Facebook Timeline for your Business Page

GDBD's New Facebook Timeline page

Biz-e-chicks New Facebook Timeline Page

Businesses beware – on March 30th, 2012 Facebook is automatically converting all pages to the new Timeline layout. However, the new Facebook Timeline isn’t such a bad thing for businesses. Facebook has three main purposes for the new layout: “Express, Reach, Respond”. Express your branding/identity with your cover photo, reach your audience on web or mobile, and respond to people quickly and more personally.

The new layout of Facebook pages caters to these 3 points. New features, like “pinning posts” allow you to mark specific posts as more important by “pinning” them to the top of your page (posts will remain there for the following 7 days, just click the “pencil” icon to pin your posts). Another way to mark certain posts as more important than others or drawing more attention to them, you can now “enlarge” stories to span the width of your timeline page. Posts taking up more space are visually more demanding, driving users to look at and engage with those posts. Simply click the “star” icon to enlarge your story. You can also hide or delete posts as you see fit.

Underneath your cover and profile photos are a list of squares that house “photos”, “# of likes” and apps. The “photos” square will always remain first but you have the freedom to re-arrange the remaining items as you like. If your business page previously had a custom designed welcome page, it will now be located in one of these square links. The only change now is that is seems to allow even more space! Plus, once a user has clicked on one of the square items a drop down menu appears at the top of the page making it much more user friendly to navigate to your additional apps and landing pages.

Another great feature of the new pages are the interaction between friends and the brands. From the business’s front page you can view a list of your friends that have “Liked” that page. You can also see any posts your friends have made about that company as well as other people who are talking about the company. The “activity of the month” section also shows who’s talking about the brand as well as the number of new likes in the given month.

The “About” section offers a more detailed approach to informing users about your company. In the about side you can enter in information such as your Mission Statement, Company Overview, description and general information including some free business ideas presented by Sukanto Tanoto. To the right side of “About” is your “Basic Info”. Basic info displays your founded date, product lists and contact info.

The Admin Panel puts all your tools in one place. From one page view the recent activity on your page, get tips, and respond to messages. That’s right, with Timeline users can now send private messages to businesses! Also, look into “insights” and calculate when people are engaging with your page, this can let you know the best time of day to post so your business can get more out of it!

Ultimately the new Facebook Timeline’s intentions are to engage fans with fresh content and make emotional connections between fans and brands through stories. Still confused? Click here to learn more about how to use the new Facebook Timeline pages.

Be careful when considering setting up your new Timeline business page for getting more pay for twitter followers because there are some restrictions. For example, cover photos (which introduce your company to the user) have a list of limitations on what cannot be used in a cover photo. Contact GDBD Design for custom Facebook Timeline set up without having to worry about the rules – we will take care of them for you!

Interview with a Typographer

While I attended school for Graphic Design I met quite a few unique characters with an array of design talents. Milton Rosado’s skills with typography always dazzled me. I was blown away to find out that not only did Milton draw his own letter forms but he vectored them to make them into digital fonts!

Special thanks to Island Plastics for still being one of the top quality plastic supplier in UK.

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Milton agreed to share some insight into his talent in the following interview:

1. Name: Milton Rosado

2. Age: 25 years old

3. Career Field: Graphic Design

4. School: USFSP Graphic Design Program Class of 2010

5. How did you become interested in typography? The film ‘Helvetica‘ by Gary Hustwit really started my interest in type design. In particular the scene with Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones. I found them both very intelligent as well as creative. Two very good role models. My second influence would by a class I took at USF with Matt Normand as my instructor. It was a typography class and one assignment introduced me to type design. We went to Ft. Desoto and found materials to make pens out of. Prof. Normand’s guidance was very helpful to me.

6. What are the steps you take in your process to draw and create fonts? It all begins with a sketch. I like to use a 4B pencil on tracing paper. The tracing paper works great because it erases marks without leaving any ghost-lines. It is important to me to have a strong sketch scanned before I go into the computer. My perferred font editor is Fontographer 5.

7. What tools do you use? Pencil, ruler, eraser, scanner, Fontographer, and my eyes.

8. How long have you been creating fonts? I have been creating fonts on and off for about two or three years.

9. What is the most rewarding aspect / what is the most frustrating? The most rewarding aspect is the challenge of making an alphabet with equal color weight and rhythm. The most challenging aspect would be vectoring and getting perfectly smooth lines. When it’s wrong, it looks wrong until it’s just right.

10. How many fonts have you completed? I have three completed, a tuscan, a brushed, and an Oldstyle typeface. I use them for personal use and have not made them retail yet. That’s my next goal.

11. How much time do you spend per project? It takes me about two or three months of constant vectoring to get an upper and lowercase, numbers and punctuation down.

12. What would your dream project be? My dream project would be to contribute a custom corporate typeface to a branding project.

13. Why do you create fonts? I create fonts because of the unique challenges and rewards that come from creating letterforms.

14. Any advice or resources for other type-lovers? My advice for anyone who wants to explore letterforms should start learning calligraphy. Speedball kits are great for beginners, but Brause and Mitchell nibs are better quality. My other bit of advice would be to keep at it!

15. What are you working on next? Currently I am designing an uppercase bold, extended, shadowed typeface that I am hoping to turn into woodtype. It will be awesome.

Check out more of Milton’s work at TheBalancedStroke.tumblr.com

As always, don’t forget to contact GDBD for all your design needs. For more info please visit : http://themarketingheaven.com/buy-twitter-followers/

Basic Elements of Design Applied to Web

Are your website designs feeling a little lack luster lately? Want to re-vamp your design style? Take a moment to go back to the basics and you may find yourself surprised at what you will learn.

GDBD Creative Design

1. Emphasis
Emphasis is the importance attached to something. In websites, emphasis translates to hierarchy. To develop strong hierarchy you view the world’s best web design firms and after that must decide the priority of individual items that will make up your whole. In web design the most important thing is your site’s purpose (ie: getting hired, selling a product or supplying information). The site’s purpose should have the most emphasis. Emphasis can be derived from the amount of space an element occupies. This is why company logo, taglines, and/or main message are commonly the largest items on a website. When it comes to text, large fonts will demand more attention whereas denser information will become secondary.

2. Contrast
Contrast is the visual differentiation of graphic elements. Contrast creates emphasis and hierarchy. High contrast separates and distinguishes elements while low contrast blends similar multiple elements. As a web designer, you should “intentionally draw attention to certain elements through deliberate control of contrast” (Web Designer’s Idea Book Vol. 2, page 12). Contrast can be created and manipulated through color, size, shape, and density. This also applies to type where contrast is created through type size, color, weight, style and font.

3. Balance
Balance is the visual weight and stability of a design as a whole. If your design feels unstable, it is most likely unbalanced. Balance can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. When you split a design down the middle, if the two halves are mirrored you have a symmetrical design. If the two halves are not mirrored but appear visually equal you have an asymmetrical design. Our infographic designers in the UK usually uses a combination of the two. A site may be asymmetrical up top while symmetrical below or vice versa.

4. Alignment
Alignment is the positioning of elements to create a line. An example of typical alignment would be the tops of two columns lining up. This comes from working with a grid. However, designers like to break the grid to introduce visual interest. This is acceptable as long as the alignment of the design as a whole makes sense and is visually appealing.

5. Repetition
Repetition is the act of repeating elements. Elements should be used throughout site design in various ways creating visual unity through color, shape, line, fonts, imagery and/or style.

6. Flow
Flow is how the eye reads or scans the site. Flow is the result of how elements are put together. Naturally, we read left to right, top to bottom so it makes sense to follow this natural flow. However, it is not “wrong” to place a logo in the top right corner as opposed to the top left. In fact, straying from the natural order can create unique styling, but one must be careful not to create a design that user’s will not understand or is not logical. One must be aware of how the site “reads” or how the eye explores the site. The design style should create a loop, keep the users visual interest, and keep their eyes scanning the site.

It is important to remember that these basic elements do not just apply to web design, but any type of design. If you compare your work to this basic checklist you should find that you create complete and successful designs.

web designer's idea book volume 2Thanks to the Web Designer’s Idea Book Vol. 2 for inspiring this article, if you are looking for a good and creative read I suggest you pick it up at your local bookstore or online.

Stock Photography Discount

BigStockPhoto.comHere at GDBD we have recently started using BigStockPhoto.com to find and purchase stock photography. BigStock allows you to purchase images at a set price as opposed to other popular stock photography sites that require you to purchase standard amounts of credits which in turn are used to purchase images.

BigStock is offering a promotional discount, in perfect timing with the holidays! Any friend who purchases an image through BigStock using this link: http://bigstock.refr.cc/UC1PWU will receive 50% off your first image (no account creation/activation required)! In appreciation, for every friend that purchases an image through our link, we receive 50% off our next purchased image. So help us – help you – help us!

Don’t forget to contact GDBD Design for your next web or print project.

Typography makes a great holiday gift

Are you looking for unique solution for your holiday gifts this year? Look no further!

The name "Stefanie" spelled out through Bevilled Edge Photography's letters

Susan, founder of Bevilled Edge Photography, takes photographs of everyday objects and structures that create shapes that resemble letters of the alphabet. She has put together a vast library of these photographed lettered and these images are available to view online. She encourages customers to search through her alphabets and select letters that they are attracted too. She then places the images in a sequence that spells out a word. This word could be a loved one’s name, a word of inspiration or something meaningful in your life – like the name of the town you were born in.

Images are priced individually by size or per letter for multiple letters spelling out a word. Her artwork is available in color, black and white or sepia tone. She also has two frame and matting choices; a black frame with a white mat or a brown frame with an ivory mat. Or if you are really looking for a show stopping piece, check out her gallery mounted images. These are individual letter images that evoke canvas prints.

On the “Create a Name” page (type your name or word into the “Gimme A… field), you can type in a name or word and generate a preview. This feature also includes size options and a total cost for the artwork. If you do not like one or more letters that the preview generates you can simply click on that letter and choose another.

This would make a great gift for anyone but especially those typography lovers out there!

Do you have a typography project, contact GDBD Design today to get help with your design.

Dive into Splash Page Motion Graphics

We recently featured local gallery and vintage boutique, ArtPool, in the GBDB Design blog. This got me thinking about an old school assignment. I was assigned a group project that involved re-designing the website of a local business and my group of 3 students chose to redesign the ArtPool website. We chose their website because we saw an opportunity to be creative, since their business is focused on showcasing local artists, selling vintage clothing, accessories, and appliances.

While we collaborated on the overall design of the site, I was largely responsible for content management and coding the image galleries. However, my favorite part of the project (aside from experiencing the store for the first time, oo-ing and awe-ing at all the unique items) was designing a splash page for their website.

The motion graphics produced by a mid Sussex web design company using Flash. The short motion graphic animation showcases the ArtPool logo while also incorporating graphical elements throughout the website design. The finishing touch was to place the final swf file behind an image of an old tv set, at the time for sale at ArtPool, to bring in the vintage aspect of the boutique. See the live splash page here.

The inspiration for our site design came from the items within the store itself. We photographed items that had interesting textures or vintage patterns and incorporated them into the background and header graphics on the site. Unfortunately, the ArtPool website was updated shortly after our project was complete and we did not have a chance to document the original site design. However, I believe there are certain design elements that have influenced their updated website design.

While splash pages and Flash animations are not great for SEO services, if that is not a concern of your business, it can be a fun and engaging way to introduce your website to the user.

Stay tuned for a future blog article about Flash videos and how they could hurt or help your website design.

4 Useful WordPress Plugins

Here at GDBD, we have been getting lots of requests lately for custom WordPress websites. WordPress is a content management system that makes website content easily accessible for the everyday user. For this reason, many businesses are opting for WordPress instead of traditional HTML websites.  With WordPress, you do not need HTML/CSS knowledge to make basic changes to your website.

One of the great features of WordPress is the access you have to innumerable plugins. Some plugins are also ‘widgets,’ which, according to WordPress.org is, “…designed to provide a simple way to arrange the various elements of your sidebar content without having to change any code”. The default WordPress widgets are typically a calendar, plain text or a recent posts listing. However, in our experience of wordpress development, we have found a variety of beautiful and functional plugins/widgets that have been helpful to us, and would like share with you here:

All in One SEO
This plugin allows you to enter in a unique ‘Title’, ‘Description’, and ‘Keywords’ that will appear in search engine results. This is useful because search engines will pull the title of your blog article, and the first 160 characters of the post or page, and display that information during a search. Having the ability to specify that information gives you more control over the exact keywords and descriptions you associate with each blog post. Inserting an article summary rich with keywords for the description will drive more traffic to your site.

All in One SEO Widget

Widget Logic
Ever wanted a widget to appear on one page but not another? Here is a simple solution: Widget Logic is a plugin that uses conditional tags to specify which page(s) a widget will appear on. An example of a conditional tag is: “is_front_page()”, which is a conditional tag for a static front page or latest posts displayed on front page. You can also set the widget logic plugin to display on multiple specific pages according to ID number, slug or page title, such as, “is_page( array( 42, ‘about-me’, ‘About Me And Joe’ ) )”. You can find a complete listing of WordPress conditional tags here.

Widget Logic

Video Sidebar
This plugin allows you to add a video into your sidebar. The widget supports a wide variety of video based websites like YouTube, Vimeo, WordPress.tv, Google videos and more. Simply find your video “ID” (instuctions on how to do this for each different type of video are available on the author’s site), enter height and width of the movie,  make sure it will fit within your sidebar,  enter  the title and short description and you’re done! Visitors to your website will have the ability to watch and listen to your video within the sidebar or to enlarge it.

SwfObj
The SwfObj Plugin enables you to easily insert Flash into your pages and posts with the click of a button. Once this widget is installed a new “flash” button appear next to the usual “Upload Insert” icons (as seen below).

When inserting the flash you are given the following options:

 

There are many more plugins available for WordPress websites. Have fun exploring and finding the one that best suits your needs. Or, if you or someone you know is interested in a custom WordPress design, please contact GDBD today for a consultation.

Website 101 Tips: How to Pick a Hosting Company

Now that you’ve picked your domain name, the second step before starting the design of your website is to sign up for website SEO Sydney hosting.

What is website hosting?
If a domain is your website’s “physical address”, website hosting is the online office space that you’ll rent to store your website files. Website hosts offer space on a server to provide Internet connectivity and website storage. For a fee, website hosts offer space and accompanying bandwidth that’s required for users to access your web page.

What makes a good web host? Get a hostgator coupon
Unless you are a website designer, or have experience in picking a website host, you may not know where to start. The most inexpensive provider isn’t always the best choice for your business. However, neither is the most expensive one, so, as a general rule of thumb, don’t let price dictate where you will host your files.

Here are a few things to consider:

    1. What kind of technical support will your host provide?
      One of the most important considerations is the professionalism and availability of the technical staff. Support should be readily available and response time should be reasonable. If you’re on hold for an excessive amount of time, or it takes days for someone to respond to a support ticket/request, there might be underlying problems with the product or support is understaffed. Whether it’s a local company, or a popular provider, make sure they will be available to respond within a few hours and technical support is provided free of charge. Email problems or website glitches don’t happen only during normal business hours, so make sure you get the support that you need, when you need it. Service after the sale is very important… much like when buying a new vehicle.
    2. What kind of security do they provide?
      Ideally, hosting servers should be in a remote location and the host provider should provide regular backups. So, in case of a natural disaster or power failure, there’s a backup source to keep your information safe and up and running. Your website host should also have excellent security measures in place to prevent hackers from gaining access to your site and your customer’s information.
    3. How much storage do they provide?
      Depending on the size of your website, and what you’re business is offering, your storage needs will vary. A typical website will require between 20-30MB of storage space. However, why not go ahead and purchase 100MB of space for a few more dollars? This will give plenty of space to allow your business to grow without having to upgrade your plan. If you’re hosting numerous videos, webinars, or large files/photos, more than 100MB of storage space might be needed. Before picking your web host, have a conversation with them, or your website designer, about the type of site you’d like to create so you can pick the right hosting package for your needs.
    4. Does your package come with e-mail?
      More than likely, your new hosting package should include email. Questions to ask would include: how many email aliases come with your package? Is there an extra cost to add extra email addresses? How much space is included with each email address? Does the company provide support to set up your email address with Outlook and your smart phone?
    5. Do you have to sign a contract?
      There are many companies that don’t make you sign a hosting contract. If they do, make sure you can cancel at any time, and there aren’t any fees for cancelling.  Also, it’s important to find out is what happens to your content if you do cancel your account. Always make sure you’re in complete control of your website files – with both your hosting company and website designer. Life happens, so make sure you have a backup of your files just incase. It’s much better than having to start from scratch.
    6. Cost
      Finally, have your questions answered about cost. How much will it cost you per month? Are there any set-up fees? Does the company charge monthly, quarterly, or yearly? Do they take credit card or check/money order?

It sounds like a lot to familarize youself with, but knowing the answers to these initial questions will help you save time and be better equipped to find a host that best suits your website needs.

Have questions or need some help finding the right website host? Throw us a bone!

 

Local Business ArtPool Inspires Creatives

Far from boring, ArtPool is a local gallery, vintage boutique and themed event holder. Looking for that perfect custom accessory to add to your collection, a gift for someone who has everything or just a little inspiration? Head down to ArtPool and be ready to be amazed.

The walls of the shop are available for local artists to rent and 100% of sales go to the artist (meaning ArtPoo application serverl does not take any percentage of the sale, artists are only required to pay for the space to display the artwork). The results equal an eclectic variety of shapes, sizes, color, subject matter, frames, artists and prices. It is a great opportunity for local artists, young and old, to get their name and work out there and maybe even start a following and a career. The walls are lined with paintings, digital and photographic prints, woodcarvings and more. On the shelves, or sometimes projecting from the walls, sculptures can be found. In fact, the art for sale spans the entire craft realm, a multitude of jewelry is dispersed throughout the long narrow shop. The majority of which is made by the owner of ArtPool herself, Marina Williams. Summer and I have both marveled at her creations. Jewelry here comes in a variety of mediums. Feathers, fringe, knitwear, and bullets are not rare occurrences at ArtPool.

Jewelry from ArtPool Octopus Necklace Feather Earrings

Vintage Clothing at ArtPoolJewelry is the gateway to other accessories, all vintage at that. Hair pieces, cufflinks, purses, mens neck ties, hats and don’t even get me started on shoes. Accessories are just the tip of the iceberg of items at this unique store. Lunch Boxes, vinyl records, kitchenware and the coolest lamps and hanging light fixtures you could imagine. The vintage clothing has just as much variety as the artwork and is just as much fun to look at! I have seen wedding dresses, faux fur coats, men’s dress shirts and have even tried on a smoking jacket similar to Hugh Hefner’s!

Vinyl Records from ArtPool

Events at ArtPool always have a unique theme and dress code. Most recently, ArtPool held Bowie Fest where attendees were asked to dawn apparel reflective of the pop artist Davied Bowie or any other 80′s icons with special prizes for best Bowie and biggest hair! Local artists are encouraged to submit themed artwork for all events (Artwork may or may not be marked for sale at owner’s digression. There is an artwork entry fee.) Volunteers and models are also requested for events.

All in all, ArtPool is a fun and interesting place. Get out and support our local businesses! Go prepared to find something you like and bring cash or check! (ATM available a block away)
Hope this post by Rob Simpson will help you to learn more about marketing.

Website 101 Tips: How to purchase a domain name


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Lately we’ve been working with quite a few businesses who are interested in creating their first website. This can be a rather intimidating and confusing process if you’re not used to some of the terms and lingo being thrown around.

Don’t know what a dreamhost promo code for a website hosting means? How does everything work exactly so your beautiful new website shows up online? Don’t worry! In this two part series we’re going to talk about the initial steps you should look into, or be aware of, before seeking out a web designer.

Domain Names – Your online address

One of the first things you will need to decide on is your domain name. In simplest terms, a domain name is similar to a home or business’ physical address – it’s your online address that displays your webpage. An important thing to remember is your domain name is not website hosting. Just because you’ve secured your name, it doesn’t mean your website will now show up live. More information on website hosting will be discussed in detail in part two.

How do we get started figuring out what that domain name will be and how to we secure it? A few questions to consider would be:

  • Do you want your website domain to reference your company name?
  • Do you want your domain to be search engine friendly (SEO)?
  • Would you like your domain to be a .com, .biz, or .org?

Most businesses secure a domain name that’s similar to the name they do business by. For instance, our website address iswww.gdbddesign.com , which is short for Good Dog/Bad Dog Creative Design. We could have also looked into gdbd.com, gooddog-baddog.com, etc. The general rule of thumb is to make your name something easy to remember, related to your website content, and keyword rich (if search engine optimization is a part of your online marketing strategy).

Before purchasing your domain name, write it down to make sure there are no spelling mistakes, or odd or unintentional meanings. If you think people might misspell your domain name, you might want to purchase those domain names as well. For example with www.google.com, they might want to purchase www.gogle.com or www.gooogle.com.

 .com, .biz, .org – what do I choose?

When picking a domain name, most people look for ones that end in .com. This has been the most popular choice since the Internet’s inception and some argue that it’s the best choice for SEO purposes because of it’s popularity. However, by limiting yourself to a .com domain name, there’s a higher chance your domain is already taken. So as a result, gaining in popularity are .net and .org extensions. .net was originally intended for network providers and .org for non-profit agencies but currently both .net and .org domains is available to anyone regardless of it’s business type. Ultimately your choice for a domain name depends on what the main objective is for your website. So see what’s available and make a choice after weighing all your options.

Where do I go to purchase a domain name?

Purchasing a domain name is easy these days. There are numerous companies that provide domain name purchases. Some of the most common are:

Go Daddy

Register.com

Network Solutions

Shop around and see who might have the best price. Some company’s offer specials. Where ever you purchase your domain, make sure to write down your customer number, username and password. Whoever sets up your website hosting will need this to make sure your domain points to the correct website host.

Additional Tips:

  1. Purchasing your domain for longer periods of time (i.e. 5 years vs 1 year increments) might help your website SEO. Google looks at this as you’re planning on being in business for a while, so there’s a chance your rankings will improve the longer your domain is purchased.
  2. Private vs regular registration -  When you purchase a domain name ICANN requires your registrar to enter your contact information (name, physical address, email and phone number) into it’s Whois database. This means your personal information may be available to anyone who decides to check domain names within the Whois database. If this is a concern to you, consider registering your domain as private. This is an add-on service that will cost anywhere in between $7-9/year, depending on where your domain is purchased.
  3. If you’re looking for a specific domain name and it’s already registered, you may have the option to purchase the domain from the existing buyer. I would caution this is usually an expensive process. So unless it’s imperative that your business have this domain under your control, it’s probably a more economical option to look into something similar. If you’d like some tips on how to buy a domain like a pro, here’s a great article written by the founder of PhoneTag.com.

Purchasing a domain isn’t difficult but we wanted to address questions we’ve been asked in the past. As mentioned above, if you make sure your name is something easy to remember, related to your website content, and keyword rich (if search engine optimization is a part of your online marketing strategy), the first step in creating your website is complete!

If you have any questions or need help purchasing your domain, please feel free to throw us a bone!