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Earlier this week we stressed the importance of having a website before you start applying for jobs. We gave you some ideas for learning code and working through your own site design, but what if you don't have time? Or you're not interested in learning code? Or you just can't seem to get it, and don't want to put off the job applications any longer?

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There are some fantastic options for creating a site that don't involve speaking the lovely language of HTML or CSS, you just have to pick a place to start.

Squarespace- A solid selection of classictemplates, simple layouts, and easy, click-and-drag site modifications. They offer hosting, and their templates are responsive, so if users resize their windows or use your site on a phone or tablet, the site will adjust itself.

Virb- Virb is foolproof. For about the same cost as Squarespace and Cargo Collective, you get unlimited templates, pages, site customization, and much more. It also offers integration with Etsy and Big Cartel stores. As far as pricing goes, and with comparable aesthetics, Virb is the frontrunner of affordable websites.

Cargo Collective- If you're looking for sleek and sophisticated, Cargo Collective is the portfolio-hosting site system for you. Even with lots of customization available, it still maintains its position as the ideal site for letting your work take the center stage. The only thing? You need an invite. While it holds the community to a certain standard, some people are turned off by the "snobbiness."

There are maaaaany many other options for getting a website or portfolio up and running without the proper know-how, but these are three of our favorites. Did you use a site like one of these or build your own?

Posted: 11/24/2014 3:19:04 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Our video series with tips and tricks for you, the job seeker, is back again! In the second video from our CM Access Postcard series, David and Kristen   give portfolio tips to UI / UX-ers.

To sum up David and Kristen's points:

1. Have a website.
a) Design it yourself–a website is essentially a blank canvas on which you can demonstrate your knowledge of design principles (layout, typography, color, heirarchy.
b) Managers want to see what you can do with complete creative freedom and lack of client influence.

2. For UX architects, tell the story.
a) There's a lot of information involved, so having a narrative and explaining the process is key.
b) Explain the initial problem that you faced, the team effort involved, the research you went through to solve the problem, and then the end result.
c) Take the audience along the journey from problem to solution, including your thought process throughout.

This was just Part 1, so stay tuned for more next week!

Posted: 11/21/2014 1:46:40 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


If you're even considering dipping your toe in the job market, there is (among many other things) one thing you really need to do first. A website is the keystone to your job search prep, and lucky for you there's an abundance of assistance out there for those of you who aren't familiar with the lovely language of code. Our next post will direct you to some options that don't involve knowing code, but first we'll touch on some resources in case you are looking to learn a little along the way.

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Codecademy- A hands-on, instantly responsive way of learning to code. As its name suggests, this is a way to teach yourself coding separately from actually building a website, but its lessons can certainly be applied easily to whatever method you use to make one. Realtime preview makes learning incredibly easy.

Dreamweaver- Though possibly intimidating at a distance, Dreamweaver can be a  great guided program for building a website, and with the amount of people who use it, you're bound to find answers to whatever you're trying to figure out, somewhere on the internet.

Google Chrome's Developer Tools- Again, more of a learning resource than an assistance-in-building-a-website resource, but it can certainly be learned now and applied later. Chrome's DevTools offer... lots of information. For someone who doesn't know much, the best part is the split screen that shows code below the web page you're viewing. Once you know a little bit about coding, having the opportunity to see it in action, side-by-side to a functioning website, is valuable.

w3 Schools- The grandfather of web design tutorials. They're simplified, well-explained, and you can test out every section they teach you. It's so easy we don't even have anything else to say about it.

Indexhibit-  A bare bones template for a website. If you're looking to learn about basic modifications that can be made in code, or looking for a solid foundation to start a website, Indexhibit is perfection. You can dig your way through FAQs and figure out how to set up Indexhibit with your domain and host and then wade your way through the customization muckety muck and come out successful. You get all the satisfaction of building your own site with substantially less of the hassle.

Stay tuned, the next post is for the rest of you (read: those of you who don't want to learn, just need a site).

Posted: 11/19/2014 10:13:32 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


One of the best parts of being involved in a creative business is also one of the worst parts: paying for software and design resources. Though access to fonts and knowledge of several programs is critical for many different creative positions ... simply put, that stuff costs money! If you have your own freelance business, saving money on programs and typefaces might make all the difference. We can help you find and finagle some great deals!

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Check eBay. Whether it's from someone who purchased a program and didn't use it or just an eBay store, you can save anywhere from $50 to $1000. Plus, you don't have to worry about trusting the seller (ratings), OR fret about picking it up at the apartment of a stranger from craigslist (murderer).

Share with a friend. Technically, a copy of CS6 is for one user, but it can be activated on two computers. Maybe you have a laptop, but maybe you also have a desktop that lives in your apartment that your roommate also maybe uses. And maybe that roommate wants to pitch in some money for using those programs on occasion, and maybe that would make it a little bit cheaper for you. Just maybe.

Try Lost Type Co-op. Sites similar to Lost Type Coop offer typefaces available for download at any price. Donate what you like, download a font instantly, and you're good to go. The designers are quite skilled, they're just looking to make typefaces more available to those of us who can't drop a couple hundred on a license.

Sign up for a daily deal email. There can be some great programs and resources that you might not have even known about, and they'll show up in your inbox at a discounted price. Very little work on your part, and potentially lots of savings. As an example, a UI/UX bundle on stacksocial that's worth $446 is on sale for $39. Cloudswave is also a great site for discounts on resources like photoshop textures as well as software.

Bundle your purchases. Adding on software when you're buying a new computer is a great way to save some money–very often stores like Apple and Best Buy offer discounts when you purchase these items together.

Consider non-name brands. Though most of us are starry eyed when it comes to Adobe's creative programs, there are other options, and many of them are less expensive. Take, for example, RawTherapee. It's a free program that runs on Linux or Windows platforms, for managing and processing RAW photos (alternative to Bridge). Or try Pixelmator, a recently popular Photoshop-like program that even uses a lot of the same shortcuts, or Scribus, InDesign's brother from another mother(board). Though they won't be exactly alike, they might do the trick for a little while.

So, there you have it. Who doesn't want to save some moolah, right?

Posted: 11/5/2014 4:01:25 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments