more about wild ideas

With so much going on around us, and seemingly so little time to fit everything in, then we tend to be quick to dismiss things that don’t have real power  . . . .

It has to be something big, or extremely relevant, or intensely shocking perhaps, or a teaser to evoke our curiosity,
but the words have to be just right

That is the challenge of the marketer – What grabs your attention?

Part of my job, as a designer is to help people understand what they need to include in their design. . . .
You can’t make something out of nothing, the ingredients have to be right.

Why did you open the blog this week?
Do you always just like to read anyway? – well Thank you

Maybe you sometimes read – if you have nothing better to do?

Or if the title sounds interesting?

What about todays headline? – did it grab you more than usual?
are you curious about the scandal that gets my approval?

*Well that is exactly it!

. . . . .So  I do my social networking a little half heartedly, to be honest, I am aware that I should be doing more,
but it’s back to that time versus priority thing, but anyway, an emailed Facebook post this week really stopped me in my tracks. . .

This Young Mom Is Giving Up On Her Kids. Sounds Terrible…But I Think She’s Right.
Stephanie is a mom of two kids and recently had enough. She wrote an eye-opening public confession on her blog…
after I saw it, I totally agree with her. She writes:

As a mother myself, it instantly grabbed my attention, because it was, 1. relevant,
but then I clicked on and read it also because it was, 2. shocking . . . 3. excited my curiosity. . ..

The whole blog, is not nearly as dramatic as the headline would have us believe – but I did not discover that until I had read it –
so then its done, the headline has achieved its aim.

And then I even could not resist reading a couple more, the first one being:
This Man Is Dating Someone Even Though He’s Married. Sounds So Wrong…But I’m On His Side. –

Are you desperate to read these too, are you wondering why I have not added the links? (like I usually do)
well be patient – I want you to read this first.

If you are feeling like this, then I hope you will be starting to realise the point which is

In order to get your marketing to work, you need to grab the attention of your potential customers, YOU NEED TO WRITE A FANTASTIC HEADLINE.

A headline that is or contains, at least one of these:

1. Emotive
2. Relevant
3. Exciting and curious
4. Shocking
5. Scandal
5. Price Offer / Saving

If you can go one step further and be very clever (as the dating man article) is above

If you can write the truth in such a way, that our minds will read between the lines and jump to the obvious “shocking” conclusion – then you have truly grabbed attention. . . .

. . . . This is the scandalous part, that we (well some of us*) are tuned in to want to read anything that appears shocking, the newspapers do it all the time, dramatise and exaggerate for effect.

This tactic will not work for everyone –

*My husband for example, just cannot be bothered with gossip mongering tittle tattle, and this stuff just does not work on him.
So you need to know what is going to tear the heart strings, or the wallet, or the curiosity of your target audience to get results.

Of course once you have got the attention, with a great headline
you need to keep it with the rest of the information your marketing / article / flyer provides, and make sure your product and service are up to scratch too.

And wherever possible keep the same headline on all your stuff – when you run a campaign make sure you repeat the headline from your flyer on your web page too . . . . .

. . . . . so people landing on your site recognise it, and know they are in the right place and stay there.

So the second of the couple more articles / blogs I read was:

This Man Is Getting A Divorce In 2014. Sounds So Wrong…But I’m Totally With Him On This.

I did rather like this one, particularly as it relates to a similar subject I talked about in my own blog
of last summer “Great! no internet” – read again here.

And if you do still want to read these blogs . . .

(not so) Bad mother –
(very nice) Cheating husband –
2014 Divorce –

Read what other people write – be constantly aware of what works on you, and ask your friends to be brutally honest and critical
before you commit to a headline on your own marketing – if no-one reads it – its not going to sell anything for you.

PS – Its not easy, and there are no magic answers – A thesaurus and dictionary helps – so give it your best shot.
paying a copywriter could be worth its weight in ROI (return on investment).
thanks for reading


Have you heard the news this week?
to be fair you probably heard much more than I did, as my snippet usually consists of
Radio 2, 6.30am headline bulletin, when I am still half asleep . . .

. . . . then backed up by the repeat 7am bulletin, when I am in the kitchen – but the radio is in
the lounge. (open plan house helps to facilitate a chance at hearing at least some of this)

Then maybe  – if we get the TV on at breakfast time early enough – and the boys don’t moan all over
it – I get the kids version on CBBC Newsround at 8.15.

Anyway, the news – did I not only say 3 weeks ago about the 9 a day fruit and veg thing
– Have you heard that news this morning?   –   eat your heart out BBC, you heard it here first!

More news this week – major milestone moment afoot, with the legalisation of gay marriage. . . .
(this is not a debate on gay marriage, merely a reference to a Legal Milestone)

My first and last opinion on the subject is, just because you have been born
with a genetic makeup that means you are attracted to persons of the same sex, by no fault
of your own, you should still be entitled to have your feelings for another human being
recognised and declared by law.

In previous years when, unmarried mothers, had to cover the shame by having their children
adopted, and OMG couples were “living in sin”  . . . . 

. . . .then anyone who is willing and happy to proclaim their love and devotion to another person
for the long haul, (particularly against so much negativity) deserves the right to do so.
One Life – Let them Live it!

Moving on . . . .
The next Milestone, is a business one, this week the first of our DBN and Wild Ideas
FREE website offer, for all design orders of £50. went live.

The website is for a very nice man, by the name of Miles D Beddows, who I met
when a friend of his contacted me to buy him “business card designs” as a christmas present. . . .

His friend was so impressed by the beautiful guitar and lute playing that he had done
at her daughters wedding, and a few other venues and events,
that she felt he could be making more of his talent and promoting himself properly.

Great idea if you are looking for an unusual gift.

I met with them both, at Miles home, and had a thorough detailed meeting
chatting over what ideas he had for his cards . . .

I listened carefully as he talked about his passion for music,  I made notes of his likes and dislikes,
talked about styles and colours and typefaces, took photographs and mental images of
curtain fabric and decoration. . . .

All these things to build up an understanding of the personality of the client, in order to
translate these things into his business card – which is a printed personality. . .

Various emailed design submissions, tweaks and adjustments
followed by much deliberation and careful decision making, by the client . . .

. . .and the business cards were finally printed in March, and I designed the
FREE website, to follow on with the branding and style.

It is important, that when a prospective client lands on your website, they can instantly recognise
the same branding from whichever piece of marketing literature you have handed them –
then they are 100% certain that they are in the right place.

Establish your brand and stick with it – don’t have a blue logo and flyer and then orange
and yellow on your website – folk may think they have come to the wrong place
– then one click and they are gone!

So Miles got his Stone when his site went live this week, you can read about him and what he does
at – he has achieved a small goal, set his first milestone and progressed
his hobby into the first rung of a business.

The wedding season is getting closer, do you know anyone getting married soon . .

. . . if you are interested in some beautiful classical and elegant acoustic sounds
to accompany you up the aisle, and / or create a perfect ambience to the surroundings
at your reception, then you can’t go far wrong here.

There are a few more sites progressing in the pipeline
but I have a limitless supply of stones available, even if you’re not called Miles,
you can read all about how the design process works on my website, then just give me a call.

thanks for reading

Knowledge is power, and technology is running away with itself at an infinite speed. This week the news has been full of robotics, and all I keep seeing in my head is snippets from the iRobot movie.

Hollywood is guilty of great feats of escapism, taking us completely out of ourselves to levels of intense emotion and insane thrills of entertainment . . .

So when the real world comes sneaking in the back door with a suggestion of encroaching on those levels it all becomes a tad unnerving

Am I being a drama queen – maybe . . . . but I am a little uncomfortable with talk of robots doing so many things.

Anyway workwise, after chasing all my leads, and following up on quotations, while I am waiting for people to get back to me I have been making good use of my time . . .

The postcards I designed for the ongoing FREE website offer with DBN web design came this week, and I had a trip round Fradley and Alrewas, distributing them to local businesses, and public places so anyone who may be interested gets to hear about it

Reminder – FREE website offer, for all design orders of £50.

And with websites quite high in my mind, I took the time to listen to an online video recording, that I came across, ( this guy is a marketing guru who has appeared on TV etc etc,

Anyway, I have listened to various people and when you realise that they are all saying pretty much the same things then you start to be convinced, that there is obviously some truth. . .

What is rather nice more recently, that after the past year of listening and implementing things on my website, I do tend to smile a little when I listen and read the advice, because instead of wincing and saying “Oh heck – I have not got that on my website”

I can in fact say, “Yep, I’ve done that”

and when I get telephoned by various marketing sales people, they do more recently actually compliment my site, and agree that its pretty good and ticks a lot of boxes . . .

My yell account Handler, ran my site through their website analysis recently, and it scores 8 out of 10,  . . . .

. . . . and that was it, there was no sales pitch telling me how they could amend and improve it ” for a really good price”.    Well that was a nice surprise.

So back to the Chris Cardell video I watched, which listed some important things about making your marketing successful:

1. The eight second website test – is yours engaging enough to keep people past 8 seconds?
make sure each page has a specific purpose, and is clear.

2. Use Video on your website
(Chris says: “Video is revolutionizing the internet and those who are embracing its power are reaping the rewards.”)

3. Use social media / facebook- interact and update and inform.

4. Build relationships with people – blog and engage and inform.

5. Give People Free Material. – valuable downloads and information.
(Chris says: “Don’t hold back. If the purpose of your business is to add real value to peoples’ lives – start now)

6. Test Pay Per Click Advertising
(Chris says: “Pay per Click propels you to the top of the search engines without spending months on search engine optimization that probably won’t work anyway.”)

7. Email marketing – update and engage and inform –
(Chris says: “One of the reasons that Email Marketing is so powerful is because if you set it up properly, your entire email operation can be automated.”)

So, which one are you?

A “Oh heck – I have not got that on my website” . . . . B   “Yep, I’ve done that”

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I am not the expert, but if knowledge is power, and my own site scores 8 out of 10, then I am getting somewhere.

If you want to learn a whole lot more, then have a listen to Chris and draw your own conclusions.

Thank you for all the birthday greetings popping up in my inbox as I type this today . . .

Tuesday March 4th 2014 – today I am another year older – (40 something, but half the time I can’t remember the something), and this week a little wiser. . . .

I learned how to make animated Gifs in photoshop. – I have just never needed to do this before.

(Don’t mis-read this, I did mean gifs – as in ‘Graphic File Interchange’ format files – not Gifts as in lots of nice things you receive on your birthday – although I got a couple of those too.)

Which was extremely useful because. . . .

1. I had paid for an animated button advert, on the Derby county cricket club website (that gets 10,000 hits a month) and I needed artwork, and was reluctant, but initially resigned to, letting their art-worker animate my images.

2. It was a real boost to discover something new, I had never used, or needed to use in the past, was completely achievable within software I already owned.

3. Good old internet technology meant that with a 1 minute google search, and watching less than half of a 6 minute you tube video I was on my way.

The down side, for me however is that being such an absolute perfectionist means that I spent the next 4-5 hours experimenting and tweaking options and timings until I was completely 110% happy with the finished result.

The good thing for my clients is that I enjoy designing so much, and am so dedicated to getting the best result achievable, it can be hard to stop. (even within the limitations of their budgets).

I love designing, it is a part of me, in my blood, and I do not like to submit sub standard work, because I am not a sub standard person. I like perfection in everything.

Which means that because I apply the same kind of dedication to all my design work, my clients pretty much always get more than they pay for.

So it is always nice to get something for Free every once in a while.

My client base is building, and the wild ideas schedule is continuing well, so I always have something to be getting on with.

The on-going offer with DBN web design is bringing in work
Reminder – FREE website offer, for all design orders of £50.
But the one thing that I would like, and works well for all of us for everything is word of mouth recommendations.

I always ask my clients if they wouldn’t mind giving me a testimonial, if they have been happy with the service I have given them.

And the easiest way for them to do this, as well as giving themselves some free advertising is to add a review to my free index page which you can do here.

Free index allows any business to create an advertising listing – but as the name suggests it is completely free, and you also get a widget to add on your own website, that displays your reviews.

I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone starting a business, it is easy to register, by just clicking the Advertise free button, top left.

By adding details and images and information about your business you build up a profile, much like other websites, but I do particularly like this one.

You can register search terms too, and get notifications when potential clients have searched for services / products you offer, and then get the opportunity to contact these people.

I have done some work this way.

They have in the past been pretty high in the google rankings too, although searching today they are not doing so well. – There is a lot of competition out there, so maybe it is just a dip.

But if you are interested in looking at my gif, here it is . . . . .

Do you want more business for your business?

Do you want more business for your business?

You know where I am if you want something creating for your own marketing, or website!

And if you want more business for your business then make sure you really push those word of mouth testimonials and ask happy clients to put their mouse where their mouth is, and type you a proper free-index review.

Or even just email you something that we can add to your new free website.

With website design being fairly prominent in my mind recently due to the offer. . . . .

Reminder – FREE website offer, for all design orders of £50

Then font licensing has been one consideration that I have had to bear in mind.

Now its all well and good using fonts from your computers operating system on a print job, as long as you turn them into outline paths before you send them elsewhere, for print, however . . .

When you type something on your website, then you want the text to be editable, to benefit from easy amendment, and live, to benefit from google recognition and SEO (search engine optimisation) . . .

Basically you need all your words to be readable by the search engines to help your website get found more easily!

So that means that you can’t just use any old typeface, (unless you own the licence for it). You need to use a font that is licensed for the internet, or free, with an open source licence . . .

. . . which means there are minimal restrictions, and it is open for all to use.

The first port of call for this would be Google fonts.

All these fonts can be used on your website, or your print, and downloaded to your computer, or with a little effort used “on the cloud”. . . . .  (

. . . . which basically means you can access and use them over your internet connection without having to copy them onto your computer.

Your web developer can also access the “code” to insert into your website so that anyone who views your website will see all your type displayed exactly as it was intended, in the correct font it was intended, as their device will be reading “on the cloud” too.

Which means that if they didn’t know Alice Cagliostro before, they will be able to do now!

Alice Cagliostro is in fact  – Alice M Cagliostro (Age 106) living in Citrus Heights, CA, a white American Female, born in Massachusets 1908.  (

OK OK now I have really confused you, is she your granny I hear you ask?

She is in fact, back to the point of the blog, 2 different things, she is Alice, and she is Cagliostro, and both are names given for google fonts that I have recently used on 2 different design and also web projects.

And when she was younger, Alice was seen as a. . .
“quick brown fox that jumps over a lazy dog”, (which is still an option)

but nowadays things have got rather more sinister, as she appears to have become a . . .
“grumpy wizard who makes toxic brew for the evil queen and Jack” (the default)

Well I guess if the queen is evil she deserves to be poisoned, (She was pretty nasty to Snow White) but poor old Jack (although he did swap a cow, steal a hen and kill a giant! – it all sounds like something out of a fairy tale . . . .

Do you remember this from blog 9?. . . .
“The secret history of Tom Truehart boy adventurer”  by Ian Beck – which incidentally is a great kids read too!
Find out more in the land of stories here……..

I digress, (as per usual) sorry just trying to be cryptic – just google’s sentence that covers the whole alphabet, to display every letter format.

But if you don’t like those words or you need to see what a particulate word or sentence looks like then you can just type it in the preview text box at the top of the page and it will appear in every font.

Then you can add to collection any that you like and review at the end before you make your final choices.

Anyway, if you are struggling for a new font to use on a project, then take a look,

Theres Gabriela Galdeano, and Allan Jura as 4 other alternatives, and they are always adding more. . .

and have a go with the cloud (

There are other font sites too, as ever, with the internet there seems to be no shortage of just about anything, at the end of our fingertips, see what you can find and have a play . . .

So no excuses for not getting creative and making your documents and letters fun and fancy, enjoy!

Well the take up of the DBN / Wild ideas Free website offer is going well so far. I am going to be busy busy busy.

Reminder – FREE website offer, for all design orders of £50

The main thing that has cropped up during discussions with clients is the choice of website domain.

Now as a competent user of the internet, I am familiar with the word domain, and I think we can all get a bit complacent with our own knowledge, and need to be patient when explaining to others.

I have in fact blogged in the past, at my own realisation of in fact how much I do know, when I speak to others and become aware that they are looking rather blankly at me.

We are all experts in our own field, and should rejoice in the snippets of information that we pick up along the way, treasure them for the jewels that they are, and value ourselves for the knowledge we have gained.

(and always be ready to listen to others who are happy to pass on more treasure to us).

Anyway , I digress. The point is, domain names – I know what it means, but I have discovered that whilst helping some of my new business clients in getting that first step onto the internet with their FREE website, they do not fully understand what a domain name really is.

So, for those who don’t know, I will explain, here. (we all know, just some of us may not be familiar with the terminology).

With a website you need an address, and all web addresses are on the world wide web, so I imagine we all understand (these days) where W (world) W (wide) W (web) comes from, which is the first part of your address.

So that is the first part that is universal to us all, and just lets everyone know that is is a website address basically. SO all websites start with www.

The parts that are unique are the middle bit (and if I use my own website as an example) after the www. comes my domain: linda wild ideas (which without any spaces becomes lindawildideas)

The other main part that will be the same as lots of other websites is the extension at the end. The (which I is the united kingdom company standard for british based websites).

So to end my own website I too have
making my domain name

And I can then use that domain name for both my website and my emails. Making my business look professional.

For my website I will add the www. at the beginning:
. . .and for my email I will add linda@ at the beginning:

there are lots of other extension choices instead of

The following excerpt is so well written I have borrowed it from a well known domain registration service site and explains the basics.

“There are so many different domain extensions such as .biz, .info, .net, .so, .sx and .xxx. But which is best for you? That depends on what you are doing with your website.

Now, if you’re looking to set up a personal site or a professional portfolio to showcase your skills and experience, then extensions like .me .pro or .pm or .pw would work best.
There are many different extensions. Some are country specific, so you might need to satisfy certain conditions to register them, for some like .eu you need to live in the European Union to be able to register the domain.But generally it is down to your own taste and any domain will be suitable.

If you are selling products in the UK a will be perfect as it is recognised as the UK extension. If you are selling internationally a .com would be more suitable as it is the internationally recognised domain for commerce.”

But as we are in the UK the one you will probably prefer to have is, which is the one that is included for free with our offer).

And so to the next bit that you have to really think about – and which will be unique – so if someone else has already registered it you will need to get creative and clever.

Your actual personal domain, the name of your website, the title, the part that you tell everybody, and the bit that hints to others what your website is about.

If Joanne owns a flower shop she may well call her business Joannes flowers, and then her domain name would be:  joannesflowers  or she may want joannesflowershop.

It is also possible to add hyphens to make the name easier to read, joannes-flowers or joannes-flower-shop. But then when you tell people you have to specify the hyphens which makes it rather a mouthful to describe.

But generally, with your domain name choice the shorter the better, which makes it easier to remember, if you can make it work for your business.

However this is where you are the master, but you need to be clever, by being logical and sensible.

Try to avoid the use of incorrect grammar and non-standard spelling of words, all these things make it harder to explain when verbally telling people your web address. (be aware of the pitfalls if you choose this option).

One thing you could perhaps do is have your nice attractive domain name, and then also register the boring but logical sensible one(s) and have them point to your fun one!

Two lots of people are going to be using your website:

1. Those who have seen your marketing and have the web address in front of them either to type it into their browser or click an online link.
2. Those who are typing into google and looking for what you are selling.

The fun name will be fine for user 1.

But when you need to try and catch user 2 that you need to be smart with your domain choice.

If you want to find a flower shop and you are in google – what would you type?

Do you type “flower shop”? or specifically do you search by location? and type “flower shop lichfield” –  as I might do living in Lichfield.

So something to consider, and especially if you market to a local area, adding that area to your domain name.

Joanne, may decide then to have her domain as joannes flowers lichfield (joannesflowerslichfield). It will certainly help if her actual domain name contains the actual word that people are searching for.

If you want to checkout website availability then you can do this here

Hopefully I have given you plenty to think about and research so you can be ready, but if you need a little help then just get in touch with me here.
or my affiliates at DBN here

Reminder – FREE website offer, for all design orders of £50

This week, we have had the wrong trousers debate, on wash day . . . .

My four year old son is very strong willed (like his mum), and very small for his age. As a parent you often hear other parents say that children grow so fast that none of the clothes ever wear out.

Well we are the exception to that rule, thats the royal “we” and more specifically his highness Lucas, who is still wearing age 12 – 18 months in some of his clothes.

He knows what he likes, and he likes what he knows, and he does not like trying new things, and he definitely does not like wearing the wrong trousers.

I have lots of hand me downs that would fit, but he has his favourite pair, patched on both knees, slightly thicker denim, slightly narrower leg, and elasticated adjustable waist.

They are just more comfy I guess, and he wears them most of the time, despite having a drawer full of perfectly acceptable, un-patched alternatives.

And he makes himself extremely well heard that he is not going to wear any of the other pairs, and he wants the specific favourite pair, and has a temper tantrum when they have to go in the wash.

Now as a four year old he can (almost) get away with a temper tantrum. As a four year old who is smaller than most two year olds, I can get away with him having a temper tantrum (if it is in public).

Wouldn’t we all love to have our own temper tantrums. . .  I bet you all secretly do – in your own personal way . . . .

. . . . As a graphic designer, (one of those creative types), and working at home alone at my computer, I have on occasion got so impatient and frustrated with, the software, the hardware, myself maybe, that I have come close to an adult version of a temper tantrum.

So lets get back to a point . .. He knows what he likes, and he likes what he knows, which from my point of view as a designer is the perfect client. . . almost.

You see design is such a broad spectrum, and my dreams are not necessarily your dreams, but for me to be able to create that perfect fit with your ideal and the end design, it helps if you know what you like.

I have often said that design has very few right or wrong answers, it is about what fits for each person, and what they like.

There is in definition nothing wrong with any of the trousers in my sons drawer, but to him they don’t quite fit his ideal.

When you want to design a product to represent your business, you need to think about coming from within you, so it is a little bit of what you like. . . .

. . . and then the important compromise, who are you trying to sell your services, and products to. “Your target audience is?” Because they need to like it too.

And to put a different spin on the wrong trousers story. . .

My son’s drawer is full of trousers that I like, hey I chose them, but he is my target audience, and he’s not buying them is he, so I am not getting any sales!

So when you are thinking about creating your business, cards, website, flyers, promotional literature, letterheads, catalogues . . . . . .

Take time out to work out who is your target audience. How old are they, where do they work, what do they read?, what leisure activities do they enjoy?, how much spare money do they have to spend on what you are selling?

How are you going to “speak” to them? . . . what kind of language will they respond to? . . . . What do they want to hear? . . . .what will make them listen?

your 80 year old granny is (probably) unlikely to enjoy a punk rock gig – and should (probably) be appalled at the way a poster advertising that gig is presented – coz then it will more likely to appeal to your 18 year old son!

OK so now we are getting somewhere . . . it’s a bit of a stereotypical analogy to demonstrate the point . . . but as you can see it’s not rocket science.

So this is why as a designer, when a potential client comes to me, and what a quote for a design, I always schedule a FREE, detailed briefing meeting with them, and include all those specifics in their unique personal quotation.

You could almost refer to it as a “fitting”. They get to know me, I get to know them, and we talk about their design ideals, and their target audience, and where they want the end result to fit.

I don’t do “off the peg”.  But I do have a value range, and a FREE flexible payment system.
As a designer, there are an endless amount of trousers in my dressing room. You just need to try on a few pairs and find the perfect fit.
Reminder – FREE website offer, for all design orders of £50

Enjoy this snippet: