Meet Pixel Road Designs’ Founder & CEO, Brent Csutoras

In an article last week featured on Search Engine Journal, the spotlight was on our very own founder and CEO, Brent Csutoras. In the piece, writer Anna Crowe delves into Brent’s history and how he became the prominent speaker and well-known industry influencer that we are lucky to call our boss and owner of our awesome design firm.

So, how did Pixel Road Designs come to be? Well, it wasn’t one of Brent’s first endeavors — not even close. Our design firm was actually born after several other companies that Brent had started or played a major role in launching, such as Alpha Brand Media, Blueglass Interactive, and Kairay Media.

In fact, before any of his work began in the online media and marketing industry, Brent was actually a member of the U.S. Military working towards becoming a meteorologist. Not what you’d expect, right?!

Fast forward several years and several companies later, and Brent started Pixel Road Designs. The goal of the firm was to help businesses thrive with eye-catching visual content such as infographics, social media graphics, print collateral, and much more. Brent put together an amazing team, which includes well-known Creative Director, Nemanja Darijević and several expert researchers, writers, designers, and illustrators.

By creating beautiful designs with a marketing mindset, our creative team is able to help companies grow their audience base, boost website traffic and social engagement, and build quality backlinks to help supercharge their SEO standings with Google and other major search engines.

We love what we do here at Pixel Road Designs, and we have Brent to thank for instilling in us the core values that allow us to really get to know our clients and understand their specific business goals so that we can create the perfect visual content to help achieve those goals.

You can check out Brent’s full spotlight article here. If you’d like to discuss a design project or get a quote, contact us today — we’d love to chat with you!

 

4 Big Effects That Color Choice Has On Web Design

Color is one of the very first design concepts that we learn as children. As soon as preschoolers open up a box of crayons, they’re learning the difference between the colors, and how those colors interact. Color is basic part of how we perceive and understand the world.

That makes it one of the most powerful and essential parts of web design, but it doesn’t always get as much attention as others. Here are four ways smart color choices enhance your website.

1) Pleases The Visitor

It’s just human nature: people want to hang around beautiful spaces. So good colors encourage your visitors to linger on a little longer. And when they stay on the page, they’re more likely to fill out a form, click a button, or take some other desired action. Color is actually good for business.

But besides being pleasant, a well-balanced color palette also communicates a high level of professionalism. Ugly or clashing colors aren’t just unpleasant to look at and encourage your visitors to bounce, they also (rightly or wrongly) make them think you aren’t a serious organization.

2) Separates You From The Herd

Do you want your visitors to remember your website long after they’ve left? Then choose colors that they don’t.

Color is one of the most impactful parts of branding and positioning, so it helps to make a statement with your colors. Are all of your computers using super bright, saturated colors? Then maybe more subtle and subdued tones will set you apart. Do you competitors favor warm colors like reds and yellows? Then perhaps you could consider a cooler color palette that features blues and greens.

3) Sets The Tone

Colors and color combinations communicate district feelings. They tell something about your business without saying a word.

For example, take a look at the two color combinations below. Which do you think would be more appropriate for a website for a flower shop? And which do you think would work better for a store that sells motorcycle parts?
color-samples

Obviously, the green and pink pastel have a feminine, lush tone. That makes it perfect for a store that sells fresh flowers. While the black and vibrant red color have a more exciting, bold tone. That’s much more appealing for bikers who want to improve their ride.

4) Focuses Attention

An interesting fact about color is that it helps us distinguish us distinguish between objects. And that helps us focus on what interests us most and avoid what we don’t like. For example, if you saw jar full of grey jelly beans, you wouldn’t have any reason to focus on one or another. But if your favorite flavor is cherry and you saw a jar full of colorful jelly beans, your eyes would immediately focus on the red ones.

Because of that, color can also make your website easier to use. Including the right kind of color contrast can make your buttons and forms pop out, making them easier to find right away. Different colored buttons make their functions easier to understand. Colors can also help call attention to warnings or alerts. That means you can use color to very subtly nudge your visitors towards anything you want them to do on the page.

4 Cool Types Of Data Visualization (And When To Use Them In An Infographic)

One of the most satisfying parts of any successful infographic is the data visualization. The charts, graphs, maps, and other graphic elements can turn cold, hard data into something exciting and enlightening. The only problem is that people tend to use the same kinds of data visualization techniques over and over again. While pie charts, line charts, and bar charts have their place, there’s a whole world of less common visualization techniques you can use.

If you want to give your next infographic some data visualization flourish, here are four cool options.

1) Word Cloud

A list of words all by itself isn’t very interesting. But when those words are grouped together and differently sized, it suddenly communicates a lot more information. And it’s nicer to look at to boot.

For example, look at these word clouds on an infographic about identity theft.

Word Cloud

What might have been just a list of words looks a whole lot more dynamic.

When To Use It: When you want to compare the frequency of word usage, or just want a more visually appealing way to show a list words.

2) Pictogram Chart

People are generally bad at comparing amounts. For example, many people think “one million dollars” and “one billion dollars” are both just “a lot of money,” when in reality one is literally one thousand times bigger than the other. But a pictogram chart can show stark differences between amounts.

A pictogram chart illustrates different amounts through icons that represents quantities. For example, check out this infographic on counterfeit electronic components.

Pictogram Chart

Each circuit board represents one illegal market. So it’s easy to see that China has a huge black market electronic industry, while Vietnam and South Korea have much smaller ones.

When To Use It: When you want to help the reader compare several different amounts, but you want something more clear and more creative than a typical bar chart.

3) 3D Donut Chart

The pie chart has its place. It’s an easy simple way to see how different amounts relate to each other. But the problem is that it’s used so frequently, there’s a risk that readers will glaze over it.

The solution? The 3D donut chart. This communicates data in a similar way to a pie chart, but the added dimension and more pleasing “donut” shape makes it nicer to look at. Take a look at this donut chart from an infographic on what SEOs are working on.

Donut Chart

What might have been a dull pie chart is instead visually interesting. That means readers are more likely to linger on it, and absorb the information.

When To Use It: When you want to use a pie chart, but would prefer to use something different and engaging instead.

4) Concept Map

Maps aren’t always about geography. Sometimes they’re also about ideas, and how those ideas are related. And since ideas are so abstract, a visual “concept map” can help readers better understand the relationship between concepts in a way that simple writing just can’t.

For example, check out this infographic on marketing concepts. It breaks down important pillars of sales marketing, such as strategy, media, and creative execution, plus shows how they interact with each other.

Showing these relationships in a graphical format helps people understand these difficult to grasp ideas much faster than a typical marketing blog post can.

When To Use It: When you want to show how different techniques, concepts, or ideas relate to each other.

Making Data Clear

Most data, by itself, is neither interesting nor boring. But through data visualization a skilled graphic designer can take a normally dull data set and turn it into something enlightening and even fun. The next time you create an infographic, think about outside of the box ways you can graphically present your data in new, interesting ways.

How To Research Data That Will Make Your Infographic Rise Above The Rest

When creating an infographic, step one is simply choosing an idea. But after that, you have to quickly move to step two: researching your content. This is the raw data you will organize into a informational story, which your graphic designer will turn into your final infographic.

How do you find information that’s interesting, easy to turn into graphics, and trustworthy? Here are a few tips for retrieving data that will turn your infographic into something that’s fascinating for your audience.

1) Pull Research From Peer Reviewed Studies

Googling the information you want is an okay way to start, but it runs into a problem. The information you find has already been published, and probably has been published dozens of times before. So how can you give your audience information they’ve never seen before?

Get data from academic studies. These scientific papers are chock full of original info. The easiest way to do this is by searching through Google Scholar. By searching scientific studies, you can get a ton of highly authoritative and interesting info. Don’t worry about being overwhelmed by technical information: all research papers give away their key findings in the abstract.

Just be sure to cite your studies at the bottom of the infographic. It not only gives credit to the researchers, but it also makes your infographic more authoritative.

2) Track Down Geographical Data

People love seeing how states and countries differ from each other. As a bonus, maps are highly visual, so that gives your graphic designer with good material to work with. When possible, track down data that explains how different geographical regions differ.

For example, check out this infographic on Sportfishing in the United StatesSportfishing in the United States. It outlines the fishing participation by region, helping readers understand how popular sportfishing is across the country.

Map

3) Chronological Data Is Easy To Visualize

Readers also like seeing trends over time for any topic. It gives an idea of how life has changed. Plus, it gives us clues to how things will change in the future. When possible, look up year to year or month to month data. This kind of information is perfect for data visualization, and it easy to turn into a bar or a line graph.

4) Show Off Dollars And Cents

If you’re stumped, you can always focus on the money angle. People love learning about how much things cost and how much money is spent for things. This is particularly true when you’re able to show off big numbers. For example, check out this infographic about Halloween. It talks about the jaw dropping amount of cash that people spend on candy every October: 1.9 billion dollars.

Halloween Candy

5) When In Doubt, Email An Expert

Who says you have to do all of your research on your own?

If you really want a top notch infographic, email someone who is an expert in the topic you’re writing about. They’re usually happy to spare a few minutes chatting about their life’s passion. Plus, they’re able to steer your research in the right direction, saving you valuable research time.

4 Easy Tricks To Make Your Presentation Deck Pop

Delivering a good presentation isn’t just about what you say: it’s about how you say it.

And the slide deck you create to support your presentation unquestionably is a part of how you deliver your message. A dull, lifeless deck can make even exciting subject matter seem lifeless. And a lively, colorful deck can can take a presentation from “good” to “great.”

Fortunately, making a presentation that’s actually good isn’t a matter of overhauling what you have. Instead, it’s a matter of making the right kind of tweaks that support what you want to say.

Here are four ways you can create a slide deck that takes your presentation to the next level.

1) Add Twitter Info And Presentation URL

If you’re at a conference, you ideally want people chatting about your presentation. So you can make it easy on them in three ways.

First, upload your slide deck beforehand and give your audience the url beforehand. That gives them the option of following along on their own computer or phone while you speak, and it also gives them access to the slides after you’re done. That makes it easier to remember.

Second, add your personal or company Twitter name. That way, they can tag you while you drop your brilliant insights.

And third, include the hashtag of the event you’re speaking at. That way, other people at the same event can easily discover what you’re saying.

2) One Idea Per Slide

Don’t pack any one slide with too much info. Each one should contain one image and one or two sentences. If you include an entire paragraph, your audience will be too busy squinting to see the text to hear what you’re saying.

Don’t be shy about packing too many slides into your deck. The truth is that most viewers will appreciate the fast pace of the slides. Hubspot’s Culture Code Deck clocks in at 128 slides, but it still received over three million views.

Plus, short sentences are easier to tweet, which makes it more likely that people will share your brilliant insights with their followers.

3) Use Original Graphics

Your audience knows the difference between carefully created graphics that enhance your presentation and clipart you added at the last second. Smart visuals don’t just make the information easier to absorb, they also make your presentation more captivating. After all, you want your audience’s eyes on what you’re saying, right?

Custom graphics created by a skilled graphic designer adds an essential bit of polish to your slide deck. And it’s proof that you care about your presentation enough to spend extra time and money on it.

4) Big, Bold Font Sizes

Before you make your presentation, already get clear of the size of the display that your deck will appear on. The smaller the display, the more important it is for you to choose a highly readable font. For presentations, it’s usually best to choose a simple sans serif font, such as the old standby Helvetica.

Make Your Ideas Resonate

Whether or not your ideas resonate with your audience is determined long before you begin speaking. You need an insightful concept, a confident delivery, and a slide deck that supports everything that you say.

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