How to Easily Add a Favicon to Your WordPress Website

Displaying a favicon on a WordPress website has become extremely popular, and for good reason. A memorable favicon enables your audience to instantly recognize your site and select it from a full row of tabs in a busy browser. But how do you easily add a favicon to your WordPress website? In this article, we will look at what exactly…. Continue Reading

The post How to Easily Add a Favicon to Your WordPress Website is written by Joe Fylan and appeared first on WPKube.

Vancouver Rebels Over Generic Rebrand

Many who don’t live in Vancouver at least know the western Canadian city for a few things: Sky-high housing prices, green sensibilities, and lots of rain. Now, thanks to local design and digital activists, they also know Vancouver for…producing a new city logo that has been blasted for being uninspiring.

In an open letter published on Medium, local Vancouver art director, Brock Ellis, lambasted Robertson’s and the City Council’s approval of the new logo as “disappointing” and something that doesn’t allow Vancouverites to express pride in their city. At the same time, the new design has been eviscerated on social media, creating a two-for-one punch that has forced the mayor into retreat.

Robertson has put the new logo on ice, directing city officials not to plaster it all over city assets, as was the original plan. Robertson, under fire for going the cheap route by only spending $8000 CAD to commission the redesign, is at least listening to designer and public backlash from this botched logo rollout.

When one compares the old city logo—a combination mark that included a wordmark with thinner fonts together with a flower—to the new one, it’s quite obvious to see what went so wrong.

Above: the original Vancouver logo. Below: the revised wordmark.

The new logo has been simplified, perhaps over-simplified, by moving exclusively to a workmark; the choice of Gotham block letter font has been the main target of the criticism.

The use of such a heavy, corporate font is viewed by the detractors as not in keeping with the city’s modern, more liberal sensibilities. In addition, Gotham is rather ubiquitous and so isn’t a sound choice for a city trying to position itself as unique. In other words, the font is simply too commonplace for it to be useful or meaningful in city branding.

While the redesigned logo sports blue and green—perhaps to symbolize rain and the city’s green sensibilities—it has prompted some to write it off as an alternate version of the Vancouver Canuck’s colors (blue and green feature prominently on the team’s uniforms).

The mayor has claimed that one of the reasons the unpopular logo was approved was to help those in Vancouver who don’t speak English as a first language to better understand the new logo. That begs the question, of course, as to why the city went ahead and still chose English words in the wordmark instead of going with a purely iconic or symbolic logo. Vancouver is, after all, home to many immigrants whose first language is something other than English.

Overall, this row over the botched redesign illustrates the pitfalls of going with the lowest bidder for something as important as a city’s logo, which ties into the even more important aspect of branding. Further, the failure of the mayor and the city council to also engage with and take feedback from the local design community during the logo redesign is another huge factor in this brouhaha.

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How to get noticed by major brands

We’ve all dreamt about working for big brands. Microsoft, Google, Apple, McDonalds, Coca-Cola…they all have one thing in common; they’re household names. But getting their attention can be tricky. Many of them hire thousands of employees and have offices all over the world. They probably hear the same pitch a hundred times from the same potential freelancer hoping to get that lucky break to create something millions of people will see, rather than just a few.

So how do you get their attention? What are the major brands looking for from a potential employee or freelancer? We’re going to look at some practical suggestions to get noticed by major brands and what to do once you have been noticed. Whilst these may not work for everyone, they are tried and tested methods that have been known to catch the attention of some of the biggest companies in the world.

Build a strong portfolio

Ultimately, the first thing that any major brand is going to want to look at is your work. Even if you have a CV brimming with accolades and testimonials, the major brands will want to see examples of work, not words on a page. They’ll read through hundreds of CVs boasting about how great a person is. Sure, having a masters degree in a particular subject is beneficial, but a picture paints a thousand words! Major brands are much more interested in you and your past work, than they are about how many good grades you got when you were a teenager.

Make sure that you build up a solid portfolio of examples that really showcase what you’re about and let your work do the talking.

If you are just starting out, offer your services to some of your local businesses at either a discounted rate or for free. Even if you’re creating something for Mrs Brown’s small cupcake shop down the road, go above and beyond the call of duty. By doing that, you’ll make something that you’d be proud to add to your portfolio. You never know, Mrs Brown may be married to the decision maker of a major brand, and her referral might just get your foot in the door.

Whilst we’re talking about portfolios, don’t feel like you need to show every single piece of work you’ve ever done. Six to eight great examples of your best work will help define you a lot better than forty average examples will. Big brands don’t have time to plough through heaps of portfolio examples, so just pick out a handful of work examples you think best show off your skills and elegantly display them either digitally or in print.

Give away freebies

Everyone loves free stuff. And you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll get noticed if you give out some freebies. If you’re a designer, simply offering some free icon sets, or a couple of template PSDs will get you noticed. If you offer marketing services, write up a free tips ebook. Whatever services you offer, you can usually think of something that won’t take too much of your time to create, but will be useful for others.

Take full advantage of sites like behance.net and dribble.com to be the platform for these free giveaways. You’ll be surprised at how many big brand employees look at these sites – especially if they’re looking for a freelancer!

Stand out from the crowd

Bear in mind that big brands speak to hundreds of prospective freelancers and they receive numerous emails from hopefuls on a daily basis. You need to make sure you stand out from the crowd. One way to do that is with your approach. If you notice that a big brand is looking for a freelancer, rather than simply emailing them a cut-and-paste cover letter and a link to your portfolio, go into their office dressed smart and give them a printed booklet of your portfolio of work. Print may be a dying art, but the fact that it’s now such a rarity will make you stand out from others.

If you really want to stand out from the crowd, use companies like Burgopak to create some unique packaging for your portfolio of work, and send it to them. You can guarantee that you’ll catch their attention and they’ll be calling you up to speak.

Freelance for agencies

In a lot of cases, big brands would rather work with an agency than an individual. That’s usually because they get the added benefit of a team of great minds, rather than just one. Most larger projects will be outsourced to an agency, so make sure you get into the books of as many agencies as you can.

You can use the same attention grabbing methods mentioned above. Get a suit on, create some sort of leave-behind that gets people looking at your work, and then go into their office directly. You’ll catch their attention a lot more than a generic email sitting in their inbox.

Alternatively, search for some decent design agencies in your country (yes country, not area; quite a few will be happy to work with you remotely as long as you’re in their timezone!) and write them an email. Don’t be tempted to write a generic email and spam it to fifty agencies – you’ll get zero replies.

Rather, pick out a few agencies that are already boasting about having worked with major brands and write them a bespoke email. Compliment them on their client list, and then blow your own trumpet. Make them feel as though they’re missing out by not having you on their freelance books. Mention how you can add value to their business with your own services and experience. If you have the time, and you’re really committed, maybe even show that service directly to them!

For example, if you’re a website designer, redesign a small part of their website and explain how your redesign will improve their site. If you’re a marketer, do some competitive intelligence and tell them what their rivals are doing and what they’re missing out on. After you’ve sent an email, if you don’t hear anything, don’t be scared to give them a follow-up call to make sure it didn’t fall into their spam folder or get lost in amongst others. Whilst it may take some of your time, with no guarantee of getting a return, if you can get even just one major brand project via an agency, you’ll start drawing the attention of others.

Don’t be scared to take the initiative

It can be a bit daunting trying to get the attention of major brands. But don’t be scared to take the initiative. If you offer a service that truly is unique, they may not know they need your services until you tell them about it! You’ll need to push your way into the view of the major brand. In some cases, the best method might be to bulldoze your way into their office and request a meeting with a decision maker; other times it may require a more subtle method.

If they’re reluctant to see you at first, keep pushing. You may need to vary your approach and try something more tactful. Find the name of a decision maker within their office, and send them a keepsake with your name and brand on it. For example: If you’re targeting major brands in the car industry, find a company that creates customised toys (they’re normally relatively cheap if you buy a few in bulk) and sent out some toy cars with your branding on and a little cover letter explaining who you are and how you can benefit their business. They might not have a need for your services immediately but it’s likely that the toy will sit on their desk with your branding on, and remind them every time they look at it about you. When they then do have a need for your services, you’ll be the first person they contact!

What if you manage to catch their attention and you’ve been invited for an interview or meeting with some of their team? Heres some tips on how to nail the conversation and continue to capture their attention…

Do your research

The advantage of speaking to a major brand is that they will have a very public history. Make sure you do your research. Even if it’s a brand that you think you know well, be sure to check up on what they’ve done in the past and their future plans. If you’re pitching a particular service to them, research statistics and figures that will back up your claim that they need you.

Don’t forget to do research on yourself too! That may sound stupid, but they definitely will be googling your name and checking your past work. If you do the same, you can anticipate questions that they might fire at you and work out how best to answer them before the meeting or interview. Make sure you’ve got a clear view of who you are, what you’ve done and what you can offer them.

Be confident and enthusiastic but humble

There’s a fine line between being confident and being cocky. You need to be able to walk into the room and instantly capture their attention with your demeanour and your understanding of your industry. Enthusiasm is infectious, so make sure you’re enthusiastic about working for them, but be careful not to come across like a hyper-active squirrel!

You equally need to make sure that you don’t come across as over-confident, as this can instantly detract from your presentation. It can be difficult to do a self-assessment of our approach, so get your partner or a trusted friend to ‘rehearse’ the meeting with you, and then ask them to feedback on how you come across. Rehearsing anticipated questions and responses will help you be confident without coming across as arrogant.

Don’t be scared to admit that you don’t know the answer to a question or that you have no experience working with something they need you to. Bear in mind that the person you’re talking to is likely to be your boss, or part of the team you work with. They’ll be much more likely to warm to someone who is humble enough to admit they still have things to learn than someone who claims to know everything. In a lot of cases, they’ll be quite impressed that you have the desire to learn more and that you have the drive and passion to push yourself – even if you are already very good.

Make them remember you

As mentioned earlier, major brands speak to hundreds of people a week. Particularly if they’re hiring a new employee or a freelancer, they’ll quickly forget you if you don’t do something to make them remember you. Of course, you want to keep it professional. Turning up in a chicken suit will get you remembered for all the wrong reasons!

Never underestimate the power of a leave behind. Even if you have a digital portfolio, make a simple printed copy in a smart folder and give it with them to look through once you leave. Tailor your approach to their brand and how you can improve it. Turn up with enthusiasm and confidence but be humble enough to admit if you don’t know an answer. Most importantly, don’t forget they’re human! Whoever you end up speaking to, they’ll have a personality and a sense of humour (sometimes not a very good one!). They’ll have families, homes, concerns and stresses just like you. In a lot of cases, they too will have had a lucky break somewhere along their career to get them to their position, so they’ll sympathise with you. And if you show potential and initiative, you’re very likely to get noticed by major brands.

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The best new portfolio sites, March 2017

Hey everybody, it’s March. I’ve only got one pun for this month, and I already used it a year ago, so I’m just going to spare you all, okay?

Let’s get to looking at portfolios. This month, the trend continues to be asymmetry mixed with minimalism and generous white space. It’s all very elegant and post-brutalism—that didn’t take long now, did it? From a UX perspective, it’s not bad if you don’t go overboard on the JS. From an aesthetic perspective, it’s beautiful.

From the perspective of a guy who writes these articles every month, I’m ready for the next trend, now.

Samantha Zhang

It’s rare to see a designer trust their content (which in this case is their work) as much as Samantha Zhang does. Many of the minimalist sites I find still depend on some gimmick or trend to set themselves apart.

That approach is so common, it makes sites like this one stand out by their sheer simplicity. It’s just good type, a simple layout, and it’s done. As a UX guy, I would not be sad if most of the web looked like this.

I know, I know. It’ll never happen, and that’s probably for the best.

Rakesh

Like any true rock star, Rakesh only gives us his first name. He also gives us a beautiful dark interface to stare at.

Like the Samantha’s site, its defining feature is great type, but it could hardly be called minimalist. It’s more like a collage of text and images that nonetheless manages to look professional, rather than purely artistic. It’s a pleasure to read through.

Clearleft

Here’s a big one! In the minds of many Clearleft will always be “those web standards guys”. That’s still a big part of their identity, but it’s only one part of their identity these days. To reflect that, they’ve updated their site bigtime.

It looks a bit more semi-corporate now, with a clear focus on selling to larger clients (which makes sense, considering…). The actual portfolio section of the site is consequently made up of full-blown case studies. The whole site… well do I really need to tell you it looks good? It’s Clearleft. Just go look.

 

 

Tobias van Schneider

Tobias van Schneider kept things dead simple when he designed his site. It’s big, fat text, and lots of photos. Okay, that does nothing to describe the skill behind his use of big fat text and photos, which is considerable. There’s lots of contrast, it’s all easy to read, and the whole site is well organized.

It has to be. It needs to show off his his aried skillsets and projects, after all. Tobias is no one-trick-pony, and I think this site does a great job of conveying this.

P22

P22 is one of those sites that looks dead simple until you start actually navigating through it. The classic type-and-borders look hides some well-executed animation, and other JS-based touches that enhance the experience.

Alexis Facca

Alexis Facca’s site showcases its sense of style in its organization, type, and animation. Most notably, it uses page transitions designed to look like distortion. I happen to think it’s cool. If there was ever an example or brutalism that actually looked good, this might be it.

Or maybe it’s just minimalism with a “digital” flavor.

Volkhaus

Volkhaus is another site that is very minimalist, but distinguishes itself (at least on its home page) with animation.

Paack

Paack give us some more of that asymmetrical minimalism with a nice twist: it scrolls horizontally. Horizontal scrolling is hardly a good idea for most sites, but for sites with relatively little content, it works.

Pro tip: Paack remaps the scroll wheel to work properly with horizontal scrolling. Be like Paack. Don’t just rely on a gimmick. Pay attention to the details.

Grant Burke

Grant Burke’s portfolio is text heavy, and mixes a dead-simple premise with a striking shade of gold-ish yellow. That’s right, yellow is back, baby, and cheating its way onto this list. His site also works perfectly with JS turned off.

My only complaint is the needlessly small text. I can see why it was done in this case, but it’s still not great. Otherwise, this site ticks pretty much all of my personal boxes.

Maison Carnot

This site is a living, breathing current trend! Asymmetry! Text overlapping on stuff! Serif headings and sans content!

No, but really, it looks great, and you should steal ideas from it. It just also happens to be the epitome of current design trends, and I can’t help but be a bit sarcastic.

sguardiostinati

sguardiostinati. I don’t know if that’s a person’s name or what, but it seems to be the name of a small film studio in Italy. Their site looks a bit like a spreadsheet or database at first glance, with the rows expanding to show you what each project is about.

Okay, that sounds boring, but it’s a surprisingly elegant approach, and it’s elegantly styled as well.

Moreau Kusunoki

Moreau Kusunoki’s portfolio defies current trends by, well, using a grid. That’s the great circle of life, really. For this architectural portfolio, the grid is thematically appropriate, and well executed.

If you want a bit more detail, however, you can switch to “list view” which looks a bit like (can you guess where I’m going?) a spreadsheet. It turns out that one of the most efficient ways of displaying information at a glance is becoming more popular on the web. Who knew?

The hilarious thing is that I don’t think anyone will ever use tables for it.

Anagram

I don’t normally advocate preloaders or heavy JS, but Anagram is getting a free pass. I mean, the site looks great. That’s part of it, but it’s not why they get a free pass.

Go to the page. Click and drag it, or swipe through it on your phone. See that effect? That’s why they get a free pass. Whomever does this next won’t, but they do. It’s just that much fun.

Juliette Neveu

Juliette Neveu’s portfolio brings us yet more of the now-popular minimalist-but-asymetrical style. It’s modern. It defies conventional grid layouts. It’s pretty. Most importantly, it fits rather well with the style of her client work.

Veintidos Grados

Veintidos Grados presents a clean, dark design with plenty of animation. There’s a lot to this one, so it’s hard to describe properly, but it’s worth going in and checking out all of the little details.

Heydays

Heydays takes a bold risk by making their portfolio a slideshow. That’s it, by the way. Just a full-screen slideshow, with some navigation scattered along the edges. It makes a bold impression, to be sure.

Alessandro Carpellini

Alessandro’s portfolio has a similar slideshow setup, but it’s restricted to the header of the site. There’s text below for anyone who wants to know more. It’s still bold, but doesn’t lack for relevant information.

Hum Creative

Okay, I’ve talked about how bored I’m getting with the trends featured on this site, but Hum Creative is still great. It’s peak trend, with its minimalist, asymmetry, and navigation scattered to the four corners of the screen, but it’s just so beautifully executed, that I had to include it here.

What really pushed this site over the top for me were the little details. There is a wave in the middle of the “H” when you scroll. There are custom-branded mouse cursors that don’t seem over the top or irritating. There is a minimum of stylish animation.

And then there are the screen savers. Yes, screen savers. They show up if you haven’t interacted with the site for a while. This would be really irritating on a text-heavy site, but here it’s kind of amusing.

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How to Add Two-Factor Authentication to WordPress

How secure is your WordPress password? Better question…how secure are the passwords of everyone with access to your WordPress site? That’s a scary question, right? While you hopefully (!) follow all of the password best practices, that doesn’t change the fact that the world’s most common passwords are still “123456” and “password”. To combat the world’s proclivity for weak passwords,…. Continue Reading

The post How to Add Two-Factor Authentication to WordPress is written by Colin Newcomer and appeared first on WPKube.

Popular design news of the week: February 27, 2017 – March 5, 2017

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

Macro – A Super Focused Image Editor for the Mac

 

Bad Design Caused the Oscars Best Picture Mix-up

 

The Real Difference Between Google and Apple

 

Good Vs. Bad Designers

 

Tiny Trends: Flogos!

 

Freeter 1.0 – The Smartest Way to Work on your Computer

 

18 CSS Tabs

 

App for Unlimited Color Palettes

 

Annual Report of Web Design Trends

 

Brutalist Design Now has its own Framework

 

Material Mixer – Mix Match Material Colors to See What Works Best

 

How to Start: From UX to UI Designer

 

Visual Discussion Tool for Web Developers

 

The Best Sublime Text Plugins for Front End Developers

 

The 30 Marketing Terms You Need to Know as a Web Designer

 

10 of the Best New Graphic Design Tools

 

10 Things You Should NEVER Ask a Designer

 

Pantone Releases its List of Top Trending Colors for Autumn 2017

 

Early Apple Memos Discovered in Seattle Thrift Store

 

Dyslexie Font: A Dyslexia-friendly Typeface

 

Finding your Graphic Design Niche

 

What You Need to Know About Typography and Color

 

UX Thoughts on Using Video as a Background

 

The Designer’s Guide to Grid Theory

 

Picnic: A Sketch Plugin for Working Together in a Single File

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.

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Comics of the week #381

Every week we feature a set of comics created exclusively for WDD.

The content revolves around web design, blogging and funny situations that we encounter in our daily lives as designers.

These great cartoons are created by Jerry King, an award-winning cartoonist who’s one of the most published, prolific and versatile cartoonists in the world today.

So for a few moments, take a break from your daily routine, have a laugh and enjoy these funny cartoons.

Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below as well as any related stories of your own…

Font offense

Partners

 

 

The Romantic Designer

Can you relate to these situations? Please share your funny stories and comments below…

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Quiz: Do You Really Hate Comic Sans?

You’re a designer: you use Moleskine notebooks, the stickers on the back of your MacBook Pro are artfully arranged, there’s a motivational poster hung over your standing desk, and…you wear your hatred of Comic Sans like a badge of honor.

Forget the “no bad typeface” rule, Comic Sans offends your very being. The infuriatingly omnipresent font is used by everyone, from your grade school teacher, to your grandmother, and every time you see it, you die a little on the inside.

But do you really loath the world’s least-endorsed typeface? Or does seeing Vincent Connare’s magnus opus everywhere from gravestones to financial reports, give you a secret thrill?

Which of these pairs most offends your aesthetic senses, and is it Comic Sans?

Which sports branding uses Comic Sans?

Which movie poster uses Comic Sans?

Which Oscar winner uses Comic Sans?

Which Obama uses Comic Sans?

Which police warning uses Comic Sans?

Which subway sign uses Comic Sans?

Which magazine cover uses Comic Sans?

Which iPhone microsite uses Comic Sans?

Which error message uses Comic Sans?

Which album cover uses Comic Sans?

Can You Identify Comic Sans?

0–3 Correct
Are you sure you’re a designer? Try Again.

Share your Results :



Can You Identify Comic Sans?

4–6 Correct
Not Bad, order yourself that “I love Helvetica” T-shirt you’ve been hankering after.

Share your Results :



Can You Identify Comic Sans?

7–9 Correct
Wow, your Comic Sans detector is set to maximum.

Share your Results :



Can You Identify Comic Sans?

10
You cheated, right? Either that or you’re Vincent Connare…

Share your Results :




Spotted a hidden gem in there? Alongside Comic Sans, the typefaces used were (in order): Comic Relief, Jollygood Sans, Architect’s Daughter, Comic Neue, Komica Text, Cartoonist Hand, Jollygood Sans (again), Suplexmentary Comic, Comic Neue Bold, Comic Relief (again).

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9 Best Options for Managed WordPress Hosting Compared

Do you really Need Managed WordPress Hosting? Let’s face it: Running a WordPress blog or site is no easy game. You have to take care of all the content, marketing, site design, social media, and so forth. But before you do that, you have to make sure your WordPress site is running smoothly and your current WordPress hosting provider isn’t…. Continue Reading

The post 9 Best Options for Managed WordPress Hosting Compared is written by Dev and appeared first on WPKube.