An in-depth look at what Graphic Design really is

An in-depth look at what Graphic Design really is

Graphic design is much more than taking a picture and adding text to it.  It’s the art of communicating visually, visual problem solving.

So why is it so important?  Well, imagine walking in a shopping centre and every shop has their name above their door in the same font, no colour, no style, no shape… Or what about magazines?  If you page through a magazine and you just see one big block of words without any style, colour, images or different layouts.  Would it keep you interested to read through the magazine?

This is where graphic design comes in – the visual message that a brand, magazine, billboard or poster sends needs to keep the reader’s attention to get your message out to them.

 

History

Graphic design has been with us since as long ago as 15 000 BC. Yes, it started in the age of the cavemen, who made symbols and pictographs on cave walls.  It was used by monks in the Dark Ages.   Even the Egyptians used it when creating papyrus.

 

Interesting elements in graphic design

When designing, you work with different elements to compliment your design, such as texture, line, shape, space.

 

What about typography?    Graphic_Design

Typography forms an important part of the graphic design process.   Your choice of typography can set the mood and emotion in your design.  There are different type styles, such as friendly, aggressive, calm, successful.  By using the exact same words but in a different font, you can convey two different messages.

In this image I have used exactly the same words, “You are the one I want…”  Can you see the difference in the message given by the words, when you make use of different fonts?

 

Shapes and patterns

When adding a shape to a design, you need to think about the message that you want your brand to convey.  Is your brand strong, successful, feminine, trendy, do you want to show stability?  If you decide to use a circle in your logo, this could suggest any of the following, safety, protection, free movement, completeness, unity, femininity and many more.  It is really important to think about the meaning of the shape before using a triangle, square, geometric form etc. in your design.  It is the same when using patterns; patterns can convey a feeling of stability, order or even motion.

 

Colour

Just like type fonts, colour also plays a big role in sending out the correct message when designing something.  Look at the difference in the mood between the white text on the red background and the red text on the black background.  Romantic vs Scary – while using the same words.

Every colour you use can have a different meaning, but the lack of colour could have a meaning as well.  Purple can give a meaning of rich or royal, where blue can portray reliability or calmness.  Red has a lot of meanings – love, danger, passion, violence or even adventure.  Instead of just adding a few colours together you can look deeper into the meaning of each color.  Do not use too many colours.   Most well-known brands only use two colours in their logo.  So how do you choose which colours to use together?  Here you can think about complimentary, contrasting, reflective and analogous colours.

 

Lines

Lines can suggest different meanings. A thin line can suggest frailty and easy to break, where a thick line can suggest strength and difficulty to break.  A vertical line can suggest dignity, upwards growth, lack of movement.  Where a horizontal line can suggest security and stability.  You can also choose between lines such as diagonal, curved, zigzag, dashed, artificial and natural.

I constantly find myself when standing in a shop or even when I am watching television, not looking at what the name is on a logo or advertisement, but actually looking at the shapes, colours, lines, fonts and white space used by the designer.  To me, graphic design is a really interesting field to explore.  Even after I finished my degree, I constantly find myself doing research, tutorials and watching “How To” videos.  This is an industry that is constantly evolving, and it is best to upskill, especially with the constant updates to the tools used.

 

Hiring a full-time graphic designer for your company?

Why not hire a virtual assistant to take care of the graphic design tasks you must get done in your company? Your virtual assistant can take tasks such as the following off your plate:

  • company branding
  • website designer
  • infographics
  • social media designer
  • eBook designs
  • even image editing

Why not give it a try?  Our world is changing and as we go into the future, virtual work will become the “go-to” option.  We can already see this happening.  To find more information about virtual assistants, take a look at VA Connect.

 

Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels

5 good reasons why a Virtual Assistant is exactly what your business needs

5 good reasons why a Virtual Assistant is exactly what your business needs

Virtual assistants are fast becoming the new norm in many industries.  A virtual assistant is a location independent service provider who can provide a myriad of different services to your company from a remote location.  Virtual assistant work has grown to include many different positions that can be utilized to ensure that your company runs like a well-oiled machine and saves your company costs at the same time.

 

The top 5 reasons to hire a Virtual Assistant:

 

1.     Reducing running costs

 Many companies that hire full-time employees have found that the employees are not being as productive during the working day as what they could be.  By hiring a virtual assistant you only have to pay for work that has been done.

Cost savings also include overheads like office space, internet connection, refreshments, electricity, training. Your company would be able to pay a virtual assistant that is proficient in the tasks that you require and you would not need to spend any additional costs on their training.  Virtual assistants are continuously upskilling themselves to stay on top of ever-changing market trends.

 

2.     Increased efficiency

 A large number of a business’s employees day can be used up doing many repetitive tasks during the working day.  Many of these tasks such as e-mails, customer queries, research, meeting scheduling, data entry etc. These tasks can sometimes take up so much time in your day that you are taken away from the more important work that is suited best to your skillset and qualifications.  You could be paying an engineer 5 times more than a virtual assistant to be doing these tasks when their time could be spent on work that creates a larger income and faster output for your company.

 

3.     Broader working hours

 Because virtual assistants are spread across the world and work remotely, you can hire a VA to manage your business with clients outside of your time zone, without actually having to be available yourself.

 

4.     Easier recruitment

 If your company often has projects that come up suddenly and require a certain skill set that is not required regularly in your company, instead of going through the time-consuming process of hiring a full-time employee to do the work for you.  For example, you might want to start advertising your business online but there is nobody in your employee who has that skill set.  This is where a virtual assistant can be hired for only the time it takes each day that the project requires at a fraction of the cost of what it would cost to hire a full-time employee.  You would also be able to make sure that the VA has referrals and experience in this line of work. For several reasons, a virtual assistant costs a lot less than a full-time employee.

 

5.     No more micromanaging

 When full-time staff is employed it is always a task to ensure that everyone is doing what they are paid for in the time frame required of them.  Many hours are spent by full-time staff being non-productive.  Sometimes you might even have to hire a manager to manage the staff for you.  By hiring a VA this eliminates that need.  You only pay for the work that is done and the time spent.

There are many tools and apps available in the virtual world to do that for you.  And any VA worth their salt is focused and self-disciplined enough to ensure that the work is done in a professional and timeous manner.  Messaging tools such as Slack and Microsoft teams enable you and your virtual assistants to run even more productively than you would in an office environment. There are also several time and project management tools such as Toggl, Trello, and Asana to ensure that all projects are communicated and done within the time frame required.  Gone are the days of a lengthy project meeting.  Everything can be done virtually.

The tools and information given above is only the tip of the iceberg of the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant. You will not regret it and find yourself with a more cost-efficient and streamlined company as a result.

Favro vs TeamGantt:   which suits your virtual office best?

Favro vs TeamGantt: which suits your virtual office best?

“Project management is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time.

The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the given constraints”

Wikipedia

 

I usually work on Bitrix and Asana and build my own project management tool on Excel.  It meant moving out of my comfort zone to research project management tools I have not worked with before.  I realised one thing while researching these two tools, they are there to make the SME’s and big corporate operator’s work easy and efficient. Now teams can have easy access to software that is cheap and easily accessible with only the click of a button.

 

Favro

Favro is “Collaboration and planning in the cloud” – thus a cloud based application. This is a planning app which is designed to help a team carrying out their complex business plans with ease and efficiency. This software can especially be used by marketers, production planners and developers because it offers some intuitive and easy to use features for activity planning.  Developers also love it because it is fast and modern, staying up to date with current and relative tools.

Favro provides the following key features:

  • API
  • Commenting
  • Prioritizing

Which tools often used by Virtual Assistants integrate with Favro?

Unfortunately it is not a free plan.  Two to more than 100+ users can work simultaneously. The more users the cheaper the plan, definitely a project management tool for bigger teams.

 

TeamGantt

TeamGantt is “An online Gantt Chart Software“. This online project scheduling software lets users manage their projects easily and visibly. It has built-in resource management, so they can see what each person is working on any given day.

TeamGantt provides the following key features:

  • Drag & Drop Simplicity
  • Change start and end dates
  • Reorder tasks

Which tools often used by Virtual Assistants integrate with TeamGantt?

A free plan is only available for 3 users and 1 project.  The varying payment plans starts with 3-50+ users and unlimited projects.

 

Looking at the above, both tools are great and make life easier with freeing up time when used effectively. Both of these project Management tools work for both small to bigger businesses.  TeamGantt provides more integration and a free plan for small businesses. It can also be used more by my virtual industry.

I am however a “work on your mobile” girl and is leaning towards Favro. TeamGantt does not support mobile platforms.  Favro can also incorporate spreadsheets………….. It seems I found my next tool to test!

How to cope with working and being a mom during Covid 19 lockdown

How to cope with working and being a mom during Covid 19 lockdown

“If you love yourself, STAY AT HOME, keep the virus out.”

Anonymous

 Being a South African at the moment is tough.  We are outside, braai and socializing people. Now with the rise of the Coronavirus in South Africa, our president took the very brave step and put the whole of South Africa under lockdown for 21 days.  At first many thought “holiday, fun, braai and so much more”, not realizing what lockdown meant. Not even dog walking or jogging is allowed, and you are only allowed to leave your home for essential services or to buy food.  Schools closed earlier than usual and will be closed until further notice.  Being a VA, mean  that work still needs to continue, but now I have to entertain a 6 year old, 3year old and 2year old……… for 21 days.  I googled everything for 2 days, from not getting depression under lockdown, to school activities for kids, to keeping your family life as stable as possible.  And even now a few days later, still more WhatsApp’s, Ideas etc. are doing the rounds to make our “new” norm as normal as possible.  For me the following tips helped to keep me focussed and proactive as VA:

 

WORKING WEIRD HOURS

  • Inform your clients that you are moving your time table around to accommodate your kids, and that you will focus on certain projects during different times than usual.
  • Every reasonable person on earth is aware of this epidemic, be reasonable, positive and gracious when hard decisions and issues need to be handled.
  • Set up your “office” so that you can be with your kids and work. For me this personally meant doing most of my work on my mobile, and moving the rest out to when I have time to sit in front of my PC.  Personally this freed up a lot of time while being with the kids.

 

CREATING STABILITY

(Please note this is how I have done it the last couple of days, but you can change it as fitting to your situation.  The most important is to keep doing what works for you and your family.)

  • Stability is created by a healthy routine
    • Wake Up, drink your java, put on clothes (it is important not to stay in your pj’s the whole day) and do some work.
    • When the kids wake up, make them breakfast, do a “school activity, craft and arts, read them a story”, and let them play for 30 minutes outside to catch some rays. Vitamin D is important for staying positive. Remember staying healthy and social distancing is the important during this epidemic.  If you do go outside while staying in a flat, draw crayon lines on the floor in which areas everyone are allowed to stay in.  Now jump on your phone and start working. This time is usually great if you have to keep up with your social media and networking.  If you have lost clients or have a loss of income, now is the time to search for new opportunities.
    • Prepare lunch, and involve the kids. Usually they enjoy to eat what they help made.
    • After lunch, let them have their 30min screen time. I hope for your sake a nap follows.  Usually mine sleep between one to two hours.  During nap time I check my emails and see if any new projects or urgent messages need to be handled.
    • When everyone is a wake normally a fruit or yogurt are enjoyed, and then it is “active time”. Their brains were stimulated during the morning, now we need to get the legs moving.  Find a fun kids yoga session online and join in.  This is relaxing for young and old, followed up with exercising with anything heavy.  A butternut for kid’s weights, onion bag for adult weights, jumping rope, short sprints and many more.  You can jump online and get x100 ideas.
    • And lastly you can make dinner. Let the kids have a bath on their own while you sit and relax with glass of wine, coffee, tea or cold drink.
    • Let them have some screen time again if needed. And now you can jump on the rest of the work not yet done.  Personally for me, I do the work that takes less thinking as the day is more tiring while looking after kids and working. That being said, as Coronavirus takes over work is also getting less.  I do not need to work after 22:00 anymore, a luxury at this moment.
    • Remember you made it through today, tomorrow you can do it again.

 

STAYING HEALTHY MENTALLY

  • Prioritize your kids’ needs before your own.
    • Remember kids are part of the vulnerable list and can get sick easily, please stay at home to keep the virus out.
    • This is a strange time for them also. Do not show them you are tired or scared.  Keep going, this lockdown will not last forever.
    • Use technology such as WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype and FaceTime for children to keep in contact with grandparents, maternal parents, family and friends.

 

  • Prioritize your relationship
    • Lockdown can bring your relationship issues into sharp focus if both of you are confined at home. Now you have to talk, listen and be in each other’s personal space.  Stay positive and always talk with respect.
    • Make time for each other especially if you have children. When they have screen time, try to sit with each other and talk about what is worrying you, how to overcome your fears, and plan for the future.
    • If your relationship is rocky try to find online help, podcasts, seminars etc. Now you have the time to work on the problems.
    • Lastly if you are in an abusive relationship, please go online and find help for your sake and that of your children. You will be seen as venerable and can be removed.

 

I am not a psychologist or remotely knows what it takes to run a country under lockdown.  But I do know this lockdown did make me appreciate the small blessings I usually take for granted.  Things like going to the shop, dropping kids at school, visiting friends and family, walking outside or having small talk with neighbours; made me realise we as humans chase after the next day, often missing today.  I hope I can keep some of my own tips going in the future when our reality changes to post lockdown again.  Maybe being a VA prepared me in some why for the lockdown, as I have been doing all the above, just without the kids around 24/7. Stay healthy mentally and physically. And remember being with family during this time is special, we may never have this solitude again.

Photo by Anastasiya Gepp from Pexels

 

Do your thoughts really become things?

Do your thoughts really become things?

We all have dreams and aspirations. Things that inspire us to do better and be better. What is that for you? What do you use as your way to stay on track and keep your head in the game when it feels like you are drowning?

For me, it is knowing that I can create and manifest anything I want, whenever I want (okay maybe not at the snap of my fingers), but I know that if I use the power of mind and the techniques I have come to learn over the years that I can bring to me all that I deserve. And you can too!

 

So what’s so special about the brain?

I am inspired by the idea that our brains are not just sitting there helping us to talk or walk. Our brains and our thoughts have a vibrational frequency. That old saying, “On the same wavelength”, pretty much refers to the brainwaves we emit – the same ones we send out into the Universe with every thought.

It has been proven that positive thoughts creating positive vibrations move faster into the universe and the more we think them and the more we feel them the more likely what you are wanting to be present in your life will become a reality.

I have many stories of my own where I believe fully this is how things have manifested in my life. From going to work on a cruise ship at 21 to meeting the love of my life (just as I had pictured him in my thoughts) when I thought love was something I was not destined for. Even something as simple as working from home with like-minded people and raising two beautiful, high vibrational little boys.

All things I believe that my thoughts helped me make possible.

 

Great, I’m gonna sit back and wait for happiness!

Now let’s get something straight, there’s no way you can sit back, think beautiful thoughts of finding your soulmate and having riches and BAM, they fall in your lap! No. no, that is not the way it works.

How I see the Law of Attraction working in my life is this: I think about what I would want to come into my life. What I desire. I keep that thought, I feel gratitude for that thought and for everything else around me. I believe that what I desire is coming to me and I feel grateful for that.

I then believe what happens is, the universe hands you an opportunity, or two, or three, and what you choose to do with those opportunities determines whether your desire is manifested.

I can imagine it is difficult trying to figure out whether you have been given the signs as it were. You probably wondering, “But how will I even know?” Believe me you will know, and sometimes we do not even think about it, the opportunity comes along, we go with it without a second thought and maybe 6 months or 1 year down the line you will be sitting on your couch and suddenly you will look at where you are and what you have achieved.

You start to retrace your steps and land right back at that point where you had that initial thought about what you wanted and sent it out there to the universe. You then awaken to the fact that a few days later “X” happened or, “Y” came into your life and it just kind of happened and lead you to where you are at this exact moment.

It may sound strange and like some New Age, hippy mumbo jumbo, and you know what we are all entitled to our opinions because no one person is right. We are all human and all have our own beliefs.

But for me personally, I can think of so many instances in my life where because I constantly thought about something, it did happen and came into being. Some good, some bad. Because yes, just as positive thoughts become things, so to do the negative ones.

 

Conclusion

Truth is, I could talk for days and write thousands of words about why the power of my mind inspires me to be a better person, to think better thoughts, but I won’t! Instead I challenge you to go and take a moment and start thinking about things you want in your life. Feel that warmth of gratitude filling you up for these amazing things that you ‘have’. Feel gratitude for the things that you had and have left you (because these too were not by chance).

Then I would like impart on you a list of some of the books I read while on my journey. There are hundreds of titles available for you to read and learn from.

  1. The Law of Attraction by Esther Hicks
  2. Money and the Law of Attraction by Esther Hicks
  3. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  4. The Power by Rhonda Byrne
  5. The Magic by Rhonda Byrne
  6. Ask and it is Given by Jerry Hicks
  7. The Gratitude Effect by Dr John Demartini
  8. The Breakthrough Experience by Dr John Demartini
  9. Count Your Blessings by Dr. Demartini
  10. You can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

I am also including some links to things that help to bring about the sense of self, sense of being centered which really helps you on this journey of manifestation.

  1. Binaural Beats
  2. Hacks for Enhancing Brain Power
  3. Attitude of Gratitude
  4. Vision Boards

Happy reading, and happy manifesting!