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3 Ways to Make the Most of December

make the most of december

2016 has been nothing if not eventful. Whether you felt this year dragged on forever or thought it went by in the blink of an eye, the end is quickly approaching.

When I was younger, my dad jokingly referred to tendencies to hibernate and indulge in holiday sweets as “cookie foot”. While December is a month full of festivities and bustle, it’s also easy to lose momentum and find yourself doing the bare minimum instead of transitioning to the New Year full steam ahead. Here are 3 ways to make the most of December for your clients and yourself.

1. Reflect

In the fast paced environment of PR it can be easy to quickly move on to the next task, the next project or the newest client. Take a moment (or several) to reflect on the last 11 months. 2016 has been a bit of a whirlwind in terms of current events. What were your key successes for clients this year? Did you have any major failures? Both of these questions are important for growth and goal-setting for the upcoming year. Which brings me to my next point….

2. Plan

With many projects wrapping up before the end of the year, December can feel like a waiting period. Take advantage of this time by getting a jumpstart on your 2017 planning. End of the year planning falls into two categories: planning for clients and personal professional planning.

Take the time to meet with clients and ask about their goals for the upcoming year. Suggest new projects or initiatives you’ve been holding back on for whatever reason.

In terms of personal professional growth, December is a great time to set new goals for yourself for the upcoming year. Set aside some time to evaluate where your strengths and weaknesses stood out during the following year.

You’ll thank yourself in January for taking the time to plan now.

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3. Give back and Celebrate

Giving back is a surefire way to beat any holiday sluggishness. Give to your clients, to your co-workers, and to anyone else who needs it. Let your co-workers know you appreciated their help on a project or admired their poise in a difficult situation.  Don’t let good work go unrecognized.

I hope these ideas will help you avoid cookie foot, make the most of December and head into 2017 feeling energized and motivated.

Five Good Design Habits to Practice in 2014

Good Design Habits

Whoa, December already?! On top of all the holiday craziness, December is an important month for businesses to do a bit of planning and goal-setting for the new year. (If New Year’s resolutions are the last thing your business is thinking about right now, bookmark this post to review once you’ve recovered from the holiday rush.) Here are five good design habits to practice throughout next year, to ensure your print and web projects look great in 2014:

1. Take photos

Good Design Habits

Of everything. Events, your products, your employees, your building—nothing is off limits. It will be great to have a library of images to pull from when you need to, and it’s fun documentation of how your company changes over time. If you can afford to hire a professional photographer once a year to update your arsenal, perfect—schedule it and make sure it’s fixed in the budget. Prefer DIY? Point and shoot cameras are fine; just double check that your camera set to its highest resolution. Did you forget to consistently take photos (or didn’t have a year you considered photo-worthy)? Don’t sweat it—just be sure that come budget time, you set aside funds for stock photography. Photos can range from $5 – $500 each, depending on the stock source, so budget accordingly.

2. Know your brand

good design habits

Know where your brand guide is, and use it. If you don’t have one, try to spend an hour or two putting a very simple one together—it will be a great help to your designer. A basic style guide will include your logo versions, brand colors, and fonts, as well as any characteristic layout/graphic considerations that represent your brand. You can throw it together in Word—it doesn’t matter. Just pulling your brand assets together in one place so it’s ready to hand off at a moment’s notice is one of the good design habits and will help your designer or marketing team hit the ground running.

3. Love your logo

good design habits

Make sure your logo is good to go: you should have it in vector format as an EPS, AI, or PDF file. High-quality JPEG and PNG versions are good to have on hand, as well. Make sure to request vector logos from all your partners/vendors who may be featured alongside you in print or web, and keep them on file. If you only have JPEG or PNG versions of your logo, bite the bullet and have a designer rebuild your logo in vector format—it’s essential to ensuring it is clean and sharp in print.

4. Collect inspiration

good design habits

Time to channel your inner packrat: see something you like? Save it! Keep a file of all the websites or print materials that have caught your eye—take pictures, hoard items received in the mail, make a Pinterest board. When it comes time to get a designed piece to market your brand, providing your designer with visual preferences and aspirations will help spark project ideas. Plus it’s a great exercise in determining your style preferences—even if you can’t put into words what your design style is, your inspiration collection will start to reveal your design personality.

4. Keep a tidy library

good design habitsgood design habits

Always keep copies of native files from past projects—make sure to request them from your designer at project close (you may want to mention this requirement at the start of a project, in case he/she has contractual specifics around artwork rights/ownership.) Keep your native files organized by project type, and ready to hand off for reference or as a starting point for revision work. Any fonts and graphics used in the project should be kept, as well.

 

Marketing yourself should be fun, not stressful! Having good design habits and keeping your design assets organized and up-to-date will result in cost-effective, low-stress, relevant, and impactful design work in 2014. Cheers!