Our Design Process

Whether we want to admit it or not, I’m sure we all have had our moments in business of ‘throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks’. Some problems require to try all options and throw spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks, and yes, as a child it was fun to literally throw spaghetti against the wall… or so I’ve heard… I’ve never actually done that myself… But when it comes to designing a brand or a website, that is really the last thing we want to do. That’s why at Full Scope Creative, we start all of our design projects with an in-depth questionnaire for clients to complete. 

When we initially talk with a client and agree to a design project, we will usually send the questionnaire at the same time we send the invoice for the project. The questionnaire covers some things that we have likely already talked with the client about, such as describing their business, their industry, or their Unique Selling Point. But it will also go into design specifics such as colors they like and colors they don’t like, as well as competitors’ names and websites and what features on those sites they do or don’t like. By providing all of that information to our design team, they can put together designs that will achieve the look that the client likes and by having the industry and demographic information, we can be sure to have the site match what our clients need it to be. 

Some clients have specific design features they want to see on the site. Of course, there’s a section for them to include those things, but with the questionnaire, we can often discover what those specific design features are, even if the client doesn’t mention it outright. When we review their competitors’ sites, we may find certain design features that jump out to us as things that need to be on the site. 

Once we have that first draft of the site or branding material designed, we will email it to the client and go through up to three rounds of revisions to hash out the final product. Going through this process saves a lot of time and money for both Full Scope Creative and our clients. 

Following this process has been working great, not only for Full Scope Creative but also for our clients, and has resulted in some great sites and projects. ‘Throwing spaghetti against the wall’ has its place, but planning a company branding or site designing is not one of them. After all this spaghetti talk, I think it’s time for lunch.

Having trouble getting a blog article going?

Have you ever had a great idea for a blog come to mind that you just can’t wait to write? I’ve had quite a few that have come to mind myself. One problem I will run into at times is that even though I have a great idea, I just can’t quite find the words to use. When I first started writing, my most common approach was to just about bang my head against the wall until I found the words. These days, when the exact words don’t come to mind, there are a couple of approaches I’ve found that have helped considerably. 

Too often in the past I’ve found myself struggling to get a blog article written, merely because I couldn’t get the opening figured out. Because of that, oftentimes what I do now is skip the opening. Same as when I’m preparing a speech or presentation, I’ll oftentimes jump to the body of the content and skip the opening. I can at least then get the core of the topic out of my mind and on to paper (yeah, on to paper, I’m old school), and then come back to the opening and closing. By getting that core portion of the article started and on paper, it often seems like the opening almost starts to write itself – and then that leads into the closing.

Other times when I’m writing an article, even though I know the general gist of what I want to talk about, the exact words just don’t come to me. When I’m in those situations, I often just sit and brainstorm. What’s brainstorming? Just simply start writing something – anything – about the article and see what words come out. Any and all words that have some connection to my subject are good at this point. I might scrap all of them; I might keep a few. I might do this a few times over and over in a sort of “lather, rinse, repeat” fashion. For me, the trick is to just start writing. The article will find its way out. 

Coming up with blog ideas isn’t very difficult. All of the questions, problems, and other things we see each day are great topics to write about. Truth be told, getting the words to come out can be a problem sometimes. Starting with the main content portion or the article and simple starting to write can sometimes help the words magically appear.

Best Practices for Passwords and Account Access

Over the past few weeks I have helped a couple of clients with one of the biggest struggles a business can face – a lost password or lost account info. While they are two separate problems, they do have commonalities and helping to prevent them can be done very similarly.

So to start, what makes a good password? You will never hear me say to just use a simple password like “password” or “1234.” A password should have at least 12 characters, using both upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Your cat’s name, kid’s name, or street name should never show up in your password. Anniversaries and dates of birth shouldn’t show up either. And for the love of everything that is pure and holy in this world – do NOT use your social security number. 

One problem we hear about quite often is a lost password. In this instance, you will usually have access to a link in case you forgot the password or need to reset it. For some situations, you might not access an account on a regular basis and might not want to save the password in the browser. At Full Scope Creative, we have well over 100 passwords we need to keep track of for our clients and various accounts. All our passwords are 12 characters long and look something like this – uYfc%4?3>5}( – good luck remembering that. To help us out with that, we use a program called DataVault. It’s a fully secured and encrypted program on a computer in the office that we can log into and use to access those passwords. If you have multiple passwords that you need to store, utilizing a secure program like DataVault could be a great solution. Do not – I repeat – DO NOT just open a Microsoft Word document and type them in there. Yes, you’ll be storing them but this method is far from being secure. 

One of our clients recently ran into an issue where a former employee had set up the business’ YouTube account. The problem was that the employee didn’t use his work email to create the account, but a personal one. That employee has long since left the company and isn’t replying to emails asking for help to grant the business owner access to the business’ YouTube channel. While it’s true that there are ways to work with YouTube and Google in this situation, all of those take considerable amounts of time. One simple recommendation is this: set a firm company policy that when setting up accounts for the business, employees or contractors must use a company email address that ownership/management has (or can get) access to. For example, when we set up social media accounts for Full Scope Creative, they are set up using socialmedia@fullscopecreative.com. When we help clients set up their social media accounts, we’ll often use an email address like that so we can always get access to it. That email address is then stored in DataVault along with the passwords.

Losing passwords or account information is never fun. Yes, there are usually work-arounds that can be used to gain access to the account – but those can take a long time and end up being very costly. Instead, utilize the steps listed here by using set email and secure password policy and store them in a program like DataVault. Doing so will help save you from countless headaches in the future.