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What a Style Sheet Can Do For You & Why You Want One.

If you are an entrepreneur or business person you probably already know you need a website, Facebook account and LinkedIN. An excellent idea to get started on your business is to build a style sheet, if you’ve already started marketing your business a formal style will be a shot in the arm for your marketing and for your personal organization.

Here’s How it Works

the failed JCP logo

EPIC FAIL

Your style sheet is like what the golden arches is to McDonalds. McDonalds uses the same Gold on every sign, the same curve on every sign, the same font on every sign, menu, website and so on and so forth. I think you get the idea. While you don’t need a freaky clown to brand yourself, well…you might, a consistent identity is really really important to keeping you on track and making your promotions work.

I just saw an ad on a freelance job site for someone to finish a word press website. The person, an author said the designer he had hired had not finished. This is a Red flag for me, Why didn’t they finish? Was the client a pain?  Did they want a lot of nothing? What was built into the website? it might be scary. When I look at his website the answer becomes painfully clear.  At the top is a cheap, amateur looking graphic, which he says he hates and there are pink links on a pinkish back ground. There is a link on the bottom of the page to a designer “firm” that has under construction on the home page. There is no excuse for a web “firm” not to have a website.

A style sheet stops most of this type of error. First, take a look at a web color tool like the  Adobe Color Wheel.

Decide what colors your brand will. Make sure it stays the same on everything. Mailers, Facebook, your logo…everything! Make sure you record the RGB and HEX codes for those colors. While you are at it, grab the CMYK codes as well for when you send stuff to the printer. This will save you a lot of headaches. You can have variants of hues and shades of one color (monochromatic) or colors that work together (complimentary) for the feeling you want. Find the feeling baby! Gothic? Juvenile? Business? Give it a try. you can always change your mind, that’s what testing is for.

Choose some fonts and stick with ‘em for web and print. A pretty display font is nice for headlines and stuff, you need to make sure that the text is easy to read and that different fonts match.  I like font squirrel for help selecting and adding fonts to websites.

english_gothic_17th_c_specimen

Not easy to read!

Pinks curls font demo

In extreme moderation!

Don’t go crazy. Add the names of your display font and the codes to your color to a document you named: Style sheet. You can and should specify font sizes on your style sheet and specify when they should be used.

Last, get some Sort of logo. I don’t have any great idea on how to go about this except use someone who has good taste and some artist talent, maybe it’s you. To avoid resolution problems it might be nice to use illustrator or very high quality Photoshop. I made THAT mistake on my logo. It can’t be much bigger than a thumbnail. I like it so much I stick with it, someday I might change it. Don’t be like me, do it right the first time. Some logos are only letters. Work on creating the logo and not rush it. Try the colors out on various different “thought” images. When it comes together add the logo to the style sheet and make some rules about whether or not is can be black and white or reversed colors.

Now you can use this info on social media!  Everything matches! Whooo! The project comes back from the printer with the right colors!

Then sit back and look at it. At some point you may outgrow it, it might go out of style or your needs change. Just like Mcdonalds. Happy designing!

Brooke Bradford is a veteran radio producer who lives in Santa Cruz California. She is a multimedia consultant and audio and video producer. She has produced hundreds of podcasts and edits audio for Audvisor.com

The Struggle will over whelm you

I have decided to open an on-line store, They said  it was easy and quick. I’ve started the website, I’ve built the social media and created an eBay store for the business. I’ve spent hours looking for the right products and developing an image. Three weeks later, I’m still building it. The truth is, Zappos didn’t do it the DIY way. To build a business takes tons of time and energy. I’ve decided to take my time and think bigger. If my head doesn’t pop off first.

omg_itz_mah_dreem_job-workplace-emporiumLooking for work super blows

I have a friend over sixty has decided to look for a new job. It was a shock to her to find out that you can’t contact the hiring person, that looking for work means wading thru piles of BS set up to narrow the field. Companies waste your time on purpose, it’s very annoying. Based on what I am seeing, she will not willing to invest the amount of work it will take to get a new job. Maybe she will stumble into an awesome gig. Who can say?

My mentor told me to do this

Your mentor is successful at selling themselves at being a mentor. and are probably teaching you to be one too. For me, the responses that come from “mentors” indict a misunderstanding of technology. ALWAYS. You mentor is 100% better at selling themselves than I am However, I’m better at technology. When a client starts to argue with me and going some with some else s advice, the hand writing is on the wall.

I recently listened to a web seminar where a woman wanted to know how to present her business better after being told her product wouldn’t work by a potential client. The host told her the same thing, it’s a bad business idea; she began to argue with him too. Instead of taking the advice of multiple people she instead wanted to throw more money at it. It made me kind of sick to hear her say she only had another month to start making money. She obviously had the energy to invest, but was sending it the wrong way. By the way, he handled it exactly the way I would have. Made his point and moved on.

Stay alert, things are changing daily

The freelance world it is common to continuously to searching for new clients. Because your clients quit. I recently talked to a friend who worked in a big agency who told me that the same thing happens in the graphic arts world. Client’s ignore the advice of professionals and eventually fail, or don’t grow. Without growing the struggle will eventually over run you.

Age, race, gender has nothing to do with it…..well mostly…..maybe sorta

No matter what the situation you needs the ability to keep up. I’m learning new stuff every day, how to use software, how to make things look designed and modern. What is new and critical, what is old and un necessary and will “out” me as not being “with it”. and then,  I’m harshly reminded about out what I am not. Often times, I don’t fit the project anyway.money It’s YOUR story, no one else’s.

Selling myself? how gauche!

Recently I lost a client to another company. This is unusual and shook me up because most of the time cost is the issue that ends the contract. After time spent with myself, I knew I had been out sold. They told my client they were better and were convincing. oops. I probably should have “sold” the client more often. Telling people you are better goes against a lifetime of being told to NOT be aggressive, which of course leads to people taking credit for your ideas. The struggle is to throw ourselves out there every dog-gone day and grow up, brag a little, be an adult.  Good luck!  I’m around to talk.

Brooke Bradford is a veteran radio producer who lives in Santa Cruz California. She is a freelance voice over announcer, a broadcast consultant and audio and video producer. She has produced hundreds of podcasts and edits audio for Audvisor.com