


Here’s a collection of logo designs with the a love/heart symbol as the main attraction. Love is a fantastic emotion and the heart symbol can be related to many things and is often used in a logo to convey relationships, friendships, love of a hobby or product/s that the business may offer. I LOVE the typography in these logo designs. Pay close attention to the fonts and how well they marry with the artwork. 😉

Elovant WIP

Communicate

Heart Logo

Lovemarket

Talks About Love

Work of Love

Lovemouse

Pixelove

Lovecloud

HeArt

Color Love

Love Bikes

Heart

Tree with Love

Urban Bambini

Logo Love

Love Break Cafe

Made with love by nice people

Project: Love Christina

T-Love

Love, Africa

Pitlejka

Protected Legacy

Love Timer

Heartmade

Kitchen Love

Simple Love

Love Locator

Heart Knitting

Love Module

Krendal

Food Lovers

Inspirational Love & Heart Logos


Here’s a collection of logo designs with the a love/heart symbol as the main attraction. Love is a fantastic emotion and the heart symbol can be related to many things and is often used in a logo to convey relationships, friendships, love of a hobby or product/s that the business may offer. I LOVE the typography in these logo designs. Pay close attention to the fonts and how well they marry with the artwork. 😉

Elovant WIP

Communicate

Heart Logo

Lovemarket

Talks About Love

Work of Love

Lovemouse

Pixelove

Lovecloud

HeArt

Color Love

Love Bikes

Heart

Tree with Love

Urban Bambini

Logo Love

Love Break Cafe

Made with love by nice people

Project: Love Christina

T-Love

Love, Africa

Pitlejka

Protected Legacy

Love Timer

Heartmade

Kitchen Love

Simple Love

Love Locator

Heart Knitting

Love Module

Krendal

Food Lovers

Branding Etiquette – Rule #1: Take Pride!


I told myself that if ever I saw this again, I would not let it pass unnoticed. I can no longer pretend that I condone blurring of the boundaries of branding etiquette. Of the many things wrong with this business card, the email address is the most aggravating. How can I, or anyone else for the matter, take you seriously with the email address: bootiful4girls@gmail.com? This is an illustrative example of the many I’ve thrown in the trash for this same reason. There are so many resources available online that can provide you with your own email address. At the very least, keep it simple with just your first.last@gmail.com to avoid such a disastrous brand as this.

 

Judging from the perforation on the edges, this card was printed on some generic card stock purchased from Staples or Wal-Mart. The lack of saturation in the color is indicative of the ink from an old home-use printer. I can accept this and attribute it to the troublesome economy. However, the lack of pride in what you do and how you brand shouts at me in the absence of symmetry. The design elements and information are not spaced evenly from the edges of the card. Apparently, they didn’t take the time to pay attention to detail to either correct or discard this print before distributing.

 

Granted, not everyone can afford the services of a graphic designer to curtail many of these infractions. But, if you wish for me to take your business and your brand seriously enough to contact you, then you need to take more pride in how you present yourself. Find your vision, do some research, and come correct. Otherwise, your brand – your business card – will be discarded as quickly as the spam in my inbox.

 

image

What Do You Know About Letterpress?


Letterpress printing is a technique in which the design is actually pressed into the paper, resulting in an embossed or raised finish. Because of the time it takes to create and produce a letterpressed design, it’s not common to see it done on a large scale – instead, it’s the smaller, very high quality design shops that are the ones who may choose the technique instead.

Letterpressed designs introduce a new feel and finish to a design – a slightly different texture and shading that sets it apart from other prints. However, it can also be very challenging – letterpress equipment tends to only be able to print in one colour at a time, which means that it needs a very skilled operator indeed if they are to produce art in more than one colour (something that isn’t an issue for those more used to regular printing processes).

Despite the quirks and intricacies involved with learning how to use letterpress equipment, the results can be – when done perfectly – visually stunning. We’ve selected a showcase of some beautiful letterpress designs to hopefully inspire you and perhaps get you thinking about adding letterpress designing to your list of skills.

Loves you card

underconsideration.com

irwin and mclaren

benjennings.com.au

Sockeye

designspiration.net

Rogers Reel

mattsoncreative.com

Art Is good for You

flickr.com/photos/crankypressman

Bespoke Letterpress Boutique

thefinderskeepers.com

VH1 Classic

ilovedust.com

Zoo Titling

dribbble.com

Space Camp

eighthourday.com

Anand design

graphic-exchange.com

DGPH

letterpressed.blogspot.com

Shyama Golden

lovelystationery.com

We are manic

designspiration.net

Wasted Time

etsy.com

Letter press

jigscafe.blogspot.com

Are there any beautiful letterpress designs that you’ve found that deserve a mention? Let us know in the comments.

MADE Entrepreneur Of The Month: April 2012 – Vau’ve Anais Davis


Vau’ve is the CEO/Founder of OfficialAnais Public Relations in Chicago. Most importantly, she is a long time friend and business associate of mine. Since the start of our friendship in college, we have been exploring unique ventures and initiatives – such as the Soul Starr Select catering organization. We constantly express our nostalgia as we have grown as entrepreneurs specializing in public relations and branding. Likewise, we frequently acknowledge that we may not have acquired the successes that we have experienced without one another. So, it is my pleasure to honor Vau’ve as the first “MADE Entrepreneur of the Month” for April 2012!

You will constantly read and hear motivational words and thoughts from me, followed by the hash tag #MakeYourself. This is because I strongly believe that, although we are interdependent beings, no one knows what’s best for you than yourself. You set your own goal and understand that it will take your efforts, at a minimum, to achieve them and become who you want to be – to make yourself. No one understands this better than Vau’ve. Despite her educational background in Psychology and not Communications, she has stepped up to bat as a superb Public Relations Consultant, rivaling the workings of major PR firms. She had an inspirational vision for herself that she sought and grasped by establishing her own PR brand, OfficialAnais PR. While representing several clients, Vau’ve still manages to nurture her philanthropic roots with events like the OfficialAnais Toy Drive. Moreover, she has been an indispensible referral source for my company, B-EZ Graphix.

It is important to understand that you need to be yourself, because everyone else is taken. Although Ms. Davis’ experience embodies this precept, she still sees the value that each person has that can contribute to the efforts of others. In fact, she is endeared as “The Connector” of people and resources. Her work with my company is a prime example: Vau’ve has referred over 15 projects to B-EZ Graphix that produced nearly 25 products accounting for over $1,000 in revenue from referrals within one fiscal quarter. This amounts to over 40% of referral revenue, from Vau’ve alone, out of 15 affiliates of B-EZ Graphix. If that’s not impressive enough, through Vau’ve’s networking with Luxury Chic Media in New York, she connected me to TJ Jefferson of Fresh Touch Publicity in Atlanta – leading to the launch of a Joint Venture Partnership between our two companies. Thank you Vau’ve for all you do for B-EZ Graphix!  I am so very glad to have you as a friend in life and business!

I would like to highlight YOU for the next “MADE Entrepreneur of the Month!” Contact me to become an affiliate of B-EZ Graphix and send us your referrals for graphic design, web design, branding and marketing consulting. The incentives for affiliates are endless! Thank you for reading, and thank you in advance for your support.