10 Directories to Submit Your Graphic Design Company

We all face the same problem in the beginning of our online entrepreneur journey. We lack experience and knowledge needed to quickly boost our startup and start generate income. One of the bigger unknowns for young and yet not experienced entrepreneur is the subject of business promotion. In order to have income you need to have visitors on your website. Conversion is a dynamicly changing ratio between visitors and visitors who decided to purchase a certain thing from you. The higher the conversion rate the better for you as an businessman but what to do when your conversion is nearly non-existant and the amount of visitors coming to your website is very low ?

 

Website's visibility is dependant to a big amount of always changing factors. As Google's algorithms change pretty often, it's hard to catch up. However, there is always a pile of methods that can still boost up your startup. One of these methods is to submit your website to a free or paid directory. You need to be very cautious as not every directory can bring benefit for you. Some of them can even discourage Google from listing you higher in search engine results. Always opt for high quality backlinks. Don't focus just on dofollow links. Google likes things done organically. That means that simply a natural circumstances would be if one has 3:1 ratio of nofollow links to dofollow links. Some directories offer you possibility to submit your firm and obtain a dofollow link. Don't be so fast ! It is a good practice to check this directory's Page Rank. The higher Page Rank score the better. Usually you shouldn't go for anything below PR3 or PR4. Also remember to pay attention to directory's revelance to your own website. Google wouldn't take you too seriously if that structure would be unsettled.

 

Here's a quick list of 10 interesting directories to submit  your graphic design company:

1. Design Directory

2. designer.am

3. Designfirms.org

4. http://www.web-development.com

5. graphicdesign.com

6. dexigner.com

7. http://www.topdesignfirms.com/

8. http://www.directoryworld.net/

9. http://dir.yahoo.com/arts/design_arts/graphic_design/

10. http://www.dmoz.org/Arts/Graphic_Design/

 

Remember to build your position in organic and natural way. This means that it will take time but also it will last longer. White hat methods usually can bring more benefit in a long term site's existance than quick black hat or grey hat methods. Also they allow you to avoid Google's sudden penalties which is very important while doing everything to keep up the momentum of your business.

Choosing Graphic Design Company

Introduction

 

Choosing a graphic design company may not be as easy as it sounds. Among hundreds out there it may happen that only few of them will deliver you satisfying work. The key to success may not be cutting the costs of designing or picking up the most expensive company on the internet. Basically what you should be looking for is a well balanced formation ready to pursue your design goals. Alright, enough of them ‘general sentences’, let’s list the most important factors when choosing a graphic design company.

 

You get what you pay for

 

This popular saying is applicable to our situation and we’ll try to break it down for you in next couple of lines as well as explain also that paying too much doesn’t always mean that you’ll get the most quality work possible. We’ll use logo design as an example because it’s the first thing we should think of when creating website, blog, brand or product.

 

Let’s face the simple fact - Graphic Designer isn’t working for peanuts and will never be. His determination, engagement and passion can be quickly diminished by under-valued earnings. It does cost few years of studies to obtain a degree as well as years of practice to perform well in achieved knowledge. Of course you’ll find tons of offers with ‘5$ logo design’ but are we really talking ‘logo design’ ?

 

Just think how much one would have to do to actually survive in each month while creating work valued just $5. Average wage in USA is 7.25$/hour (data taken from 2009). This results in 1740$ per month. A ‘designer’ would have to create 348 logotypes in just one month. That’s nearly 12 professional logo designs a day, 1 every 2 hours.

 

Not only it’s impossible to achieve the 1740$ a month when not sharing profits with someone who can actually help (remember that we’re speaking average wage, nearly minimal one) but also I doubt that the produced work will not stand out in negative meaning when it comes to quality.

 

If a designer is creating a logo design for business, he needs to know his customer, understand his vision, goals, get to know the company, create initial sketches, pick up a font face, choose most appropriate color palettes, create mockup, have that mockup accepted by customer and a few more crucial steps that take days to complete. A single interview can take few days if customer doesn’t help too much in providing answers on some questions and hinting designer how he would see the final logotype.

 

Most of the time $5 logo designs are made as a part time job. It’s a rare thing that they are actually done by someone who finished appropriate courses and obtained a degree to then become graphic designer. They already have a job that pays them enough to never even think of working for peanuts on computer graphics work.

 

So how those designs are being made in just 1 day and for 5$ ? The answer is simple. Ready-made templates and/or graphic elements are being used to achieve the doubtful success. Cataloged by theme elements are applied on canvas and mixed with poorly chosen type face. It happens very often that the colors don’t match the message that is suppose to come with a certain company. Indeed by a matter of chance it will happen that one or more accidental designs become nicely looking but there is one more thing that absolutely preclude the use of this type of service and we’ll try to explain it in a couple of next lines.

 

It is crucial to understand that savings are good in the short-term period of time but in a longer period of time - they’ll cost you a lot of money. How this can happen ? Imagine a non professional logo design made for your company that you decide to apply on your website, newsletter, business cards, invoices, online selling channels, newspaper and eventually on your car’s hood.

 

Sounds like a very professional maneuver but what will hurt your pocket is what you’re placing on all those objects. A un - professional logo design company have created a logo for you with the use of already-made elements. Without deep researching about mockup’s similarity to other trademarks in the business, without even checking if they didn’t use the same ready-made cataloged objects for their different customers.

 

This WILL hurt your pocket as sooner or later someone may not be satisfied with the fact that one is using nearly the same trademark as he does. Not only this can have it’s final in the court but also it will mean the necessity to re-design entirely the brand’s trademark identity. From website to even promotion car. Costs may vary from few to several thousand dollars. Trully blue situation when all we wanted to do was just to save 500$ on our business logo design.

 

Golden duck isn’t always golden

 

In majority of the cases if a company is well known for years for it’s professional approach then it’s most likely safe to cooperate with. However, not always top listed companies are the right choice to be made.

 

Some companies reach a particular level where the volume of orders exceeds their manufacturing possibilities but instead of hiring another designer to handle the work, they simply lower the quality of it. How ? For example by spending less time on creating detailed sewing effects on your badge type logo design. You’re mad, cause you’ve paid 1000 $ for the complete branding service but the work is worth maybe 200 $.

 

You keep on mailing those guys, they keep re-designing your work in a rush, you keep getting worser and worser quality. In the end you’re so tired and frustrated that you just give up and force yourself to be satisfied of the poorly created work. The ultimate solution is to find out someone who is prepared for any possibilities and someone who trully wants to create a satisfying logo design in affordable price.

 

Final Conclusion

 

Logo design and branding services should not be neglected by anyone treating a job seriously. The final effect may look simple but very often a lot of work and planning is being put to make it look that way. And the way your trademark look will affect multitudes of people in the future. That’s why those kind of services shouldn’t be undervalued or underestimated. Take time to review all companies that can help you reach your goals and choose them with prudence.

Create Lost and Cute Vector Teddy in Adobe Illustrator CS6

Teddy-in-the-forest
Info:

Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate

Platform Used: Adobe Illustrator CS6

Estimated Completion Time: 1+ hours

Intro

Today we'll be creating a cute vector illustrated and lost teddy using Adobe Illustrator :). I'm feeling quite excited as this is my first tutorial ever made. Immedietaly I would like to apologize for any imperfections it may have. Feel free to use source files in any way you wish. Let's begin :)

Landscape

background

We'll begin by creating new document with the size of A3 paper. After doing that with the help of rectangle tool (m) we'll draw a background of the entire landscape. We'll set up the fill to default and go immedietaly to the Gradient window. We'll set the gradient to Radial type. Aspect ratio and angle can be left default. We want to have 6 gradient sliders so it means we need to create 4 more (as default number is 2). We'll choose the following hexadecimal color values for our sliders : #009CBF, #007D94, #008CBF, #0081BF, #005A7F, #004555 (Left to right direction).

addingtexture
Our next step will include adding the grungy texture on top of our background. I've used 'Fibrous Brown Paper 4096 x 3112' texture from a pack of Photoshop textures (You can download it separately here). Use aligning tool to align vertically and horizontally our texture then using Selection Tool (v) drag the anchor points with alt key pressed and stretch it accordingly to fit our canvas. Reduce the opacity of our texture to 45%.

addingelipse1
Create new layer and call it 'ground'. Use Elipse tool (L) to draw a tilted oval shape. Add a radial gradient to it. Include 4 more gradient sliders and attach that lightly darker green'ish color to all of them. Have fun with the shades of your color. I suggest you set up lighter shade of green in the middle of our oval shape then go slightly darker with each next gradient slider.

addingelipse2

Go to effects > stylize > Drop shadow and add a shadow to our oval shape.

addingelipse3

Copy the 'ground' layer and send underneath our oval shape. Use down arrow key to move it a couple of pixels down from it's parent shape. Choose both shapes and hit CTRL + G to group them.

Moon

Let's leave our landscape for a moment and focus on creating moon.

moon1

Create a 150 x 150 px white circle by using Elipse Tool (L). Give it a color of #E5E0C7 and position it somewhere on the top-left side of our canvas. My coordinates are x = 197 and y = 117.

moonshadow

Add a shadow

moon2

use pen tool to draw shapes inside our moon. Fill those shapes with slightly darker shade of our previous color. I think #DDD7BC will be fine.

moon3

Add some more 'wrinkles' to our moon and use direct selection tool (A) to tweak some of their handles. You can also use convert anchor point tool (SHIFT + C) to tweak the handles separately. Create asymetric shapes and place them properly on the moon

When you're done, select all shapes with direct selection tool (A) and hit CTRL - G to group them. Remember to not miss any of them while selecting.

Trees

tree1

Time to get our hands dirty and plant some trees :). Grab your shovel - the pen tool (P) and begin drawing a triangular shape. After you finish, switch to convert anchor points tool (SHIFT + C) and tweak one of the bottom handles and one of the upper ones to create that little oval shape. Don't go too far as well as don't be too symmetrical, it's a tree :).

tree2

Give our tree a fill of #75614B and go to effects > stylize > drop shadow to add shadow behind it.

tree3

Select our tree trunk and copy it 4 times, giving our forest a number of 5 trees. Tweak some of them in terms of size and position them in simillar way like I did.

tree4

We need to construct rest of the tree. We'll begin by going to polygon tool, pressing SHIFT and creating a polygon. Give it a fill of #999B65. Then select delete anchor point tool (-) and delete 3 of 6 anchor points like that we have a triangle

tree5
tree6
tree7

Go to selection tool (V) and then to transform. Place a value of -90 degrees in rotation field and hit enter.

tree8

Copy our triangle and paste in front twice using CTRL + F. Select one of the triangles and move up. Select another one and move to the middle. Resize all three so they form a tree shape

tree9

Using direct selection tool (A) select all three shapes then toggle pathfinder on and click 'unite'.

tree10

'Finish 'im' with the good ol' effects > stylize > round corner. Give it a radius of 8px and click apply.

tree11

Switch to convert anchor points tool (SHIFT + C) and create a handle to one of the bottom anchor points. After doing that tweak it down so it shapes a nice oval shape. A good idea is to help yourself by placing a guide in the middle of our green shape. To do that, simply toggle rulers on (CTRL + R) then click and drag a ruler from the ruler sidebar (left side of your screen). Manipulate the handle up and down while still having it on ruler.

tree12

Add a shadow (effects > stylize > drop shadow) and position the green shapes in the middle of tree trunks. You can help yourself in determining the dead center point by enabling smart guides.

Teddy

It's time to make our teddy :). For the first couple of steps there will be no screenshots of the actual step being done because (oh snap...my bad) I've united some shapes that I have made and forgot to leave their copies for the sake of this article. You know how it is sometimes when we grab 4 things at the same time and try to be equally effective in all of them ;). Good news is that these steps are fairly easy to complete so enough talking...let's continue :).

teddy1

Create New file. It can be A3 size. Draw a circle and tweak the bottom anchor point so the entire shape reminds more of a head. Use whatever brown fill you like, it doesn't matter for the moment. Drag and place a guide exactly in the center of the shape.

For the ears - draw smaller circle and position it on the left side of the bigger circle (teddy's head). Try to aim placing bottom anchor point of the smaller circle on the border of the bigger circle. Use reflect tool (O) and reflect vertically the ear shape. Remember to define a proper reference point by clicking left ALT key and clicking on center of our guide. Select all three shapes (ears and head) and go to pathfinder. Click 'unite' to combine all 3 shapes into one.

eyes1

We'll now make eyes of the teddy. Again, don't worry about some united shapes that you can see on the screenshot, i've explained it earlier. We'll tidy them up in a moment :). So... create oval shape for eye, go to appearaence and add a fill of #2D2D2D then position the black shape on our guide so the guide is cutting our shape exactly in the middle. Go to transform and think about a constant value to move our shape in x axis. In my case it was -20 px.

eyeshadow

Add a shadow and set it's values according to your taste. Use #595959 color for a delicate shadow.

eyes2

Use elipse tool (L) and draw 3 oval shapes with various sizes. Set a fill of #C9C9C9. Select all four shapes and group them up (CTRL + G).

eyes3
eyes4

Use our main guide that goes through middle of our head as a reference point and reflect (O) vertically our eye. Upon reflection, select the reflected eye and reflect it vertically with the reference point set up on it's center.

nose1

For the nose create a triangle using the same method that we've used while creating tree and position it on our main guide (The one that goes through our head shape exactly in the middle). Place our triangle's center on the guide. Go to effect > stylize > rounded corners and give our triangle a 5 px rounded corners. I've ended up with a 63 x 38 px. shape.

mouth1

Teddy's mouth will consist of three simple shapes. To craft it use segment tool (\), draw one line and duplicate it 3 times (Each time pasting on the front). Select two of them and go to transform. Rotate them both (-45 and 45 degrees). Click two rotated segments and go to pathfinder. Unite them and position under the nose of our teddy (aim center). Remember to work with guides and smart guides toggled on. It will be easier to precisely position shapes.

earshades

We'll now add some flavour to the ears of teddy and enhance them delicately. Grab the pen tool (P) and place 3 anchor points. Close the shape and grab convert anchor points tool (SHIFT + C). Create handles and manipulate them to create shape simillar to the one on the screenshot. You don't need to be that precise on the bottom of the shape as we'll add gradient as a fill for it and drastically reduce the opacity.

earshadegradient

Add a gradient, set it's type to linear, angle to 135 degrees and colors to #918162 - #73664E. Reduce opacity of the whole object to 30%.

Select the shape and use reflect tool to reflect it vertically. Press ALT key and set up reference point on our main guide. Click 'copy'.

Group all elements.

arms1

To draw arm use line segment tool (\) and draw a line. Set brush definition to 15 pt. and oval. Go to object > expand appearance and click ok. Upon doing that go to transform > rotate and rotate the whole arm by -40 degrees. Position the arm that it touches borders of head then use reflect tool to flip it vertically, pretty much the same way like before.

restofcorpse

To simplify the process of building the corpse, we'll just draw a a shape with the help of pen tool (P).

feet1

We're close to be finished. Just a couple of steps more and we'll call ourselves 'survivors' ;). Grab that old friend - the elipse tool (L) and draw a circle. Tweak the bottom anchor point of the oval circle to make it look more like a teddy feet (See screenshot for better explanation :) ).
like a teddy feet. Add a linear gradient with two gradient points. One with the color of #8C7D5F and another of #918162. Set the gradient slider (the little white dot on the middle) to around 37%.

Copy the feet and paste in front. Use selection tool to select the copied element and resize it down to around 3/4 of it's parent shape.

gradientfeet1
Add a linear gradient with the angle of 135 degrees and 3 gradient points. Use these colors or their simillar shades : #9C8A69, #B29F79 and #AB9873. First gradient point is set up to be at location 0% and gradient slider at 70%. Second gradient point is set up at 80% with a gradient slider at 87%. The last one is at 100%. After doing that, select both shapes and use CTRL + G to group them. Eventually just unite them if you think that there won't be a need in the future to edit some colors. Unfortunately I didn't plan to make a tutorial and have united these shapes which I regret cause this tutorial would be way richer with exact step-by-step guide for EXTREME beginners. Once again sorry for that.

botto

Grab that naughty pen tool and draw yourself a link from feet to the corpse (commonly known as 'leg') then select both feet and leg. Upon selecting, reflect vertically both shapes. Reflect vertically the center of right feet with a reference point set up to it's center in order to maintain the so-called 'play of light'.

Create necessary links with pen tool from leg to leg. Use convert anchor point tool to do a convex bottom of our teddy. Set a gradient for it with angle of 90 degrees. You can use the same shade of brown color for the first gradient point and delicately accent the shape with a darker shade. To easily showcase all of the color shades I use Collor.com.

t-shirt

We're at the final stage of adding some last elements to our design. Those elemenets will be a t-shirt with a cute sign and blushes. To draw a shirt choose pen tool with the fill set up to #EAD2AC. Create a new layer which you'll call 't-shirt'. Start tracing the outlines of the teddy in order to create a shape. Correct on the run each points with convert anchor point tool. You can help yourself by disabling visibility of the two feets (to do that, simply click the eye icon in layers panel).

shirtshadow

Add a shadow to our shirt so it stands out a little bit.

Create new sublayer to our 't-shirt' layer and call it 'take me home'. Use text tool (T) and choose 'Merit' font. Set the color to a brown'ish one :). Write 'take me' and 'home' and go to effects > distort & transform > pucker & bloat to stylize the 'take me' part. Set up values as shown below:

takeme1

Go to Effect > warp > Fisheye and set up values as shown below:

takeme2

Go to Effect > Warp > Bulge and set up it's values like below:

takeme3

Go to Effect > Warp > Shell Lower and set it's values like below:

takeme4

Reduce opacity to around 25% and go to effect > stylize > drop shadow. Use the image below as a reference :

takemeshadow

'Home' will be stylized pretty much using the same technicques as 'Take me' part.

blushes

Add some blushes with the help of elipse tool. Set the fill color to #CC83C3 and reduce opacity to 20%. Use direct selection tool to tweak some of anchor points (especially bottom one and bottom right) then use convert anchor point tool to give it a good shape. Finally, reflect vertically the shape.

Finalizing the artwork

final1

Select the entire teddy with direct selection tool and copy it. Remember to select all layers (if you had locks set up on any of them, it's good time to unlock them now :) ). Paste the teddy in our artwork then hit CTRL + G to make a group of layers of it. Rename the group to 'Teddy' in your layer panel.

final2

Click the teddy group and use selection tool to resize it. Hold SHIFT and ALT key pressed while resizing. I've ended up with an image of 128 x 160 px :). Place our teddy nearly in the center of the green landscape. Save your work and be proud of yourself ! You've just finished !

Teddy-in-the-forest

Final Quack

Wow that was one big trip for you here dear apprentice. I know that this tutorial isn't perfect but I hope that you've learned quite much today. Especially when it comes to creating something nice lookin' out of simple shapes. You may have learned some new shortcuts and quick methods to operate in Adobe Illustrator. As you probably noticed, some of these methods can be easily applied to your future logo design, artwork design, illustration design or any other type of project. I wish you many great moments with Adobe Ai and a lot of satisfaction out of your work.