048 - Justin's Favorite Design Tools

Are you a graphic designer? A design geek? Or a small business owner with a DIY streak for doing your own design? Well, you’re in luck! In today’s podcast our resident design and branding expert, Justin Kerr, shares his favorite design and productivity tools.

Stuff we mentioned during the podcast:

Justin Kerr Design

See Justin’s sketches for the ABLEx branding project

Favorite design tools: UXPin, Smartmockups, Google Fonts

Favorite organizing and productivity tools: Basecamp, Toggl, Chill

Favorite inspirational sources: Medium, Wired, Brand New

Bonus Content: Justin’s complete list of favorite DIY design and productivity tools (PDF)
(available only to MET Podcast subscribers)


You can also find us on Apple Podcasts.

Listen on Google Play Music



Justin: Hi and welcome to the Marketing Essentials Podcast. Our unique team helps small businesses grow by providing essential marketing expertise.

Bill: Hello and welcome to the Marketing Essentials Podcast. My name is Bill Parmentier of W Parmentier Photography.

Justin: I'm Justin of Justin Kerr Design.

Alicia: And I'm Alicia Piazza with Custom Marketing Solutions.

Bill: And together we make up...

Everyone: The Marketing Essentials Team.

Bill: Today we're talking about Justin Kerr’s favorite tools. So what does that mean you have toolbox I'll back that we're gonna just ah...

Justin: Ya, ya. Brought a...

Bill: A hammer.

Justin: Hammers and screwdrivers. No it's this is the second part of a three-part series that we've been doing called “Our Favorite Tools” and I think we started with Alicia.

Bill: Yes.

Justin: Talking about some of her favorite tools that she likes to use as a social media Marketer.

Alicia: Ya.

Justin: And so today, I'm gonna talk about some of my favorite tools that I use in my design and branding work.

Bill: Nice.

Justin: I'm also gonna throw in a couple of things for people that are interested in doing sort of their own design. Some inexpensive or free tools that they can access that will help them get started.

Bill: Great. So what do we get, so where do we get started?

Justin: Where you get (inaudible).

Bill: Easy for you to say.

Justin: Exactly.

Everyone: Laughing.

Justin: I got a little tongue tied there. So we'll start with some of my favorite tools and I've got, you know when I went through my computer and thought “well, what are some of my favorite tools?”  

Bill: Sure.

Justin: There's so many.

Bill: Really?

Justin: That I could talk about, but I tried to sort of pick out a few that are, I think, the most critical.

Bill: Yeah.

Justin: You know, that might go to. Obviously as a graphic designer, I you know, use the Adobe Creative Suite.

Bill: Sure.

Justin: Photoshop

Bill: (inaudible)

Justin: Ya so that's kind of a given. But honestly, my favorite tool when I'm doing branding work or I'm trying to come up with a concept is pencil and paper.

Bill: Which just surprised me when I saw that on the list.

Justin: Yup.

Bill: That this kind of moment old-school there buddy.

Justin: Well it's old-school, but it works. And you know, it's the best way I find in the quickest way to get your ideas down.

Bill: Mhm.

Justin: And work out the ideas. Discard the bad ones you know and iterate.

Bill: Sure.

Justin: As any other process. Because if I start on the computer it's, I'm already limited. But if I sit down with a pencil and paper, then I'm not limited. I can you know, I can I can get the ideas out as fast as I can sketch.

Bill: Sure.

Justin: And I just find it a little bit more open-ended. So you guys probably recognize this.

Bill: Ahh ya, “Able X”.

Justin: Ya the “Able X” logo that I did. Well, where I started with that was with these sketches so.

Alicia: We're gonna have to post this for...

Bill: Can you describe...

Alicia: ...the podcast.

Bill: ...these real quick?

Justin: Ya.

Bill: So Justin has actually handed us one of those a piece of vellum isn't it?

Justin: Yeah, it's like a tracing.

Bill: Ya.

Justin: Piece of tracing paper.

Bill: But he’s also handed us, basically it's a bunch of different sketches that were basically, I would say the beginning process of the logo.

Justin: Exactly. And you can see, some of the ones on there just like, what were you thinking? But if you don't get it down on paper.

Bill: Mhm.

Justin: You can't see it, you can't evaluate it, and you can't discard it.

Bill: Sure.

Justin: Ya know?

Alicia: That's correct. That is a great, that's a great point. When you see it on paper, you know exactly what you don't want.

Justin: Ya it's like, “Oh, that's garbage. Moving on.”

Bill: Ya, ya.

Justin: You know. So, if I started on the computer, I think it's a little too precious. Like everything I put down on the computer I'd feel like oh that's valuable I want to save it.

Alicia: Mhm.

Justin: Whereas an on pencil and paper, it's easy to discard. It's easy to go, “No that's not working, I'm going to move on”.

Alicia: So, we are looking at three pages of Justin's thought process essentially.

Justin: Right and all my little my little birdie sketches that I did for this particular brand.

Alicia: For Able X.

Bill: Your brain on three pages of paper.

Justin: Ya and the reason I like to use tracing paper is if I, if I have one that I like, but I want to change something about it I'll put a piece of tracing paper over it. Copy just the stuff I want and then you know add to it or change something about it. I you could also do that with a copy machine, you know copy it and you know and change it but I find it's quicker with the tracing paper.

Bill: Not to get too far off track and how does the process go from that tracing to bringing it over to say Photoshop or InDesign or what are you using?

Justin: So once I have three or four ideas that I think are worth fleshing out further, I'll scan them in and I'll bring them right into illustrator and I'll start working digitally.

Bill: Okay.

Justin: But by then, I've eliminated dozens of.

Bill: Iterations.

Justin: Iterations that we're not working and so like a narrowing funnel I'm getting down to the ones that I think are most successful and that I can really develop. And then I can start adding color and I can start with typography. But I have to start on pencil and paper, because otherwise I'm not I don't feel like I'm giving it the full process.

Alicia: Wow. So we will post these creatives Justin?

Justin: Yeah I can ahh.

Bill: Scan them in.

Justin: Ya I'm actually, I have them scanned in because I, they're on my portfolio page of my website. So actually I'll put a link I'll put a link to this project.

Bill: Case study for that.

Justin: Ya.

Alicia: I was gonna say I thought it looked familiar.

Justin: Ya and it's got the before the after all the sketches. So I'll put a link to that in the show.

Bill: That was Ashley Davies the one that was on our podcast.

Justin: That's right.

Bill: A few months back that's right.

Justin: Ya.

Alicia: And now we get to see the making of her logo.

Justin: Ya and she never saw the sketches because.

Bill: Ahh, well she’s gonna see them now.

Justin: Well ya, it's just I mean she could see them after the fact, but it's too early in the process to bring the client in when you're at the sketching phase.

Bill: Sure, sure. Ya you don't want them looking at it going “but I really like that one better”.

Justin: Oh ya I like that one. And it's like “no you don't”.

Bill: Trust me you don’t want that one.

Justin: You might think you do, but you don't.

Bill: Okay so the next thing I, what is a UXPin? I see that on you list what exactly is that?

Justin: UXPin  is a wonderful online tool for building prototypes. So when I do websites I don't start with mock-ups, of you know the visual design, I start with a very basic grey screen prototype. So Alicia's familiar with this because she and I worked on a project together that I had a build a prototype for and you UXPin  is just a great online tool for building these interactive wireframes.

Bill: Okay.

Justin: That you can then use to sort of flesh out the site in its site map, at structure, block out the content, get all the basic stuff down. Because what happens, often times if you start with a visual design, client can get very excited about the visual design. But, the content and the structure is really what's driving the whole site.

Bill & Alicia: Mhm.

Justin: Not the visual design. So we start with the structure, work that out, get all the content blocked out before we ever deal with visual design. UXPin just happens to be a tool I discovered that I can build interactive prototypes really quickly.

Bill: Ya.

Justin: And there because it's online then I can share the link with the client they can go and they can poke around and they click through and see what that looks like and it even has annotation tool where you can put notes in there. So if the client wants to mostly you know

Bill: Oh so the clients actually go ahead and make notes for that?

Justin: Ya and it's great because that way they can just tag something and say oh I think we should move this to you know the next page or something.

Bill: Oh cool. The next one is the one you kind of touch down a little.

Justin: Ya creative sweet smart mock-ups. That's kind of a cool little app that I have if you want to mock something up like a business card or brochure or monitor, you know to show a website. Smart mock-ups provide you with these generic mock-ups of computers, mobile devices, business cards and then you take your graphic your mock-up

Bill: Just lay it on that.

Justin: You just drop it in and it automatically adjusts it so it you can help the client see what this is going to look like.

Bill: Oh thats cool.

Justin: In real time without actually having it produced.

Bill: That's pretty cool.

Justin: Ya and they've got you know hundreds of different mock-ups. They have ones for t-shirts, they have one for billboards, they have one for bus stop shelters, they have you know just dozens and dozens of these. So it's a great way when you're doing a presentation to say “well we developed your branding and here's what it would look like on a bus stop shelter”or “here's what it looked like on a t-shirt”. And it just helps the client visualize how that's gonna look in real time.

Bill: Cool.

Alicia: Now is that free Justin? Smart mock-ups?

Justin: No it's not free, it's a paid app, but I it's not very expensive. I forget exactly what I paid for it, but it's a it's not a subscription it's a one-and-done. So you buy once.

Bill: We can put a link in the notes and people will be able to.

Justin: Ya.

Bill: Check it out see you exactly what it costs.

Justin: So it's a great tool.

Bill: What is a Gridulator? That sounds like Terminator’s cousin.

Justin: Ya gridulator.com it's just a website, it's a calculating website so when I do website I'll do it much the same way that you might lay out a newspaper or a magazine use it a column layout right.

Bill: Okay.

Justin: So you have so many columns, per the space that you have.

Bill: Mhm.

Justin: So that when you put the website together you have a grid system that you can use to layout the contents or everything sort of falls.

Bill: Where you want to.

Justin: Where you want it to. Gridulator just allows you to go in, type in what the overall distance is you know the width of the website, how many columns you want and then it'll give you this long list of well, they should you know based on how many columns you want, you can do them this size with a gutter of this size in between. It's just a calculation device.

Bill: Interesting.

Alicia: Cool.

Justin: Ya.

Bill: I was assuming it wasn't something like football-related or.

Justin: No, no. It’s just for doing website grids, but because I went to art school. I need people to help me with my math.

Bill: The math.

Justin: So this is a very good tool.

Bill: Google Fonts now.

Justin: I love Google Fonts.

Bill: Explain this to me, I’ve never heard of Google Fonts.

Alicia: I haven’t either, I'm like.

Bill: I knew Google does all kinds of things but I’ve never heard of Google fonts.

Justin: Are you guys yanking my chain here?

Bill: No seriously.

Alicia: No we’ve never.

Bill: Trust me if I was playing with you I’d let you know.

Justin: Okay well as part of Google's effort to take over the entire world.

Bill: World domination.

Justin: They have, there's a website called Google Fonts and they have about 915 fonts available. Now the nice thing about Google Fonts is they're free. Right, so you can find exactly the font that you want to use and you can either use it on line on a website or you can download it for use in print.

Bill: Can you pull it into Adobe?

Justin: Yup.

Bill: Really?

Justin: Absolutely.

Bill: For free?

Justin: Yup. Doesn't cost a thing.

Bill: I just found a new place for me to go check out.

Justin: Yeah.

Alicia: You suggested the other day that we try serif fonts not sans-serif no I didn't even ask you what that meant I see.

Bill: Alicia wants Comic Sans.

Alicia: No.

Justin: Well, I.

Bill: Justin’s gonna kill me now that I’ve said that.

Justin: I also like the, I'm just ignoring you, I also like the interface.

Bill: What’s new?

Justin: That Google has because they have a really nice layout so you can scan all the different choices.

Bill: Ya I can see.

Alicia: Within in like.

Bil: Just.

Alicia: The family of the font like what or is there I guess category as?

Justin: Well yeah over here on the right you've got categories. So you can search by serif, sans serif, display type fonts, handwriting style fonts. So if I just select handwriting, it brings up all the fonts that look like.

Bill: Very cool

Justin: Script or a handwriting.

Alicia: So, if you're trying to do like a graphic piece that had that certain element to it you could just quickly filter.

Justin: Ya.

Bill: Just for those of you who are listening at home, Justin's actually got it up on his computer screen right now kind of just showing us all the different options.

Alicia: Ya.

Bill: And it's pretty, there's a little checkboxes on the side that you can decide on the number of,it’s hard to see from here. What those little checkboxes on the sliders on the bottom right hand side there Justin?

Justin: Oh you can also look by a select number of styles, the thickness of the font, the slant of it, the width of it.

Bill: Oh,so you can actually narrow it down to what you want it to be?

Justin: Right. So, I would I'll put a show, a link in the show notes.

Bill: Ya, ya it's pretty cool.

Justin: Google fonts is great. The best part about it is the fonts that are in here are all quality fonts. So a lot of free font sites that you go to.

Bill: Kind of cheap looking.

Justin: Are gonna have garbage fonts. You know they weren't built really well. The thing about a professional font, is that it's created by a fontographer. Which is you know, a professional font designer and creator.

Bill: I never knew there was such a thing.

Justin: And there is.

Bill: There’s something that does everything nowadays isn't there?

Justin: Well if you, if you want the font to look right and perform correctly when you put long passage of those texts together on your website or in print you need a fontographer to build the font correctly. There's a lot of moving parts in a font.

Bill: I believe it, I never of it, right that's crazy.

Justin: So all the ones on Google are professionally made.

Bill: Cool.

Justin: And they're free.

Bill: It just amazes me that they give that away for free.

Justin: Oh ya. Well, trust me they're.

Bill: They getting into advertising I’m sure.

Justin: Ya, they're getting what they need from you.

Bill: Oh I'm sure.

Justin: But,  you can't beat free.

Bill: No. Ok, so next.

Justin: Alright so.

Bill: Creative market.

Justin: Creativemarket.com is one of those sites where you can go and find design assets.

Bill: Mhm.

Justin: So they have fonts available, they have background textures available, they have icons and all sorts of little creative elements and design elements, that you can purchase, if you're looking to put together a particular.

Bill: So you know I'm at the wheel basically.

Justin: Basically ya.

Alicia: It's so hard for me to not want to pull up each and every one of these websites like, I'm still in Google Fonts. I'm not gonna go to creativemarket.com but that sounds really cool too.

Bill: Okay.

Justin: It is and it's you know the stuff you have to pay for it.

Bill: Ya.

Justin: But it's all priced very reasonable and the creative market, the way they do it is each individual artist submits their design to creative market. So you're you're buying it directly from that artist.

Bill: Now I'm sure the creative market gets a cut of that but.

Justin: Of course they get a cut of it yeah.

Alicia: Cool.

Justin: But you can patronize these artists directly which is nice.

Bill: I just hope they don't have it set up the way your next one has a setup. Can we skip that one move on? No I’m kidding.

Justin: Okay, well they.

Bill: I actually happen to belong to them.

Justin: Right.

Bill: And I can tell you they don't pay their, might as well say who they are go ahead.

Justin: Ya, iStockphoto.

Bill: Ya I'm actually a member of iStockphoto and they pay pennies. I mean pennies on the dollars too they're.

Alicia: So it's not get rich scheme?

Bill: It’s not even make a money scheme for a photographer let’s be honest. I'll give you a rough estimate, about 90% of the cost of whatever you pay for one of those photos goes directly to iStockphoto.

Justin: Ya.

Bill: So $19.95.

Justin: I, from the you know your side of things, I can see where that's you know not very lucrative for you.

Bill: I sold  five photos on that site.

Justin: Ya.

Bill: And got to be able to buy a cup of coffee.

Justin: Okay.

Bill: So they get the idea.

Alicia: Sorry starving artists.

Justin: From my end I find it to be a tremendous resource. They have, I'm sorry Bill.

Bill: No, no I’m just busting your chops.

Justin: I understand if you think you have other revenue sources.

Bill: We've talked about it before.

Justin: Right.

Bill: They're is a legitimate time when stock photos are needed.

Justin: Yes.

Bill: And used. My biggest gripe with the whole stock photo industry, is it's not like it used to be. Where you could buy directly from the photographer the stock photos. You're almost forced to go through these clearing houses like iStockphoto or Shutter Stock.

Justin: Masterfile.

Bill: And all those guys take huge profits off.

Justin: It’s just the way the industries going.

Bill: Ya sad it is what it is. But again, I get why you guys need it you know.

Justin: Ya and I you know I have a subscription. So for a certain amount of money every month, I have I think like a hundred downloads and available to me. And even if I'm not going to use the image as a finished piece it's a great way to mock stuff up.

Bill: Sure.

Justin: So if you're working with a client and you need to block out say a brochure or something like that you could go to iStockphoto, download the kind of stock photos that you're looking for the style, the type.

Bill: Yes you get something close.

Justin: Right.

Alicia: Ya cause people have a hard time visualizing right?

Justin: Ya.

Alicia: They can't see like if that block is for like a photo of people.

Justin: Right.

Alicia: Ya.

Justin: So you can use the stock photo to mock it up.

Bill: Mhm.

Justin: And then if you want to go to a professional photographer and say hey this is the kinda thing we're looking for. It's a great tool.

Bill: Ya no I'm with you on it. I like I said, I understand why it's sort of you know every industry has its as the bane of its existence you know

Justin: Right, right.

Bill: Some of us have Fivver.

Justin: Right.

Bill: Some of us have.

Justin: I could go on a similar rant you know.

Bill: Ya, ya.

Alicia: But that's another podcast.

Justin: That’s a different podcast.

Bill: We haven’t done one of those podcasts yet have we?

Justin: Yeah so iStockphoto, it's been a good resource for me.

Bill: And quite honestly, there's some incredible stock photography on iStockphoto.

Justin: Right. No they.

Bill: The first to tell you.

Justin: It's quality stuff and again there are sites where you can go and get free stock photography but the quality is not good.

Bill: And the resolution.

Justin:Is limited.

Bill: Yeah.

Justin:Right. I think to get the most bang for your buck I find a stock iStockphoto is good for me.

Bill: Ya, ya. I would put them iStock, Shutterstock, there's a few other ones that I would say.

Justin: Ya.

Bill: Go towards but.

Justin: Ya and what's interesting is a lot of them have the same photos.

Bill: Well ya, cause iStock uses Getty Images.

Justin: iStock is owned by Getty.

Bill: So is Shutterstock.

Justin: Ya, so you're gonna find a lot of the same photos. I just happened to have an account with Istock I've had it for a long time and I mean sugar stocks great too. I  happen to like Masterfile. Masterfile’s a great stock photography site. They're much more expensive, but some of their stuff is tremendous you know as far as quality and unique photos.

Bill: Ya, ya.

Justin: Non-typical but let's move on from stock photography.

Bill: Sorry. Wow they'll get Bill sidetracked the whole conversation so.

Justin: Those are some of my favorite creative tools. And then for organization and focus, ah Basecamp. I use that for organizing projects.

Bill: Oh we use that for this podcast.

Justin: That's right we do.

Alicia: Yeah.

Bill: That's a great.

Justin: Yeah. And there's a lot of these kind of.

Alicia: Trello, Asana, Air Table.

Justin: InfusionSoft. Yeah and well InfusionSoft is more of a CRM.

Alicia: CRM.

Bill: Ya, Ya.

Justin: Ya Trello and Assana.

Alicia: They’re like task management.

Justin: Ya.

Bill: See ya Basecamp and then the next one is Dropbox and the last, Google Drive.

Justin: Right. I've been using Dropbox for a long, long time. And it's great. Not just for you know providing files to your clients or sharing files with their clients, but I'm able to put all of my project files offline.

Bill: Mhm.

Justin: And this recently, you remember my laptop turned into a brick.

Bill: Yup.

Justin: And the hard drive was just garbage. Fortunately because all my client files were on Dropbox.

Bill: You're okay.

Justin: And I had my system backed up on an external hard drive. It took me about a day, once I got my new laptop, to get everything back in and get up and running again.

Alicia: Ya.

Bill: Well it's an inconvenience at least you didn't lose everything.

Justin: I didn't lose a thing.

Alicia: We use it too for sharing files. So like if you need to share, like if clients are taking pictures and they need to get them to us or their photographer needs to get them to us, then they can just Dropbox it to us or Google Drive.

Bill: Ya dropbox is it incredible. I use Google Drive more than I use Dropbox but.

Justin:That's good too ya.

Bill: You say that both do the same pretty much the same thing.

Justin: Ya and the syncing feature is nice.

Bill: Mhm.

Justin: So you know when I'm working on Dropbox it's just sits on my laptop like a folder and it's like I'm working on a local file.

Bill: Ya, Ya. So it works.

Alicia: I like that.

Justin: Ya, ya. So the next one, Toggl, which is what I use to track my time.

Bill: I like Toggl. I use them from time to time.

Justin: Yeah, it's what

Bill: Not near as much as I should but.

Justin: Well, what’s nice about it is even the free level of Toggl is pretty robust.

Bill: Ya.

Justin: Now you can go up a couple of levels and they add some features to it, but for just basic time tracking, it's hard to beat. And even at the free level, I can pull up reports so if I want to see like how much time I spend on a particular project, I can pull up a report and it'll show me exactly how many hours. And it'll break it down based on the categories that I created.

Bill: Ya, ya and you guys should do categories and subcategories.

Justin: Yes.

Bill: So you may have multiple projects going on with the same client.

Justin: Right.

Bill: So you can have them broken down by I'll get work an hour on this project and one hour on that one so when it comes to billing time.

Alicia: Yeah.

Bill: You do the two separate bills.

Alicia: I feel like you've talked about Toggl before. I feel like everybody has that one like go to brand them they're just like, that's my thing.

Bill: I think they talked about great websites, this is one of the ones Justin brought up.

Alicia: It looks different from last time like saw it, but it looks good. I like this.

Justin: Ya, they, they updated their website if you remember when we did our webinar way back when.

Bill: February 2018.

Justin: Toggl’s was the site that I used as a reference for a part of my presentation they've rebranded a little bit and they've well not rebrand it but they updated their website.

Bill: I kind of looks like claymation figures now.

Justin: Ya it's cool. I mean I kind of like it's fun.

Bill: They actually started and not to get side tracked here, but they actually started doing TV commercials now.

Justin: Oh really?

Bill: I saw the commercial for that the link not to long ago.

Alicia: Getting big.So, we’ll post the link to that but it in case anybody's like, just listening and wants to google it, it's T-o-g-g-l.

Bill: .com.

Alicia: No “e”.

Justin: Right.

Bill: You know how many times I've added that “e”? Why can't get to the site?

Justin: Ya, that's.

Bill: But anyway.

Justin: Make it distinctive.

Bill: Ya, okay so.

Justin: So, what's the next one here?

Bill: Focus Keeper.

Justin: Ya, Focus Keeper.

Alicia: Oh I feel like I need this.

Justin: Well it's a, it's just a little app I keep on my phone and it's basically a timer but it's based on the.

Alicia: Not a little pill?

Justin: Pomodoro timer method okay or Pomodoro productivity method. So what Pomodoro productivity method is, it's basically a way for you to focus your time during the day. And it's 25-minute blocks separated by small breaks so it keeps you focused for 25 minutes. Now a reason it's called Pomodoro as Pomodoro as it is Italian for tomato, right. So the guy that came up with this originally, was using one of these kitchen timers that looked.

Justin & Bill: like a tomato.

Justin: Right. And he would use this kit this kitchen timer to help him stay focused on his different tasks with short breaks in between and he would be able to knock out this work and be very productive in these 25 minutes.

Bill: So, let me ask this question here. Does this also track the project that you're doing too or is this a little different than Toggl as far as?

Justin: No, it's not like Toggl at all. It's a very simple app it basically does one thing.

Bill: I just downloaded this I'll tell you how I like it.

Justin: Ok.

Alicia: I feel like I might just go buy a kitchen timer because the fact that it's on my phone,might be a distraction.

Bill: Oh, look at Facebook. Somebody just.

Justin: Ya.

Alicia: It should naturally block your pop-ups or something.

Bill: There you go.

Alicia: Oh my God, focus and it's so hard when you work on a computer all day.

Justin: Ya, absolutely.

Bill: Now this one, I get the next one, I get to give you credit for because I'm not a big fan of that kind of noise.

Justin: Oh, my Chill app.

Bill: Ya, we were at, there's another place locally that has the white noise machines in the background. It drives me absolutely nuts.

Alicia: I like, eh, I don’t mind them.

Bill: So that's why I just, I can't.

Justin: Well, I sometimes when I'm working, I can listen I can listen to music. Sometimes I can’t. Or I can listen to a podcast. When I just need to drown out the noise around me, especially when I'm at home, this is a great app so.

Bill: So,  you just put your headphones on and.

Justin: Just put my headphones on, I launched Chill and what's nice is it gives you probably about a dozen different sounds. So there's white noise, brown noise, pink noise.

Bill: Purple noise.

Alicia: I didn’t know there were so many colors of noise.

Justin: The reason that they're they're different colors, is because there are different frequencies. So you may find that white noise makes you nuts, whereas the brown noise doesn't, because it's a slightly different frequency.

Bill: Okay I'll give it another try.

Justin: All right.

Alicia: Find your color of noise Bill.

Justin: Honestly, the one that I use most often, they call it “fan”. So remember the old box fans?

Bill: Ya, ya, ya right.

Justin: It's it's just a fan. That it's that noise of that fan running. And it's on a, I think it sounds like, I don't know what the loop is maybe a 20-second loop. But you don't even notice that's looping and it's that fan noise that just drowns out the surrounding noise and I can focus on what I'm doing.

Alicia: Cool.

Justin: So yeah. And I think chill was free.

Bill: You know I can just record my box fan at home for you and just give it to you.

Justin: Well, you could do that, but they have they have rain.

Bill: Somebody beat me to it already.

Alicia: Just bill whispering in the background.

Justin: They have bus fare they've got one that's that's the noise.

Bill: What is that called?

Justin: That when you're inside a plane.

Bil: Sorry.

Justin: You know like on a commercial.

Bill: Ya.

Justin: That sort of hum.

Bill: Mhm.

Justin: They have that one too.

Bill: The engine hum. Ya, engine hum. You could. What were you talking about that the other day? They uh the whispering, the people talking about.

Alicia: The voices in your head?

Bill: No. there's there's actually a whole, I know this is going way off track, yeah there's actually a whole new style of YouTube videos that are going out there where people just talking really quietly.

Justin: All right that would annoy me. That would. I would.

Bill: Somebody was telling.

Justin: That would piss me off.

Bill: about it was like. Yeah, me too. I was just like really? Why?

Justin: Moving on.

Bill: There’s a name for it. But anyway, we’ll.

Justin: Ya.

Bill: I’ll let you figure that one out for the share notes.

Justin: Ok.

Alicia: What do we have here Zoom?

Justin: Zoom.

Bill: Zoomy, Zoom Zoom.

Justin: Ya, Zoom is great. I mean there's there's a lot of video conferencing software out there.

Bill: That’s what we did our webinar on, with Zoom.

Justin: Right.

Alicia: I feel like Zoom has the most functionality.

Justin: I've done I've used a lot of different video content conferencing software. I've used GoToMeeting. I've used.

Alicia: JoinMe.

Justin: JoinMe.

Alicia: Google Hangouts.

Justin: Google Hangouts. And the one that is like the most rock-solid.

Bill: Is Zoom.

Justin: Yeah that I've never been kicked off of or had any lag with Zoom.

Alicia & Bill: Ya.

Bill: Now just full disclosure if you have they do have a free account but that only allows you a maximum of 40 minutes.

Justin: Right.

Bill: But you can buy the upgrade account fairly inexpensive.

Alicia: Or you could just make your meetings faster.

Everyone: (laughing).

Bill: When was the last time that we made one of our Zoom meetings fast?

Alicia: Right. We use Zoom and we're right here in the small state of Rhode Island but we're too lazy to drive out of our houses.

Bill: To meet for a meeting.

Alicia: We Zoom.

Justin: that's right.

Bill: PJ's that way right?

Justin:That’s right.

Alicia: Yeah.

Justin: All right so, moving on, so.

Alicia: You can record your screen too which is nice.

Bill: Yes.

Justin: The next group is what I call inspiration or trend tools. So, just places where I you know keep up to date with what's going on in my industry and where I can sometimes get inspiration from. So Medium.com is a great site and they have their site broken down into categories so I have a subscription to the design section of Medium.com and it's just.

Bill: I wonder what other categories they have?

Justin: What's that?

Bill: I’m wondering what other categories they have? I'm curious because I've never heard of Medium.

Justin: Well Medium.com has been around for a while. They have, let me just pull it up.

Alicia: I feel like it's like a catch-all site.

Bill: That’s why I’m asking.

Alicia: It's almost so many different things on there.

Justin: They've got health, design, politics, self startups, tech, culture, doubt.

Bill: I doubt that's right, but maybe.

Justin: It may be like their spiritual section.

Alicia: There's a lot.

Justin: There’s a lot.

Alicia: There’s a whole other page.

Bill: I’ve never heard of Medium.com

Justin: Well it's one of those aggregate sites, you know people contribute to it. Writers, professional writers, non-professional writers. And I subscribe to the design section because there's often really good articles on branding or user interface. And because it comes right to my inbox.

Alicia: I like it.

Justin: It's like oh you know here's, here's a you know, something I can read up on and just kind of stay up to date with what's going on in my field.

Alicia: I’m going to look right now and see if they have one about social media, let's see. Do they have one for a photography on here Bill?

Bill: I was hoping they would.

Justin: They have a more link here so they probably have a ton of photographers.

Bill: Find me some photographers.

Justin: Oh look at this. Art, beauty, books, comics.

Bill: Probably gonna fall into art theme.

Justin: Gaming.

Bill: They tend to push photography under art nowadays.

Alicia: Marketing. Cool. Yeah I mean and so when you say inspiration, Justin, you mean like if you're trying to work on like a creative graphic piece or like what do you?

Justin: Well, I don't, yeah I don't necessarily use medium for that. It's more sort of staying up to date with industry trends.

Alicia: Gotcha.

Justin: But occasionally they'll have an article on something, you know that's trending or something that's new and I'll think oh I might be able to incorporate this into my one of my next projects.

Alicia: Mmmmm yes.

Justin: So it's good for that and Wired.com is the same way.

Bill: Ya, ya.

Justin: You know they have a whole, a very robust collection of articles on design and you know what's trending and what's new. Also tech you know.

Bill:Ya ya ya.

Justin: So those two are sort of staying up with trends. Pinterest obviously is a huge time-suck and a big hold if.

Bill: I was surprised that you use Pinterest that's a new one to me. I mean.

Alicia: Can I share what I have?

Justin: Go, go ahead.

Alicia: So, I’m working with Justin on my branding process, which I'm super excited about, for the spark. And he had me pin shoes.

Justin: That's right.

Alicia: Ya.

Justin: That’s right, yes.

Alicia: I was a little confused.

Justin: Well it's just it's just a way of getting someone to think about the branding process. It's very difficult sometimes when you work with clients on branding, to get them to think about themselves and in a way that.

Alicia: Is visual?

Justin: Provides a new perspective, yeah is visual. So I happen to go into your Pinterest board.

Alicia: Oh God!

Justin: Your personal one.

Alicia: There’s a lot.

Justin: And I saw that, well fashion played a big role in there. So.

Alicia: Oh yes.

Justin: That's why I said, I want you to select five shoes that you think would represent your brand and tell me a little bit about why and pin those to the board that we're sharing. But I also use Pinterest just to, you know gain inspiration. So you know you can sort of filter down to what you're interested in and it's just a lifetime scroll of you know say whether it's illustration or whether it's typography or whether it's you know graphic design. What other people are doing. What other people have tagged. And it's just a great way sometimes to sort of break out of your particular mental mode you know break out of a mental rut and say, “Oh you know, I haven't I hadn't seen that poster in a long time” and “You know I really like that particular style”. Or, “Oh I haven't used that font in awhile”.

Alicia: Right.

Bill: Let me go back and check that out.

Justin: Ya, so just kind of you know.

Bill: Cool.

Justin: It's great if you've got 20 hours to kill.

Alicia: Pinterest is a dangerous rabbit hole in Social Media.

Bill: Ok, so we're running short on time here so I don't want to all right that's a try to rush along but.

Justin: Well I think it'd be good to end up this episode with some things on my list that I want to offer to our listeners. Those folks, small business owners, solopreneurs who want to do their own design either because you know they're they're not able to hire a professional or they just happen to like to do their own design. Here are some tools and some resources that they can use to sort of kick start that whole process. So one of the ones and these are very similar so Canva and Crello. Canva is just a huge repository and I know Alicia.

Alicia: We use it a lot for social media. By no means do we try to replace for graphic design projects but you know you.

Justin: Right.

Alicia: When you have to get something out quick.

Justin: But you know you but they have a tremendous amount of templates and idea starters yeah for business cards, brochures, newsletters, social media graphics. So rather than inventing something from scratch, you can go here.

Bill: Something that'll do in a pinch.

Justin: Right.

Bill: Very similar to stock photo is it something you want to just.

Justin: Right. And all the stuff in here is good quality. right it's so you can go here and you can kind of get a jumpstart on putting together graphics. Now, I wouldn't recommend Canva if you were trying to develop your brand.

Bill: No.

Justin: But if you're just looking for a quick graphic for a brochure or for you know your next Facebook post, Canva and Crello, great place to start.

Bill: I actually use them for my Instagram post from time to time because they have the ability to do so.

Bill: Alright, so buckle up Bill cause this next one you're gonna hate. This is a stock photo site that I've used before called unsplash.com. It's a really unusual name.

Alicia: Oh yeah. I think I’ve heard of this one.

Bill: La la la la la la

Justin: But the stock photos here are 100% free.

Alicia: Free ones out there that I can provide? I don't know you might wanna.

Justin: Some free stock photo sites I would shy away from. Unsplash I'm recommending because the photography here is curated and it's excellent quality. And you can download stock photos from this site to use, not just online but they're large enough and high-resolution enough you can use them for print.

Alicia: Oh wow.

Justin: And they're completely royalty-free.

Alicia: I think I use Plexal.

Bill: I think i'm going to block that out of the editing process is that ok? Am I ok to just, I'll just make a high pitch “beeeeeep” over the top of that? How does that sound?

Justin: Well do you remember like we were doing, when we were first branding Marketing Essentials Team and I had that photo of the guy with the long beard the lady sitting in a cafe.

Bill: Ya,ya.

Justin: Guess where that came from?

Alicia: Unsplash?

Justin: It came from Unsplash. And now I see it everywhere.

Bill: Everywhere. Me too i’ve seen it in a couple other spots.

Justin: So I'm glad we don't use it anymore, but hey, it got us started before we have any of our own photography. Good resource for stock photograph, if you don't have any money is Unplash. Palette or and we're gonna put this in the show notes because I'm not going to try to spell this it's.

Bill: (inaudible)

Justin: Ya, exactly.

Bill: Easy for you to say.

Justin: But it's a great tool for creating color palettes.

Bill: Nice.

Justin: And what you do is when you go to the homepage of Palette or it gives you a little search box, much like Google, where you can put in a keyword or a theme and it'll generate color palettes based on that theme or keyword.

Alicia: So like for instance winter or India that's literally what it says on its homepage.

Justin: Ya and then if you click, it'll bring up all of these color palettes that they've curated based on that theme or keyword.

Alicia: Interesting. So I wonder what my name would generate?

Justin: We’ll try it and see what happens.

Alicia: I'll let you know.

Bill: Okay. Moving on.

Justin: So.

Bill: You got two more here make them real quick here.

Justin: Two more.

Alicia: Bill’s cracking down.

Justin: What are the last two?

Bill: iStockphoto.com you have is a creative.

Justin: We already talked about iStockphoto. Slides.com.

Justin: All right so Slides.com, I know a lot of people are you know either fans of Keynote on the Mac side or PowerPoint which is on the Windows, well Windows and Mac. But if you're looking for an alternative, Slides.com is a good place to go so you can it's an online tool. You can make slide presentations really sophisticated slide presentations very easily using this online tool and you can also collaborate because it's online you can, you know bring a team together and everybody can participate and contribute and make changes. Now it's not free, but it's pretty reasonable for an online tool and it's very portable so if you want to export your slide presentation as a PowerPoint file or as a Keynote file you can do that.

Bill: Now if you use this yourself in the past or?

Justin: I played around with it a little bit.

Bill: Because you're a Mac guy so you probably use Keynote a little bit more.

Justin: I love Keynote.

Bill: Oh I'm just getting on board Keynote because for years I dealt with with Microsoft so.

Justin: Ya.

Bill: So I like Keynote, it's just.

Justin: I've done I've worked in both I've done presentations in PowerPoint I've done in Keynote I just find Keynote to be.

Bill: Cleaner.

Justin: A little bit more user friendly. A little bit more design designer friendly. But I've played around with Slides a little bit and for an online tool it's really robust.

Bill: Cool.

Justin: Ya.

Bill: So let's sum this up.

Alicia: I think go to the website and download Justin's list.

Bill: Ya I would say definitely look at the.

Alicia: Cause I’m gonna do that.

Bill: I'm assuming we're gonna put all the stuff in this.

Justin: Ya what I'll do is I'll put this together as a document with all the links.

Bill: Ya.

Justin: And we can post it in the show notes.

Bill: Ya, ya I mean because it'll ton of information you've got here I think it would be valuable to anybody that wants to try to play it around and check some of the stuff out.

Justin: Ok.

Bill: So Justin thank you for sharing your you have favorite tools.

Justin: Not a problem. I'm looking forward to your episode with your favorites.

Bill: It's coming up might be some crossover a little bit only because you and I both deal with it the visual end of media.

Justin: Right.

Bill: So, but anyway having said that. Ding.

Alicia: Times up.

Justin: Times up.

Bill: I think that would be the little buzzer that told us it's time to stop. No I’m kidding. I guess that's all for this week.

Justin: Yup.

Bill: Thank you for joining us and we'll talk to you next week.

Justin: Bye.

Alicia: Bye.

Bill: Thank you for joining us today. And as always you can find the back episodes of our podcast on Apple podcasts and you can also find us on our YouTube channel, both of them are “The Marketing Essentials Team”.

Justin: You can find us on the web at marketing essentials team dot com and if you subscribe through our website, you'll receive a weekly email, letting you know when each episode has been published. Also. you will receive a link to subscriber only content.

Alicia: You can also find us on Facebook and our private Facebook group just search a “Lil’ Rhody Marketing Support Group.” It's a great place for other marketing professionals and business owners, where we can share marketing advice, challenges and general trends. Hope to see you there.