The second reason to learn something new is for helping others. As I mentioned in my last post the InDesign skills that I learned mostly on the job at my business made me the go-to coworker at my day job. In other words, because I had gotten pretty good at the program I was then able to help people who needed it.
2. Helping Others Helps Us
Back when the internet was new to most of us, I was working for an advertising and promotion agency. I foresaw that learning web design would be a useful skill to have. My boss at that job was not seeing it that way so I had to learn it on my own. Eventually I convinced him to cover the cost of a course on HTML. With that class (on a series of CDs) I was able to get up to speed enough to design our first website.
A previous employer’s first website.
Once the site was up and running the Account Execs could sell the agency’s “expertise” to our clients. It wasn’t long before I was designing the first website for Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, one of our biggest clients.
My design for Hellmann’s first website.
That says to me that learning something new can have real career advantages, even if you do it mostly on your own time and on your own dime. I was at that job 10 plus years after that and I look back on the experience when I need motivation to invest time and money into learning something new today.
Next Week: Reason Number 3 To Learn Something New!
In my own business, I have to be open to learning something new pretty often. It’s because opportunities come up that require a different skill than I have but that I can acquire without much effort if I want to. That brings me to this blog post on three reasons to learn something new. The first is below. The next will appear in my next two posts so stay tuned.
1. It opens up new opportunities
Like I said, sometimes I get offered a new assignment that is not something I’ve done before. So I open up my Lynda.com account and search for the courses they have on it if available. Then I start learning!
Learning by doing
I just got a job revising an ad created by another designer in a program named Sketch. It’s a program I’d learned about once and knew would be a good one to add to my skill set. I would need to get the program to do the job and luckily my client agreed to pay for half of the cost. Then I dove into the online course on it and learned enough to do the project.
Sketch, a Mac-only program
Learning has career benefits
Up until 2012, I had only a beginner’s knowledge of Adobe InDesign. In a past job, I worked in QuarkXpress. That was great because it helped me land a job at a corporation’s in-house advertising department that used that program. In my business though, I knew I needed to get up to speed on InDesign, which seemed to be becoming the industry standard. So I learned it by doing all my client work in it. As it happened I was getting several projects that involved longer documents like white papers and ebooks. That helped me at the day job when they gradually switched over to InDesign. I was quickly becoming the go-to expert my co-workers relied on when they couldn’t figure something out.
Thanks in part to the way learning something new opened up opportunities for me I was able to take on the challenge of growing my business, enough to do it full time now!
(To be continued.)
I was in a coffee shop the recently where I picked up this little flyer for a flea market.
Flea market flyer
I like the colors and the fun design. But as I read it I realized it’s missing a vital piece of information. Where is this taking place? There’s only a photo and the town name on it to give me a clue. I don’t know the building in the photo though so there’s no way for me to get there even I wanted to. That made me think about why just having pretty type, pictures and color on a page is not enough. For graphic design to serve its true purpose, it must communicate effectively. If this had that piece of information it would have been very effective because the design got my attention which is half the battle.
Have you ever seen something printed that looked jagged and strange? Here is an example from a flyer I got a while back:
It was an obvious mistake since we all know that logo is not supposed to look like that. But what caused it to print like that? The problem was it was too low resolution. There are two types of images used in printing, vector and bitmap. Vector is done in programs like Adobe Illustrator and it can be resized up and down with no issues. Bitmap images have to have a certain number of dots per inch to reproduce correctly. Many people pull a logo or other graphic off their website send it to their graphic designer and say here, put this on my print materials. They don’t realize that the resolution on the web is much lower than what is required to print something with ink on paper. Of course why should they know that? It’s a piece of knowledge we graphic designers need to do our jobs right but other business owners know their own industries not ours. So I tell my clients to get me the original or something as close to the original as possible so it can look as good as possible. I’ve gone as far as recreating graphics and logos from scratch to get the quality needed if they couldn’t find or otherwise access better images. It’s part of being the best partner to my clients as I can be in my area of expertise.
If dpi, vector, bitmap, resolution etc. are like another language to you then allow us to keep your print materials looking as perfect and professional as your small business deserves!
In a previous blog post I made the point that websites are today’s business cards. If that’s the case, do you want a business card for your business? Of course. Then you should also want a website that reflects your business. Being infinitely malleable your website is a much more flexible tool for describing your business than a business card. What would you pay for that?
Custom websites come in all price ranges but the web designer you end up with should be someone you feel comfortable with and can contact easily for changes, troubleshooting and updates. I often run into people who hired someone to do their website and now that they need them they don’t know how to find them. Or their web designer won’t return calls. That’s pretty frustrating. Pat Creedon Design is very accessible. I also offer graphic design so I can do the promotional materials, ads and direct mail for your business as well. The consistency in having one graphic and web designer on it all, plus the reliability of one contact, makes for a pleasant and smooth process for getting your new custom website.
LinkedIn is great for businesses. Use your profile to talk up your background, skills and services. Follow these 4 easy steps to begin reaping the benefits of a strong presence on LinkedIn.
1. Include some history about yourself and how you started your business.
2. Make sure your profile includes the “Who, What, Where, and Why” in a way that helps people understand and relate to your business.
3. Keyword your entire profile with the words that are common terms used to search for the services you offer.
4. Ask business associates and clients for recommendations. Do the same for them wherever possible.