Category Archives: Design Tips

Adobe’s best kept secret: The Dehaze tool

Learn how to remove haze from a photo in 4 easy steps.

Ever wanted to get rid of that fog? Or shall we call it the haze?  Photoshop has an amazing tool for that which many people do not know about. It’s called Dehaze. With about 3-4 clicks you can take the haze out of almost any picture. It’s also great for removing light glares…sometimes. 
Check out this simple 4 Step tutorial on Dehaze
Here is the photo before Dehaze:

Original Photo Credit: Kalen Emsley

1. Go to Filter > Camera Raw Filter

2. Select the fx icon

3. Drag the dehaze slider up to about 64 or 65. But this will depend on the photo that you are trying to clear up. The number may be different. Use your own judgement

4. Then click OK, to confirm changes.

and viola! you’re done.

Optimizing Your Landing Page for Conversion (Tips from the Trenches)

I’ve done a lot of reading the past few years on SEO and Adwords to bring visitors to my site, but by far the most creative and interesting discipline is optimizing the conversion rates on my website. Every website has a goal. The goal of my website: Report-Telemarketing-Abuse.com is to provide a forum where consumers can report unsolicited telemarketing calls, junk faxes, and text message spam. The key for my website to be successful means that I must generate traffic and convert that traffic to take an actionable step i.e. filling out the telemarketing abuse report on the website.

When I designed the website, I designed the website with what I though would convert the best. I put the report form right in the center of the website. If that’s the primary goal of the website, it only make sense to put it front and center. Also, I made the form the only actionable item on the website. I didn’t want to distract the users with a number of actionable options. Also, I chose to display the “Latest Reports” within the form because I wanted consumers to know from the very beginning (a social element if you will) that other people are also reporting. This provides an element of social influence – if others are reporting then maybe the user will go ahead and also report.

Optimizing Your Landing Page
Experimentation – The Process of Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion rate optimization is all about experimentation. Experimentation means changing the headline, the form, your pitch, etc. I had a decent conversion rate on the above landing page but I had a feeling that if I added some more context behind it I could increase the conversion rate. I added the following text below which appears in orange.

Optimizing Your Landing Page 2

I was shocked to find out that my conversion rate actually went down by 2% when I added the text in orange (this experiment was conducted with 2,000 visitors).  This is really the most important point I can make in this article.  I’ve worked with a lot of designers over the years.  Unfortunately, I don’t know any that have done any conversion rate experimentation.  Therefore, when you all are designing it’s kind of tragic to think that you all don’t know what converts and what doesn’t.  This little experiment showed me that “less is more.”  By providing too much content, some of the users may have gone into “information paralysis” by too much content and moved on without filling out a report.

Conclusion: Become a More Valuable Designer by Incorporating Conversion Rate Optimization Into Your Designs

All of you designers probably care about conversion (since you’re conscientious enough to read this article) but I meet a lot of designers who know nothing about the science of conversion rate optimization.  If you know what converts and what doesn’t then you become significantly more valuable as a designer!

My message to all you designers would be that if you’re designing for conversion to design a few different versions of your design and test them.  Once you test which version works, then test within that version.  Conversion rate optimization is like anything on the Internet, it’s a continuous process not a one-time event.  What do you all think?

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Author Bio
Stefan Coleman is a Managing Member at Law Offices of Stefan Coleman, LLC. He currently focuses on class actions such as product defects, false advertising, and privacy rights cases. Stefan Coleman, LLC. has been involved in several major class actions as the firm continues to protect the rights of consumers. Aside from being a great lawyer, Stefan also knows how to build landing pages that convert!

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All about designing a logo..

From a Designers perspective – A really good logo takes time and thought to create. Its important to start by doing some serious googling before diving in. Checking out things that are related to the subject at hand. Once you have gathered everything possible – you can print out all you have….and spread it out nicely on a big board on your wall or something. We call this a mood-board.
It gets you in the mood – I guess.

You are now ready to start brainstorming for ideas – This creative process starts from now until something clicks. It can be done alone or with a team. The more people the more ideas. When alone – This process sometimes continues throughout the day – when you waiting for a bus, walking to the shop , or even in the shower . Yes, this can happen anytime. You should definitely have a pad of paper with you to jot down any good ideas that comes up.

Once you have all these beautiful ideas down in writing – its time to convert those to graphical sketches – something with shape and form .

From here – you can move over to Adobe illustrator and you’re ready to put your graphics into vector format with all kinds of cool color combos and stuff – maybe a subtle 3d effect.

This is really the ideal situation for designing a logo. The longer you work on something you will be surprised how much better it with time. So when ordering a logo design or doing one yourself – remember that doing it right may cost more money because yes it takes longer…but results will be worth it.

Don’t get me wrong – Some logos do happen over night – this is usually G-d given luck.
but it can happen.

Layer Effects – transfer from one layer to the next.

Good to know tip.
Some people may know this – but it is very useful for those who don’t.

Using Photoshop cs2
Q: How do I copy blending option effects (layer style) from one layer to the next?
A: Simply place your cursor over the effect layer – Hold down on alt and than drag the effects to the layer where you want the effects to be added. If you do not hold down on both alt and shift than your effect will simply be replaced and not multiplied.
 

Tips on Logo design.

Medialoper logo 

medialoper logo(c) 2005 
Logo Design Aaron

I designed this logo a while back. In general For this logo I went against some logo deisgn rules… but if it looks good, if the concept is catchy and the client likes it than go for it! Very important rule in general about designing logos is that it should be designed in illustrator – vector is ideal for logos. Logos should be no more that 3 colors and they should have little detail  – Logos should be more iconic as opposed to a detailed illustration. They should be made of solid colors and less gradients. – The solid color rule is more for print – while designing for the web, gradients can be really sleek and give a nice effect. Logos should look good  in both large and small sizes – so once you have designed a logo go print it out on a 10cm x 10cm area and another print out on a 2cm x 2cm – if your logo looks good both ways (meaning it sits nicely and you can read the text clearly) – your logo can move on. People will create a logo and spend lots of money doing so only to find out that it is not legible on a business card (now isnt that sad). Remember this – If you are a creative and talented person than you should know that there are no real rules in logo design these are just a couple basic guidelines which are good to keep in mind while desiging a logo – just be creative and do your thing  who knows-  your logo style may be the next BIG thing.