diy or hire a professional

diy or hire a professional

In recent weeks, a lot has gone one here for Mr. D Studios. Although most were only small steps, there were a lot of steps taken. but with every step, every change, came more new questions. Being based out of the Greater Pittsburgh, you get to know the general culture of your geography. Pittsburgh and the Greater Pittsburgh Area are very hands on, and blue-collar to say the least. That is a big reason in why Pittsburgh has an immense small business population. However, the hands on approach that Pittsburgh business are known for has brought a very understandable question to the front of the line:
“DIY or hire a professional.”
With services like Squarespace and WIX, “DIY” is a high viable option. 

After researching it, the answer seems to come down to two major things: time and simplicity.

Time:

Are you going to have to time to not only setup, but also support, your website? 

While setting up a site is relatively quick, there maybe an administrative back-end to learn, and actually putting the information into the site. Those three factors are where massive amounts of time goes with a website. Time is REALLY consumed if there are products or services being offered in an e-commerce shop on your site.

Simplicity:

How easy is the system to learn? Does this cover everything we need our site to do? Can I teach the system to others? Simplicity is great, but things that are over simplified can become very vague. 

Those are the biggest two factors to consider. 

Other factors that to consider is appearance/theme options, expansion and added functions, and mobility. While many DIY services have a limited number of themes and little to no expansion of functions, Most of these services are mobile ready. In contrast to doing it yourself,  there is hiring a professional website developer or consultant as an option. Time is then an issue in regards to when do you need it done, but project creation by them on their time, and you can focus on your business. A good Website consultant or firm will help you show your appearance and needs to make sure the product is best suited to your needs. In reality, DIY or Hire a Professional really comes down to your needs as a website owner. Dig into your reasons for having a site, research your options, and pick the best suitable solution to your needs.

DIY or Hire a Professional Resources:


Here are several great articles to help you choose the option that is best for you: Wordpress vs. SquareSpace
  1. http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/squarespace-vs-wordpress/
  2. https://www.websitebuilderscritic.com/squarespace-vs-wordpress/
Wordpress vs. WIX
  1. http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/wix-vs-wordpress/
  2. https://blog.udemy.com/wix-vs-wordpress
Even a DIY wordpress site vs a professional wordpress site carry a large variety of differences.

Final Thoughts

Hiring a professional should never be an expense; it’s an investment for your business. You will be glad that how easy your life becomes when someone else takes care of the heavy lifting. If you are now looking for a professional wordpress consultant, you can take a look at my web design page and get in touch with me. Please feel free to leave a comment and share this article with a friend in need.

Owner, Author, Designer, Consultant

Dylan “Mr. D” Roush is a graphic design professional with over 6 year experience. Based out of Pittsburgh,  Mr. D specializes in WordPress design, print design, typography and illustration.
Mediocrity in Design

Mediocrity in Design

Mediocrity. Hard to not fall into that level, and even harder to break away from it. but Mediocrity can be used to a designers (really anybody’s) advantage. It really all relates to the individual perspective of the person. Mediocre is defined as “of moderate quality; not very good.” Then that means that mediocrity is “the state of being or having the quality of being mediocre.” It’s hard to not be mediocre. Mediocre work happens in every field. Design is what I most reference here because I stick to what i know. Logical, right?  As designers and consultants, we have all seen things that we think are mediocre. Usually we can instantly tell if it is mediocre, but the hard part is as to why it is mediocre. Sometimes we can see it right away.  Other times we can’t pinpoint it, but we know something is off. That’s just what we do. I’ve heard it called “The Designer’s Eye”, “Knowing What you Do”, and even “Being a Dick.” But how does mediocrity happen? There are many reasons mediocrity can happen. For example:
  • The client doesn’t have any vision of what they want as an end result.
  • The designer doesn’t have enough knowledge to expand on ideas.
  • The designer my not have the experience to have the execution of what they wanted to do.
  • The constant changes in trends and styles.
  • Laziness. Plain and Simple.
  • Trying to make a quick couple dollars
That is only a couple of the reasons. All those points could be avoided easily. Solving those issues is how you break away from mediocrity.
  • Stay upon trends.
  • Don’t be lazy.
  • Find a mentor.
  • Work with clients closely.
  • Be a Mentor.
That will solve a lot of issues. Become a student of your work. Try to push yourself and learn with every new project you have. Just don’t half ass it along the way. There are Millions of great resources out there. From blogs to books to tutorials. Youtube. Other professionals in your field. Endless sources for improvement to go outside your comfort zone. When you leave your comfort zone you start growing. but it’s not an overnight thing, it takes years to achieve anything worth noting. Including creating your own style of work. Many designers I know out running with no humility and never improve because they think they are the best designer ever. You need to have your ego bruised. HAVE TO. It keeps you in check, and makes you take a realistic perspective on things. It happens to all of us at some point. Just like the Needy Client I mentioned before. Now that my rant about mediocrity is over, I want to let you know that mediocrity is necessarily a bad thing.  If everything is mediocre, you can use that to your advantage. It’s like using the rainy days to make a sunny day stand out as something special. Complexity does not set work apart. it is the quality of the work. The details make all the difference. Those detail are what can take a good design and make it great.  As long as we continue to push ourselves to get better and increase our knowledge of what we do and how we do it, we will continue to overcome the burden of being mediocre.  

Here are some great reads about mediocrity in design:

Mediocrity vs. Excellence: What Separates Good From Great?
The Role of Mediocrity in Graphic Design
Avoiding the pitfalls of mediocrity
  Are you hungry? No. Not burgers and fries hungry. Drive. What are you willing to do to achieve that coveted spot you want in whatever you do? How far are you willing to go and push against the restrains? That kind of hunger. That is the defining factor in how much you can overcome mediocrity.  You only get out what you put in.

Owner, Author, Designer, Consultant

Dylan “Mr. D” Roush is a graphic design professional with over 6 year experience. Based out of Pittsburgh,  Mr. D specializes in WordPress design, print design, typography and illustration.
Needy Clients and You

Needy Clients and You

Needy Clients and You


   
Every one of us has encountered the “needy client”. The clients that constantly have changes, new ideas, and other little nit picky things. Those changes that after ten or twelve of theme are ready to snap. If you have had a client like this, then you know the kind I am talking about. If you haven’t had one yet, you will eventually, and trust me you’ll know when you do. It is upsetting to spend so much time on a project present it and have the client want to change different parts of the layout. Understandable. But there are a couple points to consider:
  1. The are making suggestions to you because this is really THEIR project. You are the hands that build the house, but they are the ones who live in it. they have to guide you to what they want, because they can’t build it them selves. If they could, you wouldn’t have a job. To say it bluntly.
  2. The first draft at anything is never going to stay. Ever. Just accept it now and make life easier. If it does stay it either is bad, or flawed because their hasn’t been any refinement.
  3. They don’t know. Again blunt. Your job is to inform your client why their suggestion might be a bad idea. I aren’t just paying for your skills, but also your experience and expertise. Don’t be a douche about it though. That can and eventually will break the client relationship. I’ve seen it happen.
Be Confident And firm in your opinion. However, you should also know when to pick your battles. If your talk about a change at length and the client doesn’t change their mind, remember number 1; IT’S THEIRS NOT YOURS. But recently I came to an understanding of my character, that i think many designers have as well. It’s not aways the client. Sometimes it’s US!  I admit it, it’s really shitty to say and hard to accept. It’s the introverted over protective artist inside every designer. Let me ask you a question:
If you were Michelangelo and got asked to change part of the Sistine Chapel, having worked on it for four years, wouldn’t you be a pissed at who asked?
Of course you would. if not you are either a liar or a saint. but that’s your business. Anyway, we do the same thing with design. Our passion, integrity, and pride that makes us defensive about our work. That’s how we know what we do is our calling, right? We pour all this dedication and passion into a project, and then the client asks us to change something. We as artists have a tendency to take it personally. Don’t, just don’t. Save yourself a lot of heartache. Take a breathe, relax, and work with the client. Do what they ask (within reason) and if it is bad show them and explain the difference, then see what they choose. If you can present your point well, then client will usually understand your point.  These changes aren’t always bad. Why? It can benefit you beyond what you realize.
Time:
If you are charging by the hour, more time equals more money. That simple.
Revisions:
Depending on the severity of the changes you can charge for a revisions, which in itself could be a significant amount.
Reputation:
If you are willing to go that extra mile for a client, that client will be even happier with the end result. Which leads to more referrals to others. So remember the client isn’t always as needy as you think. Sometimes we are just over protective.
Communication: Have Patience

Communication: Have Patience

I wanted to share this with everyone since many businesses I work with (both clients and partnerships) do all use the same communication methods.  I know that seems really obvious to most readers but after thinking about it, there maybe things you don’t always consider in regard to that communication. I have had clients reach out tons of different ways. Skype, text, email, Go-to-meeting, and even call me on the phone. Yes a phone call (who does that anymore?) Anyway with regard to capability, there are infinite means of communicating in business. However, there are many reasons that patience is KEY in communication. We live in a society were we get angry if someone doesn’t text us back right after we text them. The impatient – I need it now – “what the hell is taking so long” society has made us all this way. It’s not our fault. But at the same time… It’s COMPLETELY our fault. We know, as people, this is an issue. Many of us have commented on it with a tweet or a Facebook post. Personally, I find that truly ironic. Yet there is one question we don’t consider as often as we should:
What is going on the other end of the line? What’s the reason they haven’t gotten back to me?
It could be as bad as the business deal is done and that person is telling you with radio silence. Although it could be as simple as that person is driving somewhere can doesn’t text and drive. That being said, as people we instantly go to the worst case scenario. What happened? What did I do wrong? Did I drop the ball on this? So you do everything you can to make sure you are covered. Double check to make sure the email was sent to the right emails. Resend it from another email. Check the paperwork for errors and things. More often than not, the other person received everything and it just got lost in the shuffle of daily life. So it’s not anyone’s fault. Life gets in the way. It happens. If they are still on board for a project they will get back to you. After all you impact their business and income in some way shape or form. Especially, if it helps to move that business forward. But if the project goes for a month or so without a response, it may not be worth sitting on. It really is hard to figure out what is the best length of time. Trust your gut, I guess. There is nothing definitive. You really have to use you best judgement.
Statistics VS Data

Statistics VS Data

Aside form my consulting work, I service as the head of corporate design for a large company here in Pennsylvania. I had a discussion with one of my fellow coworkers over a project involving infographics.The “heated discussion” arose when I received stacks of data information and no idea what proper procedures to use to form them into Statistics.  Also,  it’s not my specific duty to analyze the data. After thirty minutes of back and forth with a person who does not know graphic design, I got him to understand the difference between Stats vs Data in relation to creating infographics. Let start by defining each:
  • Statistics:  The practice or science of collecting and analyzing numerical data in large quantities, especially for the purpose of inferring proportions in a whole from those in a representative sample.
  • Data: The quantities, characters, or symbols on which operations are performed by a computer, being stored and transmitted in the form of electrical signals and recorded on magnetic, optical, or mechanical recording media.
To put more easily, Statistics are the results of data analysis. It usually comes in the form of a table or chart, and Data is analyzed and interpreted to answer “why” or “how.” Data is used establish patterns and explain some phenomena. It breaks down specifically for designers into two areas: infographics vs data visualization.
Infographics
Infographics are subjective. They are usually cherry picked facts used to tell a story of some kind, which is directed at a specific audience. The information is designed and presented in a way that is easily shareable and accessible to that particular audience.  The overall appearance of the info graphic should be instantaneous. the reader knows and understands within seconds of eye contact. The most common things in Infographics are Illustrations, Icons, and Typography used to accent the important content of a fact or statistic.
Data Visualization
Data visualization is objective and unbiased.  It is “set in stone” and doesn’t differ based on the the reader/audience. just the facts. The graphic design of the Data visualization is secondary to the data itself as if it is only to gain your attention. The main purpose of Data Visualizations are to help data sets make more sense, and create in in an easily accessible form.  Data Visualizations are more likely to be created automatically through a generation system of some kind, perhaps a logarithm or other mathematical formula. So what is the difference between an infographic and a data visualization? An infographics can have  data visualizations in it, but not vice versa.  Or put simply,  Infographics are refined data or the sum of a data visualization.
Photoshop: Can But Shouldn't

Photoshop: Can But Shouldn't

Recently I was working with a client, and She requested a clean basic logo for another project. So i did the usual, look up other, made some sketches, and slapped it in illustrator. Done. I got this. Then it happened. She sends me a message along the lines of “My business partner does want me to pay for this, so he is going to make it in photoshop.” At first I  reacted the most human way possible. I WAS PISSED. The F-word was thrown around my office like a bouncy ball out of  a paintball gun.  But then I started to cool down and think about the reasons it made me as mad as it did. Was my work not to par? – No. or at least i don’t believe so. Did I charge too much? – No. we hadn’t discussed price. Maybe it was how much time i wasted. In design I  don’t believe there is such thing as wasted time. So that left me with one possible reason. I think it was the fact that I brought all my knowledge and experience to the project, The dos and dont’s. The things to know with the constantly changing digital landscape. That being said, my mind went reeling about this. Take said logo and apply it to a site. Now this site has to work on not only a desktop, but also a tablet and a high resolution retina display. So now this logo that was 100px by 75px, now has to be 200px by 150px. but wait, phones are bigger with apples new releases. 3x retina display means that 100px by 75 px logo now has to be the pixel perfect size of 300 by 225. and that is just the logo. Does her business partner know this when he uses photoshop? Not saying he doesn’t, He may, hell he might be a photoshop expert. Yet the other side of the coin says he may only run at this level: Yeah it’s bad. So once i accepted all this I realized that this project won’t come back around. Shitty. But I can share this experience with others. It’s not your fault, nor is it the clients. Most times, they just don’t know any better. That’s why WE are the specialists. That’s why WE have the obnoxious amounts of debt. All you can do guide your client in the right direction, but you can’t force them to drive that road. Let me know what you guys think.