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January 28 2014


From the reader #21

A short lesson on the hyphen, en dash, em dash, and minus sign. Via Happy Cog.

Related is this 2001 post from the A List Apart archives: The Trouble With EM n’ EN (and Other Shady Characters)

Bebas Neue, “the Helvetica of free fonts,” is now available in five weights.

Italy flag from food

18 national flags made from each country’s traditional foods. Inventive promotion for last year’s Sydney International Food Festival, by WHYBIN \ TBWA. Via @ia.

How to fix those fat “l” (el) characters in PDF previews. Definitely appreciated. Via @Vonster.

Bahamas from space

Bahamas from outer space. Via @scienceporn.

And speaking of space, here’s a great one: Flat pack pre-fab garden library.

Say this instead. Such a simple change to how we construct sentences using “but.”

I like this Venn diagram. Cheers Dan.

Venn beaver platypus duck

This sitting/standing desk really looks the part. Via design work life. On similar lines, small-scale.

The ancient cycle of sunset, to night, to sunrise. Full-screen, lights down, volume up, awesome.

Previously: From the reader #20

January 10 2014


44 More Clean And White Business Cards For Your Inspiration

Today, we have come up with another interesting and inspiring collection of business card and this time business card theme is clean and white. Creating a long lasting impression on your clients with a simple and clean white business card is not as simple as it may sound. Keeping your business card design simple and clutter free has its own advantages. A minimalist white business card expresses professionalism and a sense of being organized.

In this round up, you will discover a list of 44 outstandingly designed clean white business cards for your inspiration. Clean and white business card design is more suitable for certain industries such as law, taxation, health and education. We hope that you will like this collection and find these business cards useful or you.

Creative Card Design


Clean White Letterpress

Luxurious Business Card

Business Card Vogas Barcelona


Creative Business Card

Purple Carrot Design

White Business Cards 2

Simple Business Card Design

White Business Cards 3

4DMIND – Branding Concept

100% Cotton Letterpress

Corked Dubuque

Red Rocket

Javier Garric

Sasha Pikula


Clapboard Film Studio business cards

Greenwich Hotel Identity

Second World

White Business Cards 10

Scandic Grand Central


Corporate Identity Letterpress

White Business Cards 9

Rounded Personal Card

White Business Cards 8

White Business Cards 7

Tiny Twiggette Letterpress

White Business Cards 6

Underground Cookery School

White Business Cards 5

Nagy Design

White Business Cards 4

White Business Cards 1

Paper Monkey Press

CRAVE – Branding

MB Identity Design

Brush Lettering Business Card

Real Estate Business Card Design

Gift Style Business Card Design

Local Real Estate Business Card

Tim John

Sponsored post

November 25 2013


From the reader #20

You design a typeface. You make a font. A little type terminology from Robby Ingebretsen, via @espiekermann.

“With identity design, one needs to think about how a design concept plays out across a system — how to balance variation with consistency, style with function, visual expression with timelessness.”

Quoted from a top interview with Tom Crabtree, on designboom.

Macro snowflake

Alexey Kljatov shared his process for shooting some amazing macro snowflake photography. Via Lee Newham.

Cut through the bullshit.

Hong Kong tower block, Michael Wolf

Michael Wolf’s architecture of density project is pretty incredible, showing Hong Kong tower blocks. It makes me appreciate the space I’ve got. Via ISO50.

Digging this futon.

The Success of Non-Violent Civil Resistance. Should be required reading for the idiotic minority in my home country.

Sony’s website is clearly broken. (With a followup.)

And a good quote about getting others onside. Via Tina.

“If you want people to think, give them intent, not instruction.”

November 20 2013


101 Ways to Monetize Your Website or Blog

This post was originally published in 2007, but since then much has changed in the world of internet marketing. As a result, most of the content and options listed in the original post were no longer relevant. We’ve totally revamped this post and started from scratch. If you’re looking for some ideas on how to monetize your website or blog, take a look at the topics and resources listed here and I think you’ll find some great options.

Selling Advertisements

One of the most popular methods of monetizing a site or blog is to sell advertising space, usually banner ads. You could manage this manually, but it is much more efficient to either use a network or a plugin/resource that will automate much of the process.


1. BuySellAds – A popular network that manages advertising for publishers and advertisers.

2. BuySellAds Pro – A professional-grade advertising solution from BSA.

3. OIO Publisher – Probably the oldest and most-used WordPress plugin ($47) for managing ad sales.

4. WP AdCenter – A popular and comprehensive ad management plugin for WordPress ($49).

5. AdSanity – Another popular and feature-rich WordPress plugin ($29) for managing ads.

6. AdPress – A premium WordPress plugin ($35) with advanced ad management features.

7. Banner Manager Pro – A WordPress plugin ($18) for selling and managing banner ads on your site.

8. The Deck – An long standing invite-only ad network that targets the web design industry.

9. Carbon – An invite-only ad network, now owned by BSA, that focuses on the design and development industries.

10. Fusion Ads – Also and invite-only network that is owned by BSA targeting the creative community.

11. Yoggrt – Another invite-only network from BSA that targets the creative community.

12. Smaato – Mobile advertising network.

Contextual Advertising

Placing ads within the content of your pages is also an option.


13. AdSense – Google’s contextual advertising solution is one of the easiest ways to monetize a website or blog.

14. Vibrant – In-text, in-image, and display ads.

15. Infolinks – Infolinks is a popular option for in-text ads.

16. Kontera – A contextual advertising solution that has been around for years.

17. Result Links – Focusing on in-text ads.

18. Yahoo Bing Network Contextual Ads – Contextual ads powered by

19. Clicksor – They offer inline text ads, banners, popunders, and more.

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate programs can be extremely lucrative to top earners, and one of the great perks is that there are affiliate programs available in just about any industry or niche you can imagine. You can sign up to promote specific products by joining the affiliate program of particular companies or websites, but large networks also represent a huge number of companies and products. Affiliate networks make it a little bit easier to manage because you can get all of your links and stats in one place, plus payouts for all programs within the network will be combined.


20. CommissionJunction – A huge network with options to promote products in just about any industry.

21. ClickBank – The leading affiliate network exclusively for digital products.

22. Amazon Associates – While it’s not really a network, Amazon sells so many different products that their affiliate program can be used by just about any website or blog.

23. ShareASale – Another large affiliate network with many products to promote on your site.

24. ClickBooth – Offer CPA and CPC options.

25. LinkShare – A major affiliate network that represents many leading brands.

26. Neverblue – Another popular affiliate network with a lot of options.


Selling products at your own website is one of the best ways to take your monetization to the next level. Here are some great resources for getting your own shop setup.


27. Shopify – A super-popular and feature-rich hosted e-commerce platform.

28. BigCommerce – Another popular and feature-rich e-commerce option.

29. Highwire – A hosted e-commerce platform that includes features like selling on Ebay and Facebook.

30. Magento – An extremely popular open-source e-commerce platform.

31. osCommerce – Another popular open-source option.

32. DPD – A simple e-commerce system that is great for selling digital products.

33. E-Junkie – A popular option for selling digital products, although you can use it for tangible products as well.

34. WooCommerce – The leading free WordPress plugin for e-commerce. You can purchase option add-ons from their store to add specific functionality.

35. WP e-Commerce – Another popular free WordPress plugin with premium add-ons available.

36. Cart66 – A premium WordPress e-commerce plugin. They also offer Cart66 Cloud which is a combination of a WordPress plugin and hosted e-commerce.

37. Easy Digital Downloads – A free WordPress plugin for selling digital products.

38. Gumroad – Gumroad makes it easy to sell your digital products.

Launch Your Own Affiliate Program

If you sell your own products, adding an affiliate program is an effective way to increase sales exponentially. You’ll allow others to promote your products in exchange for a commission on any sales that they refer. Most affiliate software options offer many of the same features, so I won’t list details, but here are several options.


WordPress Affiliate Plugins

If you use WordPress for your website there are a number of plugins that can help for setting up your affiliate program.

Membership Websites

Selling memberships is another excellent monetization option. You can generate recurring revenue by offering members access to exclusive content or resources.


49. aMember – The most popular software for managing membership websites ($179.95), aMember integrates with a wide variety of CMSs and platforms.

50. Wishlist Member – Probably the most popular WordPress plugin ($97) for managing a membership website.

51. Restrict Content Pro – A solid membership plugin for WordPress ($42) that doesn’t include extensive features but is very user-friendly.

52. Member Mouse – A robust membership plugin for WordPress (starts at $19.95 per month).

53. MemberWing – Another membership plugin for WordPress ($199.95).

Premium Content


There are also a few resources that help you to make money by selling access to premium content on your site or blog.

54. Pivotshare – Sell premium video content.

55. TinyPass – Build a revenue stream based on payment for access to premium content.

56. Cleeng – Sell premium content including videos, e-books, live events, and newspapers.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored reviews and blog posts used to be more popular a few years ago, but there are still some options for leveraging your blog to make money from publishing sponsored content.


57. PostJoint – Accept paid content for your blog.

58. SponsoredReviews – Get connected with advertisers looking to pay for blog reviews.

59. SocialSpark – A marketplace find advertisers who want you to review their products.

60. – Make money by hosting sponsored giveaways.

Hosting Affiliate Programs

One easy way to make a little extra money is to join the affiliate program of whatever company is hosting your website. Almost every host offers an affiliate program and you can place an ad or link on your site that says “hosted by ABC Company”. If you’re looking for a new host you may want to consider one that has a great affiliate program.


61. Bluehost – A very popular host with an extremely popular and effective affiliate program.

62. HostGator – Another leading host with a generous affiliate program.

63. WPEngine – They specialize in managed WordPress hosting and they feature a high affiliate commission for referrals.

64. MediaTemple – A leader in the hosting industry with a potentially-lucrative affiliate program.

65. Eleven2 – Our current host also offers an affiliate program.

Add a Job Board to Your Website

Another option is to create an industry-specific job board on your site, and charge companies to post a job listing to be seen by your audience. The following options will all make it easy to setup your own job board.

Create and Sell Access to Online Courses

Online training and education is a huge industry. You can leverage the expertise and reputation that you have developed by creating and selling your own courses.



Many bloggers also publish podcasts, and podcasts offer some additional opportunities for ad revenue and sponsorships.

77. Podtrac – Podtrac connects podcasters and advertisers.


You can sell products via auction using these WordPress plugins and themes.

WordPress Plugin for Monetizing a Site

Sabai Directory

For those of you who are using WordPress, there are a number of plugins that don’t fit perfectly into any of the categories before. Each of these plugins has it’s own unique functionality that helps you to make money in some way.

81. Sabai Directory – This plugin ($25) allows you to add a directory to your site, and it integrates with PayPal to accept payment for directory listings.

82. Page Peel Pro – Use page peel ads on your site with this plugin ($13).

83. WP Adshare Revenue – Use this plugin ($10) to share AdSense revenue with authors and editors. It’s a great way to encourage others to produce content for your site.

84. Advert Flap Pro – Create unobtrusive ads that will get your visitors attention by using this plugin ($13).

85. Interstitial Ads – Use this plugin ($18) to show ads that your users will see between pageviews.

86. Wp-Insert – A free plugin that will insert ads into specific locations within your content.

87. Google AdSense – A free plugin that makes it easy to implement AdSense into your WordPress website or blog.

88. WP Auto Affiliate Links – This free plugin will automatically create affiliate links within your content based on keywords and affiliate programs of your choice.

89. Amazon eStore Affiliates Plugin – Use this plugin ($31) to build a store featuring Amazon products.

90. Paid Downloads Pro – Sell any digital content easily with this plugin ($18).

91. Social Deals Engine – This plugin ($15) allows you to get daily deal site functionality, and it integrates with WooCommerce.

92. FooBar – Add a notification bar with this plugin ($14) to get more attention for an affiliate link or a link to one of your own products.

93. attentionGrabber – Another popular plugin ($12) for adding a notification bar.

94. WP Header Bar – This plugin ($13) allows you to create responsive notification bars with a lot of different features.

95. Nice Notifications – A notification bar plugin ($14) with a drag-and-drop composer.

96. WP Pre Post Advertising – This plugin ($10) shows an ad before the actual post/page. The ad includes a countdown and when it reaches 0 the page/post will be shown.

97. 5sec Link Remover – This plugin ($8) allows you to show links only to registered/paid users.

98. Pretty Link Lite – A free plugin (premium version also available) that is great for shortening your affiliate links.

99. Simple URLs – Another free plugin for creating shortened links.

100. WP125 – This free plugin allows you to manage and rotate banner ads.

101. AdRotate – A free plugin for managing ad spots on your blog. A pro version is also available.

What’s Your Experience?

Please feel free to share your own preferences and experiences in the comments.

September 26 2013


Guinness Extra Cold posters

I missed these Guinness posters when they were designed about 13 or 14 years ago.

They’re by AMV BBDO, and won a yellow pencil for “consumer posters” in 2000.

Guinness Extra Cold poster

Guinness Extra Cold poster

Guinness Extra Cold poster

Guinness Extra Cold poster

Guinness Extra Cold poster

I think they’re great. A good idea doesn’t need embellishment.

Via the D&AD Facebook page.

June 11 2013


Double-use billboards

“If cities were smarter, then life in cities would be better. That’s why IBM created ads with a purpose. By adding a simple curve, we gave advertising a new function.”

IBM smart ideas billboard

IBM smart ideas billboard

IBM smart ideas billboard

IBM smart ideas billboard

IBM smart ideas billboard

IBM smart ideas billboard

IBM smart ideas billboard

Great idea. A bit like this from last month.

Via @issue (and, after neglecting my feed reader for five days, quite a few others too).

Ogilvy & Mather France
Chief creative officer: Chris Garbutt
Executive creative director: Susan Westre
Art director: Daniel Diego Lincoln
Copywriters: Lauren Elkins, Andrew Mellen
Concept: Daniel Diego Lincoln, Stephane Santana
Photographer: Bruno Bicalho Carvalhaes

Identity Designed

Brand identity inspiration on Identity Designed.

May 17 2013


A billboard that turns air into drinkable water

Probably the best billboard I’ve ever seen.

Billboard air water Peru
Photo credit: Draftfcb / UTEC

Situated outside the small community of Bujama, Peru, it cost around $32,000 to make, and creates approximately 100 litres of drinkable water every day.

“It works by condensing vapour in the air (humidity in the region is around 98 per cent) into water, before passing it through a series of filters and running it under UV lamps for further purification. The clean water is then collected in a tank and dispensed through a tap which can be used by anyone walking past.”

Quoted from Creative Review.

Billboard air water Peru

The video embedded below gives a bit more detail.

Client: UTEC
Agency: Draftfcb

Also reported on the BBC website: Advert turns air into water.

Brilliant idea. Let’s hope it’s not a one-off.

Identity Designed

Brand identity inspiration on Identity Designed.

April 16 2013


Only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

“Women are their own worst beauty critics. In fact, only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. Dove is committed to building positive self-esteem and inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential. That’s why we decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that proves to women something very important: You are more beautiful than you think.”

For this latest experiment in the Real Beauty campaign, Dove and Ogilvy Toronto hired Gil Zamora, an FBI-trained forensic artist, to sketch women two ways: the first in their own words, the second in the words of a stranger.

The resulting three-minute video was uploaded to YouTube on Sunday (embedded below).

It’s a powerful message.

There’s a longer six-minute version, as well as shorter interviews with each participant, on the Dove Real Beauty Sketches website.

Via lots of people, and Adweek.

Related, from the archives: The twisted reality of fashion advertising.

Identity Designed

Brand identity inspiration on Identity Designed.

Related posts worth a look

Tags: Advertising

February 01 2013


On selling websites

Last week I was offered a five-figure sum for the sale of the Logo Design Love website. My sites will always have their price, but for a few reasons, I said no thanks.

Heart dollar
Photo credit: Instructables

My name’s on the book. If the website is controlled by other people, their actions will reflect on me, even if all traces of my name are removed from the site. That’s something I never thought about when naming the book, but on the other hand, the book’s success is helped by the popularity of the website, and vice versa, so it can be good having them linked.

Understandably, the sale was mostly based on statistics — visitor numbers and origins, what keywords drive people to the site, monthly ad revenue, etc. Thing is, I launched the site five years back, and since then it’s grown a personal value that’s more than numbers, not to mention the beautiful and smart readership that significantly adds to that.

Perhaps most importantly, the potential buyer owns another website where logos are sold in isolation at the lowest end of the market. One main reason for the purchase was to add banners and links pointing to this other site. Here’s a relevant quote from the Logo Design Love book.

“Every client is different, so every design project will be, too. It makes no sense to pigeonhole your clients into a specific price bracket. What works for one will not work for another, and your time — and profits — take a big hit when you limit yourself to a set range and attract clients on the basis of price alone.”

So not exactly a good fit.

Exit strategy?

If you’re thinking of selling your own website, here are a few questions worth answering.

  • What happens to the site after its sale?
  • How easy can you disassociate yourself?
  • How much have similar websites sold for?
  • What profit will your website generate over three years?
  • Can you trade for something other than money?
  • Who are you happy to sell to?
  • Do you want to keep any control over the content?
  • Will you provide support for a limited time?
  • How will you announce it to your subscribers?
  • Do you need a contract of sale?

If you want lower the time spent publishing content, but don’t want to sell completely, there are a couple of options: Hire writers, similar to Smashing Magazine or Web Designer Depot.

Site income > writer fees = profit.

Alternatively, store your content as an online archive, similar to Speak Up. Traffic will decrease over time, but it can still generate passive income, and act as a helpful resource.

Flippa seems to be one of the top marketplaces for those buying/selling a website (cheers Jon).

A couple of worthwhile reads for those in the selling market: Back in 2005 Yaro Starak wrote about how to sell a website. Some links are out-of-date, but much of the content still applies. Daniel Scocco of Daily Blog Tips shared a few tips for selling your blog or website on Flippa.

Identity Designed

Brand identity inspiration on Identity Designed.

Related posts worth a look

December 03 2012


Greenpeace Crowdsources Activism (Again) with Shell Oil Ad Contest

In this guest op-ed Alec Lynch, the founder and CEO of DesignCrowd, a design crowdsourcing website, argues that political groups like Greenpeace are increasingly relying on the creative power of  online ‘crowds’ to drive activity and create media awareness around their agenda.

Crowdsourcing design is a proven way to generate creative ideas – from logo design to t-shirt design – and now, in an innovative twist, Greenpeace are applying crowdsourcing to environmental activism by asking people to enter an’ad contest’ for Shell Oil via a spoof website Greenpeace’s campaign has generated hundreds of entries and a firestorm on social media.

Here are some of the funnier and more popular advertisements created by the crowd:

Example Shell Oil Crowdsourced Advertisement

Example Shell Oil Crowdsourced Advertisement

Example Shell Oil Crowdsourced Advertisement

Example Shell Oil Crowdsourced Advertisement

Example Shell Oil Crowdsourced Advertisement

It’s not the first time Greenpeace have used crowdsourcing to target an oil company. In 2010, Greenpeace ran a logo design contest to re-design BP’s logo (shortly after the BP Oil Spill) with hilarious results and a big social media impact. Thus, the current Shell Oil ad contest appears to be Greenpeace’s second attempt at crowdsourcing and (given the success they’ve achieved) probably not their last.

It’s unclear what Shell can do in response. It’s probably less an issue related to crowdsourcing and more of a legal question related to using a logo or brand to ridicule that brand (i.e. whether the crowd created these or Greenpeace it doesn’t matter – as soon as they’re published and become popular, Shell will get upset).

What is clear is that the power of the crowd to act fast and generate creative ideas is compelling. While the message is serious, some of the entries are downright funny. It will be interesting to see how the Greenpeace crowdsourcing initiative plays out (while the site be taken down or not). In the meantime, crowdsourcing remains a powerful tool for a range of organisations from small business and big brands to non-profits and activists. Brands and businesses should consider using professional crowdsourcing websites and services (such as DesignCrowd) to manage their crowdsourcing initiatives.

August 06 2012


30 Examples of Funny Ads for Inspiration

In many settings advertisements tend to be ignored or overlooked. When flipping through a magazine you probably skip past the ads unless something really catches your attention. The same thing applies when it comes to driving by billboards, browsing online, or interacting anywhere else where ads appear.

One approach for ad designers to capture the attention and interest of viewers is to use humor. Most of us will stop and pay attention to ads if they grab our attention and make us laugh.

In this post we’ll showcase 30 examples of advertisements that user humor to make an impact on viewers.

Nikon: Face Detect

Nikon: Face Detect

Nikon: Face Detect

Nikon: Face Detect

Sauber Pantyhose: Robber

Sauber Pantyhose: Robber

Nutri Balance: Husband

Nutri Balance: Husband

Softlan Ultra: Wrestling

Softlan Ultra: Wrestling

Colgate Plax

Colgate Plax

Wolf Hot Sauce: Hand Dryer

Wolf Hot Sauce: Hand Dryer

Nu-Way Weiners: Uncle Sam

Nu-Way Weiners: Uncle Sam

The Sunday Times: Sport Rich List

The Sunday Times: Sport Rich List

Surfrider Foundation: Bottle

Surfrider Foundation: Bottle

Panasonic Nose Trimmer

Panasonic Nose Trimmer

Softlan Ultra: Rugby

Softlan Ultra: Rugby

Zoom from Olympus

Zoom from Olympus

8in1 Dental Snacks: Bad Dog Breath

8in1 Dental Snacks: Bad Dog Breath

Suplicy Cafe: Chemistry Genius

Suplicy Cafe: Chemistry Genius

Pattex Superglue: Mousetrap

Pattex Superglue: Mousetrap

Fujifilm Finepix Cameras: Poker

Fujifilm Finepix Cameras: Poker

Bose Noise Reduction Headphones: Waterfall

Bose Noise Reduction Headphones: Waterfall

Kagatani Knife: Kitchen

Kagatani Knife: Kitchen

Glassex Window Cleaner: Magician

Glassex Window Cleaner: Magician

WMF Knives: Fly

WMF Knives: Fly

Lamborghini Tractors: Farmer

Lamborghini Tractors: Farmer

McDonald’s: Cinderella

McDonald's: Cinderella

Sony: Theatre Atmosphere

Sony: Theatre Atmosphere

Dulcolax: Rats

Dulcolax: Rats

Pringles Hot & Spicy: Hot Air Balloon

Pringles Hot & Spicy: Hot Air Balloon

Eurostar: The Barber

Eurostar: The Barber

Arena Swimwear: Predator

Arena Swimwear: Predator

Burger King: Real Big Burgers

Burger King: Real Big Burgers

Childsurance: Angry Baby

Childsurance: Angry Baby

July 26 2012


June 20 2012


Back to those morals…

Following up on my previous post about what type of projects designers avoid, regardless of payment, for me, this is one of those.

Anti-abortion billboard

Ireland’s abortion laws are the strictest in Europe, and anti-abortion group Youth Defence has launched a national campaign that urges women with crisis pregnancies to seek any option but abortion. The ads have attracted widespread criticism from those who believe it’s wrong to take away a woman’s choice.

Choice Ireland spokesperson Stephanie Lord had this to say about Youth Defence:

“If their concern for women was genuine they would not spend the large costs of these billboards on trying to make women feel bad about the choices they have made.”

Anti-abortion billboard

Anti-abortion billboard

When asked about the cost of the campaign Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said, “We’re getting really good value… we need to raise a hundred and fifty grand.”

There’ll be 200 advertisements on Dublin buses for four weeks, from June 25th, screens at Heuston Station in Dublin, showing a moving unborn baby, advertisements on buses in Limerick and Cork, and the printing of a minimum of half a million leaflets.

Anti-abortion billboard
Photos via Youth Defence

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland is deflecting complaints because the advertising “does not have a commercial element (e.g. a fundraising element) and is outside the remit of the Code.”

This prompted Siren Magazine to create template complaints to send to JCDecaux, the advertising company hosting the billboards, and the Irish Government’s Department of Communications.

“By telling women that there is ‘always’ (emphasised) a better option, and that abortion ‘tears’ a woman’s life apart, this advertisement encourages and condones ‘dangerous behaviour or unsafe practices’ as it discourages women from having an abortion in ANY circumstances, even when their lives are medically threatened as a result of the pregnancy.”

Darragh Doyle tweeted from Dublin’s Lombard Street where one poster was apparently ripped down.

Anti-abortion billboard ripped

Reported elsewhere:
For it or against it, abortion is not a billboard issue, on The Irish Times
‘Abortion Tears Life Apart’ Adverts Spark Anger in Dublin, on Huffington Post
Anti-abortion billboards ‘do not speak for majority of women’, on
Anti-Choice Billboards Arrive in Ireland, on RH Reality Check
ASAI powerless to act on anti-abortion billboards, on

Via Midpoint Creative.

Identity Designed

Brand identity inspiration on Identity Designed.

Related posts worth a look

April 07 2012


Begginer’s Guide to Launching a Successful Blog

We are all aware of just how fast the Internet grows. The American search engine giant, Google, reports that more than 1 trillion websites were indexed in 2008. Twenty years ago Google only indexed 15,000 new URLs per year. In a stunning report from Mashable last summer we found out that 150,000 new URLs are created daily. While it is nearly impossible to figure out the exact number of web pages out there, it is clear that mammoth is the right word to use to describe the internet in 2012.

Out of the 150,000 URLs created daily, there is a high chance many of them are blogs. The blogging industry has evolved a lot in the past 10 years. In 2000 blogs were rare and didn’t exist on the same scale they do now. Very few actually believed that blogging could become it’s own industry with rules, guidelines, competition and involving a fairly decent amount of money.

One of the largest issues of the industry is the reduced number of people who can access those available funds. Big companies always prefer to advertise on big, serious and successful blogs than on smaller, personal ones. Launching a blog doesn’t automatically make you successful and you need to take some steps and put in a serious amount of work to even reach the state where you can fight for good money. By reaching those heights, however, not only will your financial success be guaranteed, but also a tremendous reputation in the industry is an added advantage.

What’s the topic?

One of the most difficult tasks is to choose a niche. And I think that if you can’t find a topic within few minutes, just off the top of your head, you are headed for problems. In my opinion blogging should not be done for money, but for something you are passionate about. Having a personal blog where you tell people what kind of cereals you ate in the morning might be fun for your mom and neighbors, but it will not attract interest from the companies. Very few bloggers without a specific topic are worldwide or even nationally successful. A targeted topic such as design, IT or sports would probably work best.

Image by Charles Jeffrey Danoff.

More importantly than choosing a topic is being passionate about it. You can’t write about something you don’t personally enjoy. The alternative would be to hire people to write, but let’s face it, how probable is it for your investment to pay off? Probably very low. I would only start to hire people to write on my blog after it is already quite successful and has a chance to survive in the crowded industry. Spending lots of money for a blog in the beginning is not something I would recommend.

The domain name should also be relevant to the topic you discuss and if you need some tips about how to choose the best possible domain name (which can and will be a hassle, believe me), you can read Tips for Registering Domain Names. Don’t make it too long and keep it easy to remember.


While this is a small step and might seem unimportant, using a reliable hosting company is something you should look for if you want to have a successful blog. Keep in mind that downtime will not make you more popular. There are not too many things more annoying than trying to access a web page that is down. This will make your readers less interested if you show a lack of professionalism in this regard.

Know your competitors

Carefully studying the others in the industry, especially the direct competitors, is something I would start doing right away. You need to get a feel of how the successful blogs manage out there if you want to own one of them. Knowing who it is you are up against can’t do any harm now, can it?

It would be a good idea to follow their activity for a period of time and pay attention to how they do everything, from the length and structure of their posts, publishing times and the way they interact with their followers. Even you interacting with them – and this way creating a network – might help you later on. Although pretty much everyone fights for the limited amount of money available in online advertising, bloggers help each other and are usually part of the same network (look at the Smashing Magazine Network – blogs that would normally compete with each other are driven by same umbrella community.).

Interacting with the followers can bring you much more than just good debates. I often get article ideas from your comments here on 1WD, which I appreciate a lot. But this way I consider I give you something back for your involvement with the community. So make sure you keep your users engaged and write articles that create debates and encourage further discussions.

The design

Blogs are mainly created to share information – but so are newspapers, television websites and online magazines. And they all need to look good. Without forgetting your main goal (writing) you need to think of a good design. Now you might not be a web designer and might not be able to develop a theme for yourself; no problem. There are lots of marketplaces on the internet where you can purchase a premium theme which is bug-free and supports the latest version of WordPress (I assume there is no question about what CMS to use – if there is, forget about it now and go for WordPress). If nothing suits you (although I think this is quite impossible), you can hire a designer, but this will probably eat lots of your financial resources.

Suggested Reading - Choosing a WordPress Theme: Free or Premium?

Image by Moriel.

The need for a good design is big and you can see it all over the place. Blogs and online magazines opt for redesigns quite often – and even spend thousands of dollars on new visual concepts, identities and layouts. So if the big players use fine tuned designs to their advantage, it must be something worth trying, right?

Content is King, SEO is the Court Jester

Ok, quite far from the truth, but it works well for a subtitle. You can read a great piece of advice on this from Michael Giaimo.

The bottom line of his article is that while SEO is important, it still is less important than the content. Before starting to think about high page rank and clicks on Google make sure the content will keep the visitors returning. There is no need in investing money in advanced SEO strategies if the users will leave your page immediately after reading the first article title.

SEO is not to be neglected and I am aware of this – and so should you. The only thing I am saying is that there is something else you should think of before going for a SEO specialist. It is maybe debatable and I would like to hear your opinion on this in the end.

Have a strategy

There would be no football without a goal. There is no successful business without a strategy. A blog is a business like any other and it should be treated as one. Think of how many posts you want to publish a day/week, the length of the articles, the images you will use, the style and so on. In the end this is what will describe and categorize your blog.

Having some spare articles to publish if needed is something that I did many times in my blogging days. When posting often it does happen that you are not available for a day or two and there you go, your followers get nothing from you. Write some articles in advance and always schedule them. Here at 1WD we have articles scheduled for almost a week in advance, which gives us a huge advantage over competitors who don’t adopt this style.

It is also a great idea to keep a posting schedule, as readers will create a habit around your blog. Another reason for having posts scheduled in advance – users expecting content will always get it, regardless of your availability at the moment.

Run a social media launch campaign

Start creating a Facebook and Twitter page before launching the blog – this might help you raise some awareness over the launch and make people excited. You also need to make sure you maintain the social media accounts, nothing looks worse than a company with an inactive Facebook page. I know starting form zero followers is tough; and probably the first 100 are the toughest to get. But keep in mind all pages start from zero and yet they can reach millions. Time is your best friend in blogging. You need to wait in order to be successful, as this can only be achieved through hard work over a longer period.

Be ready!

Blogging is a tough business. Make sure you know what lies ahead of you. Countless hours of work, lack of proper sleep during many nights, motivation issues and frustration are coming and going in the industry; but it is quite impossible to reach success without passing through these stages.

Image by guil.


Don’t create a blog only for money. Money should be the final prize and achievement, your passion for the topic should be the main reason you invest time and financial resources on it. Readers can feel when a blogger is not passionate about the subjects he is covering and they will not return. You don’t want to be one of the unlucky bloggers. Think twice before launching a blog and think even more about its topic, your motivation and willingness to commit to your cause.

Until next time… do you have a personal blog? How well do you think you maintain it and why? Do you set some rules for yourself and some guidelines for the blog? Do you pay people to write there, turning a blog into a small business of itself?

April 04 2012


The making of L’Odyssée de Cartier

The new Cartier advertisment, L’Odyssée, has had more than 12M views on YouTube since it was uploaded on February 28th. (After pressing play, be sure to increase video quality and go full screen.)

“Bruno Aveillan celebrates 165 years of Cartier in his latest short film L’Odyssée de Cartier. In the brand’s most epic and sumptuous spot to date, the viewer is taken on a journey that follows the iconic Cartier panther from the Grand Palais in Paris through magnificent moments and locations throughout time.”

Comparatively few people (about 12K) have watched the behind the scenes video — something I found much more interesting.

Interviewed in the “making of” are director Bruno Aveillan and music composer Pierre Adenot.

“It was clear that we had to shoot the film with a real panther from start to finish.”

The role of the panther was played by three young panthers, Cali, Tiga and Damou. All took turns playing the part throughout the shoot. The big cats were taken to locations in France, Italy and Spain.

For the theme music Pierre Adenot conducted an 84-piece orchestra comprising string, percussion and wind sections, harp and piano. It was recorded in London’s Abbey Road Studios.

Cartier panther

Graphic design and development: Marcel, Paris
Director: Bruno Aveillan
Production: Wizz Quad
Score: Pierre Adenot
Animal handler: Thierry Le Portier

Official L’Odyssée de Cartier website.

I won’t guess the budget. Let’s just say it was a lot.

Published on David Airey, graphic designer

Logo Design Love, the book

Related posts on David Airey dot com

Tags: Advertising

March 01 2012


Banksy on advertising

I don’t know if this quote is actually from Banksy (the attribution has been doing the rounds online). It got me thinking. That’s why I’m sharing it. (Contains profanity.)

Banksy out of stock
Banksy’s Out of Stock, in Poplar, London

“People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.

“You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

“Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

“You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.”

Quite the advertisement for Banksy.

Related: Exit Through The Gift Shop

Published on David Airey, graphic designer

Logo Design Love, the book

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December 26 2011


10 Crimes a Web Designer can Commit on Call to Action Pages

Call-to-action pages are dedicated to prompt visitors to take a desired action, whether an opt-in, a sale or any type of click that brings a user one step closer to a company’s goal. Basically, any website can be classified as a call to action page because virtually every person who creates a website has a specific action he/she wants a visitor to take.

Most websites commit at least one of the top crimes listed below. Do you agree with the choices?

1. Graphic Clutter


It’s obvious this website’s purpose was show as much information to visitors as possible above the fold. While this is a valiant effort, too many graphics can work against you.

A great call to action page will send your eye to a specific area. When you look at this page, your eyes are drawn everywhere and if you were looking for a car, you wouldn’t even know where to begin.

Though this page is not a landing page, it is a prime example of why less is more when trying to increase conversions with web page design. A call to action page should include benefits, features, logos, maybe one or two images and a prominent call to action button. Any more and the page will suffer.

A website home page should follow suit while including clear navigation and an easy experience for visitors. Avoid clutter at all costs. White space is your friend!

2. Blended Call to Action


Though the call to action button on this page is outlined in yellow, it does not stand out enough from the background. The yellow also matches the font above it so it blends into the background even more. The color scheme of the page is yellow, red and orange and the call to action button follows the same color scheme; therefore, it does not stand out enough. A solid color in contrast to the page would work best.

3. Distracting Background


Many businesses want to incorporate their brand colors into their website design. While this is a smart marketing strategy, if the color is overdone or distracting, it can have an adverse effect. The bright yellow background in this web page is very distracting and it draws the eye away from the purpose of the website. If you view this website in its normal size, you will see how truly distracting the bright yellow background is.

It’s good to implement your brand colors in your website design, but not at the expense of distracting visitors away from your purpose. Your background should support your web page and be somewhat neutral.

4. Lost call to action


On this page, the call to action button is not only lost, it is nonexistent. One of this website’s desired actions is to urge users to click and find out more information about the Thank You® Premier card. The current call to action is simply text that says “Get Moving”.

If you really want to lead users to an intended action, use buttons in contrasting colors. Text will never be strong enough to get users’ attention. The button should include a contrasted color that screams “click me” without slamming it in user’s faces.

Also consider the call to action button’s proximity to other elements. For example, with an ecommerce site, the “Add to cart” button would be most effective if it were placed right next to the product. You can also place call to action buttons near places of interest like testimonials, feature lists and benefits, etc. Make sure, though, not to clutter your page with too many buttons. Keep them close to your key points and at a  maximum of 2-3 per page for simple landing pages.

5. Too Much Information


When people offer us more information than we want to hear we often say it is TMI or Too Much Information. Similar to how you would want that person to be quiet, a web page will suffer this same reproach if it is suffering from TMI.

On this example web page, the call to action is not front and center and your eye is drawn to the articles instead of the “Get a Quote” text. This page, while meant to attract visitors to get a quote, leads them towards reading an article which may be too much information for this page. Content is not necessarily bad; great content outlines the pages of some of the greatest websites. But when it blurs the message of the site or distracts users from a clear call to action, profits will suffer.

For this website, a more prominent call to action in a more effective location would draw the eye there first.

The goal with a call to action page is to lead your visitors to click on the call to action button without distracting or boring them with too much information. You should include enough information (features, benefits, guarantees, testimonies) to lead them to take action without overdoing it. If your visitors cannot figure out whether or not your site will be beneficial to them in the first few seconds, they will assume the worst and hightail out of there.

6. Too many Links


This page is actually ranking quite well for competitive mortgage related keywords, but the design of the site unfortunately does not follow suit.

Unless your site is product specific (e-commerce) or purely informational, excessive text links can overwhelm users.

The purpose of this website is to guide consumers to get a mortgage quote. While classifying the links by states is a good idea, the clutter and small font does nothing for visitors’ eyeballs. As stated before, text links are ineffective as calls to action on pages like these and the close proximity of these links jumbles everything together to look like one cohesive blue link.

There is no clear call to action here. This webmaster would benefit from making this page a second page and redesigning the home page to include one or two buttons only, leading people to “Get a Quote”.

Here is a trick: Squint your eyes slightly to blur your vision and look at the page. If your call to action doesn’t stand out, adjustments may need to be made.

7. Button Placement & Location


Though this website is committing many faux pas, I chose it due to improper placement of the call to action button.

If you look on the far right (it probably took you a few seconds to find it, which is a few seconds too long), you will find a small box with a dropdown menu. This is where the webmaster would like a user to click. The only element standing out is the small red arrow and that is even questionable.

The placement and location of your call to action button is equally as important as its size and color. A great call to action will not be effective if it is surrounded by too much text or not enough whitespace, or if it is located out of sight.

Generally, it’s important to keep call to action buttons above the fold (visitors can see it without scrolling), clearly visible and prominent in relation to all other elements. If you have content that is only visible by scrolling, include a call to action button towards the end so users do not have to scroll back up to click on it.

8. Button Size


Your website visitors should know exactly where they need to go the second they land on your website. In this example, though well-designed, this “Buy Now” call to action button seems a bit small for the animation of the site. If you click on the entire website, you will notice a busy background which can distract from the small button as well.

Please note, though, that a bigger button is not always associated with higher conversions. The button should stand out from the other design elements without overwhelming the entire design, which can turn people away as well.

9. Button Text


This website used the word “Go” to urge users to click for a quote. While the design does draw your eye to the quote box, I am not sure the word “Go” is the best choice.

Though there are some basic rules for button text to maximize conversions, it is more of a function of the type of website rather than a general consensus. For example, a business offering a free trial may use “Click Here to Get Your Free Trial” while a service-oriented website may use “Get Started Today”.

General rules of thumb for call to action button text:

  • Avoid being too wordy
  • Keep it simple
  • Add urgency
  • Limited availability if applicable
  • Use action words like “now” or “today”
  • Always split test

When it comes to elements such as button text, the only way to determine what works best is to split test. Sometimes, minor changes can increase conversion rates dramatically.

10. No Clear Message


Many businesses are not clear on their sales funnel; therefore, their visitors are not led to take a desired action. This dealership is trying to push users to perform too many actions at once along with reading text which can be boring for people looking to buy or lease a car.

TIP: The purpose of your call to action is to get users to the next step only. In the case of the dealership, the final goal would be to sell a car, but that should not be the main goal of the website. That is the car salesperson’s job. The website should only urge visitors to take the next step which is to visit the dealership.

Don’t try to sell a car with your website. Just sell the next step!

Have you seen any call to action crimes? What call-to-action crimes have you committed?

December 06 2011


Using Retro Style Images And Banners For Advertising

Retro style images and pop art graphics like those of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol is a popular style adopted by graphic designers for web and print design. They are chic, fashionable, eye-catching and add to the ‘cool’ factor of the company and its products. Lots of stock images are available for download which can be used for web designing, however if you want something unique or customized it’s better to grab a pencil and paper and do it yourself.

Step 1: Visualize the layout

If you are designing a website, it is important that you choose the image while constructing the wireframe as it should fit your overall layout accordingly. Have a look at some examples to get an idea. It is popular to use them like banners or as full body depiction which encompasses the entire page. Some examples are below
Mailchimp retro


Tagetscope retro layout

Step 2: Sketch

Once you have decided on the layout, its time to work on the image. Start with a few pencil sketches and try to capture the essence of the product. In this case my client was a mobile app company, so I decided to create an image of a lady displaying a standard touch screen mobile phone. To make sure that the original product gets the deserved attention I decided to sketch the lady and use a real phone image so that it remains highlighted and looks like a fun combination as well.

Retro image sketch

Step 3: Scan

Photocopy the pencil sketch so that the original sketch is preserved and can be re-used later. In this step you can either scan the sketch and add the details digitally (like details of hairstyle, dress etc) using Photoshop and a Wacom device, or if you feel more comfortable on paper, try to sketch the details on the photocopy and then scan it.

scan retro image

Step 4: Digitally enhance

Once you are satisfied with the scan, open it with Photoshop (or a similar editor) and plug-in your Wacom (or similar device). First use the magic wand tool in Photoshop to select as much area as possible from the image and save the structure in a new layer. Now use the pen tool to select around a shape and copy on a new layer. Finally use the brush tool and with careful movements of the Wacom pen add finishing touches to the image.

a. Using the magic wand tool to select and copy areas from the scanned image, and reconstruct them on a different layer (say layer2)

magic wand on retro image

b. Zoom and use the pen tool to copy the finer details on layer 2

pen tool on retro image

c. Use the brush to reconstruct the details on layer 2.

brush tool on retro image

Step 5: Integrate

Add the mobile phone (or any other product) to the image and adjust the size and contrast of the image for smooth integration. Add the entire image to the banner or the web layout. Try a few different backgrounds to see what works best.
retro and pop art inspired banner
retro and pop art inspired banner

November 17 2011


November 14 2011


A Beginner’s Guide To Web Advertisements For Bloggers

Advertisements on almost every website (blogs to be precise, as the line between a website and a blog is diminishing quickly) look visually familiar to me although some people believe they don’t belong on websites at all.

The subject of today’s discussion will be the art of marketing and how we seem to take the same for granted. Remember, you must be selflessly selfish while giving away ad spots on your website. Otherwise, your client will give away the money during the first deal but might not renew the same due to negative results.

Why Advertise?

Let me start with the very basic question. This question is applicable to both sides – the publisher and the advertiser. In the case of the latter, advertising is important to promote a service or a product. While in the case of a publisher the debate can really go on forever.

Some of the genuine (and important) reasons for a publisher’s inclination towards advertising will be:

  • Money, for starters. You know the quality-content-comes-at-a-price thing? Content will be the king but even the kings need coins to survive. No doubt why a publisher will give away ad spots on his website. Who hates the inflow of money? Really, who?
  • Secondly, advertisements on a webpage help the reader dig deep into the depths of the internet and discover rich content. Henceforth, if you are good at heart and are willing to let your readers leave your website in return for some cents then you surely are helping the reader and the advertiser. Just make sure that you are displaying some really genuine ads otherwise your readers might be a bit pissed off.
  • Thirdly, precious advertisers help in building the image of a publisher. This can be an amazing add-on if you get lucky. Imagine IBM advertising on your website. A “sponsored by IBM” logo next to your logo can shake a lot of A-listers off their positions in no time. A quick example:

I am from India and some time back I stumbled upon a website YourStory. Basically, they were talking about all sorts of startups in India. The simple blog template and (I admit) no overly flashy stuff made me think that they weren’t the big guns in this industry. I moved on. It was after few days when I again stumbled upon this website and this is when I tried to dig into YourStory. To my surprise, they were the online partners for CNBC TV-18′s Young Turks initiative. It was shocking. TV 18 happens to be the God of media industry in India. They own a share of everything (TV channels, newspapers, magazines, web portals etc.) which stands on the top of media niche in India. And, they were using YourStory to promote their Young Turks initiative? I instantly subscribed to the feeds of YourStory. Now, I am a regular reader of YourStory.

Anyways, all that I want is you to understand that you should know why you are advertising before you take the next step – your target clients.

Who to Advertise?

Now that you know why advertising is important and why you want to get into the world of online advertisements, it is time that you churn out unwanted clouds so that you can see your target clients very clearly.

To be precise, there are two basic types of targets where you should focus your energy:

  • Readers - True! Readers happen to be the most important reason for your website’s success. If any section of your website is a turn off for them then it might spread like a plague between your readers. It’s the same case with adverts that show up on your website. The adverts should be helpful and they must target the readers. Otherwise, they will prove to be a turn off for your readers and your advertisers will not get the response that they had hoped for. A usual voting or feedback post can prove very helpful to gauge such scenarios.
  • Advertisers - Now, these guys are your bread and butter so you better take them seriously. Imagine an organization wanting to advertise on your website but finds no “Advertise With Us” page on your website. If they are patient enough then they will dig into your website’s contact page and drop you an email. Otherwise, they might start looking for other easier options. Also, it will be a good idea to give advertisers a single point of contact so that they aren’t caught up in between the communication gap. It will help nobody.

How to Advertise (using obvious ways)?

Hmmph! So, you are ready to roll? I guess now you will be looking for some feasible options to open up ad slots on your website and earn quick bucks. I won’t be focusing on the usual ad spots although I want to go through them real quick:

  • Ad spots (square or rectangular) on the side bar are one of the most common ad spots available today on almost every possible blog.
  • Below heading (and above post content) ad spot is another place which can garner high amounts of attention.
  • In header (next to logo) ad spot is something that has been prevailing since long ago and it does attract a lot of attention due to its prime positions.

Just like these three ad spots there are a few other obvious positions where one can open up advertisements on a blog. But, we are here to discuss something new so let us do the same.

How to advertise (the out-of-the-box ideas)?

Users almost never look at anything that looks like an advertisement – Jakob Neilsen

That one line above teaches a lot. It is a sort-of warning to advertisers and publishers. Overly flashy ad spots might have few competitors nibbling around (and doing good) in few websites.

A friend of mine long back sent me a text message which talked about two contrasting lines that had changed his life:

  • …but I love you.
  • I love you but …

Don’t get me wrong, please. The conventional methods of online advertising still rock and they still help most of the blogs out there to keep kicking the profit margins, they are here to stay. But …

So, what are some out-of-box ways to advertise products on your website without killing the user experience:

  • Conduct Interviews - Sounds simple but they can be very effective. We know (from our very own personal experience) that readers tend to ignore anything that looks like an advert. In such a case why not publish ads? Won’t that push that ad-based content right into the feed of your reader just like any other informative post. Hey, I didn’t mean paid posts. Really. Once an advertiser becomes a regular in your blog you can end up conducting an interview with them so as to understand their business and help them connect with your readers. As a precautionary measure, you can add “nofollow” to the outgoing links so that it does not look like a paid post.
  • Let product owners write informative posts - This can be another area where you can expand your advertising horizons. Remember, these must not be paid posts otherwise Google will penalize you badly. Rather, you will have to make sure that these posts are in sync with your niche and they do not look like infomercials. It will be your discretion and later on your audience will decide if your decision was a success or a failure.
  • Appreciate your clients in a different way - Some time back Honda mowed the name of their fan on their headquarter’s lawn. A recognition of such kind which attracts attention for your clients will surely strengthen the relationship between you and your client.

Nail it, studs!

You got to touch your reader if you want to attract their attention. We have the attention span of a small rodent. The same applies to our readers.

Remember Google’s ads during the 2010 Super Bowl? Google waited for the 2010 Super Bowl to roll and they simply nailed it with riveting spots like Justin Beiber, Dear Sophie, It Gets Better and Lady Gaga. All the videos have more than a million views and all of them have one thing in common – they touch your soul!

The Showcase

Ready to push ads on your blogs? Ready to make money? Ready to network? Below list of amazing ad-networks should come in handy for you.

P.S. – I am NOT including Google AdSense as it happens to be the default ad-network for all of us.



Burst Media

Buy Sell Ads

Casale Media

CPX Interactive

Double Click

Say Media

Tribal Fusion

Value Click Media

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