KREWNEWS

CHECK IT OUT TUESDAY! Infographic Resumes

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Many of us are doing our best right now to get noticed in the job market. It’s so frustrating when you think “They would know I am perfect for this job, if they just would give me a chance and MEET me!” Unfortunately, traditional resumes do little to showcase your best traits and personality. How can you lay out your life story on a black and white flat piece of paper (or word document)?! 
 
Here’s one of the coolest things I’ve worked with lately: Infographic Resumes. These babies chart out your entire (or professional) life in a multi-dimensional, multi-colored charted format. Rather than list out your accomplishments, show them in an interesting way that is beneficial to the future employer. I posted a few cool looking ones below:

Here’s a link (embed link) to the ChumBonus blog that explains a little bit more. Notice how it says it will be helpful to “have someone help you that knows what they are doing.” Well, lucky for you, that someone is sitting right here! designKREW is just waiting for you to get in gear and let us help you create the marketing materials that…well…kick ass! We would love to help you create an out-of-this-world Infographic Resume… or business cards, or a website, or anything else you can dream up fro career or business!  info@designkrew.com

TIPS FOR THURSDAY! Simple Strategies (3 of 8) – Using Resources & Examples

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You want the recipe for success?

Model…Model…Model. No…not struttin’ down the catwalk to some new ditty by a pop star. I am talking about finding resources that are already successful and do what they do in your own way. Remember when you were learning to walk and talk? OK, me neither, but you know how we figured it out?…that’s right, we watched all those big people doing it and so we mirrored them until it finally made sense and we could run and talk in our own way. Building your business and brand is no different. In fact, finding resources is a mandatory step I take with my clients before beginning their branding projects.

These are the 3 most frequently asked questions I get about sourcing examples:

FAQ 1: What kind of resources should I be pulling?

Anything and everything! I bet you’re thinking “Thanks for the focus Jessica!” but it’s true. The point is to be free in this process and, in a way, let the materials come to you. I am sure in the last twenty-four hours you have come across an email, a brochure even a television commercial that has sparked your interest. Why? It’s the same as when you pick one t-shirt out at the boutique over another. Something in ‘it’ is reflecting something in you. Capture them! Anytime you come across something or someone (lets not forget that people can be great examples to source too!) that tickles your fancy, archive it. I recommend making this example sourcing an ongoing process. For those of you who need some guidelines, I would say the best places to find examples are:

-When you are surfing the web and come across a great website.
-When you’re out with friends and family and see a brochure or a free publication.
-When you meet someone new and they give you a great business card.
-Restaurant Menus (see if they have a to-go)
-Other company logos
-CD covers & DVD covers
-Google Images
-Stock photography websites.
-The list is truly endless but these are great places to start!

Secret tip: As you are surfing the Web here’s how to capture specific images…
-On a MAC:
1. Press Command + Shift + 4
2. Left click and drag the cross hairs over the desired image to be captured and let go of the left click button.
3. The image will go to your desktop and be names Picture #.
4. Rename the file with a more descriptive title
5. Move to the specific folder where you are keeping your images (discussed in FAQ2).

-On a PC:
1. Press the Print Screen key on your keyboard. It may be labeled [PrtScn].
2. Open an image-editing program, such as Microsoft Paint.
3. Go to the Edit menu and choose Paste.
4. If prompted to enlarge the image, choose Yes.
5. Optional: Use your image editor’s crop tool to crop out unnecessary portions of the screen shot.
6. Go to the File Menu and choose Save As.
7. Navigate to the folder where you want to save the image.
8. Type a file name for the image.
9. Select a file type. Click the Save button.
10. Tip: Hold the Alt key down while pressing Print Screen to capture only the active window.

FAQ 2: I feel like there would be images and paper and website bookmarks everywhere! How can I keep all these examples organized?

Since examples come in many different formats set up the following organization systems:
* Create a Bookmark Folder in your web browser bar to archive websites
* Create a folder on your desktop called Example Resource for anything that you down load
* Make a separate sub folder just for color examples
* Create a file folder to store clippings, business cards you like, brochures, etc.
* Create a people list. Anyone who you would like to model or emulate put them on a list and then find ways to learn more about them and their processes.
* Be picky. Only put examples in your files that really speak to you in both terms of design and message.
* Clear out every other month. This is good because it makes you look at these valuable resources so you can spark ideas and continue to get clear. Also you don’t want to create a space of chaos with this, they are here to help.

FAQ 3: How will these examples help?

I can’t think of anything more helpful than to have examples of things that are inspiring and in line with what you are after. Here is why sourcing examples is so helpful:

1. You begin to notice trends from what you source. All of a sudden you see that all of your examples are a shade of red but you thought your direction with color was going to be blue. Or you see that even though you thought clean and corporate was your business style there is an organic quality to all the examples that are in your example folders. Even when you create your people list…perhaps they are spreading a common message or possess a certain strength. You can now focus on the repeated core areas and expand.

2. This expansion can really re-focus your message. Perhaps you have strayed from your original business quest or maybe you never really came from one solid place. Having examples, pooling them together is a visual way to focus your energy of where you want your business to go. Just try it and see what comes up.

3. Last, but certainly not least, having examples is a HUGE help that allows your graphic designer to get clarity about what you’re after. Once a designer has a few resources to work from with inspiration, they are no longer taking a stab in the dark. It is important to not choose random examples but to really choose resources that reflect your over-all desired branding theme and then to communicate why you think the examples strongly represent what you are after.

TAKE A LOOK TUESDAY! Mow Blow & Go!

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Company:
The Little Rock, Arkansas based lawn care and landscaping company, Mow Blow & Go, is the premier provider of quality lawn care services. They provide a one-stop-shop for all their clients’ yard and landscaping needs. Mow Blow & Go focuses on healing the hardship of the time and effort it takes to create and maintain a beautiful landscape so their clients can focus on spending time enjoying their outdoor space and their loved ones. MB&G provides a superior product to their competitors at a reasonable price within a timely manner. Can’t beat that right? They treat each client as if it were their own house or a member of the family. It is Mow Blow & Go’s close ties to the community and the relationships with their customers that drives them to be the very best.

Colors:
Greens: Green symbolizes growth, fertility and harmony; it is restful and refreshing. Its positive associations are optimism, freedom and balance. When a client looks upon their landscape they want to feel its relaxation and perfect beauty. There is an immediate association of landscape to the color green.

Concept:
This logo is very iconic and modern. The shape and enclosure of the icon acts as a seal. The graduation of the leaves creates a hierarchal element as though the logo is saying “elevate to the best/perfection.” This mirrors Mow Blow & Go’s desire to be represented as a high-end and all-encompassing lawn care and landscaping company. This logo is uncomplicated, no-fuss and would be easily recognizable in any promotion or marketing materials including employee t-shirts and hats.

FUN FRIDAY! The Style Test

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When I’m designing for a client, I’m all about personalization. I want to know what you like, don’t like, can’t stand, your favorite colors, all about YOU! So what happens if you don’t know what you like? “Uh… I kinda like.. blue-ish.. and ya know, pretty stuff.”  Um… oh no. There’s nothing wrong with being indecisive, but knowing exactly what you want can make a WORLD of difference in so many areas of your life. 
 
This site below is called The Style Test. It gives you a simple, easy-peezy quick test to tell you what kind of designs, shapes, and colors you like. I don’t want to explain too much because I think the idea is to do the test without thinking too hard about it. Just go with the flow and let your natural reactions take over. 
 
Go ahead! It takes about two minutes. Then remember the results next time you’re picking a paint color for your house, a bed spread, or when you’re working with a graphic designer! ; )

TAKE THE TEST

TIPS FOR THURSDAY! Simple Strategies (2 of 8) – Decisions & Directions

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How many of you have heard a saying somewhere along the line of “If you don’t know what you want, then you cannot go after it”? All of us right! So what do we do when we have trouble reaching clarity?
I would love to just regurgitate Chapter 8 of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich for this article (its all about making decisions). But I will just grab this portion is simple but drives the point home: “Analysis of several hundred people who accumulated fortunes well beyond the million-dollar mark disclosed the fact that everyone of them had the habit of reaching decisions promptly and of changing these decisions slowly, if and when they were changed.” (Hill, N. Think and Grow Rich, pg157. JMW Group, Inc, 2003.)

One of the simple strategies to follow in order to successfully work with a graphic designer (or ANYONE really…) is “Give a General Theme & a Thorough Briefing.”

Here’s the kicker – you HAVE TO make decisions and be clear about them before you can even get to the point of communication. Over the next couple of weeks I will share five easy tips ton how to give effective direction!

1. Don’t Re-invent the Wheel
How many times have you caught yourself starting from scratch only to find that once you do a little research…WHAM-OOH! There it is already “kind-of” been done before but not quite like you! Most likely anything you want to do has been done before in some way or another. Simply enter what ever you are thinking of into a search engine and thousands of articles, websites and images will point you in the right direction. My most successful branding stories have come from clients who have looked for examples from anywhere in their environment that resonate with them. Then we break down the why and formulate something super unique to their message and company personality.

It’s not up to us to figure it all out. There have been signs and great clues if not exact verbatim to show us the way, any great seekers knows this! But don’t feel as though you are a copy cat or a cheat because it’s not about taking it as you find it. The beauty about this great big world and our evolution in it is that we have the opportunity to build on what has come before. Sometimes there is a great foundation that we can lay our own personal layer on. And other times we find in our search what not to replicate and build a foundation of our own. The point is to not flail about in the abyss when all the clues are a mouse click away. Why are you still reading this….go on get! Find your next frontier and lets us know what happens….

WAY COOL WEDNESDAY! For the Kid In You!

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Alright. So by now most of you know that I have an affinity for games and toys that help me reach deep in my creative soul, get through mind-blocks, frustrations, and just relax and unwind…My trampoline is my favorite, but I also love fun “kids” toys like etch-a-sketch or Rubik’s cube, slinkies, etc etc. Found a new one! Check out this screenshot from the website below. On the right side it’s like a crazy paint application and ends up looking messy and weird, but then on the left you’ve created a moving, living awesome kaleidoscope!

I love finding fun things to pull me out of an afternoon slump, especially when it can get the creative juices flowing! Wee! Doesn’t it kinda look like a shamrock? Maybe..? A little? Alright fine, you make one and show me up! CLICK HERE and have fun!

P.S. Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

TAKE A LOOK TUESDAY! Your Video Solutions Update

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Remember our post about Your Video Solutions from a couple of weeks ago? Well, their branding is back!!! See how a logo can explode into a fully functioning website below…

Their brand just keeps growing stronger, and we’re so excited to be a part of it. Check out the website HERE and let us know if you have any questions about growing your own brand! info@designkrew.com

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY! Judgment No More

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I went to a phenomenal yoga class last week. I usually go for those quick moving “flow” classes, as they call them. For me, it seems like the only time of the day that someone else is making decisions and all I have to do is listen and follow along (and breathe of course).

But this class was different.The teacher started off by asking us to examine our judgments; our judgments as we came into class and the judgments that boiled up as we went through the yoga asana practice. I thought “easy enough.” But the class was slower than usual and we held complex poses for longer periods of time. As my muscles burned so did my mind, “Ouch!” it would say “Or I don’t know if I can hold this” or “I wish I was in a different position right now.” I watched my judgments float by and realized that the experience wasn’t exclusive to me or this one and a half hour practice, but it’s going on every single day in different situations and moments.

At the very end of the class, she said something that has stuck with me all week…something to the effect of, “When we feel stuck. When we have big visions and dreams and feel as though we are at a standstill it is often our judgments, big and small, that stop us from moving forward and achieving what we are after. So watch your judgments and see if there are ways you can begin to move past them.”

What does judgment have to do with your business and branding? Well, we all have judgments, some louder than others, some spoken aloud and some buried deep inside, some about ourselves and some about others. When I do New Business Evaluations to find out what clients are looking to create with me, I often find that they start off by saying that they want only this “to start.” About 10 minutes later, they are sharing their ultimate vision, which is bold and beautiful! They often tell me, “Yes, I have big dreams! But I was holding back, because…” Usually this statement is followed by a judgment of either themselves or the situation…It will take too much time, I wont be able to afford it, I have no idea what I want yet and so on and so forth. And guess what, that wise yoga teacher was right, they get stuck. They bound themselves and live from a place of lack and limiting beliefs rather then their big beautiful dreams, which is who they really are. I challenge you to never stuff down the person inside of you who knows that you can truly accomplish anything you desire.

If you feel stuck in your business or any area of your life I challenge you not to fight it, but to try at least one of the following exercises:

1. Today (or this week) watch your judgments (without judgment). What comes up for you while you’re in traffic? Before you make a business call? When you go to pay bills? When someone you don’t particularly care for shows up at a social gathering? Allow the judgments to float up to the surface and simply acknowledge them.

2. See if there is any consistency between the judgments. Do you always feel dread when you go to make a business call. Are the same thoughts always coming up? “I am so tired of this,” “I work too hard,” “I never say the right thing.” Whatever the thoughts might be they are probably limiting you. But more importantly they don’t have to make you stuck! Use these as information rather than a reason to feel ho-hum.

3. Take the judgment and put it through the love pulverizer (oxymoron, I know). And then start to ask different questions. “How can I work smart or less with the same outcome?” “Who can I hire that will take some of this off of my plate?” “How can I make it so I can afford this?” “Does this person/thing add joy to my life?” “How can I make this more enjoyable?”

4. Stay away from judgmental people.Here’s a hint they complain often! (Wait…was that a judgment?…hmmm). You catch my drift, surround yourself with people who see the good in situations and have great inspiring energy!

5. Be at peace. Turning your judgments into positive affirmations takes time and repetitive practice. But I assure you that you will get UNSTUCK if you begin to use your judgments as guiding tools and restructure them into information to either make a change or leave the judgmental muck where it belongs (no where near you!)
Life is never a trick. Judgments come to you for reasons beyond your understanding at times. Remember the way you react/respond in any given situation is more often than not how you respond in all situations to varying degrees. You must check in and ask does this make me happy, does this advance me into a greater being on this earth and a better businessperson. Is this in line with what I want to create, not only for myself, but for others around me.
Happy Non-judging!

FUN FRIDAY! Random Musings

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It’s hilarious when my clients are the ones telling me to go to bed. I just cant deny my passion for what I do at times.
Although it is not always my ideal to work late nights, but in my eyes a deadline is a deadline. That being said, I believe any creative mind can attest that there is something magical about the late night. It’s like your creative soul gets sucked into a vortex and the rest of the world disappears as you are sweetly creating. Whether it be the written word, paint or the click of a mouse, the darkness (and sometimes a star or two if you are in the city) lays over you like a thinking cap.

I am sure we all have our prime time for things. I find that mine shifts day to day topic to topic. I have to calculate numbers and do planning in the morning. As each year passes I realize I am more on a European schedule than an American one. If I had my way it would be off to work at 7am after a deep and beautiful meditation and then a siesta around 3pm, (I rarely schedule meetings at this time because I am useless!) and back to it from 4:30pm to 8pm. A nice yoga and a delicious dinner unwind and climb into bed around midnight.

What does your perfect day look like? Because despite what you may have been taught, life is yours to design any way you like it.
Please don’t ever let anyone ever tell you any differently, especially yourself.

TIPS FOR THURSDAY! Simple Strategies (1 of 8) – Targeting

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Do you know how many business owners go about their marketing guessing what their target market is like rather than KNOWING? It’s rather frightening! Too many, to be frank.

It’s this kind of “unknowing” that leads to disorganization, it leads to missed opportunities, it leads to attracting the wrong kind of clients, it leads to not playing BIG in your business…now who wants all that? Not me and I know you don’t either.

And neither do your potential clients. You see when you aren’t focused on YOUR demographic they don’t see you and they definitely don’t see the amazing products or services you are providing. People are missing out on your gifts! Which only leaves you flailing in the infinite water of the human population. Knowing your target market is your life saver!

Quite honestly, I used to be one of those entrepreneurs in guesstimate mode. Crossing my fingers every time I made a decision. Moving blindly through each day wasting a ton of time at my attempt to get clients sporadically here and there. Feeling like I was working really, really hard and at the end of the day not making a dent in the to-do list or making any kind of progress at all. This went on longer than I would like to admit.
Then something magical happened, or at least it felt like magic. I had an amazing and talented mentor guide me through the process of understanding my target market. It was like the red curtain had been lifted and I finally knew my role in the play of my business. But I wasn’t acting! And I’ll tell you what…as soon as I became clear on my target market my client base almost tripled!!! And my income has been growing steadily ever since. If you’re in the unfamiliar zone when it comes to your niche, have no fear! There are answers. (And the best part is…it doesn’t have to be difficult!)

I equate not knowing your target market to when you walk in the other room to do something and you can’t for the life of you remember what it was you were going to do. So you go back to the place of the original thought and if you are lucky the task is recalled, if you’re lucky. AKA…one-step forward, a thousand steps back. Stop everything you are doing after you are finished reading this article and make a point to solidify your target market…You promise me? Good…now here’s a little “how to” on the topic…

There are a plethora of ways to get up close and personal with your target market. Some key areas to research (and not guess) are your target market’s…

· Gender
· Age range
· Household income
· Education level
· Perceived wants
· Hobbies

These are a great place to start! As with anything, the more you know the better! To have utmost clarity on this one portion of your business will catapult success not only with your design materials, but also in every area of your business.

So you’re saying “I know what I need to know…how the heck do I go and find it?”

I thought you might be thinking that. What do you do when you want something?…YOU ASK FOR IT. Poll your favorite clients and ask them specific questions related to the product or service you are selling. After you get the basics from them (age, gender, HHI, and education) the next part is a little more tricky, but also really fun! That’s when you say “Excuse me mister or misses client…have you experienced a different widget in the past? What was that experience like for you? What is it that you want more from the widget. What are you struggling and how can the widget help?”

Feel free to ask these questions of your client directly if you have that kind of rapport with them or send out an anonymous survey. There are plenty or free and paid providers of surveys on the Internet if you do a quick search.

Now, don’t leave intuition completely out of the equation. Your intuition is like the desire to take the journey and these target market tools are your maps. When your intuition pops up (as it likes to do) listen…perhaps its time to ask new and different questions. Constantly check in with your clients to find out there needs and wants. Remember it’s always easier to obtain more business from current clients rather than acquiring new business.

On to the next important matter!

So now that you have your target market all figured out…don’t just stand there! As I like to say…”let’s get visual!”

Now that you know who your target market is you have to start communicating with them so they know how you can help them. And…what is one of the best ways to do this?

Marketing materials!

That brings us to the really fun part…communicating your target market to your designer so that you can communicate your message to your target market. It’s a beautiful circle isn’t it!

“Why do I communicate my target market to my designer? Isn’t she just supposed to make things pretty?”
Heck no! There is so much more going on. When your designer knows your target market AND the importance of it she can create visuals that will attract the clients you are looking for. If it’s a free-for-all, what often happens is, the designer will end up creating for YOU rather than whom your visuals are intended for.

This means your favorite colors, your favorite shapes rather than the preferred message, colors and images of your target market. This creates disconnect between what your visuals are or become and what will be most compelling to your target audience.

Of course, don’t completely abandon your personal touch, as your essence creates what your business continuously evolves into.

Remember having a precise understanding of your target market cuts through the communication clutter when creating the direction of your business and talking to a designer to create your visual marketing material. It takes the guesswork out of what group you are trying to reach, SAVING YOU TIME AND MONEY! The more your you and your designer knows about whom she is creating for the better compositions she can bring to the visual marketing table and the more effectively your message will be shared.

Happy targeting!

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