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Why You Should Use Plastic Business Cards

Unless given to you at a bar on a night out (in which case they are probably taken home and framed) business cards are often folded up, put somewhere and never seen again. With the introduction of plastic business cards, however, it’s out with the fold and in with the new!

Business cards provide people with fundamental details such as your name and contact details, but what many businesses seem to forget is that they can also say a lot about your brand. Countless companies spend a fortune on fancy advertisements that do a great job of grabbing consumers’ attention, but they then proceed to hand out plain and boring business cards. Most forget how important it is to make a good first impression!

Business cards serve two main purposes: to make a networking connection to potentially gain business, and to provide the recipient with the means to refer your business to a friend. The problem with the latter is that traditional business cards tend to deteriorate more and more as they are passed on from person to person, and this is where plastic business cards come in!

So what are the key advantages to using plastic business cards?

Durability

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Appearance

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Which of these two are you most likely to hang on to? Handing over a business card is often the first step in building a business relationship and, consequently, it is absolutely essential to leave a memorable and lasting impression on the customer. With regards to how plastic business cards look and feel, it goes without saying that they are head and shoulders above their paper counterparts.

When a customer walks away with your business card you want them, and whoever they show it to, to have a clear picture of the kind of business you are and to have a strong impression of the products or services you offer. Plastic business cards allow for a huge variety of finishes and provide a great way for you to stand out from the crowd.

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18 Incredible Design Bundles for DIY Projects

Totally in love with the incredible greeting cards, stationery sets, and art prints that you see on websites like Etsy and Society6? It’s easier than you could imagine to create incredible looking print goods of your own with a simple design editing software along with pre-made design resources. Simply select your favorite resources and put them together with meaningful words and phrases, and voila! amazing paper goods you’ve made yourself.

It’s almost Halloween, and then shortly after Thanksgiving and the Winter holiday season will be upon us, so you can start planning DIY card projects for those holidays and everyday occasions. Today, we’re bringing you some of the best bundles of ClipArt, illustrations, and a few font bundles to help you craft amazing DIY print goods.

1. The Big Daddy ClipArt Bundle from Create the Cut

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This massive ClipArt bundle is actually a collection of 4 ClipArt bundles that have been brought together for your design use. The bundle is comprised entirely of hand-drawn elements (just like all those cool prints you would see on Etsy), and you’ll receive over 100 items in PNG format to use however you like. The bundle includes gorgeous hand drawn banners, badges, and more.

2. Handcrumb Toolkit by Gerren Lamson

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If you’re looking to just get started making digital designs for print this set of digital resources is the perfect kit to help you get started. With this kit you can emphasize words or phrases with crafted background shapes or frames, highlight words or phrases with marker slashes, and much more.

3. Font Bundle #1 by On the Spot Studio

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If you’re like me and you can’t get enough of handwritten typefaces, this bundle is perfect for you. You’ll receive 6 handcrafted fonts basically for the price of one! These are perfect for creating your own typography art prints, stationery, or greeting cards for everyday occasions.

See the rest here!

8 Must-Have Restaurant Review Apps for iPhone

Ever wonder how to find good food while you’re traveling? Or how friends and family discover the best new restaurants they’re recommending? They might be using an app to learn about the latest and greatest in cuisine in the area to discover these culinary gems.

Below are 8 helpful restaurant reviewing apps to let you discover and explore the newest and most popular eateries around.

8 Must-Have Restaurant Review Apps for iPhone:

1. Zagat to Go

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The paper version of the Zagat Guide has been around since 1979, making this a classic go-to resource for restaurant reviews and new dining out ideas. With a vast compilation of reviews from restaurants worldwide, this app gives users comprehensive global culinary information.

The Zagat to Go app allows offline browsing in places without an Internet connection, which can be very handy in a new city or while traveling. With a year’s worth of reviews for 45 different cities, this app is far superior to the printed Zagat Guide, and can be very helpful.

2. VegOut Vegetarian Restaurant Guide

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This app caters to vegetarians and vegans, allowing users to find healthy, meat-free restaurants via a list of those in the area, as well as offering a handy search feature for finding an establishment by name.

The VegOut app allows users to share reviews of restaurants, with mapping and phone numbers to find the way to delicious vegetarian and vegan fare.

3. Foodspotting

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This app focuses more on the type of food you’re craving, so if you’re in the mood for Greek, Mexican, Asian, or seeking a particular dish, the Foodspotting app will lead the way.

With ratings, photos of specific dishes and user reviews, this app can let you know exactly what you’re getting and where to go to find it the next time you have a craving.

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B&O Play A8 AirPlay Wireless Speakers

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BeoPlay A8 has the portability to turn any kitchen or summer cottage into a party zone. Building on the achievements of BeoSound 8, which sold over 50,000 units in its first year and became Bang & Olufsen’s most successful sound system ever, the two models share the same design, specs and outstanding sound. What makes BeoPlay A8 even better is the integrated AirPlay wireless connection – in addition to the removable Apple docking connector.

Source: Fancycrave.com

Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman

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In continuous production since its introduction in 1956, the Eames Lounge Chair is widely considered one of the most significant designs of the 20th century. It was the culmination of Charles and Ray Eames’ efforts to create a club chair using the molded plywood technology that they pioneered in the ’40s.

In Charles Eames’ words, the vision was a chair with the “warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.” This original is an authentic, fully licensed product of Herman Miller. The seat is balanced on a five-star, die-cast aluminum base with adjustable stainless steel glides for uneven floors.

Source: Fancycrave.com

Linkase WiFi-Signal Enhancing Case

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Linkcase is an iPhone case that increases your wireless speed by up to 50%. Whether you are at home, in a café or at the airport, enhance your WIFI signals simply by sliding out the EMW (electromagnetic waveguide) element on your Linkase. With every detail carefully measured and considered, Linkase wraps around your phone seamlessly while staying slim and elegant.

Source: Fancycrave.com

Brilliant Automotive Photography by Nigel Harniman

Nigel Harniman is a professional photographer who’s very passionate about anything car/motor sport related. He has a long established career as an automotive advertising photographer shooting globally for major brands and advertising agencies for the last 20 years. International manufacturers have called on Harniman for acclaimed new worldwide model launch images – the Continental GT launch for Bentley, the XF launch for Jaguar, Chrysler 300 in USA, and subsequently Europe to name a few. Today we collected some of his best work for you to visually absorb.

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See the rest photos here!

Bring Your Music With You: Top 5 Portable Bluetooth Speakers

With so many choices, it’s hard to figure out which bluetooth speaker truly deserves your hard earned money. What started out as a personal dilemma, turned into a useful article. Below you will find the top 5 bluetooth speakers available today. I personally read many different reviews, watched numerous Youtube videos, read what major tech blogs had to say, and physically went to nearby retail stores to test numerous speakers myself.

I’m putting my reputation on the line and guaranteeing you that you cannot go wrong with any of the following speakers. The entire idea of this article is to save time you would otherwise be wasting. I did the leg work for you. All you have to do is make an informed decision about which one of the speakers below is right for you.

UE Boom

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This portable Bluetooth speaker is waterproof and even stain resistant. The 360-degree design provides immersive sound into any space. It’s wireless up to 50 feet away and lasts about 15 hours. If you’re interested in having an even louder playback sound then you can connect two speakers together. The UE Boom is compatible with most bluetooth enabled smartphones, tablets, and computers. Logitech definitely hit a homerun with this device.

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth

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Bose released this beautiful device in late July, 2013. If you took away their logo, you might think that Apple designed this sexy bluetooth speaker. The soundlink mini outputs the same amazing quality you expect from a Bose product. Pairing devices is very easy, and it remembers the most recent six devices you’ve used, so reconnecting is even simpler. It will continuesly plays for almost 7 hours and has a range of about 30 feet.

Read the rest here!

5 Tips for Taking Better Photos with your iPhone

Smartphone cameras have come a long way since the first low pixel ones began appearing a few years ago, and now it is not unusual to find that your smartphone camera is just as good, if not better, than a lot of stand alone compact digital cameras.

Of all of the smartphones on the market, the iPhone has one of the best ones, capable of capturing some great images; however, an iPhone camera is only as good as the person using it, so here are some tips to help you improve your photos.

1. Get Up Close and Personal

5 tips for taking better photos with your iphone1 5 Tips for Taking Better Photos with your iPhone

One of the first things that you need to remember is to not use the zoom feature on the iPhone, no matter how tempting it is. The iPhone camera can take some crisp and clear pictures, however, by using that zoom slider on the bottom, you can wave goodbye to any kind of quality, grain-free image. So the best advice is – if you can get closer to the object, then that is what you need to do.

2. Use the Grid Line

One feature that is often overlooked by people when they are using their iPhone camera, are the grid-lines. These lines divide the screen into 9 separate boxes of equal size, and they are a handy tool for helping you to compose your photos. Set the horizon properly; make sure the vertical objects that stand out are placed around vertical lines of the greed. That’s the basic rules of composition of any photography, picture-type of art.

3. Use Both Hands

Movement whilst taking a photo is still the number one cause of blurred images and ruined photos, so it is advisable to use both hands to help stabilise the iPhone when taking a photo. Try to keep your arms in close to your body, or better still, rest the iPhone on something rigid and sturdy if at all possible. Another tip for removing blur is to make use of the + button on the side which operates the shutter when camera mode’s on rather than using the shutter button on the screen.

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Is Brand Management Important for Your Design Website?

I was reading about a recent six-figure purchase of the brand.com domain name and researching into brand.com reviews online when I thought about how interesting it’ll be to connect the topic of branding and design.

While there are countless articles on design inspiration, tools for building awesome websites, and tips on marketing, business and even SEO on this blog, I think little has been written about branding.

In fact, most designers don’t see brand management as being an important part of their identity. Not only is it important; it is critical!

Effective Branding is More than Just Design

Yes, you should have a strong logo and thankfully an article about this has already been written on this blog. The typography of your website matters, and there’s an article about this on this blog, too.

However, effective branding is about more than just these things; as a designer, it’s easy to work on things like typography, the logo, and the look and feel of your website while you ignore other important things that you should focus on such as:

What results are being displayed when people search for your site online
What do people think when your name/website is mentioned
How much control do you have on what is being said about you online
There are lot of other factors but ultimately, it’s about making sure you’re in control of your brand and what people see when they decide to check out what you have to offer as a designer.

Why is Brand Management Important for Web Designers?

Whether it’s to buy a $10 book or commission a $5,000 web design project, people are now relying on reviews more than ever.

In fact, recent data from Local Consumer Review Survey has revealed that, when it comes to paying for products or services online, 79% of online consumers trust reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.

Especially in a period where Google is a click away, people find it convenient to search for your name + reviews than to get recommendations about you. You only have a few minutes to capture their attention; if you’re not effectively managing your brand, you can lose more than half of your leads as a result.

Tips for Effectively Branding Your Website Design: A Case Study in Brand.com Reviews

Brand.com is one of the top sites online when it comes to branding and reputation management and I think they make for a great case study when it comes to learning effective brand management.

Below is the screenshot of the first few results I saw when I searched for “brand.com reviews” in Google. You can view the results for yourself here:

google search results1 Is Brand Management Important for Your Design Website?

You should probably notice a few things if you dive further into the results for this search, however, there’s a summary of the lessons below. Whether you’re a freelance designer who has a single-page website, a blogger, or a web design agency, implementing these tips on your design website can lead to some massive results:

1. Accept and Display Testimonials

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Start accepting testimonials from clients who love your work, also try to get in touch with clients you’ve worked with in the past that are willing to give you a testimonial. Create a special page on your site where their testimonial is featured; by doing this, when people search for your brand online, they’ll come across this.

When you search for “brand.com reviews” in Google, the first few results show various pages on the website, including a page that feature testimonials from clients.

2. Create a Page Dedicated to Promoting Positive Reviews about Your Website/Services

When those who say good things about you are rewarded, more people will be inspired to say good things about you.

You don’t necessarily have to reward them by offering them money; instead, you can reward them by letting them know that you saw and appreciate their review of your website/services. A great way to do this is by creating a page on your website dedicated to appreciating people who review you; you should also link to their reviews so people who come across this page by searching for your brand will be able to check them out.

Read the rest here!

40 Groundbreaking Bokeh Photographs

In photography, bokeh is the blur or the aesthetic quality of the blur in out-of-focus areas of an image. The term comes from the Japanese word boke, which means “blur” or “haze.” Bokeh occurs for parts of the scene that lie outside the depth of field. Photographers sometimes deliberately use a shallow focus technique to create images with prominent out-of-focus regions. In simple terms, the goal is for the subject to stand out.

Bokeh is often most visible around small background highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources, which is why it is often associated with such areas. This type of photography is very interesting, and can make even the simplest objects look spontaneous and beautiful. For your inspiration, here are some of top notch photographs showcasing this style of photography.

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See the rest photos here!

Floppy Disk Portraits by Nick Gentry

Nick Gentry is a British artist from London. Much of his artistic output has been generated with the use of contributed artifacts and materials. If you do not know what a floppy disk is….well to be honest it means I’m getting old. His art is influenced by the development of consumerism, technology and cyber-culture in society, with a distinctive focus on obsolete media.

He is best known for his floppy disk paintings, placing an emphasis on recycling and the reuse of personal objects as a central theme. Such artistic works of social commentary have been featured in galleries in the UK, USA and in cities throughout the world. His work has been exhibited alongside established street artists and as such has been linked to the urban art scene in London.

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nick 311 Floppy Disk Portraits by Nick Gentry

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Accelerate Your Knowledge: 10 Essential Books on Customer Service

Offering high quality customer service is essential to your business’s success. Even if you offer the best prices, if you have poor customer service, they will find somewhere else to shop.

You don’t have to go to college or pay a fortune to learn how to offer high quality customer service. There are a lot of informative, helpful books that you can check out. Read the list of books below to find one that suits your business.

The Thank You Economy, by Gary Vaynerchuk

the thank you economy1 Accelerate Your Knowledge: 10 Essential Books on Customer Service

This book focuses on making your relationships with your customers stronger. Vaynerchuk focuses on not taking your customers for granted. He stresses the importance of spending time with your customers, claiming that the things that are crucial to your business’s success don’t happen in board meetings. He also finds that the businesses that are the most successful use social media to form relationships with their customers. So, it’s necessary to embrace social media.

The Starbucks Experience, by Joseph A. Michelli

the starbucks experience by joseph a michelli1 Accelerate Your Knowledge: 10 Essential Books on Customer Service

Michelli focuses on creating an innovative customer experience. If you offer this experience, your customers will be raving about more than just your products or services. Starbucks is presented as an example throughout the book. Readers take a look at the five principles the company has used for success. Michelli also gives facts about Starbucks that illustrate its success, such as their low turnover rate.

I Love You More Than My Dog, by Jeanne Bliss

i love you more than my dog1 Accelerate Your Knowledge: 10 Essential Books on Customer Service

This book is all about maintaining customer loyalty, even if the economy is at its worst. It presents five decisions that businesses can make to motivate employees and maintain loyal customers. Some of these decisions include deciding to trust customers and employees, deciding to be honest with employees, and deciding to apologize when necessary. Bliss has worked with many major, successful companies, like AAA and Costco, so she clearly knows a lot about how to make a business succeed.

Read the rest here!

Designing a Hang Tag? Words of Advice and Inspiration Before You Start.

If you’re in the apparel industry, the hang tag you use can influence whether a customer will purchase your product or not. If your tag looks cheap, they may associate your clothing with poor quality. So, how do you design a hang tag that will influence your customer’s purchase decision? Read the tips below to find out how to create the perfect hang tag.

1. Make sure your hang tag reflects the market you want to sell your clothing in

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There are a lot of different clothing markets, from kids’ clothing to high-end women’s clothing. If you’re selling clothing for kids, your hang tag should reflect this. Hang tags for children’s clothing should have bright colors and imagery that is attractive to kids.

However, there are even different clothing markets for children. If you are selling clothing for very small kids, your hang tags should be more angled towards parents. If you are selling high-end women’s clothing, your hang tag should look elegant.

Your hang tag can enhance how your customer perceives a clothing item, so be careful. Be aware of your key demographic and try to create your hang tag with this demographic in mind. To get an idea of whether your hang tag will be effective, get a lot of feedback from your friends, family, and colleagues.

2. Include tips on how the clothing item can be worn on the hang tag

The hang tag gives you a chance to tell your customers how your product should be used. You can use the hang tag to convince your customers to buy your product. You can do so by making an argument for the item’s usefulness or attractive design.

If you’re selling athletic or outdoor clothing, your hang tag should tell your customers how your clothing item is useful in that regard. For example, if you’re selling a winter jacket, what kind of weather is the jacket ideal for? Let you customer know, put it on the hang tag. Similarly, if you make surf gear, your hang tags should explain what the item you’re selling is intended for. A lot of clothing is purchased as a gift by customers who know nothing about the clothing’s use. Always keep that at the back of your head.

3. Add images to your tags

If you add images to your hang tags, you can give your customers a good idea what your product looks like when worn. You can also use images to illustrate other items that a clothing item would look good with. For example, if you’re selling a blouse, you could include an image of a woman wearing the blouse on the hang tag along with a pair of pants that complement the blouse.

Not only do images on hand tags allow you to suggest ways to wear an item to your customer, it can also convince them to purchase your item. Images on hang tags are particularly influential for customers who are buying items as gifts. If a clothing item is being purchased as a gift, all the customer has to go off of is the image on the hang tag. They aren’t going to be trying the item on.

4. Make the name of your clothing line stick out

color11 650x433 Designing a Hang Tag? Words of Advice and Inspiration Before You Start.

You want your customers to know who made the clothing item as soon as they look at the hang tag. If the brand name is hard to find, customers may think your clothing is low quality, because high quality clothing often has a very prominent name on the hang tag.

Keep in mind, however, that the name of your clothing line needs to be written to attract your key demographic. If you’re making budget work clothing, you might not want to have your clothing line written on the hang tag in a fancy cursive font. If you’re targeting hip young adults, you might want to write your name in a minimalistic fashion.

If your customers can easily see your clothing line name on the hang tag, they may remember it and purchase your products again in the future.

Read the rest here!

20 Resources for Incredible Content Marketing

The secret to content marketing success is creating awesome content that is highly shareable, and then distributing that content in an effective and targeted way. This involves looking at a variety of key metrics to help you analyze your audience, tweak your site with CTAs and improve user experience all to drive more traffic to your site and increase your customer base. Seems difficult right? Well, only if you don’t have the proper tools and resources in place to help you be awesome.

Always remember: create awesome content, distribute content, improve your site, analyze key metrics, change and make adjustments, and make sure you’re not spinning your wheels. That’s the secret to success. To help you do all of these things, I’ve compiled a list of 20 tools, techniques, and resources to help you go above and beyond with your content marketing efforts.

1. Tools Content Creation

tools content creation1 20 Resources for Incredible Content Marketing

They say content is king, but some others have argued that content distribution is really king…and I’d have to conclude that it’s a little bit of both. You have to create awesome content, but you have to distribute it properly afterwards. The first part of the story is creating awesome content that has a chance to go viral and has the potential to be highly shareable…that’s what will drive a ton of traffic to your site and keep people coming back for more.

Here are some of my favorite tools to create content:

Evernote: This program allows me to take notes, draft blog posts and ideas, and write on the go. It’s a great way to keep everything organized and in one place. All of your notes sync of with your phone, tablet, and any other devices. Easy to capture audio, video, and other images and store it all in one place.

Storify: This tool allows you to curate content from around the web and then compile it together and embed it or distribute it anywhere you choose. The idea is that you can find media from all over the web and compile it in one place to help you tell a full and complete story.

Listly: Here you can create lists (and who doesn’t love lists) featuring information from around the internet. Show off the coolest cats on YouTube or the funniest gifs you’ve ever seen. Even link to the most innovative Start-Up founders in one complete list.

Issuu: If you’re looking to create a book or magazine that your readers can download and see, Issuu lets you do just that. It’s a great tool to use especially if you want to craft something interesting for them to download as an incentive for people to sign up for your newsletter.

2. Subscribe to Blogs

One of the best ways to become a better content marketer or creator is to see what other people are talking about around the web, read informative articles, and discover interesting content. Part of being able to do your job well is seeing what other people do and whether or not it’s effective for them, and seeing how you can do it even better.

I suggest that you come up with a list of blogs and subscribe to them to see their updates, discover what these expert blogs are doing right and see how you can do them even better.

Kissmetrics Blog: This blog is well known for their ability to craft interesting content that tends to be incredibly shareable and popular. Most of their posts generate a mountain of traffic not only because they are informative, but because they are crafted in such a way that people want to click on their titles. Subscribe to this blog not just to learn a lot, but to see how to create viral content.

BuzzFeed: I frequent BuzzFeed simply because they are constantly generating a lot of unique and quirky content. Pay attention to how they craft the titles of their posts, the way they lay out their lists, and the way they grab people’s attention.

Mashable: If you’re like me and completely involved in the tech scene and sometimes forget to watch the news or read the paper, Mashable will provide you with a snippet of what’s going on in the world as well as interesting techie news and resources.

Read the rest here!