Behance Tips; You are as good as your worst work

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Designing your Behance projects is as important as designing your client projects. A well designed and presented project adds exposure and creates more traffic and followers for your account, leading to recognition amongst fellow designers, agencies and clients seeking experienced designers.

Here are some tips I prepared from my personal experience which is mostly in Branding Designs, using Behance.net:

As a designer you can benefit from this site in many ways including these 3 areas:

_1 You can use your Behance account as your personal website without the hustle of creating a personal website from scratch and buying domains and hosting services.

You can find two parts In your profile:

… The section on the left side is your personal information and CV, make sure you fill it all up. Be direct to the point, make people know what is exactly that you do and be approachable in the manner you describe yourself and your specialty, this is crucial in the bio section.

… The section to the right is your portfolio, make sure you upload only your best work. It is best that you upload only one specialization that you are skilled at, maybe two, even if you do work in different design fields, this helps identifying you as a specialist in that area, allowing designers and clients to find you easier and faster.

-2 You can build your portfolio and discover other great designers in the design field you are interested in, whether in the “for you” section or discover various work and projects uploaded on Behance. 

… Create collections where you keep projects you are interested in studying, getting inspired so you can scale up your design skills and your project design skills as well. Collections can be made secret if you wish to keep it hidden.

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-3 Find career opportunities in the job section of the website.

… Use the filters available to customize your search.

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-4 Use the search feature to find work for inspiration or designers with a specific set of skills, you can filter the results by location, creative field, time frame, etc.. You can search for projects or people as well.

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PROJECT PRESENTATION TIPS:

… Presenting any project on Behance should be tell a story, a visual one. Most branding projects should include the story behind this project; ( who is your client, what is the project for, what is your role in the project and what is your approach regarding the design of this particular one), the design itself, font usage, color system, the rational behind your concept, any usage of a golden ratio or  a grid system, icons set (if available) and multiple well executed mockups.

… Before you get to design your project’s presentation and while you submit your artwork to the client for approval, you should design that proposal as a mini Behance presentation, meaning adding in the design, the concept behind it; the rational, fonts used, color system and some mockups, you can add or eliminate what you see fit.

… After the project is done and confirmed you can now use that proposal and add to it so you can upload on your portfolio, this way your client gets to see a well organized, interesting presentation that can help “sell” your design and find a ready made presentation for upload with minimal work of adding extra mockups and designs to it.

  • You can upload any of the design options you sent to the client, you are not bound to only uploading the approved version, and sometimes you can upload all the versions if you think they can add value to your portfolio and show diversity in your skills.

… A great addition to your presentations would be showing pictures and/ or videos of the design process itself, that would show the thought process and skill you have to other designers and potential clients.

… Presentations can be uploaded in separate images or in one continuous presentation (mainly used when you have overlapping elements between slides), but is you choose to have overlapping elements between slides such as the following images you should decide if you want to upload a single continuous image or do you want it to be in separate images/ slides as well. Separate slides is always preferred because it allows viewers to open each single image and check out your work where everything is bigger and legible.

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Project view on Behance

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How the artboards are actually designed with the image repeated on both slides to give the continuous feel to your presentation

 

… The project’s cover picture should be 808 px by 622px and it should include a design or image that is available inside the project’s presentation.

… Project presentations can be created optimally using Adobe Photoshop or Adobe illustrator, I use Illustrator for the artboards and photoshop for editing images and creating mockups.

… Artboards should be 1400px in width, images wider will be scaled down to 1400px and images lower than that will be uploaded at their original width which will be not cover the full width provided by Behance. The length of your slides is up to you, you can go between 750px or 1000px for example, you go taller or shorter.

… Always upload images that are RGB and are high resolution (ideally 300ppi even if your uploading to web).

… Mockups are important because they showcase your design, make sure you use high quality mockups and it would be a good investment if you buy your mockups and not use the general free ones. Ideally you should use between 3 to 6 mockups per project.

… You can upload gifs and videos to your projects and you can embed media and audio as well.

 

GETTING FEATURED ON BEHANCE

Features are important because of the exposure they provide to your projects and profile, as featured projects are always by default shown first when you conduct any search or while discovering projects, allowing you to get more views and get found by possible clients.

There are no set of rules for picking a project to be featured on Behance but there are a few tips pm hoe to increase your chances:

… Don’t publish your project unless it is complete and you are sure you will not edit any of it again, to do that you can upload your project and edit it until you are very content with the results and then you can hit publish.

… Upload high quality work and images, you can upload up to 50MB per image to your project.

… The amount of appreciations and comments and views do affect the decision of picking your project for a feature, but is not the binding rule.

… Ideally projects should include 6- 20 images and without the placement of a watermark over your work.

.., It is preferred that the cover picture of your project is a full picture of your design and not only parts of it or a zoomed in crop.

 

MICELLANEOUS TIPS 

… When you buy an Adobe program bundle you get a free website from Behance, an ADOBE PORTFOLIO, where you can import all of your Behance projects to your website and then edit whatever is needed to be edited, you can add or omit projects, change the theme used for your website, add a personal domain name and you get free hosting from Adobe as well.

… Follow only the most creative designers you find so you scale up your inspiration, skills and design abilities.

… Use the search filters to know where do you stand between other fellow designers in your country or city, in your creative field as well or in general, though it is not an accurate result to showcase who is more professional that the other but it gives you an insight on your Behance status which is important for possible clients who uses this method to find designers for hire.

… Use the features available such as statistics, where you can find out which of your project is doing better and on which days most appreciations come at, and more other statistics to follow to enhance your performance on the site.

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… Rearrange your projects, edit old ones and redesign their presentations, remove projects that are do not show your skill set at the moment, have only your best work uploaded; ” You are as good as your worst work”, but do not delete the project, instead click on the unpublish button, this way the project is not showing in your portfolio but you get to keep the appreciation and view count they have.

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My Behance Portfolio for reference:

https://www.behance.net/hadeelsahmad

 

 

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How to design a logo? for a freelancer…

Ever wondered… How can I come up with a great logo? Where to start and how to manage your client?

A logo design process should be methodical, it should be thorough and most importantly exciting!

I will share with you the exact process I use for creating any logo design and as a freelancer how I communicate with my clients.

 

1. LEAD GENERATION 

To start generating leads of potential clients you need to be out there, and out there is mostly online! Make sure you have a well built portfolio and share it using social media such as creating a business page for your work on facebook, instagram, twitter and more importantly Behance, dribble and similar sites. Make sure you list your contact information; you can list your email, website and/ or phone number, this allows any lead to contact you easily for a design quote.

When a potential lead communicates with me for a logo design, via my website; www.hadeelahmad.com or via social media; facebook and instagram or via Behance asking for a logo design and how much would it cost, I reply with a ”Thanks for contacting me, and please let me know more about your business and company email”. It is crucial that you know more about that company and what is needed BEFORE you send a quote!

 

2. BUILD A PROPOSAL

After you get some more information; preferably with some links to their website and social media, you start preparing the proposal with the fees and timeline, my personal proposal includes:

  1. The name of the project.
  2. Client’s contact information.
  3. Deliverables list.
  4. Price and price breakout; How payments are devided, normally a 50% downpayment and 50% after the project is done and confirmed but before you send the final files.
  5. Any other conditions you need to set such as the payment method; ( Bank transfer, cash, western union, paypal, payoneer, etc…).

Many designers do not know how to price their designs and that is debatable issue, but every designer can set their own average pricing, you can always set your minimun fee rate but keep the maximum open.

Some designers price per project a rough estimate and some go by the hourly rate, where you count how many hours you are going to put into this particular project. This varies from design to another, designquote.net is helpful for calculating design costs!

 

  3. DESIGN BRIEF

After you send the proposal to the client and it is confirmed and the first 50% down payment is processed you can kick start the project, now you need to send the client a logo questionnaire.

The logo questionnaire should be thorough enough for you to understand the brand better to start the brainstorming process which includes:

1. Researching the company’s history, website, social media, press and any other link you can find.

2. Researching the competition, check what they do offer that the brand doesn’t, what are their strengths and weaknesses regarding their branding, avoid using elements the competitor use such as shapes, colors and typography styles.

3. Define the most prominant keywords that best describe the brand you want to design the logo for.

4. Define the brand’s character and personality to set the way you need to EXECUTE the idea you come up with.

 

4. BRAINSTORMING & MIND MAPPING

This is THE most important part of the logo design process, this is where you will start creating ideas for the actual shape, look and feel of the logo specially built for that specified brand.

The process starts with a pen and paper, take the most prominent key words you came up with from the brief, place them on the paper in bubbles, start branching each word to a more descriptive word that could be translated into a certain icon or shape.

View these examples I did for some of my clients:

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5. SKETCHING

After setting your mind map, you can start sketching ideas by merging two or more icons and shapes you have come up with. This will lead to multiple logo design ideas, you can now at this point select promising concepts and execute them digitally.

Keeping in mind to pull out the best execution methods; ( Using perfect proportions, grids, golden ratio if needed),  to come up with a perfect design following the brand’s feel, character and attitude you have in the brief, so if a brand is a strong brand that feels trustworthy and more ‘corporate’, you can then explore a more bolder execution of line thickness, fonts, shape edges, etc…

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6. PRESENTATION

After you create your design options you should create a proper presentation to show to present to your client, you can never just send an image of the logo options and call it a presentation. You can use a 800px wide artboard and start the presentation by adding the proposaed logo design, how did you come up with the logol, the rational; written and shown with shapes, a mood board of the elements you were insprired to design the logo elements from. Add some mockups that best suit your client’s brand, but don’t use too much of them, ideally 3-5 mockups. Mockups help the client visualise his new logo better.

Here are some sites that offer great mockups for you to use:

www.forgraphictm.com

www.mockupworld.co

www.graphicburger.com

www.freebiesbug.com

 

Send the presentation to your client in a PDF form but make sure you uncheck the ‘preserve illustartor editing capabilities’ box, so the design cannot be extracted and used from the PDF file.

Make sure you deliver the design options within the timeline you specified in the project’s proposal.

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7. PRODUCTION & FILE FORMATS

Once the client picks the logo he prefers, the logo is confirmed and approved, and you get your final payment and no more edits are required you can then prepare the logo files for the client and send them and you can send them via email or if they are large in size you can use google drive, dropbox or wetransfer.com, but make sure if you do not send the files using your email that you also send an email stating that you are sending the files via one of the listed methods or any other method you find suitable.

Logo files should always be sent in all of these formats:

Original AI file, Editable PDF file, EPS file of each artboard (if present), a JPG image of the logo and a separate one of the emblem (logo without typography, if present), a PNG image of the logo and a separate one of the emblem too.

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This logo process when done right will assure you get great results for you and your client. The process should be almost the same for all of the designers out there, what differs is your creativity and way of thinking, which you can develop and strengthen by keeping a fresh eye for great designs; research, get inspired, follow great designers, ask questions, create an inspiration file with the best designs you can find and just keep practicing!

Inspirational site are many and here are some of my personal favorite:

www.logobook.com

www.logo-archive.org

www.bpando.org

www.underconsideration.com

www.logopond.com

www.logoinspiration.net

 

 

IT’S ALIVE | Dynamic Identities

The world is always evolving, and it’s evolving fast!

For the branding industry, only brands the can change and adapt will stand out and live, because the human mind is wired to notice only the different amongst the normals & standards. While identities are becoming platforms & a total experience rather than static logos, the need for them to become alive requires a system that can be customised and personalise to the brand’s audience, a dynamic identity is the answer.

Technology has given identities the chance to act as living organisms, with a voice and a character presented in various social media platforms and all over the internet, such evolution needs a dynamic & variable system to build identities according to. So how can you build a dynamic identity?

Beyond-the-logo

A brand identity is

The Logo
The product
The name
The experience

A Brand is all of these…. And then some.

A brand is tangible; you can see it, touch it, hold it, hear it, watch it move.it takes disparate elements and unifies them into a whole system.

 

A dynamic identity system consists of 6 components & its connections to
create that system. Variables create the dynamics while one component would be constant in shape and placement and that would be the main logo, for the purpose of maintaining recognition of the brand, so when other variables keep changing such as colour or imagery, people can still recognise the brand’s identity.

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This crucial constant element is called the CONTAINER, were other variables are placed in it, on it, behind it or emerging from it.

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City of Milbourne identity is a great example of a dynamic identity:

Description:

“The challenge was to reflect City of Melbourne’s cool sophistication on the world stage, capture the passion of its people, and provide the city with a unified, flexible, and future-focused image. The new identity needed to overcome political complexities, improve the cost-effectiveness of managing the brand, and unite the disparate range of entities (including the council, City of Melbourne’s destination brand, and an ever-growing portfolio of different initiatives, programs, services, events, and activities). We built the branding program based on the results of a thorough audit of City of Melbourne’s various identities and its long-term sustainability and strategic plans.”

Designed at: Landor Associates.

Another direction of a dynamic identity design would include the main logo (container) having a wallpaper behind it. The shapes may vary but the impression suggests the same identity of that brand.

A perfect example of using wallpapers behind the main logo is AOL:

Description: People use AOL ostensibly as a search engine, to find all sorts of things, so this identity leverages that multiplicity with a wide variety of supporting images.
Designed at: Wolff Olins

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Some examples on using wallpapers with the main logo which acts as a frame also for the wallpapers. Taking into consideration that wallpapers can be treated in a certain way that reflects the design so whatever wallpaper design is added the outcome is similar and the logo is identifiable.

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Main logo (container)

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Added various but unified wallpapers

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Implementing the identity

 

Other examples:

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Another direction for implementing a dynamic identity is using a Formula.

This direction lets the system be the constant such as using grids or creating a language from shapes and colours then use them as the variable elements of the identity.

Here in this example,  Wolff Olins created the identity for new museum in way that it has a certain formula and language:

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“In an exciting collaboration with the museum, we created a visual expression that features a spectrum of color and language, and a logo that literally moves and flexes to welcome new artists and audiences and to announce new art and the new museum. The mantra “open, fearless and alive” quickly became an invaluable tool for internal decision making.”

 

My personal favorite direction of using a dynamic identity is the customisable identity, where the main logo acts as a container for customisable elements that vary a lot but creates a personalised emotional experience for the targeted audience where they can interact and be part of the brand.

It makes the client the owner of the brand as stated by Irene van Nes in her publication ”Dynamic identities: How to create a living brand”;

OCAD University, Canada’s pre-eminent art and design school, is now accredited to confer degrees. It is an inclusive, vibrant and vital institution built on creativity, risk and
innovation. It needs a new identity reflecting that status. Bruce Mau Design questioned whether the visual identity could reveal the extraordinary creative energy that lives at OCAD U. Inspired by the iconic Alsop-designed building, they created a base of black-and-white pixel ‘windows’ – modular frames to hold actual student art and design. The logo literally becomes the display window for the students.

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Another brilliant example on using windows and frames as the container of the logo is Autisitc Art:

“We wanted to build the identity around a symbol that refers both to the autistic people and the foundation who are behind the whole concept. This symbol has become the window – a bridge between the inner World of our beneficiaries and their environment (including the foundation and the consumer of the branded products).
We were determined to use this symbol in the way autistic people would like it the most: severely and clear-out.”

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Other examples using the customised window container doesn’t have to include art pieces rather than relative icons, such as the identity of Public Space by Sulliwan Studio:

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Some more examples:

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A unique example here is pixus, where they used a combination between wallpaper and customised directions to build their dynamic identity:

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Studying dynamic identities, I found it to be the best direction for our growing community of designers; Designers Union, where the need for a variable and adaptable logo emerged to cover all of the Union’s activities and aspirations.

“Designers Union is the largest gathering for designers of all fields, introducing truly beneficial content, discussions, challenges where designers come to learn, share their work, ask, help each other, participate in design contests and challenges, attend seminars, workshops & design conferences, create regulations to help advance the business of design not only as individuals but also as one union.”

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Content sources:

Behance.net

Sulliwan Studio

Wolff Olins

Landor Associates

DYNAMIC IDENTITIES
How to create a living brand by Irene van Nes