What to consider when hiring a Graphic Designer

Consider this…you’re a business searching for a graphic designer to work with on a consistent basis to create the necessary graphics to get your brand out there. I’m sure a couple questions come to mind like “Does anyone know any local graphic designers?” or “Should we search for a designer online?”. It’s definitely a tough decision to make and there are lots of qualified designers out there that would suit your needs, local or not. However, to some it may seem like an impossible business relationship if your designer is not within arms reach, but nine times out of ten it can work out quite well with the help of technology of course. So let’s say you choose a designer that is not within your local area or maybe not even in the same state, there are a few things to consider when making this decision.

1. Trust is always a must
If doing anything online scares you – online banking, online shopping, etc. – you are not alone. Being able to meet someone face to face certainly can develop more trust than just talking on the phone or through email. Whether you are hiring someone local or in another state, there is always the chance your design relationship will not last. But in my opinion, you’ll know right away if this is going to happen. You have to trust your instincts just like anything else and you’ll know if the designer you chose will be the right fit or not.

2. Developing a way to communicate
What if you’re horrible at communicating through email and sometimes just can’t get your message across? What if you don’t know how to express what you want over the phone? What if you don’t know how to provide feedback or suggest changes? While all these may seem like valid reasons for you to hire locally, there is always a way to simplify any communication barrier. It’s all about getting to know each other and find a comfortable way to communicate. As with all things, this does take time but with a little patience things will fall into place and it will become easier to communicate your thoughts and ideas more efficiently.

3. Working together as a team
Teamwork makes it easier for both you, the client, and me, the designer, to effectively create the best possible design that everyone is happy with. Whether it takes one revision or several, its most important for everyone to be on the same page and come together as a team.

Having had 10+ year’s experience creating designs for clients all throughout the US, I can assure you developing a long distance design relationship is actually a lot easier than it sounds. I’m fairly new to the Freelancing community, but definitely not new to the design world. Freelancing just gives me the opportunity to work where I want and choose the hours that I want. More often than not, this just means you’ll be paying less for the same quality of work you’d get if you hire a large design firm. If you can look past the fact that your designer is not down the street or even in the same state, just remember they are only a phone call or email away.

So, how about we work together? Contact me now so we can discuss how I can improve your business image!

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last”

People often say that motivation doesn’t last.  Well, neither does bathing.  That’s why we recommend it daily.

Ain’t that the truth?!? Sometimes, for one reason or another, motivation is my nemesis. One day I love it and the next, well, you get my point. So what is the most important thing you can do to keep your motivation alive? Did you guess?? Well, it would be CONSISTENCY! Yup, it’s that simple. And that goes for anything from exercising to writing blog posts (ha!).

If you can put a conscious effort in everyday or at least a few times a week to dedicate towards something you’d like to make a habit, it will work. It will start to become a habit and then you guessed it….you’re motivation will be kicked into overdrive. So go out today and start working on that motivation.  It will be worth your efforts, trust me!

Four Key Tricks to Remembering Names

Brixel Creative Graphic Design - Maine

Ah remembering names…this is definitely one of my personal frustrations that certainly needs a little work. The value of meeting new connections on a personal and business level is great, but having trouble remembering new names can be borderline rude. Being able to remember someone’s name is one of the simplest ways you can make someone feel special or important. And well, let’s face it, drawing a blank on someone’s name that you’ve met before is quite embarrassing.

Ever been in this scenario: you’ve either just met someone new or someone you’ve met in the past approaches – and of course you cannot for the life of you remember their name. All you can think of is trying everything possible to get them to repeat their name or using all sorts of tactics to work around the issue. Unfortunately, studies show this issue just worsens with age (I will not accept this as an excuse, but I do admit retrieval is getting harder. Admitting is the first step, right?!?).

When we meet someone, there is a high expectation to remember everything — from their appearance to the conversation. Definitely relying on the world wide web as a substitute for our memory doesn’t help – has memorization of any kind been lost in our society? After thinking about how important name recognition is, I decided now is the time to work on it.  Not tomorrow, or maybe the next day…now! And come to find out there are ways to dramatically increase your ability to remember names, and keep stored in our minds. Here are a few tricks I think might just work. Go ahead, try them out:

1. Repetition.

Ever heard the silly joke about ‘Pete and Repeat’?  Well, this is more ‘meet and repeat’ but you get my point. As soon as you hear someone’s name, the key to remembering it is to repeat it right away. Try to put the name into your next sentence. For example, if you’re being introduced to Jody, you would say, “Hi, Jody, nice to meet you.” Another great way is to ask them a question, “So, Jody, how long have you known Peggy? Then quickly after that, try plugging in their name where you can (but not too much so it looks obvious). Then of course as you are parting ways, look at their face and repeat their name. This will make it easier to remember their name next time. But you know the saying…practice, practice, practice!

2. Spell.

So here’s another good tip. You’ve just met Jody and because her name could be spelled a few different ways, you can ask them to spell it. This is most helpful if you are a visual person.  It will create almost a mental note in your brain and creates a connection between the person and the visual name. Another great idea is to ask them for a business card – then once you get back to your office enter them into your contacts with a few pieces of information that will be clues later to help you remember them.

3. Compare.

I just went to a seminar with about 20 other people. We went around the room and introduced ourselves quickly. The speaker them proceeded to go around the room and repeat each of our names perfectly. What was her trick you think? As you meet someone, consider comparing them with someone you know who shares their first name. Say you just met Mark and coincidentally you have a bother Mark. Easy enough to remember, right? This is a harder one to accomplish, but once you do, it’s easy to do.

4. Care.

One of the main reasons we forget someone’s name is that we’re not completely focused on remembering it in the first place. Maybe there’s too much else going on creating a distraction, too much background noise. Try to ignore these distractions and really focus on the task at hand.  It will make the person you are with feel important now and possibly later.  I’m sure you’ve had a moment when passing the president of your company in the hall that you’ve only met one time and they remember your name. How did this make you feel? Pretty good I’m sure! It’s because they think it’s important and make it a point to practice it whenever possible.

We all know remembering names is important on both business and personal levels. It’s something we all should try and master at some point. We feel better when people remember us. And in the end, we all just want to be remembered!

“Explore, Dream, Discover”

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover.

Ah, the good ‘ol Mark Twain…smart man he was wouldn’t you say?!?  I always try and choose to live in the moment (keyword here is ‘try’). It’s a difficult thing to accomplish sometimes when you have the kids pulling at your arms, laundry that needs to get done and a sink full of dishes. The day to day chores tend to get in the way of actually seeing your life for what it is. So your task for this week is to really listen, pay attention and treasure the little day to day things that occur because you will never get those moments back.  I’ll try it if you do! Let me know how it goes!!

Beyond Instagram: Apps for Sketches, Selfies, and More

Getting a little bored with Instagram?!? Check out these other great apps for photos and let me know what you’ll be downloading!

The Daily Post

We recently shared photo editing and typography apps and alternatives to Instagram. Here are a few more photo apps on our radar — most of these offer tools to create drawings and sketches from photos, as well as enhancing selfies. Take a look, and have fun!

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Quick Tips to Turn Your Staff into Your Biggest Fan

Research shows that usually only 1/3 of a company’s employees at any given time are completely committed to the brand they are selling. Now I’m not saying the other 2/3 are out to sabotage your company and cause it to close its doors. More often, the staff of any business unfortunately are not self-motivated and therefore need a little day-to-day coaching. Below I’ll go over 3 quick tips to help encourage your staff to become your biggest fan.

Brixel Creative Graphic Design - Maine
Quick Tip #1: First and foremost, make sure your staff agrees with your brand’s message and promise – more importantly they should be buying into your brand as individuals. Recognize that your fan base not only includes your customers but more importantly your staff. You need to win over the hearts of your employees first, which in turn will create priceless word of mouth marketing and turns them into your biggest fan.

Quick Tip #2: Almost half of your clients will remain loyal to a company because they offer great service. So who provides this great service? Your staff of course! Add incentives or monthly achievement levels within the company will give them something to strive for and thus increasing sales and your bottom line. They need to act as the company’s “cheerleader” but you have to coach them to get there. Keeping a positive environment for your staff is the best thing you could do to encourage them to succeed.

Quick Tip #3: Make sure your staff knows they are part of something GREAT! Involve your staff with future projections and where the business is going, along with how it will get there. Positive engagement creates a sense of belonging when each employee hears a message, believes that message and then acts upon it. Additionally, providing your staff with the proper skills and necessary training will drive your brand forward. Make sure management is involved in the daily activities of the staff – nothing worse is the stuck up manager that checks in with its staff every Monday morning and that’s it. Frequent involvement of management on all levels will form the necessary bond to keep the focus on the brand and provide staff with a constant appreciation of the company they work for.

Each company is unique, as is their brand or message. Remember: your people are your brand – take hold of your brand to ensure your staff are playing on the same team.

“What is so cool about design…”

What is so cool about design is that there is no such thing as not having enough to work with—budget, space, illustrations, and so on. If there is a limit, it is my imagination.

Chuck Green has a point when he said this.  If you can dream it, you can achieve it, right? There should never be any limits placed on the human brain – it is always endless. The problem sometimes is the person thinking puts limits on themselves and automatically dismisses their thoughts.

So next time you have to be a little “creative” just let your thoughts go and something amazing will happen, trust me! Good Luck!