Category Archives: blog

Color Scheme Designer Inspiration from Art & Design

Color scheme creation can be tricky.  The job of any good graphic artist is to also be the color scheme designer and coordinator for websites, programmers, and clients. Adobe Kuler, which we discussed earlier is one tool for creating website schemes. However it does have weaknesses like limiting you to five color swatches. At Austin Web Design we utilize Kuler as well as other methods of color scheme in our design process.  Another, more old fashioned, way of choosing a color scheme that is popular among fine artists, fashion and interior designers, as well as graphics specialists is to draw inspiration from artists and their work, fashion, and even your surroundings.

Thanks to the magic of Photoshop making web ready color scheme swatches is as simple as taking a picture, uploading it to Photoshop, and using the eyedropper tool.



Frida Kahlo based color scheme

Artists aren't afraid of color.

Here we have this picture of Frida Kahlo from Google. This image has great color scheming. Notice the bold, complementary colors, yellow highlights, and pastel accents. I would love to incorporate these colors into a scheme for a website. We are going to take 5 colors but there are thousands to choose from in a website

First you draw a swatch shape from the vector shapes tool. Now you have two color choice selection areas. You can either use the fill selection in the top task bar or the side color panel. When you double click on the fill color you can hold the cursor over an area of the image and the eyedropper tool will appear and you can select which color from the image you desire your swatch to be.
















Alternatively you can create all the swatches before hand and save them in the swatches panel and even save your color scheme for later. I have done that here and named all my swatches with the prefix Frida.




Here are some other color schemes I have created based on fall fashion trends and a well designed home from Apartment Therapy.  First we have an outfit with colors I love from Diane Von Furstenberg’s fall collection. When considering drawing inspiration from fashion remember to consider the surroundings and the makeup of the model into your color scheme! That is where I got the smoky blue and purple that makes this work. The fashion designer considered their makeup as part of the color scheme of their clothes, so don’t leave it out when paying homage with your design.

diane von furstenberg fall 2012 color scheme

Diane Von Furstenberg is known for her use of color and pattern.

Read more ...

Adobe Illustrator CS6- Speeding up Your Work Flow

Adobe Illustrator cs6 workflow management

After beta testing and now operating at work on the Cloud, I have to give a hand to the engineers over at Adobe. One very useful tool for logo and element design is Adobe Illustrator CS6. Illustrator is key in creating clean vector graphics, and the program has really stepped up for its twenty-fifth anniversary. Yes this program is older then I am. The primary complaints in the past had been the speed and accuracy of the Live Trace feature. Thanks to the new “Image Trace” feature and redesigned Mercury engine Illustrator CS6 is faster and better than ever before!

A Better Live Trace

Image Trace was formerly known as Live Trace, and had to be renamed because it is just that good. I can’t begin to describe how useful it is to be able to take large size or high dpi scanned in sketches of logos and fonts and have them traced by the new Image Trace feature in a fraction of the time with better accuracy. I now wait mere seconds for the file to trace as compared to the 5-10 minutes it could take in previous versions. Even though I am working on a computer with less speed, this program has the processing power to get the job done.

 Pattern Creation Tool

Another great time saving feature is a pattern creation tool. This new feature has the ability to not only tile a vector shape into a new pattern, but to create an editable, saveable, swatch. And you are not restricted to one type of styling. You can offset, adjust size, color, orientation, opacity, spacing, and more all within the pattern creation panel. And then if you need to adjust any images, words, et cetera inside of the pattern you merely need to double click on the swatch to bring back up the pattern creation menu and can save a new editable swatch. This is by far one of my favorite new features that saves time and headaches when creating detailed vector backgrounds.

Several other features have also been edited for smooth operating capabilities. For example, unnecessary windows and pop-ups have been removed to create easier and direct editing capabilities. One example of this is the ability to directly edit the name of a layer in the layers panel. It’s almost unnoticeable, because that is what good design should be, natural and easy.

 New Stroke Options

An additional new creative feature allows the user or designer to finally put gradients on strokes. No longer do you have to widen a stroke and turn it into a filled vector shape to create a gradient. You can now do so without wasting time making a conversion into a shape.

I highly recommend students, artists, designers, or the casual Adobe hobbyist give the updated version a try. Illustrator CS6 Cloud blows the previous versions out of the water with ease of usability and time saving new creative features. A free trial is available on and you can see for yourself just what an efficient tool Illustrator CS6 can be.

How to do social media marketing right for your website

How to do Social Media Marketing

One of the main items to consider prior to having an active social presence is how well it will be received. If you don’t have a dedicated staff to look over the contacts you will have, you will have a stale presence. That presents you as inattentive at best, neglectful at worst. That becomes a losing situation to be in adn you SHOULD NOT do social media if you are not going to be on it at least once every day (or some staff member of your team). It can be a venue for people to complain and you need to have an effective response. Some quick pointers below for how to do social media marketing right from the start.

1. Always get your twitter handle, facebook name, and other social media and web 2.0 sites parked so that they cant be taken by someone else. If you are not ready to hit your social plan, give us a call and let us help design your social project map.

2. Never get into any sort of an argument that looks bad, even slightly, as it is broadcast to many of your clients instantly. Be attentive, but directing people to get in contact is a great avenue that gets a solution (and garbage posts removed often)

3. Create a unique artwork set for FACEBOOK. If you do not have a complete set of custom graphics that speak to your site, its just not ready to go live yet.

4. Twitter backgrounds are hard to make the correct size! They use a fixed position from top left and the twitter page spans from that, not an easy way to create a custom background that is readable under all screen sizes (think about the tablets, and netbooks)

5. Use the same logo or a close variation. The first thing people question is if they are on the correct site. They need to know at a glance.

6. Give away stuff! People love coupons and other great items and you need to be handing these things out or else you have a presence that has nothing much to offer (unless you have cat pictures, people love cat pictures)

7. Promote your clients, monitor your channels virility in facebook and always be looking to improve this number as much as you can.

8. Tap into the clients, but also their friends. On Facebook you have the most amazing (and scary) set of tools ever imagined to harvest info on your followers and their friends as well. Chances are a former client will know people that can become future clients. Use that.

9. Linked in is for more then just stalking, well its very much for stalking, but it is also a great place to post content to that you need to have the public reading and it WILL get good exposure as long as it is relevant.

Tips for Creating Marketing Video

Marketing Videos that get Results

Some of the challenges with creative design for the internet are actually compounded when we look at video production and the exposure you hope to gain from it. You have a very small window to create and capture the message and display it in a meaningful and stylistic manner.

tips for creating marketing videos

1. It needs to brand, your brand. Beginning and end at a minimum. Visually
2. It must convey a meaning, the story if you will, which must have relevence and be important enough to envoke a response from your clients.
3. Messages need to have timeliness and velocity
4. You MUST make it relevant or informational
5. Style Style Style

You have to gather the needed clips and start with a good NLE that’s non-linear editor for the record such as premiere, vegas, or finalcut. Post composition needs to be done in a package like aftereffects or c4d. Logo is a prominent idea to represent at the closeout of your video.

In general. If you are setting up a video for a pitch, 30 seconds for a product 2 mins. MAX. These rules only apply to your productions for your pitches and products. Check out our short grabber and see how fast it gets to the point, messages, and brands. All in ~30 seconds.

Onpage SEO for Joomla 2.5 – Metadata and Onpage value creation

SEO for Joomla 2.5

I go over some of the key topics in getting the metadata, location, and hyper-local aspects put into the right location so as not to create multiple entries for your Joomla 2.5 CMS. This is a how to video that will help get get your website SEO for Joomla working at full speed.

Check out the video:

View at youtube for 1080p definition, that way you can see the copy that is written. Here is some of the overviews of the video for those that cannot watch the video.

1. Watch out for duplicate content. Joomla is the fastest way to create duplicate content unfortunately and its one of the biggest no-no’s around

2. Make the page length count! You need to have a lot more content on every page they you think you do, I promise.

3. Alt tags for those images are a must. Just simple as that.

4. Enable SEF urls and even consider using a SEF plugin if you need extra control and granularity.

5. Cache that puppy. You have to have a fast site and Joomla 2.5 is no faster the Joomla 1.5, or 1.0 for that matter. It is a huge overhead for the system onload so lighten that up and serve out HTML for your guests instead. Unless your posting non-stop all day long, there is no reason to not run with the cache ON.