You know you’re a Designer when you find yourself photographing a wall hanging that you see in a public bathroom because it has cool colors that you could use in a design sometime.

I only got 2 strange looks from women passing by me.  

Seriously though… That’s a nice earthy color palette, right?

:)

You know you’re a Designer when you find yourself photographing a wall hanging that you see in a public bathroom because it has cool colors that you could use in a design sometime.

I only got 2 strange looks from women passing by me.

Seriously though… That’s a nice earthy color palette, right?

:)

You ARE Creative. Stop Saying You Aren’t.

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Clients,

Please stop adding “I’m not creative so what do I know” to your feedback, comments, and questions when you work with a Designer on a design project.

Because you are, absolutely, creative. 

Yes.

You are.

At some point, usually around age 9 or 10, our brains start comparing ourselves to others, and we get sorted, by us or by our teachers, into “creative” and “not-creative”. 

That, my friends, is a quantifiable metric f&ckload of horsesh&t.

I could go on for 10 paragraphs explaining why. But you can use Google. So take a few minutes to look up “creativity”. It’s not what you think.

And please—Give me your thoughts, not your apologies. The first is absolutely welcome. The second is completely unnecessary.

Tags: creativity

Hulu Gets Smarter About Their “Choose Your Experience” Screen
For a long time Hulu has asked us to choose an Ad Experience — And by that they actually meant “choose which ad campaign you want to see from one single company”.
That’s fine, but honestly, my typical response to that question as a Hulu viewer has always been: ”Who cares?” Very few companies have ad campaigns that are so radically different that I’d actually want to choose (GEICO you brilliant advertisers I’m looking at you).
Today I saw the above screen, asking a bolder, and ultimately more useful, “choose your ad experience”. 
Because now they’re asking me to choose between companies, and not campaigns.
I’m sure they had to redo their advertising model to do this, but I think ultimately this is going to give them some awesome demographics about the interests of a particular show’s audience. 
Ultimately, that’s good for all of us who watch online.  Because it will mean that the commercials we see will be relevant to our interests. And that makes online life less annoying for us all.

Hulu Gets Smarter About Their “Choose Your Experience” Screen

For a long time Hulu has asked us to choose an Ad Experience — And by that they actually meant “choose which ad campaign you want to see from one single company”.

That’s fine, but honestly, my typical response to that question as a Hulu viewer has always been: ”Who cares?” Very few companies have ad campaigns that are so radically different that I’d actually want to choose (GEICO you brilliant advertisers I’m looking at you).

Today I saw the above screen, asking a bolder, and ultimately more useful, “choose your ad experience”. 

Because now they’re asking me to choose between companies, and not campaigns.

I’m sure they had to redo their advertising model to do this, but I think ultimately this is going to give them some awesome demographics about the interests of a particular show’s audience. 

Ultimately, that’s good for all of us who watch online.  Because it will mean that the commercials we see will be relevant to our interests. And that makes online life less annoying for us all.

Turning your product pink is NOT “Marketing to Women”.
I’m consistently dumbfounded by pink-ified products out there, from hiking boots to computers. This is not to say that if you’re targeting a certain segment of female shoppers, that pink is a mistake. If your RESEARCH supports it, then by all means, pink away.  But don’t do it as a lazy marketing step that you think will appeal to “all women”. 
At best you’re going to get only a small segment of the 50.8% of people out there who control 80% of all purchases.
At worst you’re going to piss all of them off.  
Please do your research to see what your female customers actually want.
Don’t just turn it pink and expect them to flock to the cash register for it.

Turning your product pink is NOT “Marketing to Women”.

I’m consistently dumbfounded by pink-ified products out there, from hiking boots to computers. This is not to say that if you’re targeting a certain segment of female shoppers, that pink is a mistake. If your RESEARCH supports it, then by all means, pink away.  But don’t do it as a lazy marketing step that you think will appeal to “all women”. 

At best you’re going to get only a small segment of the 50.8% of people out there who control 80% of all purchases.

At worst you’re going to piss all of them off.  

Please do your research to see what your female customers actually want.

Don’t just turn it pink and expect them to flock to the cash register for it.

Retro typography at the Fender Guitar factory museum.

Retro typography at the Fender Guitar factory museum.

Results of Creative Cross Training - aka Fun with Photoshop

What happens when you combine a Freelance Web Designer, some free time between projects, a love of Photoshop, and an enthusiasm about various entertainment properties?

Why these, of course.

image

Because these photoshop mashups that I created are so consistently well visited on my website as well as here on Tumblr, I’m consolidating them into one page, called Creative Cross Training at http://newleafinteractive.tumblr.com/creative-cross-training 

It’s linked at the top of my website.  Links to the original Tumblr posts of these images, as well as High Resolution versions, are available on the page as well.

Never Doubt the Power of an Enthusiastic, Engaged Audience
Here’s the reaction on Twitter of news released on that social media outlet of the filming of the new series of the BBC Television Series Sherlock.  Which will begin to happen in 2015.
They call this type of growth “Hockey Stick Growth”, because of the shape represented in the graph.  And it’s evidence of an engaged audience who is waiting and listening for information.
That’s what you want if you’re a creative professional. An audience with whom you have an ongoing, two-way relationship.  So give your audience love and attention, even when you’re not in PR mode.  You’ll find that when you’re ready to announce a new project, you’ll have a built-in publicity service and marketing arm waiting to help you.

Never Doubt the Power of an Enthusiastic, Engaged Audience

Here’s the reaction on Twitter of news released on that social media outlet of the filming of the new series of the BBC Television Series Sherlock.  Which will begin to happen in 2015.

They call this type of growth “Hockey Stick Growth”, because of the shape represented in the graph.  And it’s evidence of an engaged audience who is waiting and listening for information.

That’s what you want if you’re a creative professional. An audience with whom you have an ongoing, two-way relationship.  So give your audience love and attention, even when you’re not in PR mode.  You’ll find that when you’re ready to announce a new project, you’ll have a built-in publicity service and marketing arm waiting to help you.

Within this post of 15 Outrageous Social Media Statistics for 2014, I saw one that claimed that people use Pinterest and Tumblr 4 times longer than Twitter. 
While I’m not certain of the demographics, which are very important (men? women? 15 to 18? 20 to 25? American? Ethnic Group?) the statistic itself is surprising, because so many business put so much emphasis on Twitter.
It’s a good reminder, no matter how accurate it is, to speak where your audience is listening.
Long gone are the days (one hopes) where a company thought it could “drive an audience” to a location, a medium, a time, or a form of expression. It’s become abundantly clear over the years that this way of thinking is the cart driving the horse.  Believe me, your audience is, and forevermore shall be, the horse to your business’ cart.  You need to follow where it goes.  No matter where it goes.
So be sure to check your analytics. Find out where people are coming from when they visit your website and business. Learn where people who share their demographics and interests spend their time online.  Then go there.  Whether it’s Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Etsy, Instagram, or any of the other hundreds of places that people congregate en masse online.
Link to article with the statistics mentioned above:
http://stellarbluetechnologies.com/2014/06/15-outrageous-social-media-statistics-for-2014/

Within this post of 15 Outrageous Social Media Statistics for 2014, I saw one that claimed that people use Pinterest and Tumblr 4 times longer than Twitter

While I’m not certain of the demographics, which are very important (men? women? 15 to 18? 20 to 25? American? Ethnic Group?) the statistic itself is surprising, because so many business put so much emphasis on Twitter.

It’s a good reminder, no matter how accurate it is, to speak where your audience is listening.

Long gone are the days (one hopes) where a company thought it could “drive an audience” to a location, a medium, a time, or a form of expression. It’s become abundantly clear over the years that this way of thinking is the cart driving the horse.  Believe me, your audience is, and forevermore shall be, the horse to your business’ cart.  You need to follow where it goes.  No matter where it goes.

So be sure to check your analytics. Find out where people are coming from when they visit your website and business. Learn where people who share their demographics and interests spend their time online.  Then go there.  Whether it’s Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Etsy, Instagram, or any of the other hundreds of places that people congregate en masse online.

Link to article with the statistics mentioned above:

http://stellarbluetechnologies.com/2014/06/15-outrageous-social-media-statistics-for-2014/

I love watching Entertainment Industry Tech Companies disrupt Standard Film Distribution

image

I recently became aware of this company — www.WeAreColony.com — a pay-Video-on-Demand provider. 

After getting an invitation to their service and looking around, it’s pretty clear that they understand the whole New Entertainment Marketing Thing which is gaining momentum among Creative Professionals and hopefully set to disrupt the existing film distribution model.

Along with providing quality content, We Are Colony does the following Entertainment Marketing things right:

  • build a community for the film and the film’s production house by encouraging email signup. This is hopefully the prelude to a real, long-term, customer relationship strategy.
  • heavily encourage social media sharing on each individual piece of content. Also, and very importantly, they watermark their content, so that it can be traced back to its source when it is inevitably loosed into the wilds of the internet
  • offer exclusive content with the purchase of the VOD property being provided to give viewers a unique value-added experience. You don’t get that on iTunes or Amazon for the cost of admission.
  • have a website that responds to desktop/tablet/mobile devices. I recently looked at most of the major film studio websites out there. This is surprisingly not the case on almost all of them. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Film Industry - are you even looking at your Analytics? Good heavens. Get those sites working on tablets and mobile!
  • allow simple online payment through PayPal (with hopefully a more branded and seamless ecommerce checkout coming soon)

And now, because I’m a web designer and internet marketer and can’t help myself…

Here’s a few suggestionsfor the folks at We Are Colony about how they can make their services even more awesome for small film production houses.

  • Consider offering “movie website” solutions for the films you offer. Many smaller film production companies don’t have the budget, or the marketing staff, to create their own.  Those movie-specific sites will help Search Engine Optimization, and links on the movie websites to your site will help drive organic internet traffic.
  • Consider offering “film studio” website solutions for the film production companies as well. Same reasons as above.
  • Integrate Email Collection and Marketing Campaigns into these as well. Building community is excellent. Communicating with them not only via Social Media but also email is essential.  Even with young audiences, trigger emails and opt-in emails get a huge response.

All in all, this is very exciting stuff, not just in terms of Marketing, but in terms of the changing Entertainment industry. 

Hopefully companies like We Are Colony will help return control of creative properties - and revenue for them - back to the Creative Professionals who actually create them and who deserve it most.

Now wouldn’t that be a novel idea.

For more information on We Are Colony, visit:  http://www.wearecolony.com

- L Mitchell  www.newleafinteractive.com

Red On Black Text = Always a Bad Design Decision
I’m astonished that Netflix chose the red-on-black combination for their app log-in screen.  They must have an enormous male audience, and even the most conservative statistics say that 20% of all men are color blind.
Red-on-black color blindness is one of the most common forms of this genetic trait, and it renders things such as, oh I don’t know, the Netflix logo on the black background, completely invisible. 
Low contrast text such as the very necessary “forgot your password” text is also nearly impossible to see, not just for red/black color blindness but for other forms as well.
Using their white reversed out logo would have been a better decision in this case.  If not that, then using a lighter background would have worked. 
I do enjoy their new branding, but they do need to be more careful of situations such as these.
If they care about 20% of their male audience anyway.

Red On Black Text = Always a Bad Design Decision

I’m astonished that Netflix chose the red-on-black combination for their app log-in screen.  They must have an enormous male audience, and even the most conservative statistics say that 20% of all men are color blind.

Red-on-black color blindness is one of the most common forms of this genetic trait, and it renders things such as, oh I don’t know, the Netflix logo on the black background, completely invisible. 

Low contrast text such as the very necessary “forgot your password” text is also nearly impossible to see, not just for red/black color blindness but for other forms as well.

Using their white reversed out logo would have been a better decision in this case.  If not that, then using a lighter background would have worked. 

I do enjoy their new branding, but they do need to be more careful of situations such as these.

If they care about 20% of their male audience anyway.

10 Reasons Why Designers Should Work For An Agency Before Freelancing

image

1. On your own, you’ll have trouble building a high-end design portfolio. 
Working with Joe’s Corner Sandwich Shop is not as impressive as working with Microsoft.  With an agency, you’ll be able to work on some of the world’s largest brands.

2. Agency work gives you critical experience in multiple industries. 
Pharmaceuticals, Entertainment, ecommerce… all these have their own needs. They’ll expect you to know them in order to work with them.

3. Agencies want their freelancers to understand the agency process.
You’ll need to know what Wireframes are and why they’re important, why it’s important to clean up your Photoshop files for Development, and why tracking your hours to 15 minute increments is critical to a project’s success. The easier you are to work with, the more likely it is that you’ll get freelance work from the Big Guys.

4. You’ll work with amazingly creative people who will challenge you and make you grow.
I have had the pleasure of working with immensely talented and diverse people, including Designers, User Experience Experts, Programmers, Salespeople, and even the amazing support staff. I would be less of a designer without all the mentoring I’ve received. I try to pass that on when I can.

5. You may discover you want to do something different.
I know lots of people who started as HTML Developers and went into Project Management, or started in I.T. and went into Design, or started in Design and went into User Experience. Working with other disciplines means that not only will you understand them, you also might want to become them. 

6. You’ll be able to learn from other people’s mistakes.
This is especially helpful if you ever want to not only be a freelancer but also start your own small agency. Watching and learning from the agency’s mistakes where you work is what I call Free Business Education.  It’s all the information without any of the personal consequences.

7. You’ll be able to save up 6 months of income in preparation for going Freelance. 
Because yes. That’s what you need.  Do not jump from a job into the freelance life without savings! Even if you have That Big Project lined up.  Even if you have a contract signed.  Timelines shift. Projects disappear. Businesses declare bankruptcy.  Have money saved up. Seriously.

8. While you’re learning your trade and the industry, you’ll be able to get paid vacations
Other wonderful things will include 401K benefits and paid sick days. You’ll miss these as a freelancer. So enjoy them when you have them.

9 You’ll work with amazingly creative people. 
Did I mention this already?  No, seriously, it deserves to be mentioned twice.

10. You’ll learn more than you can imagine. 
Working with other designers, other programmers, other front-end developers — whatever your field — is so very educational, in a way that learning on your own cannot be.  And this, from someone who teaches herself foreign languages for fun.  Self-education is wonderful. But learning with a team of like-minded geeks and nerds… that just has no comparison.

To see proof of what I mean about getting experience with global brands, you can check out my portfolio of work at my professional website: www.newleafinteractive.com

The Updated New Leaf Interactive Website Is Born
I don’t know of any more stressful, thankless, or frustrating task than updating your own business website. Especially when you’re a Designer.  Because Being One’s Own Creative Director often leads to lots of “I could do this”.  As spending time doing that for hours. It’s very difficult to reign in those impulses, especially when you’re a perfectionist. Every agency that I’ve worked with has gone through the same stressful experience. Just ask any Designer about updating their own website and watch them cringe at the thought.
In this case I believe I succeeded in a happy union of speed, functionality, and design.  There’s certainly more I could have done from a design standpoint, but my goals with the redesign were:
- Make the design responsive to show that yes, I can design responsive. I’ve been doing responsive designs for years.  It was about time my own website reflected that.
- Let my Portfolio shine a bit more. Because honestly, that’s what establishes brand credibility.
- Give people more contact options.  I’m an extremely frequent Twitter user and to a lesser extent Tumblr. I wanted people to be able to find that content as well
- Ship the damn product already. It’s the old Apple philosophy.  A product in R&D is no product at all.  I’m pretty damn proud that I got this done in two weeks, including learning a new WordPress theme UI, installing a new DB on my server, and creating new graphics.
Link to New Leaf Interactive’s Website: http://www.newleafinteractive.com

The Updated New Leaf Interactive Website Is Born

I don’t know of any more stressful, thankless, or frustrating task than updating your own business website. Especially when you’re a Designer.  Because Being One’s Own Creative Director often leads to lots of “I could do this”.  As spending time doing that for hours. It’s very difficult to reign in those impulses, especially when you’re a perfectionist. Every agency that I’ve worked with has gone through the same stressful experience. Just ask any Designer about updating their own website and watch them cringe at the thought.

In this case I believe I succeeded in a happy union of speed, functionality, and design.  There’s certainly more I could have done from a design standpoint, but my goals with the redesign were:

- Make the design responsive to show that yes, I can design responsive. I’ve been doing responsive designs for years.  It was about time my own website reflected that.

- Let my Portfolio shine a bit more. Because honestly, that’s what establishes brand credibility.

- Give people more contact options.  I’m an extremely frequent Twitter user and to a lesser extent Tumblr. I wanted people to be able to find that content as well

- Ship the damn product already. It’s the old Apple philosophy.  A product in R&D is no product at all.  I’m pretty damn proud that I got this done in two weeks, including learning a new WordPress theme UI, installing a new DB on my server, and creating new graphics.

Link to New Leaf Interactive’s Website: http://www.newleafinteractive.com

unwrapping:

Vine Autoplays in Tumblr Desktop Dashboard:
I’m not sure what impresses me more: watching the first Vine from space or witnessing a Vine video autoplay in my Tumblr Desktop Dashboard. (My Tumblr mobile apps show “Video not compatible.”)

To add a Vine on Tumblr, create a video post and simply paste the Vine post URL into the top text box. For example, the URL to this milestone Vine is https://vine.co/v/MD1eEQEjM9u. As you are composing, the Vine will look like a video with play button. But when you publish, you’ll see the Vine autoplays on the Desktop Dashboard with volume muted. On my blog, the desktop browser immediately loops the Vine, also with volume muted. For Safari on iPhone and iPad, I have to tap the play button to start the Vine.

Hat tip to bluechoochoo.

You Are Indescribably Brave for Living a Creative Life.
Every day that you put yourself and your work out there — as a writer, a designer, an artist, a performer, or as any of the other myriad creative professions — is a day where you intentionally make yourself emotionally vulnerable to criticism, ridicule, and pain in order to express something in your heart.
You are amazing for being so brave. 
Never forget that — Especially when the jerks of the world (who likely do not have creative jobs, a good education, or any trace of intelligence) go out of their way to criticize your work.
To those asshats who typically post as Anonymous and use the word “suck” a lot, I say what Ms. Brene Brown says: 
Get in the Creative Arena with me, and then I’ll give a rat’s patootie about what you have to say.
Until then, please feel free to fuck off.

Link to the video of the talk that inspired this post: http://99u.com/videos/20052/brene-brown-stop-focusing-on-your-critics

You Are Indescribably Brave for Living a Creative Life.

Every day that you put yourself and your work out there — as a writer, a designer, an artist, a performer, or as any of the other myriad creative professions — is a day where you intentionally make yourself emotionally vulnerable to criticism, ridicule, and pain in order to express something in your heart.

You are amazing for being so brave.

Never forget that — Especially when the jerks of the world (who likely do not have creative jobs, a good education, or any trace of intelligence) go out of their way to criticize your work.

To those asshats who typically post as Anonymous and use the word “suck” a lot, I say what Ms. Brene Brown says: 

Get in the Creative Arena with me, and then I’ll give a rat’s patootie about what you have to say.

Until then, please feel free to fuck off.

Link to the video of the talk that inspired this post: http://99u.com/videos/20052/brene-brown-stop-focusing-on-your-critics

Design for Color Blindness 
If any part of your responsibilities as a Designer involve placing text in a layout, then you owe it to your audience to know the facts about color blindness.
Even if you have time to learn nothing else, commit these facts to memory:
1 out of every 5 men is color blind in some way. That’s 20 percent
Color blindness means that low-contrast text is nearly invisible
Avoid green on black, red on black, or the reverse
For more information, just google designing for color blindness.  There’s more results here than I’m able to mention in this small space.
I’m incidentally a huge fan of the Litmus Email Testing Service, and highly recommend trying it to test your emails as well as send them.  Their newsletters are always informative and helpful.  That’s why I spent the time giving them a bit of free Art Direction in the image I tweeted above.

Design for Color Blindness

If any part of your responsibilities as a Designer involve placing text in a layout, then you owe it to your audience to know the facts about color blindness.

Even if you have time to learn nothing else, commit these facts to memory:

  • 1 out of every 5 men is color blind in some way. That’s 20 percent
  • Color blindness means that low-contrast text is nearly invisible
  • Avoid green on black, red on black, or the reverse

For more information, just google designing for color blindness.  There’s more results here than I’m able to mention in this small space.

I’m incidentally a huge fan of the Litmus Email Testing Service, and highly recommend trying it to test your emails as well as send them.  Their newsletters are always informative and helpful.  That’s why I spent the time giving them a bit of free Art Direction in the image I tweeted above.