Tag: Graphic Design

01 Mar 2019
5 Basics Everyone Needs to Create a Website

5 Website Basics Everyone Needs

Website basics, if you know these it’ll make your life easier! If you are thinking of creating a website yourself or wondering what basic items designers will use to create a website for you, this is for you. There are 5 main items that every website needs to have in order to be a true marketing asset. Whether you work with a design firm, a freelancer, or you create these aspects yourself, you will want to make sure this checklist is covered before you launch your new website. While this isn’t a comprehensive list (different websites might have additional things they need) this covers the basics everyone needs.

Goals. What is the goal of the website, your company, sales, etc. You don’t have to have a ton of goals (I do, but I’m an overachiever), but you should have at least a couple. Know what you are trying to achieve with the website and how it applies and helps your business and it’s goals. Is it sharing your story? Attracting tons of traffic? Selling lots of widgets? Answering peoples questions? Providing services? Setting the goals will help you get the right website made, even if it’s just you doing it.

Brand and Content. You need a brand, even if it’s just a color, a font, and a logo. Most graphic designers would cringe hearing this, but with my design background I also understand entrepreneurs and the start-up process. Now that you have a brand (or the start of one) you’ll also need your written content!

Product, Service, or Both. It doesn’t matter what combination you have here, you need to know what you are are providing to your visitors. It doesn’t have to be paid, it could be free, but what is your product or service? What does it do, how does it help the visitor? Make sure these things are at least loosely defined before creating a website. If you end up adjusting and editing during the process, don’t worry that happens. Should it happen, just make sure you know the basics of what you are providing to your visitors. Being clear about you are offering, be it products or services. The choice can determine if you need an ecommerce website or not. Knowing this is very important as the complexity can change quite a bit when you add ecommerce to your website.

Target Market. Who’s this site for? Tall people, short people, sick people healthy people? This matters because it will help define the content and also tells you about how the content should be made, the type of content, where you’ll want to get your website listed, etc. A good place to start if you don’t have a target already is to define one. I suggest starting with a niche, which I talked about in Defining Your Niche – Why it Matters

Budget and Timeline. So, even if you are doing this yourself, you need a budget and a timeline. We’ve talked about these before in 3 Must Haves When Creating a Project Timeline and Time, Budgets & Luxury Any project without a timeline is a project destined to never get done, or at least not this year. Budget zero? Well, it’ll be really hard to get a website up, but there are some places you can create a free site. These options will make it super apparent that you are using the free one because you don’t have a domain and their company branding is all over your website. Because of this it can be a good start, but you’ll want to move on quickly. Budget and timeline become even more important when working with professionals. The benefit is they will help you determine what kind of help you can get and in what time-frame.

If you have these five basics planned when you start creating your website you will be setting yourself up for success. I like success and I’m sure you do to, so make sure to spend the time putting some basic info together for each of these. Even if you are just wanting a quote, any designer giving you a good quote will need these items and possibly a few more details specific to your site in order to publish it completely. 

23 Feb 2019
3 Steps to Grow Your Brand Peterman Design Firm Blog

3 Steps to Grow Your Brand

So, you’ve got your brand. It’s beautiful, you love it, it resonates with your customers, and most of the time, your designer has walked away. Now you want to build your brand from just the core that it is now and get it out there. Some people will tell you that “building your brand” isn’t necessary, mostly people who want to sell you advertising. Others will tell you that your brand needs to grow your brand and build a presence with it, mostly people who do branding or social media work. I personally believe both are needed, it isn’t just about advertising to build your brand and there’s more to it than just designing a cool brand. So let’s discuss a couple ways to grow your brand and why they are beneficial.

Create Content – Number one most important thing is to create content and not just any content, some combination of useful and entertaining content. You can do this a number of ways, from blogging to posting on social media, to podcasts, and more. Just find the right places that you enjoy sharing your content and start getting it out there. I’d recommend that if you do hire this out you have a very comprehensive conversation with whoever is doing it to make sure the “voice” they use matches or is close to your own and matches your company brand. Content is great because it can be what you give away for free, attracts new and interested customers, and keeps you relevant, as well as being great for SEO when used properly.

Engage – Just posting on your Facebook page doesn’t cut it any more, in fact I don’t think it ever did, people just somehow got it in there head that posting on social media means people will magically see what they post. You need to get your brand out there, interact with current, future, and past customers. Engage on forums, different social media platforms, answering questions, putting out valuable and relatable content that your customers are interested in. None of this is to sell, just to provide value and get your name out there. This will get you found by people you might never reach with advertising and shows that you are actually interested in what you do, not just there to make money.

Build Referrals & Partnerships – You can do this through your customer base and through networking with other people and companies to build your own referral network. Building partnerships is also a great way to get your brand to grow. Finding an established company who’s willing to partner with you can give your own brand a lot of strength as people will see you with a known brand. Keep in mind when you do this that you are only attaching your name to companies whose brand aligns with yours and who you know won’t damage your brand. This is a long term reward process and you may not see this paying out for a couple years, but I know several companies who started super small and because they invested heavily in referrals and partnerships now do basically no marketing or advertising because they have a constant stream of business from their customer referrals and other partnerships. This also gets your brand out there through real people, which often carries more weight than other ways.

If you follow these three steps to building your brand you’ll find your brand growing as quickly as you want it to. A brand is important and it’s just as important that you grow it after you have it.

15 Dec 2017

7 Ways to Annoy Your Designer – and You

Most of my posts have been about what to do, what to bring, and what you should expect from your developer. Here, I’d like to go over a few things that you shouldn’t do with your designer, unless you don’t want to work with them of course. These can cause unneeded tension and issues in a project and your relationship with your developer.

  1. Over-The-Shoulder Work. – I know, you are really excited and want to be a part of the entire process and see the whole thing. Designers and developers don’t work this way, especially when highly creative solutions are needed. I’ve worked with several clients, and some jobs in my early career, where this style of “management” was provided. I now have a strict policy against this, and so does almost every designer I’ve ever met. It hampers creativity, slows us down, and honestly gets very annoying, none of which benefits you as the client. Think of having a backseat driver, it’s the same thing.
  2. Over-state Your Knowledge. – If you haven’t gone through the process of developing a new product, don’t say you have. The greatest developers are happy to work with the inexperienced, but we also aren’t a school. Tell us when you don’t know or understand things, it makes for a much less frustrating experience for both parties. We don’t expect you to know everything about product development, that’s why you hired us in the first place.
  3. Can’t You Just Photoshop it? – NO! I can’t just Photoshop a new vehicle design from that interesting building image you sent me. That request hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sure it will. This counts for anything tool specific. Unless you have experience designing with the specific tool and can do it yourself, then don’t assume that it’s just a quick thing you can throw together.
  4. Tell them “It Shouldn’t Take You Long”. – It’s good to have an idea of how long a project will take, but as the designer, it’s our job to know how long something should take given your requirements. But what about that job you got done last time that the designer said took only 20 minutes? It could have taken 3 hours, but maybe they wanted to sound impressive. Or maybe it took 20 minutes, but the reason you are talking to a new designer because the results wasn’t what you really wanted. It could have also required a completely different process to get a similar result. Product Development isn’t’ a simple process, otherwise there wouldn’t be specialists that only focus on Product Development.
  5. Expect Responses 24/7. – If you are paying someone to be on call, then go for it. Most designers don’t work this way. I’ve had clients in the past that seemingly did not sleep and expected everyone around them not to either. Great designers take time for themselves and don’t always respond immediately to a client. Prompt responses should always be given, but not at 3am. You want your designer to have a life outside of doing your work, it means they won’t burn out and they’ll still have amazing and creative solutions for you in 30 years.
  6. Change the Scope of Work. – Once a project is underway, the scope should not change unless you are prepared for a change in cost and time. Through the years I’ve had many clients try to change the scope part way through a project and expect no extra costs or time to be spent in making it happen. It disrupts things and causes problems everywhere, you can learn more on this post 9 Great Points on Scope Creep where I talk about keeping Scopes in line.
  7. We aren’t Fiverr. – If we were, you would have found us there. While you can get some design work, “$5 logo anyone?”, on Fiverr, it’s unrealistic to come to a product developer or designer with real experience based in the US and expect to get a super cheap price. If you need something that cheap, go overseas or find a desperate student who will do it for the “exposure”. Quality can’t be bought for cheap, and if it does, is it really quality anymore?

As a developer with years of experience, I can honestly say that some version of all of these have happened to me, and that almost every designer or developer I know won’t like any of these things happening. Smart developers and designers have found ways to avoid these issues while helping clients to get the best solution possible. Setting expectations in the beginning and being open and honest about what is needed and expected sets the tone for a successful relationship that will bring your idea into reality and make you money.

Connect with us to turn your idea into reality.