05 Jun

2019 Web Design Trends

There are so many elements that go into creating and maintaining your website – user experience, functionality, navigation, speed, content, and design. One element that constantly changes and has shifts in trends is design. Research proves that 75% of users make judgements about a company’s credibility based on the website’s design. Given the importance of your website’s design, it is vital for you to keep up with the latest trends. Let’s take a look at what is popular for 2019 in web design.

Serifs

Associated with the past, Serifs are making a comeback in 2019 because of their adaptability and ability to communicate a brand’s personality. This trend toward a more vintage typographic style is possible because of better screen resolutions which allow serifs to read more easily. With their classic look and modern feel, serifs are best used with headings, logos, or titles and not blocks of text.

Mobile First

In the past, websites were designed with the desktop user in mind and then made to be responsive for mobile audiences. Now, people are designing websites for mobile users before developing a version that will also work for desktop users. It’s no wonder why, as mobile search has been the most popular form of search since 2015. Additionally, Google is now prioritizing mobile websites over those that are not.

Video Backgrounds

Video is still the easiest and most effective avenue to convey your messaging. Without the need for paragraphs of text, a video can illustrate your brand in a matter of seconds. Proven to increase conversions, videos immediately capture the attention of your audience and boost your SEO cred. For the medium itself, the best practices employ short, muted, and high-quality video.

Single Page Design

Single page design looks great on every browsing device and works better on mobile because users can access everything without needing navigation. Not only does it offer ease of use, single page design tends to have higher conversion rates. But it’s not time to completely disregard scroll, you can deploy a single page design with scroll features to increase engagement.

Bold Colors and Gradients

Designers are backing off “web-safe” colors and picking supersaturated and vibrant colors in 2019. Choosing bold colors can differentiate your brand and make you stand out from the crowd. Additionally, designers are using gradients to draw attention to text elements or highlight specific content. Gradients have been on trend for a while because of their ability to add punch to your page without making it look too busy.

White Space

In the past, extra white space was thought to be a waste of real estate, but now it’s an up and coming trend. Allowing for easier navigation, white space also draws attention to the focal point on your webpage. Better user experience and strong conversion rates are benefits to using this trend. White space doesn’t necessarily need to be white, it just needs to be without any graphic or pictures.


WRITTEN BY
Cindy Madden

Contributor at 11P, Wordsmither, Lover of Foods Wrapped in Dough, Proud Cat Lady.

29 Mar

Insiders Guide: Tips for Working Remotely

Did you know that a good chunk of Eleven Peppers work remotely? Thanks to technology in our digital era, 50% of the workforce in the United States has some kind of telecommuting role, according to Global Workplace Analytics. While it has numerous advantages, there are also easy traps employees can fall into while working remotely. These, if left unchecked, can reduce productivity and lead to discouraged employees.

That’s not what we want, so we interviewed some of our most effective telecommuters and got their best kept secrets (not secret anymore) for anyone venturing into remote work. Here are some tips for working effectively and efficiently outside of the office.

Dress for Success
No need to suit up when you’re at home but it is best to change into a different outfit than you slept in. Even if you only switch into a different set of comfy clothes, it will signal to your brain that it’s time to start working. Some people have specific clothes that they only wear while they are working to help support a separation between home and work life.

Create an Office Space
To further distinguish that feeling of separation, we suggest creating an area in your house that is just for working. If you don’t have the room, rearrange your furniture in a way that establishes your work and non-work space. This could be as simple as clearing off your coffee table so that you only have work “approved” items– coffee cup (of course), laptop, favorite motivational quote, all of the sticky notes, and don’t forget, tons of light to keep you awake.

Keep Regular Hours
It’s easy to fall into the trap of being connected 24/7 while working from home. To avoid burnout, we recommend instituting regular working hours as you would if you reported to the office. Come up with a morning ritual that signifies the start of your work day and create a routine at the end of the day that will allow you to mentally unplug from work. One example commonly used among our pepper family is taking an exercise class every weekday at 5:30 pm.

Set Goals
Prioritize your work day and set realistic goals for yourself. In a remote setting, without anyone coming by your desk checking up on you, it’s vital to hold yourself accountable. Stick with your daily and weekly goals by creating a master to-do list to pull from. Items should be listed by level of importance, the highest priority goes at the top of the list. We also suggest scheduling regular check-ins with your supervisor or success partner  to help you stay on task.

Get Up, Stand Up
Just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean you should skip taking a break. Studies have shown that it is beneficial for employees to take short breaks after accomplishing a task or goal. So get up and stretch, do something to reward yourself, make some coffee, take your dog for a short walk, or play your favorite song and air guitar your way into your next to-do item.

Stay Connected
Don’t forget the human element. When you can, step away from your laptop and attend a workshop or conference. If your company has in-person meetings or events, make an effort to attend in order to stay connected to the company and your fellow employees. On a day-to-day level, try working in a coffee shop to break up your technology-only day with some human interaction, even if it is just the barista asking if you want another venti soy latte– joking, we’re espresso people.

23 Jan

Insider’s Guide to Social Media: Tips for 2019

Social media platforms across the board faced many controversies in 2018 including multiple privacy and data issues. Per Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer Report, 60% of people no longer trust social media companies. So what does this mean for you and your social media marketing plans for 2019? There are several ways you can still connect with your audience to build or regain trust in the current climate. Here are some you can try in the New Year:

Building Trust

Audiences are looking for authenticity and do not want to be fooled by advertisers. It is, therefore, extremely important to properly label paid advertising posts and not go overboard with targeted ads. All of your content needs to be authentic. What does that mean? It means the voice of your organization needs to be genuine to reflect the values of your business. Find ways and avenues to connect with your audience and have meaningful conversations. Or, allow your audience to have those conversations with each other by creating a Facebook group outside of your business page. This encourages engagement about your brand without having to include heavy-handed advertising.

Human Connection

Another way to establish a good rapport with your audience is bringing in the human element. No one wants to interact with a generic automaton – your audience wants to know that there is a real human behind your brand. To add the personal touch to your social media feed, try a blog, podcast, or webinar series from your organization’s owner or another prominent leader in the business. This will give your business a face and a voice that people can relate to on a personal level as well as provide you with an opportunity for strengthening your brand’s reputation.

Storytelling

While not new to the social media scene, stories allow organizations to present a real, immediate, and personal look into their brand. Stories are also gaining momentum in recent years. Their creation and consumption is up 842 percent since early 2016, according to consulting firm Block Party. The best way to share stories is to keep them in their raw, unedited form which will lend to their authenticity. Stories also work most effectively when multiple medias are used within them including text, images, and video.

Now that you have some tips for social media in the New Year, go forth and post on.


WRITTEN BY
Cindy Madden
Contributor at 11P, Wordsmither, Lover of Foods Wrapped in Dough, Proud Cat Lady.

18 Dec

2018 Gift Guide: Last Minute Ideas for Creatives

Shopping for the Creatives Pros in your life can be tricky. I mean really, how many soft-brush marker pens could they possibly need? All of them… at least that’s the answer I’ve found most accurate. Well today, I am bringing you an all-inclusive Gift Guide that will cover ANY type of creative on your list! Oh, and did I mention they are all Amazon Prime eligible? So, even if you’re like me and wait until the very last minute for the “perfect” idea to magically pop into your head, you’ll be covered.

All product names and descriptions will be linked at the bottom… PS this is in no way affiliated, we just love these products and wanted to share… HERE WE GO!

1 – For the Typography Lover: The “I’m silently judging your font choice” t-shirt is perfect for your overly-enthusiastic font lovers and judgers and comes in men, women, and youth sizes.

2 – For the Visual Thinkers: This classic, cloth-covered Grids and Guides notebook provides 160 pages of varied grid designs with a handful of illustrations and graphs dispersed throughout. Just as suitable for capturing to-do lists as it is sketches.

3 – For those who Get their Best Ideas in the Shower: We’ve all had it happen, you think of something ingenious only to have it fly out of your brain before you can write it down. Never again, well, at least not while you’re in the shower. Aqua Notes, thank you for solving the age-old problem in at least one room of the house.

4 – For the Storyteller: The Storymatic Classic includes 540 unique prompt cards to help unlock your imagination. This is a wonderful gift for content creators, writers, or even those who just like to tell a good story.

5 – For Kids: Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave by Jessica Hische is a beautifully illustrated book that encourages kids to look towards tomorrow, to dream big, to promise to do new things.

6 – For 3D Artists: Here’s one for all of our 3-dimensional medium artists or really anyone, because it is just so fun! The 3Doodler Create Pen is such a unique and versatile gift, great for all ages and skill level.

7 – For the Dreamers: Know someone who needs a creativity pep-talk? Maybe you are that person, I know I am. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert delivers just that. Gilbert shows us how to push past our fears and be brave in our creative abilities.

8 – For the Graphic Designers: This Adobe Illustrator Keyboard Hot Keys Silicone Skin will have your friends spending less time remembering shortcuts and more time creating!

9 – For the Illustrators: Okay, well it wouldn’t be a Gift Guide for Creatives unless I threw in some Brush Marker Pens… and these are Metallic!

10 – For the Lover all things Retro: You know the person… saved the first edition Nancy Drew novels from her parent’s house and prefers real books over audio books. This throwback Typewriter Coaster set will please any retro home decor lover.

11 – For Anyone: Had to throw in a mug, it is getting colder after all. This Think Outside, Leave the Box At Home mug  is a wonderful, daily reminder for any creative to just break through any boundary or “box” in their way.

I hope you found this guide helpful, please tag us on social media (Instagram|Facebook) if you know someone who would love one of these gifts. Happy Prime-ing everyone!


WRITTEN BY
Katie Burns
Holiday Lover, Digital Marketing Manager at 11P, Laughs at Her Own Jokes.

11 Dec

Brand Perception: It’s Everywhere

I was recently on a Netflix binge of the show “Designated Survivor” when the word brand caught my attention. Something said by President Tom Kirkman had been taken out of context and now a senator was attempting to use it for political gain. In the scene, President Kirkman’s staff were expressing concern that this would have a significant negative effect on his brand. His staff went on to explain that Tom Kirkman’s brand is the people’s President, the average Joe and Jane President, and the out of context statement being used by the senator made it seem that President Kirkman was calling these same people suckers. Not a good thing if you want to stay in good standing with your constituents (or customers). I found it interesting that branding itself would be a topic – albeit not the main one – on a show that’s mostly about political intrigue and hunting down the enemy so I thought I’d dive into what brand means in this context and why it’s so important.

If you google branding, you’ll come up with definitions, articles, listings for local companies and YouTube videos. Digging into those top few definitions and articles will yield results that talk about logos, colors, terms, slogans and even branding cattle. If you scroll a little further down those original search results, you’ll find that Shopify defines branding as “all of the ways you establish an image of your company in your customers’ eyes.” This is closer to the meaning of brand that the staffers on Designated Survivor were concerned about, but I think the closest I came across comes from Marty Neumeier’s book, “The Brand Gap” which defines brand as “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organization.” In other words, it comes down to how you or your company/product/service are perceived by your customers.

So how do you ensure that your brand is perceived the way you want it to be? Here are a couple of key things to consider:

  1. Have a clear vision. Know where you want your brand to go and what you want your brand to do. It’s often helpful if your vision includes how your brand will benefit others. You don’t just want to make a really cool product. You want to make a really cool product that positively impacts the lives of your customers.
  2. Be consistent. Your message has to be clear across the board. This goes for what you say, what your staff says and how you and your staff portray your brand. If you, your press secretary or even your intern don’t understand or can’t get behind your message, then you’re not presenting a united front and you lose credibility.
  3. Be engaged and accessible. In the age of social media, customers need to be able to reach out to the brands that they do business with. Regularly posting new content, responding to feedback and encouraging your customers to be involved with your company via social media makes them feel included. If your customers see that they can be part of your brand, they are much more likely to become and/or remain loyal customers.

As with most TV shows, the episode ended with the misunderstanding being righted and the American people back on President Kirkman’s side. If only righting misunderstandings was as easy as it is on TV. This is part of why it is so critical to ensure your brand is properly perceived by your current and potential customers. At the end of the day, the perception of your brand can determine your success whether that’s the success of a product, a service or a political career.


WRITTEN BY
Katie Long
Life-long Marylander, Content Creator at 11P, Obstacle Course Racing Enthusiast.

11 Dec

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Design Enthusiasts

The holiday season is upon us and we are busy trying to find just the right gifts for coworkers, family and friends. If you are like us and have a couple people on your list that have an appreciation for nicely designed packaging and products, here is a gift guide for you!

Pepper Ornament | Artist Hands | Artisan Playing Cards | CMYK Coasters | Brush Pens | Friyay Mug | House Industries Book | Designers Rule Pin | Pantone Storage Tin | Letter Board | R2-D2 Charging Hub | Color Burst Tattoo | Coffee Dripper | Flower Tattoo | Pencils | Artist Ornament Set