Friday, November 15, 2019

5 Fantastic Color Combinations for Your Next Design

Feeling blue?


Maybe it's the color of the room you're sitting in.


Color psychology is something that has fascinated people for decades. Artists and interior designers have long believed that colors can dramatically affect moods and emotions, and color marketing has become a hot topic in marketing, art, design, and print. As Pablo Picasso once remarked, "Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions."


Color is a powerful communication tool, so understanding it can help you signal action, sway the mood, and even influence psychological reactions. Want to give it a try? Here is a quick snapshot of color harmonies, including color combinations to try in your next poster, banner, or custom label.


The Best Ways to Create Balance


The color wheel consists of three primary colors (red, yellow, blue), three secondary colors (colors created when primary colors are mixed: green, orange, purple), and six tertiary colors (colors made from primary and secondary colors, such as blue-green or red-violet).


When you draw a line directly through the center of the color wheel, you will separate the warm colors from the cool colors.


Warm colors (reds, yellows, and oranges) are vivid and bold in nature and tend to advance forward when viewed. They communicate energy, brightness, and action. Cool colors (blues, greens, and purples) appear soothing by nature and typically make a space seem larger. Cool colors are often associated with nature, calmness, peace, or serenity.


When choosing your next color combination, remember that complementary colors (those opposite on the color wheel) provide sharp contrasts. This can make your imagery really pop, but are best when used sparingly.


To avoid overdoing things, remember complementary colors do not need to exist in equal parts. If you want to use purple and yellow, allow one color to dominate and add only a tiny bit of the other.


For a more subtle approach, use triadic colors in your design (those that are evenly spaced around the color wheel). Or use analogous colors (those next to each other on the color wheel). Here one color will dominate, and the other will provide a sophisticated accent.


Set the Mood with Five Gorgeous Blends


Ready to get started? Check out these gorgeous blends:


For a friendly, playful feel:


Try magenta, goldenrod, turquoise, and brick. This four-color combination brings zest, personality, and a friendly, exciting tone.


For a sophisticated yet energetic feel:


Try gold, charcoal, and grey. This perfect combination of sunshine and somberness offers a cheerful tone with a grounded, mature accent.


For an aged, natural tone:


Try tan, deep turquoise, and black. Against the more neutral base, turquoise leaps to the forefront to evoke creativity, life, and freedom. For a more serious feel, use turquoise sparingly and add touches of brown or deep orange.


For a contemporary, chic tone:


Try mauve, sapphire, and powder blue. The baby blue brings a gentleness, while the rich pink and deep blue highlights scream femininity.


For an invigorating, rustic feel:


Try pine green, burnt orange, and light peach. When you want to set your design apart, orange is guaranteed to stop traffic. Burnt orange offers a more distinguished feel than a pumpkin or neon orange hue, but it still gets the job done. The rich green offers a warm, natural accent, and light peach ties everything together perfectly.


Colors That Connect


Want to set the mood or connect with your core customers?


Whether you lean toward simple and sophisticated or edgy and eccentric, colors build emotional bridges like nothing else can. Bring that wow factor to your professional printings through beautiful, unforgettable color combinations.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

How Multi-Tasking Can Tank Your Productivity

For more than a decade, Dr. Daniel Simons and his colleagues studied a form of invisibility known as inattentional blindness.


In the best-known demonstration, Simons showed a video and asked people to count how many times basketball players in white shirts passed a ball. After 30 seconds, a woman in a gorilla suit sauntered into the scene, faced the camera, thumped her chest and walked away. Half the viewers missed her. In fact, some people looked right at the gorilla and did not see it.


That video was a sensation, so a 2010 sequel again featured the gorilla (as expected). This time, viewers were so focused on watching for the gorilla that they overlooked other unexpected events like the changing background color.


How could they miss something right before their eyes? Inattentional blindness. Humans consciously see only a small subset of our visual world, and when we focus on one thing, we overlook others.


The Statistics on Multi-Tasking


Most people are unaware of the limits of their attention, which can cause dangerous situations (like texting and driving).


What about multi-tasking at work? A majority of people spend time bouncing between calls, e-mails, and creative tasks, believing that this plate-spinning approach makes them more efficient.


But studies suggest that multi-tasking is a problem, not an asset. Data shows that multi-tasking causes you to make more mistakes, retain less information, and fragment brain function. Here's why.


Any time you need to pay attention, the prefrontal cortex of your brain begins working. Focusing on a single task means both sides of your prefrontal cortex are working together in harmony, but adding secondary tasks forces the left and right sides of the brain to operate independently. Scientists from the Paris Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) found that this "brain split" caused subjects to forget details and to make three times more mistakes.


Another study found that participants who multi-tasked during cognitive tasks experienced an IQ score decline similar to those who have stayed up all night. Some of the multi-tasking men had their IQ drop 15 points, leaving them with the average IQ of an 8-year-old child. That's some jaw-dropping data!


So how can you avoid the multi-tasking "trap?" Here are four suggestions:


Place Lower Priority Projects Out Sight


When juggling assignments at work, intentionally stop and place lower priority projects out of sight.


Mute notifications from your e-mail or phone, send calls to voicemail, or put a sign on your door saying you will not be available for the next __ minutes. Give full attention to one project at a time and your creativity and efficiency will increase.


Use Time-Blocking


Rather than bouncing between tasks, map out chunks of time for each project. Twenty-minute blocks are a great way to schedule your most valuable time slots.


Turn Off Your Phone


Keep your phone off the table during meetings and turned off during peak productivity sessions.


Log Off Email


Studies show that the average professional spends about 23 percent of their day in e-mail.


But an Irvine study found when employees were cut off from e-mail for five days, heart tracking monitors revealed a decrease in stress and an increase in mental endurance. Employees who switch screens less often minimize multi-tasking and work more efficiently.


Consider limiting availability with automatic-reply settings like this: "I am not available at this time but will be checking messages again at 2 p.m. For immediate assistance, contact ________."


Just Say No


The next time you're tempted to multi-task, just say NO! You may think you're getting more done, but you're probably wrong.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Expand Sales with Responsive Customer Surveys

Airbnb is one of the most iconic names for startup success in our generation, quickly becoming one of the world's fastest-growing companies with over 80 million reservations booked per year through their service.


A considerable part of Airbnb's marketing strategy includes its responsiveness to both customers and hosts. The company regularly surveys hosts and guests and makes this a priority in their business.


Why? Here's what Airbnb says:


"At the center of everything we do is community. Our community of hosts is what delivers magical travel to our community of guests. For more than ten years, we have worked to build this community, which now includes hosts in nearly 100,000 cities."


A typical Airbnb survey invite looks something like this:


Hi ____,


Thanks for using Airbnb. We really appreciate you choosing Airbnb for your travel plans.


To help us improve, we'd like to ask you a few questions about your experience so far. It only takes 3 minutes, and your answers will help us make Airbnb even better for you and other guests.


Thanks,


The Airbnb Team


Airbnb politely asks for customers' opinions after their stay, giving them the space to decide whether they want to share their feedback or not. In fact, Airbnb has increased the number of bookings by 25% with their referral program alone.


Companies like Airbnb recognize that surveys are a powerful way to:



  • Grow new sales opportunities

  • Recognize and help dissatisfied clients before they leave

  • Create deeper relationships with VIP customers

  • Build competitive advantages for a business

Six Tips for Building a Successful Survey


When it comes to customer success and satisfaction, your team must collect feedback about your product or service.


As you assess customer needs, you increase value for your company and validate strategic decisions that your leaders make.


Want to build more sustainability and growth into your business? Here are six tips for building a successful survey.


1. Keep it short and simple.


Concentrate on the 5-10 most important questions.


2. Avoid loaded questions.


Leading questions taint your survey because you tempt people to give answers they THINK you want to hear.


3. Start with basic questions that have straightforward answers.


This increases the confidence of the customer and encourages them to continue the survey (rather than abandoning the process). If open-ended questions are important to you, use them at the end of the questionnaire.


4. Avoid compounded questions.


Avoid grouping multiple questions together in one line, like: "Did you understand what the product did? Why or why not?" This increases your likelihood of gathering unclear data.


5. Target the right people.


Don't waste your time on people who are not prospects or target customers. The RIGHT data is much more important than a plethora of unhelpful feedback!


6. Include enough people.


To know how many people to send surveys to, take your sample size (how many responses you'd like to receive) and divide it by your estimated response rate.


For example, if you want a sample of 100 customers at an estimated response rate of 10%, you would divide 100 by .10 to find that your survey should be sent to 1000 customers.


A Customer-Centric Experience


Every product or service revolves around customers and their experiences.


Well-structured survey campaigns are well worth the time and expense they involve because they allow you to assess customer needs, provide effective solutions, and increase client retention. Start with the basics and build from there. Your business will thank you later!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

4 Modern Design Resources for Your Bag of Tricks

Looking for a few hacks to sharpen your designs?


By adding a few extra resources, the force of your talent can expand exponentially! And with new design tools being released regularly, the possibilities are limitless.


Everyone needs a few handy helps in their bag of trips. Check out these four modern design resources and up your game today!


Quick Design


Want to learn design?


Quick Design is a platform that lists free design courses available online. From 3D and animation to things like cryptocurrency and "ethical hacking," you can select free courses for design based on your skill as either a beginner or an expert. Step-by-step practical resources are available to a wide range of 3D, CAD software, and other industry-oriented specialists.


As an additional benefit, you can follow other designers of your interest, which can help in networking or creative brainstorming.


unDraw


For quality illustrations that you can embed in your design on a moment's notice, check out unDraw.


unDraw is an MIT licensed collection of quality open license images that can be dropped directly into your favorite design tool. These thoughtful, elegant, and functional SVG images can be downloaded and customized in three easy steps:



  • Browse or search to find illustrations you want to use for your design

  • Change the color to match your palette or through your asset colors later

  • Download the image to your clipboard and paste it wherever you want

unDraw images can be used for free in commercial or personal projects without worries, so drop some into your print pieces, mobile apps, or whatever you can create!


UI Sources


Inspiration regarding design "flow" can be hard to find.


Enter UI Sources.


Launched in 2018, UI Sources is a curated repository of motion design. To date, UI Sources catalogs around 500 interactions from apps that bring inspiration and strategic navigation options in everything from augmented reality, chatbots, in-app purchasing, and more.


UI Sources can help you with your own projects, giving you tools to analyze product flows and features and to get real design inspiration for your apps, web designs, or even big-picture schematic print designs. This resource is extensive and can be used by designers, developers, product packaging specialists, and entrepreneurs of all kinds.


Absurd Illustrations


What to play around a bit?


In a digital era, sometimes, we need to interact with something more human to make us appreciate both the beauty and the imperfection of something made by hand. Absurd.design is a project that comes with a set of downloadable, surrealist illustrations for articles, landing pages, marketing materials, and more.


High-quality images are available in a variety of formats. From here, you can craft a truly distinctive message with an illustration that's available only to you.


Improve Your Workflow


Each designer has their own personal list of "aha" tools.


Check out these four goodies and share the love with your colleagues too. You'll enjoy using them to increase efficiency and to dazzle your best clients!

Friday, November 1, 2019

How to Age Gracefully at Every Stage of Life

If people can age with class, Harlene Goodrich should be considered a maestro of maturity.


Goodrich, age 81, is a former schoolteacher who lives in Seal Beach, CA. Goodrich returned to school at age 50 to get her master's degree and has since published a children's book and won several playwriting contests. Despite serious back and knee surgery in the past decade, Goodrich didn't shrink back from traveling to Washington, D.C., at age 79 to participate in a national protest march.


Goodrich says that aging well means proactively beginning the process while you're still young by engaging with stimulating people and activities. This includes a healthy dose of humor. Recently, Goodrich gathered friends ages 65 to 83 and heard them complaining about aches and pains. She stopped the discussion and suggested they go around the table to give each woman five minutes to complain. That's when everyone broke out laughing.


A Healthful Approach


No one can stop time, so it's important to remember that aging isn't something to be avoided. Instead, aging healthfully should be your goal.


This includes taking stock of your physical, social, and mental wellness, and prioritizing health as you would invest in your vehicle maintenance. Want to age healthfully? Here are some checkpoints in each category.


Physical Health


Early identification of health problems makes them easier to manage, so prioritize regular check-ups and complete the recommended health screenings for your age group. Here is a medical schedule to help you best navigate these guidelines.


Exercise is also vital. It's estimated that physical functioning peaks around age 30, and at this point, you begin to lose muscle mass and function. Sedentary individuals can lose as much as 5% of their muscle mass each decade! However, you can maintain muscle through regular exercise, specifically strength or resistance training. Resistance training also strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. 


Social Health


Aging can sometimes feel lonely, so it's important to make new friends and widen your social circles.


How can you do this? Consider new hobbies, volunteer opportunities, or even classes at a nearby college. You can also expand connections by proactively befriending younger people. Intergenerational relationships can open doors for powerful mentoring opportunities while decreasing depression and helping you navigate changes in technology and culture. 


Mental Health


Cognitively speaking, mental development continues into middle adulthood.


Later in life, your cognitive processing speeds may slow, but wisdom and experience-based problem solving will continue to increase.


It's important to feed your mind and your soul to stay sharp mentally. This includes consistent sleep patterns, building new connections, and cultivating a sense of purpose. Practical steps may consist of caring for others (to maintain a positive outward focus), tackling puzzles or strategy games, using mental arithmetic instead of defaulting to a calculator, playing an instrument, and surrounding yourself with upbeat people.


Research shows that smiling, even a fake smile, can boost your mood. When you catch your reflection in the mirror or a window, smile at yourself, and you may be surprised at how it lifts your spirits. Smile at others, too; you might make their day!


Be a Participant in Your Journey


One of the essential things about aging is to do it proactively.


Often as people age, they feel isolated or embarrassed. And in today's connected generation, there's just no reason to shrink back from others. Aging healthfully means making a plan, asking for help, and being an active participant (versus a spectator) in your own life. That's Harlene's outlook:


"No one suddenly gets old," Goodrich said. "I think we're all on the path of life. I may be old in years, but I'm the same person who's been living the same life. The key is to participate in each stage along the way."