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Tips and insights from the blog team at Calliope - Presence in media for branding and polishing graphics, writing, social media, and online presence for yourself or your small business.

christmas is coming

Everyone is up in arms about this red starbucks cup this week! Seriously! A red cup. I remember when kids at our private christian university were denied leadership positions for being in possession of a red (granted solo) cup. 

The fact is, even the "issues" that take up our newsfeeds every few days are all trends, and you never want to be caught unaware. So buckle your seatbelts. Below is a crash course in choosing your holiday cards this year. Oh, you haven't thought about cards yet? Well now is the time sister! 16 days away from Thanksgiving means you do not have long before all of those "domesticated" adults who have their crap together will be littering your mail box with their efficiency all the while exposing your procrastination!

PS- we even included a new font board that you can download for your desktop


PLAID

wee bit of scot in ye? we are macgregor's after all


PASTELS

this beautiful winter peach will stand out next to the other cards on the buffet table. 


FLORAL & FOLIAGE  

if you don't live in south florida like we do, bring some color to your winter with this great design trend. 


MINIMAL

clean is in. clean is in. clean is in. 


PURPOSE

so many of us don't know what to do with all of the adorable holiday cards we receive. Sending them ready made as an ornament or magnet make it easy to display.

all card images above are pulled from vistaprint.com and tinyprints.com

And take a gander at our newest font board. Already decked out for the holidays!

Designer Hack - For the font hoarder in all of us

If you are a designer or lover of fonts like us, you know how easy and tempting it is to download hundreds of fonts. We can spend hours on free font sites like dafont.com, 1001fonts.com, fontspace.com when we only allotted 30 minutes of font lust before digging into the design work.   3 enticing options become 30 "I Just Can't Choose!" and suddenly your downloads folder is filled with enormous amounts of typography.

Seeing the font with the actual content... the form and shape of each word and paragraph determine if the font will work for the project. Even though some clearly will not work, you want to come back to it... like a left behind puppy at the pet store (I will come back for you Lassie!). How do you remember those long lost puppys, hidden gems that didn't work that time... but could work soon?  I had to find a way to make this easy and seamless. My solution?

A FONT BOARD!

I created a font board. We have all seen them, on Pinterest... "Halloween Fonts" and a list of adorable fonts that any designer worth their salt would never use unless it was for a kids party. (That is NOT to say that I do not LOVE me a novelty font... there may or may not be "Perry Hotter" on my computer... I plead the 5th... even a dementor will not make me talk.)

Even as handy as this image was... my computer would slow down with the additional program running, resulting in expletives and grunts that no lady of proper birth should mutter. So, I pushed my idea further

MY DESKTOP BACKGROUND

I put that baby on my desktop as the background. Now all I have to do is minimize or go to a "hot corner" and I have a quick view of my favorite fonts. 

Now... my addiction is real. I absolutely have to make new font board every few months because of the sheer size of new font acquisitions and sometimes, old favorites tend to fall out of favor. 

The point is... find a simple, easy, clean, and seamless solution to help. And designers... make your own font board and see how it changes the flow of your font searches. 

why we sometimes will work for free

why yes... I did just say that I work for free on my business website... this is cray right?

The truth is, if you know me (Danette), if you know CalliopePIM, or if you know we have a "heart" for charity then it wouldn't come as a surprise at all. If you were to ask our clients how much we do for free vs payment, you might see a staggering ratio... probably 20:80. We have found that a generous and grateful business model will always yield an impressive client retention rate. We are not talking about giving away websites or logos, but reformatting a clients logo into a vector or creating a brand guideline or a posting manual to an order is not only a deal but kind also. While this might make us come across as magnanimous, it also holds a significant amount of purpose and value to us. Each project is a learning experience, and the story and interviews below illustrate our reason to work for free (sometimes):

A dear friend reached out to me about editing her 501c3's website. They were trying to do a few simple edits but the website was straight html on a FTP host. While I have some experience in coding, I would never sell this as a feature in our services. But, since she was a dear friend and heck, they run a charity, (I'm not Ebenezer Scrooge after all) I agreed to the few text and image edits. (At most it was going to cost me 2 hours including breaks for diaper changes and tantrums) Long story short, the code was a bit messy, full of bugs, and command after command lead me against a brick wall of messy css and js. In my 5th hour of frustration, I stumbled upon exactly what I needed... Codementor

Codementor is a lot like Fiverr. It connects you to top developers, makes them available via chat, shows you their rates, expertise, and makes it simple to pay your mentor when the problem is fixed. I was extremely lucky to reach out to an amazing developer and a man with the patience of a saint, Carlos. 


I asked Carlos to answer a few questions for me about Codementor and his background. Here you go:

How did you hear about Codementor? 

On Google, searching for a tool that helps me to handle requests from friends that always ask me for help with their codes.

What is your proudest or most impressive project you have worked on? 

Once I helped a guy who was developing very complex charts for a science webpage. I though I knew how to handle charts until this project came to me, took me extra hours that I didnt bill the client because I was frustrated, at the end, everything ended well.

Biggest developer win?

When someone asked for a twilio /php  developer and I had no idea what twilio was, I tell him that I was good with php but not with twilio, he gave me a chance to help him and within a few hours of tests and documentation reading, the project was up and running. It helped me to know that I can accept challenges without fear

Biggest coding fail? 

A guy asked me to help him with a webpage, mainly CSS but he offered to pay me a fixed price. Since it was one of my first projects and I find CSS easy to write I accepted and I worked a lot of hours. At the end  it was a big mistake, they asked for a lot stuff and took me triple the time we agreed. It was my fault for not setting rules at the beginning like max amount of time, schedule, and extra quote.

What is the craziest thing anyone has asked you for help on codementor? 

It was not what they asked me but how we worked. He wanted to improve his old code but he didnt wanted to give me access to the code. He wanted me to connect via Teamviewer to his computer and tell him what to code, which file to open and dictate sentence by sentence. I'm a patience person but after working two hours like this was not productive at all. 

What sort of work to you want to be doing in 5 years? 

I will lie if I say that I will quit coding, its something I really enjoy, but in 5 years I see myself working with people around the world, I call it being a "travel developer".  Like they hire me for weeks or months to visit them in their town and help them code a project or two and then go help in other project elsewhere.

Tips or resources you use in your coding knowledge? 

The best tip I have is never stop learning, I'm always coding something even small stuff just for me. My other tip would be, to never just copy and paste code that you dont understand at all, it could be full of bugs or security issues, try to at least understand what are you copying.

Websites or generators you would recommend?  

I would recommend Udemy and codeschool for learning and having good practices.

Any information about you that might be interesting for someone seeking your expertise?

My name is Carlos Guevara, I'm mexican and Im a very* patient person. If you want to learn php/css/javascript/html or if you want me to code I can do both. You can find me on codementor http://codementor.io/dejitaru or wizpert https://wizpert.com/dejitaru . You can take a look to my resume http://websco.mx/ . You can also visit our portafolio http://gestudios.com/

*I CAN ATTEST TO HIS OTHERWORLDLY PATIENCE WITH MY FAT HEAD

Programs, code languages you know, experience, etc.

  • PHP
  • CODEIGNITER
  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • JAVASCRIPT
  • JQUERY
  • JSON
  • AJAX
  • MYSQL
  • BOOTSTRAP
  • API integration
  • Wordpress
  • Shopify

So what was this project that I needed the big and bad Carlos for? My friend's charity for sweet precious Airedale dogs. Check out their experience with Calliope - Presence In Media below:

Tell us about your Business:

The goal of Airedale Rescue and Adoption of the Delaware Valley continues to be to provide prompt and safe assistance for any Airedale who has no responsible owner or breeder to meet his needs. Simply put, our purpose is to find a suitable, loving home for any Airedale who needs one.  Airedale Rescue and Adoption of the Delaware Valley was established in 1995 in the New England states of NJ, PA, and DE. 

What were the special needs that you had for this project?

We needed to update and revise the website with the most up-to-date information and to be able to read things more clear. 

Did CalliopePIM capture your vision? If so, how?

Danette did an awesome job updating the website to meet our needs. She is very organized and quick to make revisions. Her professionalism is amazing! 

How was working with CalliopePIM different then other website designers, graphic designers, content authors, or social media managers?  

My experience has been very pleasant, and the updates to the website have been done correctly. Danette is very personable and delightful to work with. What would have taken forever to complete, she did in one day. Thanks! Look forward to working together in the future. I highly recommend!

So there you have it, I did a job for free and I ended up learning more about my skills and abilities than I could ever have imagined. Has working for free with a honed skill of yours ever worked out better than you could have ever imagined? Let us know in the comments below.