How Often Should You Rebrand?

Rebranding is a natural part of business evolution. Knowing when to rebrand is less clear. Experts say it’s all about timing and reading the signs for when the time is right for a brand refresh.   

In 2010, global fast-fashion retailer the Gap launched a brand redesign in response to declining sales and a plummeting stock price. The rebrand came without any warning and consisted of little more than a new logo. The backlash was severe. Thousands took to social media to mock the change, and within a week the Gap had reinstated their prior, 40-year-old logo. The blunder is among the shortest-lived rebranding efforts and is estimated to have cost the company $100 million.  

A company’s brand is much more than its name or logo. It is a message about identity and value. It influences action. Geoff Wasserman, CEO of The Brand Leader, writes that a brand is the “promises made between a person or organization and its market(s).” Those markets naturally include customers, but it also factors in vendors, employees, media channels and more. Effective branding helps move people closer to becoming a user of or contributor to a brand. It also can invoke a strong emotional reaction and foster brand loyalty.   

Rebranding is a natural part of business evolution – even for companies with iconic recognition. Apple, for example, has rebranded three times since its founding and Pepsi has made changes eleven times. Knowing when to rebrand is less clear.   

There are no standards or rules for how often a company should rebrand. The timing and frequency will vary depending on industry, existing competition, and how well a brand is already established. That said, branding experts state that most companies will undergo at least a refresh every seven to ten years. But it must be consistent across packaging, signage, social media, multi-channel advertising, and, of course, the company website.  

Regular brand audits and reliable feedback from key stakeholders can help companies know when it might be time for a rebrand. There are a few signs:   

To attract new customers and contributors  

A good brand will clearly let consumers and contributors (vendors, employees, etc.,) know exactly the sort of company with whom they are dealing. And more than ever, people want their work and spending to align with their values. Additionally, a clear brand message can help a company differentiate itself from its competitors to attract new customers and talent.    

The existing brand image is wrong – or negative.   

Overcoming an image problem can include simply refreshing an outdated look to a complete name change and reputation management campaign — particularly after a scandal or bad press. For example, in 2015 Volkswagen underwent a major rebranding effort after the “Dieselgate” scandal, which involved the manipulation of emissions tests. The new branding emphasized transparency and honesty, which helped restore trust in the brand.   

Take note, however: no rebranding effort will overcome a failure to address and correct real operational/product/service issues. Fix the problems first and let the rebranding effort communicate a new and improved company.   

New ownership or management  

Mergers, acquisitions, and even just new management can all drastically change a business such that it necessitates rebranding. 

A business model, offerings, or strategy has evolved.   

Businesses change. The iconic cookware company Pyrex, for example, originally produced glass for railroad lanterns. Product lines grow, services become more specialized and niche. Companies expand to new markets or pivot altogether. These changes and others can be communicated through rebranding efforts or even through the creation of sub brands that are either clearly linked to an established brand or that merit branding of their own.   

Wasserman suggests that branding is best considered the “process of rediscovering a core, authentic personality.” Performing regular brand audits and soliciting feedback from key stakeholders (i.e., customers, employees, etc.) helps companies know whether their image and message still reflects who they are, what they do, and who they serve. If the image or message is at all out of sync, it may be time for rebranding.  

Learn something from The Gap though: make sure the change has substance and purpose — and give your existing customers and contributors a heads up.  

2023 Design Trends to Inspire Your Small Business Website

As you browse blogs and brand sites, you might notice familiar features and patterns as you navigate across the web. That’s because – like fashion, beauty and decor – even web design follows the ebbs and flows of popular trends. And right now, as our Internet browsers improve their capabilities and our computers begin to emulate the functionality of our smartphones, the look and feel of the Internet is in a constant state of change. Here, we’ve rounded up a few of the trends you’re likely to see more and more of in 2023. 

One-page websites 

Maybe our attention spans are shorter, or maybe there’s just more competition and a need to get to the point faster – spreading out who you are and what you do over several pages has been on its way out for a while. Many brands have made it incredibly easy to understand their mission statement, business practice and how-to-buy, all without more than a scroll down the page. Great examples include intimates brand Harper Wilde, Cook Collective, and Sakari Sake.   

Fewer hero images, more typography 

For a quite a while, a lot of the web has been dominated by hero images that conquer web pages, a minimalist-friendly way of visually capturing the user, setting a tone and showcasing a brand through photos. But we may have become oversaturated with the style, making the effect a little less striking than before.  

Instead, some sites are leaning on the creative use of beautiful typography to become its own eye-catching introduction to a brand’s identity and online experience. Fonts are their own artistic medium, able to capture time and place, as well as leverage psychology and brain mechanics to guide your reading experience. Fonts can even be altered or custom-made to best fit your brand. Often channeling print magazine design, the font-forward web design approach can be minimalist or maximalist, it can use design and creative copywriting to capture users, and it can even incorporate motion graphics and user interaction into the web experience.  

Check out examples from the innovative commerce company Radar, Jomol Design, or Azzerad Studios.  

Tasteful motion graphics 

Like with some of the font examples above, motion graphics can add a touch of delight or usability to a website. We’ve already seen the rise of parallax scrolling to create motion on web pages across the Internet. And as computer and web browser capabilities improve, and motion design tools become more available to the average user, adding interactive touches can boost your site experience, rather than weigh it down. 

Great use of motion design on the web is actually a category at the annual Webby Awards – take a look at their collection of winners and nominees to inspire your own site’s possibilities. 

App-like experiences 

Web designers are charged with the task of creating not just one beautiful website, but also a version that works well on mobile. This is a problem often solved by responsive design – websites detect your device and screen dimensions and adapt accordingly – but as  more than half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, the mobile version is beginning to take priority, potentially bringing the mobile experience to your desktop, rather than the other way around.  

As mobile experiences increasingly become the default, we may begin to see the principles of app design applied to web design, altering the desktop user experience. 

Greater accessibility and inclusivity 

A detail overlooked by many U.S. companies is that their websites are actually not usable for many people with disabilities – a 2020 report shows that 98% of US-based web pages fail to comply with accessibility requirements, which is actually a failure to meet standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act and puts companies at risk of legal action. Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Domino’s Pizza in 2019, website accessibility lawsuits have increased significantly, and the DOJ has released guidelines for businesses and governments to reference.  

These fundamental changes don’t stop at compliance. The last few years have shown us that brands are not immune or exempt from waves of social change, whether that’s by making diversity and inclusion statements, offering employee benefits, or making public shows of support. On a website, this can play out through the faces users see, word choice like inclusive language, and even the design elements themselves – examples include throwing out gender-coded color palettes, offering increased gender options for user profiles, and focusing inventory categorization by product, rather than gender.  

The Internet changes every day, and we’re in a period of endless possibility for brands to create exciting experiences that engage users and keep them coming back. There’s no time like now to step out of conventional design and into a new online identity. 

Launching a Website in 2023? Let these design trends inspire you.

It is easy to think of design as something purely aesthetic. We are, after all, initially attracted to the way something looks. However, good design is more than just a visual offering. It considers function, it evokes emotions, and ultimately elevates an experience.   

Trends in design are largely driven by the public’s general mood at any given time, but are also influenced by world events and new technologies as well as our political, economic, and social climates. As a result, trends can change overnight.   

Keeping up with trends is not always easy, but doing so is important to ensure customers are getting the experience they both need and desire. Whether you are designing furniture, clothing–or creating a whole new brand or business website–here are a few trends worth considering in 2023. Let one or more of the below inspire your vision:   

Interactive Design   

Innovative technologies are driving the trend for more interactive design, which will continue to gain momentum. As an example, last October, attendees at the Coperni fashion show watched in awe as model Bella Hadid had a dress spray painted onto her body using a new fabric technology. Prospective home buyers are now able to tour homes remotely using virtual reality headsets. Elsewhere, touch screens, augmented reality, and 3D technologies are providing designers with new avenues to create interactive experiences and products that engage and delight users.  

Inclusivity & Personalization   

No, those two things are not at odds with each other. Consumers are looking for increased access and broader representation in their products in 2023. How that is accomplished will depend on the sort of product or service you design. It could mean adding more inclusive sizes to a clothing line or having more diverse casting in marketing materials. People want to be able to see themselves using a product.  

Personalization can help people feel a product was intended for them. It can be as simple as monogramming clothing to using data and AI technology to curate a shopping or user experience that caters to the unique preferences of each user. Both will likely result in more diverse products that cater to the individual.   


Consumers are increasingly discerning about the products they use and brands they support. They are actively seeking to support those whose values align with their own.  Transparency is about more than the use of sheer fabric in clothing (though that is trending in 2023 as well). Consumers are looking for brands that are authentic, honest, and transparent in their messaging.   


With increasing attention on environmental issues, sustainability continues to be a driving trend in 2023. Consumers and businesses alike are seeking out more eco-friendly and sustainable materials and modes of production. Innovative ways to reuse or repurpose materials are generally well received.  


Minimal, streamlined design has been popular for a while and will continue through 2023 as people continue to simplify their lives. Minimal design is simple and uncluttered and focuses primarily on the essential elements with minimal but impactful color elements.  

Minimalism can exist in the digital realm as well, from web design down to one’s small business URL. If you’re leading an artistic venture, consider a .design domain to not only simplify and convey your mission, but to also stand out from the crowd.   

Deep, Saturated Color  

And while we are talking about color, the neutrals that have dominated design in recent years are making way for eye-catching pops of bold color in 2023. Pantone described their color of the year, Viva Magenta, as an “animated” and “electrifying” red that “promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration.” There were lots of poppy reds on the Spring 2023 runways, but the strongest color to come out of that season was a vibrant cobalt blue. At home, the colors hues are leaning warmer (so long pale gray!) and deeply saturated to invoke comfort and anchor a space.   

Continually Use Design to Reinvent Yourself  

The design landscape is continually evolving, and new trends and technologies are emerging all the time. By keeping up to date with the latest trends, you can stay ahead of the curve and add experiential value to your customers and audience that will keep them returning for more.   

7 Ideation Techniques to Revamp Your Designs

Written By Liz Achanta

Let’s face it: every one of us has faced a lull in our creativity at some point or another. This lull can come from designer burnout (which you can read more about here), corporate monotony, or even personal events at home leading to a stillness in your creativity. Not having your creative juices flowing at top speed can be frustrating, but not to worry – we’ve got seven ideation techniques to help you get your innovation wheels turning.

What is Ideation?

Ideation is the process of forming new ideas or concepts. Think of ideation like those brainstorm bubbles you used to make in grade school: starting with a simple idea and using that idea to spin off more and more ideas until you have a solid concept together. Rather than word mapping, however, there are plenty of other types of techniques you can use to create new ideas (like the ones we’ve listed below!).

Ideation can be done singularly or in groups – so if you’re a solopreneur and find you’re having a hard time, it could be beneficial for you to call up a friend or two to help you get the juices flowing.


7 Ideation Techniques

1. Worst Idea

Just as the name suggests, start a list of all the things that you think would be a horrible ideas. Once you’ve made that list, find solutions to those ideas – how would that idea go from being horrible to being extraordinary? Or, is there a part of that horrible idea that could seed a good idea?

This technique is a great tool to use because it uproots your normal working habits: usually, we’re always trying to think of the next best thing. By turning the process around, you’re able to problem-solve in a different way to exercise your muscles – and build some inspiration along the way.

2. Wild Wish List

Similar to the worst idea, create a wild list of all the things you’d like to design – even if they’re impossible (think fire-breathing unicorns). Make your ideas as crazy as they come; once you’re done creating your list, find some possible ideas out of your wild list. This can include combining elements of different wild ideas to make something completely unique (like glitter-breathing unicorns).

3. Mind Mapping

Similar to the word cloud we mentioned earlier, mind mapping creates a diagram to link together ideas and generate new concepts.

Start with a generic term; like ‘Website.’ From that word, sprout related words and ideas – like ‘Product,’ or ‘E-Commerce.’ From those words, sprout even more related words – like ‘Jewelry,’ or ‘Pottery.’ Keep workshopping your mind map until you’ve got all your ideas on paper, then use that map to help guide you on your next project.

4. Storyboarding

A storyboard is a visual representation of how your project will unfold – scene by scene. Like most stories, there’s an introduction, character development, a climax, and a conclusion; start with those four primary ideas to fuel the start of your storyboard, and once you’re happy with the outcome, start adding ‘scenes’ to help build out the rest of your project.

You don’t have to be an artist in order to make a good story board; you can make comic book sketches or use magazine cut-outs to put your storyboard together. What matters most is putting ideas onto paper – and with a solid outline of your project, you’re able to get started on that great new idea.

5. Brainstorming

Brainstorming is your most common form of ideation technique: you start with a problem, and then you start writing down ideas to solve the problem.

The goal of brainstorming is to provide a safe space for your mind and the people you’re brainstorming with, so with brainstorming, there’s no bad idea – write down everything that comes to mind. Once you’ve written down every possible idea, pick your favorites and start working with them. You may find that some of your favorite ideas don’t work out with the project you’re working on, which is totally fine: remember there’s value in the process.


SCAMPER is a formal technique that represents seven ways to look at a problem. This technique works best with an existing product or service to determine how you can enhance or improve the product. Here’s what each letter of SCAMPER stands for and related questions to ask yourself:

Substitute: What about the product or service can be substituted for something else?

Combine: Can you combine a product or service with another product or service to improve the experience?

Adapt: How can you adapt your product or service to fit another target market?

Modify: What element of your product or service can you modify to make improvements?

Put to Another Use: What is another use for your product or service that you haven’t considered yet? (Could it fit another target market?)

Eliminate: What unnecessary elements can you eliminate from your product or service to make the process more streamlined and efficient?

Reverse: What would happen if you reversed your process or reorganized the product/service?

7. Crazy 8s

This idea actually comes from Google’s Design Sprint Kit, and its extremely easy to implement. Start with a blank sheet of paper and fold the paper in half three times to create 8 boxes. Then, set a timer for 1 minute: you have 1 minute to sketch 1 idea into a box. Repeat the process seven more times – or, if you’re working in a group, trade papers and sketch a design into someone else’s box.

Once all 8 boxes are filled, pick your favorite few sketches and use those to build a new design!

How to set up an art fair station: Build an art booth that allows your work to shine, and entices visitors to purchase your artwork.

Written By Guest User
An art fair is an excellent time to build a following and garner new fans for your works of art. Make the most out of the opportunity by designing a booth that engages the crowds. But given that an art fair can feature dozens, or even hundreds, of other artists–how can one create a booth that stands out? Follow a few key principles of design and presentation to make sure you’re setting up your art fair station for success.

Invest in quality

Think about the little details that assist with your presentation. The tables, chairs, signage, and even the adhesives that keep your art on the walls. The last thing you want to worry about that day is your canvases sliding off the walls! Make sure to invest in quality materials that will allow for a professional and seamless display of your work.

Leverage the elements of style

You’re an artist and already understand the building blocks of good design, decor, and art flow. While you might be eager to showcase everything you’ve produced over the last few years, be sure to select a reasonable number of works for display. Don’t over-clutter your booth. Instead, curate your best works so that there’s ample space between each canvas or sculpture. Design your booth so that it showcases your different abilities, skills and looks. Think about the big picture, and how your art booth might look from afar.

Know your audience

Depending on the type of art fair, think about the typical attendees and their preferences. For example, an art fair at a beach town might prefer light and bright colors to match their seaside homes. Also, unless you’re presenting at a millionaires-only event, consider offering a range of different price points and sizes to appeal to a wider audience.

Be professional

Art fairs can be a long, draining day of chatting with followers and new fans. There can alsp be a lot of downtime. No matter what, refrain from being on your phone, eating, or reading while at your booth. Be engaged and aware of your surroundings, as you never want to miss a sales opportunity due to texting your friends. Be welcoming and be prepared to talk about what inspires you as an artist.

Don’t hover

Be engaging but also give passersby and visitors room to breathe and appreciate your art. Read their moods, as some enjoy speaking in-depth with the artist, while others like to observe in silence.

Let visitors know about your digital portfolio

Create a website that can direct interested parties to your larger body of work. Have business cards or flyers handy so that you can share your website. A .design web address can add an extra layer of creative professionalism to your artistic brand. The TLD is unique and memorable, and therefore might also help your stand out from the other artists at the fair.

Keep in touch

Just because the art fair has wrapped up doesn’t mean your work is done. In addition to your art website, make sure to also include your name, contact information, social media accounts, and e-mail on your business card or brochure. Have a signing book at your booth where fans can write down their names and emails. Each month or quarter, shoot out a newsletter unveiling your latest works and what you’ve been up to as a creative. This gives visitors the opportunity to continue to communicate with you and engage with your masterpieces, long after the art fair takes place.

Top 15 Designer’s Paradises in the US

Written By Liz Achanta

If you’re an artist, designer, or enthusiast living in the United States, you’re well aware of the captivating beauty each of our 50 states brings. While the country is teeming with loads of natural beauty, the melting pot of cultures that founded and grew America is reflected in our architecture, paintings, and sculptures.

We’ve created a list of the top 15 designer’s paradises in the US, ranging from where to see the best art, the best man-made structures, and the best spots to go set up your easel and capture the natural beauty that is the United States of America.

Best Art on Display

1.The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City, NY

The largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere, the Metropolitan Museum of the Art (the Met) has a permanent collection of over 2 million pieces of work inside their , separated into 17 different departments. As you walk through their five-story building, you can explore historic artwork from all over the world, as well as see some featured highlights such as Van Gogh’s self-portrait, Washington Crossing the Delaware, and a collection of Monet’s landscapes.

2. Musueum of Modern Art – New York City, NY

It’s almost not fair for us to put two art museums from the same city on one list, but we did. Located on 53rd Street in Manhattan, the Metropolitan Museum of Art – or the MoMA to NYC natives – is one of the largest museums of Modern Art in the world. The MoMA is filled with drawings and paintings, as well as sculptures, photography prints, and rotating themed displays by established and up-and-coming designers.

Famous for its large collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, the Art Institute of Chicago has 300,000 pieces of artwork, including iconic paintings like ‘American Gothic’ by Grant Wood, and ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’ by Georges Seurat. This designer’s paradise is also located close to Millennium Park, where you can find the infamous ‘Chicago Bean.’

4. Mission District – San Francisco, CA

While San Francisco’s Mission District is packed with plenty of restaurants and boutiques, what makes the Mission District a Designer’s paradise is twofold: not only are the historic buildings breathtaking, but the Mission District is considered a virtual outdoor art gallery – full of graffiti murals on building walls and fences. The artwork often has certain themes, such as cultural heritage and socio-political statements.

Another outdoor art gallery is the Heidelberg Project, which is located on Heidelberg Street in Detroit, Michigan. In 1986, Tyree Guyton returned to his home to find the neighborhood run-down and impoverished. Tyree, with the help of his family and neighbors, turned the entire street into a community art location by turning empty lots into ‘art lots,’ painting murals on the houses, and creating “gigantic art sculptures.”

Best Architectural Spots

1.Washington National Cathedral – Washington D.C.

Built between 1906 to 1988, the Washington National Cathedral features Neo-Gothic architectural styles, which can be identified by it’s pointed arches, flying buttresses, and vaulted ceilings inside the church. The Cathedral’s master architect was George Frederick Bodley, founder of Watts & Co, and its landscape was designed by Federick Law Olmsted Jr. Architects are welcome to visit the Cathedral during designated touring hours, or come visit the church during worship hours.

2. Biltmore Estate – Asheville, NC

While the Biltmore Estate is an architectural masterpiece, note that the Biltmore Estate also features original art masterpieces, and carefully curated gardens for designers to enjoy. Built in 1895 for the Vanderbilt family, the 8,000-acre estate is a French Renaissance chateau-style mansion with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces – complete with secret doors and hidden passageways.

Now an office building, the Wanamaker building was the first American department store built by John Wanamaker. Inspired by London’s Royal Exchange and Paris’ Les Halles, Wanamaker also invented the price tag in this building – believing that if everyone was equal before God, then everyone should be equal before price. Built in 1877, the Wanamaker building was the first store to use electrical lighting (introduced in 1878), and the first to use a pneumatic tube system to transport cash and documents (introduced in 1880). Today, you can see Florentine-Renaissance Revival styles throughout building’s architecture, along with the Wanamaker Organ, which was featured in the St. Louis World’s Fair.

4. Taos Pueblo – Taos, NM

Boasting “Over 1,000 years of tradition,” the Taos Pueblo are ancient ruins built by the Taos-speaking Native American tribe living in the area. The Pueblo is made entirely out of adobe (soil, water, and straw), and is still called home to 150 people – making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States. The Pueblo features a north and south area of homes, and is said to be some of the most painted buildings in America.

Voted the #8 Best Hotel in the United States, the Wentworth Mansion is a 21-room hotel featuring Italian crystal chandeliers, hand-carved marble fireplaces, and Tiffany stained glass. Built in 1886, the mansion combines multiple architectural styles throughout its four-story home, including Georgian, Regency, Federal, Classic, Greek, and Gothic Revivals, amongst many others. Any designer can find paradise both touring the mansion as well as it’s surrounding buildings, all which pay homage to historic Charleston.

Best Landscapes

1.Yellowstone National Park

For many Yellowstone might be a given, considering Yellowstone was the World’s first National Park (for good reason!). Spanning three states (Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho), Yellowstone is over 2.2 million acres and also holds half of the world’s active geysers. Designers can enjoy breathtaking waterfalls, exciting wildlife, hot springs, and mountains all within Yellowstone’s borders to find inspiration for their next design.

Located just 700 miles from the Arctic Circle are the Kenai Fjords – 40 glaciers meet mountains in the Kenai Peninsula to create this incredible landscape, which is also home to black and brown bears, beavers, river otters, and moose, amongst other wildlife. Designers can choose or hike the National Park to experience its beauty, or take one of the many boat tours that explore the fjords.

3. Multnomah Falls – Columbia River Gorge, OR

According to the USDA Forest Service, Multnomah Falls are the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest, and for good reason. Designers can get up-close-and-personal with the waterfall by walking Multnomah Fall’s iconic bridge, and enjoy the natural landscape surrounding the waterfalls. For the best views, designers should visit in mid-spring or in mid-autumn to enjoy the blooming flowers or changing leaves.

4. Devils Tower National Monument – Crook County, WY

Settled on the west side of the Black Hills is Devils Tower National Monument: a standalone geologic figure that reaches 867 feet tall from its base, surrounded by grassy plains. Devils Tower is a sacred place to over 20 Native American tribes, and was made famous by the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1977.

Talk about Earth’s natural architectural grandeur – Arches National Park is a not-so-hidden gem located in America’s Southwest. With over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, Designers can easily find inspiration from the arches and other rock formations throughout the 119 square miles of landscape, as well as the red and green desert tones of the arches themselves that exist due to the iron in the sandstone.

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Designers

Written By Liz Achanta

New year, new you . . . new designs? The ancient art of making resolutions to better yourself has been traced back to the Babylonians 4,000 years ago. The trick to making sure New Year’s Resolutions work is to make sure that they are meaningful to YOU, as well as reasonably attainable to keep you motivated throughout the year to stick to your plan.

While most NYRs are related to personal growth (e.g., health, financial wellbeing, etc.), your goals should also incorporate professional items, too! We’ve put together 7 different goals to help keep you engaged and inspired throughout 2023.

New year, new you . . . new designs? The ancient art of making resolutions to better yourself has been traced back to the Babylonians 4,000 years ago. The trick to making sure New Year’s Resolutions work is to make sure that they are meaningful to YOU, as well as reasonably attainable to keep you motivated throughout the year to stick to your plan.

While most NYRs are related to personal growth (e.g., health, financial wellbeing, etc.), your goals should also incorporate professional items, too! We’ve put together 7 different goals to help keep you engaged and inspired throughout 2023.

1.       Clean your workspace – regularly

We’ve all heard the saying “A messy desk is a sign of genius,” but there’s something symbolic about walking up to a clean desk after it was laden with papers, sticky notes, and dust.

A fresh, clean workspace can represent walking up to a new canvas or an empty blueprint: new beginnings. If you’re a chronic desk-clutterer, committing to cleaning your workspace once a day might be too much to start with. Instead, try putting a reminder on your calendar for once a week (like Fridays) or even once a month (try the first or last day of each month) can keep your space looking fresh so you can fill it with more ideas.

2.       Spend 1 hour a week ideating

Ideating is especially good for individuals who’ve felt like they’ve entered into a ‘design slump.’ Making the same designs over and over again? There’s hundreds of different ideation techniques to help you get your creativity spinning – like sketching worst-possible ideas, braindumping, or making mood boards are all great ways to get those creative wheels turning.

Just like cleaning your workspace, make sure you stick to your plan by putting a reminder on your calendar or blocking off a specific time each week to get your ideation done. During this time, make sure you only focus on creating – so you might want to hop into an empty conference room or put some earbuds in to keep you from getting distracted. And remember: this hour is spent for you to explore; it doesn’t have to be work-related!

3.       Learn a new design (or any!) software

Regardless if your design expertise involves tech, it’s good to stay in-the-know on different software’s in order to stay relevant. For example, if you’re a graphic designer who already has advanced experience with Photoshop and Illustrator, why don’t you try learning Adobe

Animate? Or if you’re into architectural design and frequently use Rhino 3D, why don’t you try out Blender?

Exposing yourself to different types of design software’s not only can give you a competitive advantage if you’re looking to switch jobs, but it can also get your creative juices flowing by going back to the basics. Plus, there’s lots of free design software online, making this New Year’s Resolution easy to achieve!

4.       Try 1 new design style per month

Remember back in grade school when you’d write a different type of poem a day during Poetry Month? There’s a reason why this teaching technique works: by exposing yourself to different elements, you’re able to explore different variations of your creativity.

Are you a portrait painter? Try a charcoal still life instead. Or do find yourself consistently designing vintage fashion? Why not incorporate African or Asian influences into your designs? You might shock yourself into how much you enjoy these new challenges, while refreshing your designs in the process.

5.       Design something just for you

Have a passion project you’ve been meaning to start? This is your chance to have more fun in 2023: the longer you work in the design business, the more easy it is to get tunnel vision and lose what made you love designing in the first place.

Whether you’ve been wanting to paint a mural in your bedroom or build that art studio in your backyard, make the most of this year by ensuring you get enough ‘Me-Time’ to have a final project you’re proud to show off.

6.       Share your expertise

Establishing yourself as a subject matter expert in design can have a lot of benefits for you, and who you’re sharing your knowledge with. By teaching others what you know, you are able to get a better understanding of your own skills – especially when you have to communicate to different audiences.

Try doing a pro bono project like those listed on Catchafire or Taproot Foundation, hop on a how-to chat thread, or even start a blog to start sharing your expertise. Don’t forget that you can always use the work you make in these types of projects in your portfolio!

7.       Take a risk

Have you been meaning to go back to school, start vlogging your design work, or launch your freelance career? It’s time to put your fears of failure aside and face the reality that you’ll never achieve your dreams unless you take that first step. Remember that no matter the outcome, when you take risks as an individual you gain confidence and learn valuable lessons. You can do it!

Four Ways to Optimize Your Mobile Website

Written By Liz Achanta

Quick question: are you reading this blog post on a computer, or on your phone?

Chances are, your answer was on a phone. Did you know more than 63% of Google searches are made on a mobile device. As mobile devices continue to gain momentum in consumers daily lives, it is important that your website is mobile-friendly to stay connected to your customers. And if that stat hasn’t already convinced you, then this should: according to the US Census, in 2021 smartphones were present in 84% of households, compared to the 78% of households owning a computer. Keep reading to learn how you can make sure your website is targeting to that 84%!

But wait – what makes a website mobile-friendly?

Just because you have a website, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s mobile-friendly. A website is mobile-friendly when:

  • It takes less than three seconds to load the website (not-so-fun fact: according to Google, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load)

  • The content is dynamically-sized for mobile applications (users don’t have to zoom in & out just to read or navigate through your site)

  • Your links and navigation are easily accessible (links are easy to click/navigate to different pages)

Don’t know if your site is mobile-friendly? Plug your website’s URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly test here.

Here’s four ways to optimize your mobile site:

1. Increase your response time

Remember that three second stat? This is what we’re talking about: make sure your site takes less than three seconds to load any given page. Ways to do this include:

  • Scale image sizes down: High resolution images look great, but don’t help to keep you in that three second window. Keep image sizes to a maximum of 40KB where possible; you can also use tools, plug-ins, and photo software to compress or edit image sizes, like Imagnifyis or Affinity Photo.

  • Reduce redirects: A website redirect leads a visitor from one requested page to another. While this can lead to a good user experience, the more redirects you use, the slower your site will be.

  • Enable Browser Caching: When you visit a website, your browser takes pieces of the page and stores them on your system’s hard drive, called caching. Performance research shows caching can instantly reduce website loading time while also reducing server load!

2. Create Calls to Action (CTA)

Have you ever visited a website that left you thinking, “Ok, now what?” Having content on your mobile site is great, but often times it’s not enough to increase your conversion rate. Make things easier for your consumers to ‘seal the deal’ by providing direct links to what you want them to do – like “Add to Cart,” “Buy Now,” or “Subscribe.” These links should tell the consumer that they are performing an action, and then take them directly to where they should be going (Harvard Business Review says the less clicks they have to take, the better). Make sure the CTA button stands out (like giving it a different color), or your consumer might miss it.

3. Make Sure Your Site is Easy to Navigate

One of the worst things you can do to your website is make it hard for the user to use. Just like providing a map, your menu navigation should be simple and to the point. Some things you should avoid when setting up your menu navigation include:

  • Generic or vague labels: if your menu labels aren’t specific enough, your user may be clicking on multiple labels to find what they want – or clicking the back button to go to a competitor site. Make sure your labels are clear and concise: instead of using words like ‘Products’ or ‘Services,’ opt for more specific keywords.

  • Offering too many options: alternative to generic labels, if you offer too many options you can cause confusion because the user isn’t able to find what they’re looking for.

  • Buttons vs. Text Links: Buttons usually take longer to load in mobile applications, which can cause the user to lose interest. Choose to provide text links instead, which offer faster loading times and are more efficient.

4. Add a Search Bar

Let’s face it – sometimes we’re just lazy. With search functions increasing in popularity, having a search bar is now the new norm for most business websites. In addition to creating super-fast search results for your customer, search engines can also boost conversions and strengthen SEO – which can lead to even more traffic to your mobile site.

Just remember: if you elect not having a search bar on your website, you risk people potentially leaving your site for a search engine instead . . . which can result in them going to a competitor.

At the end of the day, creating a website that is optimized across all devices is going to result in a better user experience for your customers – which will bring you better business! By increasing your response time, providing call to actions, and by making your site easy to navigate, you can easily make your business successful – after all, it’s only a few clicks away!

Designer Burnout: how to overcome it and stay creative

Written By Guest User

For UX designers, fashion designers, interior designers or any type of professional artist, it’s common to experience burnout–and for it to go undetected. While burnout is most commonly associated with corporate gigs, those who work in creative fields can absolutely run into burnout for a number of reasons.

First, let’s define burnout. While the term has been around for some 60 years, it was crystallized in the 1970s with the creation of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the first scientifically developed measure of burnout that is used in studies around the world. The Harvard Business Review outlines the three key conditions of burnout under the MBI:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion

  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job

  • Reduced professional efficacy

Whether you work in design full-time or part-time, delving into the arts on a daily basis can lead to these conditions. It’s important to identify what can cause work-related stress and have some ready-solutions to treat it.

  1. It’s common for design jobs to be a side hustle. 

    In many cases, workers turn to these types of roles as creative side hustles. For example, a fashion designer can work for a major fashion house, while starting an independent label. A graphic designer could work for a national magazine, while freelancing for other companies on the weekends. The full-time accountant can be a maker for Etsy to fulfill a passion for arts & crafts.

    Solution: Even if a side job is fulfilling a passion, that doesn’t mean it should take over your life. If you’re taking on projects outside of your nine-to-five be sure to set a structured schedule to prevent exhaustion. Set aside specific days of the week and hours for your side job, to give yourself ample leisure time to tend to your health and wellness. Without a structured schedule, you might find yourself plugged in 24/7, which is a sure path to burnout.

  2. It’s a highly competitive market. 

    For some, proving your artistry is worth it alongside millions of other emerging and established designers can take an emotional toll. On social media and online, it’s easier than ever to compare your work and success to peers. But the comparison game can get tiring.

    Solution: To avoid comparison and feelings of unworthiness, it is imperative to define your unique selling proposition (USP), or your unique value proposition (UVP). Clearly state what makes your services unique, and what makes you unique as the designer. What distinguishes you from the competition? Is there a specific type of customer or industry that you serve? Your UVP should appear on the homepage of your business website and woven into any pitch or campaign. Rejection or critique are inevitable in this business, but it’s important to let your UVP serve as a North Star. Meditation and daily affirmations can help you feel in tune with your self worth, and therapy can also help you feel centered.

  3. All play, no work.
    For full-time and part-time designers alike, it’s common to become engulfed in the artistic work, but overlook the managerial side of running a creative endeavor.

    Solution: Build a small business website that works for you and with you. Let’s say you’re an interior designer who is struggling to keep track of client meetings. Install a booking widget like Scheduly to give you a centralized calendar of any consultations or meetings. In addition to managing your calendar, you have to manage your books. Consider hiring a bookkeeper and accountant to make sure your finances are in order. If you’re really struggling to manage your creative business, consider hiring an assistant or a digital assistant to keep you on the right track.

  4. Creation in solitude.

    Hours on the laptop, long nights in the studio. Design work can be a lonely field. Working in solitude can be a silent cause of burnout, as it can lead to boredom and lack of growth.

    Solution: Find your creative community. If you are a solopreneur or work in a high-level role, you can start with an accountability peer, where you have weekly or monthly check-ins with another like-minded creative to discuss challenges and goals. Help each other overcome obstacles and stay accountable. Of course, the more the merrier. In addition to an accountability peer, find a larger community of creatives in your city or on a national scale via virtual platforms. Look to volunteer for local nonprofits in the arts, or look to and Eventbrite for related events. Never underestimate the human need for connection. Remember, even creative geniuses like Vincent van Gogh found friendship with other artists like Paul Gauguin.

Bottom line:

The bottom line to beating burnout is not to fight it but to prevent it, and identify the physical and mental root causes. The emotional triggers play a huge part in chronic workplace stress. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s to remember health is of utmost importance.

While work is a huge dimension of our identity, it’s not meant to define our entire being, even if our work is our passion.

NFT Art 101: What are NFTs?

Written By Liz Achanta

On March 11, 2021, the British auction house Christie’s sold the first non-fungible token art for a whopping $69.3M. That auction event, hosted at Rockefeller Center in New York City, was sold out with over 1,000 attendees, and the event was dedicated entirely to NFT’s. From that point onward, artists have begun investing their time into developing NFT art, with the most expensive piece NFT art, The Merge, sold at $91M.

These high-profile digital art sales have stirred lots of attention amongst amateur and experienced artists alike. But what are NFTs and how can you start making your mark in the Metaverse? Keep reading to learn what NFTs are, how to start designing, and where to sell your artwork.

What are NFTs?

NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens have been around a lot longer than most people think. The very first NFT, called Quantum, was created in 2014 by Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash at a hackathon; since then artists began experimenting with digital assets being developed on top of Bitcoin blockchain.

Unlike most digital assets, an NFT is unique in that it is bought and sold with a digital certificate, showing how the artwork is the original – also meaning that there can only be one official owner. This digital asset is also protected by blockchain technology so it can’t be hacked or divided into smaller pieces – hence the term ‘Non-Fungible’ in NFT.

We can think of NFT art like the Mona Lisa or Starry Night of the digital world: they’re one of a kind, their value can’t be interchanged, and while other artists can make similar copies, they’re worth nothing compared to the original.

How NFT Art is used in the Metaverse

Strictly speaking, there’s no app called ‘The Metaverse,’ but rather a series of apps that exist in this virtual reality. The Metaverse is a ‘digital universe’: different online social spaces where you can interact with others across the globe. And while the Metaverse depicted in the movie Ready Player One might be impossible, the idea behind the metaverse is that you can – in real time – talk, play, or fight with other users on any given platform, such as World of Warcraft, Fortnight, or Horizon Worlds.

NFT Art can be used a variety of ways in the metaverse. The most popular form of usage is via Art Galleries. One example of this is Voxels. In Voxels, popular art museums are buying NFT art, then creating online ‘galleries’ to showcase them.

NFT Art can also be used (and sold) in the marketplace: rather than heading to art auctions, companies like OpenSea are creating online platforms for collectors and designers to buy and sell art.

How to make (and sell) NFT art

NFT art is considered any unique form of digital art. As designers, we know that art comes in all shapes and sizes, so don’t think your NFT has to fit into a specific mold. Take for example Nyan Cat, which was popular in the 2010s. The owner of this digital masterpiece turned the Nyan Cat into an NFT, and sold the GIF for $590,000. Similarly, The Bored Ape Yacht Club has a collection of 10,000 images, one of which sold for $481.6k.

Your NFT art can be anything: A stylized JPEG, GIF, or even a doodle you made on paint. What makes your NFT valuable is the uniqueness and rarity of your art – quite similar to tangible art.

To increase your NFT popularity – and it’s value – follow some of these quick tips:

    • Promote your work on Social Media: Just like any brand, sharing your work on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is a great way to increase awareness. Use hashtags to increase your reach, and potentially get your art noticed by other artists and collectors.

    • Collaborate with others: another great way to increase your value is by creating work with others. This can not only extend your reach by getting your work noticed by two pools of people (your followers and your collaborator’s followers), but as well collaborations are becoming increasingly “on trend” in the NFT world.

    • Post your work on different forums: Did you know that Discord offers features other than just chat? You can post your work in crypto galleries to help your work gain momentum, knowing that the people in that chat room are all there for a similar purpose.

    Another great forum to post your work on is Mark Cuban’s a website entirely devoted towards showcasing NFTs. The simple three-step process involves creating your account (which verifies your identity), linking your blockchain wallets, then posting your content online.

    How to sell your NFT Art

    Before you begin selling your NFT art, remember that there are some additional steps you need to take in order to prove your art’s uniqueness, and prep yourself for payment. While not required in order to sell your art, some artists choose copyright their artwork, especially if the work is part of a series that uses similar elements (think that Bored Ape Yacht Club mentioned earlier).

    Whether you choose to or not to copyright your artwork, you will need to mint the art – which means tokenizing your artwork by uploading it to a marketplace platform which will guarantee authenticity. There is a fee associated with this but remember that the rarity of your art is what makes your NFT valuable. These fees, called ‘gas fees,’ vary day to day, so using software like Etherscan which monitors the gas fees across multiple platforms so you can mint your art when prices are low.

    The next thing you’ll need to do when you’re trying to sell your NFT art is setting up and funding your crypto wallet. Fortunately, with the rise of cryptocurrency, there are lots of platforms that enable you to do this: Coinbase was rated as the best for beginners, and it’s free to set up your account.

    Once you’ve followed the above sets, you’re ready to list your art for sale. Since NFTs have become more popular, there are more platform options for artists to choose from. Some platforms, like OpenSea and Rarible, are open to everyone, while some platforms are by invitation-only. There’s a marketplace for every type of artists, so do some research to find which marketplace is best for you!

    While it seems like a daunting task, when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of it all NFTs really are just another avenue for designers to showcase (and potentially sell) their work; so as a designer, you really should think of this as another resource to experiment with. As the saying goes, if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong!