If you’re a professional in the design, marketing and/or business fields, it’s a good idea to stay abreast of current news stories. Many stories can have a direct impact on you and your livelihood; others present opportunities you can take advantage of to better serve your customers, reach more targeted customers, and grow your business. The following lists 30 design, marketing and business stories you should be following right now.
10 Design Stories
What it is: An annual survey about print design.
Why you should follow it: The survey demonstrates how critical the role of print is for graphic designers, pointing out that 90 percent of designers earn income from print design and how print offers a fresh, tangible human connection in a digital world.
Bottom line: The future of print looks bright.
What it is: A conference focused on an accessible web.
Why you should follow it: The October conference is definitely worth attending, but the topic as a whole deserves to be explored. Too many users are unable to access the web’s finest features.
Bottom line: Be accessible to reach customers your competitors can’t.
What it is: Criticism of a new logo for AirBnB.
Why you should follow it: Many designers are struggling to see the connection between the logo and the company, saying it resembles everything from a paper clip to the most sensitive parts of the human anatomy.
Bottom line: A lack of common sense, or a genius PR ploy?
What it is: Finalists have been announced in this Australian competition.
Why you should follow it: To be inspired by the best of the best in an international competition, which might expose you to styles and techniques you’ve never seen before.
Bottom line: Strive to study award-winning graphic design; you can learn something from nearly everyone.
What it is: A reflection of how a much-maligned design piece is still relevant 20 years later.
Why you should follow it: This isn’t an ongoing story, necessarily, but it’s still worth considering the possibilities of experimental design as a means to expand your portfolio and make a name for yourself – even if it means bucking contemporary trends.
Bottom line: Carlos Segura said it best: “I would rather be criticized for trying something than not trying at all.”
What it is: A report indicating salaries have increased for graphic designers.
Why you should follow it: You should always know where your fees fall on the salary scale.
Bottom line: I want the money, honey.
What it is: A look at how aesthetics play a role in the food we eat.
Why you should follow it: Potential opportunities abound as graphic design increasingly has a role in food presentation.
Bottom line: Do you want to design some fries with that shake?
What it is: An examination of what designers are doing to stay under-budget in the face of increasing costs.
Why you should follow it: To get tips for reducing overall design project budgets without sacrificing quality or profits.
Bottom line: Don’t price yourself out of business.
What it is: A piece questioning why designers aren’t exploring their full potentials with digital imagemaking.
Why you should follow it: To gain an understanding of the next phase in the evolution of graphic design so you can take advantage of relevant opportunities.
Bottom line: It’s time to unleash the full power of your design tools.
What it is: The announcement of a major release to Adobe Creative Cloud.
Why you should follow it: If you haven’t jumped on the cloud yet, it’s time to explore the benefits of using Adobe’s design tools via Creative Cloud.
Bottom line: The writing is on the wall – this is where Adobe is staking its future, and the sooner you switch to the cloud the sooner you get the best features.
10 Marketing Stories
What it is: A study of the Hispanic market.
Why you should follow it: So you know how to tap into a large and growing demographic market.
Bottom line: Don’t ignore such a large customer segment; figure out how to solve its problems instead.
What it is: An examination of whether digital marketing is really improving profits.
Why you should follow it: The most successful marketers will invest in the best marketing strategies – is digital one of them?
Bottom line: Maybe the experts were wrong, after all.
What it is: A report that big brands are beginning to market with 3-D printing.
Why you should follow it: To find out if 3-D printing is a viable marketing strategy.
Bottom line: Let the big boys invest the millions so you can learn from their successes and failures.
What it is: An examination of the need for engagement in marketing.
Why you should follow it: To learn about the opportunities presented by engagement-based marketing as well as how to overcome the many challenges it also presents.
Bottom line: Your customers are in charge; do you know what they want?
What it is: An article on how Weird Al used content marketing to release a #1 album.
Why you should follow it: To understand how a creative, strategic approach to content marketing that appeals to your customers can help you beat the odds.
Bottom line: A #1 album? Who’s weird now?
What it is: How storytelling fits into marketing.
Why you should follow it: You should always be on the lookout for ways to better convey and romanticize your company’s story.
Bottom line: A good story is oft-repeated.
What it is: Startup marketing fails.
Why you should follow it: Knowing what not to do is as critical as knowing what to do.
Bottom line: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
What it is: An explanation of how you can leverage live events to market your products and services.
Why you should follow it: Many marketers never tap into the power of live events, which means they’re missing powerful and influential face-to-face marketing opportunities.
Bottom line: Go to your customers.
What is is: A prediction of semantic marketing.
Why you should follow it: So you can understand customers’ natural search inclinations.
Bottom line: Cater to the customer experience, not SEO bots.
What it is: A story about Taco Bell’s “Ronald McDonald” breakfast marketing campaign.
Why you should follow it: Taco Bell broke a marketing rule – don’t take direct aim at competitors – and came out ahead.
Bottom line: Even marketing rules are meant to be broken.
10 Business Stories
What it is: Ransomware locks up your critical business data unless you pay.
Why you should follow it: To understand and combat the latest threats to small business security.
Bottom line: Be a Boy Scout, and always be prepared.
What it is: An examination of how leadership attitude affects business health.
Why you should follow it: You should read and learn from anyone who has built a successful business; especially those who are best for business.
Bottom line: You can’t do it alone, so give credit where it’s due. Real leaders who are loyally followed don’t care about personal glory.
What it is: A list of ways the ACA affects your business.
Why you should follow it: So you can take measures to minimize the impact of the ACA on your business, and prepare to take advantage of it whenever possible.
Bottom line: Better comply or your business will die.
What it is: Commentary on why small businesses want a minimum wage increase, and why Congress isn’t listening.
Why you should follow it: Because minimum wage will likely affect your business, and there are potential positives for the small business owner – such as increased customer spending.
Bottom line: Does the author speak for all small businesses?
What it is: A report that small businesses are not applying for loans, even though they are available.
Why you should follow it: An obvious distrust in the banking system has led many small businesses to forge their own paths; you can find inspiration and opportunity in this trend.
Bottom line: It always costs more to borrow money.
What it is: Scammers claim to represent a gas and electric company are targeting small businesses in the Baltimore area.
Why you should follow it: So you can keep your eyes open and not be taken by similar scams.
Bottom line: Easy targets for scammers include senior citizens, the mentally ill, and, apparently, small businesses.
What it is: An overview of retirement for small business owners.
Why you should follow it: So you can plan your own retirement.
Bottom line: Small business owners always have a path-to-entry, but an exit strategy is just as important.
What it is: A thumbtack grade that reports Philadelphia is tough for small businesses.
Why you should follow it: So you can be reminded to make decisions based on the market, not personal preference.
Bottom line: Location, location, location.
What it is: A look at the way workplace environment and incentives attract good employees.
Why you should follow it: The more desirable the job, the better the talent pool.
Bottom line: Devote time to attracting employees as well as customers.
What it is: A list of five common startup mistakes.
Why you should follow it: So you can avoid pitfalls that could doom your business.
Bottom line: Knowing what not to do is as important as knowing what to do.