Drumroll, Please: Desiiiiign Tiiiime!

We tend to get our hands dirty and our feet wet with all kinds of marketing projects that involve design in some capacity. Whether it’s feedback on a new logo, picking out creative for Facebook ads, wire-framing the ‘ish out of a homepage — we’re always digging into the inter-webs (wait, does anyone even say that anymore?) for new and interesting services to help us make the next great design decision.

Here’s a list of some recent tools we’ve come across and love playing with:

  • DOLLAR PHOTO CLUB. Searching for good stockphotos makes us want to gargle vinegar. There’s just too many stupidly-priced women laughing alone while eating salad. This new and affordable site offers membership for $10 a month to download (up to 10 high-res) images for $1 each. Gargle that.

What the $%# is happening to that tomato? What the $%# is happening to that tomato?

  • MEDIALOOT: Man, this is the site that sucks us down the rabbit hole. Then we come back to the surface with all kinds of treats. Great for textural backgrounds, vector icons, and overall inspiration — this is the kind of referential linking we love to do when art directing. And it’s made us better for it.

THESE ARE A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS! THESE ARE A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS!

  • COMPFIGHT: Another image service! But this one filters keyword searches from Flickr that are rights free or Creative Commons. So rather than dilly dally with stockphoto boringness, you can actually pay for or credit someone who spent a year in Madrid photographing windowpanes. Sigh, now we wanna go to Madrid. ** Hint hint **

Complete wanderlust by clicking through... Complete wanderlust by clicking through…

  • CODECANYON: So many times we’ve come across projects and clients who need a set of tools or an application that, to put it simply, we just don’t got. But tabbing over to this code resource allows us to find the plug-in, javascript, CSS, or whatever other code-monkey-business we might need. Whew.

Welp, we do now! Also - we totally love HBO's Silicon Valley. It is on point.  Welp, we do now! Also – we totally love HBO’s Silicon Valley. It is on point.

Let us know if there’s any other design gems we’re missing out on. We will repay you in high fives and witty emoticon replies. And reference you in our next DESIIIIIGN TIIIIIME.

Until then, Happy Memorial Day weekend! Beers and BBQ on us! (Not really, but in our hearts)

Being an Expert Vs. Jack of All Trades

I recently came across a photographer discussing how her portfolio work and website communicated her abilities differently to clients; the idea being that having too many styles could be a turn-off for an employer who potentially only wanted her for one type of project.

In thinking about this conundrum in my own profession, I wondered whether it was better to be an expert in one field or simply sufficient in them all.

At Oliver + Sons we use the “jack of all trades” language quite a bit. And we like it. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t individual skills or expertise that I (and certainly my colleagues) feel we are authorities on. In light of

Client Spotlight: Gearnaut Featured on CNET

We get all giggly about our clients. No exception is the fantastic new shopping platform, Gearnaut. They specialize in tech must-haves, fashionable accessories, badass tools and all kinds of stylish stuff as discounted deals.

Recently, they published a fantastic Mac App Bundle featuring ten computer-soothing applications to improve and enhance your machine. Expertly curated products at an insane deal – seriously, it’s over 85% off the retail price. Eighty. Five. Percent.

10 Apps for $39.99 — with the retail sticker price at almost $300! SEE, WE TOLD YOU IT WAS CRAZY.

CNET recently picked up the deal (as they should) and Gearnaut will be featuring this bundle for another few days. So get on it if you care about your fruit hardware!

{Book}worm Hole

Here’s a quick gut-check on the latest slices of literature that are giving us life. Professionally and otherwise.

The Circle // Dave Eggers

Focused on a fictitious tech behemoth (crafted with a hint of Google and Apple cultures), the story touches upon issues related to privacy, the distinction between work and play, and the overall over-share that’s rampant online. We’re just going to admit this: we worship at the altar of Dave Eggers. Which is interesting because he seems to defy pedestals. From his 826 Valencia efforts to his publishing company, McSweeney’s, Eggers delivers another piece of entertaining culture-gaze, and should be taken as entertainment rather than a scathing critique of Silicon Valley and it’s products.

 

The Customer Support Handbook // Sarah Hatter

Along with a long list of experienced co-authors, Hatter delivers a definitive guide to keeping customers happy and loyal. From community building to help documents, every interaction is important. This is a must-read for the CS-minded and the team leaders of any consumer facing business. At Oliver + Sons we subscribe to the very same philosophies. We too have our fair share of customers and clients who need a little extra engagement. Flipping through these pages is a great cool-down when your support efforts get hot (whether it’s passionate customers or tickets boiling over), like word-iced-tea. Or something.

 

An American Life: Benjamin Franklin // Walter Isaacson

This biography is worth the time, energy and effort for a number of reasons — and, at a hefty 586 pages, we emphasize effort — but, rather than give you a full synopsis, we’ll leave you with a few of our favorite Ben Franklin quotes:

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”*

* Oliver + Sons personal favorite.