Posts Tagged ‘designers’

QR Codes Customized to Match Your Brand

QR Codes Customized to Match Your Brand by 1-Stop Design

QR codes were first created by Toyota to track vehicles in manufacturing, offering a small barcode that can be quickly decoded. That was in 1994, and now, almost 20 years later, QR code technology is experiencing a revival — but not in the automotive industry. The small, square codes are ubiquitous, showing up on everything from flyers to beer bottles, allowing anyone with a smart phone to quickly scan and find out more information with the code. The possibilities for their use are endless, from marketing to the college classroom, offering a fun and exciting way for students to use technology for learning.

Jimmy Fallon’s recent QR code moment and New York City’s QR-linked building permits are two more notches on the belt of early adopters. But were these just blips or an indicator of things to come? Will QR codes ever become part of everyday life or be relegated to “only-in-Japan” status?

I believe the answer is yes, QR codes are coming to an advertisement or object near you, and sooner than you may think. Here are the reasons why, along with suggestions on how advertisers can catalyze this movement by making QR code campaigns as useful and rewarding as possible.

Why QR Codes Make Sense

When you see something that you want information about, you no longer have to make a mental note to look it up later on Google. You can simply point your smartphone at the object and obtain the desired information without typing or speaking. In essence, the QR code has become the shortest distance between curiosity and information retrieval.

The beauty of QR codes is that they are an open-source and freely licensed standard. They cost nothing additional to add to printed materials and can be scanned by free readers on all smartphones and even some feature phones.

Meanwhile, here is what businesses, institutions and individuals can do to make QR codes an effective part of their marketing arsenal.

1. Optimize for Mobile

Advertisers who embed desktop URLs in a QR code are missing the point of real-to-mobile interactivity. People interact with their mobile devices with significantly shorter attention spans than they do on their desktops. Once a QR code is scanned, the resulting view should be thumb-interactive, easy to read, and purpose-driven.

2. There Must Be A Payoff

A QR code is like a scratch-off card — people have to apply some effort to engage, so the payoff better be worth it. Content emanating from a QR code needs to be useful or an easy redemption of an exclusive reward.

3. Be Patient and Stick With It

By experimenting with QR codes early, advertisers can become adept at engaging with users on a mobile basis, so that when QR codes do hit the mainstream, they will be ready.

College Learning with Technology

With QR codes, they’ve made learning even easier and many of these ideas can be also be applied to your workplace.

Information & Enhancement

QR codes are great for sharing information, and we’ll explore some of their uses here, as well always they can enhance learning.

Link to supplemental materials in your own textbook Make sure your valuable resources don’t get lost in a forgotten folder: slap a QR code right on your textbook so it’s handy for you to find later.

Classroom calendar On your syllabus and handouts, link to your classroom’s calendar with a QR code.

Mobile reminders Make it easy for students to remember assignments by creating QR codes to automatically add events to their calendar.

Interactive periodic table By putting QR codes on posters like the periodic table, you can share more information about what you’re displaying, like details about the elements.

Post assignments for the week Keep students updated on the weekly schedule with a QR code that will take them to a website with the assignments for each week.

Link to book reviews Any time you assign a book or a reading, set up a QR code linking to book reviews.

Share exam details If you’ve prepared a review for students to use, link it with a QR code for easy access.

Lecture Wouldn’t it be great if you had all the time in the world to share YouTube videos, readings, and other relevant information right in your lecture? With QR codes, you can share all of these resources and more.

Highlight videos If you’ve got a YouTube video you want students to watch, but don’t want to use valuable lecture time to show it, link it through a QR code in your slides.

Pre-teaching Before class starts, students will be waiting in the classroom. Why not post a QR code of a video, website, or reading you’d like for them to check out before you get started?

I’m sure this is just the beginning. If you’ve got a great idea for a QR code for marketing or communications, or if you’ve seen something in the wild, please feel free to share it.

 

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Everyone is walking around with mobile phones now, Smartphone’s, Iphones, Androids, Ipad’, Blackberry’s. We all have them, from our young children in middle school to our grandparents.  According to Experian, 87% of Americans have mobile phones and the Human Factors International (HFI) found that 43% of them use their browser to access the internet on their phone. So what would make us think it isn’t important to have a mobile website?

Why Most Sites Don’t Work Well on Mobile Devices
Most desktop websites don’t work the same on your mobile phone! For one, your phone has a much smaller screen, also, the speed of your mobile website is going to be much slower than with a desktop website. That being said, no two people are the same, so why would we think mobile and desktop users would be the same?

Google Analytics Doesn’t Lie
If you want to find out just how many of your customers are looking at your website via mobile phone you can look at your Google Analytics. What you are going to want to do is to compare the amount of visits your website has had in total compared to visits from mobile users only. It would be best to compare the number of visits over a month through a year for the best comparison. If say you had a total of 46,820 visits through the whole month and 4,670 of those were of mobile phone users then that is 10%. 10% of the visits your companies website was viewed via a mobile phone. You have to ask yourself at that time, is 10% good enough to build a separate website solely for mobile users? One not to consider, when comparing your numbers, the number might actually be higher than the 10% shown, Google Analytics is in Java Script, if your mobile phone doesn’t support Java Script then the visits may not have been recorded in the mobile section of the Analytics.

Solutions
It seems clear to me that most company websites should have a separate mobile website. According to the Nielson Net Ratings the average Internet session lasts for 56 minutes, the average mobile session is less than five minutes. The mobile user needs to be able to get to what they need and quickly. Which typically can’t happen using a desktop website on there mobile phone. The mobile phone user is not just ‘surfing around’, he is looking for something in particular, he knows what he wants and wants to find it! 68% of mobile users said if they knew a business had a mobile website they would visit that instead of the desktop website on their phone, according to (HFI)

Less Is More, Copy Is King
When developing your mobile website remember two things when creating the content, ‘less is more’ and ‘copy is king’. Breakdown all your copy into easy digestible segments. There is no reason to go crazy building a mobile website. Focus on the three most important reasons to visit your mobile website. Ease of use is critical, if the user has a hard time finding the simplest of things -take your phone number or a map- they are more likely to leave.

Ready Yet?
Smartphone’s are only going to get smarter, with time comes technology. If you decide to create your mobile site today you will be capturing all the traffic that visits your site. Is it a necessity at this point? That depends on your traffic level and business model. Still confused? Contact Chris at 1-Stop Design Shop today and find out if your business would benefit from a mobile site, or better yet a phone app!
781-938-3866  http://www.1stopdesign.com/

Ipad Accessories!

You have already bought yourself and your employee’s their Smartphone’s, now it’s time to think about protecting them. With the help from 1-Stop Design Shop, you can protect your ipad and promote your company logo with customized ipad accessories.

Here are a few ideas

For more click here

Professional photography tips with Thomas, who has a digital camera and a wide aperature.

Hello, my name is Thomas and I am a professional photographer because I bought a digital camera.

TIP 1 How to become a professional photographer
Buy a digital camera.

TIP 2  Tricks of the trade Have a look on the camera, somewhere, probably on the top or back or somewhere on the front or sides there will be a button or dial marked ‘A’, this does not stand for ‘Automatic’ as some amateurs think but ‘Awesome’. Leave it on this all the time.

TIP 3 Photography courses There is no need for even a basic photography course because once you buy a digital camera you will be a professional photographer like me. Not as good as me though.

TIP 4 Lighting You will need some light otherwise the photos will come out a bit too dark. Usually you can fix them in photoshop but some light to begin with is good.

TIP 5  Subject Matter Yes, it does. Dont take photos of girls leaving the high school from your car as the fine is $360.00 and a years probation.

Photo Gallery

Sunset from my rooftop.

Me on my rooftop.

View of city from my rooftop.

The plant on my rooftop.

Clouds over my rooftop.

Some people that once came to visit me on my rooftop.
Or my toes, I am unsure.

Now, you know we are kidding…RIGHT?

Our professional photography is here…1stopdesign.com

Are you wondering how to use QR codes to enhance your marketing?

Keep reading to learn some tips for implementing 5 essential steps.

Why QR codes?

QR and other two-dimensional (2D) codes can be readily integrated into your current business marketing practices to bring your online content to a mobile audience in real time.

In North America, QR and 2D codes are still a novelty. For this reason, early adopters are eagerly putting them into practice to get to market first and capitalize on the trend. As a result, some embarrassing and costly mistakes are being made.

This article will help you learn from those mistakes and develop best practices for creating a favorable user experience that serves both you and your community well.

#1: Plan your QR code campaign strategy

To create a successful QR code campaign, it is essential to understand your target audience, have clear objectives and provide useful and valuable incentives to deliver a favorable user experience.

Here are some ideas and considerations to help you get started building your strategy.

Understand Your Target Audience:

  • Does he/she need instructions about the use of QR codes?
  • Does he/she need to use a specific type of code reader?
  • Will the codes be scanned indoors or outside?

Have Clear Objectives—Here are some possibilities:

  • Grow your email list
  • Increase Likes for your Facebook page
  • Increase your blog subscribers

Provide Useful and Valuable Incentives—Here are some options:

  • Enter a contest to win
  • Deliver a discount coupon
  • Download a free eBook
  • Talk to a live agent
  • Take a virtual tour
  • Demonstrate a product or service with video
  • Download a free mp3
  • Get VIP access

Are you trying to grow your email list or get more Likes for your Facebook page? Then you should always provide an incentive, especially when using scannable codes.

As more businesses fail to deliver value with their QR code campaigns, consumers in general will become more reluctant to scan them in the future. This will make it increasingly necessary to provide clear incentives and deliver on them.

#2: Create quality codes and test them

While there are numerous 2D code formats, the two most commonly used worldwide are QR codes and Microsoft (MS) tags. Both technologies are free, so your choice of which to use will largely depend upon your audience and other market factors.

iams
A customized MS tag for IAMS pet products.

apk
A customized QR code by Patrick Donnelly of 2ergo for American Parkour.

The owners of the QR code technology have elected to allow anyone free use of it. This gives QR codes the advantage of being in mainstream use around the world, and that awareness is currently working to their advantage.

The MS tag technology is proprietary, which allows for complete control over the entire user experience of generating, reading and tracking the tags. MS tags are also easily customized. One can embed images or logos into the codes using Microsoft PowerPoint.

The widespread use of the QR technology has attracted lots of developers who want to cash in on the trend. However, when technologies are open like this, there is always the risk that generally accepted standards will not be followed. QR code generators and scanners are only as good as the developers creating them, so you have to do your due diligence.

What happens if your QR codes do not work? For one thing, your reputation and brand are tarnished—just as it would be if a visitor to your website discovered multiple broken links.

I recently discovered one particular situation where a small business used QR codes in print ads in an annual publication. After trying several scanners, I could not get any of the QR codes to register. The investment of thousands of dollars on those print ads that will be in the market for a year was a costly mistake for that merchant. The lesson from this is clear—test your codes.

These best practices will maximize your success with 2D codes:

  • Test your QR codes with multiple readers and devices.
  • Use link shorteners to create clean codes.
  • Avoid using colors that do not provide sufficient contrast—a potential problem with both QR codes and customized MS tags.
  • Make your codes at least 1″ x 1″—larger is better.
  • Provide a sufficient quiet zone around the code.
  • Avoid using 2D codes on highly reflective surfaces.
  • Consider where your codes will be scanned. One unfortunate application was in the New York City subway where there is not an Internet connection.
  • Use a quality QR code generator. My favorite is Kerem Erkan.
  • Use a quality scanner or reader. Two excellent choices are Qrafter and i-nigma. Qrafter is unique in that it is both a code generator and scanner in one app.

qrafter
Qrafter is a multi-feature QR code generator and reader.

#3: Link your codes to mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized sites

The most common mistake marketers make with QR codes is having them resolve to a standard web page that is not mobile-friendly. Worse yet is to have a code connect to a site with Flash video, which is not supported by the iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) that account for nearly 50% of the code readers in the world.

At a minimum, the page your code connects to should be mobile-friendly. For example, one of my codes resolves to the speaking page on my WordPress blog. A couple of taps on my iPhone enlarges it to fit nicely to my screen.

Mobile-optimized is better than mobile-friendly. According to Matthew Gallizzi of NotixTech, mobile sites are websites optimized specifically for smartphones. He suggests hosting these mobile sites on a subdomain or subdirectory of your main website, thereby giving you the SEO benefit of the traffic they bring.

Here are additional considerations when building a mobile site:

  • Build your site around the desired user experience.
  • Smaller images and solid colors load more quickly.
  • Size your links and buttons to be touch-friendly.
  • Use concise copy—sentences rather than paragraphs.
  • Use “fluid width” for horizontal and vertical orientation.
  • Test, test and test again—on iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms.

ramada
This mobile-optimized site emphasizes incentives.

mobile website examples
Three unique mobile sites featuring specific optimized content and actions.

The primary benefit of 2D codes is encouraging action. This can be accomplished by connecting to multimedia content such as video that shows a product or service in action. Other logical actions include activating a phone call or social share.

Here’s a list of the most requested features for mobile-optimized sites:

  • Tap to call links.
  • Tap to email links.
  • Tap to SMS (text).
  • Google maps integration.
  • Social sharing links.
  • Links to Yelp, Flickr and other mobile-optimized sites.
  • Links to YouTube and Vimeo (both mobile-optimized).

The cost of building a mobile-optimized site is comparable to a professionally designed and built WordPress site. If you are not ready to make that investment, there are a couple of services that allow you to create mobile sites hosted on their platforms: ShareSquare and Qraffiticodes.

#4: Track your scans with code management systems

QR codes and MS tags can presently track basic data, such as number of scans, with codes generated with bit.ly being just one example. However, if you use a QR code management system, you can gather even richer data.

The experts I interviewed for this article collectively agree that QR code management systems are in the early stages of their development cycle. According to Roger Smolski of 2d-code.co.uk, “There are new QR code management systems appearing every day, but there is not yet enough user experience of these systems for a consensus on their relative merits.”

Most of these services are free for limited used, with Delivr being one that presently offers an uncomplicated experience.

delivr
Delivr provides a variety of analytics, including scans by location and time.

According to Nick Martin of Microsoft, “MS tags have the capability to accurately determine the location of a scan and report that data in real time.” This creates a number of code management opportunities, such as delivering different content depending upon the location of the scan—directions to the store or a discount coupon for those in or near the store.

#5: Deliver value and a favorable user experience

Will QR codes gain more widespread use? When it comes to technology, or just about anything else, there will always be naysayers.

What is most relevant is that you as the marketer are the one who gives your codes value. They are just tools, and how you use the tool determines the value derived from it.

QR codes can serve a specific use for you, mostly as a lead generation tool. How are you doing your lead generation now? If you can use what is working for you now and make it better, more attractive or easier with QR codes, you are probably on the right track.

The video below shows how an ingenious use of QR codes helped a business in Korea to expand, and it all started with understanding the customers and building a QR code campaign strategy around their buying behaviors.

Ready to implement your QR Codes into your corporate collateral, website and marketing? Give us a call 781-938-3866 or email and we can get started today!

By Jeff Korhan
Published August 24, 2011

Time to Think about
 2012 calendars
With this year wrapping up and the New Year quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about calendars. An average consumer references a calendar twelve times a day and owns at least three. What better way to promote your business than with a creative product everyone needs and views daily! Here at 1-Stop Design Shop we can meet all of your 2012 calendar needs.
There is a large variety of different calendars out there and we can help you find the one that best fits you and your business. From classic wall calendars to mouse pad calendars-there are so many options! There are even bookmarks, magnets, desk calendars, ad-a-day calendars, weekly planners, perpetual calendars, and various electronic calendars. We do it all!
Save 20%*

Contact us and start your project today!
Email or call (781) 938-3866
*Expires 10/31/11
limit one per customer

“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.

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!!!!…