Doing more with less.

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Creating calm in our busy work lives
When I set out all those years ago to work for myself and started JacciR Design, back in the time before woman could be ‘entrepreneurs’ – that was a title for brave men who defied society and struck out on their own. THANK GOODNESS TIMES HAVE CHANGED.
 

Anyway getting back to the topic. Social media was in it’s infantsy, Facebook was but a spec in some geeks eye and we all had dial up. Remember dial up? Doesn’t sound like a lot to start a business at home with – does it!

What we had in abundance though was PEACE AND QUIET to work in. No beep beep from insta messages, ding dong from Whatsapp no call from the cell at all hours….

Do you, like me battle to stay focused in this noisy connected world?

 

I found this really interesting article on how to get the most out of your working day. Its has to do with limiting disturbances and allowing you to truly concentrate. Tim Herrera chatted to Cal Newport about his book and the theory of ‘Deep Work” in which he details his philosophy and strategy for actually focusing on the things we can do and accomplish. His second book is called “Digital Minimilism” in which he carries on the theme of doing more with less.

I love the idea behind putting all the noise away and finding a way to refocus on the task at hand. Here is the link to the article, lets all shut off the noise and get down to building the businesses of our dreams.

Back to website

 

Creating goals and sticking to them.

10763041075_f5cfa38562_oWelcome to my first post of 2018.

This year is going to be the year of change, I’m going to change how I do business, well, in effect, I had strayed from my original concept of a virtual studio, have laptop will travel. So change will be getting back to and focussing on my goals.

Design and travel to my beloved Cetona in Italy.

This brings me to the first area of change. This is a hard one for me, I’ve been in the business for more years than I wish to admit to. Where did the last 35 years go? I’ve worked all the options as a designer. I’m good, I have a depth of knowledge, yet, I have always seen myself as what was known as a ‘below the line’ designer. It’s been my comfort zone. But, now I’m finding myself ready for the challenge of upping my game… and charging accordingly.

So this year I’ll be pricing work in a way that speaks to the value that a client gets when choosing me for their project. A price that reflects my depth of knowledge, my reliability, the dozens of very satisfied clients and lastly my talent as a designer and illustrator.

This means changing how and where I source work. They say you are judged by the friends that you keep. I think it is the same as a business owner, people’s expectations are formed by the forums and networks that you belong to – and participate in. This is especially true of businesses that rely on social media for their lifeblood. At times I find myself straying to areas that are not at all work producing, that don’t suit my wished for business model and that frankly make me despondent. I’m not saying that there isn’t an appropriate place for everyone, but, finding out which work, and having the courage to leave those that don’t is the biggest step towards taking responsibility of ones brand and how it is perceived.

This year I have found some amazing new forums to participate in, networks to be part of. Looking forward to meet ups and learning opportunities. I am using January to formulate, change, grow, plan and update. This year is going to be amazing.

Happy 2018 everyone!! may 2018 be the year that we all surpass our dreams!!!

 

The ABC’s of a better blog.

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Beating the business blog blues.

Ok, so you’ve made the decision to blog…. now make sure your blog tells your story in the best possible way.

In order to benefit from the very most that your social media strategy can give you, you need to be blogging. Regularly and professionally. Whether you have a free hosted blog, or a site under your own domain name the rules are the same. Your online presence must be professional and streamlined. If a potential client has never met you, your online presence is the only impression that they will have of your business. The saying, ‘first impressions are lasting’ has never been truer and you have, according to eye tracking research done by the University of Mossouri, 2.6 seconds to sell yourself. So that first impression had better be kick ass! I am going to take you through a few important points to make sure your blog is as professional as it can be.

So, firstly, the dreaded head shot. A picture of you pouting into the mirror with the cellphone blocking half of your face just will not do. If a professional photograph is out of your reach, get a friend to take a pic of you, or borrow a selfie stick. Make sure you image is light enough by having it taken near a window, if it comes out dark, use the edit tool on your phone to lighten it up. Lastly, dress professionally for the picture.

There are many styles to choose from when deciding to have a picture taken for your blog. Styled shots are great to show up your personality, great for photographers, bloggers, hairstylists, artists and actors. A studio type head shot is perfect for you as a professional, lawyer, accountant and realtor. Environmental portraits allows you to showcase what you do, where you do it.

Grammar and spelling are a common weak point in blogs, triple check, read aloud and check again before you publish your blog. Spelling and grammar errors really make your blog look unprofessional. Letter point size and spacing also influence how receptive people are to what you have written, as a rule, no smaller than 10 point, 1.5 line spacing using clear legible typestyles. No emoji’s or WhatsApp speak. Ever.

The right image can make your article, use professional quality images on your blog, there are many websites that offer free, downloadable images for websites and blogs. Most ask that you credit the site and the photographer. To be on the safe side, read the licensing blurb.

Include a contact page and comment sections. Always be polite and friendly, answer questions timeously. Remember this is as personal an encounter that you are likely to have with potential clients and you want them to see you as someone who is approachable and caring. Someone who they’d want to do business with.

Finally, enlist a designer who can help you to bring it all together, make your brand cohesive and let your blog, social media, speak for you in a way that does your business proud.

Jacci
JacciR Design
http://www.facebook.com/jaccir.design

Colour me famous

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How do you choose the colour that is right for your business? Do you go for one that you simply like? Or do you look at the meaning of the colours and the effect that they have on people?

Starting with colours that you like is a good place to start, I mean, no one wants a logo that they hate because the colour is one that makes them uncomfortable – no matter what that colour is supposed to say. Colours are seen by different age groups, genders and cultures in different ways.

One needs to bare in mind that one is choosing a colour palette for ones brand, not a single colour, colours need to work together, and separately. They are telling a story, setting the scene and creating a memorable brand for your company. Before deciding how to use colour in your branding decisions, make sure you have a strong sense for your brand identity. Think about what mood or message you want the brand to convey before settling on a colour scheme. It helps to think of a few key words that you think your logo/brands will elicit.
Power? Happiness? Trust? Energy?

Red, is the ultimate power color, associated with energy, danger, strength, determination, and passion. It is the color of blood and romance, of stop signs and classic roses. Red brings text and images to the foreground. Use it as an accent color to stimulate people to make quick decisions.

Yellow is associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy. It produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness and stimulates mental activity. Yellow is often associated with food. It is the color of the sun. It’s easy to understand why yellow evokes feelings of optimism, clarity, and warmth. Yellow is also a rich color; it calls to mind gold and treasure. Yellow is very effective for attracting attention, so use it to highlight the most important elements of your design. Another perk of yellow is that because it is so bright, it can stand out even when it is in busy surroundings.

Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, success, and endurance. Orange is a color that doesn’t let anyone pass by without taking a look. It stands out in a crowd and sends a message that says, “I’m not afraid to be the center of attention.” Orange is creative, youthful, and enthusiastic. Because of its high visibility, use it to catch attention and highlight the most important elements of your design.

Green symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and stability. It also has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Green is the most restful color for the human eye. Green is directly related to nature, so it is used more and more to promote “green” products.

Blue conveys trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, and tranquility. It is considered beneficial to the mind and body, producing a calming effect. Blue is linked to consciousness and intellect. Dark blue is a preferred color for corporate America.

Purple is the color of royalty. It conjures images of grandeur, opulence, and mysticism. It activates the imagination and enthralls the eyes. Brands harness purple’s regal, “anything is possible” vibe to draw in customers who are looking for an experience that is a step away from the ordinary.

Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, strength, authority, and mystery. It gives the feeling of perspective and depth, but a black background diminishes readability.

Graphic designer? Any good?

rachael-gorjestani-282049In order to compete in the market you need to have a brand that stands head and shoulder above the rest. It needs to convey a creative presence, promote your values and resonate with your market. Choosing a graphic designer who will create an outstanding brand for your new company is one of the most important things you will do as you set off on this adventure.

Lets be honest the market is flooded with graphic designers, some very talented, some with years of experience and a passion for making your dream become reality, some quite frankly not worth your time or money. Design skill is only a small part of the process, the ability to apply that talent to many varied projects, the ability to take the design skills and develop them across many disciplines, being sensitive to budgetary constraints are just some of the skills needed to take a project to completion. What kind of portfolio does the designer have, does he or she have experience in the type of work you are asking for. Have they done work for large corporates, small businesses? An online portfolio is a must, as is previous client feedback. Do they have a Facebook page, blog, Pinterest portfolio, are they on Instagram or Flickr, all of these present possibilities to see the style and flavour of work done by the designer.

Communication and a willingness to work and rework, patience with you as the client as you both fine tune your brand are points that you need to clarify before choosing, finding out how their time constraints will affect your project, how many hours are expected to be spent for the price quoted, how many proof are offered for example will give you an idea of the flexibility of the design process.

You’ll notice I have left price for last, and that is because price should be the last thing on your list. In my opinion, you should be willing to pay the most you can afford for something as important as your new business brand. If your chosen designer is slightly more expensive than you have budget for, see if you can work a deal where by you split the process, and therefore payment, over two month for example. Remember the old adage, you get what you pay for? Well it is only too true in the design world.

Chat soon,
Jacci Freimond Rudling
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/jaccir.design | Portfolio: http://www.pinterest.com/jaccirdesign

To web or not to web.

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I haven’t really ever – until now – sat down and truly thought about why I want a web, or why I truly even need one. As we speak, I have registered a domain, have gotten a ‘real’ email address, I’d like to share the eight reasons why those in the know say one NEEDS A WEBSITE.

1. Credibility. So although Facebook is amazing for reaching out, and finding potential followers, people want to see a professional interface that brings together all the attributes that make your company stand out from the crowd. It is for want of a better analogy, your shopfront.  Your window display. With you own web address you can have an email address which is specific to your company. A gmail address is nowadays seen as an indication of less than stellar credibility.

2. Its your catalogue. In the good old days we printed flyers by the hundreds and although a well designed flyer has a definite place in your marketing quiver, a website is just more fluid and easy to update. It keeps your product front and center. So again, whereas on Fb your ideas and specials move down the pile each time you publish another thought or clever little meme, your website has the ability to keep your products front and center. Once again it is like a window display, one that is easy and basically cost free to update and change.

3. Accessibility. Your web is open for business no matter if you have retired to bed for a few hours sleep. Considering that out market space is global, no matter how small you are, you are available 24/7. Today’s young consumer has grown up in a world where e’everything is the norm and in our rushed lifestyle, the internet has become the mall.

4. Time and money. Having a detailed catalogue available for an interested customer to study, 24/7 without you having to email or send it, saves you time and money and makes your product available around the clock, around the world.

5. Customer service. Having a website, with a blog, allows you to engage your customer base with interesting relevant articles about your area of expertise. It keeps you relevant, and created an impression of reliability when you become the ‘go to ‘ person for information.

6. Gathers feedback and compliments. Much as your Facebook page does ones web page enables people to get in touch with us. It enables us to gather reviews in the place where it is most relevant. In one place, on one page. Our shop window.

7. Sells directly. If you have a product, you should be selling it, an e’commerce webpage allows you to sell directly to your client, saves you money – no middle man or shop rent. You can engage directly with your client, and make sure every shopping experience is one people want to return for, again and again.

8. Business goals. An unexpected off shoot of sitting down and deciding what you need to put onto your website, who you want to reach, how it should look and operate…. a renewed sense of who and what your business is and how big your goals are.