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My approach to design is simple. I strive to create pieces that are current, message-focused, visually clean, aesthetically pleasing, and surprising. The most important part of my creative process is research. Every individual and/or organization possesses a unique set of traits that define its character. Truly great design encapsulates the intangible qualities that differentiate an entity to display its core purpose and value. I have learned that to create a successful and beautiful design asking the right questions is just as important as selecting the right color palette, layout, or font.

I am a proponent for responsive web design. If you’re not well acquainted with the term, what responsive means in short is the ability for a website to adjust (or respond) depending on the device on which it is being viewed to ensure the best possible user experience. Responsive websites scale automatically to accommodate desktops, tablets, and smartphone screens, and appropriately simplify content and navigation menus as needed. On responsive websites extra care is taken to optimize images and code for quicker page loads over data networks.

Impress With WordPress: WordPress is a widely-used, free, open-source content management system (CMS) for websites and blogs. In short, WordPress is the backend application that allows for easy editing, publishing and modifying of content. The real beauty of the WordPress CMS is that it allows non-technical people to log in to their own site and maintain it as needed to update page content, create blog posts, add photos, new products, etc. Pre-designed WordPress “themes” can be applied to style the frontend, publicly viewed side of the site. A WordPress theme dictates the general look and functionality of the website. Just as the backend of WordPress is flexible, so too is the frontend. WordPress themes are meant to be used as a starting point for appearance/functionality and can be customized to reflect the brand and visual identity of a particular business or organization.

The meat and potatoes of website development and maintenance is undoubtedly content creation. Stale, poorly written or incomplete content on a website is not only bad from a communication perspective, but technically speaking it’s bad for business. Search engines want to know that a site is updated on a regular basis and packed with worthwhile information, otherwise it will send its searchers to another site that’s considered more relevant. Even strictly informational sites and online portfolios need to generate fresh, beneficial content or risk becoming irrelevant. There’s no better time to rethink content strategy than when redesigning an existing website or developing a new one from scratch. There’s also no bad time to create content. It can only help. Out with the old and in with the relevant is the best policy, and the only real way to compete in the age of content marketing.

Visual Identity: Logo and Visual Identity Design are the one-two punch of the branding world. Typically the latter follows the former. Your logo sets the tone for the brand’s appearance. Visual Identity is the extension of your brand aesthetic that carries beyond the logo to websites, apps, stationary, business cards, marketing materials, and products. Consistency is key. The idea behind identity design is to set the visual guidelines for all future communication and marketing efforts. The product of visual identity design is often a best practices guide and templated documents, which are turned over to the client for in-house use. With proper guidelines every member of an organization is able to represent the brand consistently without earning a degree in graphic design. Sounds pretty good, right?

Many small organizations simply don’t have room in the budget to hire a full-time marketing professional. If you’re looking to step up your marketing efforts you really need a plan and a point person to be effective. I am available for hire on an hourly or project basis to provide insight, strategy planning, and execution of marketing campaigns. I currently provide marketing management for one of the largest structural engineering firms in the Mid-Atlantic Region. I am also an active member of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Philadelphia Chapter, where I serve as Visual Communication Design Chair on the Board of Directors.

Social media is an important tool in the modern marketing arsenal. Active involvement in social media has obvious communication benefits and less obvious, but very real, technical benefits for your website. There are many social media channels, but there’s no point in wasting time on the ones that aren’t well suited to your organization. Devising a social media strategy is the best way to stay on top of emerging trends and ensure that you’re reaching out often enough, and conveying the right messages. When launching a new or redesigned website, it’s important to integrate social media into your design and user experience. With website solutions such as WordPress, social media integration is easier than ever. Make a plan and be social, you won’t regret it.

Oh no, not more spam! There’s nothing more annoying than a useless marketing email. Using bad email marketing practices is a great way to diminish your communication power and gain unsubscribes. To email market effectively you must respect your audiences’ time. This usually means limiting your overall frequency. Sending less is definitely more. Next, only send worthwhile information. The content of your email should be interesting and/or informative. Also consider your audience with each and every sending, and tailor your list according to the content of your email. There’s no need to pester all 2,000 of your contacts if only 200 care about the topic. If you respect your audience they might just take the time to read your message. Who knows they might just tell their friends about you too.