Challenge Tankers – Crowd Think Tank

January 21, 2011

Profitable Ways to Spend Your Time in the Lazy Month of December

As a freelancer working on ecommerce designing projects the slowest month of the year has always been December, and we have all seen the dreaded mail arriving in our inboxes saying “Due to a long Christmas and New Year holidays, there has been a delay in the remittances. Hence, remuneration for the month of December would be delayed.  We regret for the inconvenience caused”. Couple that fact with the economic slowdown, and you can easily find yourself having zero motivation for doing anything constructive. But for a freelancer web design designer, sitting idle isn’t a solution to anything. Read on and consider few pointers mentioned below to spend your down time profitably.

• Enhance your processes. It’s always important to fine tune your process to make yourself more efficient and productive. Good processes also open the door for business growth in a financially sustainable way.

• Promote Yourself. Use your creative juices to sell yourself. Devise a strategy and use your design potential as a self-promotional tool.

• Plan for future. Start planning and start firstly by updating your resume. Review your portfolio since there is no better time to do it than those wintery Decembers. Make sure that the following year starts with a BANG.

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December 31, 2010

How can a Freelancer Compete & Beat the Large Design Firms

Freelancer

Freelancer

Most people have got it wrong: Freelancing is not about doing small free lance projects with clients who have tiny or no budget. Freelancers too dream of working with big, established firms and large clients. But being the shortest guy in the room makes it difficult & it isn’t always easy to get going. But sitting back and cursing a freelancer’s life isn’t going to take you anywhere. If you are stuck doing small projects then its high time you get up and get noticed. The key here is to differentiate your services from those of the large firms. And before you move ahead, get the following points planted in your head.

• You won’t be able to out perform the team of some of the best logo designers etc. that a large firm employs. You can match it but standing out isn’t going to be easy.
• Freelancers can out-price large firms, but more often than not cost isn’t as big a criterion with large organizations.

So your chances are already narrowed down but don’t lose heart. Follow the following pointers to the T and you’ll be moving onwards and upwards in no time.

• Customer Service – Use this as your asset.
• Lead & guide your client from the beginning till the end.
• Use flexible timings and pliable work schedules as your advantages.

December 17, 2010

Crowdsourcing, FTW!

Crowd Thinkers

Crowd Thinkers

Crowdsourcing has often been criticized for no reason at all, but the ball, amidst all the brickbats, hasn’t quite stopped rolling. More and more organizations are waking up to its power. But since most people tend to believe in the saying, “there is no smoke without fire”, it has become all the more important to kick out certain myths and fallacies that has pervaded the minds of people. It’s about time we give you the “absolute truth about crowdsourcing”.

1. Success and Crowdsourcing are Synonymous to each other
Every organization, in some form or the other, uses crowdsourcing but they don’t talk about it in public. It’s a fact! Most times, crowdsourcing is the reason for the success of these companies.

2. We Human have always CrowdSourced
Crowdsourcing is known world over for its abilities to simplify a task, e.g. design of logos etc. It’s a name given to an attribute that is inherent in every human being! It’s all about sharing and caring.

3. Offers Level Playing Field
Crowdsourcing demonopolizes the industry and is the reason why some monopolistic organizations keep on spewing venom against crowdsourcers and freelancer web design designers.

4. Crowdsourcing Does Work
Most people are so against crowdsourcing that they refuse, knowingly, to see the positives or even acknowledge them. But the fact is that crowdsourcing is here to stay and that’s only because it actually works & delivers.

December 14, 2010

5 Tips to Become a Successful Freelancer

Tips to Become a Successful Freelancer

Tips to Become a Successful Freelancer

Ask anyone about the benefits of freelancing and you’re bound to hear words describing their experience as; satisfying, flexible & liberating. Being self employed means being your own boss who has to manage everything. But are you doing justice to your potential? Odds are stacked against you and you know that! If you had an employee who wasted as much time doing a job 3d animation as you do, you would be fired. If you had a boss who took his free lance projects for granted the way you do, the company would sink.

As a freelancer, the success and failure is in your own hands. If you abuse the blanket of freedom that freelancing provides, the fall is imminent. Follow the following steps to see yourself through the hiccups that you as a beginner might face.

• Set up a regular schedule
• Act confident till feel confident
• Keep learning..Keep Networking
• Communicate your value to the clients
• Prioritize your time

December 10, 2010

Will the Apps Kill Websites and Web Designers?

Web Application

Web Application

Are websites still relevant or rather are these the end times for freelancer web design experts? It has already been proclaimed that browsers are going to die out soon, unless they evolve to something totally different from its present state. And all this doesn’t augur well for the websites and freelancers handling web site design projects. With the arrival of smarter smart phones and tablets, the attention has shifted towards dedicated apps. We’ve got apps for emails, social networking (facebook and twitter apps), news apps, also music, movies and gaming apps. We will soon be spending more time on the internet but none on the web!

So does this mean that it’s time we switch off the websites? The answer is – No..not yet. But brace yourself for the day when it will be all about creating single digital experience for the user. Companies will have to re-think their strategy and align it with their social media efforts or else they’ll be App’ed!

December 7, 2010

Why Blog?

Blog

Blog

Blogging has become an art. Some of the best logo designers & other freelancers showcase & discuss their work related to design of logos through their personal blogs. But if you are new to the scene & have just arrived, then go through the post and believe me, by the time you finish reading it, you’ll have your answers.

It’s a Reflection of your Work – Most freelancers use blog to show off their designs to the world. It’s another place where prospective clients can find you and go through your work. It’s almost like having a professional website for a freelancer who has limited resource.

Networking and Marketing – Blogging allows you to build new relations with other freelancers around the world, and effectively market yourself by posting interesting tidbits about your daily work routine, designs etc.

Since we have already mentioned blogs as a marketing tool, it’s important to remember that ‘impelling blogging eschews the ornate’. Keep it Short and Simple. Clarity is an important criterion which in turn will attract all kinds of readers and potential clients to your blog.

December 3, 2010

How to Design a Logo

How to Design

How to Design

We have read it before. It’s all over the web, but still people mess up with design of logos for their organization. So, one last time on my blog we’ll just go through some of the most important pointers that must be kept in mind when you take part in any graphic design challenge or rather go about designing a logo yourself. Go through and assimilate the following steps:

Purpose – Learn and find as much as you can about the purpose that an organization wants it logo to serve via the use of shape, fonts, color, images etc.

Follow the Rules – There are 5 rules that are followed even by some of the best logo designers.

  • Logos must be SIMPLE
  • Company logos design must be MEMORABLE
  • It must be TIMELESS Pay attention to TYPOGRAPHY & COLORS
  • Logo must be FOCUSSED on the brand

Establish a Design Process – Follow a set procedure but before that make sure the process you’d planning to follow suits your style of working.

Software – As graphic design designers, one must be master of not less than one professional logos design software. It’s always advised to use vector-based software’s such as CorelDRAW, or Adobe Illustrator.

November 29, 2010

Three Ways to Have a Productive Day

Work O'Clock

Work O'Clock

..and it was five in the morning again today. The moment alarm made that irritating wake up noise; I started to hate my life as a freelancer working on design of logos project. It was already “Work O’Clock”; only I wanted to sleep a little longer. But won’t the sleep induced laziness reduce my day’s productivity!?! Yes, it surely will and as our parents used to say, “It’s important to have a proper morning routine that will maximize & rev up your creativity and over all productivity”.
I looked around the web and spoke to few freelancers, like myself, and made a list of things to follow that could enrich & enliven my day.  This is what I found.

• “Early to bed and early to rise keep a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. This Benjamin Franklin quote is applicable to everyone and not just freelancer having a tough time being productive. Time management is the key to having a fruitful day.

• Write down your days “to-do” list. Planning is essential so mull over your work for today and every day, then work according to your plan.

• Change your routine. If a certain plan isn’t working out for you, don’t be afraid to switch over to a new one. Every person has a different style of working. So do what you think can best enhance your productivity.

November 25, 2010

CrowdSourcing really is a Part of YOU!

CrowdSourcing

CrowdSourcing

I’ve often heard that I write less about crowd sourcing and more about everything else. It’s not that I’m avoiding it, but I’m also here to tell you how the problems related to “everything else” can be solved using crowdsourcing, and how crowdsourcing has made world a better place. There is some or the other form of crowdsourcing in every facet of our lives. It’s been around for centuries; so to say that someone back in 2006 thought of the concept is wrong. It’s nothing more than a group effort to come up with the best possible solution to a problem; be it about design of logos or web page ecommerce. This technique of problem resolution has been used from time immemorial. It’s just out in the open now and getting the full respect and attention it deserves. The thing is, whatever you say or feel about crowdsourcing, you cannot deny the fact that it’s a part of human nature and leads you to work socially for the greater human good.

November 22, 2010

How to Ensure Success as a Freelancer

Freelancer Success

Freelancer Success

Most people don’t know how to make it as a freelance web designer or design of logos expert. Just to make things easier I have compiled a few pointers that if followed to the T could ensure your success as a freelancer.

Fall in Love – Ask yourself..Do you love your work? Are you passionate about it? If your answers are yes then you’re good to go. Passion and love for your work would keep you focused and will keep the fire burning inside.

Watch, Learn and Discover – Web or logo designing trends keep evolving and you must keep yourself informed about the latest technologies to stay relevant in the fast changing web world.

Portfolio – Without a knock out portfolio it’s impossible to get a freelancer web design projects. If you’re a beginner then get as much experience as possible and slowly build your way to a killer portfolio.

Network and Build your Reputation – The importance of this can be summed up by what Bob Burg once said; “Position yourself as a center of influence – the one who knows the movers and shakers. People will respond to that, and you’ll soon become what you project.” Networking is the best way to get freelance projects and to build reputation for your work.

There could be few more that I might have missed, so get back to me with your ideas in the comments section and let me know.

November 11, 2010

Translating with the Crowd

Crowd Sourcing

Crowd Sourcing

When a freelancer like me gets a long-drawn-out translation job from a client with a cockeyed deadline, it gets impossible for me or for any other freelance translator to finish the job on his own and on time. So what’s the solution? How can you get rid of the ticking time bomb and finish the job at the expected time? The solution is crowdsourcing! Crowdsourcing companies throw up translation challenges, to a wide range of people that handle certain parts of the translation work. CrowdThinkTank first employs the power of the crowd to get the job done and then checks every word on a machine based translator. If need be, it also uses the power of crowd for polishing the text, checking facts and to get rid of any insignificant combinations of words &/or sequences. Freelance translation services offered through online collaboration makes it easier to manage any large team projects when compared to other traditional approaches.

October 19, 2010

Crowd: We Are Alive & Kickin

CrowdSourcing

Crowd Sourcing

Few days back,  I read an article on user-generated revolution, which predicted (not again!) the death of the practice of Crowd Sourcing and went on to add that it’s passé since users are not interested in it anymore, and cites falling numbers of editors for Wikipedia’s content as an example!

So, does it mean an end to crowdsourced services like freelance translation services among several others? Well, more and more web based services these days are vying for user attention, but using Wikipedia’s so-called decline as a premise to presume the demise of crowdsourcing is downright irrational & stupid. Firstly, unlike Wikipedia, crowdsourcing companies do reward the people who take part in online challenges, so people get paid for their hard work but I must also add that for most of the participants, money is not the prime reason they participate. It’s more about the passion, which eventually makes them want to excel in whatever they do. Finally, sharing and helping each other is human nature and crowdsourcing isn’t dying till we continue to work for the greater good.

October 7, 2010

Qwiki – The New Multimedia Information Experience

Freelance Services

Freelance Services

Future of search & information is here: “Qwiki”. A disruptive new technology platform and still in alpha phase, Qwiki is destined to change the way people search for information on the web. It blends in the text, audio, video & images in a logical and ordered manner and gives out the visual results, almost like a dynamic movie of whatever you search for. For a lay man Qwiki is going to be like a search engine+Wikipedia+An intelligent computer that makes videos for you on the run and gives out insightful commentary about the searched terms. Whether you are planning for a movie in your city or looking for info on freelance translation services, Qwiki will make your search experience more human. Designed & developed by Louis Monier, the founder of Alta Vista and Doug Imbruce, Qwiki recently won the “Startup Battlefield” Award at TechCrunch Disrupt Conference in San Francisco. So, prepare yourself for a new game changing technology that will make your web more human for information uptake.

October 4, 2010

Overcome the Barriers of Language and Culture with Translation Services

Freelance Translation Services

Freelance Translation Services

It would be criminal in today’s globalised world to not leverage the power of emerging markets in the developing countries to get the overall competitive advantage. But the premise mentioned above has a slight problem: ‘Language Barriers’. The translation challenges that the companies face everyday is crippling the business opportunities for multinationals. And since, English is not the primary language in the countries that figure on the map of these multinationals, therefore translation as a means of international communication, has become necessary to tap the unthought-of potential of these markets globally.

Some freelance translation services include translation, proofreading, interpretation, copywriting, voice-over, subtitling and project management. This makes it easy for the companies to target the consumers any where in the world which eventually leads to market expansion and more profits for the company. Language barriers are not an excuse any more and it’s the right time for you to look for business potential in foreign shores to boost your profits.

September 27, 2010

Mobile Web Designs Practices

Web DesignThe explosion of smart phones has turned the web on its head. There are more people accessing the World Wide Web on their phones & the numbers are projected to cross more than a billon mark soon, worldwide. The evolution of multi-touch technology has made it imperative for the handlers of web site design projects to optimize and design for such devices. One also needs to find a programmer who is also an adept mobile web designer. There are few rules that are important while designing, lets go through them one by one.
Simplicity – The screen space on mobile phones is a problem and websites must be optimized accordingly. So keep what is important and get rid of those needless images from your page.
Use Headings – Headings are helpful in making certain text stand out on a mobile browser. It gives structure to the content & improves navigability.
Make Content your Top Priority – The mobile web pages demands complete focus on the needs of an individual. Hence, make your content meaningful & user centric.
Avoid Horizontal Scrolling – Scrolling is very annoying for users on a large desktops screen, and asking them to scroll in multiple directions, on a small screen could be really annoying. If absolutely required, scrolling in vertical direction is preferred on most mobile devices.

September 20, 2010

Flash isn’t Dead..YET!

HTML 5

HTML 5

In my earlier post on HTML 5 I had written about HTML 5 being the future (LINK: http://bit.ly/bT40CU) but most people have already believed in their heads that FLASH is dead!! If you are one of those who are rushing to find a programmer to fully exploit the potential of HTML 5 & think that Apple’s mobile toys will kill a platform like FLASH then, hold on to your horses…

Firstly, HTML 5 has already taken forever to be implemented and it is not gonna happen anytime soon. Also, most people I meet are confused with the terminologies and are comparing codec’s (H.264), Platforms (Flash) and Languages (HTML5). What people are actually talking about or are hoping is that H.264 content will put a dent into flash based audio-video capabilities. But how can we forget flash’s web penetration. It’s everywhere and Adobe isn’t gonna sit quietly & with its AIR technology, it’s trying to bridge the gap between flash and the smart phones too.

Finally, Flash videos aren’t dead..yet! One can just risk it all and say that Flash capabilities are being challenged. The war has just begun!

September 14, 2010

Tips to Stave off the Freelancing Stress

Translation Services

Translation Services

Freelance translation services, at most times, can be challenging and nerve-wracking. The work flow, to say the least, lacks consistency. If it’s your day, you’ll have enough work to make you jostle your way to the deadlines. But dry and unproductive times can last for days or even months, with no end in sight. This could be devastating for your work-life balance. No work could mean, no money to pay your bills resulting in mental strain & stress. But all is not lost, to overcome the freelance translation challenges go through the following points and lemme know what you think.

Market Yourself – Facing slowdowns or “no work” is part & parcel of freelancing, but the frequency can be reduced by endlessly marketing and selling your freelancing services.
Planning is the Key – Doing more than necessary can be a stressor. Having too much on your plate can kill your business and its credibility. Therefore plan carefully & well in advance to avoid stress.
Having Financial Buffer is a Must – “Prevention is better than cure.” Hence, keeping a financial buffer can be a stress buster during recessionary times.

September 7, 2010

Usability Vs Design: A Zero-Sum Game

Graphic Design

Graphic Design

The work of graphic design designers is very subjective and is all about creating visual appearances in a pleasing & reasonable manner. But this does not mean that usability can be undermined by the designers. Design and usability are the two of the most integral parts of any online web designing projects & ignoring one in favor of the other will result in nothing less than catastrophe. A user experience expert must not see the design and usability in isolation and for him both should be an integral part of the user interface. More often than not, this balancing act is considered ambitious but it is not unachievable. All one needs to do is improve the communication channels between designers and the usability specialists to find out the stable and a balanced solution to make a website both functional and tempting.

September 3, 2010

Once Upon a Time..and that’s how the Story Began!

Graphic Design Designers

Graphic Design Designers

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a…no not a gangster, but I had this knack for getting people out of their creative blocks. Starting at a very young age and much before I joined the elite group of freelance graphic design designers, I was already neck deep into creating visual communication tools for my neighbors & businesses around me to help them with their creative needs. I did almost everything ranging from design of logos, business cards etc. for anybody & everybody and before I could begin to lose my focus, I enrolled myself into a college. It was a choice which gave me my daily creative dose and helped me graduate with a graphics design degree.

It’s been so many years now and today, I’m more confidant than ever before in providing visual solutions to my clients. Freelancing has opened the doors of creativity and now I can pick and choose my work and fulfill every dream I had as a kid and get that creative rush every day.

August 20, 2010

Musings of a Freelance Designer

Freelancer Designer

Freelancer Designer

After months of writing my daily blog posts, I’ve reached a point where I’m unable to talk about my online web designing projects or anything for that matter, and I think I need a small break if I am ever to write or do my designing work seriously. I think I’ll run away from the city, its people, even internet & reconnect my scattered thoughts and give myself a chance to write and do things that I want to do. I understand that man is a social animal and needs people and needs to keep company, but sometimes society frustrates us & takes away our creativity. Every human contact, barring the few, is deceptive and insincere & takes us away from ourselves.

In the end, solitude is unavoidable. We all are alone in this crowded paradise that we have created. But we are not quite ourselves when we have people around us. So, I think I do have a point in running away from this mad overcrowded world, and sooner or later, I must do that.

August 17, 2010

Web Designing Without Content – An Empty Vessel

Web Site Design Projects

Web Site Design Projects

Almost from the moment I received web content to rescript a few weeks back, I knew I didn’t enjoy it. Now, before you jump to the conclusion that I revise content without reading it, let me shed some light on the fact that it wasn’t the content that I was referring to but the actual state of the website & its design. It was sad to see that web site design projects these days have a sole intention of making an initial ‘shock & awe’ styled impact upon its visitors. Nobody cares about the content & other related elements that have the power to make the visitor come back to the site again. And it’s only when we see web content, thoughtlessly relegated to the secondary status that heckles rise. I sometimes wish that people, who ignore content or write cheap & shoddy material, must have a place set-aside in some part of the infernal region. People must remember that words are sacred & everything else that you find on a web site is a vessel that contains them, and a website with improper content is like an empty vessel making a lot of needless noise.

August 5, 2010

8 Twitter SEO Tips

Twitter

Twitter

Wanna increase the traffic on your website? Are you worried that search engines are not giving a damn about your website? Do you want new customers but don’t want to spend money on marketing or on SEO based activities? How do you promote your website?The situation at the moment might sound bleak & difficult but it isn’t…Read on….

The answer to all your questions is one word: “Twitter”!

By now you must be wondering as to how twitter could help your company with web page ecommerce or with any kind of promotional activity. Twitter makes this possible because, with more than 100 million users, it has a reach that no other medium can provide. Major search engines like Google & Bing, have also started indexing the tweets which can easily be leveraged by the companies for building their brands.  Few key tips that one must keep in mind are as follows:

1.    Follow the right people
2.    Be a regular tweeter/re-tweeter
3.    Tweet relevant content using pertinent keywords
4.    Create new and exciting content for your followers
5.    Give twitterverse what it wants
6.    Keep your twitter handle short, sweet and relevant
7.    Optimize the content in your Bio
8.    Use hash tags

August 3, 2010

Welcome to the Graphic Design Designers Reality

Graphic Designer

Graphic Designer

The world of graphics designing has changed. The graphic design designers of today have changed.  It’s become an art that I don’t understand anymore. It’s new, mad, hectic & confusing. People are in a hurry to be someone, to get something done, to meet someone, fast food, fast trains, fast planes, fast ships… The designers speak of patterns that I don’t understand. I don’t know the colors on a painting. I don’t know the art. I don’t know that pink is the new black. I don’t know that Salmon is also a color. I don’t know the difference between white and off-white and why black paint is so cool.  I don’t know why male designers grow their hair and women shorten them. I don’t know why rebels are heroes and good designers remain lost. I don’t know that shirts this season are to be tucked in and white sneakers are on their way out. I still want my coffee as coffee and not an ice cream filled version. I don’t know which of my graphics design designer friend is dating whom and why she’s still with him, and why he’s not with him…

July 30, 2010

Future of Web – HTML 5

HTML

HTML 5

The writing is on the wall: HTML 5 is the future. Soon after Apple embraced HTML 5 specifications & disallowed any FLASH based applications on its highly successful Iphone and Ipad, the industry analysts have started predicting checkmate for FLASH because HTML 5 has the potential to rival the multimedia capabilities of proprietary plug-in software’s like FLASH & Silverlight. It will also allow web site design projects to have structured pages and will give more power to the browser to carry out functions like video playback and drag and drop.

HTML 5 is being touted as the next generation mark up language with several new features. It will soon be knocking at your doorstep. Find as much as you can about it before your competitor does and uses it to design future websites.

July 27, 2010

Ferrari Logo

Logo Designer

Logo Designer

More number of men are mesmerized by fast moving cars rather than their women and if it’s about a car like Ferrari, then you can’t blame them for ignoring the fairer sex. Spectacularly beautiful and incomparable to any other car in its class, Ferraris are known world over for their jaw dropping speeds and overall fire under the hood and the logo truly reflects that ferocity. The black prancing stallion is one of the most respected & well recognized corporate identity logos in the world. The horse literally symbolizes the horse power that any Ferrari car would carry and at the same time, it rightly depicts control, skill and intensity. The yellow background gives a unique and striking fillip to the black horse and the black outline around the background gives the logo a dignified and refined appearance. The top portion of the logo design consists of three color bands in green, white & red to enhance the aesthetic grandeur of the design. The words SF on the yellow background stand for Scuderia Ferrari, where the word Scuderia means stable as in a horse stable or barn.

July 22, 2010

The Role of Trust in Ecommerce

E-Commerce

E-Commerce

There is an old saying that goes “Trust is like a vase; once it’s broken, though you can fix the vase, it will never be same again.” The maxim also holds true for the electronic world of commerce.Ecommerce has exploded on the net and several companies have shifted their businesses online. But even after almost 20 years, the concept of buying and paying for products online could be a little scary for some.  And, the only reason for this is, lack of trust. We all know that trust is required as a prior condition for normal social conduct, especially if it involves making important decisions, like buying on ecommerce websites.

E commerce designing must instills consumer confidence in online businesses by delivering a perfect user experience. The role of familiarity & trust is especially important on customer’s purchase & inquiry intentions. Initially it’s all about getting your customer familiarized with the possibilities of online shopping & its processes and then slowly building trust to convert the casual visitor into a regular buyer, eventually benefitting all the involved parties.

July 21, 2010

Starting an Internet Business

Internet Business

Internet Business

Internet is the best thing that ever happened to small business owners. It has offered a level playing field for them since the capital involved is minimal. Today, all you need is an idea to change your life. Once you have an idea; implementation requires a computer with an internet connection and a web designer who would give you an awesome yet affordable web page design. That’s it; you are sorted & good to go. But we know even roses have thorns & likewise there are few downsides of starting an online business. Let’s take a look”

•    Security & Confidentiality:  One of the greatest challenges fronted by any business conducted over the internet is security, especially if it involves financial transactions.

•    Trust Deficiency:  Internet has evolved and has changed the way we deal with our day today life. Most of our time is spent using computer or doing any internet related activity but even after so much customers still have trust issues with online business owners.

•    Copyright Infringement:  The medium is such that it is hard to contain copyright infringement issues on internet, which in turn discourages business owners to initiate e-commerce or trade on the web.

July 20, 2010

Five Easy Steps to Take your Business Online

Online Business

Online Business

Online businesses have changed the rules of the game and have widened the reach of the businesses by enabling them to seize the opportunities in different parts of the world for lasting growth, all with the power of ecommerce. In today’s day and age, e commerce designing is more important than you ever imagined, especially for a small start-up, it is like a business card; a cost effective and a significant tool to draw the attention & engage the customers. Cheap designs can ruin your business; hence hiring experienced graphic design designers for the job is a must.

Starting an online business empire might seem easy but it isn’t. It requires a well laid out plan:

•    Firstly, you’ll need to register a domain
•    Plan the outline of your projects well in advance, including: content, design details & navigation
•    Hire the most suitable web designer for your requirements.
•    Be patient and attentive and don’t lose focus of your ecommerce strategies.
•    Make sure that website is free of any errors and is in sync with the demands of your business.

July 19, 2010

Affordable Website Page Design

Web Page Design

Web Page Design

Most start-ups shut shop due to lack of funds or financial issues, hence affordability is something that one must always keep in mind for a freshly designed website, especially for a website that is not showing results. Taken, that it’s not viable for a small business to pump in huge amounts of funds into web site design projects but creating low-cost or affordable web page design does not mean that you will have to surrender quality. In other words, there are no reasons why a budget design should look like it was designed in the eighties because, more often than not, a good design is also an affordable design.

In the recent trend, online design challenges have offered affordable solutions which are gaining popularity. Websites like www.crowdthinktank.com use the power of the crowd to provide you with the best yet affordable design. This is much better than dealing with large design firms that are only interested in your money.

July 17, 2010

Need a Logo..Head to CrowdThinkTank.com

Logo Design Crowd

Logo Design Crowd

I always wanted my website to have a logo but thought that only big organizations can afford it and a small business like mine must not spend so much on gimcracks. Okay, don’t get me wrong, its not that I’m not aware of the importance of a logo but getting one could cost me a fortune, isn’t it? Well, I found out pretty soon that I was grossly mistaken. At crowdthinktank.com, you can get one custom designed for yourself at much cheaper rates than most graphic design designers would charge. It’s here that you could get the best logos designed for you by the best brains.  All you need to do is start a challenge for your logo design on the site.  Designers from all over the world would then work on it and submit their entries for you. Pick the best one you think represents your company and you are good to go with an awesome looking logo.
If this sounds cool and you want to give it a shot then head to www.crowdthinktank.com to get that dream logo design you always wanted.

July 16, 2010

Lack of Motivation-Is There a Cure?

Online Web Design

Online Web Design

I woke up to a hot and humid morning with the temperatures in the high 40’s. I had planned to start working on my online web designing projects but now I wasn’t so sure. I like working out everyday and given my busy schedule, it was a now or never situation. But did I want to get all sweaty in the heat? No! Did I want to start working? No!

I think I lacked motivation or was I just being lazy!??!

I finish at least some part of my daily web site design projects in a week. It sure takes some discipline but for me the hardest part of my day is – sitting down to start working on a project. This is where I think I need to sort things out. There are just too many things on the web, in my office or even the people around me that manage to distract me from starting – starting anything for that matter. In my opinion, this is one reason why some of the more successful people followed daily routines, as it allowed them to do more without wasting their precious time. It also allowed them to have a steady flow of thoughts. I think things will only change once I stop giving in to my temptations, especially during the times when I’m most vulnerable. But how do I do that, any suggestions?

July 14, 2010

Logos or Logotypes?

Filed under: Business Identity,Logo Design — cthinktank @ 7:32 am
Tags: , , ,
Logo Design types

Logo Design types

Nowadays, it has become fashionable to forecast the demise of logos. People have already predicted that logotypes will be superseding the design of logos everywhere as basics of brand identities.  But before you start believing in it, read on. Let me begin by stating that both have their advantages. Logos illustrates your business identity. It gives you a strong visual identity but has no text. For instance, Apple Inc. just has a simple apple with a bite taken out off its right side. But in today’s digital age, with thousands of corporations, products, services and brands, it has become difficult to recognize a simple logo. This has started a trend where the name of the company is being designed to make it incomparable by using different shapes, colors and additional visual ingredients.

Logotypes are also recommended for small business start-ups which do not have any identity. The name of the company then becomes your logo. And later on you can start using your logo alone once your brand is recognized and has a secure reputation to avoid tastelessness and clash. But in the end it all boils don to the choice and company’s requirements since both are equally capable of communicating brand awareness.

July 13, 2010

The importance of Corporate Identity

Graphic Design

Graphic Design

Just like your personal identity which defines you as an individual, out of the billions roaming on this planet; corporate identity gives a distinct identity to an organization from its competitors. It is a very important way of making your customers understand and describe your organization. For a startup, a new business identity package is absolutely essential. Once you understand the importance of it, you can get the best results for your organization. The corporate identity consists of following:

•    Corporate Strategy (marketing plan, scope, policies)
•    Corporate Culture (values, beliefs),
•    Organizational Design (pattern of organizational relationships.), and
•    Operations

In the past, the business identity packages were all about graphic design designers & their designs. Today, the world of business has undergone an abrupt change and now has a broader scope with an elaborate and strategic focus. The above mentioned pointers can help the managers to effectively understand, observe & regulate the company’s image and reputation.

July 9, 2010

Who am I?

Writer Designer

Writer Designer

I can neither be a poet
placing rhyme in anything.
nor can I be a farmer
getting life out of a seedling.
I’m not one of your best logo designers,
creating eternal designs with mortal skill
nor can I be a villain
building chaos for a thrill.
I cannot be a horseman,
galloping away as burden
and I cannot be a teacher,
feeding misunderstood knowledge .
I can neither be an undertaker
giving the final touches to my existence;
nor can I be a healer,
saving life in gods presence.
I cannot be a ruler,
directing man to subjectivity
and not a beggar
adding pity to never ending strife.
I can never be an actor,
depicting a show in artful jest
also can never be a friend
cuz I might never be there at your request.
nor can I be your lover,
cuz I don’t have a heart
But I can always be a person
being myself, still not your part……!

July 8, 2010

Elements in a Successful CrowdSourcing Initiative

CrowdSourcing

CrowdSourcing

Crowdsourcing & collaborative innovation offers a new approach in the direction of convergent thinking. The success of any such crowdsourcing initiative depends on a relative extent of crowd engagement & involvement.  This primarily means that a positive motivational influence must be established to enroll the most competent associates for the job and at the same time the motives of the crowd must be aligned with the long term target of the crowd sourcing initiative. This approach ensures user involvement in the initiative, which includes any thing ranging from taking part in challenges e.g. animation or graphics design challenge, collecting information for any future activity, brand collaboration and product innovation.

The key to a successful crowdsourcing initiative is the association between the crowd or the people who take part in the challenges and the people who design & carry out the crowdsourcing operations. It becomes important for the crowdsourcing practitioners to envision the crowd as cooperators and must take care of their needs, aspirations and incentives.

July 7, 2010

Crowdsourcing means Business

CrowdSourcing Business

CrowdSourcing Business

As we have already seen, crowdsourcing is not just about the crowd of graphic design designers, content writers, animators working to meet the requirements of the challenges. It has also given organizations a creative tool to engage its customers, thereby bridging the gap between consumers and businesses. In the past, similar job would have been left to the individuals or small teams but with the advent of crowdsourcing, companies have widened their creative pool of thinkers to help them build businesses, economies, societies and nations.

But crowdsourcing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. An organization must possess the required grit to make the effort yield a profitable result. To launch a successful crowdsourcing initiative for your company, follow the points mentioned below:

•    Set realistic goals.
•    Identify your target audience.
•    The success of any crowdsourcing initiative lies in the quantity and quality of group engagement. Hence, it’s important to have a strong grip on the coveted result and to reward the participant for their constructive contribution.
•    Work on the suggestions & ideas that you receive.
•    Respond to your customers concerns, proposals and intentions.

July 6, 2010

Crowdsourcing & Social Media

Crowd Think Tanks

Crowd Think Tanks

Crowdsourcing, it’s more like a movement now and has finally moved away from just being a niche to the next big thing on the World Wide Web. All the publicity and even the backlash that it’s getting, shows off that it’s not just a fad and this phenomenon is here to stay.

These are exciting times for a marketer. Crowdsourcing has broadened its horizon & has moved beyond its “graphic design challenge model” to harness the power of the crowds to create new products or services and improve upon the existing ones. Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook has helped in this evolution since they provide a rich source of instantly updated information that could easily be tapped for market research. Several companies are creating online societies or networks where they connect and converse with the crowds to increase brand intimacy & customer loyalty.

Social Media

Social Media

Crowdsourcing has given the power back into the hands of the consumer and social media has made it easier than ever to engage them. This next-gen crowdsourcing offers huge opportunities for companies to deliver exceptional service to its customers.

July 5, 2010

FLIRTing With Crowdsourcing

CrowdSourcing

CrowdSourcing

Electronic media has transformed our society and crowdsourcing has evolved from its modest roots to a growth engine for various industries worldwide, contributing enough dollars to keep the digital economy afloat in a post-recessionary world.  This has been possible because the internet has lowered the costs and has removed the barriers that had existed earlier, and has in turn allowed self-employed masses from all over the world to uncork their potential in handling freelance projects.

Companies today are using the power of the crowds or their customers to create important marketing, branding or product development breakthroughs, and social shopping is one such revelation. The FLIRT model of crowdsourcing by Sami Viitamäki of Finland fits this new phenomenon perfectly. FLIRT stands for:

•    Focus
•    Language
•    Incentives
•    Rules
•    Tools

The model demystifies the role of each player in the crowdsourcing ecosystem and offers strategies that could be used by crowdsourcing companies like CrowdThinkTank. It’s a model that anyone managing group organization and communication should not miss.

July 3, 2010

Difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0

Web

Web

It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, which is the dominant factor in internet society today. The design world has moved from web 1.0 to web 2.0, years in the past. But these web versions are not easy to define! So read on as I try to demystify the difference between the two.

Internet today is more dynamic and content is generated by the user. Web 1.0 was all about consuming and the web site design projects tackled were mostly meant for reading. Web2.0 is about participation. The visitors take part by commenting, submitting new posts & by rating posts. Hence we can see that it’s the dynamic nature of the web version 2.0 that differentiates it from the version 1.0. Web 1.0 still exists somewhere on the World Wide Web but web 2.0 dominates it completely. But before we celebrate and settle down into thinking that we know it all..Let me warn you..Pretty soon you’ll be discussing the differences between web2.0 and web 3.0. More confusion you think! Well, watch out this space!

July 2, 2010

Crowdsourcing is the Future

Crowd Sourcing

Crowd Sourcing

We humans, especially graphic design designers, are a peculiar little species. They’re limited by impermanence, occupy a lilliputian space on a planet that goes around one of innumerable stars, with scale and intricacies they do not have the means to understand – and yet, they act like they are God & can predict the future, in this case: Future of Crowdsourcing!

Crowdsourcing, for the uninitiated, is a simple act of grouping people from various parts of the world to get the work done for a fee. It’s something humankind is doing from the time immemorial but today the social crowdsourcing web has attained a more substantial character. But most design agencies are audaciously predicting that crowdsourcing will die sooner than later, disregarding the fact that this industry has survived recession successfully and is thriving beyond sustainability. One of the major reasons for criticism against crowd-sourcing by major design agencies is – FEAR! Fear because crowdsourcing undermines all the established graphic design designers and their potential work. But being terrified and panicky is not an adequate reason to contradict a rising movement. Regardless of what these obstructionists feel, the reality is that crowd-sourcing is a growing trend which is hard to reverse now.

June 30, 2010

Why Freelance?

Freelancing

Freelancing

It’s late Wednesday afternoon, and I’m sitting on my desk working on web site design projects. Oh, and in case you forgot, I’m not in any office, I am a freelance consultant and I work from home.

The reason I’m blogging today is because I’ve been asked by several people as to why I left the security of my full-time job and started freelancing. The answer lies in the question itself: It’s the sense of ‘security’ that freelancing lends. You are most likely asking yourself that, “without a full tine job where is the security?” After working for years as a graphic design designer, I can honestly tell you that I never felt like my job was secure & more so in these recessionary times. And, just like that one day I left all of it to go off on my own and started taking part in graphic challenges on sites like CrowdThinkTank, which eventually helped me to build my clientele. Today, sitting in front of my computer, I think the plan that I had for myself has worked wonderfully well and I reckon I’ll still be around when others, in full-time office jobs are gone. I love what I am doing and I’m getting paid for it.

June 28, 2010

Crowdsourcing & Design Contests – My Thoughts!

Crowd Sourcing

Crowd Sourcing

The most controversial word in the graphics design industry these days is “CrowdSourcing”.  Sentiments are split on its worthiness and people either love the idea of getting their work done on the cheap or hate others for not shutting up about it and the most determined seems to be the ones shooting straight-from-their-shoulders.

Crowd sourcing according to me has number of advantages that cannot be ignored by the graphic design designers of the creative world. It caters to the people who have budget constraints & cannot afford huge sums of money that a professional design company would charge. Also participating in graphic design challenges can give initial break to the creative’s in the design industry & help build their portfolios. The democratization of the design work & the level playing field offered by crowd sourcing concept stirs up the competition leading to increased creativity and quality. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to be a part of this juggernaut or not because it is here for good – in fact it is the future.

June 25, 2010

Building Trust for a Successful E-business

Ecommerce

Ecommerce

Ecommerce can be defined as buying and selling of goods and services through the electronic medium i.e. the internet. It allows people from various parts of the world to overcome the impediments of time or distance. With the broadband boom, people have started spending large amounts of cash online leading to an online techno-commercial revolution. But with so many scams that happen on these e commerce websites, trust is definitely an issue that must be addressed if one wants this boom to not turn into yet another bust. The hardest part of any e commerce designing project is to gain its customers trust and that is today’s reality. Most consumers are used to the ‘touch and feel’ concept before finalizing or buying any product or service and paying online still remains a security issue. In the current scenario, the online business needs to work harder to build trust or else they’ll need to shut shop. Gaining trust isn’t a single step phenomenon. It’s a gradual process where every element of your business must reflect security, value & reliability. The web is out there and don’t let your customer get tangled in its complexity & confusion.

June 24, 2010

Crowd sourcing with CrowdThinkTank

CrowdThinkTank

CrowdThinkTank

An idea is what separates a winner from the loser. At CrowdThinkTank we make sure that you end up on a winning side in ways that are faster, better, and significantly more economical than others and we do this by helping you to harness the power of ‘crowd’ to solve your critical problems. At CrowdThinkTank you’ll get a new way of working and thinking leading to several new innovative ideas. Some of our erstwhile think tank challenges included design of logos for got2hav1.com & our own Crowd Think Tank website, article writing and viral marketing challenges for CTT and lastly the design challenge for a cattle property. Theses challenges had people coming up with creative ideas from all over the world and the final selected concepts were uploaded on to the website with the promised award. The user-centric approach at CrowdThinkTank facilitates rapid qualitative results at lower costs, leading to an eventual win-win situation for everyone.

June 23, 2010

Freelancer’s New Avatar

Programmer

Programmer

Working from home isn’t always boring for a freelancer since it allows for the freedom of working on all your secret “design” projects and more importantly it allows you to lead a much natural life in some remote corner of your room unlike other slithering little weasel geek lords. As a part of their daily routine, freelancers usually get up early to water there weed plantation. Following which they set course for hunting vermin’s; occasionally accompanied by their trust worthy Hatori Hanzo’s Swords. Their afternoons are a bit milder with most of the time spent waiting behind bushes, trying to find a programmer for designing 3-D human hybrid bodies. Then they pounce upon 2 yr old passersby’s stealing their candy or ice cream cones. Their evenings are spent rolling and lighting up joints with their trustworthy vermin slaves. In the calm hour of the night, sitting in a small time hotel, freelancers can be found architecting their plans to unleash a brutal force of 3D animated vermin soldiers to rid the world of all evilness, unkindness.
If you are one of us, join us & help us in this freelancing struggle!

June 17, 2010

Are You Ready with your Web 3.0 Designs?

Web 3.0 Design

Web 3.0 Design

After my recent seminar on web designing, an attendee came up to me very casually and asked “Can you make my site Web 3.0ish”? I had no answers and tried to dismiss this evolutionary term as just another marketing gimmick and not any real evolution of the web. But the question that day made me sit up and realize that the next generation of web is right around the corner and I need to brace myself for this technological shift or be left behind. Later on, I did some Bing-ing on the term & found out that web 3.0 has emerged out of the need of having a more intelligent web with a human-centric content. As a freelancer, if you are undertaking online web designing projects with Web 3.0 in mind then these web sites are bound to get you more traffic & visibility leading to a rich & unique browsing & customized search experience.  This multi-dimensional and focused web is the future. Let the new Web 3.0 era begin.

June 16, 2010

Evolution of the Apple Inc’s Logo Design

Apple Logo Design

Apple Logo Design

One of the biggest success stories in the technological world has been the rise of Apple to become the biggest tech company in 2010. It all started in 1976, from a garage, when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built their first computer and showcased it at the Homebrew Computer club. They decided to go public with their company on 12th December, 1980. Apple’s corporate identity logos have evolved from a complex logo featuring Isaac Newton sitting below an apple tree to a simpler design of a bitten apple. This initial logo was designed by hand and didn’t use any established typeface. Within a year, Apple hired Regis McKenna Agency to design a less complicated logo, which has now become the most recognized logo in the history. They were later sued by Apple Records, a multimedia company founded by English rock band The Beatles, for trademark infringement. The suit was finally settled in 2007. In 2008, Apple got rid of the rainbow design and adopted a slick looking monochrome logo which gives it a much needed flexibility for creating brand identities. Apple has now created a brand image for itself which is unbeatable.

June 15, 2010

Random Thoughts of a Web Designer

Web Designer

Web Designer

Life has been ho hum and humdrum this month. I spend hours strolling the internet, still more asleep. I have the last bit of my web database design project work left to complete, it will take me a day if I put my head to it, but I’m fighting my anger at this quasi-static routine by  pig-headedly sinking deeper and deeper into it. Today, I spent a good five minutes working the kinks out of my knuckles. But I shan’t bore you with my rambling and mental gymnastics. I went bungee jumping this Sunday. It was my first time, and thrilling chilling swell as hell. The nicest bit is the first few seconds off the ledge, before you feel the tension of the rope holding you… like free falling into oblivion.. then you’re rudely jerked out of it by the rope(which isn’t rope, exactly, its elastic and white) and bounce around like a cocky pendulum, quite undignified but not caring one bit.. I did this in the night, so it was wonderful watching the lit up city and the lit up sky in turn.. for those of you who haven’t tried the bungee, its a must must do.

June 14, 2010

Subterranean Homesick Graphic Design Designer

Psychedelic Advert: All you graphic design designers don’t let this post dishearten you. I’m sure your life is filled with much more excitement and challenges.

Working Desk

Working Desk

This is just my life and for the last few weeks, it has been pretty down! My routine- up…work…lunch…work…chat…still working….down! And invariably the up is just three hours away from the down time. I’ve finished more than a year away from home and all of a sudden I’m beginning to miss it a lot! It seems like ages since I last saw my parents! My only social contact is with the bunch of guys and sometimes the girls in my office, who are busy with their own work anyways. There’s a joke going around that our biological clock here runs on USA time which, in a way is true.

I just absolutely need to get back home, real fast….at warp speed even. Have a lot of catching up to do. Graphic designing can wait, I just can’t.

June 11, 2010

Experiments with Randomness

Filed under: Freelance Projects,Freelancing,Web Design — cthinktank @ 10:59 am
Tags: ,
Working Man

Working Man

What do you do when you’re seized by a sudden irrational urge to write about benefits of web page ecommerce? When you know there’s nothing to say that hasn’t been said before, and yet so much, and can’t for the life of sweet Jesus, make sense of anything that comes out of your head?But I’m sitting here in my office; the staccato of busy keyboards and the computer dust around me my only companions in this life. Monochrome. I think to myself, and to you now, by extension, how long has it been since I looked at the sky?Looked, not in a “its a sunny day” way that squeezes itself into a short trip to the office cafeteria , but underscore really underscore looked, at the motes of dust that play around your eyes as you stare into the clouds, or the way the beams of light scatter about a star if you slit your eyes at it! I feel regret at a life bypassed in this mad race for achievement. Next big promotion, (zip zip) next max on some random test, (zipping by still), next time your girlfriend will say how proud she is of you to better your shaky self-esteem…

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a nerd… The problem is, I love it too much.

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