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Dear Adobe Indesign (c/o Facebook),

How do I love thee, let me count the ways.  I love how you allow me to create templates for the designs I do over and over again. I love how you let me place multiple photos at one time or change all but summer greens to fall browns with your swatches. I love that I can create multi-page documents (My ex, Illustrator, never let me duplex!) and that all your fonts remain vector (Photoshop could learn a few things from you!). And I love your happy pink logo.

So pink. So happy.

 

I spend most of my day working with you and yet it never occurred to me to try to become your friend on Facebook…until now. Of course you are on Facebook!  You appeal to tech savvy creative folks like myself who seem to spend our lives online and are involved with designing for social media, as well as traditional web and print.

I know we can’t really be friends on Facebook, I can only “Like” you and join your social network of adoring followers. I have to accept that I must share you with the 88,257 other people who Like you (although thank you for reminding me that I can also follow you on Twitter @InDesign where I only need to share you with 5,068 followers).  Your Favourite Pages tell me that you want to share my affections with your 5 friends – Creative Suite Design (9,151), Adobe Digital Publishing (3,213), Adobe Flash Catalyst (7,445), Adobe Photoshop (1,350,515) and Adobe Illustrator (211,575) – but I Like you the best and don’t want to split my devotion just yet.

Since I must admire you from afar, I appreciate how frequently you update your status (Several times a day! You keep me checking in.) and how you vary it from topical questions to very specific news articles, events and program tips:

ADOBE INDESIGN:Are you spending this Black Friday shopping? Or still recovering from a great Thanksgiving meal?
ME:I’m Canadian so I’m at work and had Thai for dinner instead of turkey, but thanks for asking!

ADOBE INDESIGN:Amazon has released a free plug-in (Kindle for Adobe InDesign (beta)) that allows InDesign users to export documents and books to Kindle format.
ME:Cool. That could be useful…file that info away for later.

 

So blue. Yet you work so well together.

Everything you write is something I’m interested in reading about.  If I post one of my designs to my Facebook I could Tag you and my design would appear in your Photos. You’ve posted 487 Links that appeal to me and you have a Discussion board where I can post questions to fellow admirers when we are having a fight about one issue or another (Why do you give me transparency issues? You know how I love to play with that effect but then you don’t co-operate.) How is it possible that I haven’t Like‘d you until now?!

 

But I don’t want you to get the wrong idea.  You do have some faults. That Discussion board is pretty quiet, why only 5 posts in November? And while I find you very informative, there is not a lot of personality radiating from your posts.  Also many followers seem to be using your Wall as a help desk but they are not getting responses from you or others (I know, maybe they should learn to use the Discussion board!) so there is very little interactivity going on there.  Hello out there InDesign, is anyone reading these Wall posts? I’m not so sure about that.

But I shouldn’t be too critical.  Your Facebook fan page is amazing and I’ve only been part of it for a little over an hour.  I’m sure as time passes I will develop a deeper understanding of your benefits and flaws. I look forward to developing this friendship in Facebook-land.

Until then,

Rosey

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What do you think fellow creative thinkers and doers?  Is Adobe on the right track with their Facebook page for InDesign and co? Or maybe you know why my InDesign program keeps losing Arial Bold ever since I’ve installed it onto Windows 7 at work – such a pain to be missing a standard font!  Post your thoughts in the comments.

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Recently I’ve been looking into several project management tools for my team to use in the New Year.  Of course they all sound great on their website’s sales pitch but what do the people who actually use them have to say about these tools?

I decided to use the social media analytics tool Backtype to research one of my options, the leading web-based project management and collaboration tool Basecamp.  I hoped to learn more about other creative team’s experience using Basecamp, as well as see how Backtype is used to report online activity.

After searching for the URL www.basecamphq.com from the Backtype home page, their first screen is the Summary tab and shows me the “Weekly Engagement” tweets and comments related to this domain.  I can see that over the past 3 months there have been consistent mentions of Basecamp with a low of 13 and a high of 65 tweets per week.  The stats on the side tell me 3,822 tweets overall, plus a handful of other mentions in various social media platforms. THE VERDICT: Nice chart but doesn’t tell me if people are saying positive or negative things, and therefore not very useful for my purposes.

The second tab is Audience.  It gives me another chart, this one the number of Twitter users sharing related links. It also shows me the Top Influencer and their stats for followers/friends/updates on Twitter. THE VERDICT: Maybe if I was googling Apple or Coca Cola I’d see more results but as it is, there isn’t enough information here to grab my attention. This page is pretty empty.

Backtype Screen Cap

Nice chart but does it tell me anything new?

 

The third tab is Conversations and here is where things get interesting.  Backtype lists all the latest tweets for Basecamp.  The first thing I notice is that most of these conversations are not in English.  Basecamp is an international tool and judging from these tweets I see what looks like German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Mandarin users all talking about the program.  Taking only the English tweets, let’s look at 10 recent comments (listed from newest to oldest) about Basecamp and see what they tell us about customer satisfaction.

  1. rogers: Basecamp de-emphasize free on the signup page.. now the Basic plan.. mo’money mo’money..
  2. twaddington: @kmatthews Basecamp is a good bet: http://basecamphq.com/
  3. berniedodge: Using Basecamp for the first time to manage 8 different game design projects in my class. Seems promising.
  4. vianovagroup: Need to wow your customers with on time project delivery? Use Basecamp to manage your projects. We Do!
  5. jeffachen: For project specific collaboration, project mgmt tools also come in handy. I like http://basecamphq.com/
  6. DBCAHEADQUARTER: We just transferred DBCA Digitals internal project management over to Basecamp – and we love it!
  7. foamandthunder: Free Basecamp plan is back. 🙂 http://basecamphq.com/signup
  8. soulhuntre We’re adding/tweaking/improving nearly every day: http://basecamphq.com/changes
  9. CodyNolden: Basecamp doubles its prices, how will a small business ever afford this? #fail
  10. nicksergeant: In case you needed *another* reason to leave Basecamp, their cheapest plan is now $50/month: http://basecamphq.com/signup

At first glance I saw a lot of recommendations and happy users, but there is an undertone of criticism for the program and their new pricing strategy. Users are concerned that Basecamp is setting its sights too high and leaving the little guy – the small businesses, web programmers, graphic designers – behind.  The tweets tell me that people are generally satisfied with the Basecamp program and that I should continue to look into this software for my team. Basecamp seemed to realize that raising their prices had angered people and, as #7 and #1 show, the free plan was mysteriously brought back.  They need to be careful, there are hundreds of new project management programs coming up behind them, trying to capitalize on their weaknesses with their hopes of becoming the next go-to project management software.  Alienate your clients and they’ll start shopping around for something cheaper and better. Basecamps seems to be aware of this and as #8 says, they are trying to add, tweak and improve every day. THE VERDICT: Backtype’s Conversation tab is a quick and easy way to review recent conversations about a topic or company, and is the most useful aspect of the Backtype tool.  As for Basecamp, I’d rate them a solid 9.5/10 for customer feedback as there were many more recommendation tweets and retweets from the past few weeks than I chose to include here.  Plus they seemed to act on the user comments they were seeing and made actual changes to their website and business structure as a result of the criticisms. Job we done.

What do you think about these online tools, Backtype and Basecamp?  If you have any recommendations for other project/time/task management programs please post them in the comments.  As I mentioned, there are a huge number to explore beyond Basecamp and the main thing is finding the right combination to work for my team and our specific requirements. I’m not convinced Basecamp is right for us so my search continues…

Check out the social media release below about the new online designer networking site LogoVendor.com which helps match graphic designers with jobs and vice versa.  The business person in me thinks that it is wonderful that someone can pay a few hundred dollars and choose between several logo designs, from several different designers.  The graphic designer in me is concerned that there are people out there creating logos for $100 (and then only if they are the chosen one!).

Are people making a living from this site?  If yes, then they sure aren’t living in Vancouver with our cost of living. Regardless, I feel sites like Logo Vendor are only going to become more prevalent in the future so I think we should take that old adage to heart and “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”.

Fad or Future? Post your thoughts on these new online designer networking sites in the comments.

Contact:

Erick Thomson
Logovendor LLC
877-782-9994  x 6
contact@logovendor.com
http://www.logovendor.com

 

GRAPHIC DESIGN SERVICES GET A FACELIFT WITH LOGOVENDOR

Core News Facts:

  • Use LogoVendor to create a new brand identity across online markets
  • LogoVendor works with global clients to provide designs that help them stand out among the crowd
  • Submit a request and view a variety of designs before going ahead with one final winner
  • Complete file ownership of the logo the moment payment has been made
  • Secure payment method
  • Money back if you do not like any of the designs

Quote:

“We are one of the few logo design services that offer equal opportunity to both the designers as well as clients. Our primary aim is to match talent with expectations so the outcome is favorable on both sides.” – Official Spokesperson for LogoVendor (unnamed in original release)

Related Links:

www.logovendor.com

About Logo Vendor:

Logo Vendor is a global online service that connects businesses requiring Creative Marketing Services to thousands of independent, experienced professionals and is transforming the way businesses market themselves. Logo Vendor makes it possible for Buyers to source amazing, high-quality marketing collateral quickly, easily, and for a fair price. As the leading global online vendor for Creative Marketing Services, independent professionals use Logo Vendor to meet clients and increase their business by delivering outstanding results.

I’m a fairly recent convert to the Twitter bandwagon.  In the last two months I’ve switched my allegiance so that Twitter is now my go-to social media stop, passing Facebook in total time and frequency of use. I now follow enough people to I have a constant stream of information that is hand-picked to suit my interests and find myself checking in to start and end my day.  Lately I’ve been following a lot of local social media experts which has inspired me to create this post of my Top 10 Vancouverite’s to Follow on Twitter.

Image by: Scott Hampson

Tweet Tweet Tweet (Image by: Scott Hampso)

If you’re new to Twitter you’ll probably start out by following some of the biggies, @mashable, @ladygaga, etc but it is also smart to follow some people close to home.  The best part of Twitter is that its real-time so when you combine it with the ‘where you live’ aspect, it becomes all the more relevant to your life.

This is my personal list of people to follow, most are related to marketing-communications or social media in the city, but a few are on there purely for the fun.  The list is not scientific or tested, they’re simply people who I enjoy and I think you might too.

#10 @cadijordan aka Jordan Consulting
Why You Should Follow: Corporate and personal consulting, Cadi offers fun links and food for thought.

#9 –  @atomicpoet aka Christopher
Why You Should Follow: Working at Vancouver’s Hootsuite, Christopher obviously he knows his Twitter stuff. Posts are relevant and intelligent.

#8 –  @gutsmctavish24 aka Guts McTavish
Why You Should Follow: Opinionated and animated (literally), Guts is a great way to get your Canucks news. From the author of the 24 Hours column.

#7 –  @matwilcox aka Mat Wilcox
Why You Should Follow: Former Vancouver PR maven, Mat recently closed her shop to focus on social media. Follow her progress on Twitter.

#6 – @todmaffin aka Tod Maffin
Why You Should Follow: Another Vancouver Digital Marketing expert, Tod’s posts a lot of great tech info from the Canadian perspective.

#5 –  @socialsignal aka Social Signal
Why You Should Follow: Vancouver based Social Media blog/company, Social Signal regularly posts great links that will be useful if you are trying to learn more about using social media for your business.

#4 –  @laineygossip aka Elaine L.
Why You Should Follow: Our very own local link to gossip in Hollywood North and around the world, following Lainey is like getting the inside scoop from a best friend who just happens to hangs out with big time celebs.

#3 –  @bcbusiness aka BC Business
Why You Should Follow: A business magazine that tweets more like your cubicle mate, not your CEO. BC Business is refreshing corporate tweeting like it should be.

#2 –  @miss604 aka Rebecca Bollwitt
Why You Should Follow: One of Vancouver’s big name bloggers, Rebecca tweets local and often. She often guest lectures on social media use but also tweets about her day-to-day life in Vancouver.

#1 – @trevor_linden aka Trevor Linden
Why You Should Follow: Because it’s Trevor Linden. He doesn’t say a lot but when he does we listen.

These are just a few of the people who keep me entertained and in the loop on Twitter.  Who are your favourite Vancouver Twitter-ers?  Post a comment to add to this list.  And while you’re at it, follow me on Twitter @roseyhudson.

 

Mad Men battle a creative block - good thing they've got a woman there!

 

Sometimes it’s tough being a small business with a small advertising budget. The obvious big advertising spots that we see every day – TV, Billboards, Hockey Arena Sponsorships – are out of our reach.

But by looking a bit further afield we can find smaller advertising opportunities that target our customers where they live, work and play.

Sometimes we just need something to kick start the creative juices.  That’s why I love Sam Deckers list of 193 Creative Marketing Ideas and precisely why I Digg this article.

Here are just 3 of his ideas that struck me as potential advertising spots for a small business.

DIRECT MAIL – Target your customers where they live with direct mail.  You have the option to do either addressed or unaddressed ad mail and save significantly off standard postage rates. With all the online advertising happening these days, I’m still a big believer in sending someone a personalized letter through the mail with information that is relevent to them.

TRADE JOURNALS – Target your customers where they work.  They may not be as glamorous as their mainstream counterparts but what better way to reach a very specific target audience than with a trade journal.  Search out the right one for your industry and feel good about your targeted ad spend.

BULLETIN BOARDS – Target your customers where they play/study/worship/hang out. Bulletin Boards are available at a lot of places you frequent including your church, your community centre, your Starbucks…  These free boards can be a great place to promote your business to a very specific audience. Follow board etiquette and remember to ask before putting up your ad.

What’s your favourite small business advertising option?  How do you feel about Sam Deckers suggestions to get high school students to do your door knocking/car windshield flyering? Am I the only advertising person who finds watching Mad Men like watching paint dry?

I lead an in-house creative department at a local real estate company where I design and produce unique marketing pieces for over 100 salespeople. Yet, when asked, I say that my greatest strength lies not necessarily in my design skills but in my organizational skills.

The focus of my blog will be to investigate creative marketing solutions for small businesses and individuals working with limited budgets. I’ll be looking at how we can incorporate ideas from big budget campaigns into smaller scale successes.  I also plan to investigate some of the unique challenges faced by in-house creative teams.

The goal of the blog is to brainstorm new ideas to offer my clients and also to help me streamline our systems to maximize the service my team offers.

Sometimes people in creative roles are labeled as dreamers (code for unreliable). I know that my clients value me because I offer creativity that works within their budgets and to meet their deadlines. In other words, creativity you can count on.

Comic [Not By Rosey]

The Joys of Small Business (or) Comic - Not Comic Sans

Latest Tweets by Rosey

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