How to Be a Design Rebel in 2014

The year 2014 is going to be splendid for designers. The web is constantly evolving and what was hot favorite in 2013 may not be the same in 2014, as there are always new ideas and edgy techniques emerging. To get the attention of your audiences, you will have to impress them visually that will blow their socks-off. Here are few tips on how to become a Design Rebel in 2014

#1 The secret is, Flat and Minimalistic

Keeping your designs flat will certainly grab eyeballs. All you have to do is say NO to shadows, embossing and gradients. Flat design is all about matching that 2D screen to make the most out of the canvas. The best examples for this are Microsoft’s Windows8 and Apple’s iOS7. Flat designs make it look simple, clean, bold and attractive.

#2 Watch for Responsive Designs

We live in an era where most of us make use of different handheld devices having different screen resolutions. And that is why it has become important to make websites compatible, flexible and responsive to suit these devices. Responsive web design is going to be in vogue as that’s the best solution for a website to be viewed on any device.

#3 Parallax scrolling

Parallax scrolling will become one of the coolest component of a website. It can actually tell a story and make the content one of the most interactive part of the website. Parallax scrolling has made scrolling swifter than ever before. This type of scrolling will surely bring a lot of traffic to the website as it is small-screen adaptive too.

#4 Typography is the King

Mixing and matching different typefaces together is going to enhance the overall look of your website. This is also going to be a great marketing strategy in 2014. Though it is tricky, but if you know how to experiment with typography, your designs are definitely going to be loved and highlighted.

#5 Colors on Demand

The color scheme has undergone tectonic shift making web developers realign their designing strategies. In 2014 Neons and Pastels will be the colors in demand. Yes we are talking about those hot pinks, hot greens, dusky blues and reds. These colors when chosen and mixed properly will impart a soft, friendly, subtle and fresh look to your web design.

#6 Less is More

The trend will continue well into 2014 as this year will be all about minimalism. All you have to do is avoid those extra pages on the website. This not only will mean faster loading time but will also make your design look neat and clean. Websites with simple, minimalistic designs and less decoration will stand out among its competitors.

#7 Keep it Simple

Simplicity will be all around in 2014. Websites with great UX will be most favored. So keeping the design simple rather than making it complex is the whole idea of getting things done the right way. Try and make it that simple for your users so they can fetch information as fast as they can.

#8 Image Centric

Images are main element of a design. So choose attractive large sized images that are visually soothing and catchy. The key to success is creating high resolution images for retina displays. This is because these images will save a lot of extra loading time on the server and thus providing users with a lag free experience.

#9 ‘A’ for….

Yes we are talking about Apple. We do have to mention Apple. The launch of Apple’s iOS7 has set complete example of flat design overhaul. This new look with flat appearance, parallax effect, grid layout, use of bolder color schemes will definitely be permeating web design in a very huge way.

How to Create Infographics That’ll Knock People’s Sock Off – (Infographic)

A change is upon us. What this change is most visible in, is the way we communicate online. The entire face of communication is almost unrecognizable today. It seems that the way we communicate today – through Tweets, DMs, shares, pins, and likes has become part of our way of life. This change is not just relevant to words and platforms but also to visual communication. We have reached a stage where as marketers, we have to try and communicate with our target audience within a 6-second time frame, after which the marketing message is lost, as your target audiences’ attention has shifted to something else. That is why social visual platforms such as ‘Vine’ which communicates with 6-second videos captured on mobiles is so successful. That is why the creation and sharing of infographics have exploded in the last couple of years. These short attention spans require a communication that tells a story in as visual a format as possible.

Infographics are a visual representation of information, data, information, or knowledge. They are great ways to tell a story. Business owners have tons of information to share with their target audience and they should know how they can benefit from infographics. The information is provided to the user in a fun, visual and entertaining manner. The impact will be the same (if not more) but the medium is more attractive than say, a white paper or a case study.

Creating successful infographics

Infographics are formed out of a combination of images and text to create maximum impact. There are two basic tenets that lead to the success of an infographic:

• Great design
• Successful marketing and promotion

Designing an infographic that isn’t being promoted or marketed well is like creating the world’s greatest cheesecake, but never letting anyone taste it. Here are 7 elements to keep in mind while creating a successful infographic.

#1. Story

You need to tell stories about your audience, and not yourself. Find an area of interest that your target audience will find relevant and engaging. You can do this by paying attention to blog posts, keeping an eye on what gets shared the most and what kind of stuff seems to drives the most traffic.

#2. Style

Sure, style is a subjective thing and means different things to different people. But good designers just know from experience and from gut instinct, what works and what doesn’t. Clump your content into buckets so you can capture the most interesting stuff. Make sure its hierarchical and digestible. And remember, less is almost always more.

#3. Simplicity

Always, always keep it simple. Getting swayed by fancy typefaces, graphics and images is very easy. You have got to focus on avoiding clutter and confusion by creating flow and connection.

#4. Size

You don’t want your infographic taking a month of Sundays to download. This means that you have to optimize it by considering the number of pixels and also by the size of the file. You don’t want a lengthy infographic either. Keep it between 1,500 to 3,000 pixels in length.

#5. Statistics

Infographics are perfect for communicating statistics about numbers and growth. Make sure they are reliable, factual, helpful and current.

#6. Shareability

The ultimate aim of any infographic is to be shareable. It’s like that cheesecake we spoke about earlier. It won’t have any value unless you share it. In the same way, allow your infographic to be shared easily by providing embed codes. Don’t forget to let influencers and fans on social networks know your awesome new infographic too.

#7. Source

Always attribute your sources so that your audience knows where you got your facts and figures from. This builds credibility.


Four Best LinkedIn Features Your Business Can Benefit From – (Infographic)

LinkedIn isn’t the most amazing or interactive or even fun social network on the scene today but no one can deny what an amazing tool it is for businesses. If you successfully master it and make use of all its features, your business can benefit exponentially in the long run. The trick is to use all of LinkedIn’s little secrets and features so you can make full use of the popular social network. Here are some of LinkedIn features to be aware of.

1. Mentions

‘Mentions’ is LinkedIn’s latest feature which is as useful as they come. LinkedIn’s ‘Mention’ feature is much like Facebook ‘mention’ feature wherein members can now mention their companies and connections in their updates. You just have to type the name of the company or connection in a comment field or the status update box and proceed to select the name you want. That company or person will then be notified of the mention. While it might not sound like much of a big deal, it’s actually a pretty useful feature, as it allows you to start a conversation with someone easily. This new LinkedIn feature allows you to build a relationship with any of your connections.

2. LinkedIn Search

LinkedIn new Search algorithm now includes some extra features which are aimed at making the process more efficient. The “search” feature is really useful for professionals and their businesses. This new LinkedIn feature has taken search to a whole new level by allowing users to discover new companies and people to connect with that you can build relationships with and get more leads out. The new LinkedIn Search offers auto-complete suggestions for additional ideas when you are searching for someone, as well as suggested searches, which helps you discover more companies and connections. Say you enter a job title; you will also get example search queries related to that title of people, top results, and jobs. The algorithm is also more intuitive in that it will better understand your needs over time and offer you more significant results. You can also save searches and get automated alerts for new stuff in that search.

3. Company Pages

As a business owner, you should seriously consider setting up a LinkedIn Company Page. As we stand today, there are around 2.8 million Company Pages with HP being the first to cross the 1 million followers mark. Company pages are a great LinkedIn feature that allows you to get more engagement, reach more people and raise your brand awareness.

4. Get Introduced

This great LinkedIn feature lets you make the best new connections possible. ‘Get Introduced’ allows you to search your connections’ connections by keyword. If you come across someone you would like to connect to, you just need to have the initial connection introduce you two. It is a great way to make strategic connections with which your business can go a long way.


Decoding Pinterest’s Bold New Look

Research has revealed that Pinterest has grown to 48.7 million users since it began three years ago. Yet another study has revealed that 69 of the world’s top 100 brands now have Pinterest accounts. Moral of the story – get your business on Pinterest if you haven’t already. Since of late, there has been a flurry of updates that have left many business owners groping in the dark. If you also find yourself a bit confused about Pinterest’s new look and its rich pins, don’t be alarmed. Here is our attempt at decoding Pinterest’s new look.

Navigating Pinterest’s New Look

Pinterest’s new look has been in the testing phase for a while now. When Pinterest first launched its new look, it received a lot of flack from pinners who complained about the removal of some of their favorite features like Mentions and the Pinned By feature that let you see who had pinned that item. Lots of Pinners were feeling like Pinterest was giving them a raw deal by not allowing them to see the pinning chain and making it harder for them to connect with others. Pinterest realized its folly and quickly did a roundabout and reintroduced some of the most popular features. Pinterest’s new look is still being tweaked so some features don’t work as well as they should. While it is not compulsory for users to adopt the new look just yet, each time you log in, you will be prompted to upgrade.

Why The New Look?

Pinterest’s new look has been designed with the aim to encourage “discovery” through much bigger pins and a bolder, cleaner look. People may find the close-ups too intense now that the frames between images have been removed. It can make your eyes do funny things depending on which screen size you are using.

How To Use Pinterest Rich Pins

Pinterest’s rich pins are a newly launched feature that is poised to be especially great for e-commerce sites and online merchants. With rich pins, you can provide more information than you do with normal pins. There are 3 types of rich pins available: recipes, products, and movies.

According to Pinterest, rich pins provide dynamic data that encourages purchasing, thereby taking discovery and desire one step further. Pinners can now buy that skirt, rent the film or bake that cupcake recipe they saw because they can view real-time availability, product pricing, cooking time, ratings, ingredients, reviews, and location without having to click to find the source and run the risk of landing up on the wrong page, or worse still, finding out that the item isn’t available.

Why Rich Pins Are Awesome

So we have established that rich pins are the next big thing on Pinterest. Now as a business owner or a retailer, here is exactly how you can benefit from the awesomeness of rich pins:

• The process of pin-to-purchase is more streamlined. Now customers can view all the relevant information on Pinterest itself. This effortless process makes them more likely to click-to-buy.

• The potential of losing out on a sale due to stock unavailability or a broken link is vastly reduced.

• Rich pins allow customers to make informed decisions then and there. This not only sends targeted visitors to your website but also ensures that they are more inclined to buy.

• No more writing lengthy product descriptions for each pin or constantly having to update product details as rich pins pull real-time information directly from your site.

• You can convert pinned images to rich pins as long as the meta tag information has been added to the source page.

10 Creative Typefaces We Love

Typefaces are great ways to make a design project grab your target audience by the eyeballs. It takes a great deal to choose good fonts from the bad ones. A unique typeface will help you make an impact in a bold or subtle way, but an impact you can be sure it will make. There are tons to choose from, some radical, others classic and some just way out there. But we have our favourites. We’ve knocked it down to about 10, all of which are available to use through free download or purchase. Here’s our line-up of the top 10 creative typefaces we love.

1. HelvetiCandy

Who doesn’t love candy? And when there’s a fully functional font made entirely out of candy, we bet it’s hard to resist. Just looking at this font made us feel like Hansel and Gretel when they came upon the candy house in the forest. What’s even more amazing than the font itself is how you ‘pay’ to start using it – through a Tweet or a Facebook share.

2. Organic Font Set from Visual Freaks

It really doesn’t get more organic than this one. This creative typeface is representative of the varying stages of life – birth, death, and all the other stuff in between. Anything related to life can be displayed through this typeface, including words and meaningful phrases.

3. Mincemeat Font

Meat lovers can rejoice with this creative typeface that features, what else, but mincemeat! This typeface is crafted out of sculpted meat, shaped into letters and can be used in vector form to illustrate phrases and words.

4. GRIBA Typeface by Agung Maskund

GRIBA is an experimental typeface that is pretty unique. Why? Because it features letters with a funky ‘double line’ element. It comes with a variety of glyphs and is fully formatted for multiple languages.

5. DropType

DropType’s floral element makes it perfect for many colourful projects. This creative typeface has been handmade by Filiz Sahin and is free for commercial and personal use.

6. Motorpieces by Cloutier Fonts

Automotive buffs will totally relate to this typeface that is crafted out of car, truck, and other motor pieces. You can decorate and colour this handcrafted and detailed font for any auto-related needs.

7. Vampirevich by Intellecta Design

Ok this typeface is a little creepy, but who doesn’t love morbid stuff once in a while? Each letter features a unique set of designs and embellishments and is perfect for anything that needs a bit of horror.

8. iPhone Emitted Light Typeface

There seems to be something for everyone! If you can’t do without your iPhone, here’s a way you can take that obsession into your designs as well. Marcus Byrne who has a love for typography and we’re presuming, his iPhone, has created something pretty radical. This creative typeface has been made from the light made by his iPhone app icons. The characters were shot totally in the dark with different degrees of exposure times. It is a 3D funky and super-fun typeface that can be coloured and tinkered around with too. It is free for personal and commercial use.

9. Mr.Poster by Frisk Shop

Mr.Poster is a fun little venture by Frisk Shop, who has taken the trouble to handcraft every letter with unique elements, each different from the other. But the beauty is that it flows seamlessly to create the perfect piece of typography that is perfect for design.

10. Blu by LeoKoppelkam

This complex but creative typeface has a multi-layer design that allows you to include more than one color into the font. Not only is it easy to use, but it comes with a Plugin to help you use it without problems in InDesign.

10 Expressions of Designer Jargon And Why You Should Stop Using It

Let’s face it. Jargon is never a good thing. It makes a person come across as an annoying little know-it-all, like that kid in class who knew all the answers, and aced all the tests, and was the teacher’s pet. Bah! Sure, as a designer you definitely know a whole lot more than, say a client. But that doesn’t make us masters of the Universe. Jargon and all that literary jazz mislead clients, makes them feel inferior and makes you come across as untrustworthy. If that’s not how you want your clients to feel, then keep reading. Here are the 10 most unforgivable expression of designer jargon that’s doing the rounds out there:

1. Brand alignment

If you find yourself say things like, “our company will bring your visual corporate elements into brand alignment”, you may as well be saying, “ajbiufk nsdla ndbla acins c icsoidncs”. Why don’t just simplify it and say that we will make sure that all your marketing and sales communications are consistent with each other?

2. Paradigm shift

Think about it. No matter how fancy your logo design or your web design is, is it really going to create a paradigm shift for your client? We thought not. Sure your design may be fabulous for brand recognition and brand awareness, but it’s unlikely to shift anyone paradigm.

3. Web2.0

Who knows what Web 2.0 is? Like really? Clients don’t have the time to research what benefits Web 2.0 can bring to the table. So as a designer, instead of just telling them stuff like “We are offering you a complete Web 2.0 experience which is the cutting edge of web design”, why not tell them how their business can benefit from it?

4. Leverage

Lots of designers and marketers are guilty of using this word more often than they change underpants in an effort to sound corporate or serious. Well, news flash. It makes you sound like a stuffed shirt.

5. Open the kimono

Are you a flasher? Please do not open your kimono and show a client anything or you might get arrested for indecent exposure. We get it, opening the kimono means sharing information, but why not just say that? It’s so much better and less creepy!

6. FTP – File Transfer Protocol

If you want to tell a client that you share files securely online, all you have to do is say it, in those exact words. Please don’t say things like “Our file transfer protocols safely allow a share of information between parties.”

7. GUI – Graphical User Interface

“We will conduct a research and design a GUI that is consistent with the mindset of your target audience.” Say what? Aren’t you just saying that you’re going to make sure that your design is accessible and user-friendly?

8. Enterprise Level

Corporate and tech lingo is probably the worst of them all. No client wants to know what your ‘enterprise level’ CMS software or even coffee maker for that matter, does. You may think it sounds impressive, but all they really want to know is if what they’re paying for is going to give them a great bang for the buck or not.

9. KPIs

KPIs are probably one of the most abused terminologies. Keep it simple and just tell a client that you have been effectively helping businesses get noticed on Google.

10. All Web Acronyms

Use acronyms very very sparingly, and only if you must. Before you do, always think whether you can convey the same message in simpler, more meaningful ways.