It’s tournament time once again! Of all the sports tournaments, the NCAA Tournament produces the one tried and true champion from the season. It’s a tournament that allows a #16 seed “cinderella story” the chance to win. And though it’s never happened in the men’s tournament, it’s the underdog’s dream tournament. So, with the excitement and madness of the season in mind, here’s a free printable bracket for you to download!
DOWNLOAD PRINTABLE PDF DOWNLOAD EDITABLE EPS
The attention to detail is what makes this piece so special. The combination of yellow pages tied together with red thread in a sewn binding with an exposed spine stitch was matched on the cover by using red and holographic foil, one over another. The result is absolutely stunning:
One of the hardest parts of blogging as a business is increasing pageviews and reducing bounce rate. If these terms are new to you, here’s a simple explanation of both.
Pageview – A page view is a request to load a single HTML file (‘page’) of an Internet site. One visitor can have multiple page views.
Bounce Rate – The bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and “bounce” (leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site.
Pageviews and bounce rates are important because they will increase or decrease the amount you can charge for advertising on a website, or indicate how much content a visitor is consuming. The longer they stay on the site, the more time they have to view an ad, or consume articles. The more pages they view, the longer they are exposed to your brand.
The above image represents a month of statistics for a small business blog we manage as compared from this month (in blue) to the previous month (in green). In the past 30 days, pageviews have increased 45%, pages per visit have increased by 30%, the bounce rate has decreased by 9% and the average time on site has increased by 112%.
These are significant changes. Astounding, really. For such a small site, and a small time period. So what changed?
The big answer: we stopped treated the home page as a destination, and started using it as direction. The tech answer: we installed a plugin called “Yet Another Related Posts” plugin and made it brand consistent. The easy answer: we put similar links (with thumbnail images) to other material on the homepage and on single articles pages.
Clearly, it worked.
If you’re in the Birmingham, Alabama or Hailey, Idaho area and need to increase your pageviews, bounce rate or other website design, please contact us. We’d love to help.
The day was filled with creative speakers (and some amazing yogurt from this place) sharing their experiences in making the world a better place through social innovation.
I soaked in the knowledge being shared and here’s my top 10 things learned that day:
- “Consumers want a better world, not just a better widget.” – @simonmainwaring
- Patagonia is an amazing company.
- “Who we are is not our circumstances.” – @EstherHavens
- “Make design a process.” (anyone who knows me knows that my heart squealed when I heard this) – @simplescott
- Less is (always) more.
- You can change the world with design.
- “Follow your heart and then give it time to actually happen.” - @simplescott
- It’s important to define what you (both personally and professionally) stand for.
- Support the companies that support a better world.
- When daffodils come up in early spring, it’s time to plant.
“I don’t grow the food, God grows the food. We make the dirt.” – Rashid Nuri
While we were in Ireland last month, I had the opportunity to try the best ice cream bar I’ve have ever had: Magnum Ice Cream. If you have never tasted the delicious goodness that is one of their ice cream bars – let me tell you – you. have. not. lived.
With that said, today I came across some incredible poster art for Magnum. The advertising campaign created for Magnum Temptations features images of exploding ice cream bars. This was pulled off with the use of detonators, small explosives, high speed trigger and flash photography at speeds of up to 1/2000 of a second:
This post features the work of Dana Tanamachi:
DANA TANAMACHI is a graphic designer and custom chalk letterer who hails from the Lone Star State, but currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. She enjoys crafting, reading, walking, and especially listening to Country music from the 1990s.
In June 2008, Dana moved to New York City and began working at SpotCo designing posters for Broadway shows. Currently, she works at Louise Fili Ltd, a NYC-based studio specializing in logo, package, restaurant, and book design.
After hours, she can be found writing on people’s walls all over New York City as a custom chalk letterer. And she is most certainly available for commission.
[excerpt from her site]
I love her use of typography-driven art with old school chalk and chalkboards as media. It’s vintage with a modern twist.
Benjamin Laramie is an industrial designer from San Francisco, California:
My name is Benjamin Laramie.
I studied Industrial Design at
Rhode Island School of Design.
I am the Industrial Designer at Chronicle Books
in San Francisco, California.
His work is incredible. Check out some of the projects on his site:
I love the variety of the projects he displays in his portfolio:
What an incredible feeling it must be to see a sketch turn into an actual physically created object:
“A logo is really the first core message, the identity, that any brand provides to the world. And it has to be a logo that will work not just on a website homepage and on business cards but also as its Twitter or Facebook icon. So, you want it be distinctive and yet simple at the same time.”
- Raj Abhyanker, CEO of Trademarkia
Who is Bobby McKenna?
My name is Bobby McKenna, and I’m a designer/illustrator/burrito eater.
I’ve lived in seven states and three countries. I once designed a logo for the star of the most watched video in the history of the Internet. I speak English and Dutch (and some German). I do my best work when COPS or Seinfeld is playing in the background. I have a pretty good head on my shoulders. And my favorite color is orange.
(excerpt from his website)
I love the clean style and colors that Bobby McKenna uses in his work:
It’s the perfect mix of digital art meets old-school-hand-drawn art:
To view his complete portfolio, visit Bobby McKenna’s site.
Customer loyalty is vital to the success and growth of small businesses. Today, small business owners can engage their audience in a variety of ways. Search Engine Land wrote a great article about social media and small businesses that is very relevant to today’s market. This article covers practical ways that small business owners can take advantage of social media:
Customer loyalty is at the heart of every business, both large and small. One common industry statistic that is referenced time and again is that it is five times more profitable to spend marketing dollars to keep your best customers rather than acquiring new ones. Small businesses get this equation in spades.
A Harvard Business Review study demonstrated that recovering only five percent of abandoning customers could increase profitability by 30 to 85 percent.
Recently, Marchex asked several hundred small businesses in a customer survey what was most important, and “keeping existing customers” was on top (46%) followed by “getting new customers” (26%).
The importance of customer loyalty isn’t a new concept for small businesses, but understanding what loyalty means in this digital age is a new imperative.
Small businesses have to understand how quickly consumers are shifting their conversations and other social actions to the online world. The adoption of social sites such as Foursquare, Yelp, Citysearch, Twitter, Facebook and blogs is growing at a rapid rate.
Turn Customers Into Your Best Advertising
Soaring usage of social media is creating an interesting dynamic in the marketplace by creating a dramatic shift in power to the customer. No longer does a loyal customer simply represent a repeat purchase or occasional referral business. Customers now have the ability to broadcast sentiment about the businesses they visit and services they use to thousands of people instantly.
This means loyal customers are a small business’s de facto marketing department. Due to the emergence and adoption of social media, customers now have the ability to generate new business, craft a brand image, and inspire loyalty through tweeting, blogging, reviewing, following, and so forth. Given a small business’ limited time and resources, this can be a highly valuable asset if managed appropriately.
Maintaining good relationships with customers has reached a whole new level of importance in the digital age. A small business’ loyal customers will generate “online word of mouth” with positive reviews, mentions, and by broadcasting a visit on Foursquare.
With very little effort and access to the appropriate digital tools, loyal customers can be mobilized to ignite referrals, generate positive air cover, shift opinions, and help soften the impact of bad reviews.
So, what should a small business owner or operator do to manage the complexity of customer loyalty in an online social world? First, take a deep breath, relax, and then start participating.
Here are three suggestions to get the social ball rolling:
1. Listen To The Conversation
A small business can’t truly understand how to engage customers—especially their best customers—if they don’t know what their customers care about. Review sites, blogs and other social channels are a goldmine of valuable information. Customers now have the platform to tell a business exactly what to do to succeed, but first the business needs to hear and make sense out of all the chatter.
Effectively monitoring the chatter means scouring the online landscape for relevant dialogue and that can be time consuming. However, there are several online products like Marchex Reputation Management, which can aggregate customer conversations across the Internet and make it available all in one place with simple, yet invaluable insights and analysis.
2. Get Social
Once comfortable observing and understanding what customers are saying online, small businesses should dip their own toes in social media. Like it or not, small businesses need to be on the same social sites their customers use.
Social is not nearly as scary as one might think. In fact, after opening a Twitter account, Facebook page, Foursquare and Groupon memberships, small business owners may in fact discover that social is a lot of fun!
3. Engage Customers
Lastly, it is important to actively participate and communicate with customers (e.g., respond to a bad review, broadcast or thank a customer for a good one, ask for reviews and more). This is a great opportunity to engage the best customers who are active online by getting them to do more.
This could include things such as rewarding them for referrals or sending them bits of interesting information they can broadcast like new menu items, upcoming sales and holiday discounts.
However, communicating with customers can be challenging given the limited time and resources of a small business. Many will inevitably find that effectively managing social media and the dialogue with customers takes some time and a little trial and error. And, that’s okay!
There are affordable online products and services emerging, both self-serve or managed, that aggregate and simplify the engagement process for small businesses. These products are quickly becoming an essential addition to a small business’ marketing toolkit.
The bottom line: Like it or not, online conversations are happening and continue to increase in volume. The good news is that this trend presents small businesses with a fantastic opportunity to listen to, learn from, and engage with their customers on a scale never before possible. It’s a brand new way to drive customer loyalty.
I found this interesting post from the folks at GOOD:
Talking with Sean Bonner about his new Coffee Common projectreminded me of this recent illustrated proposal for a new app, called Coffeehouse Commons.
The pitch goes like this:
In the eighteenth-century English-speaking world, coffee houseswere “the chief organs through which the public opinion of the metropolis vented itself,” according to historian T. B. Macauley. In addition to supplying an exotic stimulant—caffeine—coffee houses formed the central nodes in urban information networks. They were among the first public gathering spaces where news, ideas, and goods could be debated, produced, and exchanged. [...]
For the past decade, with the advent of Wi-Fi, the explosion of blogs and online news forums, and traditional media’s increasing reliance on freelancers, independent coffee shops have again become places where ideas are generated, news is consumed, andcomment is free.
Despite the similar range of intellectual activity, the atmosphere is a little different in today’s coffeehouses.
Gesticulating men in wigs passing pamphlets hand-to-hand have been replaced by Mac-dependent hipsters with bad posture and permanently attached headphones. Today’s coffee shop exchanges take place online, invisible to the other occupants of the physical space in which they are produced. Meanwhile, several coffee shop owners have declared war on their freelancing clientele, complaining that they hog tables, make a single coffee last for hours and create an anti-social, library-like atmosphere.
But wait! What if there was an app that tracked all that invisible opinion, exchange, and cultural production, and somehow transformed it into a visible, connected whole?
Using the “Coffeehouse Commons”™ web or mobile interface, journalists and bloggers can check in to submit links to their content, while readers and commenters also log in to provide URLs for their in-house activity. The app’s home page provides a constantly updated timeline of activity across all coffee shops, but by checking into a particular coffee shop, users can explore the range of information and ideas that were produced, discussed, and consumed within that space.
What do you think? Would this app help recreate the sort of dialogue and cross-pollination that made 18th-century coffeehouses into such powerful social, political, media, and business incubators? And, more importantly, would you download it if it really existed?
Some insightful lessons from Wieden+Kennedy’s Executive Creative Director, John C Jay. Although focused from a design perspective, I feel that these lessons would apply just as well for anyone working within the creative industry. Via AIGA.
- Be authentic. The most powerful asset you have is your individuality, what makes you unique. It’s time to stop listening to others on what you should do.
- Work harder than anyone else and you will always benefit from the effort.
- Get off the computer and connect with real people and culture. Life is visceral.
- Constantly improve your craft. Make things with your hands. Innovation in thinking is not enough.
- Travel as much as you can. It is a humbling and inspiring experience to learn just how much you don’t know.
- Being original is still king, especially in this tech-driven, group-grope world.
- Try not to work for stupid people or you’ll soon become one of them.
- Instinct and intuition are all-powerful. Learn to trust them.
- The Golden Rule actually works. Do good.
- If all else fails, No. 2 is the greatest competitive advantage of any career.
Found at Edwinhimself.com
Today we are excited to announce our first official Website Raffle! We have partnered with (is it a partnership if it’s you?) A Heart for the Nations to provide the winner of the raffle with a high-quality website.
In part I of this article, we went over some reasons why your business needs a website as well as some ways to save some money. In this post, we’re going to go more in depth into how you can save money by using WordPress.
The most cost-effective way to setup a website is to purchase a domain name (usually around $10 per year), and then purchase web hosting service (usually around $15 per month) to host the domain.
After registering your domain and purchasing hosting, install the latest version WordPress on your hosting server (you can find instructions on how to do this from WordPress here).
After installing WordPress, you need to pick a theme for your website. WordPress offers lots of great free themes to choose from. After picking a theme and activating it, all that’s left is creating your pages and plugging in your content.
D2L Studios offers a package that takes care of all of this for you. To find out more, please contact us.
At D2L Studios, we understand small businesses because that’s what we are. In this post, we’re going to talk about ways you can save time and money while building up your business’ online presence by using WordPress.
Why Do I Need A Website?
In 2011, the majority of people are now going to Google (or another search engine) before opening up the ol’ phone book when they are in need of a service or product. In the day of smart phones and iPads, a strong web presence is becoming not only important but vital to a company’s survival.
If you do not have a website, you are missing out on the hundreds or thousands of potential customers that are choosing your competition instead of you simply because they can’t find you online. To put it bluntly, if you do not have an online presence (ie a website) in today’s market, your business is not sustainable.
Ok I Get It But How Can I Save Some Money?
Ok so now that we know the importance of having a website, let’s move into how you can build one without breaking the bank. One way to accomplish this is by using a platform called WordPress.
In a nutshell, WordPress is a free, internet-based software program that anyone can use to build and maintain a website. It was originally intended as an easy way to set up a blog. But, thanks to the efforts of a large “open source” community of WordPress programmers working to extend and improve its capabilities, WordPress has become much more than just a tool for bloggers.
Click here for Part II of this article where we’ll show you how WordPress can help you save money by reducing the cost of building a website for your small business.
Do you have a product that you need to sell but have no idea where to start? If you have a little knowledge about the web then you may be able to get started with less money that you think. We were asked not too long ago about integrating e-commerce with WordPress and what plugins and themes or templates we would recommend to someone wishing to run a WordPress e-commerce store.
Let’s start with WordPress theme or template recommendations. One of the great things about WordPress is the amount of quality free themes that are available to download. Smashing Magazine compiled a great list of 35 Free High-Quality E-Commerce Templates.
Now onto plugins because after all what good is a beautiful site unless it makes you money? WordPress plugins are very plentiful because WordPress operates on an open sourced platform – meaning developers are welcome to develop their own plugins that meet the needs of WordPress users. In this case, we are looking for a plugin to handle an online shop. We have experience with this plugin. We found it very easy to use and it also has good support.
With a solid feature-enhanced theme and this WordPress plugin you should be well on your way to building an online shop to sell your products. If you would rather hire someone to do this for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We love Twitter and we love creating free Twitter icons and vectors to share with you! Here’s a free Twitter Icon for your site:
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