How To Boost Your Photoshop Skills

photoshop artwork

Since its creation over 25 years ago by Thomas and Knoll, Photoshop has now firmly established itself as the tool of choice for designers worldwide. Adobe bought the distribution license back in September 1988 and since then, a mind-boggling amount of new versions and tools have been added on, to make it one of the most sophisticated design software available on the market.

The fact is that anybody using complex tools, machines or software will develop their own methods of working, based on the training they had as well as their experience. However, it is important to sometimes sit back and review the habits we have developed to work out if they are the most effective and logical ones to produce the highest quality work. We have compiled a list of ideas that will help you review your methods and hopefully help improve them.

  1. Save time and effort by creating folders and layers

    One of Photoshop’s main features is the ability to create layers to allow for easy modification of your project. The ideal way to use them is to ensure that enough layers are created from the start. This means that you won’t have to start the work all over again when you realize that you don’t have enough to complete the project. The other good habit that will save you time is to make sure that your layers are organized into folders. A well-structured project has many benefits. Not only you will be quicker, but it will also create a much smoother process if you work with another team or design agency and need to share your work.

  2. Allow your work to go further: increase your resolution

    By default, Photoshop’s resolution is set at 72dpi (dots per inch). This is usually fine for most professional website design projects, but your work will be limited to the small screen formats and might pixelate if printed. Try and get into the good habit of saving your work at a higher resolution, it’ll save a lot of time and efforts in the long run.

  3. Expand your horizon with shortcuts

    Being able to produce great work in record time is one of the top employers’ requests when hiring designers. It is therefore hugely important to know your shortcuts, as they can speed up and improve your workflow enormously. There are over 40 essential Photoshop shortcuts you can learn here, but don’t forget that you can also create your own ones. This is the equivalent of shorthand for designers and it will separate the good ones from greats!


Top Tips to Find the Right Creative Agency

Looking for Creative Agency

Choosing the right creative agency or branding consultancy can be a challenge, particularly if you have not had much experience working with the design industry, but it is possible to compare the top design agencies and find the right one for your needs with these simple tips.

  1. Decide what you want from your creative partners before you begin your search. The right agency for you will depend on whether you are looking for a branding consultancy to reinvigorate your image, to launch a new product or to expand your online presence. Create a brief explaining exactly what you need, including your aims, target audiences, and estimated budget, so that you begin your search with a clear idea of the services that you require and what you want your creative agency to achieve.
  2. Research the top design agencies before you approach anyone. Use their websites, marketing material and examples of previous projects to learn about their services and style. Check their experience working with similar projects and businesses in your area, and ask for personal recommendations from others in your industry. Compare what is available in terms of the type of agency you would like to work with and your needs for the specific project, and draw up a shortlist of your favourites.
  3. Contact your chosen agencies to discuss your needs in more detail before committing to a relationship. Try to speak to members of the design team who would be working on your project, so that you can find out how well you work together. If you are still undecided, consider asking your top design agencies to pitch you their ideas in response to your brief. Judge the results carefully, by quality not volume, looking for an agency that is sensitive to your needs and which has produced work that feels right for your business.
  4. Once you have decided which branding consultancy or design service you wish to use, make sure you maintain a good working relationship by setting out your terms clearly at the outset and ensuring that you communicate well and open yourself up to their ideas. A successful project depends on input from both sides, so make sure you choose an agency that you will be able to work with closely. If you have the right chemistry, your relationship could last through many years of successful projects.
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Print Design: Tips for Designers

silverstone outdoor billboardThe digital age is upon us. Everywhere you look there are television screens, super-size flat screen displays and dynamic billboard presentations. Despite this world of digital advertising, good old printed materials are still holding ground.

Nothing beats the look and feel of a well-designed, expertly printed flyer or leaflet. The same goes for corporate literature, product packaging and event materials. We offer a print management service that caters for brands and businesses with their finger on the pulse of print; it’s alive and kicking!

trend in crowd leaflet

We’re a professional print design agency offering a range of digital printing services and we would like to share with you some tips for designers to consider.

  • Learn to use grids:

    They help you to achieve the perfect balance, ensuring the overall layout looks pleasing to the eye. Grids help designers when it comes to things like alignment and spacing too.

  • Get your head around typography:

    It’s the practice involved with organising and arranging copy, as well as choosing an appropriate typeface. Different type styles have different personalities, the majority of the time it makes sense to use a font that’s clear and easy to read. Take some time to research your market place and use a font family. Font choice can make or break your design, and ultimately the overall print campaign.

  • Admire the finish:

    Have you considered print finishing options? You don’t get a choice of finishes with digital design, your website is served up to visitors on whatever device they happen to be using. With printed materials you have the luxury of materials and textures to choose from. It’s not just the design itself that’s important, it’s the little things like the finish that make print design more tactile and interesting.

If you’re seeking a print management company with a track record of delivering results, we can help you. Why not talk to us now about the digital printing services that we offer?

How to choose a creative digital agency

digital agency, creative digital agencyHiring a digital design agency is a big commitment in terms of cost and trust. Knowing you’re hiring the right creative digital agency offers peace of mind. Not all digital marketing agencies are made equal, so how do you know which agency to choose?

Do you have experience in our sector?

Many businesses make the mistake of assuming sector experience is essential. Over the years we’ve worked with all sorts of different clients, yet sector experience is actually less important than you might think. The real question is “do you know how to reach my target market?”. Effective communication is down to utilising the right channels to clearly convey a compelling proposition. And the key to effective communication is understanding your audience, not necessarily the specific sector you work in.

Who is going to manage my account?

It’s important that you feel comfortable with the way your agency works. Some clients prefer a single point of contact, others would rather to speak directly with the person working on their project right now. The right digital design agency will have systems and processes in place that enable them to operate a flexible business structure so they can easily adapt to accommodate your preferred way of working.

Can you delivery an integrated campaign?

There’s no use launching just a website. In a world where technology evolves at a fast pace, it’s important to ensure your digital strategy encompasses all relevant platforms. That means embracing social media as well as other networks that give your business or brand a voice. Your brand should use platforms that let you interact and mingle with your customers and prospective clients.

Before you hire a digital design agency, be sure to think about the above points carefully. It’s vital that your agency can embrace all media channels and deliver a memorable brand experience.

Call us today to see what we could do for your brand:

London office: +44 (0) 20 7036 0603

Maidenhead office: +44 (0)1628 823 007

Digital Marketing: Unveiling The Channels That Boost The Bottom Line

Today, more than ever, competition is fierce for marketing budgets between the main digital channels. Search, social media, display, affiliate and email marketing are still growing at a steady rate, but the good news is they have finally been around for long enough for marketers to decide where they should spend their budgets.

Custora, the lifecycle marketing company, constantly analyses a number of key metrics (including customer acquisition) in the $200 billion U.S digital marketing and e-commerce sectors. Their findings are solid as they use aggregated data taken from millions of e-tailers and consumers. This year, the company has published data on the ‘lifetime value of customers based on the channel used to acquire them”.

content marketing, search marketing

The results are impressive:

Channel*                                            Customer lifetime value
                                                      (as a percentage relative to average)

Organic                                               54.25%
Cost per click advertising                     46.50%
Referral                                               26.10%
E-mail                                                  11.81%
Facebook                                              1.31%
Twitter                                               -23.36%

The table above shows that cost per click advertising helps acquire customers that are worth 46% more than your average customer. Organic search is top of the class, as it brings in buyers that are worth an impressive 54% more than the average customer. These are great results for both search channels. However, it is important to note that it is easier to show real customer value when the buyer comes directly via search. Search channels target people who already tell you what they are looking for; this means that they are further ahead on the intent graph. This is something that social platforms still find difficult to do.

To fight back, Twitter and Facebook are putting new tools in place in order to grab some of the intent graph via retargeting and new targeting tools. But the fact is, they both have a lot of work to do in order to become as effective as search channels with regards to acquisition of high value customers. The table above highlights that customers brought in via Twitter are worth 23% less (than the average customer) and Facebook only manages to bring in average clients.

With social channels upping their marketing game, search is going to have to work harder. This means that agencies and clients will have to look deeper into search users’ behaviour in order to better identify at what point the ‘intent to convert or buy’ occurs. This means having a much clearer view of the type of terms used for information gathering versus intention to buy or convert. In the meantime, we would expect that most of marketers’ money would remain on search.

* Results based on 2 years of data from 72 million U.S consumers shopping at 86 U.S retailers within 14 industries

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