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Accessible by Design: Enhancing User Experience through Inclusive Graphics

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, the concept of inclusive and accessible graphic design has emerged as a guiding light, illuminating a path towards digital spaces that are welcoming, informative, and empowering for all. Beyond mere aesthetics, this philosophy is a testament to the power of design to transcend barriers and foster connections. In this exploration, we embark on a journey to unravel the intricacies of inclusive graphic design, delving into its core principles, techniques, and the profound impact it has on user experiences.

What is Inclusive and Accessible Graphic Design?

Inclusive graphic design is a philosophy that embraces diversity and ensures that all users, regardless of their abilities, can access and engage with digital content. 

It goes beyond aesthetics, focusing on creating visuals that cater to a wide range of users, including those with disabilities. Let's delve into the core concepts that define inclusive graphic design and its impact on user experience.

What makes good accessible design?

Inclusive graphic design involves crafting visuals and visual elements that are accessible and usable by everyone, regardless of their abilities. It's about creating content that considers the diverse needs of users, including those with visual, auditory, cognitive, and motor impairments. 

Inclusive design aims to eliminate barriers and ensure that all users can interact with digital content in meaningful ways.

How do you design for users with disabilities?

Designing with users with disabilities in mind is a fundamental aspect of inclusive graphic design. Visual impairments, colour blindness, hearing impairments, and mobility challenges are just a few examples of the disabilities that can impact how users interact with digital content. 

Inclusive design strives to address these challenges by providing alternative ways of perceiving and interacting with information.

Does accessible design only benefit those with disabilities?

The principles of inclusive design extend beyond just accommodating users with disabilities; they benefit all users. 

  • Clear typography, high contrast, and well-structured layouts enhance readability and make content more digestible for everyone. 
  • Providing alternative text for images not only helps users with visual impairments but also aids in better understanding of content for search engines and those using text-based browsers.
  • Inclusive graphic design promotes a consistent and intuitive user experience across various devices and screen sizes. 
  • Design elements that are accessible and adaptable contribute to a smoother interaction, regardless of the user's context.

How do I make my design accessible?

Creating inclusive graphics requires a thoughtful approach that considers the diverse needs of users. Here are some essential techniques that can help you design visuals that are accessible and user-friendly for everyone:

4 Techniques for Creating Inclusive Graphics

1. Color Contrast and Readability

The significance of colour contrast cannot be overstated when designing for users with visual impairments. Proper colour contrast ensures that text and visuals remain distinguishable, even for those with colour blindness or low vision. Techniques like the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) provide standards for minimum colour contrast ratios. Ensuring a sufficient contrast ratio between text and background improves readability and comprehension.

2. Alternative Text for Images

Providing alternative text (alt text) for images is a cornerstone of inclusive design. Alt text serves as a textual description of images, allowing screen readers to convey the content to users with visual impairments. It's essential to write descriptive alt text that accurately conveys the meaning and context of the image. This not only benefits users who rely on screen readers but also aids in search engine optimisation and helps all users understand the purpose of the image.

3. Typography and Readability

Typography plays a crucial role in enhancing readability for users with varying visual abilities. Select fonts that are easy to read and avoid elaborate or decorative styles that might hinder comprehension. Consider font size and spacing to ensure comfortable reading. Larger fonts and appropriate line spacing contribute to a smoother reading experience for users with visual impairments or cognitive challenges.

4. Navigation and User Interface

Designing an accessible user interface is paramount to creating a positive user experience for everyone. Ensure that navigation elements are intuitive and easy to interact with, especially for users with motor impairments. Use clear labels and consistent design patterns to guide users through the interface. Consider implementing keyboard navigation and focus indicators to assist users who navigate without a mouse. Providing alternative ways to interact, such as voice commands, can also enhance accessibility.

How does accessible design have a positive impact on user experience?

Inclusive graphic design goes beyond compliance; it transforms user experiences, particularly for those with disabilities. By crafting visuals that cater to diverse needs, designers can empower users and create universally usable content that resonates with a broader audience.

Empowering Users with Disabilities

The stories of users with disabilities experiencing the benefits of accessible graphic design are powerful testaments to the impact of inclusive practices. From individuals with visual impairments understanding images through screen readers to those with motor impairments smoothly navigating interfaces, accessible design enhances their online interactions. These stories exemplify how thoughtful design choices can break down barriers and empower users to engage more fully with digital content.

Inclusive graphics contribute to the overall web experience by offering equal access to information and enabling users to interact seamlessly. Users with disabilities are no longer limited by design barriers, allowing them to explore websites, absorb content, and engage with online communities.

Creating Universally Usable Content

Inclusive design principles have a ripple effect that extends to all users, regardless of their abilities. The adjustments made to enhance accessibility often result in content that's more straightforward, clearer, and universally usable. Captions for videos, descriptive alt text for images, and well-structured layouts benefit not only users with disabilities but also users in different contexts, such as mobile devices or noisy environments.

The value of reaching a wider audience cannot be underestimated. When content is accessible to a diverse range of users, engagement and interaction levels increase. Users appreciate the effort put into creating content that caters to their needs, fostering a sense of inclusion and building positive relationships between users and brands.

Inclusive graphic design isn't solely about ticking checkboxes; it's about creating an online space that's welcoming, empowering, and usable for everyone. By embracing these principles, designers not only contribute to improved user experiences but also play a pivotal role in building a more inclusive digital world.

What is an example of accessible design?

An example of accessible design can be witnessed through a mobile application that seamlessly integrates inclusive principles to cater to a diverse user base. 

This app would employ high colour contrast, making content easily distinguishable for users with visual impairments. Each image would be accompanied by comprehensive alt text, ensuring that screen reader users receive equivalent information. 

Additionally, the app would offer a voice interface option, enabling users with motor impairments to navigate and interact effortlessly through voice commands. 

These elements would collectively create an experience that's not only welcoming for users with disabilities but also intuitive and enjoyable for all users. 

This showcases how thoughtful implementation of inclusive design principles can elevate user experiences and foster a sense of inclusivity within the digital realm.

Future Trends in Inclusive Graphic Design

The landscape of inclusive graphic design is continuously evolving, driven by emerging technologies and innovative trends. As we look ahead, it's fascinating to explore how these advancements are redefining the boundaries of accessible design and reshaping the future of digital experiences.

Emerging Technologies and Trends

Inclusive graphic design is at the forefront of a technological evolution that is making digital experiences more accessible and engaging for everyone. The integration of emerging technologies and innovative trends is pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the realm of accessible design.

AI and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning hold immense potential for inclusive design. These technologies can automatically generate alt text for images, making content more accessible for users with visual impairments. Additionally, AI-powered tools can enhance readability by suggesting font sizes and styles that cater to individual preferences. These advancements empower designers to create content that's accessible by default.

Voice Interfaces and Accessibility

Voice interfaces are revolutionising how users interact with digital content, especially for individuals with motor impairments or those who prefer auditory interactions. Voice-controlled interfaces provide an alternative way of engaging with websites and applications, making the online experience more inclusive. Designing with voice interactions in mind requires reimagining user flows, content hierarchy, and navigation structures.

Immersive Experiences and Accessibility

Immersive technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), are opening new avenues for accessible design. While challenges exist in ensuring inclusive experiences within immersive environments, designers are exploring innovative solutions. Immersive experiences can be tailored to accommodate various user needs, including customisable visuals and interactive elements that respond to voice commands.

Beyond Visual and Auditory Accessibility

Inclusive graphic design is expanding to encompass other senses beyond sight and sound. Tactile graphics and haptic feedback offer new dimensions of accessibility for users with visual impairments. Designing with touch and physical interaction in mind adds layers of engagement for users who rely on touch-based interfaces.

As we conclude this voyage into the realm of inclusive and accessible graphic design, one thing becomes abundantly clear: the power of design transcends visual allure and enters the realm of social responsibility. Inclusive design is more than a trend; it's a commitment to building a digital world that reflects the diversity of its users. By embracing these principles, we not only enhance the experiences of individuals with disabilities but also create spaces that are more intuitive, engaging, and universally accessible. As technology continues to evolve, the potential for inclusive design to shape our digital interactions becomes even more pronounced. As designers, developers, and content creators, our responsibility is to champion design that knows no barriers, ensuring that every user's journey through the digital landscape is a seamless, empowering, and inclusive experience.

Posted in development graphic design, Graphic Design

Demystifying Website Development

Web developer coding on a macbook laptop

In today's digital landscape, websites play a crucial role in online visibility, credibility, marketing, and customer convenience. As a client embarking on a website development project, it's essential to understand your role and the key aspects of the development process. This article aims to demystify website development, providing you with the knowledge you need to navigate the process and achieve a successful outcome.

Importance of websites in today's digital landscape

Online visibility: With millions of people using the internet daily, having a website ensures that your business or personal brand is discoverable by potential customers or clients.

Credibility and trust: A professionally designed website can build trust and credibility among your target audience, as it showcases your expertise, values, and achievements.

Marketing and lead generation: Websites serve as powerful marketing tools, enabling you to reach and engage with a wider audience. Through various online marketing techniques, you can drive traffic to your website and convert visitors into leads.

Customer convenience: Websites provide convenience to your customers by allowing them to access information, make purchases, or contact you at any time, from anywhere.

Your Role as The Client in Website Development

Defining objectives: As a client, it is crucial to clearly define your objectives and goals for the website. This includes identifying the purpose of the website, the target audience, and the desired outcomes you want to achieve.

Providing content and assets: Clients are responsible for providing the necessary content, such as text, images, videos, and branding assets, to be included on the website. This ensures that the website accurately represents the client's brand and aligns with their messaging.

Collaboration and feedback: Effective communication and collaboration with the web development team are vital throughout the process. Clients should actively participate in meetings, provide feedback on design concepts, and review the progress to ensure the website aligns with their vision.

Testing and feedback: Clients play a crucial role in testing the website's functionality, usability, and compatibility across different devices and browsers. Providing comprehensive feedback during the testing phase helps in identifying any issues or improvements required before the final launch.

Overview of the website development life cycle

The website development process follows a systematic approach known as the website development life cycle. It consists of several phases that guide the creation and implementation of a website. Here's a brief overview of the typical website development life cycle:

1. Planning 

This initial phase involves gathering requirements, defining goals, and creating a project plan. It includes activities like conducting market research, identifying target audience, and outlining the website's structure and functionalities.

2. Design 

In this phase, the visual and interactive elements of the website are developed. It includes creating wireframes, mockups, and prototypes to visualise the layout, navigation, and user experience. Design elements such as colours, typography, and imagery are also considered.

3. Development

This is the phase where the website's technical aspects come into play. Web developers write code, integrate functionalities, and create interactive elements. They work with programming languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and backend technologies to build the website's foundation.

4. Content Creation 

Content plays a crucial role in engaging and informing website visitors. During this phase, content writers create and optimise the website's textual content, while graphic designers and multimedia specialists work on creating visuals, videos, and other media elements.

5. Testing and Quality Assurance

Once the website is developed, it goes through rigorous testing to identify and fix any bugs, errors, or compatibility issues. Testing includes checking functionalities, responsiveness, browser compatibility, performance, and security.

6. Deployment and Launch

After successful testing and client approval, the website is deployed to the live environment. This involves transferring the website's files to a web server and configuring domain and hosting settings. It ensures that the website is accessible to the public.

7. Maintenance and Updates 

Once the website is launched, it requires ongoing maintenance and updates. This includes monitoring performance, fixing bugs, adding new features, and keeping the website's content up to date.

Defining Your Website Goals and Requirements

Identify the purpose and target audience of the website

Before diving into website development, it's crucial to clearly identify the purpose and target audience of your website. Ask yourself:

  1. What is the primary goal of the website? Is it to generate leads, sell products, provide information, or showcase a portfolio?
  2. Who is your target audience? What are their demographics, interests, and needs? Understanding your audience will help you tailor the website's design, content, and functionality to meet their expectations.

Determine the desired features and functionalities

Once you have a clear understanding of your website's purpose and target audience, it's time to determine the desired features and functionalities. Consider the following:

  1. Essential pages - Identify the core pages your website should have, such as a homepage, about us, products/services, contact, and any specific pages relevant to your industry or niche.
  2. Interactive elements - Determine if you need features like contact forms, live chat support, e-commerce capabilities, social media integration, or multimedia elements such as videos or image galleries.
  3. Content management - Decide if you want to be able to update and manage your website's content yourself. In that case, consider using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal.
  4. SEO considerations - If search engine visibility is important, think about incorporating SEO-friendly elements like optimised URLs, meta tags, and the ability to easily edit page titles and descriptions.

Set realistic timelines and budgets

To ensure a smooth website development process, it's essential to set realistic timelines and budgets. Consider the following:

  1. Timelines - valuate how long each phase of the development process might take, considering factors such as design, development, content creation, and testing. Be mindful of potential dependencies and allow for buffer time to accommodate unexpected delays.
  2. Budget - determine your budget for website development, including costs for design, development, content creation, hosting, domain registration, and ongoing maintenance. Research the market rates and discuss the budget with potential web development partners to ensure alignment.
  3. Prioritisation - if you have a limited budget or tight timeline, prioritise the features and functionalities that are essential for your website's initial launch. You can always add more features and improvements later as your website evolves.

Choose the Right Web Development Partner

Choosing the right web development partner is crucial for the success of your website project. Here are some key steps to consider:

Research and evaluate web development agencies or freelancers

  1. Conduct thorough research: Start by researching web development agencies or freelancers online. Look for companies or individuals with a strong reputation and a track record of delivering quality websites.
  2. Seek recommendations: Reach out to colleagues, friends, or other business owners who have recently worked with web developers. Their recommendations can provide valuable insights and help you narrow down your options.
  3. Consider specialisation: Evaluate if the web development partner specialises in the type of website you need. Some developers might have expertise in e-commerce, while others might focus on corporate websites or specific industries.

Assess their expertise, portfolio, and client testimonials

  1. Expertise and experience: Review the expertise and experience of potential web development partners. Consider factors such as the number of years in the industry, technical skills, and their understanding of modern web development practices and technologies.
  2. Portfolio: Examine their portfolio to get an idea of their design aesthetics, user experience (UX), and technical capabilities. Look for examples of websites that align with your vision and objectives.
  3. Client testimonials and reviews: Check for client testimonials or reviews on their website, social media platforms, or third-party review websites. Feedback from previous clients can provide insights into the web developer's professionalism, communication, and project management skills.

Consider factors like communication, project management, and support

  1. Communication: Effective communication is essential for a successful collaboration. Evaluate how responsive and proactive the web development partner is during the initial communication phase. Clear and timely communication is crucial to ensure your requirements are understood and implemented correctly.
  2. Project management approach: Inquire about their project management approach. Do they use project management tools, conduct regular meetings, or provide progress reports? A structured project management approach ensures transparency, accountability, and a smooth development process.
  3. Support and maintenance: Inquire about post-launch support and maintenance options. Websites require regular updates, bug fixes, and security patches. Ensure that the web development partner offers ongoing support and maintenance services to keep your website secure and up to date.

Collaborate with Your Web Development Team

Client meeting

Collaboration between you and your web development team is essential for a successful website project. Here are key aspects to consider for effective collaboration:

Establish effective communication channels

Regular communication - maintain open and regular communication with your web development team throughout the project. Set up communication channels such as email, phone calls, video conferencing, or project management tools to ensure timely and effective communication.

Clarify expectations - Clearly communicate your goals, requirements, and expectations to the development team. Provide comprehensive briefs and documentation to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Participate in the planning and design phase

Active involvement - participate actively in the planning and design phase of the project. Collaborate with the team to define the website's structure, features, and design elements. Share your insights, ideas, and preferences to help shape the website according to your vision.

User feedback and usability testing - provide user feedback and participate in usability testing sessions. Your perspective as a client and end-user is valuable in refining the user experience and identifying any usability issues.

Provide timely feedback and approvals

Timely response - respond to queries, requests for feedback, and design proposals in a timely manner. Delayed responses can cause project delays and hinder the development team's progress.

Clear and constructive feedback - provide clear and constructive feedback on design concepts, content, and functionality. This helps the development team understand your preferences and make necessary adjustments.

Prompt approvals - Review and approve deliverables promptly to maintain project momentum. Delays in approvals can impact the project timeline and lead to unnecessary rework.

Testing and quality assurance (QA) process

Active involvement in testing - participate in the testing phase to identify and report any issues or bugs. Provide thorough feedback on functionalities, responsiveness, and compatibility across different devices and browsers.

User acceptance testing (UAT) - conduct UAT to ensure that the website meets your expectations and requirements. Test various scenarios, user journeys, and functionalities to validate the website's performance.

Collaboration on bug fixing - collaborate with the development team in resolving identified issues and bugs. Clearly communicate the problems you encounter, and work together to find appropriate solutions.

4 Tips for a Smooth Website Development Experience

To ensure a smooth website development experience as a client, here are some valuable tips to keep in mind:

  1. Clearly communicate your requirements and expectations
    Provide a comprehensive project brief that clearly outlines your goals, target audience, desired features, and design preferences. Make sure to clearly communicate your expectations regarding timelines, budget, and deliverables. Be realistic about what can be achieved within the given constraints, and maintain open communication if any adjustments are needed.
  2. Regularly review and provide feedback during the development process Establish regular checkpoints throughout the development process to review progress and provide feedback. Provide timely and constructive feedback on design concepts, functionality, and content. Clearly articulate what works well and what may need improvement, while also considering the technical expertise and creative insights of the development team.
  3. Collaborate and maintain a good working relationship with the development teamMaintain open and respectful communication with the development team. Encourage regular updates, ask questions, and seek clarification when needed. View the development team as partners in the process. Collaborate on decisions, brainstorm ideas, and leverage their expertise to ensure the best possible outcome for your website. Clear communication builds trust and helps avoid misunderstandings.
  4. Stay involved and informed throughout the projectStay engaged and involved throughout the website development process. Attend meetings, provide prompt feedback, and actively participate in discussions to ensure your vision is accurately translated into the final product. Request regular updates from the development team to stay informed about the progress of the project. This helps you stay in the loop and address any concerns or questions that arise.

Website development can be a complex process, but by understanding your role as a client and the key elements involved, you can navigate it with confidence. Clear communication, active collaboration, and staying involved throughout the project are crucial for a successful outcome. Remember to define your goals, provide timely feedback, and maintain a good working relationship with your development team. By following these tips, you'll be well-equipped to embark on a smooth and successful website development journey.

Get in touch with us at Activate to get your new website underway!

Posted in development graphic design, Responsive Web Design, Web Design, Web Team, Website Design

Why You Should Still Have Business Cards

Business man in suit handing out a business card

In a world driven by digital communication, the role of business cards may seem diminished. However, professionals continue to recognise the value of business cards as a tangible representation of their brand and expertise. This blog post will explore why you should have a business card and how to design it effectively. From making a lasting impression to enhancing credibility and facilitating seamless information exchange. Business cards play a vital role in establishing a professional identity in today's competitive landscape.

Do professionals still use business cards?

Business cards may seem outdated. However, professionals continue to use business cards despite advancements in digital communication. Business cards serve as tangible representation of professional identity and are still widely used in various industries and networking settings.

The importance of establishing a professional identity

In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, establishing a solid professional image is crucial for success, as people are naturally drawn to individuals who project professionalism. 

Your professional image encompasses various factors, including appearance, behaviour, and communication skills. Employers, clients, and business partners are more likely to trust and engage with individuals who have a professional image. 

A professional image enhances your chances of securing job opportunities or business deals and fosters long-lasting relationships built on trust and respect.

Why you need business cards

Tangible Representation -  Business cards serve as a tangible representation of your brand and expertise. It allows you to showcase your unique identity and communicate key information about yourself or your business in a concise and visually appealing manner.

Networking Tool - Networking events and professional meetings often involve exchanging contact information with numerous individuals. Amidst the sea of digital connections, a well-designed business card stands out and makes a lasting impression as a physical reminder of your encounter. 

Enhances Credibility and Professionalism - A professionally designed business card signals that you take your work seriously and pay attention to details. Presenting a well-crafted business card instils confidence in the recipient, showcasing your commitment to professionalism and excellence. 

Exchange Details Seamlessly - Business cards provide a hassle-free and reliable way to share your information. Handing over your business card ensures that your contact details are easily accessible, allowing for a smooth and efficient follow-up process.

Digital is not enough - While digital platforms offer convenience in exchanging contact information, they can be impersonal and prone to technological glitches. Business cards eliminate the need for typing or searching through contact lists, allowing for a seamless exchange of information in face-to-face interactions. 

How to design professional business cards

Your business cards should…

Reflect your brand identity and values

  1. Choose a colour scheme that represents your brand to evoke the desired emotions.
  2. Use fonts that are legible and align with your brand’s personality.
  3. Strategically place your logo for maximum visibility.

Ensure readability and clarity

  1. Choose fonts that are easy to read, even at smaller sizes ensuring text is not too small or too crowded.
  2. Arrange the information on your card in a logical and easily scannable way. 
  3. Use hierarchy to emphasise essential details, such as your name and job title.

Include essential information

  1. Display your name and position and/or job offering 
  2. Include your phone number, email address, and physical address if relevant.
  3. Include your website URL and social media handles to encourage online engagement if applicable.

Use high-quality materials

  1. Use thick cardstock to give your card a premium feel and durability. 
  2. Consider finishes like matte, gloss, or textured coatings to enhance visual appeal.
  3. Consider using special finishes like foil stamping, embossing, or spot UV to add a touch of uniqueness and make your card visually distinctive.

All business cards should be optimised for the business card dimensions 90mm x 55mm

Layout and Composition

The layout and composition of your business card play a more important role than you may realise in creating a visually appealing and effective design.

How do I layout and compose my business cards?

Balance visual elements and incorporate graphics

Placement - strategically position your text and logo to create visual hierarchy. The most important information, such as name and job title, should be prominent.

Utilise white space - leave sufficient white space (empty space) around each element to improve readability and create a clean and elegant design. White space also helps guide the viewer's eye and highlights important information.

Experiment - create multiple options with different arrangements until you achieve the one that is most visually appealing.

Graphics - use relevant icons, images, or patterns to enhance visual interest. Icons can be used to represent contact information (e.g., phone, email) or social media handles.

Maintain clean design - keep the design clean and uncluttered, allowing each element to breathe. This ensures that your information is easily readable and creates a professional impression.

Should my business cards include a logo?

Yes, including a logo on your business cards is highly recommended. A logo is a visual representation of your brand and serves as a powerful tool that can strengthen your brand identity, enhance professionalism, and help you make a memorable impression. When designing your business card, consider the size and placement of your logo to ensure it is prominently displayed and easily recognisable. Ensure your logo is in high resolution and properly scaled to maintain quality when printed on the business card.

Printing and Production

Once the card design is finalised, it is time to get quality prints of your business cards.

What should I consider when getting my business cards printed?

Select a reputable printing service and double check the information

Research - Researching print quality, options, and pricing: Look for printing services that offer high-quality printing options suitable for your desired card design. Consider factors such as paper stock options, finishes, and printing techniques.

Request samples - request print samples and proofs before committing to a printing service so that you can evaluate the quality of their work. Additionally, ask for a proof of your business card design to ensure it appears as expected before proceeding with the full print run. 

Proofread for typos and errors - carefully review your business card design, paying close attention to contact details, job titles, names, and any other textual information. Look for spelling errors, incorrect phone numbers, or outdated information.

Double-check the design - ensure the design aligns with the printing requirements of your chosen print provider. There may be specific guidelines for file formats, bleed areas, and colour modes, so ensure your design meets these requirements to avoid any issues during printing. Convert your design to the appropriate colour mode (such as CMYK) and include necessary bleed areas.

Here is what to avoid on your business cards

  1. Cluttered design - Avoid overcrowding your business card with excessive text, graphics, or images. A cluttered design can make it difficult for recipients to read and process the information. Maintain a clean, organised layout that allows the key elements to stand out.
  2. Illegible fonts - Choose fonts that are clear, legible, and appropriate for your industry. Avoid using overly decorative or complex fonts that can hinder readability. Ensure that the font size is large enough to be easily read, especially for contact information.
  3. Poor colour choices - Be mindful of your colour choices and avoid using too many colours that clash or distract from the overall design. Stick to a limited colour palette that aligns with your brand and maintains visual harmony.
  4. Inconsistent branding - Your business card should be consistent with your overall branding, including your logo, colour scheme, and typography. Inconsistencies can confuse recipients and dilute your brand identity. Ensure that your business card aligns with your other marketing materials.
  5. Outdated or incorrect information - Double-check all the information on your business card to ensure its accuracy. Outdated or inaccurate information can lead to confusion and missed opportunities. Keep your contact details, job title, and other relevant information up to date.
  6. Low-quality printing and materials - Opt for high-quality printing and materials for your business cards. Avoid using cheap or flimsy cardstock that can make a negative impression. Poor printing quality can also result in blurred text or images. Invest in professional printing services to ensure a polished final product.
  7. Irrelevant or excessive information - Include only essential information on your business card. Avoid including irrelevant details that can clutter the design. Stick to your name, job title, company name, phone number, email address, and website. Optionally, include social media handles or a QR code to access online profiles easily.

How can I utilise my business cards to their fullest potential?

Beyond the design and printing of your business card, there are additional strategies you can employ to maximise its impact and leverage it effectively in various professional settings. Consider the following tips:

Engage in networking interactions

  1. You are proud of your business cards, right? Well, so are others. When someone hands you their business card, take the time to engage in a meaningful conversation and show genuine interest in their work or business.
  2. After receiving a business card, make it a point to follow up with a personalised message or email.
  3. When following up, reference your conversation or any points discussed to demonstrate that you value the connection.

Use them strategically in networking or professional settings

  1. Carry a stack of business cards to networking events and exchange them when you meet potential collaborators, clients, or employers. 
  2. Ensure your business cards are easily accessible and present them professionally.
  3. Use the opportunity to establish connections and follow up afterward.

Keep them up-to-date

  1. Ensure your business cards are easily accessible and present them professionally.
  2. Outdated information can create confusion and undermine your professionalism.
  3. Keep track of the number of business cards you have on hand and replenish them as needed. Running out of cards can be inconvenient and leave a negative impression.

So, are business cards worth it?

Business cards continue to be an essential tool for professionals. They serve as tangible representations of your brand, make a lasting impression, enhance credibility, and facilitate seamless information exchange. When designing your business cards, remember to reflect your brand identity, ensure readability, include essential information, and use high-quality materials. Additionally, use your business cards whilst networking and in professional settings making sure to keep them up to date. By following these tips, you can maximise the impact of your business cards and elevate your professional image in today's competitive world.

Need a graphic designer to create professional business cards for your business? Get in touch today!

Posted in Branding, development graphic design, Graphic Design, logo branding, Marketing, Printing

How Do Graduates In Web Design Get A Job

Mo’ Money: How do Graduates of Web Design Actually Get Paid?

Hey smarty pants, you’ve just graduated college and you’re ready to enter the real world and start earning some even ‘realer’ cash. How will you find a job? Some methods are better than others, especially when in the design industry. Conducting proper research ishire us hand written sign essential when it comes to job hunting for designers, as is the knowledge of how to create a good resume and portfolio. Here are some handy hints to help you secure a job quickly and hopefully with as little stress as possible.

You’re lacking in experience, but don’t let this hold you back. These days, all your skills are transferable: you just need to be able to communicate this effectively. What skills did you learn at that café that can be carried over to your new design career? If you’ve had any leadership or team-driven positions, it can look great on your resume, even if you were just a team leader at your local Mitre 10.

If you still have gaping holes in your resume, go into more detail about the particular courses you took at school. Be sure to highlight your academic successes, projects you completed, awards you won, and any travel you’ve done. Potential employers want to engage with your human side, so showcase your personality, not just your work experience and education.

You Are the Brand

In order to land your creative design dream-job, you’ve got to have a solid portfolio that demonstrates the high quality of design creativity you possess. Your resume and portfolio are essentially advertisements for your brand, which is YOU.

You can’t just send out mass emails with the same resume to every potential employer. You should tailor your resume and portfolio to each prospective employer, studying their design work and tailoring your content to reflect what it is they may be looking for. You’re clever, you’re talented and you need to prove it.

It’s the Little Things that Count

Reading full job descriptions and following the instructions exactly is imperative when applying for your first web design job. Employers do this to weed out the people who don’t follow instructions properly. Don’t wait for them to ask for a link to your portfolio, supply it immediately. If you don’t follow these precise instructions, you’re running the risk of being auto-deleted. Keep in mind that there may be hundreds of other designers vying for the same job, designers who may be more qualified than you. Give yourself at least a chance to be considered by not makings silly, avoidable, and embarrassing mistakes.

Web design job descriptions can be very vague and some terms can be misinterpreted for a completely different position. Front-end development, HTML, and CSS are all very different things and you may not know them all inside-out. Understanding what skills are appropriate for the job you’re applying for is very important. Time is money and you don’t want to waste it. That said, even if you don’t have all of the proper qualification, there’s no harm in taking a leap and applying for a position that is beyond your skill set. If your personality is spot-on and you’ve got the right attitude, a company just may take you on board with the intention of training you up properly and reaping the rewards with years of commitment.

Trade Me Jobs vs. Everything Else

The only place to start looking for a job is Trade Me Jobs, right? While it’s convenient to have Trade Me at your fingertips on your mobile or laptop, make sure you’re thinking out of the box. Yes, most businesses advertise on Trade Me first, but while there are oodles of jobs available, there are also hundreds of applicants pursuing the same position. Be sure to check out SEEK and be so bold as to check out the websites of the design firms and companies that you admire. Sometimes they may post listings on their sites. Check frequently. Even if you don’t hear a response back right away, some agencies will keep your information on file and contact you later on when they’re looking for someone. It’s an excellent idea to make yourself known to the agencies in your city, even if they don’t seem to be actively looking for a designer.

It’s a Popularity Contest

Using social media platforms as a medium to connect with others is a great way to create and develop professional relationships. Many designers hear about jobs through friends before a position has even been advertised publicly. Keep your mind and options open by seeing potential in everyone that you meet online and offline. New Zealand is small and you never know who you might meet and what opportunities they can provide for you. Start building up your personal network and don’t be afraid to ask if your fellow designers know of any jobs available. Your best chance of landing a design position may be through the personal connections you make.

Use Your Brains

Finding the right job after graduating may take several weeks to several months and that’s why you’ve got to keep track of the agencies you’ve already contacted and who you should follow up with. Create a simple Google Doc with a chart of the company name and a brief description, the name of your primary contact for the job and the date that you applied. This will help you see your job hunting progress all in one place, instead of your e-mail inbox.

If you’re not hearing back from any of the companies you’ve applied to, it may be time to try a different approach with your resume and portfolio and see if you get any better results. If you haven’t heard back from a company within a week, sending a polite follow-up note to remind them about your application is good way to proceed. But, don’t be too aggressive as they might just be overwhelmed with too many applications.

If you haven’t heard back in a month’s time, don’t barrage them with e-mails. Instead, put that lead on hold for now and pursue some others. Certain companies are too busy to let you know whether or not you’ve made it to the next round in the application process. Don’t take it personally and don’t get discouraged. You need to be pro-active. You make your own opportunities!

Let’s Break It Down:

  1. When it comes to your resume and portfolio, create something that will get a Creative Director to really notice you. It’s all about impact. You’re a brand and you need to be remembered. Create a portfolio that defines what you stand for. Create a talking point about you. Don’t let the fact that you stay less than a year at any given job be the only talking point. If you’ve moved around too much, be ready to answer some tough questions about reliability and commitment.

  1. So, you’re a brand and not the Ultimate God of Design. Let your work speak for you.  Don’t tell your potential employers how amazing you are. Remember, you just graduated, so while you’re fresh, you’ve also inexperienced and you don’t want to come off looking arrogant and deluded. The design firm that hires you is doing it because you’re cheap, you work hard, and you’re showcasing your potential.

  1. With so many books the same, your portfolio needs to be different. A lot of design schools churn out factory farmed students with the same work. It takes Creative Directors less than 15 seconds to determine whether a portfolio warrants further inspection. Great agencies look for a certain amount of professionalism and depth. If you really want to stand out, your portfolio needs to be stunning.

  1. Be ready to work hard. Studying graphic design is a luxury and while you’ve been doing work and learning over the last few years, there hasn’t been much pressure. You’re entering the real world now and you need to work harder, faster, and all-hours. You need an excellent sense of time management and you need to have a good sense of process. How do you approach your work? Where do you go for inspiration? How do you know when an idea is good?

  1. At the heart of it all, people are the most important assets in any design firm. You need to be able to engage future employees with your kindness, your attention and your eagerness to learn. Don’t go into an interview cocky and arrogant: you need them more than they need you. Employers are scrutinising your portfolio, resume AND your personality. Are you easy to get along with? Can you work efficiently with others and independently? You don’t need to be the best of friends with your work colleagues, but you need to be able to maintain an open and healthy dialogue. Good web designers are thoughtful, considerate, and not overly wrapped up in their own egos. Our designers at Activate embody all of this and more.

 

Posted in development graphic design, Graphic Design

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