Time tracking is a crucial aspect of many businesses, and it’s important to find the right tool that can help you manage your time effectively. Clockify is a popular time-tracking software that provides a range of features to help you track your time and improve your productivity. However, if you’re looking for an alternative to Clockify, there are several options available. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the top 5 Clockify alternatives.
Daybeam is one of the simplest and easiest time-tracking systems to use. It focuses on showing you what the total cost is for tasks and makes it easy for users to track their time. Currently, they are only allowing certain people to signup, but you can join the waitlist here. Plus, it is 100% free.
Harvest is another popular time-tracking tool that offers a range of features to help you manage your time effectively. It provides time tracking, invoicing, project management, reporting, and more. Harvest also integrates with several popular project management tools such as Asana, Trello, and Jira.
RescueTime is a time-tracking tool that helps you understand how you’re spending your time. It tracks the time you spend on various tasks and provides detailed reports to help you identify areas where you can improve your productivity. RescueTime also provides a range of features, such as blocking distracting websites and setting goals to help you manage your time effectively.
Hubstaff is a time-tracking tool that provides a range of features to help you manage your time effectively. It offers time tracking, project management, reporting, and more. Hubstaff also has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to navigate, and it’s available for desktop, mobile, and web platforms.
ClickUp is a project management tool that offers time tracking as one of its many features. It provides a range of features such as task management, time tracking, reporting, and more. ClickUp also has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to navigate, and it’s available for desktop, mobile, and web platforms.
In conclusion, there are several Clockify alternatives available that offer a range of features to help you manage your time effectively. Whether you’re looking for a simple time-tracking tool or a more comprehensive project management tool, there’s an option available to suit your needs. It’s important to evaluate your requirements carefully before selecting a time-tracking tool to ensure that it meets your specific needs.
This guest post was written by Flocksy writer Rorye Hatcher. You can check out her personal blog here and find her Flocksy portfolio here.
Sitting here typing comfortably in my home office, I wonder how I survived college in one piece. I was somehow able to complete my bachelor’s degree (Go Hoosiers!) perched on a $10 superstore desk chair, hunched over an overtaxed laptop, and chugging more Rockstars than my heart could take today.
But those days are long gone, and now the creature comforts of my remote work as a copywriter are a little more demanding. Or a lot more demanding, considering the bare minimum would have me curled into a ball of aches and pains after half a workweek.
Are you considering making the switch to remote work? Is your employer more accommodating of diverse needs and people who just want to work with their pets in the wake of the pandemic and the Great Resignation? Let me share my knowledge of the necessities for a comfortable, productive home office, as well as a few “luxuries” that make working from home feel extra fabulous.
Technically, you can work on a coffee table, a card table, or your kitchen island, but having a desk of your own has some distinct advantages. First, if you get an actual desk, it should be roughly at a comfortable height for long hours without hurting your back, neck, or shoulders. If you are particularly short, like me, you may need a couple of things like a seat cushion or footrest to get everything right.
I found this L-shaped desk on overstock.com and put it together with some help from my husband. It was definitely one of the most challenging flat-pack furniture experiences of my life (and also oddly affirming that a decade into our marriage, we can still peaceably put furniture together). Still, it’s also really nice looking and sturdy now that it’s complete. It’s great to have cabinets and drawers at my desk for printer paper, salsa packets, and lip balm; you know, the important stuff.
While this desk was a bit of an investment piece for me, you can definitely find more economical options. If you can transport furniture, I encourage you to check out your local thrift stores, like the Habitat for Humanity Restore. They often have furniture and appliances in excellent condition for extremely affordable prices.
Since I built my desk, I’ve made the space feel like mine with candles, office supplies from family members and previous jobs, and tchotchkes like nice rocks and pictures my kids have drawn. If you feel more productive with an austere desk than a cluttered one, you can keep it minimalist. That’s one of the joys of working from home – no one will nag you to decorate or whine if you have too many pictures at your desk.
I also have a workspace pad and a wrist rest to keep my mouse and keyboard from sliding all over the place. The wrist rest also helps keep my hand in the correct position to prevent aches, pain, and repetitive motion injuries.
I paid the best price for my desk chair – free. A few houses down, my neighbor put a desk chair on the curb, and I snatched it up as fast as possible. It was extremely well-timed because I was just starting to put my home office together. Granted, I have had to add a few things, namely a seat cushion because the mesh seat was too low and too firm for me.
If you’re springing for a desk chair, you will want to look for one that is adjustable in as many ways as possible, not just seat height. You’ll want a chair with lumbar support, adjustable arms, adjustable seat height and depth, and more, or you’ll have to add cushions like me.
You should prioritize the following qualities while shopping for a home office chair:
A five-wheel base is the best for providing a trustworthy foundation for moving about during your work day.
Adjustable Seat Depth
According to experts, the correct way to sit in a chair is with your back against the backrest and your knees bent with two to four inches of space between the back of the chair and your thighs. An adjustable seat depth is a key feature of a back-friendly chair.
Adjustable Seat Height
Some office chairs provide you the option of shifting the seat and the back up or down to achieve that exact sweet spot for the all-important lumbar support. It’s another feature the appropriate chair will have to help you modify it according to your requirements.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but being at the proper height for your legs will boost your comfort. Nobody likes it when their legs hang over the seat’s edge like a preschooler’s.
The seat’s height is also crucial for avoiding discomfort in the neck. If your chair is too high, you might be gazing down at your computer screen and conclude the day with a shoulder and neck ache.
Adjustable Lumbar Support
This function allows you to modify the chair’s lower back to accommodate your lower back better. It’s a crucial step in finding the perfect fit for your body and requirements in your home office chair.
Built-in Lumbar Support
You may get upper back support in basic office chairs, but your lower back will be left out in the cold. Because sitting for long periods might cause pain, you should look for a chair with a cushion or mesh that will support you. Or if you have a free chair like me, you can jam a throw pillow back there and hope for the best.
Armrests That Can Be Modified
Having armrests on a chair for use in the home office may seem unnecessary. However, correctly placed armrests may keep your arms at a comfortable typing height, reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries like tendonitis and carpal tunnel.
Armrests are useless if they are too close to your elbows or poke you whenever you shift position. If you want to spend money on a chair with armrests, look for one with adjustable armrests. The armrests may be angled, pivoted, and adjusted in height to suit the user’s comfort.
Modifiable Tension for Tilting
The tilt tension on a desk chair allows the user to modify the effort required to recline in the seat.
Headrests aren’t required in office chairs, but if you want one, make sure it is adjustable so it doesn’t poke or press your head into an awkward position.
The one thing that bugs me about this chair is that the arms aren’t adjustable, so my poor elbows don’t get any support. But, as I said, it was a free chair, so I soldier on.
Laptop & Stand
What kind of laptop or computer you need depends greatly on what kind of work you’re doing. I deal mainly with Word, Excel, Google docs, and in-browser applications, so I just needed something that could connect to the internet and do the bare minimum. If you’re a graphic designer or something requiring more heavy-duty software, you might be looking at a heftier price tag for your computer. If you google “best laptop for remote work,” you’ll find a wealth of articles from people more knowledgeable than me on the specs you may need.
When I started job searching and doing remote copywriting, I used my husband’s laptop, which was fine. But he likes to connect it to our smart TV and watch YouTube videos, and I wanted him to have his own computer, anyway. Once I got a regular paycheck, I got this laptop, which has been just fine once I disabled the “only allowed to have Microsoft apps” setting. (C’mon, Microsoft. Nobody wants to use your browser.) The only issue was that typing on the keyboard and looking down at the screen made my neck and shoulders ache after a long workday. So I bought a basic keyboard and a laptop stand, which helped a lot. Eventually, I’m hoping to buy a more travel-friendly stand if I ever want to work at a cafe or while I’m on vacation, but the linked stand works just fine for being at home and leaving it here.
I also established a stretching routine at the beginning and at intervals throughout my day. While I was more comfortable, I was still dealing with a lot of discomforts, particularly shoulder pain, which led me to purchase the next item.
There are a lot of fancy keyboards that purport to be ergonomic, but I did my googlin’ and found that split keyboards are thought to be best for accommodating a typist’s hands and arms and preventing the kind of nagging shoulder pain I was dealing with. I was a little hesitant for a few reasons. One, I’d never really seen anyone using one in an office setting before. My only point of reference was Donna Meagle in Parks and Recreation saying, “this spaceship keyboard is driving me crazy!”
My second point of hesitance was more budget-based. Unfortunately, the price point rises quickly once you start getting into specialty keyboards. I found a relatively inexpensive Microsoft keyboard that was one piece with an ample wrist rest and an ergonomic split in the middle of the keyboard.
It took me about two days to get used to it, and it also made me realize that I learned how to type incorrectly because, at first, I kept going to hit the ‘h’ key with my left index finger and hitting no man’s land instead. However, once I got used to the split in the middle of the keyboard, I found it pretty simple to adapt to.
Fortunately, my budget spaceship keyboard has nipped the shoulder pain in the bud. I’m thankful because I still can’t quite justify dropping $200 on a keyboard, no matter how cool it looks.
I confess I didn’t have a light on my desk until recently. My parents got me a “HappyLight” desk lamp for Christmas that doubles as a task lighting and therapy lamp. It’s nice because you can pick from three different warmths of light and several different brightnesses. I use it every day, but it is extra nice to have on those dreary winter days when there’s no sun in sight. I had a therapy light previously, but it got misplaced or thrown away when we moved back to the Hoosier state.
My dad said his light has been helping his winter blues (also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.) It’s sweet that he thought to get one for me as well. I think it does help! It definitely helps prevent eye strain throughout the day.
Headphones are a must-have, especially if you have a spouse who works a different shift than you or kids who might be doing e-learning days. Your spouse can “saw logs” figuratively, or your neighbor can literally saw logs while you listen to music, white noise, or podcasts.
Regular earbuds tend to hurt my ears, so I lean toward the big “DJ-style” over-the-ear headphones. I had a pair of Skullcandy Hesh headphones for several years and enjoyed the quality. I now have a basic pair of Sony headphones that more than suffice.
What kind of headphones you need and how much you should spend depends on a few things. Do you want cordless headphones? Bluetooth-capable headphones will cost more than a traditional corded pair. If you want sound-canceling headphones or a prestige brand like Beats by Dre, that will cost you, too.
One more thing to consider when purchasing headphones: if you’re an iPhone devotee like I begrudgingly am, you likely have one of the more recent models that don’t come with a headphone jack. You can either get Bluetooth-capable headphones, or they make a lightning-to-headphone jack converter.
If you are the kind of person lucky enough not to have undiagnosed ADHD, well, good for you. You can remember your appointments and where you put your phone. On the other hand, I need to set at least two alarms in the morning and start reminders for appointments and events two days in advance. If it’s not in front of my face, it doesn’t exist. I had one of those oversized desk calendars when I worked in an office. It helped sometimes. I also used a lot of calendar and Outlook tools to remind me of things.
These days, I am trying a mix of a few things. I use Google calendar, synced with my phone, to remind me of the most urgent and pressing things like doctor’s appointments or school holidays. I bought the Erin Condren LifePlanner, mainly because it’s pretty, but also because it has a big two-day spread of each month, plus hourly day-by-day tracking for when I need it. It also lays flat and isn’t spiral bound, which I appreciate as a leftie. I can endure those spiral notebook marks on my wrist, but avoiding them is nice, too.
If you want more organizational help, especially for remote work, Erin Condren has you covered.
This one’s a little silly. Sue me. A former coworker of mine mentioned having one, and at the time, I privately scoffed, thinking it was unbearably bougie. Yet here I am today, to eat crow and admit I love my milk frother.
It’s one of the indulgences I allowed myself with the goal of not spending money regularly at any of our local coffee shops. I make my coffee hot and iced, and having a cute little milk frother adds a layer of joy to the process. Mine is purple.
Another silly one that makes things more fun and personal is decorating your home office with whatever makes you feel organized, empowered, and centered. I have vintage glass bird figurines, including the little lovebirds that were once atop my wedding cake, candles, crystals, and some fake succulents.
Depending on your needs and preferences, you could consider having fidget toys for focus, organizers, a whimsical mug, or a heating pad. I keep a weighted heating pad around when I just want that extra cozy touch.
I can hear you now. “Just how is an AIR FRYER a must-have for remote work?!”
Let me ‘splain.
My air fryer was a Christmas gift. Since receiving it, I quickly figured out that it makes BOMB lunch food. Some of my favorites: Sweet potato fries that are crispy on the outside and soft as an angel’s butt on the inside. Crescent rolls with lunch meat and cheese tucked inside for a melty sandwich situation. Homemade crunch wraps. Pork chops. ANYTHING frozen is better in the air fryer. Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, brussels sprouts? Forget about it. SO GOOD.
Pizza on a bagel! Reheated pizza! The possibilities are pretty much endless and take less time than the regular oven.
Having an air fryer rocks for so many reasons. It is healthier than pan or deep frying because it uses less oil. It makes things soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. And when you know you can make something quick and yummy in your kitchen, you’re a lot less likely to give in to the call of GrubHub.
Did I miss anything? Leave a comment and let me know what’s making your remote work experience awesome.
Artificial Intelligence has long been a staple of science fiction movies, books, and TV shows. But what we thought was a single-faceted concept has grown and spawned several different types of machine learning, algorithms, and creation tools.
There is a lot to understand about what AI design is and how it’s being used presently if we’re going to have a good idea of what’s to come. Moreover, because the technology is still so new and growing, numerous kinks need to be addressed and updated, not just when it comes to delivering good results but also regarding ethics and legality.
As a brand or business, it may be challenging to imagine how a tool like AI design could pose any issues like that. However, AI design can affect artists significantly.
With everything in life, there are pros and cons to using AI design and its tools. Today, we’ll cover what it is, how it affects businesses and creatives, and what you can likely expect from it in the future.
Let’s dive in.
What Is AI Design Or Generative Creation?
Generative creation or AI design employs machine learning software and a workflow to generate content, graphics, or copy. The program takes your input as a prompt, words describing your concept or idea, and then uses it to generate an outcome by putting it into an algorithm. The algorithm creates an asset using what it’s learned to pull pieces from external sources and join them together.
While using a designer may sound similar (you tell them what you need, and with their skills, they create something for you in one to two days), it’s very different. The technology is “creating” on its own and does it in just a few minutes, maybe less. Now, the creation that takes place is also different as well. Instead of a human hearing or reading your request and then taking the time to draw or design something from scratch, the AI is taking pieces of existing art, jumbling them up to fit the parameters you set, and displaying a somewhat mathematical result.
There often isn’t the opportunity to provide feedback and refine the design either, though some programs are adding this feature.
These tools are frequently used to create illustrated looks for a person via an app’s AI filter, draw characters or picture concepts, or see images in different styles.
One of the most popular tools is MidJourney, which uses Discord to take prompts and turn them into pictures.
What Does AI Design Look Like?
It looks similar to art, but many software options out there currently still need some help. With a basic AI tool, you can type in princess with a dragon and get something close to what you imagine. However, the technology is still growing, and some issues may be with proportions, distortion, or placement.
Should AI Design Be Used In Corporate Or Commercial Spaces?
This is a tricky road to navigate. While using an AI tool could certainly hasten your timeline and get you satisfactory results, the question of where those results are truly coming from and their quality still hangs heavy overhead.
Here is a scenario to consider.
Suppose you’re working with a company like Flocksy and request a design using our intuitive brief. In the best-case scenario, we’ll get your designs back to you within 24 hours, and you’ll be thrilled with the results- no revisions needed. When you work with Flocksy, this does happen quite a bit.
But what if you do have revisions? That’s also very normal. The artist will take your feedback, update the design, and give you the final result you want. That process takes a bit longer than the design with no revisions.
Now, say you or the artist used an AI tool to create a quick concept reference for your design. The project would start with an example that is ready to be expounded on. Whether the AI concept is way off or close to the mark, it could inform the artist and cut back on revisions in the long run.
However, it’s important to note that the AI design can’t be used as-is or as the base layer of your design if you want something truly original. Remember, these tools pull from existing designs, meaning part of this creation already exists on the internet. You don’t want your outcome to look like a tweaked version of someone else’s work.
Are There Drawbacks To AI Design?
There are a number of drawbacks and ethical considerations to make when it comes to AI design.
At the start is the communication barrier. Because the technology is new, it’s very possible that the AI might not understand you on the first try. You’ll have to re-generate several times to get what you want.
If you eventually get what you’re looking for, it might not be so bad to repeat the process for a few minutes, but if the AI never truly understands what you want, you’ll have to go back to work with an artist anyway.
Another crucial consideration is ethics. Yes, all creative work is influenced by something. However, that’s different from taking something from another source and claiming you made it.
To better understand this, allow us to provide an example. Say you want to design a character- for a book, a comic, a website, etc. You do some searching on the internet and find one you love. It’s perfect. They just need red hair and to be holding an umbrella. So, you copy that image, whether printing it out, downloading, or snipping it.
Then, you trace over that image, change the coloring either digitally or by hand, and add an umbrella. Once you’re finished, you take that design and put it on your merchandising and promotional materials. Well, we’ve got a problem, right?
You didn’t create that design. You traced it and updated a few things.
At present, that is essentially what AI tools are doing. They’re taking art that someone made, digitally manipulating it, potentially combining it with art from the same or a different artist, and calling it new. It’s not.
Lastly, many are thinking of these generated designs as stock photos. That doesn’t quite line up because the artist of the images on the web hasn’t necessarily consented to or is being paid to provide stock assets. When a photographer or artist submits their creatives to a stock website, they’ve consented to let their work be used as such and are being compensated for it.
A picture pulled from an artist’s website where they sell their prints isn’t stock, and with AI tools, we can’t presently tell where it’s pulling its resources from.
Will AI Design Affect Creative Jobs?
Many clients may come to artists with more AI concepts as a rough start, which could be helpful. We could also see people using these AI tools to create the design entirely and using it out in the world. Hopefully, people still know that they can get better, more ethical results by working with a human.
Correctly combining colors, logos, and brand guidelines so that they are consistent across your brand is still a human job. The AI tool doesn’t possess the same knowledge of your brand, likes, or dislikes that an artist who’s been working with you for a while will have. They also aren’t as accurate as a result. While design and art are subjective, marketers’ creative needs are unique and specific, and AI design alone can’t hold up to those standards in most cases.
What Are The Legal Implications & Risks Of AI Design?
If you’ve used these AI apps or tools, particularly one where you input an image, you’ve likely accepted the terms and conditions associated with that app. What that fine print often says is that you’ll be relinquishing the rights to the assets to the parent company in perpetuity.
That’s a significant concern.
Licensing and commercial use are significant issues with AI design used as-is. There is a risk that using this content as your own may or may not be legally protected. After all, it’s very possible that someone could enter a similar prompt and get a similar result. The AI isn’t concerned with making something entirely unique each time it spits out an image or, at least presently, where it’s getting its sources. We’ll likely see a lot of these lawsuits begin to be successful.
What is Flocksy Doing?
We understand that tools like AI “art bots” can provide a rough idea of what you need, and using them to create a first draft may even speed things up a bit. However, we also know that a human has to step in to do the actual designing or drawing.
At Flocksy, we hire real people to sit down and design or draw your assets. You won’t find an AI bot delivering material harvested from the internet that may or may not be correct. Our skilled design experts do the work, craft unique content that matches your idea, and isn’t copied from someone else.
We won’t use AI, and we assure you that the assets you get from our creatives will have an exceptionally high quality and accuracy rate.
You can see examples of our top-notch designs and illustrations in our portfolio here.
A Conclusion About AI Design
When used properly, this technology could be complementary and not competitive to designers. Employing them to mock up designs that you’ll later create from scratch can eliminate some back and forth over revisions, and saving time is great.
What will be essential to keep a lookout for in the future is the continuing growth of these tools and the sourcing they do for their results. If there’s a way that the bots can pull from only approved artwork that the original artist can consent to, similar to a stock photo service, then these tools could be handy.
It’s unlikely that these types of services would exist without a fee, but paying to use an AI generator is already starting to happen, even for entirely personal use. It’s also unlikely that a human won’t be necessary anymore, and for all your design needs, you have Flocksy at your back.
With the recent news of ChatGPT and AI writing, many are wondering how ethical the practice of having a computer scour the internet and compose copy truly is. While the innovation is impressive, real issues can arise from using it or similar technology to generate content.
So, what is ChatGPT and its GPT-3, and what does it mean for the world of copywriting and language? Is there an ethical concern about AI content? There are a lot of questions to answer, so let’s dig into this growing trend and consider why getting your copy the old-fashioned way is still likely the best way to do it.
ChatGPT & AI
ChatGPT is an OpenAI chatbot they created using the GPT-3 technology. GPT-3, or Generative Pretrained Transformer 3, is an advanced language processing AI that OpenAI created. They claim that it can produce human-like text. This ability could mean it has a variety of applications, including language translation, language modeling, and, most concerningly, generating text for websites and consumers to use however they wish. It’s one of the largest, most powerful language-processing AI models we’ve seen, with 175 billion parameters.
Its predominantly been used to create ChatGPT, the impressive chatbot. It doesn’t use pre-programmed responses but can generate them on the fly to create a more realistic conversation between the user and itself.
You can provide GPT-3 with various worded prompts, like questions or requests for a piece of writing on a topic you choose, and it will create the results. But how does it come up with the responses?
In simple terms, the AI was fed text from databases across the internet, including books, articles, web texts, Wikipedia, and more. In fact, about 300 billion words were fed into the system. So, it pulls its text and responses from existing sources on the internet to produce a response.
However, it’s not flawless. You can get incorrect information, and the bot can misunderstand what you’re asking. Additionally, if your prompt or request is very niche, or if you add too many factors, it can get overwhelmed or ignore sections of the prompt completely.
For example, if you’re requesting a tale of two people and provide their jobs, names, ages, and where they live, it can jumble up that information and randomly set each one to the two characters instead of how you prompted it.
And, of course, grammar is always a concern. While there are advanced grammar-checking programs, and the AI likely has a similar internal process, those programs don’t always get it right. You’ve likely dismissed a suggestion from a grammar checker for being a little off and maybe even completely wrong. Who’s to say what rules the AI bot uses for its grammatical structure, or if because it references the whole of the internet’s writing, it will be riddled with errors?
The Ethics of AI Writing
There are a couple of things to be wary of when considering the ethics of AI copywriting. Firstly, it pulls its data from the internet.
As a result of this fact, it can assume some of the internet’s biases, stereotypes, and general assumptions. Off-color jokes or stereotypes about certain groups or political figures can come up based on what you ask and how.
If you wanted a comedy routine, it is very likely that you’ll get some jokes about ex-politicians or marginalized groups who are often the butt of jokes in comedy bits. That can be highly problematic. Depending on where the bot decides to pull the information from, you could potentially get downright racist information in return.
Because internet forums and articles are a huge source of data for these bots, you’ll also run the risk of getting fake news or conspiracy theories returned. The system isn’t perfect, and it may be unable to tell the difference between fact and fiction.
The second primary concern is plagiarism.
When it comes down to it, if you use a content bot to create an article, say that you were totally responsible for it, and release it into the world. That’s plagiarism.
And it’s not just writing where this is an issue. The arguments over AI art also make a strong case for plagiarism. In order to create that artwork, the bot pulls from existing images and piecing them together to create its results. Those artists who put their work on the internet are essentially having their work copied and pasted somewhere else by a computer.
You can’t trace someone’s drawing, color it slightly differently, add a few things, and call it your own.
What’s more, if you’re paid to create an article and have a copy bot do it for you, that’s unethical and likely a breach of contract. You’ve been hired to do the work, and you aren’t doing it. In a similar vein, there have already been reports like this one in the New York Post about students using AI copywriting tools to do their papers. If you think it’s wrong for a student not to do the work, you shouldn’t want your professional writers to do it, either.
At Flocksy, we hire real people to sit down and write your copy. You won’t find an AI bot delivering material harvested from the internet that may or may not be correct. Our skilled copywriting experts do the work, create unique content that won’t get flagged by Google, and is easy for readers to absorb and enjoy.
We won’t use AI, and we can assure you that the content you get from our writers will be much better than anything a robot would write for you.
You can see examples of our top-notch copywriting in our portfolio here.
At Flocksy, our team is what makes us incredible, and we’d like to take this opportunity to introduce them to you through this new, ongoing series- Flocksy’s Featured Team Member.
Today, we’ll be getting to know one of our amazing custom illustrators, Sofia Sanchez.
If you’re looking for brand illustrations for your growing business, Sofia is one of the best at Flocksy. Let’s get to know how she started with us, her favorite aspects of working here, and more.
Sofia Sanchez- Custom Illustrations
Getting Started with Flocksy
Sofia is one of Flocksy’s amazing illustrators and can work on various assets your brand might need, including portraits, book covers, comic vignettes, mascots, and more. Sofia mentions that one of the primary differences between illustrations and graphic design is “we are not just doing what we feel looks beautiful and will transmit a feeling. We can also achieve that, but we must consider what will achieve the [client’s] needs.”
Sofia previously worked at an animation studio as a storyboard and background artist. She was looking for a change of scenery to allow her more free time and create a better work-life balance.
“[Flocksy] provided a better space to achieve my goals. They offer the stability I was looking for and are very respectful of our free time. I love working at Flocksy.”
Her Beginnings in Illustration
Sofia has loved to draw since she was a little girl. While her sister may have started as the family artist, it quickly became evident that Sofia was the true “La Chica de Los Plumones” or marker girl. She was always a favorite when it came to group projects for her creative talents, and even though she may have tried pursuing something else, illustration and art called her back.
“I was scared my hobby would become something I hated because of the pressure. So, I tried studying Engineering. I realized I was doing it to make my father and grandpa happy. In the end, I convinced my grandpa it was a serious career.”
Sofia is thrilled that she gets to do what she loves for her career, and nothing touches her like receiving positive feedback from our amazing clients. One kind comment can make her entire day.
Working Her Magic on a Spot the Difference Illustration
One of Sofia’s favorite projects was the Magical Forest at Sunset project. As a spot-the-difference illustration, it was a unique challenge. She said that the kindness and freedom the client gave her on the project allowed her to create something great.
She said, “I enjoy working with her, and with her guidance and the freedom she provided, I really love the final outcome. I think what we achieved was very interesting, and when I see it again, it evokes the magical feel [the client] was trying to achieve.”
Illustrating the Escape
Sofia also really enjoyed working on another unique project, background art for an escape room! The client’s openness to suggestions was so valuable. As a result, Sofia could use Photoshop instead of Illustrator to create a dynamic piece that showcased very effectual lighting and textures.
“As I said before joining Flocksy, I was a background illustrator. This background project provided freedom, and Mary was willing to listen to my suggestions. This is my greatest background to date.”
The Challenge of Horses
As many an illustrator will tell you, horses are very challenging to draw. Their intricate musculature and proportions are unique to their species. In fact, it’s a bit of an inside joke in the industry that horses are a no-go. Sofia, however, loves them and knocked this project out of the park.
“Horses are very hard, but this horse was very fun. And I liked this project because [the client] is always looking for variety. She’s looking for diversity in the styles to keep it interesting. She embraced my art style.”
The challenge of drawing this particular animal and the client’s unique color palette also made this project a favorite of Sofia’s because it tested her skills and kept her on her toes.
Sofia finds inspiration all around her, but one of the most interesting places she says she pulled inspiration from are the client project briefs. By connecting with the brand’s message and story, she’s able to see the personality and heart behind a company. She also mentioned that Pinterest is invaluable.
“I use Pinterest when I need a different color palette. If I need a different art style that comes closest to the brand guidelines.”
She also takes inspiration from real life and has her own library she’s created of poses and scenes from everyday experiences.
“I have this great client that gives you freedom but also is clear. She asked me for a lot of poses for different characters, and she loved how I captured natural poses. I use a lot of references from real life. I heard once from another more accomplished storyboard artist that the best advice he got was to draw everyday life. To go to a park, to go to a coffee shop, and just draw people, so you can have references of real-life poses. I also use my own library as inspiration.”
A Blank Slate or A Plethora of References?
When it comes to having complete free reign or being provided with several reference materials, Sofia says it all comes down to the client’s unique needs. Having creative freedom, she mentioned, allows you to challenge yourself and grow. However, Sofia also believes that references are invaluable when you have specific needs or tastes or if the client has particular brand guidelines.
Sofia’s Role Models & Resources
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Sofia’s heart runs through everything she does. Between her long-time love of drawing and connection to her family, one of her role models is her boyfriend.
“This might be cheesy. I met my boyfriend in college, and we started at the same time. He’s also a very accomplished artist and helps me when I don’t know how to get the right perspective. When you have the camera on top or when you have the camera on the bottom. He has this amazing understanding of depth, perspective, and movement. He’s a big inspiration and a teacher for me.”
She also recommended checking out the work of Dave Pimentel, the storyboard artist for Moana, who shares her Mexican ancestry.
“I love how he captures natural poses. He’s always drawing quick sketches, but he can embody the essence of a person, their personality, in just one quick sketch.”
Sofia also mentioned the great work of Sophie MacPike, an illustrator from Australia.
“She does digital work, and also she does a lot of watercolor painting. Her style is very unique.”
Working to Comedy
Sofia admits that working from home, like many of us started doing during the pandemic, can get a little lonely. She realized that finding laughter throughout her day was crucial to keeping her spirits up and not feeling so isolated.
“Work can be stressful, but just having something or someone to make you laugh is huge. I have my dog here, and I live with my boyfriend, so I have him with me. I enjoy having fun with them while we work, and we listen to a podcast named Leyendas Legendarias or watch a comedy show. I’m currently watching Modern Family. It’s hilarious.”
Her Favorite Things About Flocksy
Sofia’s favorite things about Flocksy showcase what makes the company different. She stressed that the communication between the staff and clients was far and above the best she’s worked with. The community that communication creates makes her feel like she has someone, or several people, who have her back on each project.
She also mentioned that Flocksy recognizes her hard work by saying, “I also like that you feel seen- like I’m not just one more employee. They want to listen to what you have to say, to your feedback and suggestions. They trust your skills and value what you do.”
Building relationships with the clients was another significant benefit. It creates a sense of trust between her and the people she’s working with, which gives her room to be creative. When they keep requesting her on projects, she knows she’s honoring her commitment to quality and delivering great results.
Sofia was a cornucopia of resources when asked, and her suggestions were great. Sofia recommended checking out Adobe Colors. The free program is great for color palettes and visualizing how colors will look together. She also sang the praises of Pinterest again and about creating a library of reference poses and the like.
She also recommended reading three resource books. The first was Directing the Story by Francis Glebas.
“There is one that’s more related to Storyboard artists, but it’s very helpful. He used to work at Disney. He started in Aladdin and talks a lot of perspectives on how the shots make you feel, the directions of the camera, the poses, the body language, and how it’s useful to transmit a story. So even if you’re not a storyboard artist, it’s something we really need to know as illustrators if you’re trying to achieve a story for our client.”
Sofia also suggested Perspectives by Mateu-Mestre. It discusses how the correct use of different perspectives can change an illustration’s feel, making it more dynamic, complex, and real. The technical manual gives constructive ways to employ his suggestions, including options for lighting and mood.
Outside of Flocksy
Sofia is a homebody who loves spending time with her family and friends. She loves even simple times when you don’t do anything but talk about how your day’s going. Sofia is also very into fitness and loves her Fit Pass. She says the variety keeps things interesting.
“Like just being in the gym with weights or on the treadmill is so boring. So I love that. It’s my new hobby.”
When she’s not at work, Sofia enjoys her free time, staying fit, walking her dog, and enjoying the latest in movies and TV, especially animated features.
We love having Sofia on the team here at Flocksy, and we know you’ll love having her on your team for all your future illustration projects. You can check out her full portfolio of work here.
What could make leaving feedback for your team even easier? Showing them what you mean.
Flocksy has stepped it up again and is offering Loom video messaging. We know that graphics are a visual medium, so what better way to let your artists know what you want than to show them the exact areas you need something updated or changed? You can chat with your designers, show your copywriters where their content will be going, and describe your goals to your illustrator as if you were talking right to them.
What is Loom?
Loom video messaging has a ton of uses, but essentially it’s a way to record a quick message and send it off to your team. When typing something out just isn’t practical, or if you’re better at speaking about what you need, you can record a short video and even your screen to provide clear feedback to everyone you’re working with.
You can start recording your screen and from your camera with the click of a button. It works on any device, thanks to the Loom Mac and Windows desktop apps and mobile apps, available for both iPhone and Android. And you don’t need a login or account to share, record the video, or watch it if you share it with your colleagues.
If you do have a Loom account, you can connect it with the video messaging in Flocksy’s message center to use the advanced features.
How to Use Loom on Flocksy?
Sending a video message through Loom in the message center is easy. Simply click the record message button, and a popup will appear to initiate the Loom recording. There, you can log in and choose how you want to record- screen and camera, screen only, or camera only. It’ll prompt you to choose the right equipment and give you a countdown when you hit record so that you’re ready to go.
There’s a countdown timer at the bottom, so you know when your five minutes will be up. You can cancel the recording if needed by clicking the trashcan, and you can even sign up for an account right from that first popup window as well.
It’s as simple as that!
Give it a try for yourself on your next Flocksy project. We’re sure you’ll love being able to provide video messages to your team. To learn more about Loom and the advanced features provided in an account, check out their site at www.loom.com.
Marketing is essential for any business that wants to succeed.
That’s why you need to know how to market your brand in a way that gets it noticed on the internet and beyond.
However, with so many options and strategies available, it can be difficult to know where to start.
The following tips will help you learn how to do just that:
Get to Know Your Target Audience
The first step in any marketing strategy is to get to know your target audience. This will help you determine how to market your brand in a way that appeals to their needs and desires.
You’ll also be able to identify the best ways to reach them, whether it’s through social media or other online channels.
Size Up Your Competition
Whether you are an established business or a startup, it is essential to understand your competition.
You need to know what they offer, how they market and where they are getting their customers from.
If you have an idea of what the other businesses in your industry are doing then it will be easier to formulate a plan that will set your business apart.
Leverage The Power Of Social Media
Social media is one of the most powerful tools in a business owner’s toolbox. By leveraging social media, you can reach your audience, build brand awareness and increase sales.
You can also use it to build relationships with your customers and get feedback on how well you’re doing from them.
However, social media is only as effective as the person using it. If you’re not using your personal Facebook or Twitter accounts correctly, then you may as well not have them at all.
This can be especially hard for small business owners who don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to social media marketing.
Here are some tips to help you use social media effectively:
Don’t just sell. Focus on providing value by sharing useful information, including stories from your business, news about the industry and helpful tips that relate to your customers’ lives.
Use pictures! People love pictures; they make your posts more interesting and easier to digest.
Share other people’s content. If someone has written an article that relates to something in your industry, then share it with your audience.
Create A Customer Centered Website
If you are in business, chances are you have a website. If you don’t, then it’s time to get one!
A website is an essential tool in today’s competitive business world. It allows potential clients to learn more about your products and services and gives them the ability to purchase them with a few clicks of their computer or phone.
Your site should be mobile friendly since most people access the internet through their phones these days instead of desktop computers.
If your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices many potential customers won’t even bother exploring further because they won’t enjoy an awkward, clunky mobile experience.
Solidify Your Brand Identity
Brand identity is the personality of the brand. It’s not just about your logo or name, but also how you interact with your customers and present yourself as a company.
When customers think of your business, what do they see? Do they think about how it makes them feel? Or does it conjure up certain images in their head? These are all factors that contribute to brand identity.
It’s important to have a strong sense of brand identity because this will determine how people relate themselves to your company or product when they encounter it in any way possible.
For example: Coca Cola has built its entire success on being associated with happiness and fun times (and maybe even dating back from many decades ago). Their slogan “Open Happiness” conveys exactly what their brand stands for – happy times!
Dive Into Email Marketing
Email marketing is the most effective way to reach your customers. It’s easy to use and you can stay in touch with your customers without having to do a lot of work.
Email marketing is also great for generating leads and growing your brand. You should especially start using email marketing if you have an eCommerce store and are looking to sell more products online.
Email marketing can be automated, which means that all you have to do is set up an auto responder sequence so that every time someone purchases something from your store, they receive an email asking them if they wanted a refund or exchange instead of waiting on hold with customer service reps, who may not even be available right now because it’s after hours!
Start Working With Influencers
You can work with influencers to get your message across. Influencers are people who have a large following on social media, like Instagram or Twitter.
They help you reach new audiences and spread your message, which can boost credibility and increase sales.
In some cases, working with influencers could even save money since they often don’t charge as much as traditional advertising outlets such as TV commercials or newspaper ads.
Find The Right Audience With Paid Ads
Paid ads are a great way to find the right audience for your business. You can choose to target your message based on location, age, gender and even interests.
If you’re looking to attract more customers in the local area, then platforms like Google Ads or Facebook are great places to start.
The targeting options are extensive and provide plenty of data from which you can build a detailed profile of interested individuals.
This will ensure that only those who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer see your adverts – saving money on wasted impressions and clicks!
Run SMS Marketing Campaigns
Running SMS marketing campaigns is one of the best ways to reach your target audience. With SMS marketing, you can communicate with your customers in a personalized way by sending out bulk messages to people that have opted in to your campaign.
Create A Unified Brand Strategy
Your brand strategy is the foundation for your business. It ties your marketing messages together and positions you as a distinct entity in the marketplace, so it’s important to get it right.
Here are some tips for creating a successful brand strategy:
Focus on the customer. You can’t build a strong brand without knowing who your customers are and what they care about. Once you know these things, think about how to use them in your messaging to make them feel connected with your company or product. Don’t just focus on what you want; focus on what they need too!
It should be expressed through all marketing channels. Your branding efforts will be wasted if they’re inconsistent across platforms—so make sure that whatever design elements or language choices you make are used consistently throughout all of your materials (website copy, ads, social media posts).
There are many different ways to market your business successfully.
By implementing the tips we’ve shared, as well as experimenting with other strategies that may work better for your unique brand, you’ll be on your way to soaring above the competition and reaching new heights in success.
Reading plain words on a screen can be incredibly boring for many potential customers. No one likes to sit and read for hours on end about products they may or may not want.
Great motion graphics will add a new dimension to your marketing if they’re fluid and smooth. Bare bones, gliding motion graphics are a great way to keep your audience engaged as a narrator reads text off of a screen.
Motion graphics over text have even helped artists like Weird Al Yankovic create compelling and memorable music videos.
Start With Custom Templates
If your company doesn’t have the creative talent or expertise to do your own motion graphics from scratch, you can always use templates from the internet.
These templates are pre-packaged to be totally slick and professional, so you won’t have to worry about customer reactions.
There are thousands of online templates for any imaginable scenario or sales pitch you can think of, so be sure to look around and choose wisely when creating your campaigns.
In today’s climate of side giggers and struggling artists, it’s easy to find a company or an individual who will make you truly stunning motion graphics for an affordable rate.
One of the best companies in the business for motion graphics in business is Flocksy.
Flocksy has a team of dedicated graphic artists who are skilled in their crafts and who will take direction and feedback well every time, giving you motion graphics that stand out from a crowd and entice your customers to trust your company and its products.
No matter who you choose to make your motion graphics, or whether you choose to make it in house or out, you should do your research and thoroughly know what you’ve chosen what you’ve chosen.
Specify exactly what kind of motion graphics you need and find scour the net for those which best fit your need and story.
Finding premium graphics that relate to your company’s mission and guide your customers through the what and why of your products or services will engage their minds and teach them why your company stands out from the rest of the industry.
Always Stay Original
Again, no matter which route you take, it’s always of the utmost importance to stay true to your company’s style and choose images which represent your brand messaging.
Customers like you for you, so stay original when animating, or choose motion graphics which capture the mind and engage the eyes.
Bland motion graphics do exist, and they can be a turn off to many, like the soulless motion graphics of Kroger.
If you stay original and know what you want when you choose your motion graphics, there’s no limit to how far this impressive medium can take you.
Many consumers enjoy motion graphics because they provide a burst of popping color, such as vibrant reds, deep blues, and natural greens.
When selecting or making your motion graphics, be sure to pay close attention to the colors you’re choosing and why, relating your choice to the product and overall narrative.
While stark motion graphics can be highly stylized, many people today gravitate to the more expressive and colorful styles throughout the online landscape today.
Combine Animated Elements To Static Photos
One of the coolest products motion graphics offer right now is mixing of animated pictures, backgrounds, and objects into an ordinarily static picture.
Your company can use a photo or image from another marketing campaign, or start from scratch, blending animated doodles, clip art, or expressive characters into the photograph to create an entirely new and engaging campaign.
This method is effective because of the craft and skill in merging two different mediums to create something entirely new.
If you’re all-in on motion graphics, there are some great things to remember before you officially start to make your impact. For example, you need to understand the basics of artistic composition and color.
Remember to utilize unity, hierarchy, and contrast within your videos. In other words, keep all visual elements in agreement with each other and point the viewer’s eye toward the point of the screen you want by slightly tipping the balance of the image within that local region.
Even simple animations should be framed in interesting angles and move in a way that pleases the eye.
Last but not least, your animated graphic shouldn’t distract from your product, brand, or overall message.
It can be tempting to make a meticulous, complex, or overly busy graphic in order to wow your customers, but all you’ll really be doing at the end of the day is shifting their focus away from what you’re selling to what you’ve created.
Great graphics don’t have to be highly complex or overly ornate; many of the best graphics today are simple, clean, and straightforward.
For centuries, creative minds with an eye on breaking the rules of convention have dazzled us with their imaginations and personal perspectives.
From the old masters like Leonardo Di Vinci and Michelangelo, to more recently Salvador Dali and M C Escher, we have had a peek inside the artist mind, into the deep recesses of their viewpoint about the world through satirical scribblings.
This outlet has allowed a multitude of new artists, like the popular street artist Banksy, to show the world what is when we don’t see it ourselves, to give us an idea of what can be when we cannot allow our own imaginations to run free, and let us in on their personal thoughts, dreams, and fears.
When words just aren’t enough, sketches and paintings fill in the gap we need in order to see beyond what is right in front of us.
Shanghai Tango, whose birth name is Gao Youjun, is a Chinese artist and a popular cartoonist in the Chinese social network scene.
His work is so popular, he has amassed over half a million loyal followers who share his creativity with everyone they can, spreading his influence far and wide. His niche is the interactivity between coincidental concepts.
The work of this prolific Spain-based artist can only be defined as bizarre. He revels in the unconventional and lives on the edge of every double entendre you can imagine when referencing ordinary items.
And he loves to play with the concept of before and after.
A true doodlebug, this Malaysian-based artist bends his work toward the adorable. He pairs funny phrases and puns in ways that will make you giggle as you did as a child and never feel awkward about it.
Everything is designed with the best, most wholesome intentions, making his work very family friendly. Also, he seems to have a thing for cats.
With a love of pop culture and a skill to give it a darker spin, Ben Chen inspires emotions with his work that are mixed playfully between a dark sense of dread and a humorous ideal that reaches the viewer where they dare not venture within their own mind, and all while being bold, cartoonish, and a little morbid.
Have you ever thought of a cliche and wondered what it would look like if depicted by olives? Michael Goddard has, running with this idea and so many others to make an entire legacy of artwork depicting just that, cliches.
From card sharking to rolling hot dice, he covers the gamut and then some.
A Polish-born artist, Pawel is also known as a satirist and philosopher, which punctuate his work very well.
His take on traditional problems in the world, in politics, in religion, give rise to feelings within the onlooker of curiosity, starting new conversations about that which we often ignore out of apathy or fear of personal investment.
Many artists stick to a particular color scheme and rarely deviate. JrDragao does not, choosing to use vibrant colors that grab the eye and enrich the senses, while making you laugh.
His work often tackles notions we sometimes ponder but rarely dig too deep into. Does Donald Duck wear pants sometimes? What if God decided to make a better version of modern earth? Only JrDragao knows.
We have all heard of art snobs. Those who are only attracted to the works of the great masters like Picasso and El Greco.
Lothlenan, an artist made famous by her following on Tumblr, is a Canadian/Estonian illustrator known for her clever recreations of famous historical paintings.
She also decided to thumb her nose at these few but faithful purists and geek up their favorite pieces with the insertion of Rick and Morty, Legend of Zelda, and even Adventure Time.
Art speaks from the soul of the artist to the mind and heart of the viewer. It is meant to be subjective, so each person feels differently that any other, opening doors and starting new and possibly earth-shattering conversations.
Art is more than something to be casually glanced at, but a living, breathing entity, meant to be absorbed. In the end, good art will change you, enrich you, and even evolve you.