The Design Block

If you're looking for the latest in advertising and marketing, design related technology and lifestyle tips, and art or design highlights then you're in the right place. Find all this and more with the Design Block blog.

How to avoid burnout as a small business owner

1 out of 10 businesses fail because of lack of passion, and it’s estimated that negativity costs businesses $3 billion in productivity every year.

The top 10 freelance side gigs to earn some extra cash

Freelance side gigs are one of the best ways to earn some extra cash or stay creative if your day job isn't stimulating you anymore.

For designers on the go, iPad finally gets a full version of Photoshop

Adobe’s premiere image editor, Photoshop remains the industry standard because of how the software can assist photographers and graphic designers in doing their jobs. It is, however, about the get a lot easier for Apple users. This year Adobe is finally bringing Photoshop CC—a fully…

Surviving life as a freelancer

Freelancing can be a great option whether you’re looking for more flexibility or control over your work.

Adobe sued over bug that deleted freelancer’s work

One of the most important things to remember in design is to back-up your work. That being said, sometimes even the those files can be vulnerable to bugs. That’s the case with a freelance videographer who recently filed a class action lawsuit against Adobe.

Scents to help you work

Everywhere you look, it seems that there is a new suggestion or idea on how to increase your productivity and efficiency at work. This isn’t surprising, since cracking the code of how to stay on top of your tasks and truly shine in your work…

How to calculate freelance rates more efficiently

The one question that most freelance designers have trouble answering is, “what is your time really worth?” If you’re a full-time employee at an agency, your salary takes into consideration business costs like healthcare, licensing, taxes, and other business essentials. But when you work for yourself, you’ve…

Watch: How to better present logos and branding to clients

As designers, we know that we need to motivate people through communication. However, sometimes we forget that when it comes to our own work. Great design poorly presented can kill an idea. So how best to present logos and branding to the client to win them…

How to handle different types of difficult customers

If you own your own business or work in sales or marketing, you’ve likely run into a challenging customer at one point or another. While every buyer is different and has unique needs and wants, if you understand a few key types of customers you…

2 colours that research says will make you smarter and more creative

Colour can produce mental and emotional effects on sighted people in all facets of life. Red, blue, yellow and green all relate respectively to the body, mind, and emotions. You may know how to appear smarter in emails or meetings, even ways to be creative. However, scientists…

How to give—and receive—constructive criticism

You may have heard your personal trainer or your local fitness junkie say “no pain, no gain.” Well, unfortunately, that pain and gain relationship also applies to performance reviews. Giving someone negative criticism can be burdensome for even the most experienced manager.

The 4 traits of good vs great designers

There are plenty of bad designers out there, but there are also lots of good ones. A good designer is someone who has an eye for what works and what doesn’t; they’re more than confident with their design skills and can adapt to what’s asked…

How to uncover brilliant ideas when brainstorming

Coming up with smart, fresh new ideas or marketing campaigns isn’t easy. And when your job requires churning them out on a daily basis, it isn’t hard to hit a mental wall. And while brainstorming is essential to your success, learning how to uncover brilliant ideas…

5 tips to attract clients with your LinkedIn profile

When a company is looking to hire you to their team, they often vet you online first. During this cyber investigation, your LinkedIn profile will typically show up in the first three to five results. You now have the opportunity to control what they find about…

10 tips for efficient meetings from successful leaders

Meetings can be a powerful tool to help produce new ideas in insights. Unfortunately, people spend so much time in meetings that it becomes a chore. In fact, most employees often view them as disruptive, inefficient, or downright boring.

15 ways to better manage your time

Have you ever wondered how some people appear to have enough time in a day to do everything that they want to; whereas others often rush from task to task, never seeming to finish anything. Do they just have less to do? No, it’s more…

What to do during downtime at work

Downtime is a rare thing in most workplaces, but there’s a good chance you’ll experience a slow day every once in a while.

Font Map helps designers find relationships between Google Fonts

Typography enthusiasts can identify most fonts by name. However, it’s always useful to explore fonts using visual similarities – in case you wanted to shake things up a bit. Every typeface has its merits; hell, even Comic Sans work as an attention-grabber because it’s so despised. But with…

Illustrated charts visualize what an asshole client is

We all have them: the asshole client. There’s no getting around it; you’re going to encounter them from time to time working in design. And as much as we’d all like to believe that what goes around comes around, the reality is they don’t get what’s…

Why did your great employee quit?

To have success in business, you need to have exceptional employees. However, hiring them is only half the battle. Have you ever had a great employee, and thought, “This is the one!”  They’re smart, engaged, driven, and seemed to really love the job. You can…

In-house designer, freelancer or agency? Who to hire

Does the uncertainty and ever-changing nature of freelancing produce designers with sharper, more adaptable skills? Or does the social, fast-paced, and ordered workflow of an agency create more design superstars? In my nearly 10 years as an Art Director, I’ve seen a few businesses pondering if they should hire…

How to hide the fact you’re having a bad day at work

No matter how positive of a person you are, or how much you love your job, bad days happen to the best of us. You spilled your coffee, got stuck in traffic, or tear your pants. By the time you sit down to start work, you’re…

The top 5 free infographic makers available online

When you have over a billion websites to choose from, along with the distractions of day-to-day life, getting consumers attention, and keeping it, is hard. With a staggering amount of information generated daily, people don’t have time to read an endless page of online content. In fact, most users will leave…

How to spot a cheap logo design

Whether you know it or not, consumers are able to tell the difference between a good and bad logo. And having a cheap logo design not only reflects badly on your skills as a designer, but on the brand it was created for. Your logo…

What are the work habits of Millennials that form the majority of the workforce?

As more and more Millennials entering the workforce and assume management positions, you may notice changes in workplace culture. Why? Because there are distinct differences between generational work styles, expectations, and career perspectives.

Why you should become a graphic designer

Some people are destined to become a graphic designer. They have a knack for aesthetics, notice the finer details and love to learn new things. So, if you’ve always been deeply interested in graphic design, but are not currently working in the field, this may…

Photoshop cheatsheet for novice graphic designers

While there are plenty of online tutorials available, it’s often difficult for novice graphic designers to know where to start. When opening Photoshop for the first time, it’s easy to look at all the confusing features and buttons. If only there was a Photoshop cheatsheet that could help…

What’s the difference between a font and a typeface?

In today’s digital world, the words font and typeface are often treated similarly. In most instances when people refer to fonts, they really mean typefaces. However, they’re not the same thing.

Snapchat Spectacles may soon play a big role in recruiting talent

If you’ve been avoiding Snapchat, whether personally or professionally, it’s time to start paying attention. It’s a mobile phenomenon which enjoys 100 million users daily, watching 10 billion videos each day. When Snapchat Spectacles were first released, they only seemed to be a playful extension of the…

How Art Directors and Copywriters can avoid annoying each other

If you’ve ever been part of a creative team, you know that partnerships in advertising are not unlike marriage. Once the Art Director and Copywriter pair up, it takes a serious commitment to avoid annoying each other. Deciding to officially tie your careers together means doing…

How to get recruiters to read your CV

Day in, day out, recruiters sift through piles of résumés for available job openings. They’re usually searching for a specific skill sets or experience that matches their clients’ requirements. And if nothing of interest stands out, they move on to the next one.

How to use the Colour of the Year in your designs

A few weeks ago, PANTONE revealed its bright and zesty Colour of the Year 2017, called Greenery. Because it evokes nature, Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate. Thus, people respond on a deeper level to this hue, making the eye catching Greenery an ideal shade for design. This is especially…

Vital contract terms for your protection

Dealing with a contract may not be the most exciting part of being a freelancer. But that pain is nothing compared to what can go wrong without one. And a contract not only protects you if something goes wrong; it helps things from going wrong…

Watch: 10 novice Photoshop mistakes to avoid

If you rely on Photoshop for part of your day-to-day work, chances are that you’ve picked up some useful tips and tricks from online tutorials. And while these lessons are sure to improve your skills, it’s also useful to know what Photoshop mistakes to avoid.

Do designers need post-secondary education?

Gaining a post-secondary education can be an incredibly valuable experience for your design skills. The popular perception of needing education to be successful is getting a college or university degree and working for a company which pays you per your education level. However, it doesn’t…

The essential guide to easily writing a catchy headline

Do you want to know how to quickly write an attractive and catchy headline for your blog post? It’s one thing to write great content, but it’s another thing to get it read and ranked.

Everything designers need to know about the golden ratio

Good designers are always on the hunt for the latest tools to help them step up their game—whether it’s a new app or the latest Adobe update. Yet some of the best design tools are actually those that have been around the longest.

17 signs your colleague hates you

Your coworkers can make or break your work experience. Hence, friendly, collaborative coworkers create a great team environment. Conversely, an argumentative and generally unpleasant colleague makes your life way more difficult.

What web designers can learn from the fashion industry

Buying clothes online is a risky venture, since much of shopping is knowing how the apparel feels and fits your body. One of the best ways to persuade people to buy clothes online is by being very meticulous. That’s why fashion industry websites are on top of…

10 workplace incentives top designers want

If you’re anything like most people, you’ve fantasized about the perfect workplace. Maybe you imagined eating prime rib at your desk while surrounded by brilliant colleagues. Or you dreamed of working at home office instead of being stuck in rush hour traffic with the other poor saps.

Ad agency immortalizes funny quotes from a client

Have you had a client that said funny things or asked stupid questions over the course of a project? For example, there are things clients say when wanting cheaper work and their ridiculous demands. A project team at ad agency Strategy Creative in New Zealand has definitely heard some humorous things. While working…

The 10 best Google Fonts for your designs

As a web designer, you’re probably well aware of the importance of typeface. With the growing amount of businesses engaging in content marketing, font selection is becoming all the more crucial.

21 tips for a successful job interview

Whether we’re just starting out or seasoned professionals, we’re all striving to find that dream design job. These days, not every job is advertised in a newspaper or on a website. That’s why it’s important to make as many connections as possible. Online communities such as Twitter,…

People react to ridiculous client demands

We’ve all had them at one time or another. No, not the clap; I’m talking about the ridiculous client demands. Terrible clients come in all shapes, but in the following video, it comes in form of suit-wearing businessman called ‘Matt’.

How to step up to seniority

You may have a way to go before you’re an intermediate or senior art director/designer, but it’s never too early to be thinking about advancing your career to a position of seniority.

World’s longest invoice reveals what freelancers are owed

Are you a freelancer? If so, then you know that getting paid is sometimes the hardest part of the job. Did you know that the majority of freelance workers have experienced late payments or, worse, have had clients that never paid them at all? One group in particular, The…

Memes that highlight the real struggles of designers

Working as a designer isn’t as glorified as many of us like to make it out to be. Sure we sit behind our fancy computers with huge screens, designing pretty images; however working in design can also be one of the most stressful, involving and cutting edge…

Psychological tips and tricks to get clients to buy your idea

As creatives who have to deal with clients, we all face one difficult and uncomfortable situation in our careers. You already have the project, so this isn’t about convincing them to pick you for the job. This is about guiding the client to accept that…

Common Photoshop mistakes and how to avoid them

As the industry standard, Photoshop is a powerful image editing tool for designers. There are lots of Photoshop resources around to help us keep on top of thing, including handy tutorials. But in the wrong hands it can affect quality and make things less productive.

How to end a contract job with your bridges intact

After graduation, we all want to be settled into top-notch marketing jobs, well on our way to becoming the company’s next creative director. In an ideal life, this would include disposable income, paid vacation days and a career-building job that we love. However, even though…