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Insightful Ramblings

There’s a phrase floating around these days you may have heard: “Print is dead.” And while the print industry is certainly not at the peak it once was — it is, by no means, dead. In fact, in a lot of ways, the print world is experiencing a resurgence; it just looks a little bit different. Vinyl pressings of records are skyrocketing (digital downloads practically seem like a thing of the past in comparison) and 3D printing is about to take over the world.

So, when it comes to graphic design in print, how do designers, advertisers, etc. find their place?

While digital marketing provides something instant, print advertising still provides something that lasts. The Internet may never disappear, but the banner ad posted on a website for one day will. Many companies find that combining digital and print campaigns is the best way to reach the largest market.

The key to working print advertising is making sure it complements the digital campaign—all it takes is one click to delete a marketing email in your inbox, but a direct mail campaign or print spread in a magazine might catch your eye longer than it takes to click delete. Also, here’s an interesting statistic: in 2012, a firm called Two Sides surveyed 18-24 year olds and found that over two thirds of them preferred print rather than reading off the screen. Simply, one of the main reasons why print is still important is that it can reach a more targeted audience longer. Combine that with the range of digital advertising, and you can have the best of both worlds!

Nashville ECommerce Web Design

As we all know, the Internet is essentially taking over the world. It’s in your living room; it’s in your car—it’s everywhere. That means, it’s even more integral than ever to utilize ecommerce for your business. In the past several years, online sales have increased at a rate faster than offline sales, meaning the website is now king. And, there’s nothing worse than tracking down a cool store, product, or service and then realizing there’s no website to go to. What is this, 1959? Ecommerce is invaluable to business these days; just ask the kids.

Ecommerce can do a variety of awesome things for your business: from reducing advertising costs to reaching a more global market, the possibilities for ecommerce value are endless. Plus, an ecommerce website is a venture that typically requires less capital than its brick and mortar counterpart, which is certainly one pretty great aspect of its benefits. You can also monitor your consumers buying habits because the Internet has superpower stalking abilities, and this kind of information allows you to leverage your marketing to increase your value. Boom!

Creativetopia, a company specializing in Web Design and Development just outside of Nashville, Tenn. In Franklin, can help create the most value for your ecommerce website.

Using talented web designers and advancing technology, it’s easy to create a seamless ecommerce experience for whomever you’re trying to reach. And, with more users accessing the web via mobile devices now, it’s even more important to make your website design user friendly on smartphones and computers. Either way, utilizing ecommerce for your business is probably more important than where your kids go to school these days (they’ll be fine, right?)!

It’s some sort of strange and provable scientific fact that red cars get pulled over more often than their blue counterparts — it’s part of a bizarre psychological study behind car design. What web designers might not realize, however, is that these sorts of psychological affects apply online to design as well.

There are some great resources out there for color psychology when it comes to design, but let’s break down a couple of the key findings so that you may see how the psychology behind graphic design affects you or your business.

Yellow: This color apparently encourages communication and conveys optimism and happiness.

Green: Because this is the background for “the world” — this color makes a great background because we’re used to seeing it everywhere. It also alleviates anxiety (who knew?!)

Blue: Blue, apparently, is a trustworthy color! It calms and sedates, and it’s also pretty gender specific (good to remember sometimes.)

Purple: This one encourages creativity that is “often well liked by eccentric types.”

Pink: This is a stimulating color — youthful, fun, exuberant. It probably makes a lot of people think of middle school girls, but, did you know it’s been used in prison cells to help curb off-the-wall behavior?!

Red: This color encourages action and confidence; it also draws attention (maybe this is why our stop signs, exit signs, ambulances, etc. are red?)

Orange: Here’s a first: this color stimulates the appetite. But, it also sparks controversy; people either love it or hate it — a color to tread lightly with, perhaps.

White: Neutrality. Clarity.

Grey: Did you know The New York Times is sometimes called “The Grey Lady?” Did you know that was even a thing? Grey is the color of “intellectuals” and it can be both unsettling while also creating expectations

Black: Authoritative and powerful, but it can also be mysterious.

E- themes, layouts, typefaces, and why

Lucky for us, Miley Cyrus is only a musical trend and not a web design trend, because we just can’t keep seeing that tongue everywhere. But, right now there are trends in web design, and it’s worth digging into them a little bit to figure out what’s in and out so you can stay ahead of the curve. While we all know Comic Sans typeface is out, we may not be totally sure What is trending in design right now.

One of the biggest emerging trends is a little something called “responsive layouts.” All that really means is that your website should look great everywhere, because people are accessing the web from an increasingly diverse array of devices. If your site looks great on a laptop but is barely functional on a phone, you’re losing customers. A great example of this is a website called Portable — designed specifically to look amazing on a computer and any portable device.

Some other big trends include fixed header bars, large photo backgrounds (you’ll probably see a lot of these if you look for inspiration on the CSS awards website), and infinite scrolling. Infinite scrolling has practically all but taken over a lot of news sites due to its simplicity and the fact that it essentially eliminates pagination. Boom!

In terms of typeface: large type is in — you know, the kind that takes up the entire web page. Specific fonts resurge from time to time, but vintage design and typefaces are back in (then again, isn’t vintage everything?) as is homemade typeface. Both of these make the user feel like they’re on a page for a company that is close to home and has been around forever; it’s the ultimate trustworthy combination!

Feed Your Inspiration

Great design is sometimes synonymous with great inspiration: coming across a website with a flawless design or an intricate layout and unique theme can be inspiring in and of itself. So, what do we do when everything feels dated and stale? Just like with any other art, web designers need places and sites to draw their ideas from, and sometimes simply exposing yourself to new design is the key to sparking fresh ideas for your own work.

Need a place to start? Check out this, where sites have been awarded for their spectacular use of CSS. Another route to exposing yourself to great design? Talk to other web designers. What are they working on right now? How did they get there? The best way to dig deep when you feel like you’ve hit a roadblock is to talk to someone who has done something you absolutely love that inspires you. Next time you stumble across a web page whose design strikes a chord with you, email the info address and ask to chat with the designer. It’s like when a barista somehow manages to make Starry Night out of the steamed milk on your latte; sometimes you can just ask how it was done.

If all else fails: take a break and close the computer—stop looking at your screen for, say, five minutes, guys! Sometimes just getting back to the real world can remind you of the beauty you’re able to create on the screen itself; you just have to step away in order to see it.

web development nashville

Does your website broadcast across all channels or is transmission a little spotty? Web development Nashville is here to patch you up. We’ll code your creative endeavors into a website that translates well across a wide array of devices!

It’s a fast paced world out there and it’s getting harder to keep up by the minute. What with Samsung chasing Apple’s heels with the Galaxy S4–the new “it” phone–and talks of 3D printing moving beyond model furniture, toys, industrial parts and wearable goods, and onto medical implants and food. It’s mindblowing! With so many digital devices popping up right and left, new technology standards are keeping designers, developers and engineers on their toes as they are forced to continuously adapt their skills to fit new interfaces. In today’s highly digitized world, it’s no longer just about how something appears on your desktop; the laptop, tablet and smartphone have to be factored in as well. That’s why web development Nashville is so important to any person or business looking to have an online presence.

The last thing you want is your website to come across as poorly as a walkie talkie out of range. However, the fact of the matter is that a website designed for a standard desktop or laptop screen is not guaranteed to look the same when scaled down on a mobile device. And just think, with the future of Google glass and other such futuristic innovations there’s no telling how your website will read! Because everyone is constantly sourcing information via new gadgets you want to be sure that, no matter what platform your customers are jumping off, when they land on your website it’s just as impressive every time. So unless you have the cash flow to pay a web development Nashville company to design multiple versions of your website, responsive web design is the way to go.

With the increasing rate at which digital is taking over and technology is shape-shifting, it’s especially important that websites are designed to be easily adaptable. Responsive website design gives you the best of both worlds as it allows your site to recognize the screen dimensions of the device being used and to make the adjustments needed to display properly on the device. Sites designed to be responsive also have the ability to adjust back and forth between portrait and landscape viewing on tablets and smartphones. Essentially, responsive design saves companies time and money by allowing web development Nashville to create an adjustable platform for their brand that can cater to new devices that come to market.

Are you looking to launch your brand online or for a simple website overhaul? Whatever the case may be, contact web development Nashville today (615) 656-7488 for a site that’s sure to behave with all devices!

Imagination, originality, sensible logic, solid software skills and a sense of style are just a few standard qualities of a graphic designer. But have you ever wondered what it really takes to do graphic design Nashville, and not just “to do” it but to do it with extreme awesomeness? Our Creative D, takes some time to tell us what’s up.

What does your job entail? As a graphic designer, web designer and Creative Director (Creative D) all thrown into one, my responsibilities are pretty widespread. From a high level perspective I am in charge of the conceptualization and implementation of all design solutions for both our internal marketing needs as well as those of our clients. I consult with clients on their brand and brainstorm visual solutions to help effectively communicate the message behind their marketing objectives. I also play a key role in maintaining client relationships, ensuring that we are on target with current projects and that demands are being met to the best of our ability.

Can you describe your work style and process? It varies by project and really depends on what the individual client is looking for. Typically I begin the graphic design Nashville process by researching and looking at related industries in order to spark ideas and get a feel for what the competition is bringing to the table. Then I really dive in and begin working on nailing down an identity for the product or service. Once the client has approved the logo design I begin to lay out a wireframe for the website. This is basically a map of the website’s functionality–the different tabs and aspects that will exist on each section of the site. When the wireframe is good to go I send it back to the client for review and, once approved, begin developing the website and inputting content (Note: whether we generate the content or the client provides it varies). As part of the website design and development process our team of marketing and SEO specialists optimize the content for popular keywords. This way when all is said and done the website ranks highly in Google’s search engine. (Another note: the process to achieve a high page ranking on Google is a gradual one.) Finally, when we believe the website is in good working form and looking stellar we submit it to the client for review. Based on their feedback we make any final changes and then we launch that baby into the online world!

How much experience do you have? I have about 11 years worth of graphic design Nashville experience. Since college I’ve worked in the print industry, at a software development startup, and then finally decided to go the creative agency route. I’ve been at Creativetopia for over 5 years now and in that  period of time have had the fortune of watching it transform into awesomeness.

Where do you go for inspiration? For inspiration I rely a lot on the world around me, things that catch my eye in the everyday. To get the creativity flowing I also read Communication Arts magazine, listen to Pandora (lately am loving me some Mumford and Sons and Edward Sharpe) and frequently consult the all-knowing Google.

Who is your favorite designer? I really like the iconic pop imagery and the vibrant colors of Andy Warhol.

What software do you have experience using? Being that I’m a graphic and web designer I have to be able to code websites and therefore have a running knowledge of CSS and HTML as well as some experience dabbling in other coding language. As far as executing graphic design Nashville projects, I mostly use and am highly proficient in Adobe Creative Suite which include InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver. However, discontinued use of Flash as it is not smartphone or tablet friendly.

Why did you want to become a graphic designer? Honestly I just kind of fell into it. I remember having a conversation with my mom at the beginning of my college career, complaining about how much I hated numbers and didn’t really think I wanted to pursue business (which was the route I was going at the time). She pointed out that I always liked to doodle and that maybe I should take a stab at graphic design Nashville. So I did and, lo and behold, I just happened to be a natural at it. I’ve never turned back since!

What do you consider to be the current trends in graphic design NashvilleI’d say the biggest trend across the board is that design is going more and more digital. People are still producing print pieces but not at the volume they were 5 years ago. With the prevalence of technological devices–iPhones, tablets, etc.—many print publications have turned their material into online reads. Some have even completely kissed the print world goodbye, now only releasing their issues in digital format. Even when it comes to mailers and advertisements the industry is shifting to the digital realm–sending e-vites instead of snail mail and producing banner ads and online pay-per-click commercials instead of investing the time, money and ink on large format posters. By going the digital route designers can reach a lot more people for a lot less $$.

What are some expectations of being a graphic designer? As a graphic design Nashville guru you must have a creative, yet well-organized mind. In order to have a competitive advantage in the graphic design industry a designer must be highly creative and original, while at the same time must be able to think critically and visually in order to solve complex problems. A truly experienced designer is one who is able to envision a project from beginning to end, ultimately delivering a design that is both eye-catching and in line with the client’s vision and mission.

Technology also plays a huge role in modern day design. Being an expert on the subject is becoming just as important as a designer’s understanding of color, line and composition. Basically, in order to have a competitive advantage in the graphic design industry you must have knowledge in multiple areas of design and be able to wear multiple hats. It’s also important to keep up with related industries so that you can be aware of when new helpful design tools or programs come to market. And don’t forget, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your competition! Not only will it help you to gauge where you’re at as a designer but you might learn a thing or two.

How is communication important in graphic design Nashville ? Graphic design is essentially turning a message into a visual icon or experience that is both clear and captivating. It’s the visual representation of a thought or idea. Images can be very powerful and compelling tools of communication. Not only do they convey information about a subject but, when used in the right context, they can evoke a particular emotional response. As a graphic designer I make sure that the designs I create clearly communicate the desired message my clients are trying to get across. It’s not just about making something pretty, it’s about creating something that speaks to the audience at hand. If a design doesn’t evoke the desired reaction the client is going for then the brand’s entire message is thrown off and will cause confusion with the audience/consumer.

Do you sketch your designs before you make them? Again, it depends but typically I go straight to the virtual drawing board (the new school approach) and just start playing around, manipulating shapes and text until I find something that feels right.

What kind of working environment to you prefer to work in? My ideal work environment is a relaxed, flip-flops and shorts kind of place while of course dressing for success when needed (i.e. meeting with clients.)

How do you deal with criticism? I look at the criticism as constructive and use it as a benchmark for where I’m at today and what I have to do/what areas I need to work on to get to where I need to be. It’s all about being open and pushing your boundaries on what others think. Sometimes it’s not about my skills at all but rather about the expectation of the client and whether or not I’ve met the expectation. It’s all a learning process not to be taken too personally.

How fast-paced is the working environment as a graphic designer? On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the fastest) I would put it on a scale of 6-8 but it really depends on the project and how you set the expectation of the client. Some clients just want a one time logo design and some business cards while others are looking for complex websites with fully functioning e-stores and the like. When it comes to websites the project is never really finished per say. After the initial launch I can put it on the back burner for a bit so that I can dive into the next project but websites are live on-air all the time so there’s a lot of maintenance to keep up with. Not to mention it’s a good idea to freshen up the design/add new features every 3 to 6 months. So, in terms of pace, each project varies in length. One thing I can tell you is that, especially being the senior graphic designer at our company, I’m always busy!

Is your brand in need of a little graphic design Nashville TLC? If so, drop us a line (615) 656.7488 and we can get you all spruced up!



Nashville Marketing Creativetopia

Looking to grow your business? Keep doing what you do and leave the creative steering up to a qualified Nashville marketing team you can count on!

Why use a Nashville marketing agency? While it seems pretty obvious to us, a lot of companies haven’t fully wrapped their brains around the importance marketing plays in their success as a business. A big reason reason for this is that the word “marketing” is so broad it can be a little intimidating.

As a business you likely have a lot on your plate. Busy is great, it means you’re getting somewhere. However, it also means you probably don’t have a lot of time to work on making your business that much better. We see it all the time, businesses that have so much potential but just don’t have the bandwidth to bring it all to the table. That’s where we, as a Nashville marketing agency, can give you a boost. Think of your product, service, what have you as an event and us as the catering service. Maybe you have a very specific vision in mind or maybe you just have a great idea and aren’t sure where to run with it. Whatever the case may be, even though you’re the visionary, you don’t want to have to worry about the logistics nor do you have the time or, in many cases, the creative prowess to do so. You need to focus on building rapport with the guests and making sure they’re happy.

With a little Nashville marketing expertise to back you up you have the brainpower you need to go the extra mile, to create that WOW factor. We help to define your palette and hone it into a very specialized, unique menu that’ll perk up the taste buds of your brand followers and prospective buyers. Then we plate it and serve it up with style! We’ll even saddle up our SEO and social media expertise to help you get the word out to the right people. If your “event” pulls through with flying colors on a small scale we can help you carry it out on a much larger scale, reaching more people by way of various marketing channels.

It’s easy to get so knee deep in the day-to-day, that businesses often lose sight of the big picture and their visions for the future get lost at sea. At Creativetopia we do the stepping back for you so that you can keep running your business while our talented creative team goes to work on helping those ideas take flight. We bring a fresh, yet well-trained set of eyes to every project, providing our clients with a certain level of objectivity that just can’t be found in an in-house Nashville marketing department.

With our wide array of Nashville marketing service offerings the sky really is the limit! Whether you’re in need of a simple logo and identity for your business card or a complete brand overhaul, we take the time to thoroughly research the best approach to marketing your product or service. As Nashville marketing mavens we build the value of your business through stellar graphic design, web design and development, superior SEO strategy, social media, engaging email marketing campaigns and captivating copy.

Are you game? Call us today 615.656.7488 and together let’s build towards a more successful future!

Nashville Graphic Design Logo Refresh

Bring on new business with a new logo. Let Nashville graphic design refresh your look!

Everyone always wants their product or service to be the new “it” thing but with styles going in and out of popularity, the qualifications for reaching “it” standards are constantly changing. One year bold and demonstrative may be the go-to look, only to flip flop to a more delicate and refined look a few years later. The fact is people change their minds quite frequently and as a company you have to, to a certain extent, sway with the crowd in order to continue to meet the expectations of your consumers. The key to staying prominent in your industry and fresh in the minds of consumers is to give them something new to look at once in awhile. Though logos don’t come marked with an expiration date, they can go stale and our job as Nashville graphic design professionals is to make sure you don’t get to that point. Don’t forget, it’s all about keeping that wow factor alive.

How do you ensure the wow factor doesn’t die, that old business keeps coming back and that new business continues to trickle in? Every now and then it’s important to take the time to reevaluate where your business is at and determine whether or not it’s up to par with consumer tastes and industry trends. Maybe your sales and analytics have shown that your target market has shifted over time and your top consumers are no longer young students but rather those students’ parents and teachers. If that’s the case you’re probably going to need to tweak your identity in order to better resonate with your newly rising audience. Anyone who has any Nashville graphic design sense will tell you that one of the keys to maintaining a successful brand is to make sure that your brand identity always lines up with your business values and your product or service’s role in the marketplace. After all, chances are if you’re still rocking the same brand identity you were 5 years ago, it’s a little outdated in terms of where you’re at as a company today.

Logos are very powerful as they give your brand a feel and help set the beat for your message. Logos help conceptualize your brand into a concise icon. That’s why it’s so important to revisit your logo and branding if you find that your message has changed or that it just seems to be a little disjointed. The last thing you want is for people to cock their heads to the side and scratch their chins trying to figure out what exactly you’re trying to get across. Things should be CLEAR which is why a fresh logo is especially imperative when one company acquires another company and two brands merge to form an even bigger, better brand. Though you want to acknowledge the merger by launching a new, never seen before feel,  it’s important not to completely abandon the companies’ overall essence. It’s all about easing the crowd into your new vision, introducing something new while still keeping things a bit familiar and Nashville graphic design experts know to execute this juggling act with perfection. You see people don’t just stick to a brand by chance unless they get some sort of special perk because they have some personal tie to the product or service.. they do so for a specific reason whether it be the message or cause it stands for, its personality, or its unique product or service offering. You don’t want to risk losing those devoted brand connoisseurs by making radical and sporadic changes to these fundamental characteristics. It’s not about throwing these admirable traits that keep your brand so alive out the window, it’s about consulting with a Nashville graphic design expert to refresh your the brand, give it that new sense of “wow”, while still keeping true to its integrity. That’s how you avoid striking a nerve and landing yourself in an identity crisis and instead succeed in making a smart move that keeps on building! Call Nashville graphic design (615) 656-7488 today and let’s get to the drawing board!

SEO Nashville Google Algorithm

Has chasing the Google algorithm just about knocked the wind out of you? Don’t bother straining those lungs. Any SEO Nashville guru will tell you to slow down, catch your breath and start thinking more strategically and not so much about the rules of SEO but rather about building an all-encompassing content strategy.

We’ve drilled and drilled on this notion that SEO is no longer just about keywords, patterns and rules. Google has become so good at tricking SEO detectives at their own game that there’s just no point trying to beat the system. Who wants to waste their time chasing something when they have no idea where its next turn will be anyways? Only Google truly knows Google. The rest is speculation. Besides even if someone’s pretty accurate at calling Google’s shots, they switch up their strategy way too often for the average person to keep up. That’s why we encourage you to hover just above the influence of the algorithm by not focusing on the answer but rather on the why–that being Google’s effort to find the best, most resourceful content on the web. Instead of going grey worrying about solving Google’s quirky algorithm, employ the clever skills of an SEO Nashville professional to help you develop a long-term strategy that will feed the search engine the quality content it’s really hungry for.

The fact is if you’re going to be competitive in organic search you’ve got to be equipped with a new forceful approach that encompasses equal parts technical and creative. SEO Nashville professionals are the secret sauce, the masters of both the left and the right brain. They understand the importance of Google’s algorithm and know its strategies well but realize that ultimately it’s the people who really affect your SEO efforts. Yes algorithms help to set higher standards for indexed information online but they are not meant to be the driving force of internet content. The real secret to good SEO Nashville is to create high quality, easy to read material intended to inform, entertain and persuade people. As long as you deliver that sense of value and quality the rest will fall into place.

If your brand is struggling to stay within Google’s radar or you just want to be sure not to fall off the map, contact SEO Nashville today! There’s no better way to get heard and receive great return on investment!