Send bulk email the right way with SendPulse

Post pobrano z: Send bulk email the right way with SendPulse

At one point, a few years ago, some Internet marketers predicted that blogs and emails would die. Neither did die, blogs are a well-established communication tool for companies, there are more professional bloggers than ever, it even became a normal job, and email marketing has never been as important as it is now.

It has become so important to communicate by email that everybody is doing it now, which means that it’s getting harder to make your way into your subscriber’s inbox. Sending mass emails from your inbox is a thing of the past, and using an open-source tool to send the emails is also on its way out. In fact, if you are sending many emails from the same server, you are likely to be marked as suspicious.

SendPulse is one of the most professional solutions available nowadays for marketers, bloggers, and online shop owners. The bulk email service gives you easy-to-use tools for efficient online marketing that lands in your subscribers’ inbox.

More than email marketing

Although SendPulse better-known feature is email marketing, this powerful tool goes way beyond it. The technology uses SMTP to allow you to send emails from any application, you can even take more control over the tool by using the Rest API. Going with the Internet users’ habits, SendPulse is also targetting mobile users by giving you web push tools and the possibility to send SMS messages.

On top of all this, this online service also makes you more successful by using artificial intelligence technology that increase the opening rate of emails by up to 50%. These impressive results are achieved by a combination of optimal personalization of the message, an optimization of the delivery time of messages according to the user’s habits, and subject optimization that help you create more catchy messages.

Drag-and-drop template editor

If you are not a web developer, designing HTML emails can be tough. It requires skills that would take too long to learn, and you are primarily interested in marketing anyway. SendPulse makes email design very easy, thanks to its drag-and-drop editor that gives you full control over what you are doing.

You start by choosing a template as basis for your email, then you customize it with the elements available. Probably the simplest tool for email design out there.

And much more features

Unless I missed something, SendPulse has all the necessary features for a professional marketer. They have made everything responsive and mobile-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about that part. It comes with useful marketing automation tools, schedulers, in-depth analytics, and is easy to integrate, so what are you waiting to try it out?

Design deals for the week

Post pobrano z: Design deals for the week

Every week, we’ll give you an overview of the best deals for designers, make sure you don’t miss any by subscribing to our deals feed. You can also follow the recently launched website Type Deals if you are looking for free fonts or font deals.

TT Berliners

Old meets new in this fabulous font deal that includes both Modern Script and Old Grotesk typefaces. TT Berlinerins combines the best of both worlds with an elegant script exemplifying the modern feel of Berlin, mixed with an old Grotesk font reminiscent of wood-type posters from the early 20th century. Loads of OpenType features, swashes and glyphs offer real flexibility with this pair.

$9 instead of $29 – Get it now!

The Little Font Bundle Vol IV

The Little Font Bundle Volume IV is here and it’s Pay What You Want!

Pay what you want instead of $143 – Get it now!

Art Text App for Mac Turns Text into a Masterpiece

Words can be a beautiful thing, especially when the very letters themselves are in fact artwork. With the Art Text app for mac, that’s exactly what you get. Put together magnificent sophisticated title art for everything from presentations to logos to buttons. With thousands of templates, fill tools, graphic content and more, your words will never look better.

$17 instead of $30 – Get it now!

130+ Clip-art Floral Elements and Frames

Now you can easily change up your website (or your clients’) with this beautiful collection from NexThemes. You’ll get 27 premium WordPress themes and 16 HTML website templates covering a huge array of categories from fashion to fitness to photography. Fully responsive, these beautiful themes are real flexible too, letting you change up colors, fonts and more.

$8 instead of $650 – Get it now!

Fontfabric Font Bundle of 90+ Fonts

If you’re looking for a great set of fonts, this Fontfabric Font Bundle is sure to put a big fat smile on your face! That’s because with just 1 deal, you’ll get yourself more than 90 different fonts! You’ll get yourself some of the greatest Sans and Art fonts around. These 18 unique font families are delivered to you all in an .OTF file format. What’s even more amazing is that thanks to this Mighty Deal, you can save more than 95% off the regular price!

$29 instead of $1298 – Get it now!

Use color to make your website look good

Post pobrano z: Use color to make your website look good

When we first look at a design or artwork, we often don’t think about what we see.  Instead, we focus on aspects of the work that grab our attention.

This is called pre-attentive vision.  It begins when a design grabs our attention, but we haven’t yet thought about it.  We scan information, which is recognized by the unconscious.

A designer often aims to attract the eye to the most important aspect of a poster, website or image by organizing information and showing a viewer where to look.  Using line, color, hierarchy, framing, depth, shape, and motion helps aspects of a design to POP out at a viewer.

Color and Semiotics

Capturing user attention with color means recognizing that color sends out messages.

When looking at color, people first respond to light, and levels of color saturation.  They then respond to the emotional message a color brings.

Peirce’s Trichotomy of Signs explains that color has:

  • Iconicity: This is the emotional message of color.  Dark colors are often seen to be heavy, while light, fresh colors can be cheerful.  We might also look at what colors resemble, such as the green of grass, or the warmth and passion of fire.
  • Indexicality: The link between color and context. A grey sky is seen to represent rain, while a blue one represents a sunny day.
  • Symbolicity: This is the abstract meaning behind color and is often more emotional than logical.  This is the language behind color, which connects red to passion or love, blue to spirituality or peace, and yellow to happiness.  This language can be complex and isn’t always easy to understand.

How to design using color:

Use balance and contrast

Picking three colors, and using the dominant color 60% of the time, the secondary color 30% of the time, and the accent color 10% of the time provides balance within a design or color scheme.

As the eye often notices saturated color first, the most saturated color should be used for important content, that which seeks to bring a message.

Using the brightest color as an accent color means that this color will draw our attention not only because it is saturated, but also because it is sparse, and contrasts with the space behind it.  This shows the viewer that the message is important.

Link color to shapes

We do not only form messages in connection with color but also associate color with a shape.  Color, and shape, when combined together, often give off new meaning.

Green and blue may be associated with sky, spirituality, peace or even nature, but place these colors together along with the easily recognizable shape of the globe, and they take on an easily recognizable meaning.  Likewise, a red rose gives a different message to a jagged red line.

When working with color, it is important to determine how this color interacts with shape, and the meanings the combinations evoke.

Use texture

When a texture is contrasted with a simple background, it can be used as a means of attracting attention, causing a message to pop out.  Texture adds depth to a message, and brings it to life, sometimes becoming more prominent than shape or line.

However, when using texture to construct a message, the background cannot compete for attention, otherwise, the textured message will simply add to the noise on the page.

Make use of the Gestalt Principles

Gestalt shares that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.  The human brain looks at the overall design and how this interconnects and takes a message from this, rather than breaking down the individual parts.  The following Gestalt principles are therefore helpful in creating an effective design:

Proximity:  the more closely objects are placed next to one another, the more likely the mind will see them as interconnected.  These objects don’t have to share colors or characteristics to be seen as related.

Similarity:  Objects which share characteristics will be seen to be more similar than those which do not share similarities.  Objects may be seen to be related because of color, shape, size or texture.

Symmetry:  Symmetry helps to create order, and people seek order.  As a result, they often see objects to be symmetrical.  Symmetry does not only rely on shape but may also use color or texture.

Boundary:  Boundary is used to frame or enclose like elements, separating them from others.

Connectedness:  Connectedness is used to show the how different objects relate.

How to grab the attention of site visitors

Site visitors are always potential customers.  Holding their attention long enough to show what is on offer is therefore crucial.  The following factors assist with grabbing a visitor’s attention:

Our brains can be quite selective when it comes to focus.  This is because without filtering out a great deal of irrelevant information, we would often feel overwhelmed.  Therefore, designing a website which grabs attention would need to take into account how the brain focuses.

We know that the brain will pay attention to physical needs when we are hungry, recognize the names of those close to us, pays attention to areas we have chosen to focus on and can be captured by emotion.  Our brains also pay attention to novelty and contrast.

Use novelty

When designing it is helpful to be different, bringing in something which is weird or unusual in order to attract attention.

This is because our brain screens out everyday background noise, or that which is overly familiar.  People will, however, pay attention to contrast or difference.  Be quirky when designing a site.  Use CSS text effects, illustrations, and clever animations for that.

Inspire emotion

Use color effectively, be visual, aim for warmth and friendliness in your copy, and your visitors will feel welcome.

They will also feel an emotional connection, meaning that they will pay more attention to your site.

The language of color

Color can be very effective in creating emotion in visitors.  This is because colors have a language, and visitors relate to them on an emotional level.  Used effectively, a color will create the effects you need.  Here are common messages perceived behind 10 popular colors:

Red

Red is the color of passion, power, and warmth.  It is attention-grabbing but should be used in small doses.

Blue

Blue is seen to be calm, cool and trustworthy.  It is often very effective when mixed with orange.

Pink

This is the color loved by girls.  Fun, romantic and feminine, this is the color aimed at a young female audience.

Yellow

Yellow is a strong, bright and sunny color which can be used to capture your audience’s attention.  It lets them know you are confident.

Green

Green is warm and inviting, and links to goodwill, environmental awareness, and health.  It is also the color of money and may represent wealth.

Gold

Gold is another elegant, prestigious color, symbolizing wealth and pedigree or achievement.

Orange

Orange represents warmth or energy.  This is a powerful and attention-grabbing color which feels cutting edge.

Purple

Purple is the color of luxury and has been associated with royalty.  It will add a sense of prestige and even decadence to your designs.

Brown

Brown is warm, earthy and homely, and brings a feeling of ease.

Black

Black is extremely versatile and can be used in many different contexts.

It can be modern or traditional, exciting or relaxing, and it is up to the designer to choose how best to use it.  Black can add drama or depth to a design.

The Red Reveal: Illusions on the Web

Post pobrano z: The Red Reveal: Illusions on the Web

In part one of a series of posts about optical illusions on the web, Dan Wilson looks at how to create the “Red Reveal” that he happens to describe like this:

Growing up, my family played a lot of board games. Several games such as Outburst, Password, and Clue Jr. included something that amazed me at the time — a red lens and cards with some light blue text that was obscured by a myriad of red lines. When you put the red lens over the card, the text would magically appear.

Here’s one example of that effect from a nifty Pen:

I’d also recommend reading part two in this series, Barrier Grid Animation, which uses a bunch of CSS techniques to trick your eye into seeing an animation of several static images.

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The Red Reveal: Illusions on the Web is a post from CSS-Tricks

My Talk Writing Process

Post pobrano z: My Talk Writing Process

Some people have a talk preparation process that is super organized and runs like a well-oiled machine. Mine, on the other hand, is a bit messy, but it works for me. Even when a talk looks polished and put together on stage, it doesn’t mean the process to get it there was that way too.

Me on stage at An Event Apart.

When putting together a new talk recently, I noticed there was most definitely a pattern to how my talks take shape. Here’s how the talk-making process goes for me:

The Research Phase

True to the nature of research, all my talks start by collecting articles, books, videos, and other things that relate to the topic of the talk. At this point in the talk development process, I usually only have a general topic idea instead of a fully fleshed out point-of-view or main message. That means I end up collecting things that might only be tangentially related to the topic and going down some strange topical rabbit holes.

I’ll save all these as a collection of bookmarks but usually also in a Google Doc with notes or quotes from the piece that seem most relevant. That makes it easier to keep a high-level view of what I’ve collected, and even discover interesting threads that connect some of the seemingly unrelated sources.

This initial phase is intentionally fuzzy on focus. Only a small percentage of the research I collect actually makes it to the end talk content. Sometimes the things that don’t make it spark ideas for other talks, or just gets filed away in my brain for future (hopefully interesting) things.

Outlining: The Giant Mess Phase

There’s probably a smarter sounding name for this phase, but for every talk I’ve done, there’s always a point where I step back and think, „Holy crap this is all a giant mess! What am I even doing with all this!?” So, that’s what I’ll call this phase. This is the phase where I make a general outline for the talk (again in a Google Doc or Word file) and start fitting my thoughts, examples or demos, and relevant research into it.

I outline the major points I think the talk should make and try to fit them into some sort of narrative order. These tend to change and morph a bit as the talk takes shape, but that’s OK because I’m still in the giant mess phase.

At the top of my document I have a three-part block that helps keep me focused:

What is the main question this talk answers (or the main problem it addresses)?

What is the main message of this talk?

Three points that support the main message:

(I started doing this on advice from Bill Smartt, and it’s been a huge help ever since.)

A talk outline for a 30 min talk complete with comments to myself.

The rest of the document addresses the body of the talk with each main point as a headline and some notes underneath it. Personally, I don’t write out talks word-for-word and memorize them. I do write out an introduction and conclusion to make sure I’m setting up the topic and summarizing it well, but the rest of the notes are bulleted lists of points to make and references supporting examples, demos, or references. I leave space at the bottom of the document for random thoughts and notes as well as probably a few too many comments to myself on possible changes to make or different directions to take. Points that don’t fit into the main narrative get moved down to this section too.

Once I feel like I have a cohesive outline, or at least one that isn’t a total mess, I move on to making some visuals.

The Editing Phase

A recent talk with all the edited-out slides shown ghosted out. Those slides never made it to the final talk.

This is the point where I start making slides and such based on the outline. Some people leave slides to the very last thing, but I leave them more to the almost last thing and do some of my thinking and organizing while I build up the slide deck.

I’ll make slides for each point in the outline, take screen recordings of demos or examples, and start piecing things together in order. I tend to think of my talks in sections at this point and, as I create the slides for each section, I’ll try talking through them out loud to see how they flow. (It’s amazing how different things sound when you say them out loud!)

There is a lot of rearranging and cutting out during this phase to work towards something that feels cohesive. I keep working on adding, deleting, and rearranging slides until I’ve got visuals for the full narrative of my outline. Sometimes things fall into place quickly, but for most talks this part can take a while.

At this point I almost always have far too much content. I’ll run through what I have for the talk in 10 to 15 minute chunks, editing down and solidifying points until I’ve got something that fits neatly into the required time length. Most times this means a 30 minutes and 45-60 minute version of the talk depending on the format of the event where it’s being given.

The same talk without the slides that have been edited out.

Rehearsing: The Talking to Myself Phase

Rehearsing is so important but it can also be very awkward. It seems like everyone has a different strategy for rehearsing talks, which totally makes sense. I have a really hard time rehearsing talks in their entirety when I’m standing in my office talking to the wall or to the dog, so I tend to rehearse in 15 or 30 minute chunks; practicing the first half then taking a break to do some other things and coming back to run through the second half. That way I know I have a handle on all the material, but haven’t driven myself (or the dog) up a wall with all that talking to no one in particular.

Ah, that familiar presenter notes view. I like a giant notes window even though I rarely actually read them while I’m on stage. They’re a „just in case” kind of thing.

As often as possible I’ll try to give a new talk to a few friends or at a meetup before doing it on stage for the first time. Having a real live human audience can really help show which points are strong and which might need a bit more work to get across well. I also always run through the „final” talk from start-to-finish at least once in the 24 hours before I’ll be on stage to make sure all the content is fresh in my mind.

A Talk is Never Really Done

Seriously. They really never are. The funny thing about talks is that when you give them more than once, they’re rarely exactly the same. (Yes, it is totally fine to do the same talk more than once.) There is always something to improve, something to add, or new points or examples to add to the narrative.

I usually make notes for myself on what worked or what didn’t right after getting off stage. That’s a good time to recall which parts of the talk felt like they could use some work, but it’s not such a good time to actually make any edits. I’ll go back to those notes a few days later (having some space here is really helpful) and make adjustments as needed. Also, if I come across other relevant examples or research at any point in time, I’ll try to add them into the talk for the next time around.

You Do You

If there’s one thing I’ve learned working on talks and talking to other speakers about their process, it’s that no two people work the same way. Everyone has their own way of putting together talks that they’ve customized for their own habits and preferences. If your talk development process looks nothing like mine, that’s totally fine. And if you haven’t found a process that works for you yet, keep experimenting with different techniques. You’ll find one that works for you!

For more on how to get a talk together, check out these other articles too:


My Talk Writing Process is a post from CSS-Tricks

Shipping system fonts to GitHub.com

Post pobrano z: Shipping system fonts to GitHub.com

System font stacks got hot about a year ago, no doubt influenced by Mark Otto’s work putting them live on GitHub.

The why, to me, feels like (1) yay performance and (2) the site looks like the rest of the operating system. But to Mark:

Helvetica was created in 1957 when the personal computer was a pipe dream. Arial was created in 1982 and is available on 95% of computers across the web. Millions, if not billions, of web pages currently use this severely dated font stack to serve much younger content to much younger browsers and devices.

As display quality improves, so too must our use of those displays. System fonts like Apple’s San Francisco and Microsoft’s Segoe aim to do just that, taking advantage of retina screens, dynamic kerning, additional font-weights, and improved readability. If operating systems can take advantage of these changes, so too can our CSS.

I also like the team’s idea of adding emoji fonts at the end of the font declaration so that you have the best support possible for those too:

p { 
  font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "Segoe UI", Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, "Fira Sans", "Droid Sans", "Helvetica Neue", Arial, sans-serif, "Apple Color Emoji", "Segoe UI Emoji", "Segoe UI Symbol";
}

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Shipping system fonts to GitHub.com is a post from CSS-Tricks

How to Design Flat Icons in Affinity Designer: Discount Badge and Hanger Icons

Post pobrano z: How to Design Flat Icons in Affinity Designer: Discount Badge and Hanger Icons

This is part two in our four-part series on How to Design Flat Icons in Affinity Designer.

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Part One to this series, where you’ll get the introduction to this course as well as the first lesson for creating a flat shopping bag icon.

Find more incredible Design & Illustration Courses on Envato Tuts+. And get amazing vector resources for your projects on Envato Market.

How to Create a Discount Badge Icon

In this lesson, Yulia Sokolova will show you how to create a quick discount badge icon. Learn how to make the second icon in this set, using basic shape tools, operations, and the Artistic Text Tool.

 

Create a yellow shape using the Rounded Rectangle Tool (M). Adjust the shape with the Vector Crop Tool to shrink in the right side.

Then create a yellow triangle and attach it to the first shape, adjusting the size with the Transform panel. Align the shapes together.

Create the badge shape

Now combine the shapes so that there’s no gap. Then modify the triangle to look more like a badge.

Complete the design of the badge using the Rectangle Tool (M) to create the tag and the Ellipse Tool (L), along with operations, to create the badge’s hole.

Create the tag and badge hole

Finish the badge with some text. Here we’ll use the Bowlby One Free Font to create the percentage sign to represent the discount.

Then use the same methods as before to create a trendy long shadow effect and the circular base for the icon. Here’s the finished result.

Finished discount badge icon

How to Create a Hanger Icon

Time for the third icon. In this next lesson, we’ll learn how to create a simple hanger icon using basic shapes and operations.

 

Use the Triangle Tool to create the initial base shape for the orange hanger. Duplicate this shape and make it smaller, and then create a circle for the top of the hanger with the Ellipse Tool (L).

Combine the larger triangle and circle shapes together, and then modify the new shape with the smaller triangle. This will result in a cutout effect for a stylized hanger design. 

Create the hanger shape

Finish the hanger with a curved metal rod. Use the Artistic Text Tool to create the metal shape from a simple question mark symbol. Then apply the gray shape to the hanger.

Create the final hanger icon with the usual steps from before. Make a long shadow effect first, and then apply it to the purple circular base. Here’s the result.

Finish the hanger icon

Want More?

All done! Let’s continue with the fourth and fifth icons in the next lesson. There we’ll learn how to create a
colorful shopping basket and dress icons.

Find creative assets for your designs on Envato Elements.

And for more amazing lessons on Affinity Designer, check out these tutorials:

How Web Designers can Turn Talent into Recurring Revenue

Post pobrano z: How Web Designers can Turn Talent into Recurring Revenue

Working as a freelance web designer has some serious perks: you meet a variety of interesting people, you (mostly) choose your own hours, and you can apply both your artistic side and your technical skills to helping clients get the most out of their web presence. At the same time, it has one major drawback: you can only bill for the actual work you do, and there are only so many hours in a day. Wouldn’t it be nice to set up a passive income stream or two that allows you to keep earning even while you sleep? Here, we present some proven techniques to do just that.

Start Blogging

People browsing the web are generally either looking for entertainment or trying to learn something. If you can share some of your skills in a way that will prove helpful to the latter kind, you can easily start a blog on your area of expertise. Once you have consistent traffic, repeat visitors and a mailing list, you can either use it to promote your personal brand or treat it as a money-making asset in its own right.

This isn’t to say that blogging successfully will be an instant payday for little work. Earning money this way requires at least six months of regularly posting interesting, informative content and not everybody is cut out for doing this. On the other hand, some people love to write and teach others. If this describes you, you can get an idea of what’s already out there by clicking here.

Design CMS Themes, Plugins and Templates

If you still use Wix or Jimbo to design sites for your clients, this won’t be for you just yet. If, however, you have a strong grasp of CSS, PHP and other lower level tools, there’s nothing stopping you from creating something once and selling it over and over again.

Be aware that users will be reviewing your product thoroughly and publicly, so make sure to test it and (especially) provide adequate documentation that even amateurs can understand. Themeforest and Template Monster are two of the marketplaces on which you can market your product.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has developed something of a bad rep. Some people who saw it as a get-rich-quick opportunity were inevitably disappointed, while others use all kinds of user-hateful, black hat tactics to bait clicks. On the other side of the coin, some affiliate programs seem to have a little trouble calculating percentages, or allow vendors to market products without applying any kind of quality control.

Even so, there’s nothing wrong with the business model itself: Amazon and other online retailers allow you to do marketing on their behalf and pay you depending on the amount of success you achieve. Assuming some basic rules are followed, the customer’s interests aren’t compromised at any point.

Some people do make a living out of AM and even a good one. Don’t limit yourself to only the well-known affiliate programs: approach individual companies directly, or focus on specialized services that pay real money for qualified leads. The best payday loan affiliate program, for instance, pays as much as $230 per action.

Again, this kind of business requires time and effort to get off the ground. To learn a little more, spend a few minutes browsing around this site.

Become a Hosting Reseller

If you’re already selling website designs, you might as well up-sell hosting solutions to clients looking for a no-fuss, turnkey option. In fact, a little thought will show you a number of additional services you can offer your existing clients, from advising them on software choices to training their staff in digital marketing.

If you’re technically savvy and willing to spend a bit on the necessary hardware, you can set up your own server, or you can re-sell hosting services from one of the established providers. Hostgator offers good support, but there are literally hundreds of hosting companies that will be happy to have you market their products.

Vending Stock Images

People, including web users, are visual creatures. The choice of feature photograph can easily make or break a web page’s performance, and savvy digital marketers know this.

If you have a huge pool of photographs you own the licenses to, either from having taken them yourself or purchased the rights, it might be worth your while going through your collection and adding tags to each. They can then either be sold on websites such as Shutterstock, or you can charge for the service of searching for the “perfect” image on your clients’ behalf.

Write an Ebook

Even if you’re very familiar with the subject, writing an ebook of 10,000+ words is a non-trivial task. The good news: you only have to do it once for it to (potentially) keep earning money for years to come.

Self-publishing is often done in conjunction with running a blog: the blog can be used to market the book, the book increases the credibility of the blog, and both help to establish the author as an expert that people are happy to consult. One key thing to remember is that a narrow focus is often best. A book called “What Makes a Website Great” will be buried under hundreds of similar titles, but “5 Steps to Creating Great Websites for Restaurants” will appeal to at least some readers.

Write an App

If you know how to code, writing an app that solves whatever problem bugs you from time to time represents another potential source of passive income.

Realistically, though, most apps tank rather than take off. Unless it’s something really simple, you’ll be investing a huge amount of time and money in building one, so do your market research beforehand and consider teaming up with somebody who has skills that complement your own.

Coffee Mugs and T-Shirts

If you’re occasionally struck by an idea for a visual design that’s bold, quirky and engaging, consider spending half an hour perfecting it in Photoshop and submitting it to one of the various fulfillment sites that are always hungry for new content. Success isn’t guaranteed, of course, but a couple of people have made good money in this way, and trying costs nothing.