7 Types of Logos to Build Your Brand

Does your business have a logo customers connect with? Logos have been shown to trigger memories and emotions in customers when they see it. Some of the most recognizable logos, such as Nike or Apple, transmit enough information that they don’t even need to add the company name for people to know who it is and how they feel about them. If your business doesn’t have a logo, you should consider adopting one soon to establish a better relationship with your client base. Since design plays a part in how effective your logo is for your particular business, NuArtisan, an Austin company who creates logo design, defines the types of logos businesses can use to enhance their brand identity.

Whether you are getting a logo for the first time or changing your logo to coincide with a company name change, merger, or rebranding to boost new business, there are several options to compare.

Wordmark—Company name with stylized font and colors
Pictorial Mark—Includes a literal translation of company name with a picture
Abstract Mark—Uses an abstract image to convey an aspect of the business
Letterform—Emphasizes one or two letters of company name or product
Emblem—Often looks like a seal or badge with company name
Character—A character or mascot like image is used to distinguish the brand
Web 2.0—Logos with 3D effects, glossy textures, and bright colors

Read the full article to see examples of each type of logo as a brand identity.

Comments »

Location-based app Scvngr lets you challenge your friends

Scvnger, a new location-based app, encourages you to check in and locations throughout your city and complete a challenge. The app, designed for Android and iPhone, differs from services like FourSquare and Gowalla because it prompts users to complete an activity with each check-in. The challenge is then shared with friends. Similar to competitor apps, users can earn points and unlock badges along the way.

Originally, it was targeted toward museums and universities in the hopes of creating a game-like experience for visitors. Now, the company is encouraging users to create a game for their business or friends.

Ideally, users would visit a bar or restaurant in their city, browse the list of challenges, and snap a photo of them completing the challenge. The photo is then uploaded to the app. Challenges include everything from creating a hat out of tinfoil to answering a trivia question about the business. The business owner can create challenges as simple or as ridiculous as they’d like.

Scvngr recently received $15 million in investments from European VC firm Balderton Capital, Google Ventures, and Highland Capital Partners. This raises its total funding to more than $20 million.

Comments »

Aviary rolls out HTML5 photo editor

Aviary, one of the most well-known creative web apps, recently introduced an HTML5-powered photo editor called Feather. It’s extremely easy to use and is set apart from other apps because its ability to be portable and embeddable.

These two features are essential because it means Feather can be easily integrated into other sites and apps. This will make user’s experience much smoother because they won’t have to leave their current page to complete a task, and then go back. Instead, customers can edit directly on the site.

Its simplicity is one of its major selling points. Those who don’t want to deal with a full-fledged photo editor will love Feather because they can upload a photo and add a caption without worrying about the option of creating brush effects, adding layers, and more.

For the best user experience, Feather incorporates features from Aviary’s Flash-based image editor, Phoenix, that has been around for more than two years.

Simple features on Feather include rotate, flip, crop, blemish, colors, and saturation, as well as effects like toy camera and old photo.

To learn more about Feather, visit http://www.aviary.com/html5. The site gives you the ability to upload the image and try the editor for yourself. You can also get access to the embed code here. To date, companies like Shopify, Everloop, and Fashism have signed up to use Feather in their apps.

Comments »

Mozilla offers free training for developers

For the second time ever, Mozilla is offering free training for developers through their School of Webcraft that runs in partnership with Peer 2 Peer University. The classes aim to educate students of all skill levels and to go above and beyond what’s taught at the high school and university level. The classes were created because the founders believe young learners don’t have access to quality development resources.

The volunteer-run classes range from six to 10 weeks long and cover topics like JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5. The school also offers classes on non-developer topics like SEO. Most classes are designed for all skill levels, from beginner to expert. They include a combination of online study groups, hands-on assignments, and open learning materials.

Leaders in the development community can also volunteer to host a course themselves with support from Mozilla who will provide materials, learning facilitation, and other resources necessary. Mozilla is also accepting proposals for new course ideas. Past classes have included Introduction to Drupal, Scripting 101, and Beginning Python Webservices.

The classes were offered for the first time last semester – and there are about 30 available starting in the month of January. To learn more, or to sign up for School of Webcraft, visit https://www.drumbeat.org/webcraft/sign-up. Sign-up for the upcoming semester begins on January 8, 2011.

Comments »

Design community Forrst rolls out changes and launches credit system for post promotion

Forrst, an invite-only community for designers and developers, recently launched a credit system that can be used to buy page views on a certain post. The new feature is especially useful for those who create posts about recently launched products or job-related posts because it can help guarantee it’s seen by thousands of readers.

The community was designed as a sharing space for users, where they can add code snippets, interesting articles, design snapshots, and more. They can also ask for feedback on a current project they’re working on.

Recently, just before the site’s first birthday, it introduced the ability to purchase “acorns,” a type of virtual currency. The acorns, available for $5 each via PayPal, can be traded in for a certain number of impressions on an article. Other changes to the site include redesigned post pages, a rewrite of the site architecture, and a brand-new home page.

To become a member, apply on the Forrst website. Invitations are sent out monthly by the staff and current Forrst members, and are allotted based on participation during the previous month. The invite-only approach is designed so users can get to know one another and form a close-knit community with other designers and developers.

Comments »

How Classical Architecture Improves Web Design

Ever wonder how a building is made? It’s not just plywood nailed together into a box shape. It takes an architect to design and draw up blueprints that both fulfill form and function. Building a website follows the same principles. NuArtisan, a web design company in Austin, explains the importance of structuring a website so that it also fulfills form and function much like a building.

Information architecture uses the traditional concepts of constructing a building to organize data. If a building didn’t have a proper foundation, then the rest of the structure would be weak and dysfunctional. When it comes to web design, the functionality of a website is made sound through arranging content, database development, and dynamic coding.

Today web designers are still adapting information architecture to further improve usability and search engine optimization. Sites like Facebook and Engadget often make structural adjustments to not only support user traffic but create design that is appealing. A house can be functional, but if it isn’t aesthetically pleasing in some way you probably won’t want to live in it every day. Incorporating classical architecture methods into your web design will enhance its framework and generate navigational ease for users along with a desire to revisit more frequently.

Visit the full article to read more about web design through information architecture.

Comments »

FlickSquare posts FourSquare check-ins to Flickr

Did you capture a cool photo at a local landmark? A stunning photo while at the park? Or, maybe you just took a funny snapshot of your friends at the latest bar. Wherever you were; whatever you were doing, FlickSquare will help you keep your check-in photos organized so you can access them from your Flickr account down the road.

FourSquare recently introduced the ability to upload comments and photos to its Android and iPhone apps – but, FlickSquare takes photo sharing to a new level. Now, users can keep their photo adventures archived and synced with the rest of their Flickr photos.

The app is not only ideal for day-to-day check-ins, but also while taking a trip. Think of all the exciting landmarks, bars, and restaurants you’ll visit. Each photo and its location description will be uploaded to Flickr. Down the road, you can use the photos to make an album that commemorates your trip.

You can sign up in a few simple steps by visiting FlickSquare.me. After granting authorization to Flickr, all of your future photos will be posted to Flickr as well – along with your check-in message, a description of the photo, and a link to the FourSquare venue.

Comments »

Gift a Stranger helps you spread post-holiday cheer

The holidays have passed but that doesn’t mean you can’t spread a little post-holiday cheer. Thanks to the brand-new service “Gift a Stranger,” you can send a gift to an anonymous recipient throughout the world.

Created by Happiness Brussels, a communications agency, Gift a Stranger uses Google Maps to help you find a stranger to send a gift to. Simply visit the site at http://www.giftastranger.net, enter your first name, the city and country you live in, the gift you’re going to send, and a photo of the gift. Then, click “Find Address,” and the service will populate an address for you to send a gift to. You can simply print the information, address the package and you’re good to go!

Addresses are found using Google’s reverse geocoding – the service will search for an address until it finds a complete entry, which makes take a few minutes. Gift a Stranger also lets you view gifts that have been pledged by others to give you ideas on what is appropriate to send. Gifts sent to-date include things like a coffee mug sent to China, toys sent to New Zealand, a baseball card to Canada, a book to Greece, and much more.

Comments »

How to Create Texture in Low Light Photos

When you’re losing natural light fast, how do you save your photo composition? Having the right tools handy can make all the difference, but so can an awareness of surroundings. Providing a great trick of the trade, NuArtisan, a company who specializes in Austin photography, let’s us in on a quick fix to a low light situation.

When you need to take more than a snapshot, composition plays a part in professional quality photography. Having your subject well lit is important, but creating depth comes from shading and texture. While photographing the pool area of a local apartment complex, Adam Dolch spotted a palm tree nearby to add texture to his frame. Since it was dusk, the angle of the dropping sun cast a shadow over the tree hiding all of its ridges and fibers. Using a handheld flash directly aimed at the tree and a full color temperature orange warming gel, he was able to shed hard light on the trunk capturing its natural details. The result is a well-balanced, almost three dimensional shot with added character thanks to the emphasis of a beautifully textured tree.

Visit the full post to see photo and find out the set-up and camera settings used to capture shade and texture.

Comments »

Brand-new PageLime makes creating and managing a website easier than ever

PageLime, a hosted CMS for designers, was recently released to the public. It’s goal? To make creating and managing a small business website easy – without the hassles associated with many other content management systems. You can get started in a matter of minutes, as there’s no download or installation required. And, it connects to an existing domain and server.

The simple CMS is ideal for small businesses, and is a great alternative to the complexity that comes with a more advanced content management tool. After logging into the web app, users can manage their entire portfolio of websites from one place. From here, they can edit sites and make certain sections available to the client for future editing. Users can also add features like image galleries and SEO management.

PageLime has a simple pricing structure, including a free plan for light users. The free plan allows users to create three websites. For $19/month, users can use their own logo, colors, and more – and can design up to 50 sites. Finally, the unlimited plan for $69/month allows users create as many sites as they want with unlimited administrators.

PageLime also recently released an iPhone app that lets users access their content while on the go. From the app, they can add and edit pages, make content changes, and preview and publish these changes.

Comments »

Schweppes app lets you customize your Facebook profile

A recently released app lets users take advantage of the new Facebook profile design by letting them customize their page with a unique layout. The app was released during the end of December and is ideal for those who want a brand-new look for their profile but don’t have a background in Photoshop or similar design program.

The beverage firm, Schweppes, partnered with its Amsterdam-based digital agency to create the app after they noticed that some users didn’t like the new Facebook profile. After getting the app, you can customize your profile photo and the five photos that run along the top of the page by following a series of simple steps. During the process, you won’t have to visit another website for editing, as it can all be done through Facebook.

Users have uploaded a variety of photos for use as their profile photo, including close-up headshots, action shots, graphics, and more. Best of all, the profile change can be done in a matter of minutes by following the app’s detailed directions.

To get the app and begin customizing your Facebook profile, visit http://www.facebook.com/SchweppesFanPage.

Comments »

8 Simple Rules to Boost Website Ratings

It’s still all about who you know. Many of us connected to the social networks enjoy sharing funny stories or interesting information through sites like Facebook and Twitter. In a recent development by search engines Google and Bing, users now have a little more pull as to which links get higher ratings. NuArtisan, an SEO company in Austin, TX, breaks down the factors that influence the new rating system.

The top eight ways to boost your SEO ratings are as follows:
1. Unique tweets are stronger than repeat tweeters—In other words, having 50 friends comment on your post is better than one friend who comments on everything you post.
2. The more people who “like” or “retweet” the better—If a large number of people support a link with a “like,” the more important that link becomes.
3. High-authority power—You may have a “high-authority” presence online, but it adds to your credibility to have other high-authority people following you and joining your circle of friends.
4. Key in keywords—Make sure you include one or two keywords in your content to increase your SEO traffic.
5. Display relevant and consistent behavior—Posting relevant links about your niche or industry can solidify your message and authority. For example, as a real estate agent you would want to select information about home renovation as opposed to something about the latest fashion trend.
6. Share more than your own site links—Promoting your own links from your website may be helpful, but to truly make an impact share links from other sites as well.
7. Post frequently—New content gains attention from search engines and your website visitors are more likely to return on a regular basis for the updates.
8. Celebrity endorsements—Search engines take notice when you can get an influential person of your industry to give you a thumbs up. You’ll get not only more followers but better quality followers of high-authority.
Check out the full article for more information about how social media affects SEO.

Comments »

Ge.tt lets you share photos and documents quickly – in just one click

Ge.tt offers a unique solution that lets you share your photos and documents with friends and family members in just one click. Regardless of the file size, it can be shared in a matter of seconds. The best part? You don’t have to install anything or even create an account. Instead, you just click “create share,” upload your files, and be on your way.

Whether you’re sharing photos with friends, presentation documents with coworkers, or just want to share a quick snapshot you took, Ge.tt shares them instantly and gives you a unique URL that you can use to email, post to Facebook or Twitter. And, when the recipient gets the link, they don’t have to wait to download it. The link is populated instantly, so friends can begin downloading the link, even as it’s still uploading.

Another benefit of Ge.tt above other file-sharing programs is its “view” option. Users can view all shared files (regardless of type) without downloading the file or dealing with the hassle of a file extension. Although the service doesn’t require you to login, you do have the ability to create an account. This will allow you to login and view all of your shared files and take a look at the number of downloads and views.

Comments »

Recently launched Ontolo is ultimate link building tool

Ontolo, created by Ben Wills and Garrett French, has gained popularity in the link-building community over the recent months. Most recently, SEOMoz.com recognized it as a “link builder’s dream,” designed for professional (or semi-pro) link builders. Ontolo has created an extensive list of tools that will help you streamline your link building efforts.

Ontolo’s selection of free and paid tools include competitor link searches, content research, and backlink tracking and monitoring, and more. Or, you can sign up for their complete package. With this, Ontolo’s team do customized research into your market, will crawl and analyze 10,000 – 15,000 URLs and compile them into a database, and much more. The research and analysis process will help ensure you get relevant, valuable backlinks to your content.

The site also offers a free membership that will get you access to basic resources like a link building eBook and weekly videos. For a limited time, Ontolo is offering a FREE 14-day trial for their Link Building Toolset that can get you up to 8,000 link prospects in the next two weeks. The toolset is web-based and doesn’t require you to download any software. To learn more about the trial or to sign up, visit http://ontolo.com/sign-up-14day.

Comments »

Facto.me lets you share fun facts with friends

If you’re looking for an entertaining, mildly addictive distraction for your time, check out Facto.me. The app is designed to help users share facts about themselves – facts that wouldn’t normally come up in conversation, or perhaps facts about life that don’t come up because no one ever asks the question.

After creating an account, you can share a fact about yourself. Then, users can interact using the buttons below your post, including things like I knew that, I didn’t know that, or Boring! The site also gives you the ability to follow your friends, so you can stay up-to-date with their updates. If none of your friends are sharing facts, you can click to see a fact from someone random.

But, it’s not all about you – it’s also a great way to learn about friends and even random people in the world. You’ll find everything from highly personal tidbits to funny quirks that perhaps they’ve never shared before.

The site was designed in less than 24 hours and launched in January 2011. When it was just three days old, it had 2,000 users and 8,000 facts had been shared. It’s the newest addition to other Q&A sites like Quora and Formspring.

Comments »