What If Famous Brands Make Unexpected Products

Posted by Harshad

What If Famous Brands Make Unexpected Products

What If Famous Brands Make Unexpected Products

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 08:01 AM PDT

Famous brands are recognized for their flagship products, but would their brand shine on other products? Like if Crocs actually developed an umbrella. Would it be legit?

unexpected product
(Image Source: AdMe)

I guess not. Realizing how fun and crazy the idea could be, Ilya Kalimulin and other designers used their skills and creativity to photoshop 12 unexpected, somehow ironic products from well-known brands, and they’re showcased in this post. Have fun and let us know which one made you smile!

Lipton Cigarettes. The cigarettes smells like tea, and actually tastes healthy! (If only it were true.) (Image Source: Ilya Kalimulin)

lipton cigarette

M&M’s Bullets. Already a threat to your blood sugar level, M&M’s just got more dangerous. (Image Source: Ilya Kalimulin)

m&m's bullet

Tic Tac Bomb. It will always blow your mind. (Image Source: Ilya Kalimulin)

tic tac bomb

McDonald’s MacBook. Oops, looks like an ultrabook from McDonald’s! On a side note, you can actually rebrand your MacBook with these skins and decals! (Image Source: AdMe)

mcdonald's macbook

Google Goooooo. What if in a parallel world, Google is not a world-changing company, but a ring game maker?

(Image Source: Ilya Kalimulin)

google goooooo

Kaspersky Insect Killer. Kaspersky can help you eliminated not only virtual bugs, but real-life insects too. Comes with 1 free refill. (Image Source: AdMe)

kaspersky insect killer

Adobe Skincare Master Collection. The latest feature of this Adobe Master Collection is that instead of just a digital facelift, you now get real-life, permanent skincare. (Image Source: AdMe)

adobe skincare master collection

Chanel Soap. The design might be a little out but hey, at least it cleans! (Image Source: Ilya Kalimulin)

chanel soap

Crocs Umbrella. Worst idea ever or revolutionary reinvention of the idea of the umbrella? (Image Source: AdMe)

crocs umbrella

Heineken Fire Extinguisher. Heineken is dedicated to "putting out" your sorrows and sadness. (Image Source: AdMe)

heineken fire extinguisher

IKEA Piano. Yes, you will need to assemble this piano yourself. (Image Source: Ilya Kalimulin)

ikea piano

Marshall Fridge. And behold, the Marshall fridge for cold drinks after a jamming session! Actually this fridge is a real product, except that it’s not an amplifier, but who’s complaining? (Image Source: insidemarshall)

marshall fridge


Why Alienating Potential Clients Can Be A Good Thing

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Does your client roster read like the advertising section of a newspaper? Do plumbers, veterinarians, landscapers, dentists – any and every type of small business who needs design services come to you? This could be because you’re the only game in town – not everyone lives in a major metropolis – or because you haven’t learned the art of alienating clients that don’t suit you.

Attempting to please everyone is said to be the fastest route to mediocrity. In fact, it’s the fastest route to outright failure. We’re going to look at why this is so, and how to go about streamlining your business to provide maximum value to the clients who are most worth it.

Too Much Hassle

You should happily alienate certain types of clients. You can’t please everybody, after all. Some clients can be more trouble than they’re worth. We’ve all had clients like these. They’re demanding, yet tight-fisted about payment; they want plenty of options, but they don’t value you enough as a freelancer to compensate you fairly. They ask for services you don’t feel comfortable providing or which would require an excessive amount of time and resources to get.

To top it all off, they see almost no value in your work as a designer – maybe their spouse or colleague told them they needed a website or rebranding and they just went along with it. What are you doing serving clients like this? It’s a hassle that’s not worth it in any way, shape, or form.

Project Not A Good Fit

Some design projects are just not worth the trouble of taking on. Whether they’re simply boring to you, or they won’t contribute meaningfully to a strong portfolio, there are many reasons to turn down certain projects, even if the client is pleasant.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred a perfectly good client to another designer friend of mine, simply because I didn’t think I was capable of providing the best value to them. If you don’t appear greedy for business – any business – these clients will usually take notice of that, and when a colleague of theirs comes along whom you are a better fit for, they’ll call you first.

Who To Alienate

So, what types of clients should you alienate? Choosing who to focus on is a highly personal exercise. You can start by creating a list of the most common traits of your 5 best clients. What did you most love about working with these people? What about the projects was most interesting to you?

When you’re done, you will have a reference sheet of the single type of niche client to zero in on. Anyone who doesn’t embody, at least 80% of, what’s on that list should be referred to a designer friend of yours who is more suitable.

Can’t Afford To Ignore?

Focusing on a particular type of niche client can be scary for some freelancers who aren’t as secure financially as they’d like to be. We’ve all done things “for the money” that weren’t necessarily fulfilling or career-building, and that’s okay in the short term.

However, if you consistently find yourself taking on work you don’t enjoy, just to pay the bills, that’s usually a sign that something is wrong. Either you’re not exposing yourself to the right type of clients who will pay more for your work, or you’re off the mark with your pricing and service offerings. Either way, you’re not providing the correct amount of value to the clients you’re serving.


No designer can be everywhere at all times, nor can they be everything to all people. There’s no single, solitary designer who can provide the perfect solution to a generic pool of clients, nor should there be. If you want to be memorable in your clients' minds, you have to first find the type of clients who are most likely to remember you – the ones who most value your contribution – and ignore the rest who don't fit.


10 Free Apps To Help Automate Tasks On Your Android Device

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 03:01 AM PDT

One thing most people love about Android is the freedom to create that is open source identity affords us. Many developers have created stunning apps that can really push your Android device to do smart things, including automate menial and repetitive (but essential) tasks to make your life much, much easier.

AutomateIt Android App

Listed in this post are 10 Android apps that provide shortcuts, configurations, triggers and rules to let you get more out of your Android device. You can automate many things to happen on your device based on location or time triggers. On top of that, some of these apps let you record calls, or even touch events.

If you find setting up rules to be a pain, don’t worry, a couple of these apps even let you download rules setup by other fellow users.

1. SkipLock

If you think that having a lock screen is important but also annoying at times, Skiplock might be the best solution for you. Skiplock can automatically disable your lockscreen when it’s running on a particular WiFi network. This allows you to skip the lockscreen when you are running on your home WiFi network. To set it up, just manually add the WiFi networks you want to disable your lockscreen under.


2. App Cache Cleaner

Every app that you install slowly takes up more of your device’s internal memory. Most of your app data is cached by your device’s memory to ensure it loads faster in the future. In the long run, this ultimately slows down the performance of your device. App Cache Cleaner will clean your cache for you automatically. Enable this feature in the app settings where you can also set when the app can clean up your cache, from every 6 minutes (min) to every 7 days (max).

App Cache Cleaner

3. Velis Auto Brightness

If you think your device is a little too bright or too dim for your eyes in certain environments, you may want to try this app. Velis Auto Brightness not only uses the app to adjust your device’s brightness settings automatically based on light sensitivity to the surrounding environment, it also lets you control your brightness settings at every ambient level.

Velis Auto Brightness

4. Automated Device

There are some things that you do every single day, and there are times when you wish you can automate some of the things that you can do with your Android device. This app can let you do that. If, say, you carpool with a friend and want to let them know when to be ready for your arrival, you can automate the device to send your friend a text message when you reach a certain location. It takes a while to figure out what rules to input, but that is actually half of the fun in using this app.

Automated Device

5. Call Recorder

Did you know that you can now record your phone conversations using just an app? Try Call Recorder to automatically record phone conversations on your smartphone. You can then send your phone recordings to your email or to delete recordings that are not as important to save space in your phone. Alternatively, you can mark important recordings to prevent it from automatically being deleted. Note that recording phone calls may not be legal in some places.

Call Recorder

6. MacroDroid

MacroDroid allows you to create a custom macro to automate tasks on your Android device. You can use it to turn off bluetooth, silence your phone, disable data when you’re at the office, home or outside. You can even set it to read aloud incoming text messages for you or make a quick photo upload to your favourite social network by simply shaking your phone. There is also a template section where you can use ready-made macros instead of creating your own.


7. Llama

With Llama, you can trigger an action on your device when you are at a designated location. It uses your cell tower to detect your smartphone’s location; it is not GPS-dependent. Trigger your bluetooth headset to connect with your phone when you are out for your morning run, or trigger your reminder to pick up groceries if you are near your favorite grocery store.


8. RepetiTouch

RepetitTouch lets you record your touch events (any touch input that happens on your device while it’s recording). You can then replay your touch events to do repetitive or complicated actions automatically for you. The free version of the app limits users to 10 mins of recording time, no loop mode and no multi-touch input. It also requires "root" access. The full version is available for $5.49.


9. AutomateIt

Create or download rules to automate your device to run certain tasks. Automateit lets you set triggers from the likes of activity recognition, time or location triggers which will show notification, launch homescreen etc. If you’re not good with setting rules, this app comes with a Rules Market where you can download and use rules setup by other AutomateIt users. The downloads will require points, which you can gain by creating rules, sharing rules on social networks, inviting friends to use the app or buying them.


10. Atooma

If you’re familiar with IFTTT, Atooma will be real easy to use. It uses the conditional events via IF and DO. With that you can create your trigger and action rules. The interface is color-coordinated to make it easier to setup rules and triggers. Not big on setting up rules? Then download rules or draw inspiration from what other Atooma users have setup.



4 Signs You Are Losing Your Writing Passion (& How To Get It Back)

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 12:01 AM PDT

Many of us have been through this at one time or another. Tired and worn down from writing the same boring content and making it interesting day in and day out, we suddenly find that we have to drag ourselves to the computer and force ourselves to go through the motions wondering what we should be doing with our lives instead.

Then it hits us. We realize we’ve lost the passion and terror engulfs us. The first time it happens is like waking up from a dream of falling off a building – only to realize that you’re not dreaming. You experience a few seconds of abstract terror followed by a deep sense of sudden loss.

I once read about a writer who lost limbs in a war compare it to what it feels like the first few years after that loss: “I would wake up, ready to take on the day only to see the wheelchair and remember that I have no legs. Losing my passion for writing is a lot like that.” Once you realize you are without it, you cannot help but feel a sense of longing.

Personally, it felt a little bit like when I lost my father at 11 years old. Not the pain of a lost loved one. Just the pain of losing something so familiar, something I was so used to having. It felt like a hole in the middle of my chest that couldn’t be filled. I swore that once I got it back, I would never lose it again. Now, when I get so weary that I want to stop, I do.

See The Signs

The one redeeming feature about losing the writer’s passion is that you can see it coming a mile away, if you know what to look for. Here’s how to recognize these signs.

1. When Research Becomes a Chore

Research for the true writer is more interesting than it is work. We develop a process where we can enjoy the journey from point A to point J. Each step is familiar, painless and gets us closer to our objective – writing. Every step of the research usually holds some benefit for us.

One example is my research computer, which is not the computer that I write with. It has a comic’s page that I must go through to get to my search engine. On this page is a weather app, a dictionary Word of the Day, and a new Calvin and Hobbes Comic daily strip

When I get to the point that I skip the comics or just bypass my entire process altogether, I check myself as it’s a sure sign that I’m no longer enjoying that process… or what I do.

2. Snapping at your Editors (Never a good idea)

I’m one of those lucky writers that have an editor as a partner in our freelance writing company. This means that everything I write through our company is edited by one of the best. I also have an editor in one of my ‘outside of the company’ jobs. She is also among the best in her profession.

The moment one of them asks me what is wrong with my attitude or takes offense at something I’ve said, I know that I’m in trouble. I love to be edited because it makes me look good. When I start taking offense at their help, it means I don’t want to put in the work. It means I’m no longer having any fun.

3. What Happened to your Deadline Demon?

A friend of mine, who was once a client, paid me the very high compliment of calling me the Deadline Demon. I never ever miss a deadline. I’m almost always way ahead of schedule. I make sure that if something was to happen and I could not write for up to a week, I could still come in under deadline.

When I suddenly have to write all night long and just barely make my deadlines, I am in trouble of losing my passion and I check myself at that moment. If I forget a deadline and barely make it, I recognize that for what it is: a huge sign that I’m tired and I’m in danger of starting down that road again.

4. Getting Easily Distracted

When I start catching myself spending more time in my email, Skype chat, or surfing the World Wide Web for no reason other than to avoid work, I know I’m in trouble. It’s a quiet process that sneaks up on you. One day, you are fine and productive, two days later, you find yourself two days behind schedule and filling out a form for a foolish website application you don’t want just because you’re bored.

When boredom sets in, how far are you from the point of no return? The writing passion is what keeps us writing. The ability to take a boring subject and turn it into something that people want to read is supposed to be fun. When it stops being fun, it’s time to recharge your batteries.

How To Turn This Around

At some point, you have to recognize the signs of writer’s fatigue and make a change. When you have worked for so many days in a row that you cannot remember the last time you had any time to devote to your family, friends, or other interests, it may be time to recharge

Writer’s fatigue is the first step to losing the ability to enjoy a passion that you were born with. Here are a few things you can do to get turn things around.

1. Step Away

Take a day off whether you can afford it or not. Most of the time, with bills mounting or deadlines looming, you cannot take a day off at that moment, but you can schedule a day off in the near future and then do everything you have to do to make it happen.

When that day comes, do not shirk it off and work. Force yourself to spend the day away from work and (this is important) with the people that make you happy.

2. Revisit Your Creative Side

Write for yourself. If you like creative writing, do that. If you enjoy poetry, create a new form. Enter a contest and write up your submission. Even if you don’t win, the fun is in the creation.

There are numerous website writing groups that you can join that have contests. There are also writing groups that love to read new fiction or collaborate on projects. The point is to write something for yourself that changes your perspective and is not work-related.

3. Retrace the Steps that Led you to Freelancing

Take stock of your decision to become a freelance writer. From experience, I can tell you that our reasons for doing what we do are very compelling. In my case, it was this or work for a living and I would rather do this. Remember all the reasons you do what you do. Write and you will find that motivating force that drove you here in the first place.

Once you remember why you love your job so much, it’s easier to keep your passion, even under the worst of client projects. When I see my stepson dragging his tired ass home from his roofing job, I count my blessings and get back to work.


Pictaculous – Get Your Color Palette Via Email

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 10:01 PM PDT

We are fans of color tools and color pickers because they make our lives as designers a whole lost easier. Tools like 0to255 helps us find HEX codes for color shades, while Adobe Kuler lets us generate color schemes from an iOS device. Today, we are going to show you a color palette generator tool called Pictaculous.

The special feature Pictaculous has to offer is that you can email an image to Pictaculous and it will "reply" you with the image color palette you want. So if you are travelling somewhere and you see a billboard with stunning colors, and you wonder what color palettes they are using (because designers are professional like that), then this is the iPhone app to get.

Send An Email

So you have snapped the billboard you want to source colors from. Email the image (in JPG, PNG or GIF only) to colors@mailchimp.com.

(Image Source: Gizmag)

You will receive an email reply and find all the color palettes that were used in the image. Also in the email are suggested color themes from Adobe Kuler and ColourLovers.

There’s even an attachment of an Adobe Swatch File that’s ready to be used.

Upload An Image

If you don’t want to use your email, you can also upload the image at the Pictaculous homepage and hit the GET MY PALETTE button. Note that to use this feature, the image size cannot exceed 500KB. And just like the emailing feature, it only supports the JPG, PNG and GIF filetypes.

The color palette list will appear on your screen.

Note however that while this method also gives you the Adobe Swatch File, you still will need to give them your email address for them to send you the color palette.

And that’s it. As you can probably guess, this Pictaculous tool is from MailChimp. It’s a really helpful tool for designers who which are always seeking inspiration even when they are on the go. Try it out and feel free to share your thoughts below.



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