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

The opportunities in staying safely at home

The opportunities in staying safely at home

I have stopped listening to the news and reading stories on the spread of the virus, infected numbers, businesses closing, staff being retrenched, and what is allowed at each level. Some would say this is naïve, but to be honest my heart just cannot take it. As humans we are built to want to help those that we can. We tip the car guards and petrol attendants, we give the waiters/waitress 15-20% and not only 10%. We buy extra food for the security guards of complexes and will always try and give what we can to the less fortunate, but during these times it is difficult to give when you do not have much yourself.

So, I have decided to rather focus on the opportunities during this time. Spending time we wouldn’t normally get with our children and partners. Getting to things around the house you have said you will do for years. Sitting down to finish that baby book. Finally organizing your workday, schedule and tasks. Finishing tasks you have not found the time for. And most importantly being able to switch off.

 

Enjoy your home

Just as we are built to want to help others, we as South Africans are built to work. It is inbred in us, every day revolves around what time to wake up to miss the traffic, how much can we get done in the prescribed office hours, what dinner will take the quickest to cook, then it is cleaning, laundry and prep for the next day to start it all over again, never mind the additional hours put in, in the evenings on emails and tasks that you just never got to during the day.

This driving work force, it still lives on, but within the four walls of every home, it looks a little different. There is the extra hour or two of sleep as traffic is no longer a problem-child, there is no hours lost sitting in traffic, struggling to get to the office to attend to emails and meetings. This time is spent cooking breakfast and enjoying one extra meal a day together as a family, some days it is attending to emails in your pajamas, exercising at lunch time and vacuuming at 16:00 before cooking dinner. The weight on my shoulders seems a little lighter.

 

Smell the roses

Not everyone has little people running around ruling their homes but, in our house, this is exactly what we have. Our little one is an early-riser, so our mornings start before the sun has risen and is fast-paced. Running and jumping and swimming and reading and snacking and eating and falling and climbing. I get tired just writing this, but these are moments that we normally miss, that we are not around to enjoy. Although it is crazy and some days, I feel the years I am losing off my life span, I wouldn’t trade it for getting back to the real world. I am starting to worry about how I am going to go back to the normal.

 

Do it now!

Before isolation it was a case of ‘why do today what can be done tomorrow’ so in essence it was never gotten to. The glass cabinet I’ve been meaning to reorganize has been done, the baby book I never got around to finishing, is almost complete, the meals I always wanted to cook – are finally being cooked, the painting project I wanted to start has started, and the book I wanted to read, has been read. The tables have all turned. The emails I can do tomorrow, the document can be reviewed tomorrow, the project can start tomorrow. And off course none of these missing a deadline but rather being done when you can within the required timeframe. The chicken seems to be running around with all its body parts for a change.

Everyone is worried and scared, industries are facing turmoil, turnover is at an all-time low, and every single person is doing what they can to not only survive but keep sane. During the time it is difficult to stay positive and to looks for the good in each day but all it takes is one thing a day. One task that makes you happy, makes you feel lighter. One extra hour spent with your little people doing something that makes them smile and laugh. Take 20min to have that cup of coffee outside with no cellphone or laptop. Finally finish the sorting of all your emails or finishing that one task that has been lagging at your side.

 

Everyday do something for you, something that makes you smile, makes you feel lighter.

Mentors, mentorship and qualities to look out for

Mentors, mentorship and qualities to look out for

“We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how.”

Anonymous

 Why do we have mentors? Why do we need mentors? What is a mentor?

This type of person is not necessarily in the lime-light or has social status, it can be the person next to you or even an equal. A mentor leads by example and is not always aware of the people following their example. By setting an example you are seen as a mentor. This is not always deliberately, but because of certain personal morals and values, you set an example to others. Being a mentor means exhibiting integrity and responsibility – inspiring and motivating others to reach their goals, being it in a business, or social environment.

Starting off in the business world, I was nervous and unsure about what to expect. I knew I wanted to lead my business by empowering and encouraging my employees. By leading in a positive and well-structured manner, you achieve optimal productivity and efficiency. A positive working environment will motivate not only yourself, but your employees as well. This will help them in gaining and building their knowledge. I want them to feel comfortable and respected in their profession. But trying to achieve this is not easy.

Virtual_Assistant_Mentor

Luckily, I have a person in my life that taught me how to achieve these goals.

I do not even think my mentor knows he has influenced my life in such a way, but he surely made an impact.

Abe Beukes, the winemaker at Yonder Hill, needs to be mentioned, even if this is only for myself.

Photo by Daniel Naude

 

What Leading by example means

Having Patience and Endurance

Abe has taught me, if I want to reach my goals, I will need patience and endurance. Seeing the way he treats his employees and work closely with them, showed me how to lead my business in a way to create a positive environment. I strive to have an open, but professional, relationship with my employees. To do so I need to be approachable and listen to them. He has not only taught me how to lead my business, but even though I achieved one of my goals, nothing stopped me in reaching other goals. I strive to not only be a good leader but also to improve my own knowledge. In this manner I can help my business gain greater success. Having him as my mentor has definitely prepared me in building my own independent business.

 

Developing one’s self

A mentor prepares and helps you to not to make the same mistakes, but rather improving yourself in your business. Being part of the Virtual Assistant (VA) world, showed me that having a mentor is an important aspect in developing one’s self. Without this knowledge, it would not have been easy to start my VA career. In my life I have had many mentors. Each of them had an impact on my life. Amongst all of these people, only a few revealed to be true mentors.  Working with all of these different people, I gained enough knowledge and experience to distinguish who I would like to be associated with. Abe is always open to answering questions.  He shows patience and open mindedness and tries to put himself in someone else’s shoes when questions are being asked.

Although being a renowned winemaker, and probably knowing everything that needs to be known to be a good winemaker, he still attends conferences, workshops and lectures to widen and improve his knowledge. He believes in constantly upskilling yourself.

 

Influencing the people around you

Having said all of this, each person chooses their own mentor. You as a person needs to decide what you want to achieve and how you want to be seen, in a business or social environment. When I started, I decided that I want to have a positive and encouraging effect on people’s lives. I realised that my previous mentors could not teach me in a way to successfully achieve this goal. That is why I decided to follow Abe’s lead. Having a mentor like him and achieving my goals, I can also strive in being a mentor to someone else. At the end of the day you will never know if you are someone’s mentor, but by exhibiting integrity, responsibility and positivity you can make a positive change in someone’s life.

In bringing this together I decided to take these words from this Franchise Growth Partners blog,  it perfectly summarizes the person I want to be in business and personally.  It starts with a choice to be the person you want to be:

Be willing to share skills, knowledge, and expertise. Always demonstrate a positive attitude.  Always try to take a personal interest in the mentoring relationship and exhibit enthusiasm in your profession.  Try to provide guidance and constructive feedback so that you can be respected by colleagues and employees in all levels of the organization. Lastly value the opinions and initiatives of others and motivate by setting a good example.

What great blogging can do for your business

What great blogging can do for your business

What great blogging can do for your business

Since it made its first appearance in the 1990s, blogging has come a long way. Blogging was first used as an online journal or diary to share a person’s own individual thoughts, feelings, opinions and experiences and it usually attracted just a small following. These days, blogging is a platform used by individuals and businesses alike and can be read by thousands and even millions of people worldwide. Blogs are easy to set up and update regularly making them an important and usually a low cost tool for companies wanting to stay in touch with their customers and followers.

Benefits of a company blog

Increases traffic to a website using links

Inbound links in a blog will direct readers to relevant parts of a website, increasing overall traffic or increasing traffic to particular pages.

Improves a website’s SEO

If a blog is regularly updated and relevant to your business, it is more likely to be picked up in Google and other search engines which focus on a website’s quality of content and frequency of posts. Blogs create an opportunity for businesses to insert keywords that are likely to be used to search for your company or brand.

Promotes a brand and company as an expert in the industry

By regularly talking about a subject in well written blogs, your brand will become associated with and respected in its particular field thus encouraging readers to go to your site for valued information.

Builds trust

By providing high quality content and advice in a particular field, a blog can help give readers/customers the confidence to trust the brand. Comment sections in a Blog are often read and if monitored and updated regularly, this can further improve levels of trust with potential and existing customers.

Creates sharing opportunities

Including a sharing option in a blog creates viral traffic via twitter, email, Facebook or other platforms. Free marketing!

In conclusion

To increase your company’s online exposure and to establish yourself as an expert in your field, blogging is a must! And remember, it doesn’t have to be written by the company director himself, it can easily be outsourced and written by anyone as long as they do their research and create good quality pieces that are interesting to the reader. In fact, it is advised that a company’s blog is written by several people to vary the writing style and knowledge base.

Set up your company blog with a few launch articles and see just how easy it is! Use a Virtual Assistant to keep it updated and fresh with regular new content.

Why Successful Entrepreneurs Choose Extra Help in Their Business

Why Successful Entrepreneurs Choose Extra Help in Their Business

Why Successful Entrepreneurs Choose Extra Help in Their Business

 

Nowadays, business owners are looking for supportive solutions for generating more profits. Entrepreneurs, who succeed in their business, perform two things very well:

  • They proceed with business objectives strategically.
  • They make utilization of the resources available and remain positive with the outcome.

As your business starts to grow, your workload starts increasing and at the end of the day, you think:

“How can I manage this pressure all on my own?”

If you analyse this situation well, you would understand that you need an alternative to hiring a full-time employee. So, what is the best option for you?

Seek help from a virtual assistant and achieve more than your expectations.

 

Wondering who are Virtual Assistants?

In the simplest sense of the term, virtual assistants are self-employed experts, who work for clients from a remote location. With specific skills sets, they can serve multiple clients and work on different projects. They work according to the specifications provided by the client and offer a wide range of affordable services. With their top-notch assistance, you’ll get things done easily and within the deadline.

So, Why Successful Entrepreneurs Choose Extra Help in Their Business?

VA’s push Business Growth:

You cannot work on all the tasks yourself. Having an “EXTRA HAND” on projects is essential to your business growth. COLLABORATION is a powerful tool that will take your business to the next level. Your business can flourish with strategic partnerships and shared interests.

 

Decreased Operational Costs:

By having a VA, you save expenses for office space, maintenance cost and additional expenses.

 

Reduced Workload:

As a business owner, your important tasks can often get overshadowed due to your jam-packed schedule. In such circumstances, VA’s might come handy, as they can focus on several crucial tasks. VA’s can decrease your work-related stress, and help you keep everything organized. They make sure that these tasks get completed within the stipulated time frame.

 

Focus on The Core Operations:

As an entrepreneur, you need more time to focus on your core business functions. On the other hand, not everything requires your direct attention. You can manage it all by simply asking your VA to take care of your routine tasks. They would provide personal as well as administrative support, providing you with more time to focus on the most crucial aspects.

 

“Every successful entrepreneur knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together”– Paul Ryan