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How to Wireframe Any Visual Project Using Only FREE Tools

As a graphic or web designer, one of your greatest challenges is to properly illustrate and visualize a project for a current or potential client. Because they are able to visualize all of your ideas, designs and functionality, wireframing tools can package all of this information and make it highly presentable. This is especially the case for clients that may not be experts in design and UX/UI who really need to see the difference.

A potent and visually driven presentation can make or break a critical sales pitch. A smartly designed and interactive wireframe will also help guide you when you start to execute on the project. When you can put together these visually stunning and highly organized wireframes on free platforms, this makes a massive difference to your earning potential – especially when you’re just starting out.

Wireframing tools can also organize the flow of work for a design project to help make your work more efficient and productive. Wireframes allow creatives to quickly front-load larger projects in a short amount of time. Once a project has been outlined and conceptualized in a wireframe, the rest of the work just falls in line. This enables freelancers to benefit doubly from the free wireframing tools that are available. Better yet, when you try a few free tools, you know what you’re looking for when you choose to invest in a paid version.

How do I choose a wireframing tool?

It can be challenging to find the right wireframing tool for your business, though, can’t it? With so many options online, without a reliable recommendation, committing to a platform to provide vital and stunning mockups for presentations and workflow can be extremely difficult. Luckily there are free options, or free demos, available to limit the commitment that you’re making and help you explore the best features for your project.

Whether you’re just starting out your web design or graphic design career, or you simply want to maximize your budget, there are FREE wireframing tools available to aid in your projects without breaking the bank. That doesn’t mean the tools below are cut-rate and going to limit your creativity and overall ability to produce for your clients. In fact, these tools are expansive enough to use even if budget isn’t your primary concern. Consider one of these free options to give yourself the resources you need to give a quality pitch presentation:

With the assistance of a fantastic wireframe using one of these tools, you will easily get all that you want in your website design right from the start. Start yourself off on the right foot with a thorough mockup from one of these highly renowned free wireframe tools for your next creative project.

BALSAMIQ MOCKUPS

mockup tools free

mockup tools free

The best-known tool for wireframing was designed by Balsamiq Studios. It is one of the easiest free wireframing tools for generating initial website mockups. It works as a desktop application which must be installed on your personal computer – then it can be used as a web application, too. The Balsamiq company will invite you to invest in their paid services if you’re a fan of the free tool, but it’s no-obligation.

Balsamiq mockups are also very flexible. After the application is installed, you will have an option to choose from a wide range of ready to use elements. The tool bar is easy to adapt to and you’ll quickly learn the tools you need to make Balsamiq work for you. Also, you can format anything and turn it out according to your wishes.

All in all, Balsamiq is one of the best and most user-friendly free wireframing tools on the market.

MOCKPLUS

wireframe software free

wireframe software free

Mockplus is another awesome free wireframing tool – many web developers run their business wireframing needs through Mockplus. It’s known as all in one kind of tool for free that makes you able to create the application designs for Android and iOS. Not only application but you can design a website, too, from your PC and Mac. Mockplus is incredibly user-friendly and because it allows you to smartly mockup apps as well, it’s more diversified than competitors.

In this competitive market, Mockplus is playing an amazing role and get the attention of many web developers for being flexible, adaptive, and modern.  It is said that Mockplus is good for the beginners and they can get the full benefits as a pro with all of the components which can be up to $200. Mockplus makes it amazingly easy for everyone to make page design mockups within a few notes – a tool that makes life a LOT easier for startup designers.

WIREFRAME.CC

free tools for mockups

 

Wireframe.cc is known as the minimalistic tool. It offers its services for free which includes a really sleek prototyping tool. Wireframe.cc provides amazing opportunities for you to create a sharp mockup for your site.  The main difference between Wireframe.cc and the other tools we’ve mentioned, is the user interface and manner of using this tool.

In this, you’ll find a drawing area and other few buttons for formatting the elements you have drawn. One thing is obviously like by web developers is the memory function of it and it is really a bonus point for the users. This one is the best for those who are accustomed to hand-drawing mockups for clients on a whiteboard or note-paper because the drawing element will mimic that experience.

This is also the one that is available in free versions and then in paid after the demo tour. You can have the premium one too after the free version within minutes.  Keep in mind that, the export function in this tool as compared to other free wireframing tools because you can’t export in the free version but in premium one, you can have the export function. In the end, we could say that this mockup system is quite different than others but worth the difference and it also provides the prototyping tool for quick designing of a website.

All in all, you can get any of the versions but make sure to use it for free once at least so you will have an idea how to use every tool if you’re new in the market. Similarly, if you’re not an industry newbie but you’d like to explore an alternative wireframe tool to the one you’re using, try one of these free demos today to get started.

  Image Inq   Oct 23, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

The Evolution of Website Web Design Trends from the 90s to Now

Just like us, the Internet has gone through some phases as its grown up. From its very basic and primitive beginnings in the mid 90s, to its rebellious phase in the 2000’s and its precocious phase in 2010 to its much more stable and appropriate self today, we’re able to reflect upon how technology has enabled websites to be customized to suit any need and aesthetic.

Web designers were restricted by the technology available at the time in order to generate creative and engaging websites. Initially, programming a piece of code was so new, and no resources had been constructed to support easy website building, that the standard for developers was simply to make a website that functioned. Nowadays, websites need to be attractive, engaging, responsive, informative and instant.

CLICK ME Content – 95-2003

Web design trends

Web design trends

Transferring practices from traditional marketing, early websites were more reflective of billboard and sign marketing than what we expect from modern web design. The introduction of flash animation allowed online advertisers to generate bold, bright and flashing call-to-actions, turning the world wide web into a place that resembled the Vegas strip or Time Square.

What led to this trend?

The two biggest factors that led to initial website design was the limited technology supporting graphic and web design and the antiquated marketing approaches of the pre-digital age. Companies were simply doing what they could at the time to attract new customers.

What ended this trend?

As design capabilities grew, developers had the ability to create more functional and attractive websites that aimed to convince visitors that their brand was more prestigious and trustworthy than competitors simply looking to make a quick sale.

White Space – 2000

website trends 2019

website trends 2019

Sometimes less is more. Developers started to realize this as they began to self-evaluate how users were interacting with their websites. Around 2000, designers started to acknowledge that users needed a cleaner page layout in order to identify and digest the information they need. Through this research, developers worked in more white space to break-up content and better fulfill their goal of delivering a message to online users, whether it was product information, news or entertainment.

What led to this trend?

The understanding of how important content is for digital users is a big part of the white space trend. Shoving as much information as possible into pages, being flashy and constantly selling users just wasn’t working anymore. Developers started to scale back on graphics, neon colors and extra gadgets and started providing more clear and concise bits of information to establish a connection with visitors.

What ended this trend?

Once sites could be laid out efficiently and graphics designed to create a crisp and clear visibility, too much white space became underwhelming and drab. Developers started to move towards more simple graphics and more palatable colors to create a more unique and branded site design.

Web2.0 – 2003-2010

website trends

website trends

Eventually users were fed up with basic, uninformative and uninspiring websites and demanded an online experience that was more focused on engaging, entertaining and educating users. This was the revelation that led to what is now referred to as Web2.0. Developers had the ability to create exciting and interactive content that separated sites from one another. As the internet continued to become a more viable option for generating sales, simply existing online was not enough. Web2.0 was the start of companies looking not only to persuade online visitors, but delight them with a catered UX. This concept has not quite died, but rather been expanded upon in more unique ways after 2010.

Skeuomorphic Design – 2010-2012

trending in web design

trending in web design

As graphic design quality and technology grew, it gave developers the ability to create more immersive experiences online. From backgrounds to cursors and icons to buttons, web designers were looking to get more creative in pushing the boundaries of customizing websites to tell a message or provide users with a unique experience. By taking sounds and textures from the real world and placing them intently within graphics and animations, web designers attempted to merge the digital and tangible world for the first time on such a broad scale.

What led to this trend?

Building off of the Web2.0 movement, brands continued to find new ways to connect with users to create a distinct and memorable experience. Another factor in the making of this trend was likely the popularity and effectiveness of gamification. Just casually observing any user of a video game or mobile app you will detect a hyper engaged user that is unrivaled in other forms of media.

What ended this trend?

As all trends do, the skeuomorphic trend waxed and waned until only the most applicable sites and brands kept these types of designs as part of their website. Other companies moved towards a more simple and speedy approach that relied less on high quality graphics and more on web design that was easier to navigate.

Infinite Scrolling – 2014-2016

graphic design trends

graphic design trends

En-route to the minimalist designs that modern internet users crave, developers integrated the concepts found in search engines and popular social media platforms with an all-in-one website design equipped with an infinite scrolling function. This appealed to mobile users as content tends to shift inwards to adapt to a smaller screen, allowing for websites to be broken down into smaller sections. With the infinite scroll in mind, developers knew to plan out the layout of a longer page fit the necessary information, messages and CTAs throughout the “endless” page.

What led to this trend?

This trend was different, unique and timely. Well within the smartphone boom, infinite scrolling was already popularized by instagram, twitter and facebook feeds and entirely mobile friendly. The intention behind infinite scroll sites and pages was to make sites easier to navigate and more simple to utilize. Just like super stores like Walmart and Target, companies didn’t want to give users a reason to visit a competitor’s site. They took this one step further by not requiring users to visit another page to find the information they need to subscribe, call or make a purchase decision. Loyalty is dead, time is precious, whoever can give me what I need the fastest is who gets my business.

What ended this trend?

The issues with infinite scrolling websites mostly come from misuse of the technology. Companies getting too cutesy by jumping on a trend that didn’t enhance their UX and, if anything, confused their users and complicated site navigation. Of course bugs are always going to be a factor in web design. Infinite scrolling was especially chancey because so much of your site relied on one page to function perfectly. Ultimately, developers took the chief concept behind infinite scroll sites – simplifying the UX – and used it to make cleaner, more seo friendly, well balanced sites that provided more content, while still being easy to navigate.

Minimalist Design – 2012-Now

minimalist web design

minimalist web design

With technology so integrated into our daily lives, we’re constantly being poked and prodded by retailers and services begging for our attention. This is extremely over-stimulating. The last thing that a modern web user wants to sign up for is a bulky, over-stimulating website experience.

What led to this trend?

It only took about 10 years to steer the opposite way from the CLICK ME Content that .COM era users encountered. Many factors led to this shift including:

  • Smart technology – led to constant access to seemingly endless notifications.
  • More informed users – either through personal experience or from research, online users are more savvy and aware of phishing schemes, scams and general red-flags that denote an untrustworthy business.
  • Aesthetic standards – Clean lines and clear designs is simply what’s expected of modern, cutting-edge businesses.

It can be interesting to reflect upon what was trendy, once upon a time, however, what takeaways can you gleen for your company or next web design project? What can you project will be the next web design trend of the future?

  Image Inq   Oct 19, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

How to Evaluate Your UX in Under 5 Minutes

We don’t have a lot of time. Even as you read through this article, you’re already noticing your desktop notifications piling up, watching your slack messages grow and hearing your phone buzz with more engagements and tasks that need to be added to your never-ending to-do list. This mounting pressure is what makes crucial tasks such as evaluating your site’s UX, seem like a frivolous use of time. The fact is, all of the work you’re putting into graphic design, content creation, web development, SEO, social media marketing and paid ads, could all be for naught if you don’t button up your UX.

Many companies fall into the enticing trap of overly emphasizing sales and generating web traffic, without shoring up the website that they are sending visitors to. Getting caught up in the numbers game is a sure way to ruin your online reputation and damage brand integrity. If you don’t value all of your customers/users, you’ll find it extremely hard to succeed in the competitive digital landscape where more and more brands are dedicating significant resources into how to delight users.

So you know UX is serious. You also know that you don’t have a lot of time. How can you maximize your time to get the most out of your UX analysis, in a short amount of time?

If you know your brand well enough and understand what to look for, you can complete a UX evaluation in under 5 minutes. Whether you take 5 minutes once a month or once a week, taking even short amounts of time to completely focus on your website’s UX can make major improvements in your bounce rates, conversion rates and overall ROI for all of your marketing campaigns.

Visual (2 minutes)

Just like meeting a new person, a first time visitor to your site will create an initial reaction based on the visuals of your website. It’s simple human nature to place a great deal of weight on a first impression. We want to believe that we are right, and frankly, we may not have the time to comeback for a second look. When there are so many different companies to choose from online, first impressions cannot be a big enough emphasis for your website visitors.

All it takes to send visitors bouncing to a competitor is one out of place button, one misaligned section, one typo, even an error free website can still give off the wrong impression if you don’t adhere close enough to your brand identity and overall goal with your messaging.

Take 2 minutes to review your sites visuals from a user’s perspective and make note of any inconsistencies or off-putting content or layout arrangements. Keep an eye out for these visual elements in particular as you perform your 5 minute UX audit:

  • Colors – Are they consistent with the brand? Is each hex code chosen appropriately for the intended goal of the section/page? Are the colors too soft or too harsh?  
  • Readability – Is your site easily visible to users on both mobile and desktop devices? Is the right content being featured on each page?
  • Misalignment – Even the smallest inconsistencies can say a lot about the integrity and work ethic of your company. If you aren’t willing to button up your own website, how will you be able to provide quality products or services to potential customers?
  • Overall impact – What’s the consensus of your site or a particular page from an initial, visual standpoint? Is your site and content consistent with your brand’s persona?

Interactive (2 minutes)

Once you’re feeling good about the visual end of your website, it’s time to get a little more serious. You’ve given visitors the right first impression. Now, are you ready to commit? Are you willing to meet the parents? You need to make sure that your UX is completely sound from a visual and interactive standpoint in order to truly get visitors to commit to you.

Provide the follow through that users expect from a site as visually stunning as yours. Without the right functionality to compliment your visual changes to your site, users simply won’t stick around if they can get the answers they need more easily, or faster on a competitors site.

It can also take away from the immersive experience that you’re trying to create with your graphics and content, if the functional aspects of your site are glitchy, slow or disingenuous. Take the time to evaluate these technical elements of your website to sure up your UX:

  • Icons – Are icons catered to your brand or industry? Are the graphics sharp and appropriate for the standards you have set forth? Can users click through to find out more information if needed?
  • Buttons – From the call-to-action text to the color and size of the buttons on your site, make sure users are experiencing the same interactivity throughout your site.
  • Links – Are all links functioning properly? Are hyperlinks highlighted with the same color and easy to see?
  • Pop-ups and drop-downs – Whether it’s a stand alone element or part of a menu, do truncated visuals function properly and fit appropriately within a given space without being cut off or blocking other important content?
  • Cursor – How does the mouse cursor change when interacting with the site? Make sure each change is consistent and makes sense for its given purpose.

Journey (1 minute)

If a user is truly happy, you need to make all of the last minute adjustments and pay attention to each detail to ensure that they are ready to say – “I do.” If you’ve dedicated the time to evaluate your site’s UX from a visual and functional standpoint, there’s a good likelihood that interested users will convert into happy customers. That being said, placing yourself in the shoes of your visitors is the final step towards ensuring your UX is on point and ready to ramp up your revenue.

You should be making note of User Experience changes that can be made as you look into visual and functional elements of your site. If you have an extra minute, start to navigate your site from a user’s perspective from start to finish. Is a new user able to easily navigate your site to find the information they need, research the services you provide and make a purchase decision?

When analyzing a user’s journey on your site, think of your website as a bridge and each page as a board that connects users from one side (person with a need) to the other side (satisfied customer). If boards are broken or missing, it makes the likelihood of users wanting to cross your bridge extremely unlikely. Create a seamless path for your visitors wherever they are in the purchasing process.

This is the goal of UX. To get users from point A to point B without roadblocks, dead-ends or even a snag along the way. Even if you only have 5 minutes, evaluate your UX and create a steady flow of interested visitors and delighted customers.

  Image Inq   Oct 17, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

The Graphic Designer’s Guide to Web Design – Differences & Similarities

For seasoned graphic designers, web designers and online marketers, you’ve worked closely enough on website projects to understand the responsibilities that fall on graphic designers and web designers both similarly and separately. For those that are looking to get into the graphic design profession or have yet to work with both a graphic and web designer on a project, it’s important to understand where these experts can and can’t overlap and how you can benefit from leaning towards a graphic designer or web designer.

As graphic design work becomes more and more digital, the likelihood of graphic design overlapping with web design continues to increase. This means that graphic designers need to work hard to understand how to collaborate with a web designers for seamless project completions without overstepping. If you know how to communicate and respect web designers as well as understand the typical workflow and timeline of web development work, you give yourself the best chance of a successful collaboration.

Respecting the importance of web design work and how it enhances graphic designs, allows for web designers to respect your goals and input as a graphic designer. Both web designers and graphic designers feel as though they are opposing forces. The reality is that both are necessary to create a successful user experience. Every gap that exists for web designers and graphic designers when creating a website can be filled by working together.

Animation vs. solid graphic design

As a graphic designer, the majority of your experience relies on solid graphic work (images, banners, buttons, etc.). Web designers are comfortable enough implementing the necessary coding to manipulate graphics and images to create animations. Certain graphic designers may have taken the time to self-develop their own skills in order to learn the necessary elements of coding in order to generate animations, but for the most part, animated graphics are going to fall under the responsibility of a web designer while it is best to lean on the strengths of a graphic designer to create solid web graphics.

Visual vs. usability

This is where graphic designers and web designers collide most frequently. The simple understanding that graphic design and web design are complementary professions, rather than conflicting roles will alleviate this tension. The purpose of web design work is to create a highly functional and user friendly website. The purpose of graphic design work is to convey a message.

Be patient with your web designer to understand that though you have the ability to create captivating graphics, web designers are limited in their abilities to generate the necessary canvas to support your efforts. Between coding restrictions and functional and SEO best practices, it’s not always practical to focus too heavily on graphic work.

Unrestrained creativity vs. restricted by technical best practices

The knowledge that graphic design work is extremely creative, flowing and unrestrained, while web design is very technical and limited to coding rules and particular best practices, accounts for much of the tension generated between the two professions. It can be frustrating working under such different circumstances for both parties. This is especially the case when each side knows how important their work is to creating an engaging website.

It’s best to go into a web design project with patience and understanding. For graphic designers, it’s important to voice your opinion and push for a website that is visual captivating and engaging for its users. However, you have to understand that users will not continue to use the most beautiful and exciting website in the world if pages don’t load instantly and information is not easily findable.

Search engine optimization and graphic design

graphic design seo

graphic design seo

Perhaps the most detrimental aspect of beautiful graphic design work is the weight that it places on the backend of websites. This unfortunately slows down site speed and the user’s overall ability to interact with the site. Slow load speed is a major knock for SEO, especially for mobile search.

Other design choices may not be the best decision for search engine optimization. Just as you would factor design best practices into the initial build of a website, it’s equally important to factor in SEO best practices into the infrastructure of a new website. If a site isn’t able to be found in search engines, all of your design work won’t have the same impact. Keep this in mind when a web designer or SEO specialist makes suggestions to page layout, menu items and overall content flow.

Conveying a message

graphic design messaging

graphic design messaging

For a developer, conveying a message will often come down to giving users a quick and highly functional site experience. For graphic designers, conveying a message is a more visual experience. In the end, the messages that are sent to various site visitors will be the same from page to page. This is, again, where graphic and web designers need to collaborate productively to give users the best possible online experience.

Page layout

As a graphic designer, it’s likely best to lean on the guidance of a graphic designer when putting together a page layout. If you’re comfortable with web design and have a good understanding of UX, heat mapping and SEO (many graphic designers do have these strengths), then you may move forward with page design with little to no input from a developer.

This is often an instance where unique and interesting page designs and layouts can excite users initially, but once information becomes hard to find, bounce rates tend to increase and the overall purpose of the page falls short.

Working within the confines of web design best practices and the client’s wishes to generate bold and inspiring designs is the best way to compliment page layout as a graphic designer.

Don’t get frustrated or feel left out in web design projects. The truth is, for the end user experience, your input is equally as important for website builds. Understanding your own strengths and how they can enhance the overall usability and aesthetic appeal of a website will make for seamless collaborations on web design projects and make you a great hire for marketing and design agencies.

Knowing where you can lean on graphic designers and web designers both separately and in tandem, will make for more efficient website builds. Utilize the information from this article to enhance your employee/freelancer satisfaction and generate seamless and success web design projects that your clients will love.

  Image Inq   Oct 15, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

Stop Believing These 8 Myths About Graphic Designers

Whether you have or have yet to work with a graphic designer, you may have a few assumptions or preconceived notions about the type of people graphic designers are and what it’s like working with a graphic designer. Whether it’s a graphic designer or any other professional, it’s not wise to assume anything about a coworker or freelancer. This can lead to poor collaborations, miscommunications and false expectations about pricing, deadlines and quality. It’s best to come in to any new partnership with a clean slate because individuals are unique and each project is unique.

You may also be considering a career as a graphic designer. Rather than make assumptions, consider what professional graphic designers have to say about their profession.

#1 Anyone can be a graphic designer

While there are a lot of resources out there to teach the skills and practices of graphic design in addition to tools and platforms that make DIY graphic design more attainable, the notion that a digital agency doesn’t need to hire a true, professional graphic designer or an experienced graphic designer to create logos, edit images, create infographics and more, simply isn’t the case. Not everyone has the creativity, ingenuity, patience and intellect to navigate graphic design software and manipulate graphics and tools to successfully actualize a client’s vision.  Placing the strain on a social media manager, copywriter or “some intern” to perform graphic design work, is only going to lower the quality of the work and extend the deadline.

#2 Designers can make anything look beautiful

While it may seem like graphic designers can work magic when they’ve finished an amazing full-page ad or banner, it takes the right ingredients to put together a truly delectable masterpiece. The ingredients a graphic designer needs to create beautiful content is a quality version of the original graphic/image and the right tools (adobe suite, corelDRAW, Photoshop, etc.).

There is only so much a graphic designer can do to beautify a blurry image or perfect a piece of content without the right initial tools.

Take ownership over what falls under your responsibility and understand what can and can’t be done in the world of graphic design.

#3 A designer can do anything they want with a graphic

This is where the “customer is always right” monicor may not always apply to the world of graphic design. Your vision for a particular project may not be realistic. Even if you hire a world-class designer, there are certain limitations to what can be manipulated within a graphic, website or image. This is especially the case if there has already been an agreed upon price for the entire project. If you aren’t paying your graphic designer by the hour, they can only spend so much time making tweaks to your project before their earnings drop below their standard rate.

Takeaway: There is sooo much that graphic designers can do, but there are things that simply cannot be manipulated about a graphic or image.

#4 Graphic design work is fast

If you have not been a graphic designer, you simply can’t understand the breadth of work that goes into seemingly simple tasks and especially larger projects. If you’ve worked with graphic designers before and feel like that gave you a proper benchmark to judge other graphic designers by, are you truly factoring in all of the elements that went in to that particular project and how they differ from this project?

Possibly the most important factor to consider when setting a ideal deadline for a project is the workflow agreement that you have with your graphic designer. If you want a quick turnaround from a graphic designer, they have to either be your full-time employee, or properly compensated in order for them to prioritize you over their other clients. You can’t pay a fraction of a freelancer’s bills but expect them to be on-call 24/7.

#5 All graphic designers are the same

While it would be ideal for employers/clients to know what they’re going to get when they work with a graphic designer, this is simply an unrealistic expectation. Each graphic designer has a different background, different experiences, different preferences, different design softwares, different rates based on where they live and their body of work, different communication style, different level of confidence and many other differences that make them unique to every other graphic designer in the world.

One graphic designer may be extremely efficient and creative, but introverted. Another graphic designer might be a little more diligent and literal in their designs, but completely comfortable leading a brainstorming call or a client facing meeting. Find the right graphic designer for your particular needs.

#6 Graphic designers are doers and not thinkers

Just like graphic designers are all unique, business owners and managers have different preferences. Some are more involved, while others are more hands-off. If you tend to lean towards the more hands-on type of leader, you prefer to take on the decision making role. You’ll likely provide a detailed scope of work to freelancers, leaving little room for their own creativity and ingenuity to be put on display. However, just because a graphic designer has been placed in a more execution based role, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a deeper understanding of the big picture that surrounds a project. Give graphic designers a chance to provide input in the projects they will be involved to add another perspective and improve the designer’s investment in the project’s success.

#7 Graphic designers are rich

Many digital jobs, especially technical roles like graphic design are modern and cutting-edge. The increased focus on and production of digital content is very of-the-moment. This leads people to believe that all graphic designers make a great income and that there’s plenty of work to go around.

The reality is that it varies (drastically). In a digital profession, you quickly find that there is an entire world of competition (literally). Within minutes, employers can connect with seriously talented and accomplished designers in every country in the world. This may require young and budding graphic designers to pay their dues for quite some time in order to build a portfolio that can sway bigger clients.

#8 Designers only have one style of design

If it isn’t in their portfolio, then they probably can’t do it. This mindset is a quick way to lose out on top talent. Rather than looking for designers with specific experience, look at the quality of work that a designer has put together. Odds are, if a designer consistently puts forth amazing designs that truly capture what their clients were looking for, they are going to be the type of professional to work diligently to fulfill the needs of a project, regardless of how familiar they are with a given concept or style of design.

Don’t allow yourself to give in to the human tendency to place people into boxes to achieve understanding. Dig deeper and get to know the individual and their particular (and unique) set of skills that they can bring to a design project or team.

  Image Inq   Oct 11, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

10 Free Flyer Templates for any Occasion

Everyone loves freebies – and we have some great ones for you to look through today. Flyers can be used by virtually any business for an event, sales, products, items, etc. and there are great freebies all over the internet for you to find the perfect template that will make your text pop. You always want to find the best and most relevant design in regards to your brand and the idea behind it, also keeping in mind the voice of your brand, whether it is casual, bright and fun, serious in tone, or business related. Either way, this list will allow you to find just what you need in regards to a fantastic flyer that’s FREE! Here are 10 free flyer templates for any occasion.

This is a great option for a free flyer that is warm in tone, including a blurred image in the background, white text, and a gold frame that allows the eye to flow freely throughout the entire flyer. There is also the integration of translucent gold squares in the top left and bottom right corners in order to have more of a design feel, as well as drawing more attention to the white text.

flyer templates

If you need a cover for a magazine, whether it is a digital or a printed one, this freebie offers a great tool to get you started. With half of the background being used to showcase some great photography, and the other half integrating white space in order to bring attention to the black text, this template is great to use if you need a free option for your magazine cover design.

magazine cover

You won’t believe that this is a free template option! Real estate is a great business that utilizes advertisement in order to sell beautiful properties to people looking into investing in buying a new home. In order to advertise, they can use online ads and flyers like this one. With this sleek and minimal design, this template offers a professional and appealing option for anyone in the real estate business, with cohesive colors and strategically placed background images. Your flyer can’t get much better than this!

Realestate

You see flyers and advertisements for new or existing restaurants looking to bring in new customers all the time. Some are better than other in regards to the design, and you might say that it’s because of their budget. With this template, there is a simplified design that has great colors and text that allows for a cohesive design. You won’t think that they are trying too hard to lure you in with bright yellow or red colors and large, overbearing text and less than good quality photos. With this template design, you’ll be able to create a great flyer that sells to the audience in question with ease and with professional quality – all for the great price of free-ninety-nine.

restaraunt

For a night club advertisement, you’d probably think you’ll need every color under the rainbow in an ad, all fluorescent and bright in order to capture the hearts of the rave fans – but you’d be wrong (at least somewhat). Depending on the night club or venue, the brand of the place most likely has its’ own colors, voice, and overall vibe that must be translated into the flyer. In this example, we see that the only colors really used is variations and tones of the color blue, followed by bold and simple text. This translates the idea of the overall event, branding of the night club, as well as communicates the overall voice to be offered to the audience in order to get the attention of potential guests attending the event. You don’t always need it to be over the top for an entertainment based flyer, and this is a great example of that.

dj

This is another great example that hits all the points we talked about previously. The amount of blank space here forces the eye to the text, with a simple image with minimal colors, shaped into a triangle, as well as implementing simple, thin text that improves the simplicity and the idea of minimalism. This allows the reader to get the information needed as quickly as possible and to make a decision about attending the event or not, instead of being overwhelmed by the excessive colors and designs, eventually not even moving to the text at all, possibly because they lost interest. Less is always more!

night life

Much like the designs and other flyers mentioned above, this flyer utilizes simple yet colorful designs to offer the information to the reader in a settle way, allowing them to digest the information quickly and easily, as well as being balanced out with the background images and colors of the banners. This template is typically used for a business event, but can be versatile in its’ design and can possibly be made to use for other advertisements as well.

business

This has definitely got to be one of my favorites. This is because everything goes together so well, and the text works in a kind of symbiosis relationship with the background image. Without being too overbearing, this template will allow you to get the information across, as well as giving the creator an overall professional and affordable flyer template experience.

nature design

We’ve all seen ads for the gym, and they’re all along the same lines in terms of design. The use of black and white images, brightly colored banners, bold text, and usually includes a deal for membership. This template has all of that, while also appearing professional and sleek.

gym

This template is great, as well as versatile. You can include this in a magazine spread, an advertisement, or even a blog post. With this amount of free flyer templates, the opportunities are endless and bountiful.

Swiss alps

  Image Inq   Oct 10, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

A List of Successful Infographics (and why they work)

Infographics are essential to any company, business, or even anyone whom is dealing with things such as design, advertising, or development. There are many infographics this year that are extremely successful, and the reasons why are because they have all the points of design that become important to things such as this. One reason an infographic may be considered successful has to do with how the design flows, whether there is not enough text or too much, whether the overall design just isn’t balanced in terms of objects, banners, images, or typography that is not countered with something that allows the eye to flow throughout the entire infographic. There are many more terms so as to explain why these make for successful infographics, and many will be talked about today. Here is a list of successful infographics and why they work.

This is an example of a successful infographic due to the fact that it is interesting, has a lot of color, as well as a selection of different typography that ranges in thickness and in style. The fact that it is an image of something completely recognizable like a house, even going so far as to include the images of things like an icon of a bed, couch, dining room table, chair, and then having the subsequent text go along with and explain the visuals. By having a good overall design, an easy to digest image that doesn’t take too much to understand, and then offering the right material that makes the overall infographic extremely interesting and well put-together, this infographic is extremely successful.

infographic

There is a trend in 2018 for infographics and design alike of using the color purple to an advantage. By using the color purple, this Digital Marketing infographic allows for the white space to bring out the text, as well as allowing the eye to flow easily to the information on the bottom. The large typography creates easy to read and understand information, which in turn creates an overall extremely successful infographic that is on the internet today. With variations of text, design, all while remaining extremely simplified yet designed in a very professional sense, this infographic creates a successful campaign that will draw attention from an audience to keep on clicking, reading, and digesting information about any business or company with ease.

digitl marketing

This infographic is great, due to the fact that when you first view the illustration in the middle, which forces your eye to view first, the surrounding text is placed around it strategically, allowing for a successful overall image. The white text makes your eye wander through it, and the headlines for each short paragraph surrounding the illustration are great for skimming, because the average internet user and reader will not go through the entire paragraph alone. With bright, solid colors, this creates a certain style of the overall design, and the infographic itself becomes readable, and cohesive due to the way everything is placed. If this infographic style is offered anywhere on the internet, then it will most likely be successful because of all of these points.

infographic

This is simply an example of a successful infographic, but at the same time, this offers a great idea for any infographic you might see today in 2018. This is because the colors, instead of being too overly bright and simplified, includes a range of complementary colors, along with icons that go along with the short text and small headlines. The overall design is a mockup of an iPhone, and this is interesting because it gives the audience an idea of what this infographic might be about in terms of a topic. Along with a numbered bullet list that only creates a more simplified design, the way that the arrows flow downward creates a great symbiosis, which is exactly what you want in an infographic. You always need the eyes to flow throughout, if not, then your infographic, web design, graphic design, photograph, even a piece if traditional art, won’t be successful.

Infographics

This infographic is great for showing a very passive toned, relaxed, yet colorful graphic in which you get all of the information that you need. By placing each image in sectioned off parts of the infographic, this helps the eye to flow through as well as allowing the text and typography colors to be consumed very well.

shots

Were you inspired by this list of successful infographics? Do you have any infographics that you’ve designed that were successful? Feel free to share with us!

  Image Inq   Oct 03, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

What Will Be the Next Big Thing in App Design for 2019?

Reflect upon the growth of mobile device use over the last ten years. In 2008, iPhones were merely a year old and releasing their iPhone 3G. Facebook had just experienced it’s initial boost in usership (100 million users). Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest had yet to be conceived.

While cell phones became an instant hit, we’re continuing to see the growth in integration to our everyday lives across many demographics. In 2017, there were an estimated 224.3 million smartphone users of the total 325.7 million U.S. residents (source). From a global perspective, the mobile phone usage is projected to hit 4.68 billion in 2019 of the just under 8 billion people on Earth at that time (source).

All of this continued rapid integration is making cell phone use second nature. Absentmindedly habitually checking notifications and the phantom vibration sensation are both signs of how deeply integrated smartphones are in our everyday lives. A big part of this intensely focused phone use is the quality of phone apps.

So what can be done to continue this trend of frequent phone use and app addiction? What can we do as app designers to continue to create apps that delight our end users? The answer –

Integrate Natural Experience (NX) in your app designs in 2019

Phone use is so integral in our day-to-day lives that the experience of holding a phone and staring at a screen is becoming more and more natural. Mobile technology is also advancing so quickly that mobile phone use is becoming more intuitive and reactive so that the way that mobile phone users interact with their phones is a more realistic experience.

As an app designer or agency looking to establish themselves as an industry leader and innovator, implementing Natural Experience (NX) research and best practices into your designs is the future of app design. Here is what it means to create NX within your app.

Immersive design and use

We’ve all had those times when we’ve blocked out our surroundings to focus on our phones. Despite outside noise and commotion, mobile users can become locked into their devices, completely captivated by the experience. It becomes less spending time on a phone, or checking a notification, playing a game, and more just – life.

Screens and phones can be captivating if you create the right experience. This means taking away roadblocks, limiting extra clutter, utilize full screen, implement augmented reality technology and advance your app capability to incorporate gestures and interactions.

If any element of your design, content and functionality glitches and breaks the fantasy, it pulls users away from the phone and the overall engagement with your app. Don’t allow small (or large) details to make it clear to users that they are using a phone and engaging in a digital/artificial experience.

Natural interactivity

From a visual standpoint, graphics can help naturalize a phone session. From a use standpoint, the way in which a user interacts and the phone reacts can create a very natural experience or disappointing artificial experience.

What can you do to enable users to interact with your app the way they would a friend? Reading facial expressions, allowing users to draw hearts to like something and giving them the ability to gesture to navigate your app are all ways in which you can maintain the fourth wall. However, you can’t just create an interface that’s dynamic, seamless and intuitive unless you’re going to follow it up with realistic responses from the app.

Realistic responsiveness

In order to maintain NX, a user can’t just give and give to an app without receiving engagement. What is your app going to do to create a dialogue, to create a relationship with its users? How is your app going to keep things interesting and enticing?

You can’t just phone it in, and rely on autonomous bots to fill in the blanks. NX requires a major focus on content. Every word matters. Work with a talented copywriter to make each interaction within your app realistic and sensible.

Video and audio can also create a more realistic atmosphere. It’s the simple fact that looking at and/or hearing a person is going to be more engaging than interacting with auto responses.

You may even consider giving your app realistic tendencies, such as shifting colors in response to a touch, facial expression or voice command.

If you want to be innovative, if you want to create a natural experience, you have to humanize your app as much as possible.

Augmented reality

AR is the perfect example of NX. A real world experience with a digital enhancement. Engaging in AR enabled apps creates an immersive experience that marries the real world and the digital world. This should be your goal when creating your next big app. Either utilize AR to inspire your app design or learn to implement AR technology to improve your apps NX.

Biometric integration

Biometric technology can bridge the connection between the phone and its user. By enabling users to sign in to your app via facial, iris, voice or fingerprint recognition, you make app and device use that much more seamless.

Tour guide experience

Users should feel personally ushered through your app from start to finish. Whether you’re utilizing audio, video, dialogue, comprehensive walk-through images or a combination of the four, users should receive necessary guidance to avoid any sticking points that disrupt the experience. This can also be done through progressive disclosure that doesn’t overwhelm users with too much information at once, but doesn’t leave them hanging to figure out the app by themselves. Make your app as intuitive as possible, but rely on conversational and natural guidance to help educate users on how best to enjoy your app.

When considering the visuals, functionality and overall UX of your app, make sure you’re factoring in Natural Experience in your scope to ensure your project is future-proof.

  Image Inq   Oct 02, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

Tutorial Reviews: Creating Web Banners with Photoshop

Web banners are an essential part to any website. It is a primary use of advertisement or for information about the brand or website, and can be categorized as an eye-catching digital design that encompasses the entire brand of the product, business or website in a small space. Usually, these banners are embedded with links back to the website in order for the customer to get to the information they need. Creating these banners can be extremely beneficial to your business, whether you are a web designer or a graphic designer. To help with labeling and organizing each tutorial, I will label them as beginner, intermediate, or expert, in order to maximize the quality of reviewing each tutorial. Today, we will review a few different tutorials on creating web banners with photoshop.

(beginner)

This tutorial is simple and easy to follow through, along with an overall design that is expected from the tutorial itself. This website offers a tutorial that would be a great start for any beginner who wants to create a banner, or for anyone who is looking for a simply designed banner that is easy on the eyes. Either way, there is only about ten steps to this tutorial, allowing for anyone to complete it in less than an hour, gaining imperative design experience and skills.

banner

(intermediate)

This particular tutorial helps you learn how to integrate animation into a web banner. This skill can be extremely useful in terms of web design, because an animated web banner means that it has a better chance at generating traffic to the website it is linked to, because it draws more attention, and has a better chance of people clicking on the banner, leading to the website of choice. Especially if the web banner has something written as a call-to-action, the banner has a skyrocketed chance of increasing web traffic, and ultimately sales.

banner

(beginner)

Fast Print offers an extremely detail-oriented tutorial, which is targeted towards beginner level designers. Anyone can become a designer with thorough tutorials such as these, making for a sort of educational hub that is a useful tool offered to people who just want to improve their skills, or want to become self- taught designers. With tutorials such as this one, it is a wonder how designers need any education at universities at all, with free access to resources such as this one.

banner

(intermediate)

This is another extremely in-depth tutorial, that helps anyone to create professional in appearance web banners. The reason I labeled this tutorial as intermediate, is precisely because of the sheer mass of instructions, which can easily become complicated or overwhelming for someone that doesn’t have a lot of experience. Although this tutorial has a microcosm of information that is extremely useful to any designer, it can become taxing on someone who just got started learning about web banners. In the end, it is a valuable tutorial that can help you to gain new skills when creating professional grade web banners yourself.

web banner

(intermediate)

Tutorial Web Design is a channel on YouTube, in which they create tutorials on photoshop for designers to get better acquainted with photoshop, and learn new and useful skills. This web banner design is extremely successful in its use of color, shape, and call-to-action typography, and can help any designer improve on their skills when producing content such as this. I believe that this is expert level design, but it is possible that with only intermediate photoshop experience, you can complete this tutorial because of the extensive and in-depth step-by-step instructions are included in this tutorial video. This is why sometimes a video can actually make a tutorial easier to follow, because all of the instructions are labeled and reinforced with the creator’s voice instructing you exactly how to get a certain design, as long as you follow the steps correctly.

banner

(beginner)

Another great tutorial based YouTube channel, Photolation uses their skills to translate extremely simplified and easy step-by-step instructions featured in a short tutorial that can be completed in minutes by even the least skilled beginner. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and this tutorial is probably one of the first ones to watch if you are venturing out of your comfort zone, and want to learn a new skill about how to create web banners quickly and easily by simply going online and using the extensive free resources that are available, whether they are written out to have mapped out in front of you, or implemented into video form, which can be a more useful way of learning for people who learn better when something is physically shown to them. Although this tutorial is the beginner’s dream, you can create professional grade web banners with little to no experience, and that is what is so great about the resources that we have all over the internet today.

banner

(expert)

Apple Graphic Studio has a Photoshop expert create in-depth tutorials that are useful to anyone who views them. I labeled this particular tutorial as expert, simply because after viewing the tutorial, I think it is necessary to know about the tools in Photoshop that are needed in order to create this banner. This banner is extremely professional, and a rollup banner is slightly different than the normal banners be have seen, because a rollup banner will usually be printed out in a large size, meaning that you must have the exact dimensions needed in order to not have it look pixelated. The great thing about this banner though, is that it can also be applied to web banner design. This design is great no matter where it is placed, because the advertisement for the site will be the same. If you have intermediate Photoshop experience, it might be a good idea to look this tutorial over and see if you can gain any new skills from it. Watching any type of content made by a professional will usually be beneficial to you as a designer, or whatever profession you are in for that matter. This is because with the extensive knowledge that this individual has, one or two important points will be sure to leave a lasting impression on you, which will be implemented in the future, only increasing your skill and knowledge of the business.

banner

  Image Inq   Oct 01, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More

9 Low-Cost Ideas to Inspire Your Ecommerce Site

Everyone needs a fresh start now and then. Even your eCommerce site, no matter how convenient and functional, could probably use a little revitalizing. Whether it’s applying a fresh coat of virtual paint, or expanding functionality for your customers’ convenience, here are a few ideas for sprucing up your eCommerce site without springing for a complete redesign.

1. A Fresh New Look

Sooner or later, every website has to freshen up its look and feel in order to stay relevant. But a new look doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul. You can start with a few discrete changes: a new theme for your CMS software, a fresh logo for all your branding needs, or just change up the color scheme a little. Or you can these website design ideas when you feel stuck. Even some new stock photos or a different typeface can go a long way toward making your site feel a little fresher.

2. Bigger, Better Plugins

Another great low-cost improvement for your eCommerce site: plugins. Most are free or charge a modest subscription, and can make a world of difference in how your visitors engage with your site. It could be anything from contact form software to a photo gallery. Or, if your website’s back end needs some sprucing up, consider a more robust security plugin or some analytics to make better use of your visitor data.

3. Upgrade Your Platform

Are your customers getting the most out of your ecommerce website? Are your search results robust? Is it easy for them to sign up for deals or find what they’re looking for? Can they pay across a variety of payment gateways? While it might take some work to take your ecommerce platform to the next level, it might be worth looking at where you can make improvements. Need more data? That’s where those analytics plugins come in.

4. (Re)Launch Your Blog

Regardless of the think pieces on the death of the medium, a blog can still be a great way to engage with site visitors and keep people informed. But if the mere thought of another listicle makes you weary, then don’t be afraid to try something new and different. Make a short instructional video. Put together an infographic of useful information about your products or services. Use your blog to spread the word about sales and new products, or introduce your visitors to your company’s team. When used right, a blog can be one of the friendliest and most effective tools in your sales arsenal.

5. Get Social

If you’re not making the most out of your social media presence, now could be a great time to better integrate it with your eCommerce site. Using multi-channel marketing, you can implement plugins to make your products shareable on Facebook or Twitter, or invite customers to follow you across social media. Plenty of brands are already making use of platforms like Instagram to gather interested customers — what’s holding you back?

6. Add Some Visual Punch

How long has it been since you freshened up your product photos? Do your blog posts include exciting, interesting visuals? A great photograph — or even a really good stock photo — can make a huge difference in how visitors perceive your site. Even the best product description only goes so far to showcase what you have to offer. A high-resolution photo gallery, or even a series of short videos, can really bring your products, and your entire eCommerce site, to the next level. Don’t forget to post your amazing new product photos on your Instagram account while you’re at it.

7. Increase Accessibility

It’s 2018, and we all know how important a responsive, mobile-friendly website is for customers. More than half of all internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, and 62% of smartphone owners have made recent purchases over their phones. But best practices don’t end with a mobile-friendly website. You might also consider how accessible your website is. Are your site’s colors friendly to the colorblind? Is your text large and clear enough to be read by people with impaired vision? Do your images have the appropriate ALT tags and captions? There are a number of ways you can improve the accessibility of your site, and many of them amount to a few lines of code.

8. Level Up Your Customer Service

When it comes to customer service, everyone appreciates a human touch. But an AI chatbot might be just the tool you need to improve customer relations when a human isn’t available. Chatbots can actually increase customer engagement by providing an easy, accessible means of getting help without waiting for a customer service email or sitting on hold. Business owners are already using chatbots to keep customers from abandoning their shopping carts, perform basic customer service interaction, and more. While the technology has a ways to go before it will replace human interaction, chatbots are constantly improving — and their use will only increase in the coming years.

9. Test Your Process

One frequently-neglected aspect of eCommerce websites: A/B testing. Many business owners implement a new feature or design and hope for the best, never finding out if it’s really what their visitors want. When you master the art of A/B testing, you’ll take the guesswork out of website improvement. It pays to test every aspect of your website, from landing pages to shopping carts, to find out what converts and what doesn’t. Just be sure to test only one variable at a time, to make sure you get the most accurate and beneficial results. If you’re unsure where to start, there are a rich selection of testing tools for you to choose from.

Revitalizing your website doesn’t have to cost a fortune. A few changes and upgrades can make a world of difference to both you and the customer. Not only will these improvements make life better for your website visitors, it might also get you inspired and remind you why you fell in love with eCommerce in the first place.

  Image Inq   Sep 28, 2018   Design   0 Comment Read More
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