First Americans claim sparks controversy

A study that claims humans reached the Americas 130,000 years ago, much earlier than previously suggested, has run into controversy.

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How to Repost on Instagram: 4 Easy Ways to Reshare Content

Where most social media feeds are almost distractingly busy — full of photos, videos, and text updates from friends and brands you follow — Instagram is different because you can only look at one post at a time.
And while this simple, clean interface makes to easy to focus on

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The Seven Step Design Process

Developing a design process to follow each time you take on a new project can help tremendously in achieving results you and your clients are happy with.

As a designer, you know your job entails helping your client sell their service or product. Your ultimate goal is to help viewers understand a message and, in turn, reap benefits for your client.

Whether you’re a graphic designer, web designer, programmer or otherwise, having a system set up will help you get the work done faster in addition to keeping things organized and the designer/client relationship a positive one.

1. Project Initiation

One of the most important steps in the design process is accumulating the information you’ll need. This is usually achieved by either a face-to-face meeting with the client, a questionnaire (on- or off-line), or even a Skype meeting if you really wish to establish a personal relationship.

In gathering this information, you now know your client’s objectives and can focus on the details for inclusion in your brief.

The Brief: Although it may seem like more work than necessary, a design brief has a couple of key benefits, no matter how big or small the project seems to you:

  1. It ensures the client knows what they want from the project
  2. It acts as your point of reference during the project

The more information the client provides initially, the better the result for everyone (especially the client). Topics for inclusion in the design brief may vary, but a few good starting points may be:

  • Corporate Profile – A summary of the business
  • Market Position – An evaluation of the company’s service/product in relation to the competition.
  • Communication Task – What’s the message trying to be conveyed and through what means (e.g. taglines, body copy, photography, etc.)
  • Target Market – Demographics — the age, gender, income, employment, geography, lifestyle of those the client wants to reach.
  • Objectives – What quantifiable result does the client want to achieve?
  • Schedule/Deadline – A realistic schedule of how the project should proceed.

At this stage it’s also a good idea to accept a deposit for the first half of the project.

2. Research

After you’ve met with the client and have a firm understanding of the task at hand, it’s now time to put your nose to the grindstone.

After reviewing the materials given to you, you can start research. This phase usually entails taking into account competitors, market trends, product/service differentiators, the history of the business, and the future of it as well.

This stage isn’t usually going to be your favorite, but it’s well worth it in the end. There’s nothing worse than creating a beautiful logo only to discover it’s quite similar to a competitor’s. You’ll reap the rewards of the time you put into research, trust me.

3. Strategy

This step may vary depending on the scale of your project, but it’s best to develop a strategy before putting pencil to paper. Through this, you analyze the research gathered and decide on the design and functionality criteria.

This can be as simple as a theme carried across all marketing materials. You can present this strategy to the client to get approval or disapproval before moving on, in the hopes of getting more creative direction.

4. Development

Once you have a clear strategy, the idea is to then create preliminary design concepts based on the strategy you developed. Developing concepts can be done through various means when inspiration strikes, but here are some of the most effective:

  • Mind Mapping: A diagram that’s used to represent words, ideas, and tasks linked to your central idea. Encourages a brainstorming approach to planning and organizing tasks.
  • Storyboarding: Meant to pre-visualize a motion picture, animation, etc by organizing illustration in a sequence.
  • Free Writing: A great way to get your ideas down on paper and later expand on them.
  • Layout Creation: Sketch layouts from collected inspiration, play around with color schemes and typography until a direction strikes you, and then explore it more.

Develop several different concepts through the above methods. The idea here is to create as many different options before choosing the most viable one. Through the help of the client, these ideas can then be narrowed down to a couple of ideas for further development and refinement.

5. Presentation/Refinement

Often best presented as a PDF file with the design in context. It’s now the job of the client to review the designs and provide feedback based on their objectives and the needs of their target audience.

At this stage, the designer is tasked with making changes to the aesthetic elements based on client’s request or putting the final touches on an agreed upon design.

6. Production/Launch

With an approved design, the designer is now able to implement the finished piece across all deliverables, which may include both print and web. Depending on the project and/or media, the materials may often be handed off to a third-party, which includes:

  1. Prepress/Printer
  2. Media Outlet
  3. Launched on the Web

7. Completion

There’s nothing more rewarding than turning over a completed project to a satisfied client, so congratulate yourself. You can now invoice your client the remaining bill for the project.

With a solid process in place for completing a design project, you not only establish a closer relationship with your client, but you take a lot of the guesswork away when it comes down to creating something memorable for them. Consider it one less hurdle you have to overcome.

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Power Steering Woes Sink 2 Crew in Bristol

The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team has been in contention for victory every week so far in this 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, but equipment issues in this weekend’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway kept Brad Keselowski from adding a third victory.
Brad battled power steering issues all day—not ideal on a short track like Bristol, leading to several other issues and ultimately a 34th-place finish.
“It just wasn’t the run

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NEBB updates standard

Officials say the goal of the second edition of the standard is to make fume hood testing more uniform and the changes reflect some of the unique challenges of testing the products.

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Primitive human 'lived much more recently'

Homo naledi could be from just 200,000 years ago, not three million, a study suggests.

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Air Quality & Heart Health

Learn how you can stay healthy indoors and outdoors.

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The Character Count Guide for Blog Posts, Videos, Tweets & More

When it comes to writing text for your blog and social media posts, many marketers wonder, “But what’s the character limit?” It’s never a simple question — sometimes, it’s answered by parameters established by certain channels. And on other occasions, it’s more a question of what’s ideal.
For example, you

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Johnson Controls celebrates opening of supply center in Michigan

Johnson Controls celebrated the opening of its newest Source 1 HVAC Supply Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

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Plastic-eating caterpillar could munch waste, scientists say

A caterpillar that munches on plastic bags could hold the key to tackling plastic waste, say scientists.

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