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120 tips for being a successful graphic designer

by: Neil Potter on

The Pocketbook is crammed with tips and inspiration - and it's free.

Cristian Eres, a graphic designer and illustrator from Valencia, Spain, has published an illustrated book on Behance aimed at graphic designers called 'The Pocketbook'. The book was created in collaboration with Spanish illustrators CranioDsgn and Grace García Salcedo, using Adobe Creative Cloud apps Photoshop and Illustrator.

The Pocketbook has a creative commons license and while it's targeted at graphic designers and fellow illustrators, Eres hopes it will be of interest to all types of designers.

You'll find The Pocketbook on Behance.

Marketing Matchmaker

by: Neil Potter on

How do you choose between online and offline marketing activities when working out your marketing plan? The answer is simple: A combination of both will work better than one by itself.

Online and offline marketing activities both have their own individual benefits, but communicating with your customers in more than one way is the best option for getting the most return on your marketing investment.

Like all the best couples; ‘Wills & Kate’, ‘Brangelina’, ‘Kimye’, your marketing activities can have more impact when combined with a complementary partner.

Introducing the ‘Marketing Matchmaker’. A simple guide to help you determine which activities go hand in hand. This month, we have three online contenders all looking for their offline marketing match.

Eight deadly sins of digital marketing

by: Neil Potter on

1. Jumping on the latest fad just because it's more exciting than the other stuff.

This happens all the time. There will always be significant pressure from your peers and marketing publications to be the first on the new band wagon, to be more innovative, to push the envelope. It's your job to steer your colleagues to the right technology for your business. Don't waste money on things that look shiny but fail to deliver tangible business benefit - current and future employers will thank you. That's not to say you can't be adventurous, just make an informed decision.

2. Thinking digital is the cure for all your problems.

A technology solution isn't always the right solution. Think about people, process and any other P which springs to mind. Other options may be cheaper and more effective than turning straight to tech.

3. Underestimating the complexity of significant digital projects.

Everyone has a website, how hard can it be?! If you hear anyone say this, run while you have the chance. Building a decent business website from scratch, or performing a major update will be really tough, so don't expect otherwise. Ensuring senior management understand the need to take your project seriously and fund it adequately will be a major step in the right direction.

4. Not building measurement into everything you do.

One of the best things about digital is the ability to quickly learn what works for you, but you can only do this if you take measurement seriously. Budget for metrics and reporting with every campaign or you'll struggle to demonstrate your value.

5. Assuming things will take off naturally.

You see so many innovative ideas sit quietly gathering dust. Ensure your app, gizmo, video, widget, game is properly integrated into your communications strategy, otherwise nobody will find it and it won't get used. Word of mouth will only take you so far.

6. Relying on agencies or other third parties for all technical expertise.

They'll lead you up the garden path. Having a relationship based on trust is a beautiful thing, but you would be naive to believe your  agency has only your best interests at heart. Ensure your internal team have a decent grounding in the fundamental disciplines of digital, not just the snazzy front end bits. If not, you'll be convinced to invest in things you don't really need.

7. Creating social entities without long term commitment.

Social means people, and people, not technology are the bedrock of every social strategy. There's nothing worse than looking at a business Facebook page to find it hasn't been updated for months, or asking a question which is left unanswered. Once you move into social media, there's no going back, so ensure you have budgets and people in place to maintain the online conversation.

8. Prioritising data capture over conversion.

Everyone has targets to make, but prioritising a potential customer in a database over a conversion to an actual customer right now is a major sin. Create short forms, not long ones - you always can fill in the blanks later. Have a good chat to your database marketing team and ensure they have their heart in the right place.

Bonus sin - using animated page turning online brochures.

Don't do it, ever! There is no circumstance where this is ok. Put these in the bin next to music on websites. They're not premium, your customers won't find them amusing, they're not accessible, no good for printing or SEO, and difficult to translate. They rarely can be used without third party software or an internet connection. Don't pretend the web is another medium, it's pretty good as one already.

10 ways your SME can get the most out of social media

by: Neil Potter on

Are you getting the results you want?
1. Create an editorial calendar. Make a plan of events to write about. Could you relate your SME to Euro 2016 or the Olympics to create extra buzz?
2. Try the 80/20 principle. Twitter says 80% of company posts should drive interaction like retweeting and shares. Only 20% of output should directly promote.

3. Use eye-catching images. According to Stone Temple, images can increase the number of retweets you get fourfold.

4. Choose the best times. Peak time to tweet is 12-1pm worldwide. Avoid, as your message will get bumped from feeds quicker.

5. Have a designated social media expert. Ensures a consistent tone of voice. Putting someone in charge of your online brand persona needs careful consideration.
6. Hold Q&As with followers. Have some answers prepared in advance and use a specific Q&A hashtag.

7. Test what’s working. Software like Google Analytics shows how text, images or links affect traffic.

8. Geo-locate new customers. Social networks enable you to physically locate existing and potential new customers.

9. Launch a competition. Buffer says 35% of people ‘like’ Facebook pages just to enter competitions.

10. Tell a story. A series of messages leading up to a big event is great drama – creating a beginning, middle and end to a campaign.

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The 10 commandments of user interface design

by: Neil Potter on

This infographic lays out the rules for getting your site's user interface just right.

This is one of the best infographics we've seen covering user interface, or UI design. The creators of the 10 commandments of typography, Designmantic.com, have come up with this go-to graphic to help you get your website interface just so.