Online Art Gallery Celebrates Decade of Progress in Making Art Accessible

UGallery.comUGallery Art in Room, a curated online art gallery, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The milestone marks a decade of devising new ways for buyers to shop for original artwork. Since its founding, UGallery has transformed the traditional art gallery into an accessible online experience by connecting buyers with one-of-a-kind artworks at price points lower than typically seen at brick-and-mortar galleries.

With roots as a business school project at the University of Arizona, UGallery initially served as an online outlet for student artists to sell their work.  When the site launched, it featured 25 works by 5 artists. Now, UGallery.com represents 500 emerging and mid-career artists from around the world.

“In the past, art was a black box – brick-and-mortar galleries were intimidating and there was little price transparency,” said co-founder and CEO Stephen Tanenbaum. “We launched UGallery with a mission to flip the art industry on its head and make original art accessible to everyone.”

UGallery operates much like a local gallery but has a global reach. UGallery has more than 2 million followers and sells art in 45 nations.

Curators choose the artists and works that will be featured, post detailed descriptions for each artwork, maintain individual relationships with artists, and host events for artists and clients. UGallery.com has offices in San Francisco and New York and a presence at art fairs. But they do most of their marketing online.

The company credits their service-oriented approach to e-commerce for their 40% year-over-year growth over the past three years. Art buyers get free shipping and returns. The artist ships the purchased art directly to the buyers in custom-built shipping boxes.

“We strive to be the premier online gallery,” said co-founder and Gallery Director Alex Farkas. “We focus a lot of energy on finding the most talented artists and connecting them with enthusiastic art buyers. Our mission is to develop lifelong relationships.”

 

Indie Author Conference Helps Guide New Professional Authors

Digital Book World LogoAre you one of the “new professional authors?” If so, you are driving your own career just as if you were in business for yourself.

You direct your own output. You determine your own branding. You coordinate the production of your book. You execute on your own market strategy. And whether you choose to pursue traditional publishing or not, you must be an agent for your own success.

If you accept this description of new professional authors, check out the first  DBW Indie Author Conference for independent and hybrid authors. It will be held Thursday, January 19 in conjunction with the eighth annual Digital Book World (DBW) conference January 17-19, 2017 at the New York Hilton Midtown.  (DBW is an event where publishing professionals and their technology partners will come together to learn about the latest tools and techniques for smarter book publishing in a digital world.)

Indie Author Conference

At the DBW Indie Author Conference, you will get a high-level view of current challenges and opportunities for indie authors plus practical information that can help you become a better professional publisher of your own work.

“The landscape for independent and hybrid authors is ever-shifting. That creates a lot of questions and confusion among people who are very new to the industry, and frankly for those who are experienced as well,” said Indie Author Conference Captain Jane Friedman. “There’s a proliferation of businesses out there that serve the indie author market, especially when it comes to book distribution and marketing. But there’s not much information or instruction on how to make the best decision for your career, your book, or your goals. The DBW Indie Author Conference will address all of these important topics.”

The DBW Indie Author event speaks directly to entrepreneurial authors with actionable sessions such as:

  • The Sophisticated Ways of Today’ s Indies
  • What Independent Can Mean in Today’s Industry
  • The Rise of the Platforms
  • Face-to-Face Conversations with Enablers of Your Career
  • The Indie Universe Quantified + The Author’s Career
  • Success Stories;
  • The New Professional Author Is in Control

Workshops for intermediate and advanced authors include:

  • The Indispensable Elements of an Author’s Marketing
  • Readership Development: They Can’t Read You If They Can’t Find You
  • Branding Your Future: When to Hire Help
  • Reaching out to Readers Through SEO.

At the DBW Indie Author Conference, you can talk with leading service providers who can help you decide how to move forward with your publishing goals.

The networking opportunities at the Indie Author Conference can help you catch a new direction, spot a new trend, and access marketing know-how.

Conference Speakers

“Our speakers know that indie authors are at a turning point,” said Porter Anderson, co-founder of The Hot Sheet, “After years of development, the independent movement is coming into its own.”

Speakers include:

Jane Friedman, editor and publisher of The Hot Sheet, columnist with Publishers Weekly, a professor with The Great Courses, an award-winning blogger at JaneFriedman.com and a DBW 2017 program captain

Judith Curr, president and executive vice president, Atria Books Division of Simon &
Schuster

Mary Rasenberger, executive director, The Authors Guild

Orna Ross, author and the founding director of Alliance of Independent Authors

Jon Fine, publishing consultant and strategist for digital and traditional media organizations, content creators and the creative community, and former Amazon director of author and publisher relations

Margaret Harrison, director, product metadata, Ingram Content Group

Porter Anderson , co-founder of The Hot Sheet, editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives, principal of Porter Anderson Media and a DBW 2017 program captain

Richard Nash, digital media consultant , start-up adviser and serial entrepreneur

Dana Kaye, owner and publicist, Kaye Publicity, and author of Your Book, Your Brand: A Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Sales

Data Guy, the tech and data wizard behind the Author Earnings website who oversees Author Earnings’ data scraping and analysis

Registration

For more information about registration, visit www.digitalbookworldconference.com. The early registration discount ends December 2.

Digital Book World is sponsored by F+W, a content and e-commerce company that connects passionate, like-minded groups of people to share an ongoing exchange of information, idea and inspiration. Many writers know F+W as the long-time publisher of Writer’s Digest magazine and writing-related books and online resources, including Writer’s Market.

 

 

ThePaperWorker.com Helps Artrepreneurs Make Memorable Impressions

Building an identity for yourself as an artist, designer, author, or photographer is a challenge. Not only are you judged by the creativity and originality of your work, but you may also be judged by how creatively and professionally you present yourself.

Whenever you interact with fans and customers online (through your website, blog, and social media) and in real life (at art fairs, book signings, or photo exhibitions), every interaction adds up to make a memorable impression. (Marketers call these interactions ‘touchpoints.’)

How you package your products also speaks volumes about your commitment to your craft. Is your packaging bland, boring, and cheap-looking? Or do customers feel like they are receiving a wonderful gift to themselves when they receive a box in the mail from you.

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One company that can help you make a consistently first-class impression is ThePaperWorker.com.

Through ThePaperWorker.com, you can use online templates and digital design tools to order as many boxes as need, whether it’s 5, 10, 20, or 100, or anywhere in between. At the same time, you can order presentation folders, tabletop display signs, or banners that you can take with you to events where you will be selling your works in person.

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“Our packaging has detail and dimension, we have created ways to make the process easy and straightforward for our customers, regardless of their knowledge of custom packaging,” said Todd Anson, president of ThePaperWorker.com “Pricing is broken down simply by quantity, product descriptions are detailed, templates are provided in PDF/EPS formats, and 3D PDFs are available to view on every product.”

If you prefer to have an experienced package designer create your packaging graphics or review the designs you have uploaded, you can request those services on ThePaperWorker.com website.

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If you deliver files on DVDs or thumb drives, you can create presentation materials that remind clients of why they should continue to work with you.

Expertise from The Colad Group

All of the products available through ThePaperWorker.com reflect the deep expertise of The Colad Group, a company that has been developing custom presentation materials and packaging for more than 60 years.

Until five or six years ago, The Colad Group could only serve customers who needed at least 250 boxes. That’s because their printing processes required making plates for each color of ink and dies for cutting and scoring the box designs on a die-cutting press.

Digital printing and cutting technology has changed all that. Orders submitted through ThePaperWorker.com are produced on automated digital presses and finishing equipment. Full-color photographic images can easily be printed on the boxes without the extra time and costs associated traditional offset printing.

For more information about the benefits of custom packaging, see the infographic posted on The Colad Group blog.

More about The Colad Group’s commitment to using and recycling environmentally friendly packaging materials, is available on their website.

 

Superfine! Art Fair Aims to Humanize the Art World

When art collectors, dealers, and gallerists come to Miami Art Week the first week of December, the Superfine! art fair will remind them that significant changes are underway in how art is discovered, experienced, and purchased.

superfinelogoSuperfine! The Fairest Fair is a Miami-based contemporary art fair that wants to humanize the art world by building a platform for the passionate people who create and showcase art. The ultimate goal of the Superfine! art fair is to deliver high-quality, accessibly priced artwork direct to collectors and collectors-to-be.

During Miami Art Week December 1-4, 2016, Superfine! art fair will feature several large-scale installation projects by local and international artists.

Air sculpture by Asser Saint-Val

For example, fair-goers who approach the main Superfine! space directly across from Art Miami’s main tent will be greeted by a massive, surreal air sculpture by Haitian-born, Miami-based artist Asser Saint-Val.  A 20 x 20 ft. helium-filled sculpture will float above a queen-sized bed equipped with headphones and scented with fragrances by the installation sponsor CARON Paris.

Within the Superfine! art space, photographic artist Mark Reamy from Vermont will invite attendees to shuffle, dance, and interact with their own shadows and those of other fair-goers via his “See You on the Other Side” multi-media installation.

Artist Tyler Whitlock of Asheville, NC will showcase politically charged and profanely relevant mixed-media paintings that use his patented “glitch-collage” style.

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The Nice N’ Easy team of artists Jeffrey Noble and Allison Matherly are creating an immersive, environmental installation in the rear garden area of the facility. The “technicolor pastel picnic” will feature customized swing sets, a project mapped mural, and carefully chosen native plants. The immersive work will serve as both a functional seating area and nostalgia-driven backdrop for the fair’s programming, which includes educational panels, music, and social events.

A mobile art gallery housed in refurbished Shasta trailer will house a playfully dark and surreal micro-theater experience by artist Jen Clay.

The full list of exhibitors is posted on the Superfine! website.

Reaching collectors-to-be

The Superfine! art fair platform provides a space for artists, curators, and forward-thinking dealers to connect with emerging collectors who may feel excluded by more traditional art settings. The fair organizers believe “inspired, original artwork is an aesthetic necessity in the lives of everyone, not just a select few.”

Superfine! began in 2015 as a challenge to the art establishment. In the 60,000 square foot office building they refurbished in the Little Haiti district of Miami, they are creating an accessible means for galleries, artists, and designers to directly reach a targeted clientele within a dynamic setting.

Superfine! believes collectors are “the grease that makes the gears of the art world turn.” So they strive to give new collectors access to the best work out there.

In conjunction with Miami Art Week, Superfine! will host a Young Collectors’ Ice Cream Social on December 1 and a panel discussion entitled, “Sorry, I’m Not a Collector” on December 4. The panel will address the concerns of art-world outsiders who might want to become collectors and suggest actions that art establishments could take to attract the steady stream of new collectors they require to further the careers of their artists.

Superfine!’s year-round programming includes countless opportunities for emerging and established Miami collectors to connect with art throughout the year.  Their next big presentation is scheduled for President’s Day weekend in February.

Packlane Serves Creative Entrepreneurs Who Want Custom Packaging

If you sell your own branded products online, consider custom packaging. It can set you apart from competitors and make a big impression on your customers.

According to a 2016 eCommerce Packaging Study by Dotcom Distribution, the quality of your packaging can play a role in fostering customer loyalty. In their survey, 40 percent of the respondents said they would be more likely to purchase from an online retailer again if the product they ordered came in gift-like or premium package.

Thanks to companies such as Packlane, you no longer have to be a high-volume seller of products to afford great-looking packaging.

Packlane custom boxes

Whether you need a few small cartons or large printed shipping boxes, Packlane can help you create full-color, customized packaging that will get your customers excited about what’s inside.

In addition to ordering as few as 10 boxes, you can choose the graphics, the size and type of box, and the type of materials used.

When it’s time to re-order new boxes, you can adjust the design to include seasonal messaging or update your branding. You won’t risk being stuck with hundreds of boxes with outdated graphics.

Types of Boxes

Packlane offers three main styles of boxes: a classic carton, a mailer box, a shipping box. Each type can be sized to snugly fit your products. You won’t have to stuff a box that is too big with extra material to keep the contents from shifting around.

Types of Materials

When you place your order, you can choose to print the graphics printed on stocks ranging from thin, flat paperboard to thick corrugated graphics. You can specify whether you want your graphics printed on brown Kraft paper or a crisp white paper. The brown paper is fine for simple graphics with muted colors. The white paper is ideal for bright colors and designs that include images.

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Design Tools

The website includes tools that make it easy for you to create and preview your design in 3 dimensions.

Or, you can request a 2D dieline for the box style and size you choose. A dieline is flattened outline of the box design that shows where the folds and cutlines will go. Just follow the Artwork Guidelines, and Packlane will take care of the rest.

For quantities from 10 to 2,000, you can get an instant quote. (If you need larger quantities, you can request a quote.)

Design Training

To help creative entrepreneurs get the best results from their packaging, Packlane has developed a free 36-minute Skillshare course: Packaging Design for Creatives and Entrepreneurs.

The video series discusses  box styles, design considerations, production and finishing techniques, dielines, RGB vs. CMYK color, how to use Illustrator, and tips for creating or uploading your design on the Packlane website.

Additional Insights

On the Packlane blog, you’ll find interviews with some of the entrepreneurs who have ordered boxes from Packlane. Michael Kushner, of Stefans Head explains why he is using custom-designed boxes to ship his company’s limited-edition T-shirts.

Another Packlane customer is a start-up that sends a curated selection of Paleo-friendly snacks to subscribers every month. He says, “A professional image is extremely important to start-ups. Custom packaging sets us up for success from the very beginning.”

The Packlane blog also contains tips such as How to Choose the Right Packaging for Your Product.

 

2017 Salary Guide Lists Ranges for 120 Creative and Marketing Jobs

According to The Creative Group 2017 Salary Guide, starting compensation for creative professionals is expected to increase 3.6 percent in 2017. In-demand positions such as user experience and mobile designers are likely to see even bigger gains.

The 9 creative and marketing professionals listed below will be in the greatest demand and shortest supply in 2017. Compared to 2016 salary ranges, their starting compensation is expected to be higher than the 3.6 percent average received by all 120 positions covered in the Salary Guide.

  • Front-End Web Developer (1-3 years’ experience): 7.2%
  • Mobile Designer: 6.8%
  • User Experience (UX) Designer (3-5 years’ experience): 6.1%
  • Content Strategist: 5.4%
  • Visual Designer: 5.3%
  • Project Manager: 4.6%
  • Digital Strategist: 4.5%
  • Interactive/Web Copywriter (1-5 years’ experience): 4.4%
  • Marcom Manager (5+ years’ experience): 4.2%

Setting the Right Salary Matters

“Hiring creative talent is getting increasingly harder as demand remains strong and unemployment rates in the industry continue to trend below the average,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Since it’s a candidate’s market, employers must step up their recruitment efforts to secure the talent they seek.”

When The Creative Group surveyed 400 marketing and advertising executives about their biggest recruiting challenges, compensation ranked high on the list. When the executives were asked to name the most common reason candidates turn down job offers, 27 percent said it’s because the compensation and benefits were lower than the candidate expected.

“Salary may not be the only consideration for job seekers, but companies that aren’t paying competitively stand little chance of attracting and landing highly skilled candidates,” said Domeyer.

Top 4 Hiring Trends

The Creative Group 2017 Salary Guide highlighted four key trends that hiring managers should consider.

Timing is everything. Because top candidates often receive multiple offers, organizations should move quickly. When faced with a lengthy hiring process, 39% of candidates lose interest or pursue other opportunities.

Skilled talent is in short supply. The unemployment rates for specialized positions are typically lower than the national rate.

Education is essential. More than 95 percent of jobs created during the recovery have gone to individuals with some college education.

Temporary is becoming permanent. Firms are bringing in freelancers instead of letting jobs sit vacant. This gives employers more time to recruit or determine if the temporary project professional is the right fit for a full-time role.

“Creatives with skills outside their specialty are highly marketable. In addition, digital proficiency is becoming a prerequisite for many traditional roles. For example, graphic designers need to be familiar with web layouts or social media and copywriters must have knowledge of search engine optimization.”

About the Guide

Whether you are a job-seeker or employer, The Creative Group 2017 Salary Guide can be a useful tool. It features starting salary ranges for more than 120 positions in the creative field. Positions are grouped in five categories.

Design and Production positions include creative director, creative services manager, art director, production manager, studio manager, traffic manager, illustrator, graphic designer, package designer, 3D animator, multimedia designers, presentation specialist, and production artist.
Interactive Design and Production jobs include interactive creative director, interaction designer, visual designer, user experience director, user experience specialist, user experience researcher, web designer, email designer, HTML developer, front-end web developer, interactive producer, web production artist, motion designer, video producer, video editor, mobile designer, and mobile developer.

Content Development and Management jobs include copywriter, proposal writer, curriculum developer/writer, instructional systems designer, interactive/web copywriter, blogger, copy editor, proofreader, content manager, content marketing manager, and content strategist.

Advertising and Marketing positions include chief marketing officer, marketing director, marketing communications manager, business development manager, creative director, account director, account executive, account coordinator, account planner/strategist, digital strategist, event/trade-show coordinator, social media manager, SEO specialist, email marketing specialist, marketing analytics specialist, and market researchers.

Public Relations jobs include account manager/supervisor, senior account executive, account coordinator, public relations director, and public relations specialist.

The salary data included in the guide comes primarily from The Creative Group’s North American staffing and recruiting professionals. They make thousands of full-time, temporary, and project placements each year.

The ranges published in the guide represent national averages but can be adjusted for local markets by using local variance numbers included in the guide. For example, a starting salary in Los Angeles might be 130 percent of the national average whereas a starting salary in Sioux City, Iowa might be 85 percent of the national average.

The Creative Group is a division of Robert Half, the world’s largest specialized staffing firm. The Creative Group connects companies with highly skilled interactive design, marketing, advertising, and public relations talent. The Creative Group provides flexible staffing solutions by placing candidates on a project, contract-to-hire, or full-time basis.

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Design Interactive Uses Canon MREAL System for Mixed Reality Training

Canon U.S.A. has selected Design Interactive in Orlando, Florida as the first value-added reseller of Canon MREAL system for Mixed Reality in the United States. The MREAL System for Mixed Reality is a visualization tool that seamlessly combines the real and virtual worlds for a powerful immersive experience.

Design Interactive is a leading provider of training system development and experts in human-machine interaction. Design Interactive will sell the MREAL system as part of the specialized training they develop for government and industry clients who have employees in high-risk situations.

Canon MREAL Headset
Head-mounted display for Canon MREAL System for Mixed Reality

“We are pleased to welcome Design Interactive as a Canon MREAL reseller,” said Toyotsugu Kuwamura, executive vice president and general manager, BISG, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “Through Canon’s MREAL System for Mixed Reality and integrated Training Management System, users in high-risk industries will be able to visualize a potentially dangerous scenario before they have to encounter it in the real world.”

Preparing for Dangerous Situations

High risk training is a specialized form of training for tasks that involve a high degree of risks related to safety or costs. High risk training is provided to professionals who are asked to work in environments that are normally dangerous or inaccessible.

The MREAL system is uniquely suited for high risk training because it can immerse users in virtual scenarios while allowing them to still see the real world – including their hands, tools, colleagues, and instructors.

Eileen Smith, Director, E2i Creative Studio at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation & Training, said “High risk environments are multi-layered, and involve understanding how events put in motion will resolve themselves. Context is key in training, and the MREAL system allows the context to be altered easily and frequently to challenge a trainee throughout their journey toward excellence.”

Dr. Kay Stanney, CEO at Design Interactive said “The MREAL system provides a truly seamless and compelling blend between the virtual and real worlds. We are confident that it will help us deliver effective, engaging and value-added training solutions to government and industry clients.”

The integrated solution that Design Interactive will provide to its clients includes three key parts:

MREAL Display MD-10: Released in the U.S. in July 2016, the MREAL Display MD-10 features an expanded field of view and higher resolution than earlier models. The MD-10 enables trainees to immerse themselves in the virtual training scenario while still seeing real objects clearly and precisely.

MREAL Training Management System (MREAL TMS): The MREAL TMS acts as a central dashboard to collect and measure key performance metrics.  Instructors can review key data points and benchmarks to assess the trainee’s overall performance and retention. The MREAL TMS also integrates with select Learning Management Systems so instructors can incorporate the data into a broader curriculum.

MREAL Plug-In for Unity 3D: This tool enables instructors to leverage existing 3D content for training scenarios. The 3D content can easily be launched as part of an immersive experience within the MREAL system.

With these combined solutions, Canon and Design Interactive will bring next-generation capabilities enabling clients to reach mastery on complex tasks that can later be used in life-threatening situations in the field.

Mountainside Rescuers under Fire

In a post on the Design Interactive blog, Design Interactive experts discuss a mixed reality experience they developed to demonstrate the power of Canon’s Mixed Reality platform at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) Conference.

Design Interactive Canon MREAL
In a Design Interactive demonstration of the type of training that’s possible with Canon’s MREAL mixed-reality system I/ITSEC attendees could handle physical objects while visualizing the high-risk environment.

With Design Interactive’s mixed-reality experience, conference attendees visualized what it would be like to stand at the precipice of a bottomless void in the snow and be required to harness themselves to an icy rock wall so they could repel to help an injured warfighter. In the middle of the experience, the trainee takes fire. Another warfighter takes a bullet and the attendee must spring into action, applying a tourniquet under fire.

The Design Interactive blog post clarifies the differences between augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality systems. Unlike virtual reality systems like the Oculus Rift, MREAL provides the flexibility to couple virtual and physical elements. For example, your hands disappear from view if you lift your hands to your eyes while wearing an Oculus product. With MREAL, trainees can always see their hands, instructors, and the tools they need to accomplish the task.

Like augmented reality, the MREAL allows trainers to provide visualizations of instructions that can help trainees navigate or perform the task.

Designers of MREAL training exercises can choose to make the experience fully virtual or customize the amount of virtual content that is required for the job.

In addition to high-risk training, Canon is promoting the MREAL system for use in education, research, and manufacturing.