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13
If you missed the first comic strip called “Pixel”, designed by Alan Jones for Pixel77, here are some things you should know about it:
About Pixel Comic Strip and its creator  – Alan Jones
Alan has been drawing Pixel comic strips for a few years, but he didn’t publish them anywhere except his Facebook. Alan is working in the IT world and he always had a fascination with the overlaps between the digital and the real.
Alan created these funny characters called: Pixel, Al Gore-ithm, Text and Sound File and put them in a story. If you want to read the descr
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iptions of the main characters, check out our previous article, Pixel Comic Strip #1 by Alan Jones.
 

Now you got acquainted with the story behind Pixel and it’s characters, stay tuned for our weekly Pixel Comic Strip by Alan Jones. 
Here is Pixel Comic Strip #2 created by Alan for Pixel77:

Click on the image to enlarge it.
I hope you enjoyed it, as we will have a weekly Pixel Comic Strip by Alan Jones, right here on Pixel77! Please let us know what do you think about the comic strip and the characters, we would love to hear from you.
 
Pixel Comic Strip #2 by Alan Jones is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
38
Now that you have a email list, what will you write? You want to promote your business, but you don’t want to put readers off and lose their subscriptions. You certainly do not want anyone to call your emails “spam.”
You need to develop a content strategy that mixes valuable information with soft sell information and the occasional hard sell promotion.

Image source: Sxc.hu
1. Give your subscribers content they cannot refuse.
The core of your email marketing plan should be solid, solution-oriented information that your customers want to read. Whatever
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you sell, customers will open your emails if they know you supply information they want or need to succeed.
As this content will be the core of your email strategy, you should spend some time considering your ideal customer and what she would want to read. A pet food customer might want to read pet care and training tips. An accountant’s customers would likely prefer to read about changes in income tax law that might affect their businesses.

Image source: Sxc.hu
2. Offer your subscribers special discounts and promotions.
If your customers already use your products, special discount offers can encourage them to open your emails and make another purchase. Even if they cannot be convinced to purchase today, knowing that you may offer a deal the next time they are ready to buy will make it hard for them to choose to unsubscribe from your email list.
The only drawback to this email marketing strategy is that you may train your customers to buy only when you offer a discount. Consider ways to offer discounts on some items and not others to avoid this situation. For example, a dentist might offer a discounted cleaning and whitening package to customers who previously only scheduled preventive dentistry services.

Image source: Sxc.hu
3. Create interest in new products you have in the pipeline.
You don’t want to overdo this, but letting satisfied customers know what you are developing for them helps build excitement. Customers will appreciate that they have early, inside information, and you can even solicit beta testers for your product if you wish.
Remember, people don’t want to be sold; they want to be helped. Letting them know that you feel their pain and are creating a solution will increase their desire to buy when the product is available.

Image source: Sxc.hu
4. Share case studies and testimonials.
Sharing examples of how others use your products successfully will reduce buyer remorse and help push prospects off the fence and into a sale. Also, publishing testimonials may lead to more testimonials from customers interested in appearing in your emails.
You may even find some testimonials demonstrate a use for your product that you had not considered or had neglected to emphasize to customers.

Image source: Sxc.hu
5. Offer upgrades or complementary products.
Again, you don’t want to overdo this or you will lose subscribers who feel your email marketing is too aggressive. However, educating customers about other products that will help them maximize their results will lead to additional sales and increased customer satisfaction.
Customers who bought an awning from you may be interested in upgrading to a screened enclosure during the height of mosquito season or during an outbreak of West Nile virus.

Image source: LostHippo via Flickr
6. Toot your own horn when your company receives awards or recognition.
Never miss these opportunities to thank your customers for their contribution to your success and their continued support. They will appreciate your gratitude, and hearing about your achievement will make them feel positive about their association with you.
Maybe they already felt good about the car they bought from you, but they will feel even better when they hear your dealership is number one in customer satisfaction.

Image source: Sxc.hu
7. Test, Test, Test
Finding the right mix of informational and promotional content may take some testing with your brand and customers. If you focus on solving your customer’s problems, you should be able to offer solutions that your customers will gladly buy from you over and over again. However, testing your email marketing efforts will help you make informed decisions on how much is too much with your list. Only testing can prove whether or not sending an extra email each week would double your sales without causing customers to unsubscribe.

Image source: Sxc.hu
You worked hard to get customers to opt into your list, don’t blow it with hype that lacks substance. These content suggestions will help you with finding topics that make your email marketing campaigns successful and profitable.
Your turn.
Do you know any other email marketing tips? Please share them with us.
7 Email Marketing Tips is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
61
About Pixel Comic Strip and its creator  – Alan Jones
Alan has been drawing Pixel comic strips for a few years, but he didn’t publish them anywhere except his Facebook. Alan is working in the IT world and he always had a fascination with the overlaps between the digital and the real.
Here is what Alan says about his comic strip
Pixel’s life is, at this stage, fairly simple. I’m happy with this stage of his development with very few characters. There is ample room for more characters and staging, but I think it’s important that he develops a character before we add mo
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re. I do plan, however, to develop Pixel, his relationships, new characters and stages. I’m particularly interested in him finding his nemesis – not sure who that is just yet.

Pixel is created entirely on computer in Vector format so all Pixel panels can be scaled to any size without loosing resolution.


Meet the Pixel Characters:
Pixel is the hero of my panel. He’s a cynical underachiever, trying very hard to make sense of the digital world and the possibilities beyond.

Al Gore-ithm is Pixel’s best friend, super intelligent Al is savy and way ahead of what’s current in technology developments. But Al has an over-reliance on what he thinks he knows.

Text is a very basic character. I have only used him once in a panel, but he adds some really great depth for the main characters to work off of.
Text expresses himself through his style: “Bold”, “Caps”, “Underline”, etc.

Sound File is a sneaky one. He lives to give other characters a fright.

I have hinted at other characters in the strip, like the hot Graphics Processor who will probably become Pixel’s girlfriend.
Others I’m thinking about are WAN and LAN (twins from Japan) and perhaps a BUS Driver (he may even be a Serial BUS Driver!).
Now that you got acquainted with the story behind Pixel and it’s characters, here is the first Pixel Comic Strip created by Alan for Pixel77:

I hope you enjoyed it, as we will have a weekly Pixel Comic Strip by Alan Jones, right here on Pixel77! Please let us know what do you think about the comic strip and the characters, we would love to hear from you.
 
Pixel Comic Strip #1 by Alan Jones is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
25
I have to say that in June I came across some fantastic Photoshop tutorials which were full of creativity, useful tips and had some unique concepts. Today I would like to share with you some of the most inspiring and resourceful PS tutorials published on the web in the month that just passed.
Here are some of the awesome things you can learn from the tuts presented below: how to create an eco-friendly advertisment using stock images, how to mix custom brushes and stock photo to create an awesome grungy style artwork, how to master distressed effects in Photoshop, how to use modern technol
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ogy to achieve a vintage or retro look and so much more!
Create an Eye-Catching Eco-Friendly Shoe Advertisement – Psd Premium Tutorial

Create Awesome Grungy Style Artwork using Custom Brushes

How to Create Cityscape Concept Art

Make a Retro Space Themed Poster in Photoshop

Design a Retro Typographic Poster Using 3D Elements in Photoshop – Psd Premium Tutorial

Give your logo work a 3D edge

Create a Surreal Upside Down Mountain Painting in Photoshop

Design a Awesome Supernatural Dark Scene with Fiery Effect in Photoshop

Create Vintage Coupon in Photoshop

Create a Grungy Style Text Effect Inspired by “Infamous 2″ Game in Photoshop

Create a Surreal Out of Bounds Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

Do you know any other awesome Photoshop tutorials from June? Please share them with us in the comments.
Photoshop Tutorials Roundup – June 2011 is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
5
Some websites have a lot of visitors – and I mean a lot! And they pride themselves with that. Well, that’s ok if you’re an inspirational website, a design news portal – in short, it’s great as long as you don’t want your visitors to buy something from you – a service or a product.

Image source: Vectorious.net
Some of you may already know the fact that online success can’t be achieved over night, just by keeping your fingers crossed, hoping that your website’s traffic will do the job. You, as a website and online business own
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er, have to play the role of the active agent in this trade. You have to convince your visitors by combining the sales process with the buying process, applying the AIDAS formula (attention, interest, desire, action, satisfaction) while answering the question “What’s in it for me?”.
So here are a couple of valuable tips on how you can convert your visitors into subscribers or buyers:
1. Give your visitors answers
There is a reason why the “FAQ” (Frequently Asked Questions) was invented. A great percent of your visitors wants to know or to find out some information while they are on your website. So here is what to do:

Don’t make them use the “Contact us” button because it’s frustrating for them and expensive for you.
It would be great if your visitors didn’t get to the FAQ button, so try to avoid that. I usually find it very annoying to scroll down a long page of possible question and answers to find the information I need, I’d rather look elsewhere.
Try to find out what your visitors want to find out and write that in your website in the header, below it or in banners.
If you notice that there are a lot of visitors who ask you various questions, you should structure your FAQ into more sections.
Consider using an expert in customer relations which uses a tool that permits him to take on questions, to answer them and to include them in a data base which can be used both by experts and customers.


Image source: Flickr
2. Maximize your conversion rate to sell content online
Make sure that your visitors can easily and quickly find what they are looking for on your website. You should also give your visitors the chance to see a great part of the content that they are going to pay. You can do this by offering free samples, testimonials, images and so on. Make the paying process as easy as possible.
Vector Famous Cities Free Sample

Image source: Designious.com
3. Focus on driving relevant traffic to your website
You may have read on all sorts of websites and forums that website owners are wondering how they can increase the number of visitors to their website, while others are giving tips on how to get more traffic. Long story short, it all comes down to this question: What do you prefer, heavy traffic or relevant visitors?
Because if you say you prefer heavy traffic, I understand that you just love to see your Analytic report and you giggle of joy when you see thousands of visitors and page views. What I’m wondering is: will you also be happy with your websites conversion rate?
It’s a very high probability that your conversion rate will register a noticeable decrease. The reason: it doesn’t matter if you have thousands of visitors if they were not actually interested in the content of your website.

Image source: Vectorious.net
I’m not saying here that heavy traffic is bad, it can be good if it’s relevant traffic. Either way, here are a couple of things you can do to drive some relevant traffic to your website:
Make search engines your friends - you need to rank high in search results on your keywords to bring relevant traffic to your website. So, you need to focus on optimizing your website for search engines to attract targeted traffic.
Take advantage of Social Networking – these days, social networking is on the roll! It can help you meet people very easily and you can also use it to promote your artwork, your products or whatever you’d like. The key here is to be genuine, to make friends, to communicate with people, to get their feedback, to answer their questions and so on. Remember: avoid actions that will make people consider you are spamming.
4. Don’t neglect the infrastructure of your website
If you are the marketing responsible, you may think that the speed of the website is not your responsibility and it doesn’t concern you. You should know that a slow website has a series of repercussions:

Less page views during a visit, which leads to a loss of incomes, especially if you sell publicity spaces.
Less links to your websites by search engines – this happens when the search engine  spiders try to index your content and give up.
Lower conversion rates.


This is the graph of Pixel77.
Here are a couple of tips to solve the speed problem:

Monitor the speed of your website at high points. For example, when you send an email with one of your promotions and you get a lot of answers.
Use one or several easy to use and not expensive tools to monitor your website’s performance.

5. Understand the steps of online shopping
In order to boost your conversion rate, you first of all need to understand where is the problem. You are aware that you have a great deal of visitors, but your website is still not converting the way it should. You need to find out what the problem is and fix it!

Image source: Bluegreen Resorts via Flickr
So where are you losing your customers? There can only be 6 points:
Finding – Possible scenario: you visitors and potential buyers can’t find that area in your website with the description of the product they are interested in buying.
Choosing – You don’t offer your buyers enough information so that they can choose the right product for them. They can’t tell the difference between the products you are offering.
Deciding – The buyers don’t know if the selected products will actually fulfill their needs and desires.
Guidance – Your buyers don’t know how to tell you that they are interested in purchasing a product.
Paying – The customer can’t complete the paying process and can’t send the order.
Satisfying – Your buyers didn’t get the products they ordered or decided that they want to return them.
Each of these 6 areas represents a target for preventive planning or for fixing. Of course, the important thing is to find out where are you losing the buyers along the process. A commonly mistake is that everybody focuses on the paying area although that area is responsible for a much lower percent of loss than the first areas  – which are responsible for over 50% of the loss sales.
So, how do you figure out where do you lose the buyers? Well, the easiest way is to watch people while they are buying. Follow someone’s steps while they are buying and take a close look at the purchasing process. I pretty sure that, if you do this a couple of times, you will draw up a long list of the changes you would want to make.
Your turn.
Do you have other tips on how to convert website visitors into buyers, from your experiences? Please share them with us.
5 Valuable Tips to Convert Your Website Visitors into Buyers is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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We would like to introduce you to a new resource website of design goodies which is making its big entrance in the creative industry in a matter of days: Design TNT!
Design TNT is being launched with a clear mission: to provide all designers out there with high quality resources that they can’t find anywhere else – all in one place!

Here are some cool facts about Design TNT:

We want to make Design TNT the complete toolbox for designers and even more;
Every week we will add fresh resources to the website;
The license will allow you to use the res
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ources in both commercial and personal work;
There will be no long term commitments, you can cancel at any time;
You will get access to all the resources for a very small monthly price;

Awesome resources you will find at Design TNT.com:
Vectors

Photoshop brushes
Photoshop and Illustrator addons

Web: psd, icons, buttons, templates

Textures

Premium Tutorials

How much do you have to dig into your pockets for a subscription at Design TNT?
One of the great things about this resource site is that the price is unbelievable low considering the amount of design goodies you get:

$9/month with 10 downloads limit and $19/month with unlimited downloads.

Want a tip?
If you sign up for the newsletter on Design TNT you will get a 20% discount coupon when we launch. Now how sweet is that?
That being said, we think that you have all the reasons we could think of to visit Design TNT and sign up for the newsletter, to be the first to know when we launch this awesome design resources treasure!

Design TNT – A New Resource of Design Goodies for Creative Professionals is Launching Soon! is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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We always like to surprise you with valuable vector resources that will help you save precious time and create amazing and fresh designs. Today, we are bringing you a cool giveaway with some top notch vector goodies from Designious.com. Check it out!
What can you win:
There will be 3 lucky winners, each will receive a Seamless Patterns Vector Mega Pack 3 from Designious.com, worth $50.

How to participate:
1. Comment on this post and use your email address so that we can contact you in case you win.
2. Tweet this giveaway.
It’s that simple!
What
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217;s the period of this giveaway:
This giveaway is available starting today, Monday, the 20th of June and it ends on Friday, the 24th of June.
When will we announce the winners:
The winners will be contacted by email on Monday, and we will also publish a post on Pixel77.com with the lucky winners.
Good luck to everyone!
While you’re here, why not join Pixel77′s news feed, to stay updated with our latest contests, articles and Photoshop tutorials, Like Pixel77 on Facebook if you want to see more interesting and useful design related resources or Follow Pixel77 on Twitter, to be the first to know when we post something interesting.
Giveaway – 3 x Beautiful Seamless Patterns Vector Mega Pack 3 from Designious.com is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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What do these amazing cities have in common, you might ask. Well, all 6 of them are included in the fabulous Famous Cities Vector Pack 1 from Designious.com! Designious released a collection of 10 incredibly resourceful famous cities vector packs and because there was so much to say and to show about each city included in every pack, I will be telling you a small story about each one, starting today with the cities from Famous Cities Vector Pack 1.

Now this is a great read for a couple of reasons:

you get to find out some interesting facts about some of the worlds famous
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cities,
you will see some awesome vector buildings and touristic attractions from those cities created by the talented artists from Designious.com
you can get your hands on these magnificent vector resources from Designious.com and create your very own amazing artworks for your design projects!

So here goes, enjoy!

Antalya is a beautiful city in the Southern Turkey, with a beautiful view towards the Taurus mountains and a heavenly beach opening to the Mediterranean Sea. Among the main attractions here you will find: The Archeological Museum, Chimaera and Olympos, Hadrian’s Gate, Old Harbor and Yivli Minare.


Bangkok is the capital and the largest city in Thailand, being world known as one of the most popular touristic destinations in the world, as well as an important economic and social center. Here you can feast your eyes on: Siam Ocean World, Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn), Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw, Jim Thompson’s House and a magnificent temple.


Dubai is one of the seven United Arab Emirates and the most populated one. It’s situated in the Arabic Peninsula, it has a subtropical climate and it’s world wide known for it’s luxuriant hotels and wealthy way of life. Among the most representative buildings you will see here: Dubai Maritime City, Meydan Racecourse, Jumeira, Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa.


Hong Kong is one of two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China, situated on China’s South Coast, with openings to the Pearl River Delta and the South China sea and one of the world’s leading financial centers. It’s renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbor. Here are some of the main attractions in Hong Kong: Victoria Harbour, Star Ferry, Lantau Island, Ngong Ping 360 and Chi Lin Nunnery.


Istanbul is the city historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople and the largest city in Turkey, being a mega city and also the cultural, financial and economic center of Turkey. It’s a city with a rich background, that’s why it’s historic areas were added by UNESCO to the World Heritage List in 1985. The main attractions here are: The Blue  Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, the bazaars and The Black Sea.


Kuala Lumpur is the the capital and the largest city in Malaysia by population, as well as the fastest growing metropolitan region in the country. Kuala Lumpur is world wide known as the home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers, which became a symbol of Malaysia’s futuristic developments. Check out our collection of touristic attractions: The Petronas Towers, Menara KL Tower, Batu Caves, Thean Hou Temple and Bird Park.

I hope you enjoyed reading about these wonderful cities, as well the illustrations that we presented.
You can get these 6 vector cities all in one place with Famous Cities Vector Pack 1. Just imagine what you can do with all of these representative buildings and touristic attractions in vector format!
Antalya, Bangkok, Dubai, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur – Famous Cities Vector Pack 1 is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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I often fall in love with designs of various artists and I like to share my finds with you guys, so that you can also feast your eyes, get inspired and appreciate their talent.
Today I want to present you my latest crush: Madalina Andronic‘s artworks – and you will see why I liked them so much in the images below. But first let me tell you a few words about this talented girl: Madalina Andronic or in short Madi, is a Romanian artist currently based in London for studies; she is passionate about tiny, delicate details, with a taste for love, amusement, cherries and, the latest
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obsession – houses (or at least that’s what she states).
Here are some of her beautiful and colorful artworks. Enjoy!










If you want to see more amazing artworks from Madalina, you can visit her website, her blog or her Behance profile.
Fairytale Beautiful Illustrations from Madalina Andronic is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
26
So let’s say that you are a fresh graphic designer, maybe you’re even just out of school benches. You have done some small projects during school for some companies and some personal projects. You don’t have that much experience and you are aware of the fact that most people and companies rather do business with an already successful graphic designer.

In another situation, let’s say that you’ve started a small graphic design studio with your collage room mates and you have landed a few small projects with a couple of big companies. This is just the begi
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nning of the road for you, you still have a lot to learn, to practice and you still have  a long way to go before building your connections, growing your portfolio and becoming known.
As I said, all of us know that the “big projects” go to “the big boys”. What if you adopt a “big boy” strategy, and start acting like one? So if someone in interested in doing a project with you, don’t beg for that job, don’t look desperate to get it, act as if you don’t even really need that project. There are many other ways to look successful rather than answering “Fantastic!” every time someone asks you “How are you?”.

Make allusion to famous people or companies. You should mention in your discussions the names of other clients, especially if they are well known and respected. And not only in discussions, you can write on your website and on your blog about your clients and maybe even get some testimonials from them – that will increase the credibility in your services.
For example, if Apple is a satisfied customer of yours (even if you did a tiny project with them), the potential client will respect that more than the fact that your local Fast-food restaurant is happy with the 10 year of services you provided them. The potential client will think that Apple has a bigger discernment. It’s not always available, but, in business, perception is reality. That is the reason why celebrities get support from various products – it’s because we all want to be like successful people and companies.

When you answer to client’s questions, slip in words like “When I helped the guys from Sony with a similar problem…” or “Last month when we worked for a client in Europe…”. Nevertheless, always tell the truth! Never lie!
If you go abroad, mention this on your answering machine, on your twitter, your Facebook page or why not on your blog. You will seem more important if someone from another country/state/city asks for your services.
Celebrate milestones! Tell the world that you’ve just had your 10th, 50th, 10.000th client. Throw a party, make a fuss out of it. If you have an online business, have a giveaway, give some freebies to celebrate, have a discount. This will let people know that you are becoming more and more successful and that you want to keep your clients close.

Think of McDonalds for example, they used to announce: “Over 1 million products sold”. Now they say “Billions and billions of products sold”. Their products must really be good if they sell them in that quantity, right?
And a final observation on success: success will give birth to success, and winners love to deal with other winners. So why not, as a starting point, meet with other successful graphic designers, talk to them, see how they are thinking, maybe they’ll even share some tips with you? If you don’t have this opportunity, just take a look at what they are doing, they must have done it right, considering they made it. You can learn from them and you will see that you can achieve what you have in mind – to become successful.
By the way, do you have a successful graphic designer as a model? Please share him/her with us.
 
How to Think Like a Successful Graphic Designer is a post from Pixel77 – Graphic design blog with tutorials, resources and inspiration.
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