How to

How to back up your website (Part I)

"He who laughs last, made a back up." —unknown author

Your website is a database driven site, which means that in order for it to function it needs program files (these are the files that provide functionality) and the database — this is where your content actually lives. When viewers click on links in your site, Drupal goes to the database and gathers the necessary content. The program files then display the content on the viewer's screen according to the design and layout Canister developed for you.

How to back up your website (Part II)

Your website is a database driven site, which means that in order for it to function it needs program files (these are the files that provide functionality) and the database—this is where your content actually lives. When viewers click on links in your site, Drupal goes to the database and gathers the necessary content. The program files then display the content on the viewer's screen according to the design and layout Canister developed for you.

What separates good design from bad?

A layperson’s guide to identifying good communication design.

How to choose a design company that fits you best

As design entrepreneurs, we don’t want to work with just anyone — we are always looking for a good fit. We think you should too. A good fit makes the work meaningful, constructive, and enjoyable — a bad fit makes everyone involved very cranky.

Naming: Naming your company, your book, your project...

Choosing a name is a big deal. A bigger deal than most people may think. The name will be spoken, written, and represented by and to you and your audiences over and over again. So you want it to be a name that will stick in people’s minds.

Here are a few guidelines for naming your product or organization and avoiding some common pitfalls.

Cell size and scale—How to visualize scale

Sara suggested this site: “Science fun! University of Utah geneticists created this zoomable application to compare the size of things like sesame seeds, photoreceptors, viruses and so on — all the way down to a single carbon atom.”

We guarantee you’ll do it at least twice!

Cell size and scale

How do designers choose colour? Part 2

I remember being struck by colour for the first time when I was five years old. It was cold out and I was in my winter coat — it was a bulky wool number that went to my knees. I was all wrapped up in scarves and mitts — I remember the mitts because I had to take them off in order to pick up an object that was the most beautiful, amazing colour I had ever seen. There was an abandoned robin’s egg shell on the ground — it was very delicate and tiny — and it was such a zingy, crisp, turquoise that it seemed to be singing and vibrating next to the browns and grays of the wintery yard. I felt excited just by looking at it! So I took it home, and kept stealing glances at it like I was taking little licks from a lollipop.

How do designers choose colour? Part 2

If I had a definitive answer for this question then I would invent a button that I could push to get the colours that work every time. Ha. I wish. Colour is way too tricky for that. Colour is a key element in human expression and therefore plays a big role in how we perceive, feel and respond to what we see. Every project has its own specific set of idiosyncrasies, requirements, intentions, technical limitations and opportunities and should get its own carefully considered solution that makes the most of colour. When deciding about colour we need to take many things into consideration, weigh them, balance them, analyze them and then make strategic decisions. Every colour decision should have reasoning behind it.

What is a "unique value proposition"?

This is way sexier than it sounds. I promise. A Unique Value Proposition contributes to more inspired work, greater success in your endeavours, higher motivation for all involved, a clearer sense of direction, a better fit with your intended audience, and a stronger drive towards your goals.

That sounds pretty sexy, doesn’t it?

Email campaigns: What is the best way to use them?

Many of our clients would like to reach out to their audience using email because it is fast, targeted and inexpensive. In this article we will look at the different options for sending email communication to a group, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

How to write a creative brief

A good "creative brief" contributes to efficient, good quality communication design that meets your needs, leads to great final results, and leaves everyone happy with the process of getting there.

An inaccurate, or merely verbal Creative Brief can lead to time wasted, incorrect solutions and frustration for everybody involved.

Brand Your Thing

As an ambitious person, you probably have “Your Thing”. It’s the Thing that you are passionate about, that you believe in, and have committed your energy and work to: it could be your product, practice, business, cause, service or organization. Your Thing.

You want Your Thing to be its most successful self. Your Thing will benefit from you turning your attention to the concept of “branding”.

Dot. Dot. Dot.

Those dots are everywhere these days. The ubiquitous ellipsis — also casually known as dot-dot-dot. I have found myself sticking them into email, in text messages, even in my so-called professional writing. I admit it, I’ve been a little slapdash with my ellipsis use lately. So … I thought I’d have another look at it to see just how far I have strayed from typographic-correctness.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I haven’t gone very far wrong — and there is a pretty darn good explanation for the upswing in the everyday use of it. I’ll get to that after I give you the down-low on that cute, ever-so-useful, recently over-used, dot-dot-dot.

Stirring the pot (a.k.a. How to be more creative)

Previously in our newsletter I described three ways to set the stage for being more creative. Wow, is it ever hard to do them consistently! I need a reminder. Here are those strategies again:

  1. Create the right conditions
  2. Reduce the noise in your head
  3. Make the conscious decision to be more creative

What's the deal with hyphens & dashes?

You know the saying “ignorance is bliss”? Here is your warning to remain blissful about hyphens and dashes and skip this article… read on at your own peril. Once you understand the proper use of hyphens and dashes, their incorrect usage will reach out and slap you in the face.

Three lengths of dashes exist:
the hyphen (-), the en-dash (–), and the em-dash (—)

How to be more creative

I bet each of us has sat down in front of a blank sheet of paper to write something — and have proceeded to draw a blank. We all have those moments where our creativity stalls on us. As a creative worker, I rely on having my creative juices flowing all the time. I can’t afford to have them stop! So, when I just can’t get the ideas to flow, I do have some strategies to get them going again. Here are a bunch of sure-fire methods for kick-starting your creativity.

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