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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!

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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!

Graphic Design: Why You Should Keep It Simple

Even when it comes to graphic design, sometimes simple is better. It’s hard explaining this to the client though. For one reason or another when they involve a “graphic designer” they need to make magical things happen. In some instances though magical isn’t always necessary. As a graphic designer you need to know when to make a design sparkle and shine to WOW the audience, and when to make a design look flat (or simple) so it does not take away from the message that needs to be portrayed. This is a learned trait.

Brixel Creative - Simple Graphic Design Blog

I’m what you might call a “self-taught” graphic design aficionado. I did not go to college to learn all the valuable graphic design techniques I use every day, I just sat down with Adobe and embraced my one-on-one time. I’d like to think my 15+ years creating wonderfully creative graphic design for various types of companies gave me more hands-on experience than any college would have done. With that being said, I’m sure there are some techniques I may not know about in PhotoShop or Illustrator, and I’m Ok with that. There are tons of amazing tutorials online I can take a look at on YouTube or read about on a blog. Some things in life don’t need to be complicated and are better if they remain simple.

When you strip away all that is unnecessary – get rid of the fluff – you’re left with a simple message that speaks quite loudly to the audience. Take a moment to think about the some of the most well know logos out there. I bet the ones you thought about are very simple designs. The ones that come to mind for me are FEDEX, Gap, NBC – all pretty simple, huh? But that’s what makes them memorable. It is less information for the brain to process and therefore makes it easier to remember.

Rather than piling on the effects, may I suggest you cut through the noise with white space, choose a clean type, incorporate simple shapes and limit your color palette. Sometimes it’s best to keep your graphic design simple. Get back to the basics because less will always be more, especially when it comes to graphic design.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Do you like to keep your designs simple?

For the Love of iPhone

As a work from home business owner, mother of 2, and winner of the “Best Wife Award” for 12 straight years, I tend to reach for my iPhone when I need a moment of sanity. I mean it’s the only ME time I seem to be able to find these days. Between work, kid’s activities, house cleaning, laundry (blah, blah, blah), women tend to need alone time to decompress after a long day. Maybe men don’t need this time, but in order for us to stay somewhat sane, this time is a must.

For the Love of iPhone - Brie + Pixel New Blog Post - www.brixelcreative.com

Think about this: name one person who doesn’t love the iPhone? Ok well, maybe Droid users. But seriously, I feel like the iPhone was somehow created as a relaxation tool. After a long day at work or home with the kids, you look forward to that moment when you can relax on the couch and just sit there – doing nothing but using your iPhone. It’s a great feeling, right?!?!

Whether you’re checking Facebook, scrolling through your Twitter feed or pinning children’s party ideas on Pinterest, sometimes there is nothing better than your one-on-one time with your iPhone. Honestly, I don’t think you could get the same feeling from a Droid. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never owned one. And call me crazy, but it doesn’t seem like the owners of any other smartphone out there have the same “love at first sight” feeling like those that have iPhones.

For me, my iPhone is heaven sent – it is irreplaceable – it keeps me sane – it had me at hello – it completes me. By now you might be thinking it’s a little silly to talk about a smartphone like this. Well to this I say, there’s a very good possibility it’s not me that’s weird, maybe it’s you.

Why Graphic Design Matters to Small Business

Ask any small business owner what’s an important factor to a successful business and I bet they would mention graphic design and branding. Yet, in business, having quality graphic design is often seen with an “out of our budget” mindset, too expensive and not affordable. However, that mindset can often be misleading and maybe even devastating to your business.

“A picture is worth a thousand words”

With graphic design, maybe it’s your logo, package design or just a simple icon that speaks to the consumer. When you put your business out there to complete with other businesses, there needs to be something that sets your business apart from the rest – but grabbing the attention of the consumer FIRST is what’s most important. It’s the first impression in the end that may be the only thing that differentiates your company from another. And remembering a brand is achieved with consistently great graphic design.

QUICK TIP —> Keep in mind a potential client must hear or see your brand numerous times before the memory of your company sticks. It’s important to provide a consistent and memorable message and image to accelerate this recognition and speed up the branding process.

Brixel Creative Graphic Design Small Business

So how can small business stand out and be seen – going up against those larger companies with huge marketing budgets? Well, first things first, you need to make sure you are competing with like-minded companies and be able to stay within your budget too. Let’s face it, a small business hand-making soap in a small town in Maine most likely cannot compete with a larger company from California selling in all major grocery stores. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put money and energy towards your graphic design to develop your brand image. Having good graphic design gives credibility, boosts visibility, and provides consistency to the consumer making your product more memorable.

Outdated or up to date?

Picture this: you’re searching the internet for a new car. When perusing websites, there are some sites you come across that look very outdated and therefore turn you off right away so you move on to the next website. Then you find a very well designed site and you are intrigued to dive in further; and they might not have the lowest price. You see, it’s the FIRST impression you make on the consumer that is most critical and if your graphic design is “outdated” you risk losing potential client and there is nothing you can do about that.

QUICK TIP —> When developing your website or any marketing collateral, keep in mind this is your IMAGE and the visual design provides credibility and determines the professionalism and quality of the business. This may be your only chance to prove to the consumer you are worth purchasing from.

Having a great product and customer service is definitely important, but just might mean nothing if no one knows you exist. It’s time to put the image of your business first and show everyone out there how memorable your company can be! Professional graphic design can improve your business image, and offers increased positive exposure and sets you apart from the competition. Improving on your design assures you are sending the right message to your clients and most importantly will potentially increase sales. Graphic design improves acceptance and awareness of your products and services and that is what will drive business to your door.

Consider contacting a qualified graphic designer to review your current image and provide insight as to how your graphic design can be improved. In the end, how can you not afford to improve your image with graphic design!

Creativity…

When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.
– Steve Jobs

creativity-brixel-creative

Being a graphic designer you have your really creative days and your not so creative days.  You have to have thick skin and learn to take professional criticism. And if you get poor feedback on one design, you have to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move on. Learning not to dwell on the past is an important skill that all successful graphic designers must learn to master.  In some instances the title “graphic designer” has become a generic term given to anyone with Photoshop installed on their laptop.  Unfortunately it’s a little more complicated than that – you must know the history of design, technical aspects of design and be able to answer the how and why of your designs.

But there are times you need more than just creative programs and knowledge of history- you need inspiration. And  I know I’m not alone when there are days I don’t feel creative. Awful, right? Then of course something inside me whispers “hey wait you are creative…look what you’ve accomplished” and of course I move on. So in the end just because being creative might be second nature, sometimes you really don’t know where it comes from.  It is just something you see.

If you could describe happiness in one word, what would it be?

john-lennon-quote

Well, another week in the books and another week closer to warmer weather (at least here in Maine). I’ve always wondered what it is about Fridays that makes everyone so happy.  Sure it’s the end of the work week, but it’s still a work day. I’m sure you’ve passed that same unhappy person every morning at the coffee shop. The day doesn’t matter for them…they are just unhappy for one reason or another. But why is that? What could possibly make someone so unhappy day in and day out?

And then there are the people that are just naturally happy no matter what happens in their lives (you know who you are). Why are they always happy? Did they just decide one day “yup, this is it…for the rest of m life I’m going to just be happy” or is it more complicated.  Our thoughts definitely effect how we process negativity and whether or not it will ruin the rest of our day. There could be one thing that happens in the morning and suddenly your whole day turns out horrible…one thing after another. I know there is not one single person on this planet that has not had a day like that!

The fact that we are all very different and think differently, makes how we process those negative moments also very different. So it’s up to you to decide in that negative moment how you will insert happiness and replace the bad with good. Maybe your happiness is sipping your morning coffee uninterrupted, watching the sunrise, taking a walk, hugging your kids, reading a book or just sitting quietly. If any of these allow your thoughts to wander and replace negativity with happiness, make sure to incorporate this one thing into your life every day. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it!

Your thoughts, whether positive or negative, will be reflected into your every action so decide right now which thoughts you want to focus on and which ones should be thrown out the door. Happiness cannot be replaced with any other feeling and in my opinion it is the only feeling we should all have…everyday.

If you could describe happiness in one word or phrase, what would it be? I’ll go first: SUNSHINE! Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment below…I’d love to know!