9.23.2010

Achieve Work Life Balance

Work-Life Balance?


Starting a business is an exciting endeavor and it is also challenging. In a business' infancy the last thing you may think about is how to create work-life balance. Making time for yourself when your business is in the startup phase (usually 0-3 years) can be critical to your success.


As a single women and business owner, I often forget to take the time to enjoy life. I am always thinking about the next thing I have to do or the next project I have to work on. Recently, over a dinner conversation, the person I was speaking with asked me what I do for myself. When I began to answer, she said, "No. You have to take time for yourself." It sounds easy to do when you hear that. It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings.


"Entrepreneurs work a few years like no one will so that they can live the rest of their life like most people cannot."


I understand this quote and respect it. But does that mean that we cannot have balance in our lives? What does it look like for us to have work-life balance? I do not have one answer, but I do know that I am striving for this balance. 


5 ways of introducing work-life balance into your routine:



  • Quiet Time - Set aside at least 15 minutes a day when you do absolutely nothing. Don't think about work or any other stressors you may have.
  • Quality Time - Spend a few hours a week doing something you enjoy. You can walk on the beach, get a massage, or have drinks with the girlfriends. However, if you do go out with other people do not discuss business. This time is solely for relaxation.
  • Decide what is important - It is easy as the CEO to engulf yourself in your business and very tempting to seize every opportunity that comes your way. Truly evaluate whether these opportunities will make or break your business and learn to say, NO.
  • Set realistic goals - Setting goals is key to success whether in business or in your personal life. I encourage you to create goals in both of these areas. What is important to the success of your business? What do you want to achieve in your personal life? When you outline these goals, it will allow you to eliminate the unnecessary. 
  • Get a life - Find something that you can do, not related to your business that excites you. Do that as often as you can while you are building your company/business. Take time out with family and friends as often as you can. Enjoy life while creating a successful business.

8.25.2010

Creating Trust Through Branding Pt. 1

 Branding - kind, grade, or make, as indicated by a stamp, trademark, or the like; A mark made by burning or otherwise, to indicate kind, grade, make, ownership, etc;… Any mark of disgrace; stigma.


Creating an idea that formulates into a business can be a difficult process. An even more difficult process is visually translating this new business to its audience. This act is called, branding. Much like its definition above, taken from Webster's Dictionary, branding is the stamp or trademark that a company burns into the minds of its consumer. The act of branding if not done correctly, can also be a mark of disgrace.

How many times have you walked into an office and thought to yourself, "I am not going to spend my money here?" How many times have you visited an e-commerce website and hesitated to put in your credit card information? You took one look at the office decor and decided that this place is not worth your time or money. The website may have looked as if the business did not put any thought into the image they wanted to portray. If they did not put thought into this than could you trust them?

Branding is not about creating pretty logos and decor for an office, it is about creating trust with consumers. Though creating corporate identity is the beginning of branding a company it extends far beyond what you see on paper. 

Recently, I was asked to do a client's initial company branding. They wanted something, "simple" which usually means, lets just do something quick and then we can rebrand later. Sometimes this is because they want to save money on the initial branding and then rebrand when they receive startup funding. However, branding should not be done under the premise of rebranding later. This can often hinder the process. The initial branding of your company as well as any branding efforts done later, should be well thought out with your target market in mind. Everything from the color of your logo to the paint in your office should be in harmony with the direction you want your business to take.

For more information about IsrylDesigns contact isryl@isryldesigns.com.






7.06.2010

PayMo: Excellent Time Tracking Tool for Small Businesses

As a small business, We are always looking for tips and tools to better business operations. A few months ago IsrylDesigns came across the site paymo.biz and now we have an efficient way to manage projects and invoice clients.


PayMo's user-friendly interface allows us to easily navigate through all of its useful tools.


Dashboard
The dashboard shows a quick view of upcoming milestones and tasks, a color coded bar graph of the hours worked on each project, and a snapshot of the total hours worked by day, week, and month.


Milestones/Tasks
Keeping track of deadlines has never been easier. A great feature of the milestone tab is the email alert. When you add a milestone you can set a time to have an email reminder sent. Tasks are lists related to the milestone. Once a milestone or task is complete simply click on the box and it will delete itself from the list. All of your changes will be stored on your dashboard so that you can keep track of all of the company activity. 


Timer
The timer allows the user to track time by pushing one button (start) or (stop). The timer runs in the background while the user is working in another program. Should the user forget to stop or start the timer there is a way to manually enter the time.


Clients/Projects
Add all of your client details including uploading a logo or picture and contact information. This information is then populated in the invoice section streamlining the invoicing process. Once your client(s) are added, you can then add the projects, milestones, and tasks related to them.


Users
PayMo has a variety of options depending on the needs of your business. The free version of PayMo allows up to 2 users and 3 invoices per month. The upgrade version only $9.99 allows for unlimited invoicing. You can track your freelancers/employees time and include that in project billing. To upgrade your account, just click on the upgrade button on the right side of the page under Invoicing. Note: You can cancel the upgrade at anytime but you do have to click on the downgrade button to do so.


Invoicing
One of our favorite features of the site is the invoicing tool. Create a simple and effective invoice by uploading your logo. Click on the client you want to bill and their information will automatically populate. An invoice number is generated and you can click the paypal box to allow your client to pay online using their credit/debit card. The invoice will create a link that you can email to your client. Save trees and time! Note: You need to set up your paypal account before generating a paypal invoice.


Reports
Keep up with your company's hours, and finances using the reports tab. Paymo will generate reports based on hours worked by project, hours worked by user, and financial statistics. Now you can keep track of your companies productivity and financial growth all in one tool, PayMo!


IsrylDesigns is always looking for ways to make our business more successful. If you know of any tech tools, design opportunities or just want to connect email us at info@isryldesigns.com.


Thanks for letting us turn your design dreams into reality!



3.02.2010

Interview with Andy Cruz - Art Director, House Industries


Here is another interview related to my thesis on Stereotypography. Andy Cruz, Art Director for House Industries was courteous enough to answer the following questions:

1. How long have you been designing type?
We started house industries in 1993.
2. How does House Industries approach the design of new typefaces? I imagine that inspiration comes from different places for each designer at House Industries? Is there a common mantra for the designers of House Industries? Where does your inspiration to create a new typeface come from?
Often type collections grow from personal interest/hobbies (toy packaging, punk rock, sign lettering, etc.).
Tiki Type & Stereotypography:
In an 2004 Letterspace article by Rob Giampietro titled, "New Black Face," he says that stereotypography in graphic design "has been increasing as design is becoming a cultural force". Siting that House Industries recently (as of the date of the article release) released Tiki Type to signify Polynesia. http://www.studio-gs.com/neuland.html
1. What was the original purpose behind the design of the Tiki type font?
I was always fascinated by the lettering used to promote Polynesian theme restaurants from the post WWII era. from the architecture to the logo embossed on the restaurant's signature Tiki mug, it was the American version or fantasy of what the south pacific "might" be
like. urban archaeologist have dubbed this the "Polynesian pop" movement.
2. What was the design process like when House Industries first conceptualized Tiki Type?
Digging thru our favorite Hawaiian LPs, matchbooks, menus, and other ephemera for prime lettering specimens. from there we try our best to distill the aesthetic but produce a font collection that would have relevance in today’s market.
3. What audience did House Industries have in mind for Tiki Type?
The graphic design trade.
4. What were the goals, if any, for the future of this font?
To expose designers to the history of Polynesian pop and offer a tool that might make their job easier. all delivered in the form of a pop-culture art history lesson (in this case the tiki craze that ran from the mid 1940 to the late 60s).
5. Do you consider Tiki Type a stereotype of Polynesia?
More of a stereotype of the lettering used promote America's distorted view Polynesia.
Rudolph Koch, designer of Neuland's Black Face originally designed this typeface to for the setting of important texts such as church related texts. However, this typeface was later discounted as "garbage" and was used with racist imagery of African Americans on tobacco and cotton products.
6. What do you think makes a typeface a stereotype?
Context and familiarity.
7. Is there an appropriate use for cultural typography?
I hope so. Imagine how boring it would it be if there was no cultural flavor in typography.
10. Do the designers at House Industries ever have any dialogue about stereotypography or stereotypes in design?
We love mixing stereotypography and clich├ęs into our work. For us it's a treat to see good designers take one of our "theme" collections and use it for something that has nothing to do with the source material it was born from.

Hope you enjoyed this interview. Check back for more design related blog posts. And visit our sister site for more personal development posts. http://www.divadiariesbythediva.blogspot.com.
~IsrylDesigns!

1.05.2010

Q&A with Chris Costello - Font Designer (Papyrus)

I conducted this interview with Chris Costello designer of the font Papyrus a few years ago in relation to my Masters thesis project on Stereotypography (The stereotyping of cultures through typeface(s) commonly associated with them). I hope you all enjoy.


How did you originally create the font Papyrus?
I started sketching letters with a flat-nib pen on watercolor paper. The texture is natural.


When creating Papyrus, what was your initial goal for the use of the font?
I envisioned it would have uses for very specific themes primarily related to Eastern culture.


What do you think of Papyrus now?
It's widely used without discretion.


Why do you think Papyrus is so popular when designing toward the Asian market?
I think, from a Western point of view, it has some similarities to calligraphic writing styles used in China, India and primarily the Middle East because of the extended appearance of the characters.


Do you think Papyrus is overused?
Yes, it is on every computer in the world.


If you could set the rules for every designer who wanted to use Papyrus, what would they be and why?
The only thing I can say is use sparingly, it's not for everything.


Have you ever heard of Stereotypography before?
Other than the printing process, no.


Do you think of Papyrus as a stereotype of Asian culture? Why or Why not?
No. It is only my interpretation or suggestion of "The Far East" to fellow Westerners. I'm sure the Chinese or Arabs would think otherwise.


In your opinion, what makes a font a stereotype. The creation? The application?
Many fonts are created for a specific, purpose like Johnston in 1916 for London's Underground because it's easy to read (when you are in a hurry). It was very modern for that period and over the years, has proven to be timeless. I think it's stereotypical "modern" looking font, similar to Gotham or Frutiger. Because many designers seem to agree on that point, these fonts are accepted and widely used for "hip" or "clean" looking design solutions.


What should designers do to avoid using fonts as stereotypes?
If I understand your questions correctly, I don't think this should be avoided because in the real world of design (not just in theory), you may only have enough time to pick your favorite stereotype to quickly make a design work before it's out the door to the printer, thus preserving your reputation with your client or your boss.


~end of interview


I hope that you all enjoyed the Q&A with Chris Costello. He was very gracious to help me out when I was working on my thesis. Be sure to leave comments or Questions if you have any. I will be posting a Q&A with Andy Cruz, Owner | Creative Director of House Industries (also related to my thesis) later this week.


Happy Designing!!!