Design

Designing Your Workspace | An Interview: Maggie Minor

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with a beautiful soul, and wonderful artist, Maggie Minor. We had a great Skype chat all centred around the space in which so many of us spend our day and the vast and varied forms that this particular space might take. We spoke about the ways in which we can maximise the creative potential of this space and how the artwork and furniture in this space really does impact on the work you do. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!

Creative Process: 5 Principles of Logo Design

A lot of my job involves making logos for individuals and companies that reflect their personality, unique value proposition and the brand as a whole. It is important for me to understand the people behind the logo; what they do, what services and products they provide and who they are, as special, one-of-a-kind people.

Since starting out as a freelance designer, I have developed a process that helps me to get into the minds of my clients to determine what they want and need. A designers process is unique to their practice, but I have simplified my process to a point where you can emulate what I do. It's a three step process to creating a logo that looks like this:

STEP 1 | I get to know my new client by asking them to fill out a New Client Workbook. The workbook has a range of questions: some that are designed to get to know the market this brand will operate in, like "What is your target market, who would you like to be targeting that you aren't already?" and others that help me to understand what the client is looking for, like "Aesthetically what are you drawn to? What colours, patterns, shapes, typefaces?" and "List companies whose branding you both love and loath."

STEP 2 | After reviewing the workbook, I create my own Pinterest board and collect images and example of branding that help to clarify the brand direction I will be proposing to my client. From here I create a moodboard that reflect my ideas for the branding.

STEP 3 | Once I have a good idea of the brand personality and direction I will take the brand in, I create four initial logo designs to present to the client and then from here we narrow down the choices and really start to see the brand identity emerge.

So as you can see here, the cornerstone of a strong brand is a strong logo. Of course, hiring a brand designer will ensure that this cornerstone is set firmly in place, however I know we can't all afford a designer, especially when we are just starting out with our brands! 

The good news is, if you want to DIY your logo, I have the 5 principles you need to keep in mind!


1. RESEARCH, BRAINSTORM + SKETCH! 

The very first principle of logo design is to do your homework. This is why I take the time to ask my new clients a range of questions that help me to understand the product or service, the market and the person behind the brand! Taking this time to research and brainstorm is crucial! But how do you conduct this kind of research and brainstorming?

  • Consider brands that you, as an individual are drawn to - what elements appeal to you? Is it something about the colours, shapes, textures? What feelings go these brands create for you.
  • Check out your biggest competitors - the brands, businesses and blogs that your target market is drawn to. Look at their brand aesthetics and what it is about those brands that really make them stand out. Perhaps even talk to your target market and ask them what elements of their favourite brands attract their attention.
  • Browse Pinterest and find images that give you the same feeling that you hope your brand will - save them all in one place like a secret Pinterest board so you can see all the images together. Find a range of different images - photographs, illustrations, graphics, typography, quotes, textures and patterns.
  • Create a moodboard from these images that captures the feeling of your brand.

Once you have a firm grasp on your brand concept, start to design your logo. I recommend creating 4-6 initial designs and remember: keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate it! This is one point where DIYers often slip up, they will try to create something complex when really something clean, crisp and relevant will be far more sustainable in the long run. I also recommend sketching these design ideas out on paper before you turn digital.

One tip though when designing your logo - don't follow trends. While I encourage you to be relevant, I also don't want you creating something that has a shelf life - and often following trends will ensure a shelf life! Following trends also unfortunately means that you might inadvertently imitate the work of others, and we don't want that!


2. SELECTING FONTS - LESS IS MORE

When you are designing your logo, 99% of the time you will need to select fonts and this can be a stressful part of the whole process! But like I said in the last section, this can be overwhelming because people tend to overcomplicate it!

I recommend picking 1-2 fonts for your logo. Choose more fonts than this can create a really messy look if it isn't done properly - and in my opinion, that kind of complexity is better left to the professional designers. Keeping it simple and selecting only 1 (or max, 2) fonts will make it easier to be conscious of how your text will look across different communication points and at different sizes. We will talk more about sizes soon, but when I say 'communication points', I mean, how will this font work on your website, on your business cards or even on your packaging?  

Other considerations to remember when it comes to selecting your fonts is first the character of the font you are choosing. Let’s look at the character of some fonts:

 Elephant | Sacramento | Bickham Script | Libre Baskerville

Some fonts are strong and solid, giving an authoritative feeling of stability and boldness. While others give more of a feeling of fun and playfulness. Considering these font personalities and comparing them against your brand personality is a great way to ensure consistency across this element of your branding.

Remember you can always adapt a font too and changing the structure of letters can be super effective in giving your logo font character! So for example, you will notice clever little ways these brands have altered specific letters to make quirky, unique logos!


3. SPACING + COMPOSITION

When considering the image that your logo creates you will need to consider the space you are using. Or rather, the space you are not using. One of the key principles in creating a successful logo is to pay attention to the space within and around it.

So by this, I mean the area that the image, icon or text occupy as well as the space that is left blank - we call this negative space. 

Image Source

As you can see from the examples above, the space you don't use can be just as important as the space that you do use. So consider the role of negative space in your logo design.

Another situation that spacing plays a role in your design is letter-spacing. Now, I am a huge fan of letter-spacing and all good graphic software will allow you to change the space between letters in your words. Giving the letters some space can drastically change the appearance of a word. Here's an example of how letter-spacing can completely change the feeling of a word using the exact same font:


4. BE MINDFUL OF SIZING + CLARITY

Remember that your logo might be used at different size points and you want to ensure that it is still legible at these different points. So, the issue here is that sometimes when you reduce the size of a logo it becomes difficult to read and distorted. This is particularly the case when you logo has a lot of finer details. 

To combat this issue, make a list of all the places you might use your logo. Here are a few ideas:

  • ONLINE | Social media, email signature, website header, landing pages, registration pages, webinars, avatar images, profile images, newsletter header, image watermark.
  • PRINT | Business cards, letterhead, packaging, tags, signage, clothing/uniform, welcome packs, labels, books, notepads and stationary.

Once you know the range of places you might use your logo, determine the size of these places and test your logos at the different size points to ensure it will work properly.

Your privacy is protected! Check out our Privacy Policy here!

5. CREATE LOGOS THAT ARE ADAPTABLE
(ALTERNATIVE LOGO VARIATIONS)

One thing that I love to do with my logo designs, is create logos that allow for variations. This means creating a brand identity that is adaptable and versatile, with logo variations that can be used in different places.

Knowing where you might use these variations is the key to creating them successfully, so before you start your logo design, brainstorming all the places you might use a logo and if there are any specific requirements, is a great idea (see the list of possible places you might use your logo above). For example, determine if you need a logo variation that is square for use as your social media profile images, or if you need a logo to be white in order to overlay over images as a watermark. Knowing how you will use variations upfront is key in creating meaningful alternative logos and having this in mind when you start your logo design process will ensure you are creating a cohesive and consistent brand.

Here's an example of the Brand It Girl logo and variations. As you can see, they all work together as a cohesive brand logo team, but the different variations give me options to use at different communication points.


DOWNLOAD THE LOGO DESIGN CHEATSHEET!

Let's take the guess work out of designing logos with this cheatsheet - re-capping on the 5 principles of logo design + questions that will get you clear on exactly what you need when designing your next logo!

Your privacy is protected! Check out our Privacy Policy here!

Don't forget to leave a comment (with your link so I can visit you back!) and let me know what you find most challenging about designing logos! Or if you don't design then, tell me what you do and don't like about your current logo!

My Unique Custom Client Project Process (+ Why You'll Love It!)

My absolute favourite part of my job is setting up the process for my custom clients. I offer a full branding and design package that will have you walking away with a beautiful brand logo, business card designs and brand style guide, PLUS a mobile responsive website!

One of the biggest things people say to me is that they just don't know where to start with their brand and that they don't know how to connect with their brand. Sometimes I even hear that they feel like their brand is scattered, disorganised and doesn't make sense

These are really common things to feel when you start considering your brand and so I have developed a process that not only gets to the bottom of these issues and solves them, but does so in a way that is really fun, intuitive and holistic!

So let's step through my process. I will walk you through each of the elements of my custom client process and explain why you will love it. How do I know you will love it? Well, everyone flipping loves this process, and I know you will too.

Ok, drum roll...


ON BOARDING + NEW CLIENT WORKBOOK

When a new client approaches me, I ask them to tell me a little about themselves and their potential or existing brand first through email. If I think we are a good match, I will send them a work brief and quote that outlines the project deliverables, how it will work and proposed timelines, and include also a breakdown of the cost. 

I like to be upfront about the cost so that there are no surprises for my new client down the track. The final price will be the quoted price. If the client feels comfortable with the work brief I will send through a Paypal invoice or they are welcome to send through payment via Bank Transfer. 

I have a payment upfront policy. There are a variety of reasons for this and you can read all about them here! However, if people are struggling to make this full payment, and I have a work queue, I will invoice for 50% holding deposit and the remaining 50% as we start the project.

From here, the client is given a start date and the link to their new client workbook. Some clients will also require some basic coaching and guidance at this point. I encourage clients to start their workbooks early and provide as much detail as possible.

The questions I ask will give me an insight into:

  • who the client is and what their vision is for their brand; 
  • clients aesthetic tastes;
  • we conduct a mini customer profile and competitor analysis;
  • and ask for a range of examples to give me a sense of what the client is looking for.

STARTING THE PROJECT AND THE CLIENT PROJECT PORTAL

When the time comes to start the new project, I send the client a project commencement email. I use Canned Responses offered by Google Work Apps (the provider I use for my custom domain email address). I let them know that it's time to launch their project and provide them with the login details for their very own project portal!

The client project portal is a super cool thing I started doing around a year ago (back then I was on Wordpress and used a plugin called Project Panorama which was very pretty but didn't provide me with the options I wanted). I now use a separate, passworded page in my Squarespace site to house each of the client portals. I provide the client with the URL and password and inside they will find information such as:

  • the project description and start and finish dates
  • project deliverables and the status of the project
  • project timeline and due dates
  • initial designs previews as the project progresses
  • final designs (in a range of sizes/types) for download
  • tutorials and step-by-step guides
  • any additional information and logins

The client project portal is a hugely important part of my custom work process. It allows everything to be kept in one place and means that the client is rummaging through their emails trying to find files and information they might need!


DESIGNING THE BRAND

Once we get started, things move along quickly. I look over the new client's workbook and follow up with them if I need to clarify anything. 

  1. MOODBOARD: I always start with establishing keywords and from here create a moodboard that is designed to capture the feeling, the essence of the brand.
  2. LOGO DESIGN: We then move onto the logo design. The client will be provided with a variety of initial designs, each taking the brand in a unique direction. The client will be encouraged to select their favourite and provide feedback on any changes. From here, the client will be given two rounds of revisions before the final design is created.
  3. BRAND BOARD DESIGN: Once the logo is finalised we will then begin work on the brand board which includes secondary logo variations, fonts, colours and elements.
  4. BUSINESS CARDS: Before we start on the website, the business cards are designed. The client is given two different designs and one round of revisions on their favourite design to make sure it's perfect!
  5. WEB DESIGN: Once the branding is all done, we create your Squarespace website! You will be able to browse the Squarespace tutorials and select one that you feel most attracted too. Alternatively, I will select the template for you and we will get started. I perform advanced editing and coding on these templates to make sure that your website is absolutely perfect and I load all your website copy, images and brand elements in for you. 

This whole process takes around 3 weeks. So within the month, clients have a full and complete brand and website that they can start using instantly!


TUTORIALS + STEP-BY-STEP GUIDES

One of the key things I offer my custom clients is tutorials and step-by-step guides for printing and on how to use and understand their new website. I believe in giving my clients the power to take control and understand their brand and website and how it all works. 

It's so easy to set people loose with their new brand and have them work it out for themselves, but my inner coach gets the better of me and when I think of how on of the biggest issues my clients have is that they don't know where to start, I figure sending them away with all the tools and know-how to get started is a better way!

So I will put together step-by-step guides for printing through Moo.com (or whatever other printing company you select) and how to edit and maintain your Squarespace website. I provide a combination of written and video tutorials depending on what is most applicable and training is included in their project cost. I recently learnt that some designers charge for this training, and I can understand how that would frustrate people! I don't want my clients to feel as though their are potential hidden costs - everything, including the training is included.

To create my video tutorials I use Camtasia for Mac and Screenflow is another widely used option! I love how easy it is to use, it is super intuitive and I have been able to do everything I need with it. I also use a Blue Yeti Microphone but I would also recommend Audio Technica ATR2100 Mic if you are after something cheaper, but of great quality.

I also provide a comprehensive brand style guide. This helps my clients to be consistent moving forward with their new brand. This really takes the guess work out of brand communication (e.g. social media images, advertisements and blog posts) in the future!


BUILT IN MINI-COACHING

As I have mentioned through this post, a lot of my clients come to me feeling confused and unsure about what to do with their brand and how to move forward. Built into my brand design packages, I help my clients to make good decisions for their brand and give them advice on things like what printing company to go with and how to position their brand. 

My aim with this built in coaching aspect is that my clients will walk away from me confident and ready to tackle anything they can dream up for their brand.


PROJECT CLOSING PROCESS AND QUESTIONNAIRE

At the end of the project, I will always send a final email thanking the client and recapping on what amazing things we created together. I also let the client know that all final files are in their portal and I will provide the URL and password one more time here so that it is easily accessible. I leave the portal online for 2 months from the date of that closing email, and I always make note in that email of the portal delete date (and I schedule it in my calendar too so it's something I don't need to think about!).

I also send my clients to a closing feedback questionnaire that asks about their experience and satisfaction working with me. This is such an important step for me as I feel that it really helps to strengthen my business - be it if I need to change or modify something, or even if it is reinforcing that I am doing a great job. Whatever the response, it is always super useful and I really appreciate my clients doing this for me! 

In the questionnaire, I ask for a testimonial and permission to use it across my website, social media and communication points. I also ask permission to display their project on my website, blog and on social media. I find that asking people upfront about this stuff is the best way - their info is all in one place, there's no surprises when you share the project on your blog, and they know that you value their privacy and ultimately want to give them the final say!


I absolutely love my custom client project process. Having this process in place has changed the way I operate within my business and means that both me and my client know exactly what is happening when and where!

Working this way can be considered collaborative, and that is exactly what I aim for!

Have you been thinking of hiring a brand designer to help you reach clarity and confidence in your brand? 

I would so very much love to help you. I have spots open in my schedule from the end of May onwards and I would LOVE to talk to you about your brand project! If you like the sound of my process and are looking for a brand stylist and designer that not only creates something beautiful but also someone who can coach you through creating a sustainable brand that connects with the right people, the sounds like we are a match made in heaven!

Jump over to my contact page and shoot me through a message or use this form below and I will get back to you soon!


(NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. This means I get a small financial kick back from them.
I do, however, strongly believe in and recommend all products and services provided here!)

Introducing: The Brand IT Girl Resource Vault

Brand-It-Girl_The-Vault_Blog-Post

I am super excited today to introduce to the newest addition to Brand IT Girl: The Brand IT Girl Resource Vault.

I want to offer all of my readers exclusive, FREE access to this library that includes all of my blog post giveaways. So will find everything I have ever offered as a blog freebie plus anything I will offer in the future and you'll be able to access it all in one convenient place using a password.

I know you are wondering how to get hold of the password for vault page but first I want to give you a little sneak-peak at what you can expect to find in there!

Brand-It-Girl_The-Vault_Page-Screenshot.png

If that isn't enough to get you as excited as I am, you will find new additions to this library on a regular basis. The best thing is, you only need to get the password once! Worried about forgetting it? Don't be! I will include it at the bottom of all my eNewsletters so you will easily find it again when you spot a new freebie that you want!

HOW DO YOU GET ACCESS?

Your privacy is protected! Check out our Privacy Policy here!

IS THERE SOMETHING YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE VAULT?

I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you would like me to create for the Brand IT Girl resource Vault!

Adding a Custom Pin It Button to your WP Site!

BrandITGirl_PinITButtons_BlogPost.jpg

I have recently been exploring the incredible power of Pinterest and let me tell you - it is more powerful than you can imagine! Did you know that many bloggers are claiming Pinterest as one of the main drivers of traffic to their websites these days? Well that's 100% true and it's something you need to tap into!

I wrote last week about branding and styling your Pinterest boards and discussed why this practice is vital for growing not only your Pinterest following but also your business and website too. Today I want to talk about another key element in using Pinterest, but this time it's something you can do on your blog to help drive traffic back to your Pinterest.

The aim of the game is to get your pins and images noticed on Pinterest. The more people share your pins, the more their friends and followers will notice what you are doing and you will start to see a rise in your traffic. But you need to get them to pin your post images in the first place, right?

So in this blog post I am going to show you the easiest way to add Pin It Buttons to your Wordpress site! It's so painfully simple, you'll be like "Woah, Girl! Is that all there is?" and I will be there nodding. Yes, it's as easy as this:

1. INSTALL THE PLUGIN IN

Adding a Pin It Button to your blog is simple when we are using plugins on our Wordpress.org websites. All you need to do is navigate to:

Plugins > Add New and located jQuery Pin It Button For Images. Install and activate this plugin from the list. Other plugin results will show up too, just find this one and install it!

2. CONFIGURE THE PLUGIN

What I love so much about this plugin is that you can control how it works super easily, saving you time and ensuring you get exactly what you need out of it! To do this you'll need to navigate to:

SettingsjQuery Pin It Button For Images

This will bring up all the options that you have at your disposal to not only control how this plugin works on your site, but you can also customise the way it looks! You will notice there are three tabs: 'Selection' 'Visual' and 'Advanced'.

You won't need to worry about changing anything in the 'Advanced' tab, but let's talk about the setting on the other two pages:

Selection:

Leave the majority of the settings as the default on this page. However you might want to consider the 'on which pages the "Pin it" button should be shown' settings. I generally select only 'Single Posts' and 'Blog Pages' because I don't want the Pin It Button to pop up on my homepage and other internal pages. But this is totally up to you, play around with these settings as much as you like and you can always change them later.

I also change the 'minimum resolution that should trigger the "Pin it" button to show up' setting. This is the restraint that stops people from pinning super small images that you didn't intend for pinning. I set my minimum resolution to 400 x 500 and again, you can set this to anything you like, or even leave blank if you're not fussed!

Visual:

I then go into the visual settings and have a look at those settings.

Firstly I consider the 'transparency value'. This is where you determine if you would like to apply opacity to any degree on the image when your visitor hovers over it. There are pros and cons of this feature and it's really up to your personal preference if you want to change the opacity of your images on rollover. I am keeping my images as is, but if you do want a little opacity, try setting it between 0.1 to 0.3 so it isn't too extreme!

In this tab is also where you set the 'custom pin it button'. Check the use custom pin it button box and then upload your image using the upload button. Press refresh preview to make sure you are happy with it!

You can also play with the positioning of your pin it button by changing the '"Pin It" button position' and 'margins'. You will notice my pin it button hangs over the image slightly on the left. I did this by including a negative value on the top-left margin.

Hover over the image below and see for yourself!

Brand-IT-Girl_Pinterest_Download-FREE-PinIT-Buttons

To help you along with your new custom button, I am giving you 6 Pin It Buttons to choose from!

The six buttons offered to you here are completely free! You just need to download the zip folder and get started! I just ask that you don't resell or redistribute these buttons!

Using one of the Brand IT Girl Pin It buttons? Drop your link in below in the comments, I would love to see them in action!

Your privacy is protected! Check out our Privacy Policy here!

Freelance Designers: 6 Things New Clients Look For!

BIG_Freelance-Designer_New-Client-Looks-For_BlogPost.jpg

So you are a freelance designer. Or perhaps you own a small, solo design studio. One of your key business activities is to draw in new clients, and let's face it, there is no reason to make that any harder for ourselves! Each new client will be looking for specific things when they are considering designers for their projects but 6 of the most common things new clients look for include:

1. AN EXAMPLE OF YOUR WORK

Your potential clients what to see your portfolio. They want to see what you have done in the past and compare it against their own brand and the styles they like. This is essentially the main way that new clients judge if they want to work with you. They are constantly asking themselves if your styles match theirs and your portfolio is the best way for them to comfortably make that decision. Display your work in a clear and concise way on your website and be open to answering questions!

2. YOUR BRANDING AND WEBSITE

Your own branding and website is one of the main (and most easily accessible) ways for a potential client to judge if they want to work with you. This happens subconsciously before they even click on your 'Services' page or before they email you. If they don't feel connected with your brand they won't be contacting you. And worse, if you aren't putting the effort into your own web and social media presence and branding, then how do you expect them to trust you to put the effort in for their project?

3. TESTIMONIALS AND REVIEWS

Nothing builds trust quite like the words of other people! It's proven that word-of-mouth is the most effective marketing method, even when the feedback is coming from a perfect stranger! Testimonials work the same way. Ask clients for feedback when you finish a project and don't forget to ask permission to share their testimonial on your website and social media. The visual presence increases the trust too, so if possible, always include a photo of the person you're quoting.

I include testimonials on my website in two places: on a testimonial page and on my homepage using the Testimonial Rotator plugin.

4. PROCESS AND DELIVERABLES

Be clear on the process that you will be taking new clients through and what to expect at each stage. Consider the different phases of your project and make this explicit on your website, including what the deliverables are. Consider what file types your client will receive; if they are receiving a mood board and brand board. Outlining the deliverables and how they will be delivered not only builds confidence for you client but will also help you with your workflow as a standard process will be established.

5. WHO HAVE YOU WORKED WITH BEFORE

A lot of clients will ask who you have worked with before them and what kinds of businesses you have designed for. They are making an investment when they sign on with you, so your clients want to make sure they are signing on with someone that understands the market they are operating in. Being transparent about the people you have worked with previously and the scope of business you have worked with too will help to build trust with potential clients.

6. YOUR PERSONALITY

Your clients want to get to know you and what you are like. Ultimately, if you give this person a good feeling and they feel connected to who you are, then they will feel more comfortable investing with you and are more likely to purchase your products and engage your services. Ensure that your brand highlights who you are and how you operate and this will help potential clients to determine if you are a person that they'd like to work with. This is not only vital for your clients - you need to make sure your personality is compatible with the client too. Taking the time to have a Skype meeting or a lengthy email discussion can save incompatibility headaches in the long run!

Some designers are afraid of displaying too much of themselves to potential clients, for fear that they won't match the clients style or expectations. The beauty of taking these steps to be transparent about who you are, what you offer and produce and how, is that you will only be attracting the right clients for you. Think about it, you can only gain more of the right people by providing all the information that a new client needs to make the decision if they want to work with you. So in the end, everyone wins!

BrandITGirl_SidebarDiv.png

How would you like a free new client audit worksheet to help clear your head about this stuff! Get clarity with the Freelance Designer New Client Audit sheet that will ask you questions and prompt you to consider how you can improve your situation when potential clients consider you as their next designer!

DOWNLOAD YOUR NEW CLIENT AUDIT WORKSHEET NOW

Your privacy is protected! Check out our Privacy Policy here!

Styled Stock Photos and How to Use them on your Blog and Social Media

BIG_StyledStockImage-BlogPost.jpg

I am a huge fan of styled stock photos. In fact, I get pretty excited about Instagram feeds filled with pretty styled desk shots! Who doesn't love pretty things!

I am helping my friend Alyssa Joy launch her new range of Styled Stock Images today and thought that this would be the perfect time to take a closer look at Styled Stock Photos and how to use them!

Styled stock photographs are images that run with a particular theme or color scheme, created for bloggers and business to use to help draw in potential customers and readers. These images are offered either for free or for sale by photographers and generally display 'desk'-like surfaces with pretty flowers, computers, keyboards, magazine and stationary items and beauty products that catch the eye of your visitors. While there are masculine styled stock images, at Brand IT Girl, we love the feminine ones more!

These images can be used for a variety of ways and depending on how you crop your images, you can often use the same one several different ways.

BLOG AND WEBSITE IMAGES

BrandITGirl_StyledStock_blogwebsiteimage-example.png

BLOG AND WEBSITE BUTTONS

BrandITGirl_StyledStock_button1-example-150x75.png
BrandITGirl_StyledStock_button3-example-150x75.png
BrandITGirl_StyledStock_button1-example-1-150x75.png

SOCIAL MEDIA COVER PHOTOS

BrandITGirl_StyledStock_fbcover-example.png

INSTAGRAM IMAGES

BANNERS

BrandITGirl_StyledStock_banner-example.png
BrandITGirl_StyledStock_IG-example.png

Want to know where these cute stock images are from? Get them free here!

CHOOSING TO BUY

When choosing to buy your styled stock images, there are a few things you should be looking for:

  1. Check the quality of the image you are purchasing. Make sure that it is a high resolution and that the image dimensions are big enough for your purpose.
  2. Have a look at the color palette used in the image and ensure that it matches (or at least compliments) your brand colors.
  3. Look at the elements within the image and ensure they are compatible with your brand message. There are some images I can't use for my brand because the elements within the flat lay are contrary to my brand personality. Just take a moment to really assess if all the items in the image are on brand and avoid confusing your visitors!
  4. Can you edit the image with text over the top and different crops? Have a look at the policy of the store you are purchasing from and make sure the image is appropriate for the way you want to use it. Some stores will have editing restraints and you just need to be aware of it!

PLACES TO FIND STYLED STOCK IMAGES


After scene stock photography?
Check out my blog post about the best places to find those too!

With so many ways to use them, and such great places to find them, why not add some beautiful styled stock photos to your website and blog!

Fixing distorted images on your blog with Regenerate Thumbnails

BrandITGirl_Fixing-Distorted-Images-Regenerate-Thumbnails_BlogPost

Do you have pesky thumbnails on your website that are appearing distorted? This is such a common problem on blogs and business websites and it can make your website look really unprofessional. But it doesn't have to!

Perhaps you changed the size of your product thumbnail using WooCommerce? Or maybe you manually changed the thumbnail sizes using your theme function.php file? (These are two issues that can arise using Genesis child themes but are really easy to fix!)

FIRSTLY, WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?

Thumbnails distort when you change the thumbnail size because when they are uploaded, Wordpress crop them to specific dimensions. When you change the dimensions of the thumbnail display, the now cropped thumbnail will try to stretch or shrink itself to fit and this often results in distortion.

HOW DO WE FIX IT?

Using a plugin called Regenerate Thumbnails, you can easily and quickly regenerate these cropped thumbnail images to preserve original clarity.

Search Regenerate Thumbnails by navigating to Plugins > Add New in your Wordpress Dashboard.

Once you have installed and activated your Regenerate Thumbnails plugin, you can access it by navigating to Tools > Regen. Thumbnails. It will only take a few moments and then you can refresh your browser to see your fresh regenerated thumbnails.

Blogger Stock Photos: Top 5 places to find them

BrandITGirl_Blogger-Stock-Photos_BlogPost

As a blogger, where do we find our stock photos for our blog posts, social media activations and our other communication touch points? There are plenty of free stock photo websites out there, providing hi-resolution photos for you to use on your blog! Here are my top 5 favourite places to find stock photos that are absolutely free!

unsplash_free-stock-images-for-bloggers

Unsplash

This is one of my favourite. Unsplash offer free high-resolution photos and they upload 10 new photos every 10 days. I love the feeling of the photos you find on Unsplash. They are quite raw and natural and they are often perfect for the more thoughtful, soul-searching blogger, but there is always something unique to be found! The only problem with this website is that there is no categorising feature, so it's time consuming to scroll through all the photos to find what you need. However, the photos are stunning, so perhaps it's ok to spend the time having a browse!

pexels_free-stock-images-for-bloggers

Pexels

Pixels offers some great image options for bloggers and has a library of business related images that are really useful. They also have some really fun people and travel images. They upload 5 new images a day and there is a search function which makes it really easy to use. Just like Unsplash, you don't have to attribute images and they are free for both personal and commercial use.

stokpic_free-stock-images-for-bloggers

Stokpic

I love the feeling of the images on this site. They are absolutely perfect for a huge range of bloggers, particularly lifestyle and wellness bloggers. They are sorted in categories and you can sign up to have 10 new images sent to your inbox every 2 weeks. They are hi-res images for personal and commercial use and are free from all copyright protection.

skitterphoto_free-stock-images-for-bloggers

Skitterphoto

These photos are of stunning quality. Again, they are completely free and quick to download. Their categories are broken down a little differently from the others, and they are less useful to things like images of computers etc. Their nature and landscape images are to die for and are certainly an asset for bloggers to know about. They also have a collection of HDR photos that boast incredible colour intensity. Definitely worth a look!

isorepublic_free-stock-images-for-bloggers

ISO Republic

And finally I always stop by ISO when I am looking for blogging images. They are completely free to use for all creative purposes including commercial endeavours. They have a great collection of urban and architectural images. I also love these cute strawberries!!

And if you don't find what you are looking for at any of those, here are a bunch more sites to try! All in one place!

(Photo Credit: Alex Lv)