Tag Archives: website

Why pretty graphics make a difference for your business (and how to make yours look good)

gimmespace!

OK. I have a bone to pick… PLEASE STOP POSTING CRAPPY GRAPHICS!!

I know, I’m a total design snob.

Being a designer for 15 years will do that to you. I also just like to look at pretty things in general. I’m very sensory oriented.

But, snobbery and eye candy aside, there is good reason for this demand.

Back when I was a designer full time, my tagline was ‘Making the world a better place, one design at a time.’

There is so much truth in that sentence, regardless of who is making the graphics – you or a designer.

Pretty things make people happy and happy people do awesome stuff. They’re more creative and inspired and motivated to do the things that change the world.

And in the online world these days, awesome stuff is also what goes viral and gets shared all over the internets. And the stuff that gets shared millions of times IS WHAT CHANGES THE WORLD the fastest!

Whether or not someone has a trained eye for design,
they pick up on crappy looking design.

Except, the non-trained eye clicks away because they feel uncomfortable. And because they didn’t realize it was that distorted, pixelated image on your site that made them feel uncomfortable, they might think that… {GASP}… YOU make them uncomfortable.

Let’s just sit with that for a moment…

Crappy looking materials for your biz make people
project that crappiness onto you.

(click here to tweet that!)

Ew. We don’t want that.

The good news is that YOU ARE NOT CRAPPY!!

YOU ARE AWESOME!!

And there is an easy way to fix this… make your biz look HOT with badass images!

Hey guys, look at my mandala!!

Umm, it's kinda blury .................... AHHH, MY EYES! .................... OOOO! That's PRETTY!
gimmespace!

Here are a few simple tips for creating pretty graphics:

1. Handle image size in the proper ways.

Photos are not infinitely scalable or stretchable. They are made of tiny boxes called pixels and when you scale an image larger, the program you’re using has to guess what would fill the extra space you just made, which is why it ends up looking pixellated. Also, there can be a tendency to stretch or squish an image to make it a certain size.

To avoid this… use crisp, clear images that are large enough to do what you want with. Always scale the image proportionately – if you need it to be smaller, crop away!

Where to find these crisp, clear photos? My favorite stock image site to peruse is veer.com.

OR

Use your own! I use my iPhone and she takes lovely pictures. Here’s a fun little course if you’d like to improve your iPhonography skillz. 

2. Use PNGs when posting on Facebook.

For whatever reason… Facebook makes JPG images with text look funky, whenever possible, use the PNG format instead.

3. Edit your photos.

An easy way to make your images look good is to edit them. You don’t need fancy editing knowhow or software to do this. Even though I’ve been a designer for 15 year, I just use my phone these days!

It’s easy to make any photo look more interesting with some filters and text. Here are my fave apps to use:

  • Instagram – Tip: If you put your phone on airplane mode, you can apply filters without actually posting the image to your feed. Go through the entire process of posting – the post will fail because you’re in airplane mode and will store your filtered image in the Photo Album. Then you can continue to play with that, sexy looking image in…
  • Afterlight – Has filters and some basic editing features. But I love it for the frames! They come come in all sorts of shapes – hearts, stars, every letter of the alphabet etc etc etc. Also has some fun options to add light leaks which can make your images more ethereal.
  • A Beautiful Mess – Use this to add text and doodles to your images! It also has some backgrounds to choose from if you just want to do
  • Over – Another text and doodle/drawings app. This one has loads of fonts to choose from!
gimmespace!
My photo + Instagram + Over
gimmespace!

4. Hire a designer

If you’re not artistically inclined and/or don’t enjoy making the arts, it pays off to hire someone to do it for you. Seriously, your bottom line will thank you in more time to do YOUR thang, less frustration struggling to make things look pretty and, well, keep reading…

BUT! Before you do ANY of this, you need to…

*** Find your brand STYLE so you can create unique, on-brand images. ***

Embodying the proper energy for your business makes your brand look sexy and your audience TAKE NOTICE!

Like anything, designs carry energy with them and the energy you want people to see and the energy your business is actually exuding should match.

You wouldn’t design materials for a university in the style of a preschool, right?! Well, the same thing is true for your business – people really pick up on the subtle nuances of what you put out there. The more cohesive of a brand image you create, the more magnetic your brand’s voice gets.

If people aren’t paying attention, how are you going to change the world?!

So yea…

1. Find your brand style

2. Make your brand LOOK as hot as it REALLY IS

3. Change the world

The end.

gimmespace!

Don’t know your brand style? Weird Heart/Wild Heart will show you!

And also, I’m raising my rates! I have a few spots left in each of my programs at the old rates and then they DOUBLE in investment – check it out here.

gimmespace!


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It’s OKAY to change your mind. And your focus.

I got my first graphic design job in 1998, the summer after my junior year of high school. I went on to be a yearbook editor, major in media art, design for ad agencies and creative direct for a print house. But a few years ago, I started to question whether design was really for me.

I just wasn’t all that happy doing the work. So when I started my own business, I forced myself out of being a graphic designer…

I changed my LinkedIn profile.

I took all the design offerings out of my programs.

I sent out an email to everyone I know announcing my new biz.

I was so happy to tell the whole world what I was up to. I announced it all over the place – on Facebook, Twitter, in workshop forums. I had new programs that were 100% coaching. It felt amazing. I felt free! I didn’t have to do this thing that felt draining.

Since I had decided to ditch what I had been doing for the last 14 years of my life, I embarked on a “find my purpose and passion journey.” Much to my frustration, design kept popping back up for me…

In journalling for workshops I was doing.

In my obsession with pretty things.

All over the life story I wrote out to see what skills, interestes, and experience I had to draw from.

In client and friend reactions to my ditching design – “Congrats! Awe, are you sure? You’re so good at it!”

I tried my hardest to push it all away, but it was a part of me. So I took a look at what had really been making me unhappy. And I realized, it wasn’t the design! It was that my work wasn’t always helping people.

I saw the jobs I enjoyed most were for the clients who used nicely designed materials as well thought out tools to further their message. The rest of the clients meant well but hadn’t fully hit on their message yet. Which also meant, they were kind of a nightmare to work with because they had no idea what they wanted and were never happy with the end result.

There it was:

The prettiest designs in the world can’t help us if we don’t know what we’re trying to do! And the best designer in the world can’t make us the thing that perfectly represents us if we don’t know what we’re trying to represent.

So, with my new understanding and renewed love for design, I’ve put together a program that combines getting super clear on what your biz is all about, the experience you want to create for your clients AND a kick-ass web suite to match.

Introducing Jumpstart!  (Check it out!)