Most of our work at the DFM office requires us to rely on our beloved computers but that doesn't mean we don't go gaga over beautiful handiwork. We're in love with these female letterers and just can't get enough of their amazing work.
images via jessicahische.is
images via: Tanamachi Studio
images via: The Every Girl
Pinterest is the shiny new toy of the social media world. It’s only been around since March 2010 and it’s already giving the other big social media outlets like Twitter, YouTube and Google+ a run for their money. No, it’s not bigger than Facebook, but it IS a big deal - especially for those of us in design-centric industries where photos of our creations take center stage. Here are some tips we pulled on how to be REALLY good on Pinterest (and increase your website traffic while you’re at it!)
1. SEO applies to Pinterest too!
You can optimize your Pinterest profile with the same keywords you used on your website to help potential new clients find you via Pinterest and your home site.* It’s not hard, just a bit tedious. Here are the main points:
*Haven’t optimized your website yet? Read our SEO Cheat Sheet that was published on Design*Sponge in 2011 to read more about WHY it’s so important and HOW to go about it:
2. Find out what people are pinning from your website
It’s possible to see WHAT people are pinning from your website, as well as WHO is pinning. It’s simple: Type this into a browser window: http://pinterest.com/source/yoursitename.com/
And you get this:
Use this information to drive future website and blog content. The more you know what people are liking (and pinning) from your site, the better off you will be!
3. Add the “Pin It” button to your website and blog
Make it easy for people to pin things from your site. If they have to scroll all the way over to the “Pin It” bookmark saved somewhere at the bottom of their Bookmarks Bar, they may just abandon ship entirely.
Make it easy - with a “Pin It” button staring them in the face, who could resist? A little reminder doesn’t hurt, either. If it’s a blog, add the button to every single post.
4. Add a Pinterest feed to your website, blog, or Facebook Page
Show people a preview of what you love without having to visit your Pinterest page (or if they are NOT on Pinterest yet, give them a preview of what they’re missing out on).
If you’re using Wordpress, there is a plugin called the Pinterest RSS Widget that makes this easy to do. We pull one of our boards through to our Facebook page with a little wizarding magic... give us a call if you’re interested in having us do this for you too!
P.S. Did you know? 83% of Pinterest users are women. If your target audience is largely made up of women, do yourself a favor and use Pinterest to help drive your business!
5. Start Using Viraltag
Have you ever been at the beach on a Saturday afternoon mentally kicking yourself for not remembering to pin a few things before grabbing your beach bag and sashaying out the door? Well, there’s an app for that.
It’s called “Viraltag”, and it allows you to schedule pins to come out for those times when you just can’t be at the computer. Taking a vacation? You’re covered. Have an important date planned (including a full two hours to decide what to wear)? Viraltag’s got your back.
Head over to Viraltag.com and sign up for your free trial. Scheduling pins is easy - find that perfect image to pin, and hit the Viraltag button from your favorites bar (check out details on their website for how to get it there). Pick your day, time, and board, and you’re finished. You don’t ever have to feel guilty for not being near your computer during prime pinning times again. Hop on Viraltag and have your whole day of pins scheduled in just 15-30 minutes.
6. And a Few More Helpful Tips...
There are a few more helpful tips for Pinterest we’ve picked up that are so simple, yet downright GENIUS:
1. If it’s appropriate (and you’re comfortable with it), use a picture of you (or someone from your company) as your profile picture instead of a logo. People engage with a brand or website more if they can see the (wo)man behind the curtain. The more engaging you can be, the better!
2. Make your pins long/tall instead of wide. Pinterest caps the width of all photos, but not the height. Make your pins tall to take up more real-estate on someone’s home feed. Just watch out for really long pins, as Pinterest just rolled out a new “expand pin” feature if the pin goes over a certain length - so make them long, just keep the really important stuff above the cut-off. An aspect ratio of 2:3 is good, 1:2 is better, and 1:3+ will really make a splash!
3. Pin during times of high traffic. Weekends (Saturday morning and Sunday evening) are typically good times to pin, as well as the late night, “I can’t sleep so I’m wasting time on Pinterest” hours of 8PM-1AM on week days.
4. Pin things that are RED. This is sort of a strange tip, but pins that are predominantly RED tend to get repinned very often. Whether it’s because red is the color of Pinterest’s logo, or because red is an intense, eye grabbing color - your guess is as good as ours.
5. Pin little and often. Feeling like we are being “spammed” on social media is never a positive thing. Engaging with your audience is GOOD, but too much social media activity can actually be a little annoying. To avoid a potential brand overload, pin a little bit at a time, and do it often. Pinning this way means your pins aren’t concentrated in the “feed” all at once; they will show up scattered throughout as a pinner scrolls down. In a perfect world, you would pin throughout the day with 10-20 minutes in between each pin, concentrating on times of high traffic (hint: use Pingraphy!) Sometimes we just don’t have the time to pin “perfectly”, and that’s okay. But instead of sitting down for an hour and pinning like a madwoman, try to do only 5-10 pins at a time, and aim to pin a little every hour (if you have that much time!)
6. Try to pin at least 25% ORIGINAL CONTENT. Original content can be defined as something that isYOURS, rather than someone else’s. This can mean a photo you took of a chocolate chip banana muffin you made (if you’re a blog), a product available on your website (if you’re an e-commerce site), or anythingelse that you can really call “yours” - as in, YOU made it. Of course, you still want to pin stuff from the other guys too, because Pinterest is basically a giant inspirational mood-board, and you could never, everdream to pin 100% original content, because that would be incredibly difficult. 25% means 1 of every 4 pins is your own, so try your best to keep up with it.
7. Speaking of original content, try to design or curate your own pins (whenever you have the time) to create more original content. Pinterest users typically respond very well to “designed” original content, namely lists and infographics. If you’re a fashion company, pull together your top 5 pieces for summer in one graphic. If you’re a blogger, maybe it’s the top ten places NOT to wear your engagement ring, or the 5 must see movies starring Audrey Hepburn - people like lists, and they especially like to repin them!
Designed lists and Infographics are popular on Pinterest because they convey information in a visual way. Make them easy to understand, and make them pretty! No idea how to use Photoshop? No problem. Sites like Piktochart (www.piktochart.com/) help you create infographics without the need of design skills.
8. And finally, ENGAGE with your audience whenever you can. Whether this means pinning regularly, liking pins, repinning other people’s pins, commenting on pins, following other brands/websites you like, or responding back to people who ask a question via Pinterest, just get involved! Pinterest may be a massive mood-board full of deliciously inspiring eye candy, but it is also a social network. Keyword being SOCIAL. Get engaged - it will only help grow your following THAT much faster.
This month, we're in the midst of establishing a look and feel for a new luxury jewelry brand we're happy to be working with this year. Although the brand doesn't have a solid name yet, the jewelry is bold, colorful, and newly made with a vintage-inspired feel. During the branding process, we like to understand as much as we possibly can about the product itself and the eventual woman who will wear it. What are her goals and ambitions? What does she love to do in her spare time? Why does this particular brand resonate so well with her? Inspired by the owners themselves, this brand's look will be inspired by vintage global travel and the colors of some of the most beautiful places on earth. Made to momentarily transport the wearer to another time and place, this brand undoubtedly whispers: "take me away".
This month DFM will go into deep research mode for one of our favorite product categories: cosmetics and skincare. We love to create and design for cosmetic and skincare brands because they resonate with women everywhere, and there are endless possibilities for what you can create.
When we dive into the packaging design process, only one final option will make it onto store shelves, but we typically have created several working versions that didn't make it to the finish line. Even so, we still love each design and keep each one stored away in our vault for future reference. Below is one such design for a skincare company that we're particularly fond of. In addition, we've pulled some of our favorite package designs for cosmetics and skincare to get our creative juices flowing.
The DFM office sits in the fashion district of Downtown Los Angeles, so it's no surprise that the ladies of DFM take a special interest in fashion. We've been designing fashion websites for quite some time now, and one thing we've noticed that hasn't changed yet is a well designed, user-friendly website can make or break your brand. In this day and age, every fashion company out there is realizing they need an e-commerce presence online, but it doesn't stop there. People are starting to shop on their tablets and smartphones just as often as on their desktops, which means designing with different browser sizes in mind is CRUCIAL to repsenting your fashion brand well. Oh, and did we mention Flash isn't supported on iPads or iPhones? You would be surprised at how many fashion websites continue to use Flash. Our job at DFM is to make sure the clothes are shown off in the best way possible, no matter how you shop. We've designed quite a few fashion websites over the years, but one of our favorites still is Southern California fashion darling Heidi Merrick.
Heidi Merrick is a Los Angeles based fashion designer who has been on the radar of Vogue, Lucky and C magazines. Her website is designed to the hilt with a sophisticated e-commerce store and portfolio. With full bleed video, images, and slide shows, this sites reaches beyond the boundaries of web 2.0 into the 3.0 realm. The new website showcases Merrick’s designs without impeding upon her large ambient visual graphics. It also has straightforward navigation so that visitors can view all of Merrick’s pages without any frustration. With style and fashion trends constantly shifting, Merrick can easily update and edit her collections and online shop to meet the needs of her business. See her website by visiting www.heidimerrick.com.
Minimalist, classic, and simple website design will always be in style. When you're trying to show off an amazing product, often times a simpler design is actually better. Too much design can take away from something that doesn't need any bells and whistles to show off how great it is. A white background, simple navigation, and clean lines make up the basic components of a minimalist website. Our favorite minimalist design from our own portfolio is the e-commerce website we designed for furniture designer duo Lawson-Fenning.
The new website we designed for designer team Glenn Lawson and Grant Fenning showcases the modern styling of mid-century Californian and Scandinavian design that makes up the key aesthetic of their furniture line. Given direction to make the site clean, sophisticated, and simple, we designed the website to show off the beauty and craftsmanship of each piece. Complete with simple, easy navigation and hundreds of new photos, the site uses HTML instead of Flash (not compatible with the iPad), making it an exciting improvement for the brand. See the live site at www.lawsonfenning.com.
Every person on the DFM team uses Photoshop on a daily basis. Some of us may use it more than others, and some of us may have "mastered" it more than others, but it's one of the most important pieces of software we have. Usually we're not photoshopping people, but it does happen every so often. We may use a little skin softening here, a little blemish removal there, but when we're finished, the ultimate goal is to make the person in question look like a human being, with just a little extra "help". Have a zit that day? Not a problem. Didn't get enough sleep the night before? We can help with that too. What we won't do, however, is make anyone look WORSE after photoshopping than they did straight out of the camera. It's honestly astonishing how so many retouchers out there publish work they think is a great improvement, but the person often looks flat, fake, and a little alien-like. We scoured the internet to find a few examples of this: below, each celebrity we think actually looks a little better BEFORE photoshop (shown on the left), and the retoucher probably could have turned it down a few notches.