Graphic design

Why you should have a persona for your business.

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You’re probably thinking “oh I know who my target audience is, I don’t need a persona”

This may be true that you do know who your target audience is. But there are many benefits of having a persona.

First of all, let me explain what a persona is just incase you are scratching your head or about to google it lol. A persona is a written snippet of a made up person with their interests, likes, career and hobbies along with age and a photo. You usually come up with this made up  information by doing user interviews first. Now you’re probably asking why do I have to do interview??

So you have this awesome idea of a product or service and you’re ready to start a business right?? Wrong! Stop right there. First ask yourself if your product or service is a solution for customers problems?  If not, go back to the drawing board and find a solution to their problem. But if you answered yes, then proceed to interviews. Let your customers try out your services free of charge or at a discount so you can get honest feedback from your users. After you get your feedback from the users and they tell you what they liked, didn’t like, what problem they had, etc. Take all of your research from your users and design a persona with all of the combined feedback.

Benefits of a persona

  1. It will help you stay on brand – Building a persona helps you and your company stay on brand. When you keep coming back to your persona you’ll remember what solution your solving and for whom.
  2. It will humanize your target audience – instead of just looking at data and stats, having a persona will make your target audience feel more like an actual person. Because you’ll give your persona a name too. So when you get stuck, you’ll turn to your persona and ask yourself “what would Aiden like?”
  3. A great understanding of customers behaviors and needs (not wants) – Believe it or not, people don’t know what they want, so instead we figure out what they need. You’ll take the features that most users needed and add that feature to your product or service. If only one person wanted a certain feature, you cannot add data from one consumer,  If that was the case, a blow dryer would have 1000 buttons. You should be looking for patterns in your research.

Above is a persona I put together after many user interviews and feedback for an app design. I took all of my data that I saw a pattern throughout my interviews and added that to my persona. My Aiden persona has helped me stay on brand as well as humanize my users for my product. My product is for an app and a responsive website. If you’d like to learn more about responsive websites check out my blog post on responsive websites and the benefits of a mobile-first design! in a new tab) 

Don’t forget to comment below on anything I may have missed for personas and their benefits!

Graphic design

Photoshop Tips and Tricks

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Photoshop Tips and Tricks

Photoshop is becoming a more common tool that people are using who are hobbyists and who are not professional designers but would rather use a professional program to edit their images then to use an app on their phone.

I remember in the early 2000’s not many people knew what photoshop was unless they were a designer. Or if they had heard of photoshop they did not know how to use it.  I am going to give you some tips and tricks on how to use photoshop as a beginner, or even an intermediate designer.

Command +

One of my favorite keyboard short cuts are the command +, when you press those two buttons together it zooms in on your image. Now I actually love this keyboard short cut even more because it works with a lot of stuff. I use this shortcut in all of the creative suite programs, but also it works on web browsers and your outlook email! I thought that was super cool when I figured that out. LOL. Go ahead and try it.

Command –

Well I am sure you can figure this one out on your own. plus and minus are pretty self explanatory. So if you press the command – your image in photoshop will zoom out of course. This also applies to website and email too.

Command 0

We have used the command plus and minus but command zero is cool because it brings your image back at 100% after using all of those command pluses and minuses to zoom in and out.

[ – Left Bracket 

When you are using a tool in photoshop such as the paint brush for an example, when you press the left bracket it will make your paint brush icon smaller.

] – Right Bracket

Right bracket is the same as the left bracket. If you press the right bracket in photoshop while using the paint brush it will make your paint brush icon bigger.

Command C

 just like any other Command C shortcut on the mac is copy, But i like to click on a layer in photoshop and press command C to copy its and then to paste it as another layer.

Command J

Like I said above I like to paste what I copied as another layer so to do that your would press Command J.


Stay tuned for the second part of this post for more photoshop tips and tricks using the fill content aware tool and more.


Comment below to add some more photoshop tips and tricks



9 Design Secrets for Beginners

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9 Design Secrets for Beginners

I was a beginner in the design world about ten years ago before I was offered my first job at a newspaper and using mainly Indesign, there were design words that I did not understand or programs that I used for the wrong purposes. Starting out as a college student and had taken a few graphic art classes in high school for two years I was using photoshop for all of my designs when i should have been using indesign. Now that I have been in the field for almost ten years when I see someone using photoshop for a design, or illustrator for a design layout with multiple pages, I cringe! Some designers just prefer using illustrator for a flyer or a book cover because of its crispness. I do it too for small projects. But mainly I use it for logos and illustration, hence the word “illustrate” in illustrator.

To help beginners that are just starting out I am going to let you in on 9 design secrets that you should know as a designer.

1. Photoshop

Photoshop is a program within the adobe creative suite, it is used for multiple reasons, hell you can even make a simple video in photoshop. Some web designers use photoshop for mockups of their landing pages to see how it will look before they actually start designing and coding their website. But I am not going to go in depth about that, I am just trying to keep it simple for print Graphic Designers just starting out. So photoshop should be used for editing photos. It has a lot of amazing filters and tools for editing images.

2. Illustrator

Illustrator is a program within the adobe creative suite, illustrator is great for bringing in hand-drawn images and tracing it with the pen tool in illustrator. The pen tool is pretty simple to use after you get the hang of it. It is highly recommended to use for designing logos. It is versatile for scaling your logo without losing its crispness. Vector illustrations are the best for scaling, for this reason, it is best to use illustrator. You can design a logo for a business card, and then turn around and scale that logo big enough for a billboard.

did you know, up close, billboards are actually pixelated?

3. Indesign

Indesign is a super easy program to learn if you have the patients. When I was in college I hated InDesign, but that was just because I was so stuck on photoshop for designing my page layouts. Indesign is so much easier for page layouts, I promise. So if you’re designing page layouts in photoshop just because that is what you are familiar with, please take the time to learn InDesign, you will not regret it! Some designers do use photoshop for posters to use the filter effects like lights, smoke and blur. The only problem with this is that the file will be huge. But hey if it looks good and the printer can print it, then, to each their own, right?

4. Kerning

Within all of these programs, there is kerning. As a designer, there will be times you want more space in between the letters of a word, playing with kerning on a word in a poster will really give you the emphasis you need. For example, if you have a long word above a short word, you might tighten up the kerning of the long word and loosen up the kerning of the small word so they can take up the same space and be aligned. Notice there is more space between the letters of the word “Graphic”. See below for an example

5. Leading

Not to be confused with Leading, as in “I was leading a heard of little duckies across the street”. It is Leading like the lead of a pencil with an ing and the end. Okay now that I covered how to pronounce it, let me explain what leading is! Leading is the space in between words. I am dyslexic so for me to easily remember the difference between kerning and leading, I put a peace sign up with my hand and if it is upright it is kerning, but if my peace sign is sideways it is leading. I hope that helps you as it does me! LOL.

Below is an example of leading.


CMYK is what your setting should be on your design program if you plan on printing your design. It stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. CMYK are the colors of the inks that make up your design when printed. If you select RGB you will make your printer cry. But seriously make sure it is CMYK if you’re printing your project. Just a little tip, also be sure your DPI is at 300 for printing a design too. I’ll touch on that another time.

7. RGB

RGB is what you would select if your design is for a screen. It stands for Red, Green and Blue. The computer has red, green and blue pixels that make up the other colors our eyes see. Back in the day TVs used to have 3 big lights behind the tv screen that was RGB, that would make up the colors you saw on a big screen tv from the 90’s. If you would like a more in-depth explanation of RGB please visit pcmag

8. White Space

White space is a design term you will hear a lot during your life as a designer. I am all for leaving some white space, as I said in my recent post Why a high quality logo does not cost $50, “less is more”. White space can help you get your idea across in a design. See below for a good use of white space. it does not necessarily need to be white, it’s just the space in a photo or anything design that is not used. As you can see from the below image, even with all that space, it still works, it does not feel over cluttered, it feels fresh and clean.

9. Flow

Lastly for my design secrets is flow. Flow is very important when it comes to design, you want to put together a design that is pleasing to the eye, you do not want your viewer’s eyes wandering all over the advertisement or poster. As you can see above the flow is perfect. For me, my eyes start out on the cell phone and work its way down to the book then the keyboard. But the keyboard is slanted for a reason it is so your eyes are directed back up the image. This is a good example of good design aesthetics. If you would like to learn more on design aesthetics please visit creative

That is my 9 design secrets for beginners.

Comment below and tell me your secrets or tips and tricks that you would like to share!