6 Ways Designers Can Avoid Infringing Intellectual Property Rights

As the managing attorney of a commercial law boutique practice, I am asked several times per week some variation of the following question: How should I best protect my intellectual property from being stolen? Is it as simple as filling out a copyright or trademark application and paying a small fee to a do it yourself on-line service? Will that really provide sufficient protection? What do you think? I have set forth below a few of the many aspects of protecting your intellectual property in the United States that go beyond blindly filing such a copyright or trademark application. It is a complex area of the law, and this article does not address all of the potential issues. For example, intellectual property in the United States is protected not just by federal law (as one might expect), but in many cases, state-specific law applies (such as when dealing with trade secret or confidentiality agreements). “Move fast and break things” is a terrific way to end up being sued The nature of potentially protectable intellectual property ranges from the typical (such as literature, television, film and music) to the esoteric (such as clothing lines, video games and apps). Infringement can range from outright copying and use of someone else’s registered intellectual property to merely exceeding the rights granted under a license to use it. This article should be considered only a beginning; the reader should consult counsel to address specific situations. 1. When it Comes to Intellectual Property Filings, Self-Reliance is Not a Virtue “Move fast and break things” is a terrific way to end up being sued. It does not take a great deal of time to file a trademark or copyright incorrectly. It is actually fairly quick, painless and inexpensive. But as in all things relating to the law, the hard way is still the right way. Simply put, you must understand why you are filling out those boxes on the form, what the ramifications of the alternatives are and what else you need to do to protect yourself beyond simply filling out the form. When filing a copyright application with the United States Copyright Office or a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, you should be asking some basic questions, including: what is protectable and what is not; are you going to infringe on someone else’s existing intellectual property; and can anyone...

Understanding Color Theory – Essential Guide for Graphic Designers

Designers’ choice of color for UI has a great impact on the overall aesthetic and functionality of a site. Color selection is complex and plays an important role in design. There is a lot to color theory — changing the hue or saturation of a color can change the mood and behavior of the user. It takes less 90 seconds for users to make a subconscious judgment about a product and more often than not, that assessment is made based on color alone. To create a good design, designers should be able to employ colors effectively. To explore this topic further, we will take a look at the color wheel — Understanding colors and how they relate to one another is an important expertise that designers can master and offer to their clients. Make your way through this article to learn more about how different hues, chromas, value, saturation, and tones affect the way we perceive colors. We will also talk about how to create the most effective color palette for your upcoming projects. Color Wheel   The color wheel shows you different colors and their relationship with each other. The above wheel is based on the RYB model. The color circle is built around primary, secondary and tertiary colors. Primary colors are formed by the combination 3 pigment colors that can’t be formed by the combination of anything whereas secondary and tertiary colors are created by combining primary and secondary respectively. This schematic way of representing colors was developed by Sir Issac Newton and has since then undergone many transformations. Color wheel still remains one of the best ways to depict colors and see different color combinations. Color Models There are two kinds of color models – Additive and Subtractive. The additive color model is used for digital screens while the subtractive color model is based on tangible colors like paint, dyes, and ink. Additive color model aka RGB system is built on primary colors of the spectrum and you are able to combine different colors to create a wide spectrum of colors. Subtractive model, on the other hand, is limited. It is best to convert your files into CMYK format to ensure consistency of colors before printing your final design. Color Harmony Color harmony refers to the organization of colors in an orderly and pleasing fashion. When colors are arranged or organized in the right way, viewers feel a sense...

Design 101: The 8 graphic design basics you need to know

The principles of graphic design are like building blocks. Each one layers on top of the other until you’re left with the foundation for creating something incredible—whether you’re designing a logo, a website, or a custom illustration. If you want the lowdown on all the graphic design basics, you’ve come to the right place because we’re going to cover them all. Let’s take a look at what you need to know to make all of your designs rock: Learn the 8 graphic design basics
— • Space
• Balance
• Hierarchy
• Lines and Shape
• Color
• Typography
• Texture
• Branding
— You know that peaceful feeling you get when you’re in a gorgeous, wide open space? Well, graphic design works the same way. The white space on this menu is just as important as the other design elements (and the food items!). Menu design by Marcy_McGuire.The best designs aren’t the ones that try to fit every design element on the block into a single composition. They utilize open space to bring attention to the elements that actually matter. 10 ways to use space more effectively Space is great—but only when you know how to use it effectively. Read the article above to learn new strategies for taking your use of space and composition to the next level. The 5 rules of design composition and layout Utilizing space well comes from knowing the rules of composition. Get to know them (and the other must-know laws of layout) in this article. Embracing space in interaction design Interested in UX and interaction design? Learn how to embrace space in digital environments. Printmaking and the elements of design What about space on the printed page? We’ve got everything you need to know about the elements of design in printmaking—including how to work with space.
Balance and alignment
— All of the elements in this poster are properly balanced—which adds to the overall effect of the design. Poster design by Shwin.When it comes to design, you can definitely be creative, but you also have to be balanced. Think of it like this: if you were decorating your living room, you wouldn’t try to squeeze the sofa, the recliner chair, the coffee table, and the end tables all into a tiny corner, right? No, you’d spread the pieces throughout the room to create balance and alignment. With graphic design, it’s exactly the same. 7 principles of design Proper balance and...

Game Changing Email Marketing Trends in 2019

There are now close to 4 billion email users worldwide – that’s almost half of the entire world population! And with an average ROI of 3,800%, you should be doing your best to hone your email marketing craft. Here are some email marketing trends that could take your business to the next level in 2019. Your Web Designer Toolbox
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DOWNLOAD NOW AI Infusion If you haven’t started yet, 2019 should be the year you begin implementing AI into your email marketing efforts. There are plenty of available tools on the market that can help you do the following: Coming up with subject lines and images Customizing content based on an individual’s past interactions with previous emails Predicting when users could unsubscribe Curate nurture emails Provide insights into which types of content leads to website traffic These are just a few examples among a whole host of features that AI could bring to your email marketing. But before you jump into a solutions provider, take a look at what elements you think can help your campaign and make a decision based on need. AMP for Email AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a Google initiative designed to speed up the rendering time of web pages on mobile devices. The tech allows marketers to create website-like experiences within an email. These could include: Use of carousels and accordions Accepting user input Browse content straight from the inbox But the most exciting possibility brought to email by AMP is the ability for content to be updated. For example, if you visit the Ritz Carlton website today, the following day, the hotel could email you a list of available rooms. When you return to the same email the following week to find the hotel’s contact info, you find that the content has been updated with the latest available listings. Email that doesn’t get stale – that would be a blessing to marketers. Additionally, because it is yet to be available to all email service providers, AMP is also backwards compatible with unsupported email clients. This means content would only fall back to older markup language if it’s unsupported. Increased Segmentation If you’re not segmenting your list in 2019, you’re not doing it right. According to HubSpot, segmented and targeted emails account for an estimated 58% of all earnings. This is mainly...

Designing Mobile Websites for Voice Search

In January 2018 alone, consumers conducted over 1 billion voice searches. By 2020, it’s estimated that 30% of all online searches will take place without the use of a screen. Needless to say, voice search is set to make serious waves in the not-so-distant future. As more users seek out the convenience of using their voice to search online, you have to consider how this will impact mobile websites. As of now, your main concern doesn’t need to be with designing a website that literally talks back to visitors. We have microinteractions and conversational UIs that can help with that. Instead, what you should do is consider the relationship between voice users and search. Here are some things to think about as you approach the design of mobile websites in 2019 and beyond: 1. Place Answers to Common Queries at the Top According to a Bright Local survey from 2018, 28% of voice users will call a business immediately after finding them in search. So, while it’s important to have a well-designed website that appeals to local shoppers or customers, it’s just as important to get them the information they need right away. And when someone is using their phone and their voice to look up a website, chances are good they’re looking for a shortcut to get in touch. But making a call isn’t the only kind of action a voice user might want to take in this instance. Think of other ways in which they’d want to engage with your client’s website or business: To get the brick-and-mortar store’s hours of operation; To find a live chat or support portal for help with a product or service; To make a reservation or appointment; To get information about current sales or free shipping offers. Google/Peerless Insights provide some insights into the types of information most commonly sought out by voice users in search: If someone has opted to use voice search over text, there’s a good chance they were trying to avoid the work of clicking and scrolling and taking other manual steps to convert. Instead, they engaged with their voice assistant or search voice widget in order to get a quick answer. When it makes sense, place quick snippets of information in the header or navigation bar. Take, for instance, this voice query I did for “when is the next marketing conference”: Using this example of NEXT 2018, you can see that the answer is not provided in my search results: However, upon...

Visual Composer Website Builder vs WPBakery Page Builder

A decade ago, WordPress content builders were small tools – usually created by WordPress theme authors. They created them for their users to have easier page editing options. But what once was a small industry has now expanded into a great WordPress niche. Nowadays, there are dozens of WordPress site builders on the market. While they are similar in basic functionality, each owns unique features and an approach they use to operate. If a decade ago, WPBakery Page Builder was the one that pioneered in the WordPress page builder market, then today new tools like Visual Composer Website Builder keep the pace in the niche. But before going in-depth and comparing these two WordPress plugins, let’s deal with the surrounding confusion where users are mixing up these two totally independent builders. Confusion between WPBakery Page Builder and Visual Composer Website Builder Originally, WPBakery Page Builder used to be called Visual Composer. Not anymore. So, the re-branding seems to be the main issue causing confusion here. Long story short… In late 2017, the owner of the WPBakery Page Builder created a new plugin from scratch – a complete WordPress website builder named Visual Composer Website Builder. And the initial page builder was named WPBakery Page Builder. To make it clear and less confusing, here are some facts about these two independent plugins: WPBakery Page Builder A shortcode-based builder that works only for your site’s content. Available to purchase from CodeCanyon and their own website at wpbakery.com. WPBakery Page Builder is bundled in many WordPress themes and complemented with thousands of custom add-ons created by other WordPress developers. Continuing the confusion … Many WordPress theme authors who have included WPBakery Page Builder are still continuing to refer to the product as Visual Composer. Can’t blame them, they might not know. But now you know. If in doubt, right at the moment, the latest WPBakery Page Builder update is version 5.6. Visual Composer Website Builder A new technology-based website builder plugin that lets you create a complete website. Not just a part of a website, but a whole site including headers, footers, custom page layouts and more. You cannot buy Visual Composer Website Builder on any third-party plugin markets, only on their own website at visualcomposer.com. At the moment, the latest...

Why it’s important to use diverse stock images in design today

We’ve all had a good laugh and eye roll at the women laughing alone with salad stock images—the sheer ridiculousness of this swathe of stock images that for some reason mainly depicts (primarily white) women as over enthusiastic salad eaters. Unfortunately this is a symptom of a much bigger problem which negatively affects a lot of people: the lack of authentic representation in the world of stock images. A photo from the Disability Collection by Getty Images, NDLA and OATH. Via Getty Images.Stock images are ubiquitous: they’re coming at us from all sides—book covers, instagram ads, blog posts, website design, billboards. Stock images in design have power: the experience of seeing someone like you reflected back in an image is empowering, it fosters inclusion and increases awareness. When the existence of different identities, skin tones, body shapes and abilities is not taken into account, that is an act of the erasure of that community. This is why representation matters. Seeing Barack Obama elected as the first African American president. Seeing Adam Rippon compete and win at the Olympic games as one of the first openly gay men to do so. Seeing Ada Hegerberg be the first woman to be awarded the Ballon d’Or as the world’s best footballer—a prize that has only been awarded to a man each year since 1956. Seeing Beyoncé on the cover of Vogue magazine. Setting up a digital space for authentic and diverse stock imagery
— Founder of CreateHERstock.com Neosha Gardner. Via Neosha Gardner.One afternoon four years ago, Neosha Gardner was searching for stock images to feature in a lifestyle blog post—she describes herself as a Creative Business Doula, who runs an online visuals studio for creative entrepreneurs. At the time, Gardner was looking for an image of someone who looked like her, but she could not find any authentic stock images featuring Black women. After polling her social media followers, Gardner realised there was a big problem with stock imagery and the lack of representation. Deciding to put her own skills to use, the creative entrepreneur decided to do something about it and set up her own free stock image library focused on representing African American women, CreateHERstock. A lifestyle image from the CreateHERstock free stock image library. Via I’sha Gaines.CreateHERstock was established in 2014 as a resource offering free and premium stock “...

Do’s and Don’ts of Designing Complex Gradients

Gradients are a result of blending different colors. These color transitions can add depth to designs that otherwise would seem to look flat. Flat colors are limited and don’t produce the same effect as gradients can. By mixing colors, designers are able to create a color that is unique and refreshing. This scheme can be used to set the tone of a website and elevate the mood of their designs. Gradients can be created by mixing colors from the opposite sides of the spectrum or simply by choosing analogous or monochromatic colors, says the team at 7ninjas.com, a software development company that also specializes in digital product design. These color schemes can be used to create a focal point on a composition. Either way, the result is a color combination that looks and feels different. These eye-catching and vibrant color transitions can help elevate any design. For designers who use gradients on a regular basis, it helps to know the basic principles which make a gradient usable. Make your way through this article to find out how designers create unique color transitions to help add depth to an otherwise flat design. Please note that these do’s and don’ts are collected from designers that have spent countless hours blending colors, so give yourself some time to master these techniques. Color Arrangement   If you are looking to create a soft palette, it is best to stick to two or three neutral tones for a smoother gradient. Whereas a fun, funky design would require you mix bold colors and add few extra colors and color stops. Whatever arrangement you choose, understanding the purpose of your design will help you create a harmonious palette that can set the right tone to an otherwise dull design. Here are a few key points to consider when blending colors. Stick to two or three colors to create a smooth gradient Try not to overload the gradient tab with more than 3 colors. Use less than 3 color stops at a given time Pay attention to the color transitions Designing Gradients with Complementary Colors   When designing gradients, It is advised to work with colors that work well together. So when working with complementary colors, it would help to learn a bit about color theory. Blending complementary colors can create a pleasant contrast. But more often than not, when creating these color transitions, designers often use only two...

12 Examples of Nature Illustrations in Web Design

Illustrations can beautifully and uniquely capture reality. If your website has a nature/outdoors theme, photography might not quite cut it for really nailing that stylized, personal touch. Need some ideas? These awesome examples will give you all the inspiration you need! Your Web Designer Toolbox
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DOWNLOAD NOW Hanabi The simplistic style of this background is reminiscent of a watercolor painting. Upload a photo, and see it turn into a colorful spray of fireworks! It’s a unique idea with beautiful execution. Firewatch Firewatch instantly hits you with gorgeous art of a mountain landscape at sunset. Scroll down and you’ll get even more of a treat as the parallax reveals a new depth to the background. If you want to design your front page around illustration, take note! Moonfarmer A parallax planet set against stunning animated starscapes. This one-page website obviously had a lot of work and inspiration poured into it. Even with some simple panning and rotating, you can create something really beautiful. Epicurrence This whole page is packed with stunning illustrations of camping and natural scenery. The parallax at the top of the page is used to good effect, and as you scroll down, you’ll see even more pretty images. Take note of how the site’s color theme meshes well with the large illustrations. El Salado This website uses both photography and art to tell you about the story of a village in conflict. The graphic novel, though illustrated, speaks about a very real event in history. You’ll find both a cartoonish depiction of conflict as a monster and photos of the actual village that inspired the story here. Branded7 This site is filled with all kinds of art, but natural pieces appear to be a specialty. Scroll down to encounter a beautiful parallax piece of a mountain trail that serves as your send-off with social media links. Explore to find even more awesome nature illustrations! Angry Bear This website is a real experience, top to bottom. As you scroll down, you’ll descend the falls, seeing the illustration continue between information about the company until you reach the bottom of the image. A very unique and clever one-page design. ARK You don’t need to create the next “Starry Night” on your website. A simple, minimalistic header more than gets the...

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12 Feb 2019