Articles by ‘Tara Hornor’

5 Successful Freelancers Share the Secrets to their Success

What defines success and “making it”? Not everyone has the same definition for successful freelancers. For some, it could be to become wildly famous in the industry. For others success may come when they can pay their bills as their own boss. For still more, a successful freelancer may be one who works with lucrative or infamous clients.

The freelance graphic and web designers and developers below fall into at least one of these above categories for freelance success. Some of them were formally trained and some self-taught. A few of them worked for agencies before going freelance. Others have been freelancing from the beginning. They all seem to specialize in more than one skill set, even if they have one niche that seems to draw them most of the time. One thing is for sure, though: each of the following stories are quite inspiring…

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6 Efficient Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Work Smarter, Not Harder!

One of the most common fights my husband and I had in the beginning of our marriage involved getting tasks done. Whether it was as small as carrying in groceries or as big a task as moving, he always wanted to take time to figure out the most efficient way to get the job done, while I just wanted to hit it head on and get it done without wasting any more time. After all, on smaller tasks, I often had it done by the time he had come up with a plan. On the other hand, he ended up saving us a lot of time and energy with the methods he’d develop for the bigger tasks.

We both finally came to see that one-time, small tasks were easier to do my way – just get ‘em done. But for large tasks, I now wait for him to come up with a plan-of-action before getting started. And I’ve also realized that these principles apply to freelance work – for writers, graphic designers, web developers, or really anyone who works for him or herself. Some one-time tasks are simply easier to just get done. But those tasks that you will do over and over again, you can definitely come up with a plan and use the right resources for Designers to work smarter, not harder…

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Five Key Practices To Keep Your Creative Job Engaging and Avoid Burnout

avoid-burnout

In a way, each one of us is creative, and many of us are fortunate enough to be able to have creative careers as well. We are writers, designers, programmers, and creative tactical workers, and we chose the careers we did because we grew attached to the particular form of creative work we discovered.

Now, if only we could be creative — and genuinely enjoy that creativity — all the time. That creative focus we get now and then doesn’t last forever, and it most certainly doesn’t have an ‘on’ switch. All creative jobs, even those that we are passionate about, eventually end up becoming boring.

So how can we continue to stay engaged in our work? How can we reignite that creative spark we miss when we’re feeling discontent?

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23 Interesting Twitter Redesign Concepts

Beautiful Twitter Redesigns

As one of the top social media networks in the world, Twitter’s design has to appeal to millions of users from multiple cultures, languages, and regions. So far, its design has worked well, especially its infinite scrolling feed with super convenient tweaks. For instance, Twitter allows users to view other users or a tweet in more detail and then exit back to the feed in the same exact spot in the list that they left off. This makes getting through a ton of tweets very quick and easy.

However, there are other areas of the design that are a bit more confusing. For instance, the arrangement of links to other pages and features simply is not intuitive. Plus, there are too many buttons, such as the Me button when you can already access your profile by clicking on your name in the left column. And, some may agree with me here, the look is a bit outdated. Twitter could really use some additional UX changes…

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29 Best Podcasts for Freelance Graphic Designers

Graphic Design Podcasts

As a freelancer, I don’t get many opportunities to surround myself with similar creative minds to keep me sharp. While attending meet-ups and co-working can be great ways to engage with others, it can often be time consuming and expensive since I usually work from home.

Lately I’ve started listening to a variety of different podcasts for graphic designers while I’m doing tasks that don’t require as much concentration.

The great thing about podcasts is that I can keep my eyes on the task in front of me. And it’s a much more efficient use of my time, since I’m keeping up with industry news, learning about new apps, and learning new skills. Watching the latest season of my favorite TV show is, of course, more fun but arguably much more distracting.

So, in my search for podcasts over the past few months, the following 29 podcasts are the best ones I found in the freelance and graphic/web design industry. Some are specifically related to business topics that I find useful, while others are more for industry news or design skills. I also added a few of my favorites that are geared toward web development for those of you who enjoy coding more than designing.

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28 Interesting Craigslist Redesign Concepts

Best Craigslist Redesign Concepts

As one of the most popular websites on the web, Craigslist certainly gets a lot of attention when it comes to the topic of redesigns. As a service, the idea is brilliant and that is why it is the huge success it is today. While the UX works fine, the design itself is quite controversial because it has only had minor updates in the past 15 years.

There seem to be two different thoughts on the design for Craigslist, hence the controversy. Some believe that the reason the UX works well is because the design is perfect for this site. Others believe that the reason Craigslist offers a positive user experience is simply because it has always been this way and everyone is comfortable using it.

All of the incredible Craigslist redesign concepts out there do seem to make it obvious the site needs to be updated. And I’m pretty sure that both parties on each side of the controversy may agree that the design is not very pretty and could use at least some more minor updates.

The following list includes a wide range of redesigns, from complete identity redesigns to a minimal update of the current website design. Browse through the list below to find out which one is your favorite and then feel free to leave your opinion in the comments below…

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21 Beautiful Gmail Redesign Concepts

Gmail has needed a redesign for awhile now. The interface is quite cluttered and not at all easy to use, and the apps for iOS and especially Android are even worse. While drastic improvements have been made over the past few years, there could still be a lot of improvements made. Word has leaked that Gmail may be working on a redesign, and a pretty drastic one. Mashable explains the new Gmail features, which include some interesting additions such as Finance and Travel labels…

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The Secret to Telling a Memorable Story With Your Brand

telling-a-story-with-your-brand

Good stories leave a lasting impression. Even if the audience can’t remember exact details, years down the road, they will still remember if it was “awesome,” “horrible,” “sad,” “funny,” and even to what degree of emotion the story evoked. Brands who have a strong story provide the same long term results as a movie or story. And just as with a poor or boring story that is easily forgotten, a brand without a stand out story is quickly forgotten and replaced.

Graphic designers, web designers, web developers, illustrators, design agencies, and others in the graphic design field have to stand out from the competition. If you have a unique skill set, then you probably won’t have trouble finding work or clients. But web designers and graphic designers seem to be found in abundance these days, so creating a brand that prospects and clients remember long after an encounter with you is vital.

Turning your graphic design brand into a memorable story is one powerful way to stand out from the online sea of designers. With a strong story, you make yourself more personal and, therefore, easy to approach. You make yourself real, and clients want to connect with real people, not a company. A story told well also evokes strong emotions, which last longer than a plot line, making it that much more likely that customers will remember you years down the road…

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A Web Designer’s Guide to Marketing on Facebook

There are many articles to be found on how creative professionals can market on Twitter, Pinterest, even Linkedin. Yet not many seem to push Facebook as a social media focus specifically for web designers. Many experts mention LinkedIn, Twitter, Behance, Instagram, and other creative portfolios as top social media networks for creative professionals, and it’s easy to see why.

You have to go where your audience is. Web designers should market themselves to businesses, startups, non-profits, and one of the best places to connect with professionals in the corporate world is LinkedIn. Twitter is great for making connections with other web professionals who can lead you to new clients, and Behance is a common portfolio platform that many use for research.

Yet Facebook is also an excellent platform on which web designers can create important connections, and it doesn’t take as much time as you would think. You may decide that Facebook is not the platform for you to spend the majority of your time for social media marketing, but it still is too valuable to completely pass up.

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8 Small but Powerful Tips for a Standout Website Design

Every one of your clients wants to (or at least should want to) stand out from their competition. To be distinguished is to be memorable. Your client’s job is to provide a solid business. Your job as a web designer is to make sure that they get both noticed in the first place and remembered so that they have an audience to whom they can demonstrate their excellence.

Creating a standout website design is not exactly the easiest task. It is much easier to pick a common layout and fill in the blanks or to pick a design trend and build a website around it. Neither of these methods will help you create a website that breaks the mold, though.

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