graphic design resources

The beginner's toolkit to hiring a graphic designer

Completely devoid of design sense? Struggling to put in words why others should support your business? It may be time to bring some outside help in. Whether you’re thinking about hiring an agency, graphic designer, or web designer, there’s a few things you need to know before hiring outside help.

We’ve pulled together some of our best articles from over the last year to help answer some of the big questions you’ll run into when hiring outside help.

Whether you’re a new business just getting off the ground, your business is suddenly growing, or you’ve just realized you’re in too deep — we’ve got an article here for you.

Best post if you’re just getting started: The essentials: Must have marketing assets for new businesses |  Hue & Tone Creative

Best post if you’re just getting started: The essentials: Must have marketing assets for new businesses

You know you need the basics like a logo and business cards – but what other marketing assets should you make a priority? We’re here to tell you what you need it, why you need it, when you need it, and how you get it.


Best post if you’re looking into doing a rebrand: 7 reasons why you should invest in a professional logo design

Your logo is an integral part of your brand. It identifies you. It distinguishes you. And it creates consistency across everything you do. This post breaks down how a professional can design a logo that has meaning, purpose and power.

7 reasons why you should invest in a professional logo design  |  Hue & Tone Creative

15+questions+to+ask+your+designer+before+hiring+them+++|++Hue+&+Tone+Creative.jpeg

Best post if you’re in the process of finding a designer: 15 Questions to ask your designer before hiring them

Entrusting your business’s online presence to a trained professional is an excellent choice.  However, before journeying any further, there’s something you must consider: you’re the boss. Like with any other hire, it’s your responsibility to find the right talent to perform the task. Here are 15 questions you should ask a designer before shouting, in boss-like fashion, “you’re hired!”


Best post if you might need website help: Pros and Cons: DIY Web Design vs. Hiring a Web Designer

You’re in need of a new website, but you’re not sure if you should take a stab at it yourself or hire outside help. It all depends on your needs. While web site builders make it easier than ever for non-designers to pull together their own website, they don’t work for everyone. If you’re a tech savvy business owner who needs a simple site, they might be a great option. But, if you’re tech-challenged, short on time, or in need of a more custom site you probably need to consider hiring a web designer.

Pros and Cons: DIY Web Design vs. Hiring a Web Designer  |  Hue & Tone Creative

What’s the difference between a graphic designer and a developer?   |  Hue & Tone Creative

Best post if you already know you need website help: What’s the difference between a graphic designer and a developer?

As online tools make it easier for people to learn new skills there’s been more and more overlap between the jobs of graphic designer and developer. Although they are experiencing more and more of each other’s worlds, there are still several clear-cut differences between the skillsets of graphic designers and developers — so, who do you need to hire?  


Best post no matter who you are: How to give honest feedback without frustrating your designer

If you do it right, giving feedback won’t be perceived as negative. In fact, it’s an important part of the design process – and it’s something that your designer is anticipating. But giving feedback in an unproductive way can lead to an overall unproductive relationship between you and the creative you hired. 

How to give honest feedback without frustrating your designer  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Hue & Tone: Your new marketing partner

You probably made it to this blog post because you’re considering hiring an outside designer. We’d love to throw our hat in the ring! 🎩🙋🏻‍♀️No matter who you are or what stage your business is at, we’d love to sit down and tell you why we’re the right marketing partner for you. Let’s set something up: 336-365-8559.

Friday Links: Mega Roundup

Happy first day of July!

We’re making a few changes to our blogging schedule, so for our last Friday Links we’ve rounded up a mega-list of some of the best resources we’ve shared over the last few months. From now on, we’ll be posting a long-format entry every Wednesday. With topics ranging from design and marketing to tips and tricks, each post will be an in-depth look at a different topic each week.

So, without further adieu, here’s our final Friday Links:

 

Design Links

One | 10 Commandments of graphic design  

Two | Introductory guide to choosing fonts

Three | How to utilize an inspiration board to design a consistent brand

Four | 15 Type Designers to keep an eye on

Five | An interview with Michael Bierut, Designer at Pentagram

 

Social Media Links

One | How to be social online (for the naturally unsocial)

Two | 10 Years of Twitter: Tweets that broke the Internet

Three |Essential LinkedIn Stats: When, how, and what to post

Four | 5 Habits of Successful Social Media Experts

Five | 9 Tips to create a cohesive, branded Instagram feed

 

Branding/ Marketing Links

One | The basics of marketing your blog or website

Two | Working with email marketing automation

Three | 12 Simple strategies the big brands use to leave a lasting impression

Four | Stand out on Pinterest as a small business

Five | More branding basics for small businesses

 

Miscellaneous Links

One | Website color schemes: The palettes of 50 visually impactful websites to inspire you

Two | The 6 best tools for creative work, according to science

Three | Free hand-lettering practice worksheets

Four | Why you should use Squarespace

Five | The best of Greensboro

We hope you’ve enjoyed this last Friday link post… but now it’s time to get excited for the future! We’ll be back on Wednesday with a list of SEO dos + don’ts that you don’t need a web developer to execute.

Going to miss our Friday Links series? No need to worry, we’ll be sharing more valuable resources than ever on our social media. Follow us here:

Seven reasons to get inspired by texture

On your computer screen or in real life, there’s no better place to find inspiration than in natural texture --  there’s an abundance of hues, patterns, and finishes to draw from for inspiration. Whether you’re looking to spark an idea, or looking to make your work pop, textures are the way to go. With the right license you can can even incorporate them into your work!

Not convinced? Here are just a few of the reasons we love textures:

1 - Unique color inspiration. Nobody knows how to blend colors better than Mother Nature does. Next time you’re feeling stuck look to landscapes for creative new color palettes!

2 - Unusual shapes. Textiles are one of our favorite sources for out of the ordinary shapes. Next time you’re out shopping for your home snap a few close-up pictures of different fabrics, throw pillows or hammered metals.

3 - Texture is everywhere. Look around -- from floor to ceiling, you’re surrounded by different textures. Get up and take a walk around your building… or just take a closer look at your corkboard or cracked leather chair.

A sampling of all the textures a few feet from our office!

A sampling of all the textures a few feet from our office!

4 - Bold shapes. Things like fabric swatches are perfect when you need a little logo inspiration! The variation you’ll find is unparalleled -- and textures are easy to play around with, so don’t hesitate to be a little daring!

5 - Simple details. Subtle textures are great if you just need to add little depth to a print ad or graphic. The understated variation in a swatch of linen or a close-up of cork might be all you need to take a Facebook graphic from blah to engaging!

6 - It’s trendy. Texture can help you achieve a trendy, vintage look. While every designer needs to use their own discretion about getting on the vintage bandwagon, if you’re looking to elevate a flat vector to a hipster masterpiece, a little worn concrete overlay might be all you need!

Just a few patterns we've used!

7 - Pattern inspiration. Texture’s manmade cousin, vector patterns are great for everything from branding to print collateral to websites. Use nature’s organic patterns to inspire your sketches or draw inspiration from the patterns you see in a print!

Next time you’re feeling stuck, turn to textures. Consider asking your client what kind of materials they use in their daily work and let it to inspire your design. You never know what you’ll end up with -- once, we created a logo based on a brain scan!

Looking for some inspiration? Check out our “Patterns” board on Pinterest.

Friday Links: Cultivating creativity, resume advice, design is a job

It's Friday and you know what that means...time for some links on design, creativity, & other things we love here at Hue & Tone!  Without further adieu...

One | If I only had thirty seconds to offer you a piece of essential career advice, it'd be this: don't use a Microsoft Word template for your resume. Here are some good tips as you move beyond that.

Cultivating creativity, resume advice, design is a job -- Hue & Tone Creative

Two | Travel is not a huge part of my life these days, but I'd like to incorporate more of it eventually. I'm reading through these tips on how to prepare your business for extended travel.

Three | Why you should cultivate creativity in your business: "No matter how good somebody is or how brilliant they are, they're going to be wrong sometimes." 

Four | I love these thoughts on the difference between graphic design & other kinds of design: "Graphic design is about communication, and there's something about communication that is fundamentally social or even civic in its nature." 

Five | We'll close with something a little more practical: these subtle brushes.

Recap of this week's blog posts: 

Current read:

Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro 

That's all for this week! Have a great weekend -- see you Tuesday!

Friday Links: State of graphic design and a few freebies

And just like that, it's Friday again. To help you transition from the weekday hustle to weekend relaxation (you really should relax) -- here are a few links I've been loving this week!  

State of graphic design and a few freebies -- Hue & Tone Creative

 One | I'm all about these (free!) hand-drawn vector stripes & patterns

Two | Here's a good cheat sheat on the file types you'll likely encounter in design work. 

Three | Another super-usable post: how to establish a brand identity for your small business. This is solid advice. 

Four | A little less resource-oriented & more on the "interesting to know" side: the state of graphic design in 2015. 

Five | We'll close this week with another freebie -- these gorgeous brushstroke vectors.  

This week's posts: 

This week's music: Spotify Morning Productivity playlist  

Have a great weekend! I'll see you here on the blog on Tuesday.


Hue & Tone Favorites: Free (or cheap) graphic design resources

Hue & Tone Favorites: Free (or cheap) graphic design resources -- Hue & Tone Creative

At first glance, design seems expensive. You have to buy $300 fonts and high-end photography equipment and expensive suites of software if you're going to create anything attractive, right? 

Actually, not really. I try to communicate to clients that there are plenty of free and cheap resources available to help them maintain a consistent brand, without pulling in a designer for every edit. 

Here are a few of my favorites: 

DaFont & Google Fonts | In almost every case, it's unnecessary to drop top dollar on type. These are two great sources for free fonts - DaFont is hugely varied and frequently updated, while Google Fonts is your best source for a clean, high-quality web font.

Canva | This web app bills itself as "the easiest design program in the world" -- and it's completely free. When I'm working with clients who don't have access to professional design software, I'll whip up a few Canva templates so they can update graphics easily.

Graphic Burger | Need a simple line icon (or a background texture, or even a logo template)? It's here, and it's free for personal and commercial use. 

Creative Market | This site offers free or very cheap (in the $2 range) graphic assets -- think textures, brushes, presets, etc. Sign up for an account to receive regular emails with deals and free downloads. 

Adobe Single-App Subscriptions | You can now purchase a single-app Adobe Creative Cloud membership for as little as $30 a month, giving you access to a professional-grade design application like Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop. If I had to pick one, I'd go with Illustrator, but it all depends on the type of work you're doing.

Again, design can seem like an expensive pursuit, but with a little creativity, you can find the tools you need without breaking the bank.

What are your favorite design tools? Let me know in the comments below.