Kategorie-Archiv: Allgemein

4 WordPress SEO Enhancements You Wish You Had – Part 1

WordPress.org has 52000 plugins

4 WordPress SEO Enhancements You Wish You Had – Part 1 was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

WordPress is the most popular content management system out there and powers more than a quarter of the world’s websites. Huge brands are hosted on it, like TechCrunch and BBC America. You likely have a WordPress site, too.

The fact that it’s open source and easy to use makes it desirable for all types of brands, businesses and professionals. Enter WordPress plugins — one of the easiest ways to customize the functionality of a WordPress site. At the time of writing, there are almost 52,000 to choose from.

However, WordPress is not SEO friendly by default, and finding the right plugins to help you accomplish everything you want in SEO can be a challenge. That leaves many brands and professionals with the task of identifying which plugins will address different SEO issues before, during and after creating a post or page.

Whether you use Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, Ultimate SEO, or another plugin, you probably have many needs covered — like being able to craft custom titles, meta descriptions, and URL slugs for your posts.

All these are essential for SEO. But beyond these basics, does your plugin give you visibility of your posts‘ performance? Allow you to distribute multiple keywords through your posts? Alert you of potential broken links or usability problems? Help you optimize for multiple keywords or variations?

In this post, we’ll look at where there are gaps in the SEO plugin space and what an SEO wish list looks like.

flat tire problem

SEO Plugin Gap No. 1: You Can’t Optimize for More Than One Keyword per Post

Many website publishers target multiple keywords for any one piece of content, and need to track how the content is optimized for them.

Two of the more popular SEO plugins for WordPress offer good functionality but are still lacking in this area.

The Yoast SEO plugin only allows one focus keyword per page or post (except in the premium version). So though you can definitely include more than one keyword in a piece of content, the plugin can’t confirm that you’ve optimized the post for these additional terms or even for variations of your main keyword.

Another popular plugin for SEO is the All in One SEO Pack. It doesn’t offer a focus keyword feature at all. So you’re out of luck if you’re using that one and want to be able to track your keywords for SEO.

The gap: A plugin that allows you to focus on optimizing for more than one keyword.

SEO Plugin Gap No. 2: You Can’t See How Your Keywords Are Distributed Throughout the Content

Keyword distribution may impact the ranking of your web content. Keyword distribution refers to using the keywords (and their semantic variations) consistently throughout the text from top to bottom.

Distribution can influence rankings because if a keyword shows up only in the first hundred words on a page, a search engine bot may determine the content is not as relevant as a page that talks about the keyword throughout.

While some WordPress SEO plugins track which page elements contain a focus keyword, there aren’t any viable plugins on the market right now that allow you to see your keyword distribution. So for those who want to check how well they’re distributing keywords as they write, it has to be done manually, which can be time-consuming (or you have to use an external tool like our SEOToolSet).

The gap: A plugin that clearly shows where the keywords are in the content.

SEO Plugin Gap No. 3: You Can’t Easily See Which of Your Posts Are Succeeding in the Search Results

Today, if you wanted to see what pages on your WordPress site are succeeding in the search results — data like click throughs, impressions, average rankings, and which queries are bringing search traffic to each post — you’d have to go outside WordPress. You might have to check different accounts to piece it together, like your Google Search Console, Google Analytics and/or third-party analytics software.

person blinded by flying hairPlugins exist that offer some data. But the top SEO plugins don’t show current analytics data in the WordPress dashboard or in the post editor (where it would be much easier to keep tabs on).

Unfortunately, not being able to access this information easily can either a) tax your resources or b) cause you not to gather any data.

When you don’t know which posts are resonating in organic search, it can hinder planning for future posts and social media campaigns. You’re basically flying blind.

Knowing which posts and topics are succeeding allows you to create more winning content. It also helps you avoid wasting time promoting content with high bounce rates or which generates little interest and little traffic to your site.

What you want is “unicorn” content — your very best, standout content. You want to be able to find your best content, amplify it, and then make more like it. You can only do this with analytics data informing you of the unicorns in the herd.

The gap: A plugin that shows the content creator how their content and their site are performing.

SEO Plugin Gap No. 4: You Can’t Confirm Your New Page Is Mobile-Friendly or Identify Mobile Errors

Google’s mobile-first index may hit in 2018. When it does, Google will base its index and subsequent rankings on the mobile version of your site. (You can read more about what that means here and here.)

If you don’t ensure you have mobile-friendly web pages and also don’t consistently monitor your mobile content for issues, then you could be creating a bad user experience and your rankings can suffer — this is especially true in a “mobile first” world.

While Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test lets publishers check their pages for problems, how often do you actually take that step? Having visibility within WordPress could make all the difference.

The gap: A plugin that alerts you to problems with mobile usability and performance.

What’s Your Vote?

In sum, WordPress can be an excellent platform for your website that accomplishes much of what you need in a CMS today. The challenge is making it SEO-friendly, and right now, there is still work to do.

Now I want your vote: Which of these issues matter to you?

Create your survey with SurveyMonkey

I’ll cover more enhancements needed to solve WordPress and SEO problems in Part 2 of this post.



Source:: bruceclay.com

Adobe Stock Contributor Spotlight: Daniela Mangiuca aka 3000ad

Browsing through the portfolio of 3000ad is like taking a glimpse into the distant future – spaceships hovering over cities, ultra-modern buildings reaching towards the sky, and alien structures from out of space. The artist behind these futuristic visions is Romanian-born architect Daniela Mangiuca. We spoke with Daniela about the process behind her sci-fi-influenced renderings, as well as her journey into the stock marketplace and beyond.

ADOBE STOCK: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Daniela Mangiuca: I was born and raised in a small town in Romania. I remember wanting to become an architect since elementary school when I understood this was the only occupation that would require a combination of mathematics (my first love) and drawing skills (my second). In college, I realized that architecture is much more than science plus art. It is a worldview based in endless creative search. Together with Adrian, my lifetime partner and best friend, we were lucky enough to pursue our creative explorations in the US.

AS: How did you get started in stock, and why did you decide to sell you work?

DM: After several years working as designers in leading architectural offices, we decided it was time to explore the American dream. In our case, this was creative ownership. It was the late nineties, so we took advantage of the 3D modeling and illustration software boom. I remember first reading about Photoshop during a lunch break. I immediately told Adrian: “This is it! This is how we’ll do it.” And so, with our former employers‘ invaluable help and mentoring, we opened our architectural visualization company.

The initial decision to sell stock was economical since, as a small firm, one never stops looking for business opportunities. Lingering on our hard drives were lots of 3D assets done while testing software, as well as those we made purely for our own enjoyment. Microstock seemed like the must-ride new-wave.

AS: How does stock complement the work you do at your firm, AND?

DM: I feel we evolved with the market. As of today, stock makes for almost half of our work at AND, especially due to the advent of microstock videos coupled with motion graphics as AfterEffects templates. Accessibility and the exploding number of devices and social media outlets where our assets are viewed and sold created this extraordinary demand – and opportunity – for the type of work we used to call a “hobby.”

AS: Your portfolio contains a lot of sci-fi and futuristic elements – where do you look for inspiration?

DM: Who would have thought serious architects would specialize in spaceships, right? It actually makes sense, and it goes back to the basics: visualizing architecture is the creative way to look at a structure before anyone attempts to build it. In the end, every object is architecture, since it occupies or creates a space. It’s a wonderful thing when creators of these objects have child-like wonder in their hearts, and the scope of their imagination goes beyond what is logical and scientifically possible. Our inspiration is science fiction and the extraordinary discoveries and scientific facts we come across every day. Human curiosity and creativity never cease to amaze.

AS: Can you tell us about the process of creating one of your renderings available on Adobe Stock?

DM: It starts with a story: it could be something we read about, or one that we’re making up entirely. The next step is to discuss the geometry from the “what if” point of view rather than a scientific one. Then it’s just natural to stop by the NASA website for the extra boost of inspiration, before starting the actual 3D modeling and, if the case, animation.

AS: What is the most difficult part about creating a rendering? And the most rewarding?

DM: The difficult part is the unexpected design flaw, visible only after you spent an entire day rendering. It gets exponentially frustrating when the end product is an animation, and you spent several days struggling over the concept and path.

The most rewarding part is when a buyer asks you to customize an illustration or animation because they liked your model and it inspired their own artwork. Receiving the link to the final product or their motion graphics DVD – with the little “Thank You!” note – are all worth the extra effort in dealing with the inevitable hiccups in the creative process.

AS: Do you have any tips to pass on to contributors who are trying to build out their stock portfolio?

DM: At the risk of sounding cliché: do something you like and, eventually, it will pay off. Avoid reinventing the wheel. I tried and it works only until you realize it isn’t nearly as profitable as doing what you know and what makes you happy. Find your own unique, visual “voice” and use others as inspiration for their process, not their actual product.

AS: How about for someone who is trying to improve their 3D skills?

DM: Work. That’s all there is. Work, and the knowledge that whoever tries to bring up the with-a-click-of-a-button magic notion has no idea what they are talking about.

See more of Daniela and Adrian’s work on Adobe Stock.

Source:: blog.fotolia.com

What Are the Most Frequently Disavowed Domains, URLs, IPs and ccTLDs? DisavowFiles.com

1.8 trillion disavowed URLs later

What Are the Most Frequently Disavowed Domains, URLs, IPs and ccTLDs? DisavowFiles.com was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

In June 2015, Bruce Clay launched DisavowFiles.com. Our goal was to create a easy to use tool that allows you to see whether or not other webmasters are disavowing a site.

DisavowFiles is a free, crowdsourced project. Upload your disavow files to the database, see what domains have been disavowed by others, in turn. It’s a community project that everyone is invited to participate in to put the power of disavow transparency back into SEOs‘ hands.

There’s been lots to learn along the way.

Since release we’ve captured a lot of data. To date we have:

  • 1,840,287,252,622 disavowed URLs
  • 13,997,396 disavowed domains

This is a lot of data from the SEO community so, we thought we’d say thank you by sharing some crucial information about the disavow files that have been uploaded.


Top 10 Domain Wide Disavows

The following are the top ten domain wide disavows across all disavow files that were submitted.

  1. http://prlog.ru
  2. http://topalternate.com
  3. http://askives.com
  4. http://m.biz
  5. http://the-globe.com
  6. http://theglobe.net
  7. http://theglobe.org
  8. http://stuffgate.com
  9. http://webstatsdomain.org
  10. http://dig.do
  11. http://mrwhatis.net

Top 20 URL Level Disavows

The following are the top twenty URL-level disavows across all disavow files.

  1. http://prlog.ru
  2. http://topalternate.com
  3. http://similarpages.com
  4. http://askives.com
  5. http://vnseo.com
  6. http://stuffgate.com
  7. http://webstatsdomain.org
  8. http://findeen.co.uk
  9. http://botw.org
  10. http://boxwind.com
  11. http://wopular.com
  12. http://popular.jp0.ru
  13. http://ppfinder.com
  14. http://busi-wiki.com
  15. http://siterow.com
  16. http://5go.cc
  17. http://webstats7.net
  18. http://trafficip.com
  19. http://keywordslanding.net
  20. http://ygaskme.com

Top 15 Disavowed IPs

The following are the top fifteen disavowed IPs:


Most Disavowed ccTLDs (Domain Level)

The following are most disavowed ccTLDs on the domain-wide level:

  1. .com
  2. .net
  3. .info
  4. .ru
  5. .uk
  6. .pl
  7. .de
  8. .biz
  9. .nl
  10. .us

Most Disavowed ccTLDs (URL Level)

The following are most disavowed ccTLDs on the URL level:

  1. .com
  2. .net
  3. .uk
  4. .info
  5. .pl
  6. .de
  7. .au
  8. .cn
  9. .ru
  10. .nl

Good Sites People Disavowed

Sometimes good links can get listed on a disavow file, and that’s dangerous according to Google.

„Disavowing links from sites like CNN is batshit stupid“ – Wise words from Gary Illyes 👍#BrightonSEO

— Lian (@li4n) September 15, 2017

Below is the number of times people disavowed non-malicious sites like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

Site URL Level Domain Level
google.com 73 25
bing.com 1 3
yahoo.com 89 70
facebook.com 25 6
twitter.com 3 2

Obviously our data doesn’t include everything out there on the web, but it is still interesting to see what people are disavowing.

What’s Next for Disavow Files?

Googler Gary Illyes recommends judicious use of disavow files, saying that disavows can directly impact SEO.

„If it makes you feel better, use the disavow tool. Be mindful that is a very powerful tool. “ @methode #brightonseo

— Aleyda Solis (@aleyda) September 15, 2017

We hope you will use the tool to gather insight on your disavow data and provide intelligence to the community. Upload your disavow files at DisavowFiles.com.

*Disclaimer: This article is not an instructional piece giving information about which sites to disavow. Our only aim is to provide the SEO community with insight about the common tendencies of disavow files. Bruce Clay, Inc. recommends that all the domains you elect to disavow be reviewed and approved by an SEO expert prior to submitting to search engines.

Source:: bruceclay.com

Artist Spotlight: Musketon

Musketon’s foray into illustration is one that many artists likely can relate to. A journey of creative trial and error led him to discover Adobe Illustrator, where he found his feet, and never looked back since. His success can be attributed to the fact he’s remained consistently dedicated to doing what makes him happy, regardless of the fact it can mean turning down big brands, and therefore the big bucks. It’s a decision however that maintains his sense of relatability, humour, and one that’s definitely paid off. We spoke to him to find out more:

ADOBE STOCK: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative background?

My name is Bert, but everybody knows me by my creative alter-ego: Musketon. I’m a 27 year old visual artist from Belgium (the home of great beer, chocolate and fries). I grew up in a small boring town. I bought my first ever computer when I was 16 with the money I made from washing cars in the neighbourhood. This computer was huge, ugly and so incredibly slow. But, it managed to run Adobe Photoshop. This is the moment I decided I wanted to become an artist. Thank you Adobe. I started out with editing photos, but this didn’t fill my creative void. I wanted to created stuff. So I started drawing in Adobe Illustrator. Thanks again Adobe! I very intensely started watching tutorials online and trying to master the different tools in Illustrator. After years of trial and error situations I managed to find my workflow in Illustrator and it’s amazing what you can create with a bit of patience and effort. At age 18 I was creating posters for local dj’s after school. I eventually got a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration. Today, 10 years later, I’m still drawing in Adobe Illustrator as a self-employed artist, Musketon. I like working on stuff that makes me happy. So I don’t limit myself to only working with big brands. If an individual comes up to me with an idea I can appreciate I will do whatever I can to work on the project. Passion and happiness are more important than money.

AS: How would you describe your style?

M: I’ve always been drawing. Scribbling on paper and basically everything I could get my hands on. Drawing on paper is a completely different skill though. My style was completely shaped by Adobe Illustrator. When I started creating in Illustrator I was limited. Limited in a good way. The crisp vector shapes defined me as an artist. Every illustration I make is still vector based. So to put it in a few catchy words: it’s very bold, colorful and accessible.

I always try to create something that I enjoy creating. I’m a very strong believer in doing stuff that makes you happy. That joy and happiness will always be translated in something good that people can relate to. My style is also constantly a work a progress. For me no change equals no progress and I don’t think I would enjoy my work if my style would still be the exact same thing as 10 years ago.

AS: Where do you look for when needing a shot of inspiration?

M: Inspiration is everywhere. But I try to look away as much as possible from my screens and take in as much as possible information from the outside world. I used to travel a lot and when I look back on that period of my life I see a huge increase of creativity in my work.

When travelling is not an option and the outside world isn’t giving me anything to work with I browse the internet. I love using inspiration sites like Pinterest or just scroll through Instagram feeds until I find something that triggers me.

AS: What’s been your biggest challenge to overcome in the design industry?

M: My challenges are variable. When I just started out as a self-employed artist my challenge was basically surviving by doing what I love doing the most: creating illustrations. I basically wanted to do the same as I was doing when I bought that first computer, but do it bigger and better. My main goal was to work with big brands. Brands I looked up to. Like Nike for instance.

Today, years laters, I can look back on that period with a big smile. I worked with the brands that were on my bucket list and did some super fun projects.

My biggest challenge has been playing catch up with myself. I’ve been working non stop ever since I finished school. Everything went from 0 – 100 at an insane pace. Last year I felt like I lost myself. I had no clue what to do and was stuck on every possible level. I was ready to give up when I punched a hole in the wall breaking my own hand. This broken hand forced me to not work for 6 weeks. Something I had never done before. These weeks made me focus on stuff that was important. I regained my lost energy and inspiration. I don’t recommend breaking your hand though. My point: try to look at things from a distance to put them in perspective and try to relax sometimes. It helps your creativity.

Now I still work with small and big brands, but I’m also focussing on personal projects. Projects that shape me as a person. One of my biggest personal projects is Vector City. This started out as a Kickstarter project which ended up being 300% funded. Vector City was eventually also published as a huge and limited edition art book and I did a few expos. I never expected it to grow so big (link to project). It also created a hunger to do more personal projects like this. I’m working on one as we speak, but you’ll see it when it happens!

Don’t go chasing client work, do stuff that you like and client work will present itself to you. Cheesy, but true.

AS: What are your perceptions of stock images, and do you think the perception is changing?

M: I think stock images in general (and their value) are way too underestimated. I’ve huge respect for photographers. It’s a skill like illustrating is a skill. I don’t possess this skill and it shows. My photos are always missing that magic touch a photographer has. Don’t ever ask me to shoot a photo, it triggers a stress effect in my body. I’m also a strong believer in only doing stuff you’re actually good at. So, Adobe Stock relieves me of stress and I can work with photos from talented people that do something they’re good at.

Whenever I feel like I need some inspiration, reference material, eye candy for presentations or the visualize a concept without investing an overdose of time I can count on stock photos.

I feel that Adobe Stock is a game changer. I was kinda sceptical when it came to stock photos because every single stock site was offering the exact same cheesy (and something creepy weird) photos. Adobe Stock is playing on a different level upping the bar by offering quality shots.

AS: What artists and designers should we be following?

M: Bram Vanhaeren: is a very talented multi-disciplinary artist. He’s always improving his style and keeps on finding new ways to grow. He’s known best for his very colourful portraits and illustrations. He also shares a lot of his fitness adventures which motivate me to exercise more. A year ago I couldn’t run 1k, yesterday I finished another 10k run. Thanks Bram.

Average Rob: unlike his name leds you to believe, Rob is the not your average Photoshop master. He’s basically photoshopping himself into photos with celebrities. Sure, this has been done before, but he’s always going the extra mile to make each photo better than the one before. I think his skills are not to be underestimated.

Laurent Beuten: better known as Itsmagichere on Instagram. I see a lot of touching points with my style and I like how he’s always evolving. I did a collaboration once with Laurent and very much enjoyed his insights and creative problem solving.

AS: What features did you most like the most about using Adobe Stock?

M: I love the 3D functions in Project Felix on Adobe Stock. I’m a 2D artist and I always envy people that can create 3D scenes. The 3D models sometimes help me understand lighting and shadow effects on complicated illustrations.

I also love the template options. When I need to mock up something quickly I just use the models available in the Adobe Stock database.

Another good reason to use Adobe Stock is just to be inspired or use certain elements as reference material when I’m working on an illustration.

AS: What’s been your favorite project to work on to date?

M: My all time favourite project I ever did was surely my very own personal project: Vector City. It was so fun to create something from scratch with literally no limitations. The only limitation I had was time and the fact that I had to sleep. I learned so much from this project and my illustration skills grew so much on such a short period of time.

If I need to pick a project that I enjoyed working on the most which isn’t a personal project than I would say I loved working with Mazda. Not just because of the project, but also because of the story behind it. A few years ago I bought my first car ever. A second hand Nissan Almera. This 20-year-old car was actually cheaper than my iPhone, but it got me from point A to point B. After a year of intense usage, this car started to fall apart (literally). So, it was time to move on to a new car.

Long story short: I became a brand ambassador for Mazda. Ambassador? So you’re probably thinking: “a free car in exchange for posts on social media? So you’re an influencer? Right?”.

Wrong. I’m a creator. I don’t believe in influencer-marketing. I do believe in doing something creative with brands so both you and the brand win something from the collaboration. I also believe in long-time partnerships with brands instead of hopping from one brand to the other. I believe in creating strong stories that people care about. Nobody cares if I would post a photo of a Mazda car. My photo would surely be less beautiful than the photos they have on their official website.

So, I used the Mazda 3 as a blank canvas to showcase my skills and created a full wrap art car. I also want to thank the great people at Mazda for supporting talent and thinking outside of the box. (photo of car).

I love all the projects I worked on. If I feel like a project isn’t a good fit for me I don’t take the job since I know it won’t give me any joy.

AS: What music do you currently listen to whilst working (if any!)?

M: I listen to movies while I’m working. How? Illustrator on one screen, a movie on the second screen. Why? The sounds work calming and keep me focussed. I’ve listened to Pulp Fiction over 10 times. I’ve only seen it twice. Listening to movies helps you appreciate them in a different way. A lot of the story is told through little details in audio you probably miss if you watch a movie.

AS: What design trends should we be looking out for in 2018?

M: Not really a design trend, but I think designing live is going to be big. It’s actually happening right now. I’ve started live streaming my screen while I’m working and I noticed people watching how I create my illustrations for hours and hours.

Animation and motion. Oh and gradients. I think. No I honestly have no clue. I always try to stay aways from trends. They die and are replaced with something new one day. Stay true to what you like doing the most.

I’m also really really excited to see what is going to happen over the next couple of years. We’re on a tipping point when it comes to technology. I tested the HTC Vive (virtual reality) for a while and I was absolutely blown away with the content that is being created for this device. It takes over all of your senses. I’ve always created on a screen. 2D and flat. When you step into the world of Google Tilt Brush this screen all of a sudden becomes a 3D environment. You create with you hands and can walk through your creations. Absolute madness.

A big thank you to Musketon. Check out more of his work on his website, Instagram and on Behance.

Source:: blog.fotolia.com

Artist Spotlight: Gordon Reid

Gordon Reid’s conquered the UK. And he’s now set his sights upon the USA. We came across the self-confessed ‘blagger‘ (note: a British term, ‘to blag‘, meaning being able to get something via persuasion, with a little luck thrown in), after his watching him on the livestream sessions at OFFF in Barcelona. Since then, we’ve seen him everywhere, from Adobelive with Michael Chaize in Paris, to speaking at D&AD in London. With such design presence in Europe, we reckon he’s got a strong chance of cracking America in 2018.

ADOBE STOCK: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative background?

Gordon Reid: Hi, I’m Gordon Reid, owner of Middle Boop which is a design agency focused on art direction, branding, graphic design and illustration. I live in Hackney and have a studio over in Stoke Newington. I started working mainly in the music industry then moved onto advertising where I am fortunate to have worked with and learned from some of the best in the industry, having worked at Saatchi & Saatchi, Grey, McCann and Adam & Eve DDB. I’ve worked with some of the biggest brands in the world in anything from the the Rio Olympics advertising, Nike, HSBC, GSK, Natwest, Lucozade, etc. to some popular bands like Mogwai, Bombay Bicycle Club and Newton Faulkne. But I love working with startup brands, products that are trying to find their voice and make a name for themselves by growing their brand. Those are the most exciting. I have worked with the D&AD for a couple of years now and also judged Creative Circle and Cannes Young Lions. I am currently touring my latest talk ‘Blag, Borrow and Steal your career‘ around the world and have spoken all over Europe and just about to tackle America.

AS: You go by the name ‘Middle Boop‘. What’s the background behind the name?

GR: Ah yes, well that name all came about when I was still at university. The deal was that I never wanted to do an internship, work for free and end up with the only way forward to become a junior designer earning his stripes by doing all of the crap work that no one else wanted to do. I just wanted to do my own thing, create my own work without having to deal with tight client specifications. I realised the value of creating quality work and figured, if I could do my own thing, create my own style and voice and gain my own clients, I could bypass all of that design agency stuff. Which….Thankfully worked in the end, after a few years of working out of my mums house creating posters for bands and fighting to earn some money. But to do all of this, I needed a name. Middle Boop came about as an in-joke between friends at a festival. It really doesn’t mean anything but, what it did was get me to the top of Google (as no one else in the world would have this sort of ridiculous name), and has had people asking the question about what the name is about ever since!

AS: How would you describe your style?

GR: Irreverent, geometric, vibrant and a total blag.

AS: Where do you find your inspiration?

GR: All over the place really, mostly me just meandering through day to day life and finding inspiration from things all around me, anything from an interaction to travel. I’m inspired a lot by old school British colloquialisms and humour.

AS: What’s been your biggest challenge to overcome in the design industry?

GR: Keeping ahead of the game has always been my biggest challenge. Keeping on top of new trends and making sure that, although I need to be aware of them, ensuring that my work doesn’t fall into the trap of a certain trend or style that will only be en vogue for a certain amount of time. I learned that lesson the hard way in the heady days of digital illustration. Getting known for doing one thing and one thing well is extremely important and necessary when you’re trying to find your voice and make a name for yourself in the industry, so people remember you and recognise your style. Like all of the great logos, you can take away the name of the brand and still instantly recognise that brand. You need your audience to recognise your work without really thinking about it. The flip side is, once you’ve established yourself, how do you stay ahead of the game and make sure yours is a style that is versatile enough to last and not age badly, on top of that, a style that works for all of the new technologies and trends that come out, so that you can build your career and evolve.

AS: What are your perceptions of stock images, and do you think the perception is changing?

GR: I think stock imagery and stock graphics can be a huge help for any creative for all sorts of reasons. Time is a massive one, stock sites can save so much time when trying to illustrate a particular message and sell in an idea, effective use of stock imagery can really speed up the process. The amount of ads and concepts I’ve worked on over the years where you comp together a few stock images and suddenly bring that image to life has saved me days and days. Also obviously it’s cost effective too, although some concepts are too abstract and it’s unavoidable to just shoot it, most ideas and concepts you can get away with using stock imagery to sell that idea in. People have also certainly been known to use stock imagery for final application of ads and graphics too. The quality of some of these images are undeniable so why not? I think as sites like Adobe Stock are coming into the forefront, perceptions are certainly changing and moving away from the ‘watermarked, white teeth, cheesy grinning office worker‘ shots that are readily available in some of the cheaper sites and more towards these sites being a total necessity in our industry.

AS: What’s been your favorite project to work on to date?

GR: Well I have to say, my favourite project recently was working with your good selves on the Adobe Live three day project with Michael Chaise, where I was filmed creating a piece, talking through my work and application for two hours over three days. That was such a unique project and I got to meet so many awesome people and get to know the Adobe community a lot better. Really enjoyable. I also got to work on the entire look and feel for the music festival Hijacked. That was so cool. It all started from one illustrated poster and then we built the entire brand and strategy around that. It ended up with all of the stages being crafted with huge 3D workings of my artwork. Incredible.

AS: What are you excited to work on in 2017?

GR: There’s so much I want to do this year really. I’m very excited about getting out on the road more and touring my talk ‘blag borrow and steal your career.‘ So far I’ve been all over Europe and am heading out to America this summer to do a few more conferences. On top of that, I’ve got some great projects just about to start, from branding, illustration, packaging and advertising. There are some cool brands I’ll be working with hopefully too so I’m definitely pumped to see how those go down.

AS: What music do you currently listen to whilst working (if any!)?

GR: I listen to so much music really. I’ve been working in the music industry since I started designing and thankfully with that I’ve been fortunate enough to tour and be pals with some amazing musicians and bands who send me their music. I basically listen to very noisy, heavy droney stuff, East coast rap, and all sorts of other depressing stuff.

AS: What design trends should we be looking out for this year?

GR: Anything I’m doing, keep an eye on my work and that will keep you busy ha.

A big thanks to Gordon for speaking with us. You can find out more about Gordon and Middle Boop on his website, on Behance and on Instagram.

Source:: blog.fotolia.com