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Building Your Online Presence


If you’ve just started a business or are fairly new to the Entrepreneurial world, then building your online presence can be time consuming and, at times, frustrating. Nevertheless, it is still VERY important for establishing and promoting your brand.

Building your online presence is not something that happens overnight – which can be the most frustrating aspect. As a new business owner, you may suddenly recognize the need to build your online presence and expect immediate results to have it done. It may be disappointing to learn that it doesn’t work that way. But, there are many ways to make building your online presence less time consuming and frustrating. Building your online presence is a progressive and deliberate process that begins with a solid vision and well thought out strategy to reach your business goals. Don’t just build an online presence because “you’re supposed to.” Respect your goals and align your online presence with an effective strategy to reach them. Then, choose a platform.

In most cases, this means set up a website. Your website is your hub – your online headquarters where people can go to learn more, contact you and interact with your content. Afterward, you can follow up with SEO and social media to engage your target market and lead them to your website and generate connections and conversions (sales and revenue).
  
To your advantage, you have us here at B-EZ Graphix to help you make that happen! We offer various structured website design packages and customized offers to help you build and maintain your web presence. So, take advantage of our monthly special for March – 15% off website design packages. Build your brand and dominate your web space today! Store Discount expires on April 24, 2014.
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A Personal Touch


One of the initial challenges that entrepreneurs, new and small businesses face is determining how to compete with larger enterprises with greater resources. The most highly rated approached to overcome these challenges is to offer exceptional services. Again, this may seem difficult with  limited resources. However, small businesses have the ability to offer something that large competitors cannot – personal attention. The ability to offer individual attention and personal service to customers weighs heavily on the likelihood of generating brand loyalty and developing a persistent consumer base. However, it alone is not a key to success for entrepreneurs.

For example, while consulting with a new client, I learned that she was becoming very discouraged by all her efforts to market her salon despite all her efforts. She had hosted events, offered incentive discounts and invested in SEO services to get her salon greater visibility and generate leads. She had estimated that if she can get people through the doors of her salon, she was confident that she could provide the personal experience that would keep them coming back and referring friends. But, she was missing some key elements to her marketing and branding efforts. Her salon did not have a logo, her website was a bit unorganized and unimpressive and her social media accounts presented conflicting information and brand design elements. In essence, her brand lack the credibility that a logo and a consistent brand presence provides.

The lesson learned here is that while personal services offer a strategic advantage of operating a small business, it is ineffective if you do not couple it with a credible brand. One must choose carefully when to execute marketing and branding strategies. In this case, it is important to secure a consistent brand and niche first. Afterward, that personal touch will make all the difference when competing in markets with larger enterprises.

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Allow Me To REINTRODUCE Myself


To my new followers, my name is Brian K. Wyatt Jr., Founder and Creative Director of B-EZ Graphix, Inc. I come to you with over 9 years of experience in graphic design, web design and strategic marketing. If you can imagine, my business has undergone many transformations over the years. Rebranding a company is hard – many have tried and most fail for various reasons. A successful rebranding campaign requires much more than a new look and logo. Although we do hope you enjoy our new look, it is most important to us that you have the most productive and enjoyable experience with our staff and services. It is our every intention to show that our rebranding comes with more than just a new aesthetic.

Rebranding has become something of a fad at the turn of the millennium. In many instances, rebranding is done to shed a negative image. We assure you, that is not the case with B-EZ Graphix. Our efforts to rebrand are done for the same reason reptiles shed skin – growth. To differentiate ourselves from our competitors, we wanted to show the fruits of our growth – new and improved skill sets, currency in design trends and styles, powerful network and inspiring partnerships. Consider the way Target rebranded in order to differentiate itself from low-brow stores like Wal-Mart and K-Mart, by including pared down versions of designer apparel. In this way, we are finding new ways to stand out. In addition, we wish to make our business identity and mission more pronounced:

B-EZ Graphix is veteran-owned, freelance graphic design, web design and marketing agency. Our mission is to encourage entrepreneurship by simplifying the marketing and brand development process for start up business and organizations. In addition, we support the rebranding and strategic marketing efforts of established enterprises.

Our identity and mission brings us closer to our clients and our target market. We seek to capitalize on this new disposition by enhancing our connections and creating the most positive customer experience for our clients. The rebranding campaign of Old Spice is an illustrative example of what I mean. Whereas, Old Spice, once a brand many associated with their grandfather’s deodorant, now has a fresh identity following clever marketing of a manly “experience” and smart use of social media to connect with their consumers – all done without changing their logo. Old Spice has reaped the benefits of evoking the social connotations of “swagger” as opposed to just simply charisma…Although, I’m sure former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa’s influence on wives and girlfriends was also very encouraging.

So as we finalize our latest rebranding campaign, we encourage you all to take advantage of our design and marketing services, provide feedback and assist us with ensure we offer the best services at the most reasonable rates. Moreover, we encourage other entrepreneurs to also consider a robust rebranding campaign if you have been in business for a considerable amount of time and feel that you are falling out of touch with your target market. In conclusion, I hope that this blog post makes it clear why we chose to rebrand. We look forward to serving you and showing you the difference.

20 Creative Logo Design Ideas: Having Fun With Identities!


Have you ever felt like when you decide to do something, it has to be your own unique way? The understanding of logo design begins much with the same basic concept: have an identity no one else has. A brand’s logo has to be a one of a kind mirror reflection of its visual mission by first impression. One could even go so far as to relate the potent significance of a logo in reflecting a brands image, with the very fingerprints on our hands. It’s got to be yours, only yours.

As designers, of course you can never go without the basic rules of logo design, such as mirroring the brand’s identity, establishing its presence, fashioning a multipurpose symbol that embodies its organization to the core, whilst ultimately serving as the most efficient marketing tool.

A logo designer can adhere to all the details and technicalities surrounding the exercise of graphic design with grand devotion, however, in order to truly comprehend the art of logo design and therefore journey through the process of its effective execution, one needs only one tool: creativity.

Be Creative! Seize with an open mind. Think outside the box – literally sit outside the box. The cardinal rule of logo design is to never cease stimulating a fresh thought process. Never settle for an ordinary, tried and tested idea, strive only for the conception of innovative and spanking new design territories. Only then, can true design really be achieved. Pacing creativity with an understanding of who the client is and who their target market is allows you to design in pure understanding of the identity you are about to create. That, fellow designers, is when you can start having fun with your work. Really playing with ideas that define the identity of your logo with comfort is when you can own it.

Below is an interesting compilation of logos designed by designers who’ve had more than a little fun doing what they probably do best.

Logo Design 15

Logo Design 16

Logo Design 17

Logo Design 18

Logo Design 1

Logo Design 2

Logo Design 3

Logo Design 4

Logo Design 5

Logo Design 6

Logo Design 7

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Logo Design 19

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Typography Basics: Understanding the Language of Letters


Sometimes the toughest part of getting started with a first design project can be understanding the language of design. Typographers, for example, have a whole language of their own that relates to type, fonts and design.

To have an open and successful conversation in your next design meeting, it will help to fully understand the lingo when talking about type. Here’s your primer.

Fonts and Strokes

Fonts and Strokes

What is a font anyway?

A font is a complete set of characters of a specific size and style from one typeface. A typeface is a group of letters, characters, symbols and punctuation of the same style. Helvetica, for example, is a typeface; whereas 9-point Helvetica is a font. All of the options – bold, italic, light, etc – make up a type family.

The distinction is often ignored by most designers (both for web and print) and the terms font and typeface are often used interchangeably.

Stroke: The weight of each line in a letter. Strokes were originally identified in handwritten lettering as each time the pen came off the paper to create the next line. Letters can have only one stroke, or be created using multiple strokes.

Point: Unit that relates to the measured size of a font. There are 72 points in each vertical inch of type.

Condensed: Property of type in which each letterform is made using narrow proportions. These typefaces can be made using a series of thin or thick strokes.

Bold: Type style in which each stroke is heavier than the normal stroke for a certain typeface.

Italics: Type style in which each letter is slanted (most commonly to the right) more than the normal typeface.

Subscript: Smaller letters or numbers that fall slightly below the baseline. In most instances this text is somewhat smaller than the preceding letters. (Commonly, a subscript is about 60 percent of the size of lettering around it.)

Superscript: Smaller letters or numbers that sit above the normal line of type. In most instances this text is somewhat smaller than the preceding letters. (Commonly, a superscript is about 60 percent of the size of lettering around it.)

Initial or drop cap: A large or decorative letter used to begin a block of text.

Brooklyn Beta

Brooklyn Beta

Black Estate Vineyard

Black Estate Vineyard

Weareo3

Weareo3

Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island

Parts of a Letter

Line and Letter Spacing

Letters have a lingo of their own as well. All of the tiny parts, from curls to connecting letters, to the bottom of a lowercase “y” have a name. An understanding and study of these parts can help typographers identify fonts and can help designers choose what typefaces may work best for a project.

X-height: The height of a lowercase “x” in each font. The x-height is used as a measure of typefaces, relating to other parts of letterforms.

Cap height: The uppermost height of letters in a typeface. This may also be called the ascender height or topline.

Beardline: The lowermost point of letters in a typeface. This may also be called the descender height and it will fall below the baseline.

Ascender: The part of a letter (upper- or lowercase)that is higher than the x-height.

Descender: The part of a lowercase letter that falls below the baseline.

Serif: Any stroke that extends from the ends of a letter form. Any type face containing serifs is called a serif font.

Sans serif: Typefaces that do not contain serifs.

Ligature: The effect when two or more letterforms connect to form a single element. Letters combinations such as “fi,” and “fl” often form ligatures in certain typefaces.

Stem: The primary vertical stroke in a letter.

Tail: The end stroke of a letter. Often a tail refers to a decorative stroke.

Crossbar: A horizontal stroke than connects two vertical or slanted strokes in a letter, such as the line in the middle of “A.”

Bowl: Any fully-closed section of a letter. The center of an “o” in most typefaces is a bowl.

Line and Letter Spacing

Line and Letter Spacing

Spacing matters too. Some designers would even argue that the spacing above, below and around letters can be just as important as the letterforms themselves.

Baseline: The horizontal line where text rests, excluding descenders. In many traditional typefaces, every capital and lowercase letter will line up along a common baseline.

Leading: The space between two lines of text is called leading (line-height in CSS). The measure is from baseline to baseline. Often text applications will default to leading that is equal to the point size; designers often change this measure to best fit their typographic style.

Kerning: The space between any two given characters and the adjustment of that space is called kerning. (Some may confuse this with tracking, which adjusts the space between all characters, not just letter pairs.) Certain combinations of letters often require kerning to achieve a certain look – think of the space combinations between “AV” and “We.”

Tracking: The space between groups of characters, or words, is measured as tracking (letter-spacing in CSS). Negative tracking pulls text closer together while positive tracking pushes letters apart. Tracking set at 0 is as

Pica: Common in print publication, picas are used to measure lines of text vertically. There are 12 points per pica (and six picas per inch)

Measure: The amount of space used by a column of type horizontally. In other words, the width of a column of type as it appears on the screen (or in print). Typically a measure relates to the number of characters per line. A good rule of thumb for determining point size is that a single column of text contains 40-50 characters per line, while multiple columns of text can contain up to 75 characters per line.

south & eleven

south & eleven

EpicDiscovery

EpicDiscovery

WeMake

WeMake

Reaching Quiet

Reaching Quiet

Source: http://designmodo.com/typography-basics/#ixzz27VsXmFlV

Graphic Design is Good for Business {Infographic}


Design is everything. Every new business must take design into consideration. Your website, your business card, your logo, your social media accounts, your advertising, your brochures, your website, and everything else that represents you brand must be accounted for. Having great design will help you stand out of the crowd. Check out this infographic that illustrates how good design is good for business.

Note: Click the infographic for full size.

how great design is great for business success1 Graphic Design is Good for Business [Infographic]

Branding Etiquette – Rule #2: Respect Professionalism


Countless times, I’ve heard referrals and potential clients express their distaste for paying a designer for “what I can get done on VistaPrint for FREE.” By all means, I believe I speak for most graphic designers, that we encourage you to exhaust those options. But, if you choose to do so, you must show respect for what we do as professionals before you can expect anyone to show respect for you and your brand. It would be a waste of our valuable time (typically at $25 an hour) to haggle with you over why you shouldn’t have to pay X dollars for the time we dedicate to making you look good and professional. That time would be better spent marketing our services to others who respect the fact that they are receiving professionalism, personal attention and unique products and designs.

 

Above, you will find one of VistaPrint’s most common business card designs. You can customize this template and have 250 printed for $20 or less. But, have you considered the likelihood that you and several million other people might have the same design as well? Is that something you feel that you can take pride in? Not likely at all.

This design was made specifically for The Computer Guy by B-EZ Graphix. The design elements, technique, contrast, colors and typography all were matched to coordinate with the logo and brand of the company. Whereas, VistaPrint and its doppelgangers push generic designs that don’t offer the personal attention, responsiveness for revisions and professionalism as graphic designers.

So, if your budget is tight, either negotiate or exhaust your interim options with VistaPrint’s more affordable services. Otherwise, respect what we do as designers so that we can maintain our respect for your brand and you as a client. Nevertheless, it is always my recommendation that you prepare yourself before approaching a professional and giving your pitch. Be ready to invest in your brand. #MakeYourself

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