The decision to send a holiday e-card in place of a traditional paper card can save money and time searching for the “right” card.  There are several additional benefits of sending holiday e-cards.

 Convenience

  • Time.  That says it all.  No more spending hours, or an entire weekend personalizing, addressing and stamping your holiday cards.  E-cards can be sent from any computer whenever you wish.  Think of all that free time you’ll have to do your Holiday shopping.

Affordability

  • There are unlimited possibilities of what you can have on your e-card.  Many can have sound effects and animations included.  Photos can be incorporated into the e-cards, for an even more personalized look.
  • Remember having to put a stamp on each card?  When the cost of the card plus the cost of postage is totaled, sending an e-card can dramatically reduce the cost of sending your holiday wishes.  It has been estimated that the cost to send one holiday card can amount to as much as $3.00 per card when the card and printing costs are combined. 

Delivery

  • If you send a holiday e-card, you’ll be ensured that the recipients will receive their cards in a timely manner.  No more wait time for the post office which is always slow during the holiday season.

 Environmentally Friendly

  • Go green.  Maybe even Holly Green.  Today, more and more businesses are consciously trying to reduce, recycle, and reuse.  Sending a holiday e-card can help save a tree.  Nothing more than the energy used to send and retrieve the card is used. 

 Sending an e-card may still be considered a non-traditional method, but e-cards are gaining popularity each day.  Contact Chris at www.1stopdesign.com  to discuss your holiday e-cards today.

“It IS Easy Being Green”

There are many ways to create a greener workplace and make a strong impact on the environment. It is always good to start by taking some small steps to get a new plan into action. Here are a few ideas to get you going in the right direction.

Think About Your Commute

If your office is not within walking or biking, consider carpooling with two to three coworkers. Other alternatives are purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle or switching from an eight-hour workday, five days a week to a 10-hour workday, four days a week. This will cut your daily commute time by at least 20 percent.

Go Digital

The greenest paper is no paper, and one of the most effective ways to be more eco-friendly in your office is to reduce paper waste. Keep things digital whenever possible. The more you do online, the less paper you need. Switch from a fax machine to a fax modem to send and receive paperless documents. Use electronic forms whenever possible, and e-mail letters and documents to be read online rather than printed out. (1-Stop Design provides electronic versions of letterhead to all our branding clients to promote a paperless office.) Have staff members take their laptops to meetings so they aren’t printing copy after copy of the same report. Make it a policy to post employee manuals and similar materials online, rather than distribute print copies. An added bonus: Storing files on your computer saves time, money and space. Don’t forget to backup regularly to an off-site data system or use compact flash drives.

Use Green Marketing Tools

In these tough economic times don’t stop marketing, think green marketing? Eblasts, Updating websites, social Media marketing, Search Engine Optimization are all examples of cost efficient marketing that are green too! Promote your company and do you part to save the environment. It is a win win solution!!!

Print Smarter

Think before you print. The average worker in the United States goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year. Make it a habit to print on both sides and use the back side of old documents for faxes, scrap paper, or drafts. Avoid color printing and print in draft mode whenever possible.

Use Green Materials

At 1-Stop Design we do our best to match our clients printing budget with solutions that utilize environmentally friendly paper products. Some paper use can’t be avoided, so use recycled paper and envelopes that have been processed and colored using eco-friendly methods.

Buy chlorine-free paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content. Also consider switching to a lighter stock of paper or alternatives made from bamboo, hemp, organic cotton.  Pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are better for the environment than disposable ones. Buy in bulk so that shipping and packaging waste are reduced, and reuse the shipping boxes. Recycling printer cartridges is often free, and recycled replacements are cheaper than new ones. According to Office Depot, each remanufactured toner cartridge “keeps approximately 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic out of landfills.

Green your PC.

Make your computer more efficient and environmentally friendly. Start by putting computers on “standby” or in “hibernation” mode when they haven’t been accessed for more than 10 minutes.  Turn them off when you’re finished working for the day. When replacing a computer, switch to a laptop for more efficiency.  Laptops use 80 percent less energy.

Get Others in on the Act.

Share eco-friendly tips with your coworkers. Ask the office manager to make sure everyone has a small recycling bin so that recycling is just as easy as throwing paper away.

All of these eco-friendly tips are simple and easy to implement today.  So, yes, it IS easy to be green.

1-Stop Design has recently added new photo equipment to our studio. We have purchased new Light Boxes, Halogen Lamps and several backdrops.  The most recent photo shoot at 1-Stop Design was the product line for client, Paul Kenneth Salon. It was amazing to use our new equipment with the PK products.  Our Creative Director got some great shots.  Check out the project of the week on our website:  www.1stopdesign.com

Since we are bragging about our new photography equipment, here are some ideas for you to get out there and take some great shots of your own.

Photography does not need to be expensive, you can work with a low budget.  Shooting random home items can be lots fun!  One of the most enjoyable part of photography is the satisfaction of getting great images.  Even more so, it’s great to get those images on a low budget. The dollar store offers a huge variety of products that can be very captivating subjects.

 Basic Materials and Backdrops

Use some materials you have at home or at the office for backdrops.  Tape large sheets of paper to the wall so it flows gently out onto the floor, add color or paint to a poster board, fabric remnants, shower curtains, and blankets are all great for backdrops and we all have most of them already at home.  Try not to use anything with a crease since the crease will show up in your images.  For a dramatic effect you might want to create a simple light box or use a lamp with a linen or cloth shade.  However, natural sunlight is a great way to light your shots.  Lighting is always an issue of preference. 

Ideas For What To Shoot

The dollar store always has little treasures waiting to be found.  There are plenty of different subjects you can choose from.  Take a walk down the toy aisle for instance.  Glass Marbles, army men, stuffed animals, holiday trinkets and candy are all good starters.  These items are also great getting shots of children playing with them.   

  • Glass marbles are an excellent idea for macro photography – try taking a picture of a stem glass with a bunch of glass marbles in it.  The colors that come from the marbles will be amazing.
  • Army men can be used in a playful and fun shoot or a more serious and political shoot.  Try getting a small American flag to use as a backdrop.  Get a close up of a child playing with the Army men and the intense look on their face as they act out their battle. 
  • Candy is another great and colorful image waiting to be taken.  Place the bags of unopened candy in a basket with a dropcloth in the bottom flowing over the sides of the basket.  Pour a bag of M&M’s or jelly beans in a bowl and take a shot from above.  Put gumballs in a vase or glass jar.  Use the gumballs in the jar to “plant” faux flowers in. 

While you may hate the thought of actually going into the dollar store, just think of opportunity you could have to take great shots on a low budget.

4, One to change the bulb and 3 to argue about whether they should have used serifed or sans serifed fonts on the packaging.

Don’t know, but when you change it, can you make it bigger?

I have a few more answers, I’m just wondering how many are out there?

Good one!
How about: It only takes one, but you’ll need to provide the bulb as either a vector or high resolution raster file.

One, but can you also change all the other bulbs, its not a big job, should only take you an hour.

ha ha, you’ve been reading Clientcopia!
Or:
Just one, but I had my sister (who’s also a designer) pick out some bulbs that we would like you to use.

One…..and while you’re at it, we have a few more small things for you to change.

I’m not sure…
But I’ll know it when I see it…LMAO.

One, but I’d like you to make the light coming from the bulb to match our logo – here’s a .gif for reference.

One, but can you make the bulb, oh, I don’t know, less bulby?

3, one to come up with the concept, one to do a mock-up simulation, and one to do the production work.

One professional…but I’m sure he will need help from my 14 year old nephew because Timmy changed a bulb once. (am I sensing an undertone here lol)

None: light bulbs aren’t “out of the box” unless you take them out of the box,
then maybe one, if the designer holds perfectly still while the rest of the world revolves around him/her. Yes, I am a designer who doesn’t think out of the box. After watching the Matrix for the umpteenth time…”there is no box, there is no box.

Takes 1 Designer for bulb installation, but it takes the clients cousin to finish it by changing the kerning on the title and adding a kick-ass rainbow effect! Yeah!

Only one, and could I see a few variations on that? Be creative! (calling from the road) I’m on my way to the meeting, I’ll download them on my BlackBerry before I go in..

ADD YOUR COMMENT!!!!…

Five Must-Dos To Assure Web Success.

Launching and maintaining a successful website, regardless of your businesses’ size or budget, is not an easy undertaking. The technical, marketing and practical considerations alone are more than some people can wrap their brain around. At 1-Stop Design we bring our team and “Five Must-Dos for Successful Websites” to our clients in order to help them build their business on the web. Follow them and they’ll bring you success as well.

1) You must have a strategy

Our experience tells us that most folks want to go straight to design first, but a design that’s not informed by your business strategy is, at best, a nice electronic piece of fluff. We begin the process by outlining all of the things you want your website to do for you. Do you have major segments or markets to consider? Who is your audience?  Do you have divisions of products and services? Are you trying to sell, educate or create leads? To make your site as effective as possible, it’s essential that you focus your strategy and filter your content and design decisions based on strategic thinking. Looking to grow your business? Increase sales in one particular area? Establishing clear tangible goals and gearing your content towards those goals is essential before you head towards design.

2) Your design must reflect your strategy, brand and desired results

A great design is one that allows your strategy, brand and content all to be combined into visual language. A successful layout moves your prospects and customers effortlessly through the information to the results you determined in your strategy. Design creates the visual road-map that brings information to your clients and customers. It also provides assurance to your prospects and customers that they are in the right place on the right track.

3) You must develop under the hood code to keep it all running smoothly

Another key to a successful website is functionality. Successful websites integrate the right mix of plug-ins, communities, ratings, subscription, comments, customer portals, and membership only sections to increase engagement and usability.

Feature-rich add-ons extend the functionality of your site. Solid development keeps them working together seamlessly under the banner of your brand. Standards compliant (See WC3) code, search engine friendly code and an overall foundation that loads your site fast must be incorporated.

4) You must beta test your site first with users

No matter how brilliant your strategy, design and code appear to be, it’s the website visitor that determines success of failure. We utilize usability aids such as those offered by UserTesting.com or by creating A/B tests in Google Website Optimizer to test clients sites and see how people actually use and interact with the site.

5) Your marketing must go way beyond creative content

Your site goes live. Now how are you going to get prospects and customers to the site and keep them coming back for more of what they came for in the first place?

How do you plan to keep the content and search engine optimization plans moving forward? What type of content will you create? Personal landing pages? Blogs? YouTube videos? Podcasts? Funny? Serious? Informative? All three? How will you network for links? How will you measure/analyze traffic and user patterns? How will you capture lead data, drive more traffic, manage PPC, and create and test campaign specific landing pages? Who will do it? When? What are realistic expectations, timetables and objectives? What does your convergent media marketing (merging direct mail, print ads and other offline traditional tactics with those online)  campaign look like?

How will you determine ROI?

We possess the online, social and traditional marketing expertise to help you implement the answers to these and other important questions.  And we can deliver the skill sets that will turn the aforementioned, “must dos” into jobs well done. And help you get the results you want to build your business.

Remember. It’s a big world in there. Don’t go in there alone. With 1-Stop as your online marketing partner, you’ll find the surest routes to new business and more business with your current customers.

by Chris Hennigan

Naymz: A Little too Much Info? Stalkers Welcome!

Naymz is an online provider of reputation/identity management and promotion services for people, groups, and businesses. Naymz provides a simple and user friendly experience for those who are concerned with promoting an accurate and positive picture of their personal or professional reputation and identity. Their slogan is, “Empowering Reputable Professionals.” It that appears to be going after something close to Linkedin.com’s market.

I discovered the site through an invite from a client and was immediately curious as to what the site did and could do. After working my way around it there was some surprising results.

There are some features for professionals such as the ability to endorse friends or use friends as online references that I can see as being useful. In today’s world of identity theft and having your personal information spread throughout the electronic world.

One goal of effective Social Media is to inter-link all your channels to each other.  Once I arrived on Naymz it asked me to Search for contacts in my other accounts:

  • LinkedIn
  • Gmail
  • Hotmail
  • Yahoo!
  • AOL
  • Plaxo
  • Outlook
  • Outlook Express
  • Other
  • Single Invite

Something told me to wait and find out more before opening up my world to this unknown site. Thank goodness I listened to myself (which I don’t always do!).

Moving past being spared from being put on their spam list along with all my contacts, there is one major concern that jumped out at me fairly quickly.  Stalking.

Naymz offers reporting about other Naymz users who have been viewing your profile. While at first I might be intrigued to know “who looked at me?” but, it doesn’t take long to realize, “Whoa! That means every person I visit can see that I was there!” At that point, I realized that this wasn’t for me.

You can pay for more stalking ability or to be stalked more. Depends on how you look at it. So by becoming a Premium Member you can find out more about who’s stalking you. Things like who was visiting my profile, what IP address they visited from (possibly telling me which company that worked for), what country, and the exact time they paid me a visit. If the referring link showed something like a company’s internal webmail, I would also assume that something was emailed, most likely about little old me!

Yet again this all information that might intrigue some or most of us…if we were doing it to someone else. But once you realize that the same reports and data that you’re seeing about your Naymz browsing are being shared with other site members, you might think twice.

Makes me wonder how quickly  Facebook users would rebel if Facebook started reporting who was looking at your profile at then telling everyone else who’s profiles you’ve been viewing?

And if that would kill Facebook, Naymz may be dead on arrival if they don’t pull the plug on their stalking reporting.

In all fairness I do have to say that Facebook has  an application FanChec which was originally called Stalker Check!! But Fan Check doesn’t mean that you checked their profile a lot. It counts how many times you’ve interacted with that person, wrote on their wall, commented on their pictures, liked their status, etc. ..It doesn’t count how many times you’ve visited their profile. You don’t have to even have visited their profile. For example; if you liked their status or commented on them recently, then you may be part of their ‘fan check’.

_ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ _

“The application has created some problems for Facebook users, causing their walls (and other portions of Facebook) not to display properly. Contrary to warnings like the one reproduced above, however, FanCheck is not a “virus” and it  does not download or install anything on users’ PCs, it does not harm computers, and it cannot be “caught” by visiting a Facebook page. As noted on the Facebook

FANCHECK IS NOT A VIRUS – IT’S JUST A BAD APPLICATION

The Fan Check application is NOT a virus. It does, however, mess up your ‘Wall’ and other parts of Facebook — not by destroying information, but because it doesn’t work properly your wall and other parts of Facebook won’t display correctly. It doesn’t do any damage itself.

The fix for the problems Fan Check [can] cause are simple — remove it, and everything will go back to normal.

The developer of FanCheck (formerly known as StalkerCheck) also denied that the application contained some form of virus or malware.” (from snopes.com)