24
Oct

DESIGNERS IN SOCIAL MEDIA: LEANNE OWENS

blog post 9

http://www.leanne-owens.com/new-blog/

Leanne Owens is a personal friend of mine who also happens to be a wonderfully talented designer. Because we had a lot in common our paths crossed often. She also attended the University of Georgia one year ahead of me. She was a Graphic Design student in the Lamar Dodd School of Art, was my big sister in my sorority family, participated in the same study abroad program, and lived in the same apartment complex. Since she graduated and moved on from Athens, GA in May 2014, she and I have kept in touch. She has worked for Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City and now resides in Hawai’i, where as you can see from her blog, she is soaking up daily inspiration.

I love that Leanne’s work never strays from its purpose. She maintains a clean, simplistic approach, never distracting viewers from what makes the design worth while. Often her work focuses on the beauty of a typeface or letter form; her love and appreciation for type and hand lettering shines through in the attention to detail, amoung other aspects, of her work. You can see above that her blog currently posses a number of image-based designs as well as her coined style, as she works through new ways to approach graphic imagery.

Leanne has a tumblr, pinterest, and website with the blog you see above. Her social media presence and continuous involvement helps her create stronger designs and share those designs with interested viewers, prospective employers, family, friends, fellow designers, and more. I look forward to seeing what is next for Leanne in life and subsequently through her designs.

18
Oct

DESIGNERS IN SOCIAL MEDIA: VICTORIA BECKHAM

blog post 8

https://instagram.com/victoriabeckham/?hl=en

The name Victoria Beckham brings something different to each person’s mind depending on your age. She has been so many things throughout her career. A spice girl. Posh Spice. David Beckham’s wife. The woman with bitch resting face. A solo artist. A mum (of how many kids again?). And now, a fashion designer. Though she has been all these things, her level of commitment most recently has been higher to her roles as a wife, mum, and fashion designer. This is clearly seen because those are the roles that have endured.

I have followed her career since I was very young. She was someone–a role model–I looked up to when I was in elementary school. By now, most of those role models have changed, and she is one of the few who has stayed the same. I’m not saying I agree with everything she does or says, but she has earned my respect as a creative, working mom, so I find it interesting to check up on her life every once and a while.

She has also earned the respect of the fashion community and made quite a name for herself in the last decade or so. Personally, I don’t think I would ever wear any of her clothes. But from an artistic and design perspective, she has unique, simple, and powerful taste. I hope that the principles she conveys and upholds in her designs are the same ones that appear woven throughout mine. Her instagram is a powerful platform that she updates constantly, keeping her fans in touch with mainly her professional life (and the occasional family sneak peak sprinkled in). Beyond this, she can be seen on twitter, facebook, her personal website, and doing fun spots on youtube (like this one for Vogue!).

13
Oct

DESIGNING ON SOCIAL: BRAND RECOGNITION

blog post 71. Complimentary Profiles
Using complimentary profile pictures and corresponding cover photos over multiple platforms is a great way to keep consistency. You’re viewers will always be sure it is you (and not someone pretending to be you). Lululemon’s online profiles do a great job with this!

2. Logos 
Paste your logo on everything. Make use of watermarks if your brand calls for it! Consistent placement and treatment of your logo will leave you with a unified presence across various platforms. Your audience will know that that is how you use your logo.

3. Typeface & Color
Typeface and color–or lack thereof–are two powerful tools at your disposal. Use them wisely and to your advantage whenever possible! If you have a unique color, incorporate it someway (maybe use it as a background) because your audience will often associate it with your brand subconsciously.

4. Templates
Don’t make your life more difficult than it needs to be. Use templates. When you have a good layout, who says you can’t use it. Don’t overuse it. But changing small elements can often make it seem like a new design completely! The consistency will also bode well with your viewers. They will respond better to your continuity.

5. A picture is worth a thousand words
Don’t clutter your posts with unnecessary information. Use short links or include additional information in the posts, but leave your designed images to speak for themselves. The more powerful impact will draw more viewers in…then, they will see the info that goes along with the image.

06
Oct

TOP SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS

blog post 61. Core Application Alternatives/Templates
Having access to a few favorite applications or templates to aid you in the creation of your social media content is always a great trick to have in your back pocket.
paint, Gimp, Inkspace, Adobe Creative Suite, Template Creator, doTemplate.com

2. Design Communities
Being a part of design communities where you can get feedback from other designers and/or professionals is a great way to push your designs to the next level. You will always feel like you can receive objective feedback, and you will have someone always on your team.
blogs, minted, Behance, Society6, Design Taxi

3. Design Element Resources
Everyone has their favorite website for source material. Whether you are searching for viable photos, imagery, or typefaces, keep a few bookmarked pages where you can begin. This will speed your process along, so you can prepare more posts or get to other tasks. Time savers are great!
dafont.com, google images, flickr, blogs, Dezingus, IconFinder

4. Wireframing/Planning Maps
Whether you are planning something as complicated as a large company’s website or something as simple as when to release the twitter posts for this week, you must have a plan. Everything has a reason behind it. Planning out and organizing those reasons can be complicated, so make it easier by utilizing one of the resources below. You can also use a function within most social media platforms to set timed posts.
PostScript5, MockFlow, Mockingbird

5. Visual Feedback
When planning out social media content, you rarely have full autonomy and/or get it to its best in the first go around. Design Communities (above) are a great way get feedback. Other methods including scanning and sharing work digitally–pre-release, using platforms like Notable, sending a simple phone grab, and more are easy ways to maintain the visual component of feedback. Use phone apps to draw on an image and send back accordingly. The worst is when you or someone you are working with tries to communicate visual feedback in purely prose.
email, scanning, pictures, Notable

24
Sep

SOCIAL MEDIA GRAPHICS

blog post 5

Social media graphics come in all shapes and sizes. Some employ good design, some bad, some small, some big, some obnoxious and disruptive, some subtle, so subtle you don’t even realize you’re reading the design. Perhaps those are the best examples of design. Designing graphics for social media though can be it’s own beast. You want everything to line up so that the reader has to put forth the least amount of effort necessary to read, understand, or enjoy your post. Now a days, there are a great number of options one can use to create custom graphics. Depending on how much customization the graphic needs, Canva, Minted, Social Media Designs, and other examples linked below are good tools to seek out to better your company’s designs. Another element to keep in mind is consistency; like all other aspects of social media, keeping things consistent will help your audience anticipate. Don’t squash your creativity, but by keeping graphics connected, the audience will know this group of graphics go together because they have the same type treatment or because this cluster of photos are all treated the same way. Better yet, if you always put a certain piece of info in the same place on your invitations, your audience will know where to look first! Try consulting or using some external resources, but remember that these options only work for quick and easy designs. Always consult your friendly designer when they can help!

https://www.canva.com/create/social-media-graphics/

http://www.smdnow.com/

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/design-social-media-images-for-brand-recognition/

22
Sep

DESINGING FOR A PLATFORM: TWITTER

blog post 4

https://twitter.com/usnikefootball

When creating a twitter post, the goal is to concisely package your message while still relating it to the conversation at hand, whether that be through hashtags, links, something represented in the media, etc. The first element to crafting your tweet is your powerful opener. This word, phrase, tagline, or sentence is usually the first thing viewers will read and the second thing they will see if your post includes a visual media element. It sets the mood in a way. The next element to consider is the media (link, image, photo, video, etc.) because it will the first think your viewers notice! In this Nike example, the image is clean, impactful, active, and focuses on Nike showing its mutual support of the Ole Miss football team. They further this connection by tagging @OleMissFB in their post. Tags & hashtags like this allow the person, company, product, etc. you are referencing to see your post and be involved further should they chose. Lastly, Nike finishes their post off with a call to action by providing a link for your to visit where you can purchase Nike Ole Miss gear.

Outside of designing an individual post, some of the same concepts apply to laying out the entire twitter feed. An editorial plan will help the user figure out exactly how they hope to accomplish their goals. Consistency is an important tool in designing your feed. For example on the Nike US Football twitter feed, Nike focuses on having a consistent look for this campaign from Saturday pertaining to the college football games. This sense of timeliness, posting on September 19th–the same day as the games, also helps Nike maintain relevancy in their posts. Cadence is, in simple terms, the combination of these two elements. By being particular and consistent about what they post and when the post, Nike US Football can maintain cadence and some level of anticipation from their viewers. Lastly, persona/voice helps Nike maintain how they post. Nike has adopted a template of concise, impactful declaratives that follow their slogan, “Just Do It.”

15
Sep

DESIGNING FOR A PLATFORM: BUZZFEED

blog post 3

BuzzFeed is a unique platform relative to the more conventional and widely used social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. BuzzFeed employs more of an interactive and personal element in order to engage users in a deeper way. Consisting of quizzes, polls, and more this platform allows people to relate intimately with a brand.

A BuzzFeed quiz created by CBS about which NCIS team (NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans) you would fit into best, based on your personality, pulls the user/viewer into the “world” of the the show. Before the user takes the quiz, they must want to know the answer to the primary question of the quiz; users must also be attracted to the concept visually. During the participation phase of the quiz, the user is still wondering what the answer will based, and his/her guess is changing for each question that is asked. At the end of the quiz, the participant is ideally satisfied with the answer they received. Hopefully, the user was placed on his/her favorite team. This experience will make the user want to tune in next week to see what is going on with their favorite team, tune in to see the team they didn’t expect to be paired with, or tune in to see the other teams out of curiosity.

“31 Reasons You Can’t Wait for Baseball Season” (http://www.buzzfeed.com/madisonlmedeiros/reasons-you-cant-wait-for-baseball-season#.atpEBz4QVD) is a great example of another staple template on BuzzFeed where users relate to those moments or feelings that are personal but not exclusive to a single person. By highlighting a myriad of aspects that people interested in baseball enjoy about that time of year brings an element of nostalgia as user peruse the post. Similar to a BuzzFeed quiz, the user’s interest is peaked before they click the link, and they are probably wondering if the things they miss are the same as everyone else’s. Once they open and begin reading the post, the quickly realize that they are. Plus, there are so many things they had forgotten about that make the season so memorable! Being reminded and feeling connected are what these posts are about.

Whether you’re posting a quiz, a numbered list, or one of BuzzFeed’s other noteworthy templates, thinking about your audience and their experience is the best way to be sure to engage your online viewers. Keeping text short, using captivating titles, similarly formatted images, and more will help too.

07
Sep

DESIGNING FOR A PLATFORM: INSTAGRAM

blog post 2

http://www.instagram.com/nike/

With this new wave of social media outlets and platforms, each with their own unique design, users and companies must not only be mindful of the content itself, but also how the content is designed. Presentation is everything! Instagram is a great place to start because this platform is relatively new. Because it’s one of the newer interfaces, it naturally makes use of a more modern way of communication: images.

A picture is worth a thousand words. This old proverb is personified and reinforced through the life of Instagram. In a square format, using various filters, geotags, hashtags, etc. you can post what you’re experiencing with the world (or whoever cares to look). This notion is revolutionary, but when put in the context of following in the footsteps of Twitter makes a whole lot of sense. Users, including companies, have an opportunity to “Capture and Share the World’s Moments,” as Instagram’s slogan so eloquently explains. This being said, the effect is considerably greater when the post is designed thoughtfully to embrace its full potential.

Nike does a wonderful job of this on their Instagram account. Nike is all about “authentic athletic performance,” and that is exactly what comes across in every picture they post. Some element of the image deals with one or multiple words which make up Nike’s mantra. In addition to the quality of the content, each image fits exactly into the square leaving no distracting margins or sidebars to disturb the viewer’s experience. Next, take note of the consistency in layout, design principles, and primary image focus throughout the whole page of posts. There is no possibility of a viewer being distracted by a sub-par image, instead only the likelihood that a viewer’s attention will be caught by an uncharacteristically impressive image. The observations of detail and finesse are nearly limitless, but the last one I’d like to address is that Nike intelligently makes use an even more modern form of communication, delicately and deliberately interspersed with the images: video. Carefully constructing individual posts is one element, but just as carefully constructing your entire profile leads to expectations and anticipation by your followers!

24
Aug

DESIGN DIMENSIONS

blog post 1_copy

Being a double major here at UGA has proved to be an interesting journey over the last few years. I have greatly enjoyed marrying these two disciplines of study, Graphic Design & Marketing, in order to find the common ground and expand upon that area. I hope to continue this goal through my blog, and I will therefore be blogging about design’s roll in social media.
Design is very different on the web than in print, but this is where everything is going now. When was the last time someone in college picked up a newspaper or a magazine? With all these various platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.), it can be difficult for users who were not born into this technology, or even for some of us who were, to understand and keep straight all of the specs for each platform. When an individual posts a quick picture about something obscure from their day or an activity picture to share with their family, the specifics and details of that post may not be as important as it would be to a company who is promoting their brand and public image. When social media began being used as a way to reach consumers, potential consumers, etc., the rules changed somewhat for those users. Despite the particular channel the company is using, it looks funny when you post the same size picture on Instagram and Twitter; the edges won’t line up on either platform. Also, is there a right way to hashtag? When people are being casual, they often choose to #justcramalltheletterstogetherwithnocapsorunderscores. Does adding capital letters to differentiate words help make the post “more official” or “more readable?” Or are people over 30 the only ones who would notice that anyway? I have some friends who fine using capitals in hashtags as uppidy. So is there a consensus on what is best for companies, or does it just depend on the message the brand is hoping to convey? Images and text (the small amount we do use in social media) are the two main categories we see continuously plagues by design mistakes. Knowing these tid-bits and having them stored away somewhere easily accessible for safe keeping could make the difference for converting a potential customer.
What do you guys think? Are there correct answers to some of these questions? What do you think the variables are that these questions can depend on or be affected by? Everyone does social media differently, so is context as crucial as some of us think?