Mastering the Art of Asking for a Raise as a Graphic Designer 

Are you a talented graphic designer who’s been putting in hard work and delivering exceptional results to your clients or employer? If so, it’s only fair that your efforts are rewarded with a raise that reflects your skill and dedication. However, asking for a raise can be a daunting task for many, and graphic designers are no exception. In this guide, we’ll explore the art of asking for a raise as a graphic designer, providing you with the strategies and confidence you need to make your case effectively. 

Know Your Worth 

Before you even think about asking for a raise, it’s crucial to understand your own value in the market. As a graphic designer, your worth can be determined by factors such as your skills, experience, portfolio, and the local job market. Here’s how to assess your worth: 

1. Research Industry Standards 

Start by researching the current industry standards for graphic designers in your region. This involves checking salary surveys, job postings, and speaking with peers in the field to get a sense of the typical compensation for your level of experience and expertise. 

2. Evaluate Your Skills and Experience 

Take an honest look at your skills and experience. Have you acquired new skills or taken on more responsibilities since your last salary negotiation? Are you consistently meeting or exceeding your goals and deadlines? The more you can demonstrate your value, the stronger your case for a raise. 

3. Review Your Portfolio 

Your portfolio is a reflection of your talent and the quality of your work. Examine your portfolio and identify projects that showcase your skills and growth as a designer. Being able to point to specific achievements can bolster your argument for a raise. 

4. Consider Your Location 

Salaries can vary significantly by location. Be sure to take into account the cost of living in your area, as this can influence what is considered a fair salary. For instance, the salary expectations for a graphic designer in New York City will be different from those in a smaller town. 

Choose the Right Time 

Timing is essential when it comes to asking for a raise. You want to bring up the topic when your achievements are fresh in your employer’s mind and when the company is in a financial position to consider raises. Some opportune moments include: 

1. Performance Reviews 

Performance reviews are a natural time to discuss your salary. Typically, employers will evaluate your performance and may consider adjusting your compensation accordingly. If you’re confident in your accomplishments, this is a great occasion to discuss a raise. 

2. After a Big Achievement 

Did you recently complete a major project that received accolades from clients or colleagues? Or maybe you played a crucial role in a successful campaign? Capitalize on your recent successes to make a compelling case for a raise. 

3. Company Financial Health 

Keep an eye on your company’s financial health. If the organization is doing well, they may be more willing to invest in their employees, including you. Conversely, if the company is going through a tough period, it might be wise to wait for a more stable time. 

Prepare Your Pitch 

To ask for a raise effectively, you need to prepare a persuasive pitch. Here’s how to do it: 

1. Gather Your Data 

Assemble all the relevant information, including your research on industry standards, your accomplishments, and any additional responsibilities you’ve taken on. Having concrete data to back your request is critical. 

2. Practice Your Pitch 

Rehearse what you’re going to say. You want to come across as confident and well-prepared. Be ready to discuss your achievements, responsibilities, and the value you bring to the company. 

3. Consider Your Wording  

The way you phrase your request can make a significant difference. Instead of saying, “I need a raise,” try saying, “I believe my contributions and the market value for my skills warrant a salary adjustment.” The latter is more professional and demonstrates that you’ve done your homework. 

Schedule a Meeting 

Once you’ve prepared your pitch, request a meeting with your supervisor or HR department. It’s essential to have a face-to-face conversation or a video call rather than relying on email, as it shows your commitment and seriousness. Be sure to provide ample notice and explain the purpose of the meeting. 

During the Meeting 

When you’re in the meeting, keep these key points in mind: 

1. Remain Calm and Professional 

Approach the meeting with a positive and professional demeanor. Avoid becoming emotional or confrontational. 

2. Present Your Case 

Start by discussing your accomplishments, skills, and any added value you bring to the company. Be specific and use concrete examples to support your claims. 

3. Be Open to Discussion 

Listen to the response from your employer. They might have questions, feedback, or counteroffers. Be prepared to engage in a constructive conversation. 

4. Be Willing to Negotiate 

While it’s great to have a specific figure in mind, be open to negotiation. Your employer might not be able to meet your initial request, but they could offer other benefits or a compromise. 

Follow Up 

After the meeting, follow up with an email summarizing the discussion and any agreed-upon actions. If the outcome is positive, congratulations! If it’s not what you expected, consider your options. This might include asking for a follow-up discussion in the future or exploring new opportunities elsewhere. 

Promote Your .design Domain 

Speaking of new opportunities, as a graphic designer, having a professional online presence is crucial. One way to do this is by securing a .design domain. A .design domain is a unique and memorable web address that immediately conveys your profession to potential clients or employers. It can help you stand out in a competitive field and make it easier for people to find your work online. 

Whether you’re a freelance graphic designer looking to showcase your portfolio or a job seeker aiming to impress potential employers, a .design domain is a powerful tool. It’s a small investment that can yield significant benefits in terms of visibility and branding. 

In conclusion, asking for a raise as a graphic designer involves thorough preparation, research, and a well-structured approach. By knowing your worth, choosing the right time, and presenting a compelling case, you can increase your chances of securing the compensation you deserve. And, while you’re working on your career, don’t forget to enhance your online presence with a .design domain to further establish your professional identity in the world of graphic design. Good luck! 

Designing Tomorrow: What Graphic Designers Need to Know About Artificial Intelligence

The world of graphic design is evolving rapidly, thanks to the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI’s impact on graphic design is profound, ushering in a new era of creative possibilities and efficiency. In this article, we will explore what graphic designers need to know about AI and its influence on their field, and we’ll also introduce the benefits of using a .design domain to showcase your work to the world. 

AI and Graphic Design: A Game Changer 

Artificial Intelligence is transforming graphic design in several ways, making it an essential tool for designers to understand and incorporate into their work. Here’s what graphic designers need to know: 

1. Automation of Repetitive Tasks: AI can automate repetitive and time-consuming design tasks, such as resizing images, generating layouts, and formatting text. This allows designers to focus more on the creative aspects of their projects. 

2. Predictive Analytics: AI-driven analytics can provide insights into user behavior and preferences. By analyzing this data, designers can create more effective and engaging visual content tailored to their target audience. 

3. Image Recognition and Tagging: AI can analyze images to recognize and tag objects, colors, and even emotions. This feature streamlines the process of cataloging and organizing visual assets. 

4. Customization and Personalization: AI enables designers to create highly personalized designs, tailored to each user’s preferences and interactions. This personalization can significantly enhance user engagement and satisfaction. 

5. Generative Design: Generative design powered by AI can assist graphic designers in exploring multiple design possibilities based on defined parameters. This opens up new creative avenues and accelerates the ideation process. 

Leveraging AI Creatively 

AI is not here to replace graphic designers; rather, it’s a creative ally. Designers can use AI to spark creativity, streamline their workflows, and optimize their designs. Here’s how: 

1. Creative Inspiration: AI-powered design tools can generate ideas and inspire designers with unique visual concepts and suggestions. 

2. Efficiency and Productivity: By automating routine design tasks, AI allows designers to allocate more time and energy to conceptualizing and refining their creative ideas. 

3. Data-Driven Design: Designers can use AI insights to make informed decisions about design elements, colors, and layouts that resonate most with their target audience. 

4. Prototype Testing: AI can help designers create rapid prototypes for A/B testing and user feedback, enabling data-driven design improvements. 

Ethical Considerations 

While AI offers incredible potential for the graphic design field, there are important ethical considerations to keep in mind: 

1. Bias Mitigation: AI algorithms can inherit biases present in the data they are trained on. Designers need to be vigilant about mitigating biases in their designs to ensure inclusivity and fairness. 

2. Privacy: When using AI to personalize content, it’s crucial to respect user privacy and obtain proper consent. 

3. Transparency: Ensure transparency in design choices involving AI and clearly communicate when AI is involved in user interactions. 

You can learn more about AI and IP here.

Learning AI for Graphic Design 

To effectively incorporate AI into graphic design, it’s essential for designers to invest in learning and development. Consider courses, workshops, and tutorials that focus on AI applications in design. Understanding the fundamentals of AI and machine learning can open up new creative possibilities. 

Promote Your Work with a .design Domain 

As a graphic designer, your online portfolio is your digital business card. It’s crucial to showcase your work in a memorable and professional way. That’s where a .design domain comes in. 

A .design domain instantly communicates your profession and passion, making it easier for potential clients, employers, or collaborators to find you online. It sets you apart in a competitive field and helps your work stand out in the digital landscape. Whether you’re a freelance designer, a design agency, or just want to create a personal portfolio, a .design domain is a perfect choice. 

The integration of AI into graphic design is not a threat but a boon for designers. By embracing AI’s capabilities, graphic designers can unlock a world of creative potential, streamline their workflows, and create more personalized and engaging designs. Stay informed, keep learning, and make AI your creative partner in shaping the future of graphic design. And don’t forget to use a .design domain to showcase your incredible work to the world. Your digital canvas awaits! 

Freelance Design Contract Must-Haves

When opportunities arise for contract workers, a well-drafted contract signed by both the freelancer and the firm will benefit and protect both parties.

The gig economy is growing faster than ever. According to the Freelance Forward Report from Upwork (the most comprehensive study of the US independent workforce to date) 64 million Americans performed skilled freelance work in the past year. This is an all-time high, representing nearly 40% of the US workforce. The World Economic Forum  predicts that more than half of the global workforce will be part of the gig economy. Some projections expect contractors will outnumber traditional 9-to-5 workers in their respective fields.

This shift is a win-win as it gives businesses the opportunity to tap workers from more diverse backgrounds, geographies, skill sets, and talents. But it also calls for both parties to professionalize how they engage in business.

Whether you’re a legal counsel, accountant, a creative web designer or storefront muralist, consider creating your own freelance contract template that you can customize for each job. This document will streamline how you establish yourself with each new client. For the client side, a solid contract will ensure business owners are engaging in a professional partnership that will deliver results, and within set deadlines.

Here is a guide for creating a freelance design contract, paving the way for a harmonious and productive work experience. 

What goes into an effective freelance design contract?

A freelance design contract is a legally binding agreement between a contract worker and their client (be it an individual or a company) to complete the obligations listed in the document. It lays out big-picture responsibilities, as well as detailed terms and conditions. Key components include project introduction, timeline, copyright ownership, and payment terms. Most importantly, it outlines how and when the freelancer gets paid.

Here we’ll walk through every part of the contract and help you understand why each section matters.

  1. Outlining the Scope of the Project

Start by clearly defining the project scope, including the specific tasks and deliverables, the client’s expectations, requirements, etc. The more detailed this section is, the less room there is for errors and misunderstandings. Most importantly, include the start date and estimated completion date that both parties have agreed upon.

2. Payment Terms: How and when
This is one of the most important sections in the contract. Specify the terms, including how and when the payments will be made. When drafting this section, consider the following:

  • How much will the project cost? 
  • What is the payment method? PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, cash, checks, etc.
  • If the payment is delayed, will there be any late fees or interest charges for overdue payments? 
  • If the freelancer works with international clients, what is the currency for the contract?
  • How and when should the freelancer invoice the client? 

To make sure payments are on time, consider drafting a detailed payment schedule to smoothen the transaction processes and prevent miscommunication.

3. A comprehensive list of Products & Deliverables

This section clarifies what your client will receive upon project completion. Create a comprehensive list of the deliverables, including nitty-gritty details such as file formats and design variations. You may also include the delivery dates for each asset (e.g. logos, banners, animations, etc) .

This level of detail may seem unnecessary and more beneficial to the client–but keep in mind that a solid contract will also protect you from unexpected tasks that make you work countless hours for free. It is never too late to add a payment condition for any additional design products that your clients might request along the way. 

4. A set number of Revisions or Changes

For creative freelancers, like web designers or advertising consultants, offering a set package of design services should include a set number of revisions. Make sure the contract includes the maximum number of changes and edits to a project. This protects the freelancer from an endless merry-go-round of back and forth revisions.

5. Copyright ownership and Intellectual Property (IP) protection

Many agencies and freelancers unfortunately find this scenario all too familiar: You pitch a client with your proposed designs, but they reject it and you don’t get the job. Weeks later, you find that the client used elements or completely copied your original designs in their live campaign.

This is where a freelance contract can protect you. Copyright ownership in the contract refers to the allocation of intellectual property rights of the work created by the freelancer. If a freelance designer drafts a logo or banner that goes unused, who has the rights to the drafted artwork after the project is completed? This prevents disputes and ensures both parties are on the same page regarding the distribution, use, and control of the design work. 

6. Confidentiality agreement

Similar to copyright agreements, terms regarding confidentiality should also be outlined. As a contract worker, you are an outsider working on the inside, getting access to a client’s creative ideas, passwords and other personal data. Reassure your clients that their information is in secure hands.

7. Methods of Communication

This might seem like a minute and easy detail but the methods of communication can make or break how a freelance partnership plays out. Some prefer calls and text messages, while others prefer strictly email. Further, with communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Zoom, it’s important you are both on the same page when it comes to how you will meet. Last but not least, there are project management platforms like Asana and Trello–be sure that both parties are trained on and can access these accounts.

8. Get local with Legal Compliance

To make the contract legally effective, it’s important that the contract complies with relevant copyright laws and regulations in your jurisdiction. Consult with a legal professional to make sure your contract aligns with the legal requirements in your state. 

9. Rightful Termination

Not all partnerships are meant to be, especially in the design realm, where creative differences can arise. You should always clarify the conditions under which either party cancels the project and terminates the contract. Make sure to clarify who will own the copyright of the work produced thus far, if any, and whether any termination fees are involved. 

10. Make it Official: Signed and Dated

Last, make sure to ask your client if they have any questions about the contract. In other words, confirm that they have actually read the document thoroughly and carefully to avoid any surprises. More importantly, make sure both parties have signed and dated the document to ensure that the freelance contract is legally binding. Some freelancers are so excited to get started on a project that they eagerly get to work before the contract is signed and dated.

Other notes to keep in mind

When you finish the very first meeting with your client, aim to draft the contract right away and send it to the client before you start your design process. If you are new to the freelance world, or need help writing a freelance design contract, there are some model templates from platforms such as Bonsai, The Contract Shop, PandaDoc, etc.

It’s Time to Give Your Website a Year-End Design Audit

As the end of the year approaches, many entrepreneurs might feel the need to assess all aspects of their business, including the state of their website. But a web design audit involves much more than a spruce-up. A year-end review of your business website should be a thorough analysis of the look, feel and overall functionality of the site. It takes into account visual design, UX, and most important, whether your website still aligns with the identity and mission of your brand.

There are many ways to measure the state of your site, from whether it is current with the best SEO terms or technically up-to-date on the backend. Just as you would give an employee a year-end performance review, consider conducting an annual review for your website. Here’s a step-by-step guide for auditing the digital headquarters of your business.

Outline your website review goals

In many cases, your business website is likely the most centralized storytelling platform for your company. It can house your company identity, brand voice, founding story, and every single product or service offering in one place for the entire world to see. There can be many areas that need redesign, be it the graphics or the messaging.

When auditing your site, have a clear objective of what you want to achieve. Be clear on how much time, money and resources you can dedicate to this project. Are you looking to just update some online text or do you envision yourself hiring a web designer to completely revamp the site? Budget appropriately for any professionals or consultants you might need to hire, be it a web designer, e-commerce consultant or a copy editor.

Conduct a visual audit

Allocate an hour of time to simply sit down and review your website’s overall appearance. Go on a browsing-spree of your own site! Think about your web design and how its interface speaks volumes about your business. Browse your own site thoroughly to evaluate visuals, including colors, layout, graphics and other imagery. Do all the elements still accurately reflect your brand?

A company can evolve overtime, and it’s important to make sure your website still connects to your target audience, echoes to your company culture and conveys your unique value proposition. For example, are you isolating a large part of your audience by being too gender-centric? Does the lead homepage feature your bestselling product? Does the About Us page need a little more soul?

Conduct a UX audit

Looks are one thing, functionality is another. Is your website intuitive and easy to navigate? Test your website to ensure your web design is contributing to the best online user experience. Check for loading speed as well as whether the website works across different browsers and on mobile. Test the user flow, interactions, and responsiveness from different devices including desktops, tablets and cell phones.

Conduct a content audit

It’s time to play editor. Review each sentence and description on your website, from the tagline to the fine print. While a proofreader or copyeditor can help your website’s written text shine or pack a punch, it’s your job as the business owner to make sure all the content aligns with your organization’s mission and voice.

Equally important, ensure your website is up to date with all the keywords relevant to your product or service. Ensuring your SEO strategy is up to date will help your website gain more visibility and reach your target customer.

Follow the data

Is your website giving you the data and stats you need to assess online sales performance?For beginners, Google Analytics is a free and easy tool to help you gauge your website traffic, where it comes from, and which pages are performing best. Are there pages with certain designs that are resonating well with your audience? Is there a webpage that is getting zero love? If so, it might be time for a redesign.

Review latest design trends

Check out your competitors, the latest ventures, as well as brands you admire. Are there design trends that should be on your monitor? While you should be authentic and never play copycat, it’s great to be in-tune with what is trending, and draw inspiration from what can help propel your brand identity.  

Experience your website from the customer’s POV

Allocate a separate time to review your site from your customer’s perspective. Consider doing a test-purchase of a bestselling item from your website. From typing in the URL to landing on the homepage, and getting to the checkout page—was the e-commerce experience seamless and intuitive? Or, were there many glitches that made your website difficult to navigate? Does the look of the website seem consistent and engaging throughout the entire buying journey?

Get feedback

At the end of the day, it’s difficult to completely remove your bias as the business owner during a website review. Consider starting a conversation with your top customers or trusted associates to also give you feedback on your web designs and user experience.

A web design audit empowers business owners to have a thorough understanding of how a website performs and contributes to business growth. It identifies technical issues as well as whether certain areas are off-brand. Launching a managing a website in itself can be a tedious task, so having to revisit the though of redesigning can seem overwhelming. The key is to conduct a website at least annually so that your company site is always in top condition and positioning you for success.

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.