When you’re building a website, where should you place its logo? A quick glance around the most popular sites on the web provides a clear consensus. It needs to go in the top-left corner.
Need evidence? Just check out YouTube, Vimeo, Amazon, Instagram, eBay, Adidas, BBC, Wikipedia, Reddit, Dribbble, Netflix, Ford, BP, Levis, Shell, O2, Sony, NASA and even this very site.
In these particular examples, the logos are all wordmarks. But it's the same deal when it comes to symbol logos, as can be seen on the Airbnb, Spotify, Nike, Facebook, Pinterest and Apple websites.
So is that it? Should you follow the crowd and stick your logo in the same place that everyone else does?
Centre logos for a print look
Well, if you were to centre your logo or place it in the top-right corner, you wouldn't be entirely alone. One category of website that often centres its logo is that of newspapers and magazines.
The approach here is to replicate the familiar look of the printed version’s masthead. Examples of sites that follow this convention include Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Times, Financial Times, The Spectator, New Statesman, British Vogue, Radio Times and Wired.
Even if you're not a newspaper, you may still want to convey the feel of a traditional printed document, newsletter or newspaper by centring your logo in this headline-style way.
Examples of this strategy can be seen on this sites for Virginia’s Smithfield Station hotel, the foundation for artist Richard Diebenkorn, and fashion house Sunspel.
However, let’s be clear: print publishers are in no way united on centring their logos online. Most British newspapers, for instance, stick to web norms by placing their logo in the top-left corner, including The Sun, The Mirror, Daily Telegraph, Mail Online and Daily Express. Doing so signals that the publications are forward-facing and fully immersed in developing their digital offerings.
Logo placement outliers
Away from traditional print publishers, examples of logos on websites that are centred or placed on the right are few and few between.
There are some other sites that centre their logos, including Samsung, while the sites for Amnesty International and the Guardian have theirs placed on the right. But in the main, these are lonely outliers.
Another notable exception to the rule appears to be search engine homepages, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, Wolfram Alpha and Baidu, where the logo appears next to or above the search bar, although this can be very much considered a special category of website.
So what’s behind this overwhelming consensus about where to place the logo?
Why are logos usually placed top-left?
Historically, placing the logo on the left was partly a function of how browsers rendered websites on screens. A fixed browser width meant that if your logo was positioned on the right (or even in the centre) it might not have appeared at all, depending on the size of the screen and the shape of the browser window.
For the client who was already urging you to 'make the logo bigger', that was always going to be a no-no.
The shift to the left also relates with how those in the West (as opposed to Asian and Arabic cultures) traditionally read printed content: left to right, and top to bottom. These deep-seated habits have naturally carried over to reading on digital devices, as eye-tracking research from the Nielsen Norman Group has shown.
Why buck the logo placement trend?
Given that the pattern of placing the logo top-left is so established, the only logical reason for placing your logo elsewhere is to deliberately flout this convention, perhaps in an attempt to catch people’s eye and make your site look different and innovative.
And you might think that’s fine. Because although you’d never consider confounding users by moving the search box, menu button or main nav bar from their standard positions, that doesn’t apply to logos because they have no functional purpose, right? Wrong.
Whether you realise it or not, your users do expect that logo to serve a functional purpose. Which is that when they click on it, they’ll be returned to the homepage. And so if it’s not where they expect, it’s going to massively disrupt their normal customer journey.
In fact, according to research, users find getting back to the homepage about six times harder when the logo is placed in the centre of a page compared to when it’s in the top-left.
Maybe if you have a centred logo but a ‘Home’ button in the top-left corner, as Aberdeen agency JAMstudio does, then users won’t feel quite so disrupted.
But in general, we’d recommend that if you’re trying to make your design eye-catching and innovative, you should probably just find a better way to do it.
Logos in multiple places
Placing your logo in the top-left corner doesn’t mean you can’t also feature your logo elsewhere on the page, of course. Many sites like to give more voice to their branding by also including the logo in the sidebar or footer.
A good example of this is the Envato Tuts+ network of free tutorial websites. It’s easy to imagine clicking through from Twitter, following an entire tutorial and still not noticing which site you’re visiting, so it makes sense to add a little extra emphasis to its branding in this way.
But while there’s nothing wrong with including multiple instances of your logo on your website, always bear in mind that users will expect each and every one of these to function as a link back to the homepage.
Surprisingly, this is something Google currently fails to do on many of its satellite sites, such as Gmail or Google Drive. Even though the Google logo is widely associated with its search page, clicking on it within these services actually takes you back to the homepage for the sister service, rather than to google.com.
In contrast, on all web pages in Apple’s network, including iTunes, clicking the Apple logo always takes you back to your local version of apple.com.
Thanks go to Stewart Ainslie, WithPrint, Montgomery Kern, Mark B and Alon Koppel for their help in writing this article.
Freelancing looks idyllic from the outside. Working with the best clients, choosing fun projects, determining your own hours and working from home or wherever you like. But there’s a lot that happens under the hood to keep the momentum going.
Doing the actual freelance work for your clients never takes up 100 per cent of your time. Soon you’ll be swamped with paperwork and admin – writing proposals, drawing up contracts, sending invoices, writing down tasks and managing your workflow.
To accommodate that, we’ve seen an abundance of tools spring into the market to assist freelancers. You can now write proposals and send them directly to the client without ever opening up your email. Instantly glance at your revenue for the month and compare it to last year’s. Check how much time you spent on that new project last week.
To help find the best, I’ve broken down the tools into the following categories: proposals, finance, legal, time management, workflow and bonus tools. Let’s begin!
Next page: Proposal tools for freelancers
The value of a great proposal shouldn't be underestimated – they can be the key to winning or losing a project. These tools aim to make things simpler by providing templates and customisation features. Many also enable you to send the proposal smoothly to the client and track its progress.
Prospero not only helps you create a proposal but also helps you price the project. There are no dashboards or even account settings – its strength lies in helping you create a proposal, rather than just letting you fly blind. It promises 'More client, more money, less headache'.
When you create a proposal, Prospero asks you some brief questions, such as your rate, the time it will take you to complete the project, and the type of work you're doing (Prospero covers print and branding proposals as well as web and app design). It then smartly generates a proposal based on your answers, which you can edit.
There's no design customisation (only text editing options), but the default design isn't bad. When you're finished with the proposal, you can download it as a PDF or send it directly to the client. It costs $20 per signed proposal on the Pay As You Go plan or $25 per month for unlimited proposals.
Nusii's dashboard not only lets you create proposals, it also lets you glance over your sales revenue or proposal acceptance rate. It uses the available data in a useful way so you can keep track of how proposals are progressing. The 'send to client' experience is smooth, and you're notified when a client views it.
The proposal editing process in Nusii is attractive and simple. However, visual customisation is limited and you can't insert tables – an odd decision considering freelancers often like to include a breakdown of deliverables and expenses in a table. A nice touch is that the tool supports a range of currencies and languages, so you can use it almost anywhere. It costs from $29 per month.
A true WYSIWYG tool, Proposify comes with a range of templates. Though pretty bland, the templates give you a nice place to start if you're new to writing proposals, and the editor includes a range of customisable features (and even some basic drawing tools). However, it is quite like a word processor – you don't get that beautiful proposal writing experience.
Priced from $40 per month, One of the benefits of Proposify is that you can embed videos and images. It also lets you create content snippets to drop into your proposals and reuse, which is a great time saver.
Next page: Finance tools for freelancers
Keeping track of the money coming in and out is essential to the sustainability of any business. If you're looking to get better insights into your earnings, try one of the following finance tools.
Invoiced was co-founded by a freelance web developer, and inspired by his own personal struggles. This tool makes it nice and easy to create and send invoices to your clients. The specific payment method is up to you – Invoiced integrates with Stripe so you can set up online payments via credit card, Bitcoin, PayPal, or even offline.
The smarts of Invoiced are in its ability to track your collections efficiency, how long it takes on average for you to get paid, and any monthly recurring revenue (useful for clients on a retainer). It costs from $99 per month and if you're using an accounting tool to keep track of finances, Invoiced integrates with both Xero and QuickBooks.
ZipBooks is an accounting tool that's not only free, but also beautifully designed and simple to use. You can use it to create invoices, track your time, manage payments and clients, track your expenses, and more.
Once you're logged in you'll see a nice dashboard that displays your billings versus collections, revenue in the last 12 months, average collection period and more. Handily, you can set up late payment reminders for those clients that need them.
With its travel expense feature built in, Momenteo is a great invoicing tool for freelance digital nomads. Momenteo will also turn approved estimates into invoices without any additional work. Refreshingly, unlike many other tools, Momenteo just has one pricing plan, with the option to pay $20 per month or $200 annually. You'll get access to all features and unlimited use of the tool during your subscription.
Bonsai is a free tool that gives freelancers the ability to send contracts, invoice and collect payments. Not only is the functionality of Bonsai great, but the design and user experience is seamless. The tool is easy and enjoyable to use, omitting any unnecessary clutter.
When creating a contract, Bonsai will ask you a few questions, including your basic info, project brief, rate, when you'd like to be paid and so on. The tool will then provide an editable contract on your behalf that you can send to the client straight from the tool. Once electronically signed, Bonsai generates an invoice for you to issue. You can also set the invoices to be recurring – handy.
Wave is another popular, free option. This straightforward tool has all the bare bones you'd expect from accounting software, but without the unnecessary bells and whistles. Its invoice flow moves through visual steps, making it easy to keep track of where a project is up to in the payment process. A nice touch is that you can create free, unlimited invoices on the go via the iOS or Android app.
It's easy enough to send a receipt, set up a Stripe integration and connect your own bank account. Payroll features do exist, but are currently limited to the US and Canada only. You'll probably want to invite your accountant in to take care of the reporting features, like balance sheets and income statements.
Next page: Legal tools for freelancers
Not the most fun category, but definitely one of the most important. Contracts don't have to be as scary as they sound, and they're good for you and your client. While these tools are helpful and often include templates, if you're unsure about the laws in your country you should consult a professional.
A basic contracting tool, Shake by LegalShield lets you choose from a range of free contract templates. A nice addition is that you can choose a contract template for an assignment-based or licensing project, and send the contract through the app or via email to be signed electronically on a smart device.
Once you've created your contract, you can choose to get it reviewed by a lawyer. While this sounds generous, Shake redirects you to a law firm, which requires an additional fee. The design of the contracts is very basic, and you can't currently edit the look and feel yourself.
Next page: Time management tools for freelancers
The one thing we all wish we had more of is time. Unfortunately, we can't make more time, but we can choose how to spend it. Covering everything from time tracking to scheduling to estimation, time management tools are useful for any freelancer, even those who don't bill based on time (like me).
Rather than tracking time, Cushion helps you schedule your time – and not just at work. You can schedule time spent on projects, as well as time off. It highlights when you've overbooked yourself, to help you avoid burnout and encourage you to manage your time better. Priced from $5 per month, it's easy to set up. Cushion also lets you display a badge on your website to show when you're available, which is helpful for those interested in working with you.
Elegantly simple time tracking software, Timely greets you with a calendar view the first time you log in. There's no timer – rather, Timely encourages you to fill in the hours you've worked on a particular project. You can view the history of a project and gain a good overview of time spent across all areas of the business.
This tool lets you enter both your planned and logged hours so you can see the difference in your estimations – a nice way to teach you to estimate your time better if you're always getting it wrong! Priced from $14 per month, Timely works in the cloud or via your browser.
Though it may seem overwhelming at first, once you've spent a little time with Harpoon and oriented yourself, you'll see it's a powerful tool. Harpoon lets you create projects, from which you can then track your average revenue per project (or per month, day or hour, if you prefer) and check outstanding invoices.
There's also an event revenue forecast, with spaces where you can set yourself goals and define your work habits (for example, how many hours per week you work). This makes it a great place to encourage you to plan ahead and keep track of your goals. Costing from $19 per month, Harpoon is almost like an all-in-one tool, with smart reporting and dashboard features. The only things it lacks are contracts and proposals.
Freelancy lets you turn time tracked into invoices, quickly and easily upon project completion. If you bill per hour, it works out your fee. Freelancy's reporting feature gives you a calendar overview of when you split your time, which you can filter by date or by project to see how long you've spent on what. You can download these reports as CSVs and charts to send to clients.
While automatically creating invoices from your time tracked is handy, you can also create invoices manually if you prefer. There's a one-off charge of $29.90 per person, for "unlimited everything and email support".
After tracking the time you've spent on certain projects, Toggl uses that data to generate reports. The desktop app reminds you to track your time and lets you do so without having to log in to the web app.
Toggl also lets you create private and team-wide workspaces. So you can manage your own time as well as collaborators' time, to work out the total time spent on a project. Toggl costs from $9 per user per month.
Next page: Workflow tools for freelancers
Workflow tools can often take a little more effort to get your head around as they can be complex, yet powerful. If you want to upgrade from a paper-and-pen to-do list, a digital workflow tool has benefits – especially when it comes to organising bigger projects.
At its core, Flow lets you create workspaces and tasks so you can keep on top of your projects. Like many workflow tools, Flow lets you collaborate with team members through task assignment and in-built chat. There's also a 'focus mode' that turns off notifications temporarily and lets your team know when you'll next be available.
Users create tasks to be completed, which are then organised into projects. You can create team-wide or private tasks that you can share with your team members later. The calendar view gives you a nice overview of what's coming up soon, and you can filter to see just your own tasks or everyone's. If you find a bit of free time you can navigate to the 'unassigned' section to be pick up a task. Flow costs from $17 per month.
Azendoo is a powerful workflow and communications tool with a beautiful design and user experience. View analytics, attach documents, and group and organise your tasks into subjects.
The whole experience has been thought through – you can filter on tasks, see a calendar overview, create repeating tasks, set due dates and add checklists. You can also broadcast messages, send direct messages to team members (if you have any) and view notifications. Priced from $7.50 per user per month, it's a great tool for keeping you on top of things.
Next page: Bonus tools for freelancers
There's more to freelancing than just finance, time management and proposals. Sometimes freelance life can throw up more unexpected challenges. We've rounded up three bonus tools to help you boost your creativity, get paid on time (without the stress) and prototype your ideas quickly and easily.
18. Just Tell Julie
Stuck in a situation where the client isn't paying? Julie Elster offers to work as your accounts receivable virtual assistant to help retrieve absent payments. She works by calling your client on the phone and being "thermonuclear nice". She has a proven track record, and is highly rated within the freelance industry. You pay $99 upfront, then when she collects she keeps 35% of the fee.
Briefbox is a collection of hypothetical briefs to help keep your creative juices flowing when you're between projects. The team at Briefbox write a range of imaginative briefs – everything from designing local currency to creating branding for a painter – so you just need to pick one and get designing.
Once you're done, you can upload your work to the site and get feedback from the community. A basic account is free, while a Pro account costs from $6.75 per month. Pro accounts offer tips from trade professionals, and constructive criticism on every submission.
Create and share prototypes with your client with Atomic, the fastest way to design beautiful interactions. Import an existing design from Sketch or Photoshop (or design in the tool itself), then link the pages together and fine-tune the transitions to create your prototype.
Once finished, you can easily share your prototype with the client by sending them a link. The client can then add any comments or feedback on your design. It's free for one user to create one prototype, or from $19 per month for more.
Full disclosure: Femke van Schoonhoven works in marketing and design for Atomic.
This article originally appeared in issue 284 and has been updated.
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Remember the old Yellow Pages commercial that said, “Let your fingers do the walking…”? The point was how easy it was to shop from the Yellow Pages instead of walking all over town or the mall to find what you wanted. Well, the same is true of online fashion stores for men, women, and children.
Shopping Made Easy with an Online Fashion Store!
Not only can you let your fingers do the walking, but you can see the designer fashions in the comfort of your own home, get a detailed description of the fashion items, and just click to buy. What could be easier?
Don’t spend all your time at the clothing store trying to choose which tie goes with the shirt you just picked out. An online fashion store lets you see all the options and styles available to choose designer clothing and suits with men’s dress shirt with a matching tie. Most of the time, the fashion stores also have blowout sales and online exclusives which are great in these tough economic times.
Buying from an online fashion store for the whole family is a cost saving alternative to department store shopping. Online shopping gives you the opportunity to compare prices and save time which will give you the opportunity to make the choice that will give you the best deal for your money.
Whether dressing for success, dressing for job interviews, or looking for casual attire, the online fashion store is your best bet. You can find women suits and all the accessories you need to balance the outfit. Try the one shop stop for dressy handbags that look like a million bucks but don’t cost you an arm and a leg. Find dressy hats that you can wear with just about anything in your wardrobe.
You can’t go wrong with these tips and strategies for choosing accessories that look great and are ideal for business. Keep these in mind when shopping at online fashion stores. Women’s suits and men’s dress loafers or tie plus leather shoes are the best choices for the workplace. Your best bet for color choices in belts, shoes, or handbags are neutrals like black, brown, tan, and other earth tones.
You should also wear hose which is either the same color as your attire or skin tone. Always keep jewelry to a minimum, avoiding large dangling pieces. A quality wrist watch and simple pearls are always acceptable.
Many online fashion stores also offer advice when it comes to choosing special occasion attire like church dresses or a wardrobe following a business dress code. If you are not sure of what to buy, follow the previously mentioned helpful tips and strategies for choosing appropriate shoes, accessories, handbags, and hats. Never stand in a store again, fretting over which colors or styles are fashionable.
Shopping for designer clothes is easier than it ever has been before. This is an ideal way to fill your closet with the fashions you have always dreamed of.
Just picture your newly purchased designer wardrobe arriving at your door within a few days of ordering. The next day, you get up and choose a new Harmony suit or Devine denim to wear to the workplace. Your co-workers will think you traveled to the city to shop for a designer wardrobe, when all you had to do was press the button: add to cart.
Responsive web design is the solution to a very specific web design problem. When you understand that and WHAT the problem is, it frees you to be more creative to your approach to solving the problem and makes it easier to master the necessary skills.
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You can get two-year access to VectorState on sale for just $31 (approx £24). That's an 80% saving off the retail price for an essential library for designers, so grab this deal today!
The Global M-Commerce Market 2016-2020 report predicts “the global m-commerce market to grow at a CAGR of 27.48% during the period 2016-2020.” Undeniably, M-commerce is on the rise. The number of online shoppers is slated to cross the 100 million mark by the end of 2017 and mobile, the fastest growing sales channel, will soon […]
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