BoyDog Design
Design and more…

April 20, 2012

Here are today’s links:

PinView Turns Your Facebook Timeline Into a Pinterest Board

Add a Beautiful Pricing Table to WordPress

Best Photoshop Web Design Tutorials, Web Design Tutorials

Miscellaneous Basic Strategies for Tremendous Link Building

You never know what you’ll find. One of the links just might be the answer to your question of the day. As always, if you have a link that you think would be helpful, please pass it along. Enjoy!

April 13, 2012

Here are today’s links:

You never know what you’ll find. One of the links just might be the answer to your question of the day. As always, if you have a link that you think would be helpful, please pass it along. Enjoy!

Huge Round Up of Free Vectors for Designers

Free 40+ Ripped and Torn Paper Textures

Tips in Designing a Functional Website Archive

Introducing StumbleUpon’s New Facebook Timeline App 

How to Create a CSS3 Dropdown Menu (Tutorial)

WOW Slider: JQuery Image Slider & Carousel

200+ Free and High Quality Smoke Brushes For Photoshop

50+ Beautiful Examples of Typography

Amazing Collection of Free Fonts

Interesting And Useful Color Scheme Generators – 25 Tools

30+ Free Photoshop Plugins For Photoshop Lovers

 


Ron Paul's "What If?" speech - Remastered

I came across this video via a Rachel Maddow post on Facebook. All politics aside – I find this video interesting. In an odd way. There is something just a little bit off with this video. Typographically, it’s a masterful design. The music adds an additional layer. The speech flows to match the ever-changing typographic design. But, there’s something here that bugs me and I can’t explain it just yet.

First off, let me give you some background information about this speech. It was given February 12, 2009 on the House Floor. The actual speech can be viewed on YouTube. As for this video, the font used is Bleeding Cowboys and the music used is Metallica’s “To Live Is To Die”.

I think I’m going to explain my immediate feelings about this video and then come back and add to this post… as I stated up front, I’m not sure how to explain what’s “off” to me yet. But in the interim I would love to hear some commentary. What do you think?

Let’s get started — As a fan of typography, this video caught my eye from the instant I clicked it on. It wasn’t the music or the speech that I was paying attention to, it was the black, white, and red type. Using a very ornate font and putting it through its paces. Using every angle. Smooth movement. Precise timing with the speech. I think I would have been totally satisfied with the typographic experience without the speech included. Just dancing type with a musical accompaniment. Oh, I think I’m hitting on something here… let me run this around in my head a bit more…

Added on top of this typographic ballet is the speech given by Ron Paul. I have no commentary to offer about its content and prefer to view the speech only as an integral part of a designed piece. Do you think the added typographic display makes it easier to understand the contents of this speech? I think I’m at a “which came first” moment. Did the speech inspire the type? Or, did the type inspire the inclusion of the speech? (Duh, I know the speech is the source for the words used, but perhaps any words would have worked as well for this typographic ballet.) When you are concentrating on the type does the content of the speech truly resonate? Do you get its full meaning? Are you able to walk away and remember the speech for its content? Right now, I’m thinking – no. I think this video works more as performance art than political ad.

In order for this video to be considered an ad it would have to be somewhat apparent who it was being marketed to. I find it difficult to come up with a singular target market that includes people who would be compelled to engage in the design, musical background, and of course, the message. Is it possible that a singular market exists for this video? More likely, the piece is an attempt to hit all the buttons at once. Something that rarely proves successful. And if it is not an ad at all then there is no concern for the message in and of itself. What matters then is the perfect balance of each design element. The result being a pleasing display of type as it dances across the screen aided by the tempo of a musical layer. If you happen to engage in parts of the message as well, that is a bonus. I would then say the main focus is to catch your attention and provoke a conversation afterwards. Just as I’m doing here…

My apologies as this is not a typical post. A bit rambling perhaps. I did warn you upfront that I have not formed my thoughts fully. I rarely come across examples like this video and would love to hear some feedback. What do you think?

 

By now most everyone has been introduced to the world of social media. You know the players – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc – and most likely you’ve either done some research or signed up. Social media is an ever-changing playing field that continually offers new, revised, and expanded options. If you are paying close attention you soon realize that it can be a daunting task keeping up with what’s new and what works best. There is one thing that is a constant throughout all of social media, especially if you are a business, and that is your website.

It doesn’t matter how often or sporadically you post, your objective should be to direct viewers back to your website. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you say, you should be encouraging viewers to visit your site for more information. Under those circumstances your website is home base. Contained within its pages should be all the information needed to understand what your business or service offers, how to contact you, specific product info and photos, an option to purchase if that applies, and whatever other information is pertinent to allow a viewer to form an opinion, an interest, a need to contact you, and best of all the decision to purchase your product or service.

Now I know many of you already have a website up and running. You’ve had it for years and as far as you’re concerned it works just fine, thank you. But, does it?

When was the last time you reviewed your site?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Is all of the information accurate? Have you revised a product and not changed the info on your site? Did you add a product or service but did not add it to your site?
  • Are all of the photos current? Sure you offer the same item, but is that a photo of the current item? Maybe you changed your packaging, logo, or colors.
  • Are all of your links active? If you refer viewers to outside sites, are you sure those links still work? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a site, click a link and… nothing.
  • And don’t forget about email addresses. Are you sure that all of the email addresses you have posted are current (and not for a former employee). I know of some sites that to this day have an email address posted that is for me at an old employer. I know I’m not receiving those messages and I doubt the company is either.
  • Has your content undermined your navigation? If you’ve had a site up for a while most likely you’ve added to it. A page here, a photo there. A new sub-category with more pages. I bet you didn’t realize how much you’ve added to your site. Sit down with the eyes of a fresh viewer to your site and experience how well or how poorly your site navigates.
    • Are your pages crowded with bits and pieces of information? Too many bits and pieces.
    • Are your links intuitive? Meaning – are the placement of your links easy to find or do you have to hunt for what you’re looking for?
    • Did you remember to cross-reference information?
    • Are your pages very very long? Have you been adding and adding to your pages until they require scrolling and scrolling?
    • Was your site created with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in mind? If the answer is yes, does it need a little tweaking? If the answer is no, what are you waiting for?
    • Site analytics. What tools are you using to measure your website traffic?

I hope I’ve got you thinking about your website by now. How well is it performing? Can I make it better? And I hope your next step is to contact a design professional. BoyDog Design can assist you in a review of your current website. Let’s explore ways to update and improve your site. One of the benefits of web-based communication is that you don’t have to be local to BoyDog Design. Utilizing current technology it is easier than ever to work on projects together – even if you live across town, in another state, even another country. Think about it – is now the time to review, revise and reap the rewards?

http://www.delicious.com/BoyDogDesign

I continue to be impressed with the willingness of the design community to share information. Links, tutorials, books, samples, templates, fonts – you name it and it can be found online. I’d like to contribute to this stash of information by making my www.delicious.com bookmarks available to anyone who browses my blog.

Delicious offers bookmarks collected by its members. The range of interests are vast. For me, you will find that my bookmarks coincide with my interest in graphic design, advertising, web design, marketing, industrial design, and the range of software used in those pursuits.

Please, feel free to browse the bookmarks. You just might find the information you need. I would also like to encourage you to add to my bookmark list via email, posting to my blog, or sharing via your delicious account.

The best thing about delicious bookmarks is that they are always available to you as long as you have access to a computer with an internet connection. I started using delicious because I wanted to have my bookmarks available to me wherever I was and on whichever computer I might be working on at the time.

Give delicious.com a try. Browse my bookmarks. I hope you find something of interest. Maybe you’ll find some answers for things that have you stumped. Enjoy!

http://www.delicious.com/BoyDogDesign

I’m not ashamed to admit there was a time when I found it a bit daunting keeping pace with social media. How to do it. What to expect. The metrics of it all. Apparently I’m not alone. While we all know we need to have a presence in social media we are equally confused and stumped about how to measure our success.

According to this article by Kathy Crosett, “More Marketers to Seek Social CRM Systems,” http://bit.ly/eHttfg, we can expect new CRM services to be coming available this year. I look forward to this. Adding a reliable service to manage and analyse your data stream should result in a more profitable use of social media.

Update: Just received this pertinent email, “22 Hot New Social Media Tools Worth Exploring,” http://bit.ly/g4JW4T. Helpful tools.

Many businesses feel compelled to create a presence on Facebook. Most will create a Facebook page and promote it to their target market. Sounds like a simple process, but the expected results are not always that simple to achieve. It seems that most of us, business users of Facebook, don’t really have a grasp of why we’re there and how to utilize Facebook to communicate with our customers. In the rush to join the social media frenzy we’ve all been caught up in many of us have created a Facebook page without full consideration of our goals and expectations. And even worse, we haven’t communicated to people what they might expect in return for declaring that they “Like” us.

I never really thought about this lack of clarity until I read a recent article by Jay Baer, “Why You’re Pissing Off Half Your Facebook Fans,” http://bit.ly/eRgeRE. I came away understanding that if you don’t know your demographic and what they expect from you, there’s a good possibility that you will actually do more harm than good to your relationship with them. Take the time to define your market. Research until you understand their expectations of you. Finally, let your Facebook fans know what to expect from your page. A more knowledgeable approach to your Facebook identity should result in enhanced communication. Learn to use Facebook to establish a direct line of communication that meets everyone’s expectations.

Good news for those of you who have struggled with the decision to add social media to your marketing mix. According to the Small Business Success Index small business adopted the use of social media at twice the rate of 2008 in 2009. These businesses are finding that social media offers them access to their market – enabling them to build their brand, engage their current customers, and attract new customers as well.

Here’s a link to useful information summarizing these finding: http://www.bit.ly/ceSbFP

It’s never too late to add social media to your marketing plan. BoyDog Design can assist you in sorting through the various social media sites, blogging options, directories, and more. Is it time to hone the social media persona of your business?

(9/15/09) Here’s a great example.

http://bit.ly/2efErI

(10/9/09) UPDATE: The promotion was a huge success – now what?  http://bit.ly/1A3OCL