Apr 14, 2009

Review: Using HUDDLE For Collaboration

I recently discovered a new tool for personal or business collaboration: HUDDLE.

Huddle is useful for online collaboration, project management, and document sharing using social networking principles.

The online collaboration tool Huddle offer you the ability to:
1. Organize a group or team more easily.
2. Brainstorm via the use of white boards (just as we would off-line).
3. Create, capture, and edit documents and valuable files.
4. Communicate effectively across teams. This includes leaving messages, and getting/giving approval for various tasts and projects.
5. Manage to-do lists.
6. Network more effectively off of your social networking platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn (the two I'm using the most, besides MySpace).

Huddle is an effectively simple online tool to help you maximize your interactions with projects and teams. Although Huddle offers each team member the ability to manage projects, easily share and store files (even really large ones) online, quickly create or edit Word and Excel documents online, have group discussions, and more. What I love about Huddle is the "white board" sharing space and ease of use. This makes so much more sense to me than Google Groups' reply to all function that is frequently misused by my band members. Huddle may also be used as a client extranet - something I'll be exploring for ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

For my work with ARRiiVE and AspireNow, where I publish information frequently, my team now posts their work for review on Huddle, where I can edit, suggest changes, and approve projects. I can connect freelancers to my core team and manage the entire edition from a single spot - critical for a small business like ARRiiVE and AspireNow.

I've been using Basecamp, but feel that Huddle offers more functionality for the money. As both a Facebook and LinkedIn user, I'd like to drive more functionality out of my networks. Huddle's add-on extension applications for those social network platforms just might be the ticket to accomplish that objective.

For my new SLOJazzFest.org charity, we can use Huddle to share plans, documents and photography with our partners, suppliers and agencies. We can brainstorm new ideas on a whiteboard and get everyone involved. I like that I can control the group by assigning user priveleges and track their actions. We'll eliminate wasting time, too.

I intend to use Huddle for ARRiiVE, AspireNow, and SLOJazzFest.org... maybe even band stuff, although I use GoogleGroups and MySpace for the band, now.

Are you using Huddle? How is it working for you?

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Apr 9, 2009

Elements of Great Logo Design

I've been designing logos since founding AspireNow.com back in 2000. I remember it started with an idea. After brainstorming on the idea, I started drawing logo designs by hand. I then worked with a graphic designer to turn the hand drawings into a usable graphic image. She added a couple of cool things. Then, once the logo was designed, I created the website. So many times, you can't really launch your product, service, or company until you have a solid logo.

Are you seeking a logo right now?

Elements of great logo design include the following features:

1. Instantly recognizable.
2. Appropriate.
3. Scalable.

1. Instantly recognizable. This is where most graphic designers get too fancy and blow it. They create something hard to figure out and therefore lose the audience. The image must be memorable to be a great logo. In order to be memorable, it usually must be SIMPLE. Too many logos clutter up what they're saying with too many elements of design. Keep it simple and people will remember the logo longer.

2. Appropriate. There are several aspects of "appropriate" that matter. First, the image and font convey the right "feeling" for the product, service, or company. By feeling, I mean the image conveys the right message. For example, technology often uses "shutters" or open spaces cut into the logo, such as with IBM. AT&T uses shutters. Banks often use rectangular images, with pillars, both of these shapes convey stability. We want to know our money is in a stable place, right? So, both of those types of techniques for those industries are "appropriate" for the logo.

3. Scalable. By scalable, the logo image ought to look good in color or black and white, and it ought to look good at any size.

My first logo design was AspireNow:

Many people commented how they liked the playfulness of the logo, as well as the shadow, which gave the image depth. I've been toying with the idea of updating this logo. What do you think? Will it stand the test of time or would it be wise to update this logo?

The latest logos I designed were for the SLO Jazz Festival and the musical band BODY:

The SLO Jazz Festival to me needed to (a) feel festive, (b) convey the words of the festival, (c) feel traditional, yet modern, and (d) convey music. So, I used the treble clef to convey music. The font conveys the feeling of a traditional festival. The SLOJAZZFEST.ORG font is more modern and feels fun. The logo could be printed in any color and still look good, too.
The key elements in the logo for the band, BODY, including conveying an image that left a feeling of the band being solid, accomplished with the square shape enclosing the D and Y; yet open, accomplished with the black on white part of the logo; yet not complete, as with the D not being wrapped in the black square, as bands usually change their music and songs over time. BODY needs to hold up to the test of time. In addition, the font and colors needed to feel contemporary. Black & White in a logo is both timeless and contemporary. I could just as easily put two other colors and I'm sure the band will play with that idea in the future. I'm currently working on an additional SYMBOL of just a body that could also be just as recognizable as this font-based logo. I'll share it when I get it completed from drawing into graphic form for computer (in process).

If you like the designs I create, why not see if I can help you with your logo?

I'm not the cheapest logo designer around, but I do tend to create images that leave a lasting impression, are appropriate and convey the right image and feeling, as well as scalable in both design and color.

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Apr 8, 2009

Successfully Launching the SLO Jazz Festival

We've been busy launching many new projects this past year. We've helped launch a software product, as a software as a service (SAAS), for Elements. We've also launched several new websites, designed a few flyers, created several logos, written a handful of business plans, and helped quite a few companies get more traffic to their website(s).

The most recent project and website I'd like to share with you is the SLOJazzFest.org.

(above) SLO Jazz Festival (slojazzfest.org) official logo designed by ARRiiVE Business Solutions

We held our first event on March 13, 2009. It was called the SLO Winter Funk Festival and is one of only a handful of funk festivals across the United States - or even in the World, for that matter. The objective of SLO Jazz Festival is to build a world class festival and series of "awareness building" events throughout each year. These festivals are held in San Luis Obispo, CA (SLO).

(above) Magma Funk playing at the SLO Winter Funk Festival.
Photo Credit to Michael Ackerman www.ackermanarts.com

The next event for the SLO Jazz Festival will be the SLO Summer Soul and World Music Festival on June 13, 2009, at the Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo. Details are available at www.slojazzfest.org. The SLO Jazz Festival is planned for September 17 - 19, 2009, and will feature a "Beyond Jazz" "SWING Out of Summer" and "Hot Havana Night - Salsa" nights with dance contests and more.

If you're launching a product or service, why not contact us to determine if there is a fit for us to help you with your business launch:

1. Business Plan
2. Logo
3. Business Strategy
4. Flyer or Brochure
5. Website
6. Business Cards
7. Getting traffic (SEO) for your website
8. Building sales strategy and sales teams
9. General consulting

These are all organization launch services we've proven, time and again, to deliver for clients successfully.

We look forward to hearing from you about how we can help you launch your company, product, service, or organization!

Copyright © 1999-2009 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. SUBSCRIBE.

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