ANNOUNCEMENT:
Because of changes in my schedule, I am no longer updating this blog or taking on new clients. Previous clients are welcome to get in touch with me and I will consult my schedule to see if I have time to help you.
Thanks!
Pepper

How to Get a Free Critique of Your Logo


Your logo is the main element on your blog/website/shop and it is important to make sure it is conveying the message you want your readers to hear.  But sometimes it's hard to get objective feedback on these sorts of things.  You are probably too personally invested in your logo to meaningfully analyze it and it's rare to find friends who are going to tell you the whole truth without trying to sugar coat it just a little.  Wouldn't it be cool if you could show it to absolute strangers and get their first impressions about what your logo says about you?  You can!

Check out the Usability Hub.  It's a place where you can go to upload your logos or screenshots of your websites to get some honest FREE feedback.  How does it work?  You upload your design and then prepare a series of questions to ask the people who view it.  Your random testers will look at your design for five seconds, then answer the questions.  How is it free?  You earn points by giving feedback on other people's designs and you can use these points to test your own designs.  If you'd like to control who is taking your test a bit more, you can get a link and just give it to who you want to take the test (like your readers).

So, I put my logo to the test.  One of the main aspects of my business is providing tech support, so I was interested to know if my business looks like someone who provided that.  I also often need people to give me their passwords to their accounts, so I wanted to make extra sure that my logo made me look professional and trustworthy.

I'm going to share some of my feedback with you.  It helps to have a thick skin because the feedback wasn't as glowing as I wanted it to be, but I think in the end it was really helpful.  I always thought my logo was just fine, but now I think I'm going to make some modifications to it based on what I heard from the testers at Usability Hub.

Here is my logo:



Here are the questions I asked and a sampling of the feedback I received:

What service do you think this company provides?
  • blog consulting
  • graphic design for blogs
  • design for blogs
I was happy that most people nailed what I did.  (Though, this was was sort of a gimme because the word "blog design" is right there in my logo).  However, some of the feedback was interesting.  I don't really think of myself as a graphic designer, yet, one person guessed that I what I primarily did (maybe because the word "design" is in there).  I do think of myself as more of a consultant because I do full blog makeovers as well as tech support, so I was happy to see someone suggested that.  I don't really want to change the name of my company, but I may add a second line saying in something like blog consulting or blog tech support so more people immediately associate me with that service.

Does this company look trustworthy?
  • not really
  • yes (x2)
  • not sure - logo as it stands is a little amateurish but could easily upgrade to professional
Yikes.  Someone said I don't look trustworthy?  That hurts.  I think the third comment I shared gives a little more feedback - it is a bit amateurish, but could easily be upgraded to be more professional.  I think a really simple way to do this would be to change the "blog design" text out of a handwriting font.  I never considered that before, but that does make me look a bit amateurish.  Maybe if the logo looks more professional, I will look more trustworthy.

Does this company seem professional?
  • no
  • yes (x2)
  • maybe
  • sort of, but the sketch design tells me its trying to look amateur.
  • getting there but not there yet
Again, not exactly the glowing feedback I was hoping for, but that is why I'm doing this!  I'm going to disregard the fourth comment I shared because I like the sketch design.  I chose it because I think all designs start with a sketch.  And I think it makes me look more technically-minded.  But, that comment also added that maybe I was trying to look that way?  Which I guess I was.  The last comment is encouraging.  Again, I think replacing the handwriting font will help.

Would you trust this company to provide quality tech support as well as design services?
  • sure
  • no (x2), not necessarily, and "no- it looks like a one-man operation"
Uh oh.  This is a big problem.  Not only is tech support a huge part of my business, it is also my favorite part of my business!  I think maybe the things I've already noted above would help: adding a second line to my logo indicating that I do tech support, and changing the handwriting font to something a bit more modern.  And, as I already said, I think the sketch font makes me look more technical... but maybe I'm wrong?

What do you think?  Are you brave enough to put your logo to the test??

How to Pick a Color Palette for Your Blog


The first thing I do before I design a blog is create a color palette.  I pick four to five colors and then I stick to them as I design the blog.  Keeping your blog within one cohesive color palette is super important if you want a professional-looking design.  So, here are some tips on how to choose a color scheme for your blog.

The Easy Way...
Are you artistically challenged and just want something that is stupid easy?  Go to Design Seeds and browse through hundreds of color palettes until you find one you like.  Boom!  Done!



The Fun Way...
Create your own color palette using a picture as your inspiration.  There are a couple of sites that can extract colors from a picture, but my favorite tool is Sherwin Williams Chip It.  You upload your picture and it will extrapolate which of their paint colors best match the picture.  I like this app because I know the paint colors were designed by professionals so they are all going to be pretty tones, not just random computer-generated colors.

Here is a palette I made from a picture of my favorite bedspread.

And here is a palette I made from a picture of my cousin's feet, of all things.  I loved the colors in this picture but I never could have put a finger on what colors were doing it for me.  The app does that for you.


The Hard Way...
Want to create your own palette from scratch?  Then learn all about color theory and have at it!  You might find this website useful as well - you input a color into it and it shows you all its "friends" on the color wheel.  Start with your favorite color and see where it takes you...

How did you pick the color scheme for your blog?  Which of these methods for making a palette sounds the best to you?

How to Add Someone as an Admin on Your Blogger Blog

Have you ever wondered how you can give someone access to edit your blog without giving them your blogger log in information?  It's easy.  Just follow the steps below to add them as an admin:


STEP ONE: Add an Author
Go to settings --> basic --> permissions --> blog authors and choose the button to "+ Add Authors."

Type in the email address of the person you are inviting to be an author and click the box that says "invite authors."


The person you invited will receive an email asking them if they would like to contribute to the blog.

STEP TWO: Make an Admin
After the person accepts your invitation to be an author, go back in to the permissions section and click on "author" next to their name and choose to make them an "admin" instead.


WHEN YOU ARE DONE.... Remove Admin
When you no longer want someone to be an admin on your blog, simply click the x next to their name and they will be removed from your blog.


But.... a note about image hosting:  If someone is posting an image to your blog as an author or an admin, the image they upload will be hosted on their google account, not yours.  This means that if that person ever decides to delete the image or change their privacy settings, it is going to be removed from your blog and you have no say about it.  Keep this in mind if you ever add a designer as an admin or invite someone to be a guest author on your blog.

Portfolio Update: My Fair Leidy

I have a lot of recent blog designs to share with you, so I'm working on updating my portfolio this month.  First up is this great fashion blog, My Fair Leidy.  You can read more about the design here, but this is a sneak peek:

I love the scrolling instagram widget at the top of this blog and it also has a very cool drop-down menu bar that is powered by css.  Love this blog?  Get in touch with me to see how I can make your blog runway-ready!

Blogger Error: Too Many Redirects

I recently put together an awesome blog for a client with a custom redirect that took the visitor to a static page instead of the main blog feed when you first load the blog.  This is a really slick feature on blogger that helps you get around the fact that you can't have a static homepage in blogger like you can in wordpress.  Cool, huh?  Wrong.

The custom redirect feature is incompatible with mobile devices.  This is a known problem and (presumably) blogger is working on fixing it, but for now, if you have a custom redirect set up on your blog, people looking at it on their phones or tablets will see the error message: Too Many Redirects.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the heck was wrong when I got this error, so I'm just putting this out there as a public service announcement: if you use the custom redirect setting in blogger, your blog will not load on mobile devices.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Luckily, my client and I were able to figure something else out that worked for her, so all's well that ends well.

How to Build Your Email List

I was hoping for this blog to be a resource for my clients to improve their blogs, but, as it turns out, I am too busy doing design work (and watching old episodes of Buffy) to come up with any really compelling content for this blog.  That said, I would still love for this to be a great resource to my clients, so I thought I would at least try to point you in the direction of some great articles when they come across my desk.

Today, Abby Glassenberg posted a great article with five tips to build your email list.  Go check it out!  The list is targeted at craft bloggers/creative business owners, but most of it is applicable no matter what your blog is about.

I use MailChimp for my email newsletter and I love it.  There is a slight learning curve, but once you figure things out, it's easy to put your list together and send out the messages.  (BTW, this means that if you ever need help with MailChimp, shoot me an email and maybe I can help you out).  Abby also mentions a service called TinyLetter that is like a scaled down version of MailChimp.  It could be worth checking out if you are a little technophobic.

Finally, do you want to sign up for my newletter?  If so, you can do it right here!!



A Little Font Fun

I am constantly looking through google fonts to find great typefaces for my clients' blogs and everytime I come across the font "Annie Use Your Telescope" I am completely freaked out.  Why?

This font looks exactly like my handwriting.  I mean EXACTLY.  No kidding!!

When I was in high school, I used to want to be a fontographer and I actually made a font of my handwriting which I made available on the internet.  I was convinced that Annie Use Your Telescope was somehow a knock-off of my font so I dug up a copy of it and compared the letters and they are slightly different... so, no, this isn't my original font - it is just someone else who is my handwriting twin.  Freaky.

Have you ever found a font that matches your handwriting?