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Design Category Archive

Design Category Archive

Let’s talk branding.

Posted by | Business Tips, Design, Food for thought, Marketing Help, Uncategorized | No Comments

The word “brand” or “branding” is thrown around a lot in the business and marketing world, but what does it really mean? The “official” and dry definition of a brand is a name, term, design or symbol that represents a company or idea. Here at Duo, we believe that a brand is much more than that. A brand isn’t just the visual representation of your company, but also what people think and feel about your business – their mental and emotional response to who you are as a company.

You are your own brand, whether you think you are or not. You may not own a company, or maybe you do, regardless, you are always representing yourself. You have your own presence, personality, and style. You have something that sets you apart from everyone else.  The way we present ourselves and interact with others will affect what people think of us and how future interactions will evolve. This is especially important in the digital world we live in. What we post, participate in, and say online stays online.

In order to convey a positive image and make sure you’re communicating what you want about yourself, we have a few quick pointers you can keep in mind as you manage and develop your personal brand:

  • Define Who You Are In order to send a message, you have to know who you are. Are you a salesman? A chef? A stay at home mom? Make sure you’re communicating clearly and that what you’re sharing is “on-brand”.
  • Deliver Value Communicate clearly what you bring to the table in your realm of expertise. People are on social media to be social and to invest in brands they care about – not to be manipulated or sold to. Find the balance.
  • Be Consistent. Conflicting messages are bad for everyone. Be sure to use the colors and fonts in your style guide whenever possible. Share only quality content (professionally written and designed). Don’t share anything that you wouldn’t put on a billboard in your front yard.


5 Tips for Working with a Graphic Designer

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Whether your firm is constantly working with a designer or you only hire one on occasion, it is important that you know how to communicate well with a designer. Here are five tips to help you work well with your next designer.

1. Have a Realistic Time Frame

Set clear expectations with your designer for when you need things done. Create deadlines at the beginning of your project for initial drafts, final designs, and a print-ready piece. Keeping yourself and your designer on a timetable will help make the process less stressful.

2. Come with Examples

If you have a very specific look or feel for your project, you should be prepared to provide physical examples of the look you are going for. Come to your designer with photos or magazine clippings and be ready to talk about why you like the examples you provide.

3. Give the Designer Some Control

Give the designer your thoughts and ideas and then let them do their job. It is more than appropriate to provide constructive criticism during a meeting, but micromanaging your designer through excessive emails with different ideas and changes is likely to add unnecessary time to the project and frustration for the designer. You’ve hired a professional, trust them to do their job well.

4. Ask Questions!

You are in charge of the final design. If they are going a direction with their design that confuses you, ask them to explain it. At the end of the day, you need to feel confident and proud of your product.

5. Know When to End

Don’t obsess and try to make your product look exactly like the example images you gave the designer. It is their job to take that idea and create something original that matches your unique brand and style.

Step Up Your Font Game With These 3 Simple Tips

Posted by | Design, Uncategorized | No Comments

The task of picking fonts can be overwhelming. Selecting a typeface that represents your company’s voice while still expressing a fun personality can be difficult – even for the die-hard typography fan. We’ve put together 3 tips to help you make this seemingly simple task a little less stressful for your next company flyer or invite.


1.     Dress for Success

Picking a typeface is a lot like getting dressed in the morning. Just like clothing, there’s a time for expressive and stylish versus practical and appropriate. Practical isn’t always the most exciting choice, but when you need to get a message across, it helps communicate your point well. A great way to add some flair to your document is to use a display font on just one word or in the heading of your article.



2.     Know the Family

Pick a font family that has a variety of weights (light, bold, heavy, etc. ). A great way to add variety to your document without overdoing it on the font mixing is to switch up the weight. Some examples of fonts with a variety of weights are Avenir and Helvetica.



3.     Contrast is Key

Maybe you want a little more contrast and you want to pair a couple of different fonts – this is a great way to add variety and personality. A good rule of thumb is to only use two fonts in a document. If you use more than two, it will start to look messy and under planned. A great practice is to pair one sans serif with one serif. This gives a custom and professional look to the document.

7 Ways to Kick your Creative Block to the Curb

Posted by | Business Tips, Design, Food for thought, Marketing Help, Social Media, Uncategorized | No Comments


When it comes to marketing and design, creativity is key. So what do you do when you’ve hit the creative wall? We’ve come up with 7 different ways to get the ball rolling.

1. The more the merrier!

Coming up with new and innovative ideas can be a challenge, so don’t be afraid to surround yourself with as many minds as possible. If there’s one thing we’ve learned here at the Duo office, it’s that there is power in numbers. We have brainstorming sessions almost daily to meet together as a team and bounce ideas off of each other.

2. Bad ideas can turn into good ideas.

Write every idea down. You wouldn’t believe some of the terrible ideas we’ve come up with – and you wouldn’t believe how many of those terrible ideas have turned into some of our very best! Coming at a project from a completely new angle can open up a world of possibilities. Don’t count any ideas out!

3. Food is fuel.

This might just be us, but treats always help fuel the conversation. We keep a bowl full of sugary goodness in our conference room to aid in the brainstorming process.

4. Mix it up!

Sometimes all it takes to pin down that winning idea, is a change of scenery! We work hard to make sure our workspace is conducive to the creative process, but occasionally, we’ll take a walk down the street to mix things up. Giving your mind a little fresh air never hurt!

5. Research, research, research.

I know, I know. We hear the word research and dark clouds start forming above our heads. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Pinterest is a great tool for boosting creativity. And who doesn’t love Pinterest? It’s extremely important to know what other people are doing to successfully market themselves. We can draw inspiration from those campaigns and add our own stellar ideas to kick it up a notch!

6. Let it linger.

Sometimes time is creativity’s best friend. Don’t be afraid to step away from a project, let it marinate, and come back to it!

7. Take the first step!

Most importantly, don’t let time become creativity’s worst enemy! Take the first step. Our ideas are so often squashed by doubt and never have a chance to make their debut. The most important step to overcoming the creative block, is taking the first step.




Blank Space

Posted by | Business Tips, Design, Food for thought | No Comments

Though we know Taylor wasn’t singing about graphic design or web development, we’re happy to have a soundtrack for this important topic: Blank Space

More commonly referred to as “White Space” in a design context, leaving white space in a brochure, website, poster, flyer… pretty much everything, is an important part of design. It’s easy to see white space and think “Let’s make the logo bigger and fill that wasted space!” We’re here today to tell you that white space around text and other elements of a design is an intentional part of the design and should be looked at as part of the design – not a place for more information. White space helps the reader or viewer of a design understand which parts of the design are the most important and helps ease readability.

Take Google’s home page, for example:

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 4.50.03 PM


Consider the purpose of this web page. It’s searching, right? Not the history of Google, not information about how you can advertise with Google, or even information about the many products Google owns. Just searching. Google understands that there are other places to share more information and left their home page with plenty of white space so the viewer’s attention is drawn to the purpose of the page – the search box.

On an informative flyer or brochure, your purpose is to inform. For this purpose, you’d want to include more information than Google has on their front page. However, there is still an important balance of the information you need to include and the white space your designer chooses to include. When we design for you, our goal is to draw attention to the important information in your flyer or brochure – one of our tools is white space. Keep this in mind when you review your designs. There are times when it’s helpful and important to make your logo bigger, but remember, there are also times when we’ve left a certain amount of white space around your logo to draw attention to it.

Get Smart about Design and Copyright Laws

Posted by | Business Tips, Design, Fonts, Food for thought | No Comments

woman designer working on the pen table

Today, we are one Google search away from any work, art piece, or design that has ever been published on the web. If you are a working artist, there is a good chance that you have advertised or sold your work over a website. With this mass public space that is available at our fingertips how do you, as an artist, keep your work yours? Is it even possible?

Today we want to talk about copyright laws, and what you as a designer or creator should be aware of, because they are your rights!

First, lets go over what cannot be copyrighted. Any work that doesn’t have enough originality to call your own cannot be copyrighted. The list includes: titles, names, short phrases or slogans, fonts, facts, ingredients, measurement charts, calendars, symbols, and variations of lettering or coloring.

Knowing this might answer some questions for you. Like, why you see the same color scheme used in several different “trendy” designs. Or why you may see companies with the same name, but different businesses entirely. You can, however, trademark works like these. Trademarking a name or mark gives it the right to be used in a certain style by the merchant that owns the trademark.

So, what can you as a designer or creative do to protect your work? Lets talk about a couple of options.

The work you create is yours, as long as it is arguably different enough from other works or similar design. It can become “gray area” when you are commissioned to do work for someone or a company. They can be considered a co owner of the product depending on your agreement. You need to make sure you keep your rights when you design, so that even when the finished product is given to the client, you can legally claim it is your creation.

One thing that is smart to always do when creating work is to keep records! Dates, revisions, witnesses, and drafts are all great records to keep. Initial and date old versions of work, keep an external hard drive with revisions, whatever works best for you. These records can come in handy if you ever need to prove that you are the parent to your creation!

These laws vary in different countries, so make sure you are aware of registration and copyright law in your area. In the United States, for example, your work is protected for 70 years after your death.

Remember to protect your work, and to respect other artists as you create work. If you intend to use someone else’s work in the creation of your own, inform the artist and request permission. And keep these facts in mind to protect your own work, so you don’t have to worry about it and you can get back to creating!

Fun Fonts for Summer

Posted by | Design | No Comments

Asche Free Font

Perfect for summery party invitations, Asche is available in Regular, Bold, and Italic. (Though, only the bold typeface is free.) We love the way the letters curve without taking away from the professional look of the font.

Bebas Neue Free Font

Bold, tall, and strong, Bebas is a favorite font for headlines and image captions. The letters are bold enough to make an impact, but still condensed enough to leave room for more.

janda stylish script font free

 Janda Stylish Script is a playful cursive font. Our favorite thing is the way the letters connect together. The font even comes with an opening tail for when you’re starting words with the lowercase r or s. (Use the bar key | to get the tail) Janda is the perfect font for all your lemonade stand needs!

homestead free font

Homestead reminds us of picnics, apple pie, and ball park hot dogs. It comes with 6 different layerable options to enhance your summer designs.

lobster font free   Lobster is a bold script font that comes with a full set of ligatures and alternates (translation: lots of little pieces to connect the letters together seamlessly). Doesn’t Lobster make you want to grab your towel and suit and head to the beach? (Don’t forget the sunscreen!)

intro font free

 Thin, crisp lines are very “in” right now, but are sometimes difficult to read. Intro’s inline style is a fun twist on those crisp lines, with a bold effect that allows readability and makes a statement.

Which fonts are you loving for summer?

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