All posts by Jay Moldave

How to Make Your Daytime More Productive

 

Whether it’s on a business or personal level, the amount of distractions we face is overwhelming: email, texts, meetings, kids’ schedules, keeping up with the house chores – and on and on. So here are some thoughts, apps, resources etc. to help define what you want to achieve, how to think about your goals and how to approach the tasks. Last time we focused on starting your day, this post is about maintaining your momentum during the day.

How to make your day more productive from Moldave and Cook Strategic Communications

Discover Your Time Black Holes

Do a Time Audit
It’s sort of a paradox that a time audit takes up time, but it’s time well spent, which will ultimately make you more efficient. For one week, log your hours in a notebook, spreadsheet or a program like Evernote. At the end of the week look at the record of what you’ve done, and it probably won’t make you happy. For work, I use a time tracking tool called Harvest to keep track of my hours that has a plugin to Asana, our project management software. It can get pretty grim sometimes, but it helps me analyze how I spend my time. So what did your time audit show? I’ve learned that many of us share the same time management challenges. Here are a few… can you relate?

Email
This is an enormous distraction for most of us. News articles, sales at your favorite site, celebrity gossip, politics, etc. all wind up in our inboxes. So the question is… how important are they really? If they’re not important, do yourself a favor and unsubscribe. Keep a record of the unsubscribes and if you REALLY can’t get along without the cutlery sale at Sur la Table, resubscribe when you can’t take it any more. Another strategy is to direct all of the emails that aren’t critical to your day to a separate account that you only check once a day.

Other hints:

Check your email at set times of the day.

Prioritize If something is urgent, respond to it right away, if not, let it rest until your scheduled email check time.

Schedule your emails to come in every half hour our (or whatever frequency makes sense for you.) That way you won’t be looking for something every five minutes.

Organize your emails All of the major email clients have ways to create folders, archive emails, etc.

Browsing:
Did the Mets win last night? Who was pitching? Colon ? How old is he? Who is the oldest pitcher in baseball?  What pitcher makes more money? Who is the best paid player?

Got it? Your afternoon is gone. Information and web browsing are addictive, but manageable.

If you don’t need the internet, disconnect – turn off wifi, use airplane mode on mobile devices, pull the plug if you’re hard connected.

There are also software programs that will let you schedule and block specific sites or the entire internet for specific periods of time:

ColdTurkey

Focal Filter

Stay Focusd (Chrome only)

Set a timer to limit your online time.

Save articles to view later If you find an article that you need, but you don’t need it immediately, save it to look at later.

Pocket

Evernote

Be More Productive!

Try to schedule meetings in blocks that way you won’t have a half hour here anschedule your meetings Moldave & Cook Strategic Communicationsd a half hour there, which forces you to “reboot” to use the time effectively

Create a to-do list I’ve been using Wunderlist and it works great. I have to do lists for phone calls, home stuff, work, etc. Works on my computer, phone, wherever.

Easy stuff – hard stuff Tough as it is, do the hard stuff first. Will power and self control are limited  and decrease as the day goes on. You’re also fresher in the morning so the tasks that might seem overwhelming at 3:00 might seem more manageable at 10:00.

Take breaks Try working for 25 minutes and taking a five minute break or what ever works for you http://pomodorotechnique.com/; try to meditate for 10-15 minutes; stretch at your desk or go outside. Brief diversions help you focus.

jones_sleepingThe afternoon slump When I was a kid, we’d put our heads down on our desks in the afternoon for a rest period. That’s a luxury most of us don’t have anymore. How to avoid getting sleepy at 3:00?
Have a good breakfast (carbs and some protein to get you started, and I don’t mean a Cinnabon!)

Lunch Have protein with your salad or sandwich. Avoid fatty foods, they’ll sit in your stomach

Take a walk it will get your heart going, take your mind off what you’re doing and refresh you.

If you have a snack, have one with a protein-carb combination

End of the Day

Check your to-do list If you didn’t get everything done, set your priorities for the next day and review your schedule.

Complete one small task there’s always one small thing you can get done to finish the day so you don’t have to think about it.

Do a final email and social check It’s tough not to look at email,  LinkedIn, Twitter, etc at night, but that’s also a path to more evening stress. Try to close out your necessary communications so you don’t have to think about them until the next day.

Here’s More Info:

Seven Ways to Manage Your Email

6 Simple Ways To Have a More Productive Day

How to Overcome Office Distractions

Afternoon Energy Boosters

Improve Your Day

 

Sometimes it seems like our lives are built on excuses about how we never manage to do what we want to do or accomplish. Whether it’s on a business or personal level, the amount of distractions we face is overwhelming: email, texts, meetings, kids’ schedules, staying in touch with friends, keeping up with the household chores – and on and on. So here are some thoughts, apps, resources etc. to help you define what you want to do, where you want to go and how to get there. This post focuses on getting started in the morning.

How to make your mornings more productive from Moldave&Cook Strategic CommunicationsHow to Make your Mornings More Productive

If you’re an average adult, you have approximately 25,000 mornings to deal with. Believe it or not, the way you use those mornings can define your day.

“Rise and Shine… Really!”

Wake up earlier so you can have time for yourself. This doesn’t mean check your email, get aggravated over the news or change the litter boxes. Reward yourself: read, exercise, work in your garden- what ever your passion is. Gradually make your wake up time earlier until you reach the point at which you have enough time to do what you want. And make your wake up time consistent.

Eat This

In all my research, eating a real breakfast was the suggestion I saw most often. Recommendations included fruits, smoothies, vegetables and proteins. Stay away from that high sugar breakfast folks!

Exercise

I tell people my motto is “Exercise is bad for you!” but I don’t really believe that. Research has shown that people who exercise have more energy and a better outlook. So even if it’s just for a short time,  put exercise into your morning routine.

And Speaking of a Routine

Plan your mornings and stick to the plan. It sets the tone for your entire day. Things you can include are:

Meditation – Mindfulness has become a big buzzword over the past couple of years. Meditation helps settle your mind, relaxes you and helps you focus. Here are a few apps and web sites that can get you started:
Stop, Breathe & Think
Calm
The Mindfulness App
Headspace

Other Thoughts:

Keep an Idea Diary.  Write down your thoughts and ideas to review at the end of the week or on the weekend.

Identify one person you would like to recognize or congratulate and get in touch. It’s a great way to get things going on a positive note.

Mentally go through the good things in your life. Sadly, there are lots of big things we can’t do anything about. But when you get closer to home you have the ability to create a positive place for yourself.

Get Your Day Started

Make a timed to-do list. A list is great, but unless it’s realistic it will only frustrate you. If you have a four-hour task in the morning, you can’t have another one at the same time. This applies to your business and personal lives. So put your timing in there.

Here are some well reviewed to-do list apps. They all have free and premium versions:
Wunderlist
Todoist
Trello
Toodledo
Any.do

Email is the black hole of productivity. If you MUST look at your email, have a plan in place so it doesn’t overwhelm you (more in our next post).

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain

There are things that all of us have to do that we don’t want to address. Personally, I like to hit what I don’t want to do first and get it out of the way. It lightens my mental load for the rest of the day and enables me to get that odious task done when I have the most energy for it. It makes getting through the rest of the day easier because I’m not dreading the task, so give it a try.

These are just some of the thoughts we found to start the day.
Next, making the most of your daytime hours.

Some of our sources:
http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/slideshows/12-ways-to-have-the-most-productive-morning-ever
http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2013/06/10/not-a-morning-person-you-can-still-power-up-your-day
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230240
http://www.inc.com/travis-bradberry/11-tweaks-to-your-morning-routine-will-make-your-entire-day-more-productive.html
http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/kickstart-productivity?utm_campaign=blog-rss-emails&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=26227544#sm.0000ss22plfguezqw0h1aj7117tx7

 

He did that one too? A tribute to record album designer John Berg.

Tribute to John Berg from Moldave&Cook Strategic CommunicationsBack in the days when record album art was engaging and exciting, I always checked to see who designed the covers, very often the name that I saw was John Berg. I think what struck me most was his use of type and space. Each cover was basically an elegant billboard for the artist.

So this is a tribute to him. He designed over 5,000 record covers at Columbia Records. He died last October and it’s safe to say everyone knows his work even if they don’t know who did it.

Tribute to John Berg from Moldave&Cook Strategic CommunicationsHe said he didn’t have a personal style because his projects were so different, but his taste showed everywhere, from the chocolate bar on the front of “Chicago X”, to the incredible use of a light sans serif on “Born to Run”’s black and white cover, his use of a back-lit grainy photograph of Dylan and the famous poster by Milton Glaser In Bob Dylan’s Greatest hits. He did covers for everyone from Sly and the Family Stone to Barbra Streisand to George Szell.

John Berg had his share of stories too.

cheap-thrillsColumbia tried to hire R. Crumb for the cover of Cheap Thrills, but as Crumb put it “I don’t want Columbia’s filthy lucre.” So Janis Joplin commissioned it from him and brought it directly to Berg in his office – no changes allowed. At that point, it was Crumb’s only “commercial” project.

 

 

Tribute to John Berg record cover designer from Moldave&Cook Strategic CommunicationsHe designed 14 covers for Chicago – the logo is the same size and position on every album.

 

 

 

Tribute to John Berg from Moldave&Cook Strategic CommunicationsSpringsteen wanted to use a standard artist’s photo for Born to Run, but the photographer, Eric Meola, had also shot a couple of informal shots of Bruce and Clarence Clemons. Berg immediately saw the strong relationship between the two and the potential for a gatefold cover, and the rest is design history.

 

Cleveland-Orchestra-George-Szell-Conducts-Beethoven_565Berg wasn’t above a little revenge. Columbia was posthumously re-issuing a recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony by George Szell. Szell was apparently difficult during a previous project and called Berg a “flaxen-haired [unprintable]”. So Berg picked a photo with Szell’s hand blocking his face, although he also said it could be interpreted as “Five”.

I don’t think so.

 

See more of his work John Berg Covers.  Which is your favorite?

 

Here’s a handy-dandy guide to photo and image sizes on most social networks.

social-image-size-guide_smallDo you always have to search online for correct image sizes for cover photos, logos and other images on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the other social networks? Do your cover images get covered up by your profile picture? And what about sizing those thumbnails??

Here’s an up-to-date guide for image sizes, photo placement, and more to help you. Click on the image to see the full size, printable image- but be prepared for a lot of scrolling.

Here’s a handy reference:

Facebook Image Sizes
•    Cover photo: 815 px wide by 315 px tall
•    Profile image: 180 px wide by 180 px tall
•    Highlighted image: 1200 px wide by 717 px tall
•    Shared image: 1200 px wide by 630 px tall
•    Shared link thumbnail image: 1200 px wide by 627 px tall

LinkedIn Image Sizes
•    Background image: 1500 px wide by 425 px tall
•    Profile image: 400 px wide by 400 px tall
•    Career cover photo: 974 px wide by 330 px tall
•    Banner image: 646 px wide by 220 px tall (minimum)
•    Standard logo: 400 px wide by 400 pixels tall (maximum)

Pinterest Image Sizes
•    Profile image: 165 px wide by 165 px tall
•    Board display: 22 px wide by 150 px tall
•    Pin sizes: 236 px wide

Instagram Image Sizes
•    Profile image: 110 px wide by 110 px tall
•    Photo size: 1080 px wide by 1080 px tall
•    Photo thumbnails: 161 px wide by 161 px tall

Twitter Image Sizes
•    Header photo: 1500 px wide by 500 px tall
•    Profile image: 400 px wide by 400 px tall
•    In-stream photo: 440 px wide by 220 px tall

YouTube Image Sizes
•    Video uploads: 1280 px wide by 760 px tall
•    Channel cover photo: 2560 px wide by 1440 px tall

Tumblr Image Sizes
•    Profile image: 128 px wide by 128 px tall
•    Image post: 500 px wide by 750 px tall

Google+ Image Sizes
•    Profile image: 250 px wide by 250 px tall
•    Cover image: 1080 px wide by 608 px tall
•    Shared image (on home stream): 497 px wide by 373 px tall
•    Shared image (on feed or your page): 150 px wide by 150 px tall

National Cat Day? Once a Year? Really?

Moldave & Cook Strategic Communications Office Cat

According to Jones, the resident MC2 office cat, National Cat Day is not celebrated once a year on October 29 – it is a 24/7 proposition. Meow!

cheshire cat in colorHe celebrates daily by sitting on keyboards, settling down in front of monitors, reminding us that it’s time to eat – again, gnawing on wrists, sleeping on or under coats and sweaters, getting into supply closets, staring at us when we don’t satisfy his desire-of-the-moment, and letting us know when to open the office window – whether the temperature outside is compatible with human comfort or not.

Allergic to cats? Our office has a cat-free conference area for clients who are allergic to cats or – gasp – don’t like cats.

We dedicate this National Cat Day commemoration and quiz to Ernie and Rooster. Can you identify the author of the quote?

felix1. “I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.“

a. Anonymous
b. Jean Cocteau
c. Aristotle

 

2. “A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”

a. Sigmund Freud
b. Ernest Hemingway
c. Marlin Perkins

Tom-tom-and-jerry3. “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.”

a. Leonardo da Vinci
b. Anonymous
c. Jackson Pollack

 

4. “Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.”

a. Lady Gaga
b. Gordon Ramsey
c. James Herriotpuss in boots

5. “A cat will assume the shape of its container.”

a. Euclid
b. Unknown
c. I.M. Pei

6. “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”

a. Dr. Seuss
b. Edgar Allan Poe
c. Earle Stanley Gardner

7. “Jones, what the hell are you eating?”
a. Paula Deen
b. Lauren Cook
c. Harpo Marx

sylvester2

Answers
1. b
2. b
3. a
4. c
5. b
6. b
7. b

Source for all quiz questions except #7: catquotes.com

February 23rd Was National Dog Biscuit Day! Woof woof, crunch crunch, yum yum!

Animal Product Marketing Has Been Around Since At Least 1792!

Animal Health Marketing from MoldaveDesignsDog biscuits have been around a long, long time. Ads appeared for biscuits intended for sporting dogs as early as 1792 but generally sources cite Spratt’s Meat Fibrine Patented Dog Cakes as the first dog biscuits manufactured on a large-scale commercial basis.

The story goes that in about 1860, Ohio electrician and lightning rod salesman James Spratt developed his version of the dog biscuit after he saw dogs on the Liverpool docks eating what’s called hardtack. Hardtack (aka “molar breakers”) was a kind of biscuit that sailors ate when perishable foods weren’t available. Spratt’s  doggie version, which contained wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot and meat, was patented in England in 1861.

Spratt’s first consumers were indeed sporting dogs belonging to “English country gentlemen.”

This Spratt’s ad from an 1876 issue of the British Veterinary Journal features testimonials and warns of “spurious and highly dangerous” counterfeit dog cakes. Click to see a larger image.

This Spratt’s ad from an 1876 issue of the British Veterinary Journal features testimonials and warns of “spurious and highly dangerous” counterfeit dog cakes. Click to see a larger image.

After Spratt died in 1880, the company went public, developed the first dog food line formulated for a given life stage, and went down in advertising history as the first company to put up a billboard in London.

The company’s US operations began in 1870, first in New York City and then Newark, NJ.  No stranger to marketing, Spratt’s bought the cover of the first American Kennel Club Journal in 1889 and branched out into other pet products, including “palatial” kennels, collars and other accessories, treatments for canine ills, and various information booklets. Spratt’s US operations were acquired by General Mills during the 1950s. In the UK, Spratt’s was acquired by a company called Spillers, which in turn was acquired by Nestle in 1998.

Spending on pet food in the US today? Almost $23 billion in 2014.  Worldwide? An estimated $74.8 billion by 2017.

Here’s More to Chew On:

Feeding Your Pet Right
Spratt’s was the world’s first large-scale manufacturer of dog biscuits.
The History of Pet Food
Pet Industry Market Size And Ownership
Global Pet Food Sales To Approach $75 Billion By 2017
Want to Make Your Own Dog Biscuits?

140 Little Characters for Marketers to Love

Keeping Things Short and Tweet

Here is what one hundred and forty characters look like. Is that enough to get your message across? Are your customers & prospects tweeting?

  • Twitter is #2 of the top three social networks B2B marketers use. The other two are LinkedIn (#1) and Facebook (#3).
  • It’s been reported that on average, B2B companies using Twitter generate twice the leads compared to companies that don’t tweet.
  • But only half of B2B marketers surveyed said Twitter is “effective.”

You’re in Charge of Social Media “Effectiveness”

twitter_cartoonSocial media tools aren’t “effective” by default. It’s up to marketers to optimize social media and other marketing tools and to define “effective” so that results are meaningful, trackable and can be compared.  You can apply the SMART goals system to help define your social marketing effectiveness goals.

You can make the most of Twitter and other marketing tools by researching how your company’s target audiences use those tools and understanding how various tools should fit into your overall marketing plan. Intuitive, possibly. Easy-to-do, not necessarily – especially since the “most effective” B2B content marketers employ an average of 7 social platforms.

As with any social media tool, you need to ask yourself and your team “why should we use that particular platform?”

Does it really matter how many people in the general population are tweeting and how many zillions of tweets there are in the universe? No – what matters is whether or not your targets are tweeting, reading tweets, and taking action based on tweets. Are your customers and prospects using Twitter? Are competitors, industry influencers and other key people you want to follow tweeting? If not, should Twitter be high on your list of marketing tools?

A Few Hints

  • Don’t let the 140c limit intimidate you. It takes time to get used to writing within that structure. Using links and images (and ampersands) makes it easier.
  •  Avoid what’s called “Twitter spam,” which includes “posting malicious links, phishing, abusing the reply function to send unwanted posts to other users and spewing duplication updates”  – click here for more. Twitter does suspend accounts it deems as intended to generate spam.
  • Remember that your tweets and responses to tweets are out there for the world to see unless you’ve chosen to protect them. 73% of small- and medium-sized businesses that tweet use Twitter to deal with customer service issues quickly – which of course helps solidify relationships with customers and shows prospects what it’s like to be a customer. But put yourself in the customer’s shoes before you send a response – is it a response
    Learn about Twitter from MoldaveDesigns

    Click to see what The Puppets Who Know Stuff About Marketing have to say About Twitter

    you’d find helpful if your were the customer?

  • Respond to tweets about your company and its products or services. There are many examples of companies that don’t follow up on tweets that should get a response.
  • Respond meaningfully to customers who tweet about problems. Don’t pass the customer off by suggesting he or she use another method to contact the company – it’s up to your company, not the customer, to resolve a problem.
  • Don’t respond with canned “gee we’re really sorry” responses that don’t get customers closer to resolving an issue.

Here are a few definitions or Twitter terms:

Understand “Twitterese.” Become familiar with what Twitter terms such as Retweet, Favorite, Hashtag, and Mention mean and how to use them.

@username: Also known as a Twitter handle. Must be unique and contain fewer than 15 characters. It’s used to identify you on Twitter for replies and mentions.

Hashtag: A hashtag is any word or phrase immediately preceded by the # symbol. When you click on a hashtag, you’ll see other tweets containing the same keyword or topic.

Follow: A follow is the result of someone following your Twitter account. You can see how many follows (or followers) you have from your Twitter profile.

Following: Subscribing to a Twitter account is called “following.” To start following, click the Follow button next to the user name or on their profile page to see their tweets as soon as they post something new. Anyone on Twitter can follow or unfollow anyone else at any time, with the exception of blocked accounts. See “block.”

Follow count: This count reflects how many people you follow and how many follow you; these numbers are found on your Twitter profile.

Follower: A follower is another Twitter user who has followed you to receive your tweets in their Home stream.

Mention: Mentioning other users in your tweet by including the @ sign followed directly by their username is called a “mention.” Also refers to tweets in which your @username was included.

Messages: Use Messages to have private conversations with people you follow who also follow you. Messages have a 140-character limit and can contain text, hashtags, links, photos and video.
Promoted Tweets: Promoted Tweets are tweets that are paid for by our advertisers. These appear in your Home timeline, at the top of search results on Twitter and elsewhere on the platform, and are clearly marked as “Promoted.”

Pinned Tweets: You can pin a tweet to the top of your profile page, to keep something important to you above the flow of time-ordered tweets.

Reply: A response to another user’s tweet that begins with the @username of the person you’re replying to is known as a reply. Reply by clicking the “reply” button next to the tweet you’d like to respond to.

Retweet: A Tweet that you forward to your followers is known as a Retweet. Often used to pass along news or other valuable discoveries on Twitter, retweets always retain original attribution.

Retweeting: The act of sharing another user’s tweet to all of your followers by clicking on the Retweet button.

Check out Puppets Who Know Stuff about Marketing for an entertaining take on Twitter.

Some  sources to help you find out more:

Twitter for Business Basics
10 Social Media Statistics for the the B2B Marketer
B2B Social Media + Marketing Stats for 2014
83 Exceptional Social Media and Marketing Statistics for 2014
What Not to Do On Twitter

 

Is Your Website Really Yours? Are You Sure?

do_you_own_your_website

Scenarios We’ve Seen More Than Once…

Your website disappears – it’s kind of like discovering your car’s been stolen from the parking lot. Something you rely on is gone without warning.

Recently we’ve helped new clients straighten out website issues they didn’t know they had until there was a problem.

  • The account or the URL wasn’t registered to the appropriate person (e.g., business owner)
  • The hosting account was held by the previous web designer, who vanished.
  • The original designer disappeared with all of the original image files.

In the following situations, do you know what to do?

You try to move your site to another Internet Service Provider but you find you don’t hold the URL (i.e., aren’t the domain registrant).

There’s a good chance you were working with a web developer or designer who registered the URL for you, but listed himself or herself as domain registrant. Even though the business is yours, if you are not the registrant, you don’t hold the URL for your own web site. Ugh!

Usually, if the person who registered the site is ethical, you can resolve the issue fairly easily. The developer will go into the account, change the registrant name to yours, and with a few emails back and forth among you, the domain registrar, and the former domain registrant (the person who had been listed), the situation is resolved. Once you have the change made, it’s a good idea to change the password to the account so you have exclusive access. If you have a designer or developer working with you, you can give that person access as an admin contact or technical adviser contact. You maintain your status as domain name registrant of the account.

You can go HERE to see if you are the owner of your URL. If the Registrant Name and Organization isn’t you, contact your developer, designer, or whoever the listed registrant is and go through the change process.

If you have to go further and you can’t get the registrant to come clean, there are legal steps you can follow to settle a dispute. For more information on legal recourse and other aspects of domain-related issues, click HERE. This site also provides other information.

Someone calls you to say “I can’t get on your website. A message comes up that says domain expired.” What do you do?

This means that your domain, or URL or website address (www.yourbusiness.com), has expired. You probably paid for 3 or 5 or 10 years. Someone got an email from the entity with which you registered the domain, but it wasn’t you, or you received it and didn’t respond. This can be easy to fix, unless your domain is a highly desirable name that someone else might want. But be aware, there’s a time period that you have to wait before the domain becomes available again. Once it expires, if someone requested that domain in the past, they may receive a notification when it becomes available so they can purchase it if you don’t renew.

Remember- if you’re not the Domain Registrant (see above), you won’t be able to renew, so our suggestion is to make sure you own the domain immediately and if you don’t, fix it!

You want to update your website, so you need the original files that were used to create the site, but the developer or designer is MIA.

The question of who owns files is cloudy unless you clarify it from the start. It’s a good idea to specify right at the get-go who owns what. That way, you’ll have all of the original files if you want them, and your designer/developer is aware of what his or her obligations are.

It’s a good idea to back up your site to a cloud site such as Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive or Box. If you have a site developed in WordPress, there are plugins that do automated backups. For HTML sites, ask your developer to set up a backup system.

Even if there’s no backup, you can access the files that are on your server by logging in to the server via FTP.  Then you (or your developer) can download whatever is on the server.  If your site is database driven, such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, be sure to back up the database also. BUT – and this goes back to the beginning of this post- you have to make sure that you have access to the account, know the passwords, and are the domain registrant!

There’s a good chance that the original artwork (hi-res image files, content documents, original animation files, etc.) won’t be on the server, but at least you’ll have the web images and HTML files for your site. If you don’t have the original files and you want the same images and your developer/designer has flown south and set up shop on a beach somewhere doing t-shirts instead of web sites, you’ll probably have to recreate image files, etc. if you want to have the same images on your site.

The good news is that all of the above hassles are avoidable: make sure your domain name(s) and hosting account are all in your name and you have access to them, and come to a solid agreement with your developer/designer as to who owns all of your source files. Everyone will sleep easier at night.

Keep in mind that we are not lawyers and this blog does not constitute legal advice.
The listing of a specific company in this blog is an example and does not constitute a recommendation.

 Some resources for you:

Domainbits.com
Bitlaw.com
icann.org

A Few Definitions

Domain Name: A unique name that identifies an internet resource such as a website. It is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control on the Internet. Domain names are formed by the rules of the Domain Name System (DNS). Any name registered in the DNS is a domain name.

URL: Uniform Resource Locator, which means it is a uniform (same throughout the world) way to locate a resource (file or document) on the Internet. It indicates the location of a web page. So each page of your website can be found via its URL. A domain is the whole site, a URL is an individual page.

Domain registration: The process of registering a domain name, to use in URLs to identify particular Web pages. The person or business that registers domain name is called the domain name registrant.

Administrative contact: The individual who is authorized by the registrant to interact with the domain name registrar.

Billing contact: The individual who is authorized by the registrant to interact with the domain name registrar to answer questions about the domain name registration and registrant.

All registered trademarks, trademarks, and service marks are the property of their owners.

 

Problems with your web site or have a marketing question? Give us a call at (908) 233-9344 or contact us HERE.

White space is your design friend… and it doesn’t even have to be white.

Learn about white space in design from MoldaveDesigns

See the puppets freeze their toes off talking about white space!

Nature abhors a vacuum, the saying goes, and when you take a look at many communication pieces, whether print or electronic, you’d think that there are a lot of designers and programmers, not to mention clients, that feel the same way. Less is definitely not more, the more the merrier.

White space (or negative space) is the “open area” in your design. It can be white, a color, or even black, but it’s just as important to design as positive space (the area taken up by your ravishing images and wonderful content).

 

 

vaseThere are numerous samples of the use of positive and negative space that show the importance of both. In the famous image of the vase made up of two silhouettes, the “white space” and the “black space” are totally equal and important. Which one is positive and which one is negative? yinyangIn the Yin-Yang symbol there are also both equal areas of positive and negative with circles in each to show that they are an integrated whole.

 

VWOne of the most famous examples of a great use of negative space is the famous “Think Small” Volkswagen ad from the 1960s. Full page newspaper ad, enormous amount of white space, great concept, massive impact.

 

 

A more contemporary use of white space is shown every time you do a Google search. There is, of course, the totally open index page, but even the search results pages have been changed to be more subtle and easy on your eye.

White space Google page update Moldavedesigns

Although subtle, Google has changed its page design so it’s easier to read through an effective use of white space.

The effective use of white space can work in two ways:

1. It really helps with legibility and  focusing the viewer’s attention on what you want them to focus on.

A Walk Down the Aisle
cereal

Picture yourself in any aisle of a grocery store looking for a particular product. All you see are splashes of bright color, bright type and packages that look the same. Take a two foot piece of white (or black) board and put it over the products on a shelf and step back. Your eye focuses on the clean open area of the card. That’s what the effective use of positive and negative space does- it focuses the viewer’s eye where you want it to go, much like the VW ad we mentioned above.

 

2. It can make your project more “upscale”- think cosmetics, luxury automobiles and high end tech products

That Upscale Feeling
It’s no accident that cosmetics and other luxury brands keep clutter to a minimum. From cars to tech to fashion, the effective use of positive and negative space reinforces the brand.

The luxury car makers; Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Cadillac et al, all have open web sites using lots of white space, dramatic images and clean, open navigation to show that these are quality products.

Upscale tech and camera companies such as Apple, Leica (note the use of negative space) and Nikon all feature lots of white space and dramatic images.

lancome

For effective, and elegant, use of positive/negative space you can’t beat the cosmetic companies. Chanel has an image and the bottom menu on its home page, that’s it. The simplicity and elegance of the brand is carried through to the packaging and print material. Lancome is almost all white space that forces the viewer to focus on simple compelling images, Estée Lauder, the same.

 

It’s easy to find excuses and throw the benefits of positive/negative space out the window: we have too many products, too much technical information, we need to fill up any “blank” space with images or text.

All of the useful information on United Airlines home page  gets lost in a series of brightly colored confusing boxes, showing that even the big boys sometimes don’t think about how to get the message across most effectively.

It only takes a little bit of thought to use positive/negative space effectively, and the willingness to take a bit of a design risk. The rewards are more focus on your product or message, a brand upgrade, and the happy result that you’re providing a better design experience for your viewers and customers.