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Thoughts About Work + Business + All things Design Related

 Design*Sponge’s interview with business owner Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop

Loving this truthful perspective into the world of starting your own business by Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop.Venturing out to do something different that you hope there’s a potential market for and sticking to it is no easy feat. Through self-doubt, repeated rejections and the difficulty of separating yourself from your business, its hard to always maintain a positive momentum:

“I had to recognize that the business is separate from myself. It is hard, when you are spending every dollar and every minute on your business, not to take things personally. But you have to. Maybe it doesn’t work for your intended audience right now and that is ok. Trends, markets and tastes fluctuate.  Bending to meet market tastes isn’t worth it even if it gets you traction in the short run because creating a business identity means distinguishing it from the pack.”

This interview highlights how Christine faces the ups and downs of growing a small business while staying true to her original vision. A truly enlightening and encouraging read for all small business owners following (or hoping to follow) their chosen career paths…

Read the Full Article Here:
Biz Ladies Profile : Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop


Photo courtesy of Design*Sponge

Mom’s Best wanted to expand it’s retail footprint by appealing to co-ops and mass retail shoppers.

I’m LOVING the new redesigned packaging for Mom’s Best Naturals cereals. The design agency HartungKemp – now known as Ideas That Kick – brought a fresh and bold perspective to the cereal aisle.

Mom’s Best wanted to expand it’s retail footprint by appealing to co-ops and mass retail shoppers. In order to reposition Mom’s value-priced reputation, the expected photographs of cereal bowls and happy eaters were replaced with lush, colorfully illustrated landscapes. Having witnessed these on the shelf next to the other natural cereals, I can attest first-hand that the new look definitely stands out in an brilliantly unexpected way.

Our smart new look was so popular with the client’s sales force and retail buyers that the rebranding had an immediate business impact, expanding shelf space nationwide — including, for the first time, in Target stores.” – Ideas that Kick

The re-design also included 100% recycled fiber packaging and vegetable-based inks to further compliment the brand’s quality first and environmentally conscious focus.

See more at ideasthatkick.com



We’ve all made our share of mistakes or missteps throughout our creative careers. Some perhaps a bit dicier than others.

The best you can do when faced with these unfortunate circumstances is to own up to your part, make right as quickly as possibly and move forward with a ‘lesson learned’ mentality.

Thankfully, Charlie B Johnson from DesignTaxi.com has compiled a list of the 10 most common mistakes made by graphic designers. Even if you’re aware of most of these, this article is still a wonderful, quick read and great top-of-mind refresher :

“The purpose of graphic design is to visually aid companies in expressing their message to their target market. Hence, if the graphic designers ignore the target audience, they will never be able to create the right design. In order to create relevant designs, you must first analyze the intended customers for which it is aimed at. Overlooking the target will lead to a weak and aimless design…”

“One of the gravest mistake you can make as a graphic designer is to lose hope in the middle of a project. There will be times when you will get tired of working on a project or be unsatisfied with the results. But never give up and carry on until you achieve your desired results. Be it graphic design or any other profession, confidence is crucial in the success of your career…” 

Read the Full Article Here:
Design Taxi : 10 Mistakes a Graphic Designer Shouldn’t be Making

I was working on little personalized WordFind and Crossword Puzzle cards for my friends’ and family’s holiday gifts and thought…

Hey, I bet these would be really fun cards for anyone to give and receive! So, I’ve put together a little set of 4 Holiday Themed WordFind cards free for you to download, print and share!

Just grab the downloadable file below and follow these steps:
1. PRINT out both pages (using cardstock will help them feel more ‘card’ like)
2. CUT both printed pages in half – widthwise, so at 5.5 inches
3. FOLD your four 8.5 x 5.5 pieces in half – with the words on the outside
4. WRITE a little something on the inside of each card
5. STUFF your cards into envelopes (or not)
6. SEND them / DELIVER them
7. ENJOYed… by your recipients – yay!

Holiday Songs

Reindeer Names

Bah Humbug

25 Holiday Words

Downloadable File [PDF] :
Printable Holiday WordFind – Pack of 4 Cards

Everyone in the creative field has experienced the equivalent of ‘writer’s block’ at some point in their career.

Some more often than not. And this blank state of mind is without a doubt the most unfortunate when paralleled with a swiftly approaching deadline. Here’s a very useful list of suggestions from DesignTaxi to help battle the task-at-hand and bulk up your creative engine for future scenarios :

1. Look Into Past Works from your Trade for Inspiration

2. Don’t Work Alone : Network with Your Peers, both Locally and Internationally
3. Find an Inspirational Mentor and Follow their Work
4. Change Your Surroundings from Time to Time, Mix It Up
5. Always Start on Something Immediately
6. Carry a Notebook at all Times to Record Any New Ideas

Read the Full Article Here:
Design Taxi : How to Find Creative Inspiration Easily and Fast

An absolutely fantastic article from FortyAgency about the who’s what’s and why’s of social media marketing

10 Tips on How to be a Social Media Superstar

A highly recommended ‘must-read’ if you’re contemplating launching a social media plan. Or, if you’re already using various social media outlets as part of your marketing strategy, these tips can help you hone your skills to achieve ultimate social stardom.

Since we live in a world with such fast-changing technology, there’s always a new marketing tool at your disposal. Social media is one such tool that has opened up an entirely new channel for businesses to build a fan base and promote their companies. When used properly, it can help you reach new customers, convince them to take action, and keep that relationship strong so they come back in the future. While it’s been a source of inspiring successes for many businesses, it’s also been a major letdown for companies who don’t understand that social media is a tactic, not a strategy.”

Part 1 :
You can read tips 1-5 here :  10 Tips on How to be a Social Media Superstar – Part 1

Part 2 :
And be sure to follow Part 1 up with tips 6-10 from Part 2 – an equally informative list of recommendations to help you understand the importance of your followers, interactions, contributors, and overall efforts : 10 Tips on How to be a Social Media Superstar – Part 2
Who doesn’t love a totally unique and orignal advertising campaign that involves consumer participation on a physical level + the use of current technology?

I sure do. And MINI’s newest promotion, created by the Jung Von Matt agency, has done just that.

Starting December 3rd, MINI fans can literally run around Tokyo (it was Stockholm last year) using their MINI smartphone apps to hunt for and ‘capture’ a virtual MINI coupe. Once a competitor has caught the MINI they have to stay at least 50 meters away from their competition – thus a lot of chasing and escaping ensues. The last person holding onto the virtual MINI coupe at the end of the competition wins – a real MINI! Let the hunt begin…


I stumbled across this fantastic article from DesignTaxi.com concerning the value (or more than likely, a lack thereof) one puts on their knowledge, work, skills, experience, etc as an independent business owner.

A definite must-read…

“When someone downplays their knowledge or fears marketing their services the underlying problem is often a fear of not being liked or of appearing inappropriate, yet the more successful you become the more you’ll find that people are either raving fans or big naysayers. You need to accept that not everyone will like you. So what? They will like someone else and that’s okay. You need to focus on finding your community—the people that can’t get enough of what you have to offer. Let go of the fear, because if you don’t you risk staying hidden in a corner instead of being in the spotlight where you can have an impact…”

Read the Full Article Here:

I know there are many of you out there still perched on the Twitter fence. I’ve heard many reasons for not wanting to Tweet : ‘It’s just not for me,’ ‘My business doesn’t fit in with the Twitter crowd,’ ‘Right, like I have time to wear another hat,’ and on and on it goes. So, I thought it might help if I shared my personal reasons on why I choose to tweet, and why I think you should too…

Where Were You?
I think the number one reason to join Twitter is simple : your competition. Does it bother you that your competition is already part of one of the fastest growing social networks available today – using it to educate, inform and engage their current customers all while reaching out to new ones – and you’re not? It’s like missing the party of the century… wouldn’t want any regrets like that, right?

What Better Way to Promote Your Business
Don’t be afraid to use your Twitter home as ad space. Post tidbits on things you’re currently working on, new technology you’ve acquired, new promotional items, time-sensitive discounts you’re running, give-a-ways, contests, upcoming events, etc etc… but of course remain conscious of over-promoting. Be sure to keep your posts balanced with a variety of other information as well.

Keep Your Customers Up to Speed
Keeping customers informed about what’s happening with your business is incredibly easy via Twitter. Things to tweet about include : a change in hours or location, new team members, added services, products, classes, events, shows, book signings, recent publications, recent completed work, community involvement… the list goes on. Just let your customers know what’s new with you.

Be Yourself
Don’t be afraid to include your own unique voice when posting, whatever it may be : funny, dry, smart, serious…  post like there’s a person behind it. My only note is that you’re essentially acting as a spokesperson for your company, and this means that anything you put out there is also viewable and searchable by anyone on the web. So basically everyone can see it. Be mindful to walk the line of your company’s definition of ‘professional’ and post accordingly.

Its Not Actually All About You
Twitter is more successful when its less one-sided. Meaning that you should talk AND listen. No one wants to go to dinner with the guy that won’t shut up about himself. So I’d encourage you to also pose relevant questions to your followers, post industry-related links, start conversations, ask for opinions and feeback, promote others, retweet posts… basically engage your audience, not drown them in you-scented cologne.

Wrapping it Up
Bottom line, I think every business – however new, established, large or small – should have and maintain some kind of presence on Twitter (and Facebook, but that’s another post). Personally speaking I’m loving it. There are (and probably always will be) arguments for both sides to the benefits and advantages of the use of Twitter. Though I think Alexandra Moskovitz, marketing manager at Epicurean Management, owners of Italian restaurants dell’anima and L’Artusi, and Anfora wine bar, best summed it up with, “Figure out what you want to do with it, find the right people, find your space and it will all fall into place.” – Mashable, Why Twitter is a Big Win for Small Businesses

She’s right. You can tailor your Twitter space to work the best way possible for your business. And my advice would just be to start. Give it a try. Then take it step by step and see how it evolves best for you.

Related Articles I Definitely Recommend Perusing
Chris Brogan has developed an incredibly resourceful list to help you get started. He shares ideas for posts, tips, and advice for keeping your sanity in the world of Twitter – 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

Erica Swallow interviewed three independent business owners on their uses, practices and opinions about the use of Twitter for their small business’s growth. What follows are examples of their individual paths taken and relevant experiences we could all benefit to learn from – Why Twitter is a Big Win for Small Businesses

Brilliant brilliant brilliant!

ustwo has created an App that has taken the imagination of classic bedtime story books such as Three Blind Mice, Jack & Jill, and Humpty Dumpty and ‘modernized’ them, adding a level of interaction that renders them absolutely magical!