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10 Fantastic Stock Sites To Find Music for Your Explainer Videos

This article was contributed by Sunny Arora.

Do you often find it a herculean task to create compelling content for your business? Do you often get the drowning to death feeling while generating leads for your business?

You are not alone.

Most businesses doing content marketing, are finding it hard to break the cutter and showcase themselves amidst the increasing noise.

Take a look at this stat:

“60% of the marketers fail to produce engaging content, consistently.”

(Source)

The Power of Video

Video is an exciting medium to create story-driven content for your business. Videos grab audience attention and hook them to your content for longer. A video helps you to communicate complex and long information quickly and effectively. It is lively and provides a human touch to your brand communication.

Videos help you tell your brand story in a way that’s both informative and entertaining. They help you to communicate about the USP of your product in as little as just 30 seconds.

Have you started using videos to market your business online?

Take a look at some of these stats:

85% of the audience in the US watches videos online.”

(Source)

 Listen to audio 

“61% of businesses have started using video content marketing.” 

(Source)

“E-commerce stores which use video content have an 80% higher conversion rate than those which do not.”

“By 2018, 90% of content shared by Facebook users will be video.”

(Source)

The attention span of an average human being is just eight seconds.

Businesses need to create content that touches their audience on a deeper level. You need to consistently provide valuable and entertaining content to your audience.

Videos help you to breathe life into your content marketing efforts. You can create exciting video content for each of the stages of the buyer’s journey. You can create videos that:

  1. Educate your target audience and spread awareness about your business
  2. Talk about your products and services and their key benefits
  3. Communicate about the success of your business through client testimonials
  4. Thank existing customers for their loyalty

You can create animated videos, documentaries, whiteboard videos, explainer videos, testimonials, corporate culture videos, FAQ videos, personalized videos and instructional videos etc. for promoting your business among your audience.

Ready to create videos for your business? 

Make sure your video builds that connect with the people your business wishes to reach. Your video should have a story, characters, and background music that appeals to your target audience. It is essential to hire the services of a professional video production company to achieve the desired outcome.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which a video’s background music plays a role in its success.

Why the Emphasis on Background Music?

“Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t.”
― Johnny Depp
 

Good background music makes your video more entertaining and memorable. It adds to how your audience perceives your video.

It is the tune of your brand video that your audience will remember and even hum.

Take a look at this example from Apple iPod:

The music of this ad plays in your heart, long after you have seen it. The background score of your video helps you to build an emotional connection with your audience. A video with bad background music will always come across as something unprofessional.

Here are some tips to help you choose music that will work well for your video:

How to Choose the Right Background Music?

Before deciding on the music, you should be clear on goals of your video:

  1. Is your video skewed towards being informative or entertaining?
  2. Is it an introductory video or does it talk about a specific product?
  3. Do you wish to create a fast-paced video or a slow paced one?

Make sure your music is aligned with your brand values and your campaign objectives. It should be according to the message you wish to convey through your video.

Decide on your music on the basis of how you want your audience to feel after watching it.

You could explore from a variety of emotions:

  1. Happy
  2. Warm
  3. Excited
  4. Curious
  5. Delighted
  6. Inspired

You must also consider factors like the preferred genre, the density of sound, the instruments as well as the tempo.

Avoid using any music that’s dark or gloomy. Remember, your music runs in the background so you must ensure that it’s not so prominent that it distracts the audience from the core message. This is especially true for videos which have a narrative or a voiceover that talks to the audience.

You can also pick up a popular song and include a section from it in your video.

Create a playlist of the possible background scores that could fit into your video. Once you have a playlist you can narrow down to one option that you will use in the final video.

You must ensure that you are using a video that you have the rights to use. Download your music from a resource that provides you with a license or a way to attribute the creator of the music.

Let’s now take a look at some of the best stock music sites that can help you find that awesome background music:

Top Free & Paid Stock Music Resources

earphones close

YouTube Audio Library

The YouTube audio library has a large collection of free music for your videos. You can easily search this extensive resource for your choice of music on the basis of instrument, genre, and mood.

Free Music Archive

The Free Music Archive is another great collection of free, public domain as well Creative Commons tacks. The site offers more than 1500 tracks that you can readily download.

IncompeTech

IncompeTech is another awesome resource to find free music for your videos. They have a variety of music genres to choose from. You can use the music from this site for free if you provide attribution else you can pay and use it without attribution.

Soundstripe

Soundstripe is a paid resource for finding a wide variety of music for your videos. The platform has a simplified user-interface and gives you the option to choose from different music genres, moods, instruments and pace. The yearly subscription of Soundstripe costs you $135 and offers unlimited licenses.

Audio Sparx

This site provides a wide collection of royalty free music, tracks and sounds. You can sign up to create an account and start buying one off music licenses and packs. The site offers a variety of search options such as mood, instrumental, lyrical and regional.
Public Domain 4U
This resource provides you with some interesting collection of public domain music. The collection is slightly old but it is free to use without attribution.

Audio Jungle

Audio Jungle is an Envato Market product and offers more than 586,000 tracks in a variety of genres. The site also offers a range of music kits and sound effects. The site offers royalty free music and the licensing starts from just $1. It has a lot of reasonably priced music options.

Bensound

You can get some amazing variety of royalty free music from this platform. The site’s name is after its owner Bensound who creates all of the music himself. You can provide attribution and use the music on this site for free. You can buy the license in case don’t wish to give attribution.

Epidemic Sound

If you are looking for high-quality background music then Epidemic sound is one option that you can’t afford to miss. The platform allows you to search for the type of music you are looking for, quickly and easily. The licensing on this platform starts at $0.99.

Gerry Music

This site has music that was created by Gerry Black. The resource provides a variety of music for your business videos. You can use the music on this site for free by providing the requisite attribution. Alternatively, you can get a license to use the tracks which start at just $18.

What is Public Domain Music?

There is a lot of music out there that you can use without providing any attribution or a license fee. You can freely copy, distribute and use this type of music commercially. All such music is categorized as public domain music.

What is Creative Commons Music?

One of the most popular public copyright licenses is Creative Commons. It enables free distribution of copyrighted music. You can use Creative Commons music for free by giving an attribution to the creator of the piece.

If you have just started out creating videos for your business, then I would suggest that you go for Creative Commons music and provide attribution for it in your video. You will find some high quality Creative Commons music in the resources mentioned above. When you have the budget you can pay for the license and use it without any attribution.

Background music is the soul of your brand videos. It plays a critical role in the success of a your video marketing campaigns. Choose the right one, it will surely help you to leave a lasting impression in the hearts and minds of your audience.

Source: http://justcreative.com



10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails

This article was contributed by Kevin George.

Emails are constantly evolving. What began as an interdepartmental communication channel is now a vital marketing tool to reach the masses. Unlike a social post which is lost in a sea of updates, your emails reach your subscribers’ inbox, ready to be opened and read.

But the steps every email goes through are almost similar. Your subscriber receives your email, opens it, spends roughly 8 seconds to go through it, decides to either respond or move to the next email and repeats the same steps. Every email marketer struggles to make their emails interesting enough for their subscriber to spend more time and this increased time spent can be really pivotal in converting them into customers.

To make any email engaging, you have two options:

  • Make your email content engaging
  • Make, how your email content is presented, engaging

Email marketers have been using best practices and experimenting with email elements such as layouts, colors, email copy, visually appealing hero images, since long. Now, what if we tweaked the method of presenting the above-stated email elements so that your subscribers interact with your emails to unfold the message?

See here for the anatomy of the perfect email and how to use personalization in email.

Carter Dr.-Marten

Would you like to remind your subscriber about limited sale via text (a) or have a countdown timer (b) in your emails?

Presenting Interactivity in Emails…

Ever since the amalgamation of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) into HTML emails, the scope for including keyframe animation in emails became possible. Using keyframe, any specific element from an email can be moved, expanded, reduced, flipped, etc. The end result is super amazing elements that change according to the user interactions.

We shall look into some of the interactive email elements that are being included by brands to make their emails STAND OUT. With some minor exceptions, the below stated interactive email elements are supported well in most of the widely used email clients.

Countdown Timer

Countdown, in any form, triggers the fear of missing out in the minds of the reader. Leveraging this sense of urgency, email marketers use countdown timers in their sale promotion/ announcement By using CSS, you can enable the timer to countdown from the time the email was opened to the deadline time. Unfortunately, this is currently only supported in Apple devices and Thunderbird, but fortunately for the non-supporting email clients, a GIF of the countdown timer can be a good fallback option.

The E-commerce industry can use countdown timers to depict the expiry of an ongoing offer or even for the abandoned products in the cart.

Dr.-Marten

In the above example, the countdown is right in the first fold. 

Scope of Application:

  • Ecommerce sites can create ‘limited period’ urgency while offering discounts on different products and in their cart abandonment emails.
  • Attendees to an event can be sent reminder by event companies
  • Automobile industry can send emails to enthusiasts with a countdown before the launch of a new car model.

Navigation Menu

Most of the brands now feature a navigation menu in the header or footer of the email. But when the email is opened on a mobile device, the content stacks up to make the email unintentionally long. This can be overcome by hiding the navigation menu within a collapsible menu so that only those interested can click on it. Moreover, the navigation when placed at the footer, shall not force the email content to shift down, as with the case in the navigation menu on the top.

This is compatible currently on Android native and Apple’s Native email clients.

Nike

As you can observe, in the above email the mobile layout features the navigation menu at the bottom

Scope of Application:

  • Links to extensive tour options can be offered by brands in Travel and hospitality services, neatly tucked behind menus within emails.
  • E-commerce websites can provide links to different product sections to showcase new product launches, recommendations and cross selling within the navigation menu.

Rotating Banner

When you need to showcase different products or variation of the same product, stacking them into columns is not a very wise decision in terms of email length. In such cases, integrating all the images into a rotating banner can be really helpful. Rotating banners automatically loop between different images, separated by a preset time interval – one image at a time. This doesn’t require any manual input from the user’s end and it keeps on running in a loop, being especially helpful when viewing on mobile devices.

Rei Ghost - Carousel

Adventure Gear retailer REI’s email features a rotating banner at email header explaining their featured product

Scope of Application:

  • Tour and travel companies can showcase various tour packages in limited space.
  • Academic and educational institutes can have a slideshow of their awards and achievements.

Sliders

Counterpart of rotating banners, sliders perform a similar function but the only difference is that in sliders the subscribers can rotate the banner in either direction, based on their interaction. Moreover, you can have separate CTA buttons for individual frames to help monitor user interactions.
Nest Slider

Home Automation Nest email features the slider showcasing their products.

Scope of Application:

  • Technological companies can display their products/services offerings, customer feedbacks, etc. through a slider.
  • Retailers can show all their newly launched products in one email, courtesy sliders in email.

Scratch & Flip Effect

For a dramatic effect, coupon codes in emails can be hidden behind a silver strip that a subscriber needs to virtually scratch or click in order to reveal. This is helpful in creating a sense of mystery and raises the subscriber’s curiosity level.

In desktop, both effects will work well in Apple Mail & Thunderbird; in mobile devices, it will work in native apps only.

Email-Flip-New

EmailMonks have implemented a flip in their email for Easter offer

Scope of Application:

  • E-commerce websites can create some drama by sending a coupon code that is revealed by a scratch effect and flip-flop a product’s image and information.
  • For a research company, providing stats and a brief about a research can be done successfully through a flip effect.

Accordion Effect

You can reduce the overall email length by hiding the email content behind tabs. When the subscriber clicks a tab, the content expands and any other tab shall get collapsed automatically. Really helpful when you need to share secondary information on a single product that’ll remain hidden until tapped. Although supported in desktop clients, its applications are best enjoyed in emails opened in mobile devices.

Accordion

In the above email, the content is neatly stacked into tabs when viewed in the mobile layout

Scope of Application:

  • Publishers and bloggers can implement accordion to accommodate more content in their email newsletter.
  • eCommerce retailers can provide secondary information about a product that’ll remain hidden until tapped.

Integrated Forms

Integrated Forms

Instead of redirecting your subscribers to a landing page, you can embed in-line forms within your emails for lead generation purposes. By having an integrated form in email, you increase the form filling efficiency manifold. But what needs to be noted is that only Text box, Paragraph, Checkboxes, and Radio Buttons are supported currently.

These come very handy when you need to conduct surveys or collect feedbacks. The data collected in the form field can be redirected to any search engine or your website database to enable search right from your email.

Scope of Application:

  • E-commerce websites, in their post purchase email, can add a form in which the customer can review the product.
  • Restaurant owners can send promotional emails to get subscribers for filling form to process the specific order or for reviewing their experiences.

Tooltips

Tooltips

Similar to the tooltips you encounter on websites and desktop applications, you can integrate a tooltip within an email. This can be really helpful for e-commerce emails, where subscribers can get additional information about a specific product by clicking or tapping on the overlay. Combined with embedded forms in emails, it can be used to provide helpful information.

Scope of Application:

  • Apparel and retail stores can show elaborate information on their products when the user clicks on the tooltip box.
  • Tourism companies can share the details about amazing destinations with related package details displayed on correct word.

Video

The most engaging content since the popularity of Youtube and Snapchat, you can even include a video that is embedded in the email. Upon user interaction, the video can play right inside the email. Currently supported in Apple devices, Outlook for Mac and Android native clients.

In the above email, Eurostar has added a rotating banner using GIF as well as an embedded video right in their email.

Wrapping Up

Email marketing still manages to bring the highest ROI, and innovations such as these interactive elements, keep email at the top as the preferred marketing tool by most marketers. Moreover, those with non-supporting email clients are not left in the dark since all the above interactive emails designs come bundled with appropriate fallbacks in order to not ruin the user experience.

Have you ever received or sent any interactive email? Share your experience in the comments below.

About the author: Kevin, the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks – one of the fastest growing Email design and coding companies, specializes in crafting beautiful email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free master email templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. 

Source: http://justcreative.com



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Source: http://justcreative.com



6 Tips for Selecting a Great Freelance Designer

This article was contributed by Nicole Letendre.

Finding a great freelance designer can seem like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: You never know what you’re going to get.

It doesn’t have to be that way. With some self-education, a little research, and a clear idea of your needs, you can find the perfect graphic designer for your project.

You see the efforts of graphic designers all around you. If you notice a design or style that speaks to you, prepare to share it as you search for your freelancer. It can start the conversation rolling for both of you to learn more about the other. You are looking for a partner to help your business succeed; the better you understand and communicate with each other, the more smoothly your project will run.

How to choose the right designer

Here are 6 six tips for selecting a great freelance designer, before you begin your search.

  1. Determine project needs
  2. Determine required skills
  3. Determine budget
  4. Do your research
  5. Interview your shortlist
  6. Understand the contract

Tip 1: Determine Project Needs

Designer Wall

Develop a creative brief to show freelancers under consideration. The creative brief should contain information that will help designers understand the project and whether they have the pertinent skills at their disposal.

In your creative brief, include the following:

  • Details about your company: what you do or sell, your culture, and your mission
  • The objective of the project
  • Specific qualifications and skills required
  • The project deadline
  • Any potential obstacles

It’s easy to forget that freelancers won’t have the same depth of knowledge or sense of your business as you do. Providing this information at the beginning will keep both you and the freelancer from wasting time on a project that isn’t a good fit or that does not fit into your schedules.

Tip 2: Determine Required Skills

Graphic designers have many applications to select from when building their designs. If you have a reason for requiring a specific application, such as Adobe Illustrator or Visual Design, make sure your candidates have experience with those tools. Get to know their expertise, specialisations and what they can offer you.

Will you provide stock images for designers to work from or do you require them to take photos to integrate into the design? Some graphic designers have preferred image sources or can help you locate appropriate resources.

For logo design, make sure the designer can provide the design in fully scalable vector format to ensure image quality across mediums and size variations.

Tip 3: Determine Budget

How much should you budget and how much can you budget? There is little in the way of standard pricing between designers, but you should be able to find someone in your price range. Many designers will negotiate their listed prices in return for consistent and ongoing work.

On the other hand, don’t stint. You get what you pay for, and this is an investment in your business. Treat it as such. Good design performs well into the future as a critical marketing tool in today’s business environment.

Be flexible in your payment options. Paypal is a popular method for freelancers as are some other payment applications. Cover the logistics of payment to set expectations of when payment is expected and what form it will take.

Tip 4: Do Your Research

Sketching

An important part of identifying candidates is looking at their portfolios. Use the opportunity to look at their versatility and creativity.

  • Development of a concept across various media and platforms
  • Optimal formatting of print advertising, video, and web pages
  • Use of the latest web coding protocols and the ability to test a web page across multiple browsers and mobile devices for proper display

Looking over their portfolios can help you understand how each designer works creatively and whether it will complement your ideas and sensibilities. Do the graphic elements used in their portfolio designs mesh pleasingly? Does the designer pay attention to detail and demonstrate stylistic and visual integrity?

As you consider various styles and designs, be open to something edgier than usual; it can make your images and logos last longer before being refreshed in the future. If you can find a designer with some experience in your industry, it will reduce the learning curve and allow the designer to connect with your ideal customers more easily.

Tip 5: Interview Your Short List

Designer Interview

Assemble a short list of the graphic designers that most closely match your needs and who have indicated interest in your project if you received responses to a creative brief. If you can, interview in person or via video chat so you can get a better sense of the person and how you both communicate.

Video chat and screen sharing also give you a chance to share images and sketches more interactively. You get a better idea of how it is to work with each designer, an important consideration if you want a long term partnership.

  • If the designer persists in using jargon you don’t understand, the behavior will probably continue. If you don’t understand what the designer is communicating, you will be frustrated throughout your relationship.
  • The designer should be deeply interested in your business and will dive deep to learn your needs.
  • Language comprehension is another important element in successfully communicating and collaborating on design.

Ask them about the inspiration for specific parts of their designs; learn why they made particular choices. Discuss different brands, websites, books, or artists that inspire their work. Their key motivations will give you a sense of their style and may uncover more ideas or unique design elements for your project.

Professional affiliations may play a role in how a designer performs. Some organizations require their members to follow specific ethical standards regarding trademarks and copyright infringement. Also, ask for references and follow through by contacting those references. You need to know if the designer you are considering conducts himself or herself professionally, hits deadlines, and is easy to work with.

If you decide to ask for a small trial project, make sure to pay the designer for the time and effort. Never ask for free work from any creative professional; after all, you would expect to be paid for any of your products or services.

Tip 6: Understand the Contract

Contract

If the graphic designer has a contract, read it and make sure you understand everything it says. If the designer does not have a contract, you should write one yourself. A contract can stave off unpleasant surprises including additional expenses and scope creep. You want transparency in all your business dealings. AIGA provides a contract for free here.

Ask if the timeline and budget you are proposing are reasonable. Also, understand who retains ownership of the work.

The graphic design for your marketing, packaging, and website is the first impression your target audience has of your company. Invest in a designer who performs quality work to the highest standards. Hiring an amateur may sound like a recipe for saving money, but if the design of your website or logo looks cheap, your company will look cheap.

You dress your best when meeting with a client; dress your sales collateral, logo, and website in its best for the public to see.

Do you have any further advice for choosing the right designer?

Source: http://justcreative.com



10 Design Principles That Will Dramatically Boost User Experience

This article was contributed HubMonks.

A strong user experience (UX) is instrumental in your online marketing success. Increased engagement results into increased leads, which translates into greater revenue.

In this article we will specifically dissect the design principles that influence the extent to which your web page performs for users.

Page Objectives

 

It is not enough to say that you want an excellent website with a good user experience. See the difference between UX and UI here. It is vital to define what your visitors and your business should achieve from the web page. It should be understood that your goals and the audience’s goals may differ. Your visitors’ goals are about finding information or getting a downloadable eBook, while your goals may include increasing engagement, form fill-ups or downloads. The trick is to strike a balance to create a win-win situation for both users and your business. Your goals should help you in establishing the following:

  • Who the target audience are?
  • How to craft effective content?
  • How to organize the website?
  • How to measure the effectiveness of the website?

In order to understand marketers’ vision it is important to have the key team-members of the design team while discussing online goals in an organization.

User Journey Mapping

User-journey mapping is a visual or a graphical representation of the overall storytelling from the user’s first touch point with your organization, to building a perspective around your service or product or brand, and communicates with them through various mediums. This process is very narrative in nature and requires a text-based approach to describe the nuances of the customer experience.

The story is told from the customer’s perspective, but also lays importance on the important intersections between user expectations and business requirements. Here are the key points that you will have to include in user journey mapping

  • Visual demonstration of the journey.
  • Understand user behaviour on the existing website analytics.
  • Understand the interactive elements that will help them achieve their goals.

Visual Hierarchy

Source: http://edgemm.com

The above picture clearly defines the purpose of visual hierarchy. Visual hierarchy covers almost all the considerations of design; however it tends to give importance to the vital elements of your web page where you want to draw the user’s attention. A robust visual hierarchy also groups similar elements and organize them into meaningful patterns to carry an effective communication process with the viewer. How does a designer actually create a good visual hierarchy? Well, they just need to look for that in their inventory! Here are the key components:

  • Size: Using size as a hierarchal tool is a great way to guide them to the key components of your web page.
  • Colour: Colour is a great organizer and also infuses personality. Bold and contrasting colors will demand attention.
  • Contrast: When audience see something on the web page that is a deviation from the others, they want to know more about it. You could differentiate an important part of the page from the core content of the page with the help of contrasting colors.
  • Proximity: If there are multiple sections in a web page, how you place related objects of a section is what defines a good proximity. It helps in clearly associating similar content.
  • Density and Whitespace: When you populate a section of the webpage densely, it looks unfavourable in terms of UX. Similarly, keeping too much space between elements will break the link. So, the elements need to be placed and separated with whitespace to differentiate which elements are related and which aren’t. 

F-Pattern Scanning

Visual signs in text such as headings, sections, bolding help users take shortcuts while scanning through the web page and they don’t need to read everything. When they don’t find these signals, they are left to help themselves. Users create their short while scanning the web page and make out if they would like to engage or not. According to this study by Nielsen Norman Group, the pattern of this scanning behaviour forms the shape of the letter “F.”

Source: Monsoon Consulting

If you want to ensure that your users’ attention is drawn towards the most important elements of the web page (Calls-to-action, forms, images, videos), it is highly recommended to follow an F pattern and place your elements accordingly. 

Responsive Design

Responsive design is like a jigsaw puzzle! Responsive web design requires movement of various elements of the page that changes the initial design. Organizing elements to fit could be a great challenge with responsive design as larger pages and their elements will have to shrink to fit on narrow platforms for a mobile phone or tablet. We have listed some vital considerations below:

  • Consider a mobile-first strategy.
  • Include a hamburger collapsible menu (or similar) in case of multiple items.
  • Optimize image for all the types of devices (desktop, smartphones, tablets).
  • Optimize the content for mobile devices as the content for desktop will occupy too much space.
  • Check the loading speed once the pages are live and check if certain design components are reducing the load speed.
  • Implement Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) that is meant to optimize the content load time on mobile phones.

Calls-to-action

Calls-to-action play a vital role in boosting your website conversions. A single call-to-action is empowered with the responsibility to attract attention and later get clicked on. These two factors will race your website towards a high ROI. So, what are the key principles of a call-to-action that designers need to consider?

  • Size: Decide the size of the call-to-action by ensuring that it gets noticed amongst the other elements of the web page. If the call-to-action button should be placed below a form, the size should be equal to that of the fields of that form.
  • Text: If the marketer has decided on the text for various pages and sections, they should be communicated with the designers with the copy. This will help them in determining the ideal size.
  • Colour: Colour plays 70% of the role in attracting the viewers’ attention. Ensure that it stands out from the rest of the section by smart usage of colours.
  • Button Shape: If there are various sections and smaller objects in a single webpage, how smartly you define a button by carving its shape is important. Ensure that the shape stands out from the rest of the objects.
  • A/B Testing: The best practice to gauge effectiveness of a call-to-action is by creating different variants of colour, text, and fonts. Monitor which CTAs are more successful. At HubMonks we insert the CTA from the HubSpot marketing tool for all our HubSpot COS web development projects so that clients are able to measure the button’s performance. 

Forms

There is a huge difference between forms and advanced forms that boost UX. Even forms have various design principles that help users understand its hierarchy and helps designers utilize less space with all the important fields included.

  • Label alignment helps users identify the field with its corresponding label. Proper alignment also consumes less space that ultimately boosts the psychological factor to get form-fills.
  • Placeholder text is a great innovation in forms, wherein the user is able to see the label inside the field which disappears once the user brings the cursor on the box.

Cognitive Load

 

Cognitive load in web design refers to the amount of thought process a person has to give while they are engaged in the buyer’s journey. The cognitive load theory is differentiated in two types for user experience:

  • Intrinsic cognitive load: It refers to minimal usage of copy so that the user is not hampered from completing a specific task on the web page.
  • Germane cognitive load: It refers to the effort devoted to process information and how user understands the pattern of the information by mentally organizing categories of information and any relationship among them.

Hick’s Law

Source: My Site Auditor

Designers could explain this law to the marketers so that users are not overwhelmed with too much information or options. Hick’s Law tells us that the time taken by a person to make a decision depends upon the number of choices available to him or her. See here for more psychology principles.

Interaction Design

Source: colossom.com

Interaction design is dedicated to creating engaging interfaces with prediction about the user behaviour. It is essential to know how users and technology communicate with each other. Here are some questions that you should consider when designing for the best interaction:

  • How users can interact? Which parts of the website will be interacted by the user with mouse, finger, or stylus?
  • Which clues will make it easier for the users to interact? The colour, size, shape, text will differentiate the objects and helps users in understanding these interactive points.
  • Is information chunked into seven items at a time? Users tend to keep only five-nine items in their short term memory.
  • Are various sections of the website differentiated with the help of edges and corners? Elements like menus need to be differentiated by these design considerations. Moreover, they form a boundary stating that the finger or the mouse cannot be moved beyond that boundary.

Conclusion

The whole concept of user experience is centered around having a clear understanding of the targeted users, their needs, their values, abilities, and their limitations. It takes into account your business goals and objectives. The best practices of UX works towards promoting the quality of how the user interacts with your website and the perceptions of the product and all related services.

When you are running a marketing campaign, you tend to pull interested prospects and make them a part of your marketing funnel. At every point of this funnel, your users need guidance to move smoothly towards their journey with your organization. The points discussed in this article will help you create an exceptional user experience that helps them achieve their goals and boost your business initiatives.

Dev is the Head of Marketing at HubMonks, a HubSpot content optimization system (COS) partner for major inbound marketing agencies and brands. You can contact him on Facebook and Twitter. Top photo by PhotoSpin.

Source: http://justcreative.com



New Illustrated Lettering Class with Gemma O’Brien

Fellow Aussie, Gemma O’Brien (aka MrsEaves), is a talented award-winning artist who I started following a few years back when I saw her speak at a design conference. She creates incredible, envy producing lettering, illustration and typographic work.

The good news is that she has just released a brand new Skillshare lettering class.

In the class, you’ll create an intricate, illustrated letterform — and level up your skills with new creative approaches to typography, drawing, digital layout, and more.

Every lesson breaks down her step-by-step approach, while also sharing illustration and composition techniques you can add to your personal repertoire and bring to projects of your own.

All are invited to join this class and flex their creativity. Whether you’re new to illustration and looking for a weekend project, or a seasoned artist aiming to create a complex piece, you’ll gain insights and skills for use again and again.

Once you dive in to Gemma’s creative lettering, you’ll never look at illustration the same way again.

2 Free Months of Skillshare Premium!

Get unlimited access to this premium class and 17,000+ more with Skillshare Premium. .

» Get started for free

Source: http://justcreative.com



Designing a Great Logo: Tips & Mistakes to Avoid

This article was contributed by Krzysztof Gilowski.

Although the recipe for a perfect logo does not exist, the knowledge of the features that distinguish legendary designs from the average ones, will allow you to get closer to greatness.

In this article you will get to know the rules that underlie the designs of some of the most valuable brands in the world.

Recognizability is everything

The best logo designs communicate the whole brand image in no time. Lego embodies the joy of children playing with toys. The Mercedes’ logo expresses luxury with an elegant typeface and a geometric abstract symbol.

lego mercedes logo

The most famous logos have a story to tell and that makes them unique.

Simplicity is the key to success

Less is more

What do the  world’s most recognizable logos have in common? The McDonald’s “M”, Nike’s swoosh, or the Apple’s apple with a bite (or byte) taken out of it? They are all extremely simple.

“The only mandate in logo design is that they be distinctive, memorable and clear.”

-Paul Rand

A good logo is original, but it is not exaggerated. An extremely complex logotype will not make your brand look sophisticated. It will only mean that the designer did not understand the meaning of simplicity.

Versatility – saving your nerves and money

Adapting Logos

A logo should present itself well in every possible format: small and large; in black and white (positive / negative); vertically and horizontally. It must be equally effective displayed on a variety of media – smartphones, tablets, computer screens and printed advertising.

Make sure the logo is recognizable after reversing the colors and decreasing the size. Check out how it looks on a stamp and on a truck. Don’t be afraid to make different versions of your logo (aka responsive logos).

A good logo must be timeless

The most beautiful and effective logo is not based on the current trends in the market. These are timeless pieces of work. Their authors, thanks to their experience in design, can predict whether the logo will still be valid in 10, 20 or 50 years.

The BMW’s logo is an example of such a graphic sign. The original logo was designed in 1916 and has changed very little ever since. The style keeps being altered according to the era but the concept remains the same. See more logo evolutions here.

BMW Logo Evolution

6 rules followed by logo designers

  1. Start with black and white

Fitucci Custom Windows Doors Logo

In the early stages of the design the colors are of secondary importance. Moreover, they can draw people’s attention away from the logo itself. Most of the recognizable logos start with black and white drawings and sketches.

  1. Use three colors at most

Examples of valuable logos that would break this rule are rare. Do not try to make an exception here – reality shows that it does not pay off. Paradoxically, a timeless logo that would be memorable is very simple and minimal colors.

Use the right colors depending on the mood you want to create. Learn color psychology.

Color in Logos

  1. Use one or two fonts

To keep your logo clear and transparent, you may want to limit your design to one or two types of fonts. Depending on the nature of your business, use fonts with sharp or soft lines. See here for great font combinations.

  1. Choose practicality over originality

Your logo has to be easily remembered. Accept the principle that a graphic design should be easy to describe on the phone.

A good logo should be easy to describe on the phone.

Something that will stay in someone’s memory should not be very complicated. Always choose practicality over originality.

Below you can see a case study of 1500 people attempting to draw logos from memory. It’s difficult!

Hand drawn logos from memory

  1. Avoid unnecessary details

Remove anything that is unnecessary from your design. The ideal logo is not the one that cannot have anything added to it. The best one is the one that cannot have a single element removed from it.

  1. Do not use ready-made graphics

Under no circumstances, create a logo with ready-made items (stock graphics, cliparts, pre-made designs). Creating your logo from ready-made templates and pictures makes your logo non-unique and replicable. Not to mention that a part of your logo may be legally used in your competitors’ graphics.

Stock Logos No

4 major characteristics of projects that lack professionalism

If you are looking for a logo design, the following tips will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your designer’s work.

  1. Materials full of defects

The files with logo designs that you receive from your designer should not contain any technical imperfections. The curves should not overlap and should be as smooth as possible and the nodal points should be minimized. If the logo is symmetrical, then the symmetry should be perfect such as below.

Remember that the presentation of a logotype in a different scale, such as zooming and placing it on a truck, will expose all of its possible errors and defects.

Below is a logo by that has been designed by Jeroen van Eerden with a grid system to avoid these defects.

Zen Logo

  1. Monogram as a starting point

An inexperienced designer often cannot resist the temptation to create a logo based on the company’s initials (for example, the name “Great Company” would create the logo form ‘G’ and ‘C’).

While this seems like a good idea, it’s hard to build company’s credibility or convey branding information with that kind of logo. It’s quite common in the fashion industry although they have huge marketing budgets. Monograms do not work for all industries.

Monogram Logos

  1. Shortening the name to acronym

It is often a mistake to try to shorten the name of a new company to acronym size. Yes, this is an effective strategy, as demonstrated by the IBM’s, KFC’s, or AOL’s logos. However, the names of these companies became acronyms only after many years of market presence and costly exposure.

  1. Using graphics programs does not guarantee quality

A logo created in Photoshop or Gimp may not be usable when you want to engrave it or significantly enlarge it. A professional logo should look just as good on different devices, but a raster logo (presenting the image with a pixel grid) does not assure that effect.

A vector logo (which defines points mathematically) created in software such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw will provide appropriate image reproduction on any scale – without the loss of quality.

Do you have any further logo design tips or mistakes to avoid?

About the author: Krzysztof Gilowski is CEO at Juicy – a company that creates memorable brands for small companies. Check out their guide on designing a restaurant logo on their blog.

Source: http://justcreative.com



20 Famous Animated Logos for Your Inspiration

This article was contributed by Anil Parmar.

Looking for logo animation ideas? You’ve come to the right place.

Animated logos have the power to draw attention and communicate messages in ways that a static logo can not. Get inspired by these 20 famous animated logo designs.

Amazon

Amazon Logo Animation

The Amazon logo not only delivers a smile but it also depicts that they sell everything from A to Z.

Takeaway

Define the services you provide in the logo itself.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox Logo Animation

The well-known browser shows a fiery fox encircling the earth conveying its global reach around the entire world. The fox represents the blazing speed of the browser.

Takeaway

Convey your brand’s values within the logo. eg. speed

Google

Google Logo Animation

This name needs no introduction. The animation demonstrates the Google Speak Now functionality in the brand’s colors.

Takeaway

Use color and motion to convey your brand in its simplest form.

Intel

Intel Logo Animation

Intel is the world’s best commercial microprocessor chip making company. The logo conveys this, showing that it makes processors for tablets, computers and mobile phones.

Takeaway

Make your animation show your unique selling point, such as Intel’s chips.

Burger-King

Burger King Logo Animation

The Burger King logo is animated in piece by piece, in a 3D manner.

Takeaway

Consider giving dimension to your logo animation.

FedEx

FedEx Logo Animation

A well known courier delivery service uses the arrow for demonstrating its service.

Takeaway

Use your logo’s key feature / negative space to convey motion.

Hype Film

Hype Logo Animation

Hype film is a production company and camera film revolves around a loudspeaker to spell HYPE.

Takeaway

Don’t be afraid to add new elements to the logo animation sequence such as how HYPE uses film to build their loudspeaker.

Pixate

Pixate Logo Animation 

Pixate runs mobile app prototypes and the black background with four colorful leaves shows the creative side of the app.

Takeaway

Speed is crucial in animation, making for a smooth animation.

Nat Geo

National Geographic Logo Animation

The National Geographic’s famous yellow border is broken up and brought in piece by piece.

Takeaway

Don’t be afraid to split your logo into separate pieces for the animation.

Mail Chimp Snap

Mailchimp Snap Logo Animation

Send simple email newsletters from your mobile. (now discontinued)

Takeaway

Build your logo up, with dimension.

Fanta

Fanta Animated Logo

The bubbly fun nature of the type and orange circle shape is brought to life with animation.

Takeaway

Use your logo’s key attritbutes for the animation such as the type and orange circle in this case.

Uber

Uber Animated Logo

Building on the line ways points of a map, it creates a nice sequence to reveal the logo.

Takeaway

Use elements from your app or brand for the animation.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

The professional network connects business people all over the world, which is conveyed by the bouncy man and case.

Takeaway

Business can also be fun!

Instagram

Instagram Animated Logo

The photo sharing app owned by Facebook combines the traditional camera and polaroid to form their text based logo.

Takeaway

Illustrate your brand’s key features and then the logo itself.

Vimeo

Vimeo Animated Logo

Vimeo’s video sharing platform uses video buttons such as play, pause to illustrate their service.

Takeaway

Make the logo functional and leave subtle hints to the brand.

Master Card

Mastercard Animated Logo

Mastercard illustrate’s its multifaceted uses such as experiences, travel and food. Priceless.

Takeaway

Show how diverse your product is by illustrating various elements.

Dell

Dell Animated Logo

Dell’s high-performance laptops  and PCS are illustrated by 4 icons coming together. The ultimate collaboration of security, handling documents, analytics and cloud storage.

Takeaway

Depict the most effective characteristics of the product you supply to your customers.

Spotify

Spotify Animated Logo

Get instant access to millions of songs with Spotify.

Takeaway

Pick the logical part from the service/product and give it motion.

Pinterest

Pinterest Animated Logo

The logo in the animation shows a pin / P followed by written text ‘Pinterest’, a platform to discover information globally, by images.

Takeaway

A single symbol can show the entire motive of the brand and its identity.

Flickr

Flickr is one of the most significant platforms for sharing videos and photos. The logo conveys a world of creativity and inspiration.

Takeaway

A simple idea is often the most effective. Two dots can evolve into something so large!

Nike

Nike Animated Logo

The Nike Swoosh animated with bright vivid paint, highlighting the active nature of the swoosh.

Takeaway

If your logo already has motion, use it to its advantage.

Do you have any other favorite famous animated logos? Let us know!

Anil Parmar is the co-founder of Glorywebs that aims to help clients with professional web design services, app design & development, digital marketing and more. Find him on Twitter @abparmar99.

Source: http://justcreative.com



Logo Wave Awards International: Open for Entires

Want more logo design & branding gigs?

Need to attract more qualified design clients so you can land those $2k, $5k, $20k logo identity and branding projects?

If you’re anything like me, I’m always finding ways to up my value to potential clients.

But to add value, you need to establish credibility and trust.

And the way to do this, is by gaining recognition.

So if you want to add “Award-Winning” to your title and win more design projects, I’ve got the answer…

» Logo Wave Awards International

Did I mention you can win $1000 + a crystal trophy?

Awards Reinvented

How does Logo Wave work?

With Logo Wave, you simply upload your best logos into the latest “wave” consisting of 25-50 other designers. Then the judges pick the winners!

I’m part of the judges panel, along with David Airey, Bill Gardner (LogoLounge), Kyle Courtright, Nadir Balcikli and Ian Paget.

LogoWave Judges

What do you win?

The 1st place winner from each wave receives $1,000.00 cash, a crystal engraved trophy, official certificate, digital badge set and recognition on the site & social media. The top 5 winners will receive all of the above, minus the $1k and trophy.

Crystal Award

Enter Logo Wave Awards Today

Entries are just $49 (one of the cheapest in the industry), but unlike traditional design awards sites, there aren’t specific entry dates. Once they hit that 50 designer (max) threshold, then a new wave begins right away–just like waves in the ocean, it’s continuous in nature.

» Enter your logos today before this wave washes to shore!

Good luck!

Source: http://justcreative.com



25 Brands to Follow for Visual Content Marketing Inspiration

Content is king. You’ve probably heard this phrase so many times that it has now been engraved in your memory.

We all know content is important, that it drives loyalty, engagement and trust, and that it is among the most clear indications of a company’s expertise. But content marketing is still rarely associated with design.

Rarely do we see a designer being praised for content, as it is the meaning and message that matter most. Texts and carefully crafted, punchy social media posts are the two most widespread content types online. They are written, edited and published on the web for the public to read and learn from. However, everything we create, regardless of whether it’s a visual or auditory asset, is also an experience. And in creating an experience, design supports content as much as content supports design. From infographics and white papers to gifs, memes and blog post images, design attracts the eyes of the audience and helps get the point across. So if companies want to drive engagement, they need to create a perfect balance between the message and the aesthetics.

Designers as visionaries of brand should drive the content marketing process and ensure it is aligned with the brand vision. Some brands are still struggling with the idea, making their social media feeds look like a collection of unrelated images. Others have perfected the craft to such an extent that we keep coming back for more content, even when there is nothing new to learn.

Here are 25 brands that are currently winning at the visual content marketing game:

  1. Animated GIFs – Netflix

Netflix

Despite having a myriad of shows on the channel, Netflix maintains its brand colors across all Facebook posts – they are dark, blurry and mysterious. The animated GIFs on their Facebook page deserve special praise, as they express a sense of wonder, tell the story and bring you right into the heart of the Netflix universe.

  1. Color splashes and undertones – Lufthansa

Scroll through the Lufthansa Facebook page and pay attention to the overarching color scheme. You will notice that the brand’s signature gold color can be found in almost every photo, content piece or graphic. Even when the photo is unrelated to the brand’s promotions, Lufthansa still incorporates a bit of gold into the picture.

  1. Big fonts and atmospheric imagery – Equinox

Equinox

When it comes to content formats we’re often restricted by the social network rules. You can’t post custom size images, you can’t create a new page layout and you can’t change the background. So how do you stand out from the crowd? Equinox created videos that adhere to the usual Facebook square dimensions, only they allowed for lots of white space and decided to fit the message within a tiny, cropped frame. With this approach their content defies all creative boundaries and catches the public’s attention.

  1. The power of sharing and individual tastes combined – Starbucks

Combine the social connotations of coffee, pretty packaging and knowledge of the most important calendar dates and you can get an Instagram feed that rivals Starbucks. The lesson here can be summed up as, “showcase the product but make it a part of the bigger story”.

  1. Creating a sense of abundance – Whole Foods

Whole Foods

Creatives at Whole Foods know how to create a feeling of abundance. Their images feature lots of products, their signature green color and create a rustic, farm-like atmosphere. Abundance leads to positive emotions and that’s why the brand is so appealing.

  1. Focus on characters and the story – National Geographic

Another skillful storyteller, National Geographic features close-up shots of people, animals and historic buildings. These are not just stunning photos from professional photographers – the pictures create a feeling of presence, evoke curiosity and compel users to read the captions.

  1. Calmness through color and relatable illustration – Headspace

Headspace

How to do you convey mindfulness visually? By taking funny characters, a fascinating narrative, neutral pale colors and rounded shapes to create animated videos and graphics that pull you from the hectic pace of life back to the present moment.

  1. Outsource content from the community – GoPro

GoPro is the pioneer of outsourced content. The brand is known for creating a community of adventure lovers first and then convincing them that a GoPro is a staple accessory. The brand follows the same community building principles in its Instagram feed and features content sourced from fans and professional athletes.

  1. Asymmetrical layouts and playful fonts -Reformation

Reformation

Reformation is killing it in the content creation field. Their models shoulder dance, use expressive gestures, roll their eyes and are captured in all the different poses that are anything but conventional. This playful attitude is also reflected in graphics.

  1. Rounded shapes – Warby Parker

Warby Parker

Are you using signature shapes or patterns in your branding? Look for similar shapes in your surrounding context as well. Chances are you will find some inspiration to base your content on. Check out how Warby Parker used the solar eclipse to drive engagement.

  1. Powerful shots and slow motion – Roam

Roam

Celebrating the true spirit of adventure, Roam creates mind blowing videos featuring panoramic shots, aspirational characters and life risking experiences. Roam uses a combination of outsourced and internally produced content.

  1. United by the mascot theme – Trello

Trello

Instagram is rarely a priority channel for software brands due to its visual nature, but Trello makes it work with all the photos united by two central themes – they either feature the company’s mascot or show the perks of working in an awesome team.

  1. Wider perspective – Opera National De Paris

Panoramic shots broken down into instagrammable pieces are another trick used by brands to make content stand out. Opera National de Paris creates an aspirational story in which theater itself is the hero.

  1. Vintage posters – Shiseido

If you want to emphasize a brand’s historical and cultural background, there is no better way than to use images from the archives. Shiseido frequently posts Japanese posters, vintage graphics and mood boards. Surprisingly, you won’t see many product pictures. Instead of trying to sell the brand excessively, Shiseido chose to converse with its audience and that strategy seems to be paying off so far.

  1. Square cropped videos – Conde Nast Traveler

All content on Conde Nast Traveler’s page follow the same stylistic direction: they are minimal, with lots of white space. The brand also uses a lot of drone shots that add to its inspirational, almost dreamy image.

  1. Lifestyles in comparison – Airbnb

AirBnB

The staff at Airbnb quickly realized that if they don’t tap into the power of social, the platform will quickly become just another room renting service. First, they got us swooning over dreamlike tree houses in the jungle and magnificent igloos under the skies pierced by the Northern lights. Then they created #LoveThisLiveThere campaign, where they compare the lifestyles and sights of two different cities. Wouldn’t you be tempted by these photos, clearly showing that there is someone on the other side of the globe sharing the same passion?

  1. Words in pictures – Story

Not sure whether to tell the story with written text or visual cues? This brand uses both by showing us material things such as mugs, plates, books and walls featuring slogans.

  1. Showing life through the eyes of a character – MailChimp

Mailchimp

Among numerous useful blog posts on email automation, once in a while MailChimp throws in a custom image of its iconic monkey pictured in different settings. It shows that the brand doesn’t take itself too seriously. This simple trick also keeps the audience entertained while they familiarize themselves with data driven, educational content.

  1. A peek into a lifestyle – SaturdaysNYC

Fashion brands often fall victim to promotional content – their social media pages look like an ecommerce store. While it’s okay to use social media to drive sales, too much promotion and product driven content can drive people away. Instead, look at your fashion brand from a lifestyle point of view. Clothes, interiors, sport, hobbies can all be an inspiration for content.

  1. Mini comics – Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club

Illustrations are a great way to attract attention, but they are already quite ubiquitous. Dollar Shave Club uses comics instead. Comics are mini illustrated stories that convey the message in a cool, casual way, making them a perfect example of visually driven content marketing.

  1. Minimalism and white space – Tesla Motors

Looking to convey a premium image and show your craftsmanship skills? Then consider making your Instagram page look visually consistent and use lots of white space in your imagery. Tesla’s page is creative, original and is a feast for designer’s eyes.

  1. People centered content – Everlane

Everlane

Brands with socially charged missions can learn a lot from Everlane. Not only does the fashion brand challenge the traditional process of making designer clothes, but it also puts craftsmen at the center of its content strategy. Launched this July, the #FactoryFriday campaign features factory employees holding the shoes they’re making. The campaign makes the brand more personable and sparks user engagement.

  1. Product in action – Play-Doh

Have a great product that can be used in different creative ways? Teach, inspire and show people how to use the product by displaying the variety of possible creations and results. Play-Doh makes cute, little playdough figures and features them in its social media content.

  1. Geometrical shapes – Défoncé Chocolatier

Defonce Chocolatier

Nothing informs visually driven content better than the product shape. Défoncé Chocolatier is a brand of triangle shaped chocolate bars with a Californian twist. Look at how the brand uses various geometrical shapes in all their content: from the traditional triangle and rectangle to three dimensional rhombus and pyramid shapes, all of the brand’s content is informed by universal geometrical themes.

  1. Consistent color palette – Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger

Another brand that sticks to the same color palette. Tommy Hilfiger’s signature white, red and blue colors can be seen throughout its social media presence – in clothes, pictures, model lipstick, backgrounds and video filters.

Summary

Content marketing is an intricate playing field that gets more complex and competitive each year. Yet, it is still one of the most effective ways to create connections and attract a loyal following. Brands are constantly being challenged to come up with new, exciting ideas for content in order to stay relevant and break through the clutter of advertising noise. And designers, with their ability and skills to create visually appealing, engaging content, can play a major role in this process.

Source: http://justcreative.com




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