Remembering Robin Williams…

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“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t loose it.” ~ Robin Williams

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Summertime in Maine - Brie + Pixel Blog - Brixel Creative - Maine Graphic Designer - www.brixelcreative.com

Summertime in Maine – Brie + Pixel Blog – Brixel Creative – Maine Graphic Designer – http://www.brixelcreative.com

PHEW! Summer is in full swing here in Maine.

I’m a little embarrassed to say how long it’s been since my last post – about month or so – yikes! And I’m gonna go out on a limb right now just to say working from home (with 2 children on summer break) has become quite a difficult task. A typical day goes like this: just as I sit down to check email and complete a few tasks on my never ending list, one of my kids needs me for something – whether it’s a snack, just to say “I’m bored”, help take apart a lego piece, to reset the wireless so they can get on their iPod, etc, etc, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, the benefits to working from home far outweigh the negative aspects, so I’m really not complaining here. But if any of you have ever had to step out the office to work from home with your kids there, it can become a never ending battle of interruptions and nothing getting done.

It’s not like I can close my office door and set my phone to DND…it just
doesn’t work that way (although sometimes I wish I could).

But, all interruptions aside, I really do love having my kids home during the summer. It has offered so many opportunities for us to visit places we have never been before and experience new things together as a family. Growing up, I was able to stay home during the summer and I it was the best feeling ever. There’s no alarm clock and nowhere to be – you just wake up and figure out the schedule as you go. Being this is their first summer staying home instead of going to daycare or a day camp, they are loving the summertime freedom too.

This summer has been challenging at times, but at the end of the day a learning experience for us all. It has taught us to be in the moment, set aside all schedules and just go with the flow. It has taught us that every moment of every day does not need to be set in stone. Sometimes it’s best if you leave the schedule open and do what you feel like doing at that moment, because it’s those moments you will remember for a lifetime.

I hope you are able to step back from the schedules and have
a few go with the flow moments this summer too!

Check these four design tips before submitting files

Dreaming in CMYK

Yesterday, my girl Katherine Tattersfield featured a guest post of mine on PrintFirm.com’s blog about what prepress does to your files once they receive them from you. (Thanks so much, Katherine!)

I wanted to take a minute and add some additional thoughts to that post on what you should consider when depending designing your next printed piece.

Rich Blacks

You’ve heard me talk about the differences in black in printing before. If you’re designing a piece that has a massive black background, you need to make sure you’re utilizing a rich black instead of just the 100% K value in your color settings.

Not sure what I mean? Create a box and make the color value C: 0%, M: 0%, Y: 0% and K: 100%. Duplicate that box, but change your values to C: 50% M: 40% Y: 40% and K: 100%. Then, print that document out on your (color)…

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What is Word-of-mouth Marketing and Why is it so Important?

What is Word-of-mouth Marketing and Why is it so Important? - Brie + Pixel Blog

Word-of-mouth marketing is super important for every business, because each and every happy customer has the ability to send another one your way. It’s considered one of the most credible sources of advertising since the person making the recommendation has nothing to gain but knowing they were able to help someone solve their problem.

What are you doing to make sure your customers feel confident enough to recommend your business?

Well, of course it all starts with what you are selling them and how they were treated as your customer. Over the years, marketing has evolved with the inclusion of social media and brands putting themselves out there for the consumer. Being able to share your experiences on social media has brought about a new form of word of mouth marketing. What was once seen as a one-way street, marketing is in the hands of the consumer now more than ever. You must start a conversation with your consumers to make they feel confident purchasing from you.

Remember: There is no “I” in Customer!

According to Nielsen, 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. Consider this: you are chatting with a friend about how you need to find a company to design a business card for your new business venture. Your friend mentions she just worked with an awesome local graphic design company she found on Facebook and BAM – you’re research is done! If your friend trusts this company, then you will to.

Believe it or not, Word-of-mouth marketing happens all day, every day and it’s sometimes the only marketing technique a company will rely on. Although word of mouth marketing may not be the best solution for every business situation, it is a great resource just to get people talking. Make sure you go above and beyond what the customer expects to maximize their purchasing experience every time. Make an effort – it will be worth it!

So, what are you waiting for?

The benefits of Word-of-mouth marketing are endless. From building trust to enhancing your brand, all with with minimum investment your company is shared throughout communities and social networks, on both a business and personal level. Having your customers willingly advertise for you is great and certainly says a lot about the quality of your product or service. Get out there and give them something to talk about!

Why You Should Be Using Hashtags NOW!

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Unless you live under a rock, you’ve either only heard about hashtags or you use them on a daily basis. For those that do live under a rock, basically hashtags are an easy way to turn any word or phrase (with no spaces) into a searchable keyword link by adding the # sign to the beginning (i.e. #graphicdesign or #socialmediamarketing).

In a way, hashtags allow you to create communities of people interested in the same topic by making it easier for them to find and share info related to it. It’s a really handy skill to learn and as social media becomes the primary way we communicate, it’s becoming very popular in marketing.

Did You Know: The hashtag was created by Chris Messina in August, 2007.
Read more: http://bit.ly/TaEt8P

Incorporating hashtags into your social media posts allow for quick searching and categorizing. Aside from Twitter, a few other social media platforms – Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and most recently Facebook – have also seen the benefit of using hashtags and have started to implement the hashtag feature as well. So how does this help improve your social media presence?

Here are 3 quick tips to help you understand why you should be using hashtags to increase your social media presence:

1. Organization – Using hashtags in your tweets or posts allows other users to see all the posts about this particular topic. Once you start using hashtags, you will begin to notice that tweets tagged with the same hashtag will all (or mostly) discuss the same topic.

Try for yourself: To make sure the hashtag you are using is relevant to how you will
be using it, just do a search. You never know what people may be using hashtags
to discuss and you wouldn’t want to accidentally connect your business to a negative,
controversial or embarrassing topic.

2. Target your Audience – This might be the biggest benefit to using hashtags. Let’s say you are a freelance graphic designer (like me!), you might want to tag some of your tweets that contain tips for fellow graphic designers with the hashtag #graphicdesigntip. This will show your followers that you’re writing for or interested in a specific topic and it will help them sort through the tweets that are relevant to them.

3. Grow your audience – Okay this is another huge benefit! Although a larger audience isn’t directly associated with using hashtags, it puts your tweets in front of people who might be interested in the same topics, and therefore would lead to a larger audience. The more targeted and accurate your hashtag use, the more targeted followers you’re likely to attract.

 

There really is no reason you shouldn’t be using hashtags, especially in your business marketing. If it comes down to knowing when and how to use them effectively, don’t let a little hashtag scare you! My suggestion: start using hashtags today! Join in on the conversation and share this blog article with the hashtag #mainedesigner now!