Saturday, November 22

Please Critique Me

I work for a small graphic design agency in the Lakes Region of NH and I also do freelance work on the side as time allows. I look to my co-workers for their thoughts on my designs, but sometimes that just isn't enough. Without the formal training and because each of my co-workers are so busy, it is difficult for them to give me practical feedback. For me, it is imperative to have my designs critiqued, so that I can continue to provide the highest quality work for my clients. Soooo, where do I turn? A week ago, I wouldn't have a good answer for you, but…

…that all changed this week when Please Critique Me was revealed to help creative people get the feedback that they need from experts in the design industry. The brilliant people of OnWired have recruited 8 of the top design professionals to start a place for people in need of design feedback to congregate. Please Critique Me is different because this isn't just some willy-nilly site where anyone and everyone is giving you their opinion. You are getting feedback from a group of hand-picked designers who are experts in the field and have a sophisticated eye for excellent designs.

I know that I will be utilizing the thoughtful, yet stern feedback of my peers on this web site to evaluate my work, especially for my new personal web site that will be coming soon. Make sure you also follow them (and me) on Twitter.

Thursday, November 20

Answering Difficult Client Questions

Designing for clients is fun and challenging, but one of the downsides of designing [for me] is responding to tricky comments and questions from client feedback on the designs that I have created for them.  I want to be honest with clients – I don't want to devalue my services and my knowledge by giving into poor design choices. On the flip side, I have to be careful in how I deliver my response, so as not to offend a client.

Eric Karjaluoto from wrote an article on just that and it's worth reading here – "How to disarm 10 difficult client observations / requests".  His approach is helpful because as a designer you remain in control of the design direction, yet the client should be happy that you are looking out for their best interests.

Tuesday, November 18

Do's and Don'ts of Twitter

Sara Evans of was recently published on with 10 tips on How to: Build Community on Twitter. Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media networks out there right now (connect with me). No surprise - for every tip on how to build your community, there are tips on How NOT To: Build your Community on Twitter.

Attention Designers

I am inviting designers and other creatives to share your most effective ways of presenting designs to clients.

Some things to consider sharing:
- How do you present proofs? On boards or electronically via PDF or JPG?
- Do you meet with the client in person, via email or teleconference to discuss designs?
- How do you retrieve feedback from the client? (through discussion, questionnaire, rating system, etc.)
- How you respond when the client does not favor any of the designs presented?
- What is the next step after you have completed a first draft review with your client?
- Any other relevant information...Etc, Etc, Etc...

Submit your feedback by November 30th and I will post your replies on December 1st. Be sure to include your name, company, web site url, and your email address.

Blogging Webinar - 3-Part Series

A little shameless self-promotion never hurt anyone, right?! So, I just want to let everyone know about a FREE 3-part Blogging Webinar that my employer, Acorn Creative, is having. The first one starts tomorrow. Kevin Skarritt, "blogging guru", will discuss the importance of blogging, and how it is the single greatest method for delivering additional traffic to your website and generating additional revenue.

The 3 sessions offer:
November 19th
Learn the importance of blogging and the basic steps to start getting your business message out to the world.

December 3rd
Discover how to impact your business by utilizing blogging as part of your marketing mix. Review basic blogging strategies that will dramatically improve your visibility, increase inbound links and enhance reader engagement.

December 10th
Explore the more complex aspects of blogging and how to utilize this opportunity to promote your business for greater success.

Sign up at Acorn Creative.

Friday, November 14

Logo Featured on

Recently, I submitted one of my favorite logos that I designed for a client at Acorn Creative, to a blog that I follow regularly, The Design Cubicle. Brian Hoff, graphic and web designer and author of The Design Cubicle, asked fellow designers to submit their favorite designed logos and a brief description to be featured on his blog. Granted I submitted my own design – is still such an amazing feeling to see my own work featured among so many other brilliant designs. Check it out when you have a minute - it is the logo for PaladinID.

Friday, November 7

Hello, my name is Katie, and I am…Connected!

Last week I attended a LinkedIn Event for NH High Tech Council, which was co-hosted by Lani Voivod of Epiphanies Inc. and my boss, Kevin Skarritt, who is owner of Acorn Creative.

While working for Acorn Creative I have been submerged in the new frontiers of social media. I personally have an active accounts with LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Ma.gnolia, etc. Okay, so let's say you have accounts with all of these networks, too… You are probably asking yourself…"What do I do now?!" The answer is: CONNECT!

Social media networks, like LinkedIn, are all about connecting with people, and building professional relationships. BUT it doesn't happen overnight – it takes time, patience, and a well-thought out profile. Here are some of the key talking points from last weeks's event that might help you become better connected:

1. Etiquette is first and foremost. Online Etiquette is probably one of the most important. Remember, LinkedIn is a place for professional business people to connect – this is not Facebook or Myspace. Think about this analogy used in the presentation, you should treat LinkedIn like it was a "business cocktail party". You wouldn't meet someone at a cocktail party and instantly hard sell them on your new services. You would find common ground that you could both share stories and ideas about. In fact you shouldn't sell to people at all on LinkedIn, which leads me to the next talking point.

2. LinkedIn is not a place for you to start selling. If you try to sell your products or services, you will very likely get "red flagged". People may think it you are spamming them if you send messages to them selling your services on LinkedIn and then you can get red-flagged – the kiss of death. Three red flags and your account is terminated. Do not sell! End of story.

3. Connect, Connect, Connect! Build relationships! In turn, you will build your report and credibility in your industry, which will create more leads and visibility on the web.

4. How do you start the daunting task of creating your profile? Mirror your resume when you start to create your profile. There are several benefits to do this. First, it will help your sanity because it can be overwhelming. Second, if you use your resume as guidelines, you can expand on that as you build your profile. Third, by including past companies, education, activities, etc. you will increase your connectability. In turn, you will be increasing the odds that more people will see your profile.

5. Include links and key words in your profile. This will increase your search engine results. Be sure to include links in your "Description" to your web site, blog, company, etc.

6. LinkedIn allows you to post or answer questions from other members. So, take 5 or 10 minutes to answer a question post related to your industry. This will lead to more visibility and you will appear to be an expert in your field (even though you know you already are an expert ;)

There are so many benefits to using LinkedIn to empower yourself and your business. Hopefully, these ideas will give you a leg up on how to utilize this powerful tool.