Monday, December 22
Tuesday, December 16
- I am a self proclaimed professional Annie's Mac & Cheese chef. That purple box contains the fixings for delicious Mac n' Cheese goodness. However, you still have to add the butter and milk. I have perfected a balance of butter and milk to a tee. Come on over, I'll make you some, you'll see.
- My biggest fear is public speaking. Enough said!
- If I wasn't a graphic designer I would be a fitness trainer or a nutritionist. I am fascinated by the capabilities of the human body both mentally and physically when it comes to the power of exercise and eating right. I love to work out and cook healthy meals.
- I share the same wedding anniversary date as my Grandparents. July 5th :)
- I hate doing laundry (ask my husband), but I actually enjoy cleaning the house on a Saturday or Sunday morning. It makes me feel accomplished, organized, and fresh.
- I love Bill O'Reilly and I am a reality TV junkie. You name it, I watch it: everything from Top Chef to The Girls Next Door, to the Hills, to Jon and Kate Plus 8… I love it all!
- I can't resist a good deal at T.J. Maxx or Homegoods. I have to make a weekly trip otherwise I go into withdrawl.
@colorburned - a great resource that I discovered via Twitter who lives in the same town that I grew up in
@Vital_Design - a NH based Agency that provides Web Design, Graphic Design, and Marketing (and a fellow Twitter buddy)
@iamkhayyam - an enthusiastic Designer, Wordsmith, Standup Comic, Radio Guy, Photographer, etc., who is always willing to help with Retweets and send links :)
@imjustcreative - one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter because he has great ideas and he is always getting the design community involved in his blog
@SpinWhiz - one of my most recent Twitter buddies, who does Brand Management for a media company
Monday, December 15
For all of you clients and designers, here is a true (and hilariously ironic) account about How to Be a (Really) Good Client. This link that was shared by DesignEnabler on Twitter. It is from a designers POV on how to be a good client. Designers across the board, (including myself) wish that there was a more modest way of sharing this list with clients or including it in proposals, in the meantime we will continue to pray for the "Perfect Client".
Sunday, December 14
Kevin Skarritt, Chief Nut of Acorn Creative, will be featured on the Seacoast Business Connection radio show on Portsmouth Community Radio, WSCA 106.1 FM, from 12-1 pm on Monday, December 15, 2008.
This session, produced by the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, will be on the topic of Social Media and is sure to be a lively exchange.
We hope you will be able to tune in and listen!
Saturday, December 13
This week I was featured as this week's nice person on Graham Smith's, We Are Just Creative web site, which is an Audio, Visual & Social Media Community Creative Magazine.
Graham gave his followers the opportunity to be featured on the home page of his site. Graham said, "I thought how cool it would be to series a number of these black and white portrait photos for anyone who wants to submit them, just like a gallery."
Here was the criteria:
- Submit images with the following dimensions: 460px wide by 147px deep, include a short bio, and send them to Graham.
- There is no deadline. Just a cool thing to do.
Visit Graham's other sites: I'm Just Creative, SoulTweet, and I'm Just Graham.
Friday, December 12
I Tweet a lot on Twitter – it is my latest guilty pleasure – but I can honestly say that I don't really feel that guilty about it. Here's why:
- I utilize Twitter as a professional tool to further my career as a designer.
- I am making connections with designers, creative people, business people, etc. that I may not have connected with otherwise.
- I try to help other designers by answering their burning questions; I contribute to their surveys and blogs when invited to participate; I engage in meaningful conversations with other designers; I share cool links when I find them; I retweet posts as often as I can when I find good content, etc, etc, etc – all of which helps to validate me as a professional in my industry.
- I get the inside scoop on the latest design software and updates and gadgets and tricks and tips and everything!
- I try and mix my tweets up with design related posts, business, social media, tip, and a few day-to-day personal touches to keep people interested and coming back for more.
- I feel more confident as designer because people have approached me on Twitter and shared my ideas and re-tweeted me and shared my posts with their followers, which lets me know that I am respected member of the design community.
- Plus so many other benefits, that it is just too much to list in one post!
Thursday, December 11
Recently, I've decided to embrace my geographic location because, well… why not? So, my geographic location is not a big city, but I don't have to live in the city to be well connected. That's what social media is for (i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc).
I happen to live in a beautiful part of the United States – Concord, NH to be exact – which has a lot of great qualities: i.e. hiking, skiing, fishing right in my backyard (well, not right in my backyard, but close); Concord was nominated by Forbes as one of the top 10 recession proof cities (certainly a bonus during these tough times); it is a day trip away from Boston and Burlington, VT (two of my favorite places); it is home of the Barley House (best burgers, I swear by the Dublin Burger); it is the state capital; and I have discovered through social networking that there a lot of great powerhouse design agencies and individuals that represent NH.
So I am doing away with my "small-town" thoughts, and moving on to, er, Big Town. I encourage designers to share any similar experiences :) All comments are welcome!
Wednesday, December 10
Today, I was nominated on Twitter for a Shorty Award, in the design category, by my lovely Twitter friends at Vital Design in Portsmouth, NH. The Shorty Awards honors the world's top Twitterers for producing "short" content (140 characters or less).
Monday, December 1
Some of the questions I asked were:
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...
I received a lot of great replies (thank you everyone who responded ;) I hope to do more posts like this in the future.
Here are the replies below:
If a client doesn't favor any of the designs presented, I will discuss with the client what he/she is looking for, if there is anything on the provided comps that DOES work, etc. to try to determine next steps moving forward.
I will then do some new PDFs and repeat as necessary. If I'm doing my job right, one more round should get us headed in the right direction.
I use Skitch (wonderful :D). It's electronic, yea, because my clients are far away.
Feedback is given either through email, IM or Skype discussion. You're guessing correctly when you say I talk to clients online. Even so, I kindly insist in a first personal meeting to approach a solution.
I believe it's most important to let the client know of our potencial as designers and suggest good tips on usability and accessibility like certain elements' positioning, etc.
If a client asks something too generic that allows our creativity to play full out and after that he just says "Meh...no.", I always say to myself they oughtta know better :P That's totally different than correcting certain aspects of a design.
One last thing: designers are selfish and egocentric by nature. They are good attributes, use 'em in your favor. However, the very last word is the client's.
For OnWired, we typically submit our comps via Basecamp, so electronically is the correct answer for us. As all clients are unique, the follow up revisions may be hammered out in person, over the phone, or via Basecamp.
JPG's usually suffice for web design comps. Sometimes a GIF, PNG, or PDF for print materials.
Once the initial design is approved, we move forward with any secondary pages and so forth. By that time, most of the critical design elements are accounted for and the road becomes a bit smoother.
My print design work is (surprisingly?) a very electronic process. Of course, some clinets like face time more than others, but via email or through my print brokers Basecamp account, most every proof is sent as a pdf. It's actually been quite a while since I showed a dummied comp in person.
Even if a printed piece will have certain folds, I'll often make an illustration of sorts by working the pdf in Photoshop. If specific spot colors or finishes are involved, then presenting samples in person is required.
I am of two minds regarding feedback. Face to face is great, and vital for my initial meetings, but when a client responds, I *love* the "paper trail." Especially when client proxies are involved, or when additional charges or last minute problems are involved!
I have a templates directory setup on my server. I usually like to hash out a few different layouts in HTML and CSS (I know, it's probably more work than it's worth).
I like doing things this way because it lets the client actually use the layout, not just look at it.
We upload jpgs and upload them to a client folder we create on our server and send the link to the client asking them to review.
Depending on the client, we either speak with them on the phone or we discuss it over email. I am becoming extremely green minded these days, and if we don't have to meet in person (using gas, car emissions etc), then we try not to unless the client really feels they need to. While it is important to get to know a client, and allow them to get to know you and your company through face-to-face meetings..but after one meeting during the sales process, I think it is enough for most clients.
Phone call or emails
I try to figure out what aspects they don't like, what they do like etc. It can be really difficult to get this out of some clients and that is why designers sometimes struggle to hit the nail on the head for the client...the one's that are unable to communicate their thoughts clearly are often the ones that also have a specific design in mind...but don't know how to describe it until you actually get it and they see it!
If they have changes, we send an email back to them outlining all of the changes we understand they are requesting. This confirms with them that we are on the same page. Then we work on the changes, and submit to them again for review.
Once the design is done, if it is a website project, we begin the html/css, or if it is a logo design or print design project, we invoice final payment and get working on the preparing the final production files that the client will receive once final payment is received.
Hope that info helps somehow! Regarding the topic of presenting design visuals for websites, I recently discussed a new way I am doing this (with some clients) and it is working out to be a huge time saver.
I normally present design proofs via PDF or JPG on a sheet of paper with my watermark and company logo/info on the bottom of the page. I also communicate with clients via email, phone or Skype, since the majority of my clients live in other states. If the client is in the same town as me, I will meet them and discuss comps and revisions face to face.
If my client doesn't like the first round of designs, then I create them a second round for no charge. I normally include 3-4 revisions within the project price.
I can normally nail down a design within 2 revisions..but there are clients out there who like to get a million revisions out of you. That's where the 3-4 revision limit is useful. Once they go over that 4th revision they have to pay per hour. Comes in handy.
Finally, once they pick a final design, I either choose the printer(online or local) and I send the final files to print. Sometimes the client will request that I just give them the files so that they can use their own printers. Depends on the client.