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7 Crucial Trends in Graphic Design Technology You Should Know About

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The value and need for the services of graphic designers are of pressing importance nowadays. Any business or company will know how crucial great graphic design work is to its brand and marketing strategies. And it’s no secret that technology geared towards improving the graphic design process has risen in the past few years. With emerging technologies in graphic design and a whole global talent pool at anyone’s disposal, there is absolutely no excuse for a company not to get a graphic designer.

As trends change and industries adapt to the ever-changing atmosphere of creative work, one must know where graphic design is going in the next few years. Whether you’re a graphic designer yourself or you hire graphic designers, it’s important to put one’s ear on the ground and listen to the rumbles of the digital industry and marketing world. 

Here are seven crucial trends that graphic designers, marketers, and business owners should get a vibe of in 2021 and beyond.

1. Artificial Intelligence in Graphic Design

Artificial intelligence is on the rise and is changing the way we do business. In 2015, only 10% of businesses used some form of artificial intelligence in their operations. Oin 2019, that number rose to 37%, a 270% jump in such a short amount of time.

New technology in graphic design is moving towards making use of artificial intelligence in the design process. AI companies are venturing towards developing systems that use the massive online repositories of fonts, icons, and colors to develop algorithms that will produce sleek design work for companies. 

But for graphic designers afraid of the day that robots will take over their jobs, there is little to worry about as artificial intelligence in graphic design looks to augment and not replace human designers. Creativity remains a human quality.

2. The Rise of Non-Adobe Graphic Design Software

It’s hard to imagine that there was once a time that Adobe held a near-monopoly on the graphic design software industry. Tools like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign, and Illustrator seemed to be the only viable options for editing graphics and making various collaterals and materials. But today, there are more options available to designers. 

Services like Sketchapp, Pixlr, and Vectr are great alternatives to Adobe Suite products. Designers can also now use cloud-based design software Canva, which starts with a free plan. To check out all the available graphic design software available, check out this graphic design software guide by CompareCamp.

3. Increased Demand for Landing Page Design Software

Nowadays, people who run online businesses will have some form of landing or sales page to promote their products. A landing page is one long-form web page that sells one or a few products with a compelling storyline or sales script. 

Previously, If you wanted to build websites, you needed fluency in HTML and CSS to happen. But today, various landing page design services are available online.

Services like Leadpages, Convertkit, Instapage, Shogun, and Kajabi allow people to create websites with a drag and drop interface and practically zero code work. These services also provide various landing page layouts that have proven conversion history with other users.

4. On-Demand Graphic Design Services

Another rising trend in the field of graphic design is the surge of on-demand graphic design services, a business model that gives customers access to a team of graphic designers whenever they need them. This model contrasts with the more traditional method of hiring a freelance graphic designer. 

With on-demand graphic design companies, clients get a hold of a graphic design agency and ask the company to link them with a designer when needed. Compared to hiring a freelance designer, getting an on-demand graphic design service can provide certain benefits, including instant availability and a wider variation of styles. Of course, there is still a place for freelance graphic designers, but on-demand graphic services prove to be a good alternative to companies who don’t need a high volume of graphics for their business. 

One good example of a company that provides on-demand design services is Penji, which offers entrepreneurs and small businesses access to a graphic designer who can create unlimited designs for as low as $399 a month.

5. Infographics Templates and Builders

In the last few years, infographics have taken the internet by storm. Nowadays, even B2B marketing places a big premium on infographics, with 65% of B2B marketers using some form of an infographic to promote a product or service.

But anyone who wants to keep up with graphic design trends should know that there is now an extensive collection of infographics templates and infographic-generating online services available online. Now, graphic designers don’t have to start from scratch when making infographics, saving a lot of time and resources. Online tools like Piktochart and Venngage are great examples of such services.

6. Computer Systems Design

As high as the demand for graphic designers is today, the industry is hitting a tipping point. Experts say that the number of available graphic design jobs will decrease by 4% in the next few years. But even as the overall market for designers falls, there’s a subset of graphic designers that disproportionately goes against the flow.

As the number of needed designers in print and traditional media poises itself for a drop, there will be an increase in needed graphic designers in computer systems design. In fact, a report shows that there will be a 20% increase in computer systems graphic designers from 2016 to 2026.

7. Smarter Revision Software

One of the most tedious parts of the graphic design workflow is dealing with revisions. Designers have dealt with the seemingly never-ending back and forth of revisions and comments. A good chunk of the refurbishing of designs often happens because of a lack of communication between clients and designers, especially when communicating online. 

As innovators look to address that need, some have become better at improving the revision process with graphic design technologies. A good example of such tools includes Wipster, Filestage, Usersnap, and Skitch.

Where Graphic Design is Heading Towards in 2021

The year is coming to a close pretty soon, and we’ll be welcoming another new year before we know it. As 2020 comes to a close, it’s time professionals in the creative space and business, in general, should start looking towards graphic design trends 2021 predictions. Like every other year, graphic design trends have changed immensely as people seek more novel ways to communicate messages. 

But just as important for graphic designers and clients to know are the various technology trends shaping the way designers operate and work. Much has changed in little time as more services that help with the creative process pop out. Yet even as more and more softwares becomes available, creatives will be happy to know that the future looks bright for graphic designers everywhere as many of today’s tools look to streamline the creation process and allow artists to work smarter and more effectively. 

Of course, that is if graphic designers stay with the times and continue watching over the horizon for the next tool that will provide them with hacks to improve their design processes. For anyone ready to adapt to the latest trend in graphic design and try new tools and processes, there can be a whole new world of possibilities and growth in the field of creative work.

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Kuda Raises $55 Million Series B Funding Quicker Than Most Startups

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One of the most promising industries to launch a startup is in the digital banking or fintech sector. Untapped markets can become a goldmine for startups that aim to disrupt the banking infrastructure. And that’s what Kuda has experienced over the past couple of months. Read more about Kuda here and how they were able to raise millions for their Series B funding.

Kuda: An Overview

What sparked Babs Ogundeyi and Musty Mustapha to start Kuda? Excessive and inconsistent fees. Fueled to reduce that, they launched the fintech company to develop a savings app. Wanting to make banking easier and more accessible without any charges, the founders aim to change banking for Nigerians all over the world.

Series B Funding and Possible Kuda Expansion

Kuda raised $55M funding for Series B. For Kuda, this funding will be fundamental not only in the creation of new services on their savings app but also in launching it to Africans across the continent. Ogundeyi hopes that their app can become a widely used app for Africans globally. 

Expansion is vital for Ogundeyi and his team. He maintains that Nigeria is still a market crucial to their operations, but the funding will also go to expanding efforts.

Back in March 2021, Kuda raised $25M, all thanks to Valar Ventures. Back then, they had only 650K app users, but they doubled that number in August 2021, with registered users around 1.4 million.

This funding round is once again led by Valar Ventures. But Target Global and SBI have also played a role in helping the fintech startup raise $55 million. Target Global leader Ricardo Schäfer believes in the impact that Ogundeyi and Mustapha will have in Africa. But what excited him the most was the idea that 1 billion users would benefit from their app.

Faster Funding Rounds and Other Disruptors

It was surprising how quickly Kuda raised funding over the course of a few months, but it’s due to the current market conditions and the numbers presented to investors. A McKinsey report foresaw this growth, wherein digital financial services would become a major market. Plus, with inaccessibility, Kuda knew that they could change the way Africa could do digital banking.

Kuda isn’t the only fintech startup aiming to change the banking infrastructure in Africa. Other Fintechs changing the game are:

  • Airtel Africa
  • Chipper Cash
  • FairMoney

Meanwhile, here are the other fintech and banking companies also competing to stand out in the market:

  • Revolut and N26 (Europe)
  • WeBank (China)
  • Varo and Chime (U.S.)
  • Nubank (Brazil)

However, what makes Kuda stand out from the others is they have a banking license. With this in mind, they can develop services on their own. This will also help them create and develop other products and services and build credibility more than their competitors.

The Future of Kuda

Ogudenyi aims to launch their app to other African countries but won’t say where they’ll launch it. However, Kuda has an ongoing credit service (through an overdraft allowance) that proves the fintech startup is growing and moving forward.

He says that they do a pre-qualification screening for those who can receive credit. In the 2nd quarter of 2021, over 200,000 users were eligible. They gave over $200M in credit. And to ensure they remain with their purpose of creating their app, they do an allocation of overdraft proportion. It’s based on user activities, and they won’t overpay.

Due to Kuda’s promising mission towards banking in Africa, Valar Ventures seems eager to fund the fintech startup once more in the future. Andrew McCormack, a general partner of the investment firm, says that growth and population acceptance towards digital banking are factors in continuing their support.

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Sam Adams Is Brewing Space Beer

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SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission was a raving success with the safety of the amateur astronauts confirmed when they touched down this past weekend. The first all-civilian space flight was historic in and of itself, but they did more than just visit. The four civilians also performed scientific experiments, made art, and brought up to 66 pounds of hops. Sam Adams is going to brew that into our very first “space beer.” 

That’s right, space beer. While we’re probably a way off from a space brewery, we’re definitely heading there with hops having visited space. If you’re wondering what they did with the hops in space, you’re not alone.

Far as we can tell, these hops simply made a trip farther into the heavens than any other hops before them. One might imagine a brewer saying, “one small hop for man, one giant hop for mankind.” 

No? Too lame? Anyway…

Booze. In. Spaaace. 

Sam Adams has been in the news lately with their Utopias beer being so strong it’s illegal in 15 states. While we don’t know the strength of this future “space beer” just yet, one University of Colorado research project suggests that beer brewed in space is higher in alcohol than those brewed on Earth. 

This is not the first alcoholic experiment in the heavens. In 1994, Coors participated in a test fermentation in space. In 2006, Sapporo produced a $110 six-pack using barley seeds that made a trip to space. In 2019, Anheuser-Busch sent several barley samples to the International Space Station to determine the effects of microgravity on barley seeds. Also in 2019, 12 bottles of Bordeaux were sent into space, giving them a value of $1 million per bottle. 

Turns out, if we travel somewhere, we want to know if we can get drunk. Take a look at Everest. If we trek, we drink. 

It’s just human nature. 

Space Beer… For the Children

In order to secure the rights to these space hops, Sam Adams made a donation of $100,000 to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital as part of the overall theme to Inspiration4’s mission. Isaacman, the mission leader of Inspiration4, is aiming to raise $200 million for St. Jude’s. Elon Musk has personally pledged $50 million to the hospital. 

By tossing some money to a good cause, Sam Adams is able to secure the rights to brew the first space beer from the world’s first all-civilian space flight. If the motivation to brew space beer is “for the children,” then we’re all about it. 

When Can We Drink This Space Beer?

Sam Adams’ future space beer has yet to be named. All we know now is that it will be a traditional West Coast IPA and will be on sale later this fall. Sam Adams has stated that it is excited to brew with the out-of-this-world hops. 

And why shouldn’t they be? Anything with a “genuine” space label should be exciting to produce. While they’re not the first brewery to experiment with space booze, Sam Adams is the latest and therefore the hottest. With our attention spans lately, it pays to be a trending topic. 

Sam Adams isn’t the only thing to come from SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission. We have a lot to learn from this historic flight. While Sam Adams may be the most fun, there is plenty to look forward to in terms of scientific development. 

What is it that Sam Adams said? 

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom – go from us in peace.”

No, not that. The other thing. 

“This is Boston. Drink Accordingly.” 

No, that’s their current slogan. 

“America’s World Class Beer.” 

Nevermind. Call me when Sam Adams Space Beer is available.

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Scott Tong Shares Invaluable Product Design Insights and Culture for Startups

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Many startups are launching their businesses left and right, but some may not have a design plan in mind. This, in turn, could lead to challenges ahead for startups looking to stand out from the crowd. And it’s best that startups learn to value design and development. One such expert in the field is designer Scott Tong. He worked as the head designer for Pinterest and was the co-founder of IFTTT. Currently, he’s an advisor for Designer Fund. Here, we take a look at the advice he has shared for startups.

Scott Tong: Early Stage 2021 Tidbits

TechCrunch held their TC: Early Stage 2021: Marketing and Fundraising Bootcamp for early-stage startup founders from July 8 to 9, 2021. One of their guest speakers was Scott Tong. 

He spoke with Jordan Crook from TechCrunch to discuss early-stage design and its long-term impact on the startup. Plus, he even reveals how to find the right people for product design work. He disclosed two important points on what entrepreneurs should think about when it comes to design: reputation and existing vs. preferred.

For Tong, he considers a brand as the reputation of a company. Here, he examines the following ideas:

  • First impression
  • Repeated long-term behaviors
  • Unique and memorable moments

And the other point he brought up in Early Stage 2021 is “existing vs. preferred.” This means scrutinizing design and understanding how it matters in your company.

User: The Driving Force of a Product

Scott Tong is no stranger to TechCrunch. In his article for Techcrunch around four years ago, he emphasizes that when developing or creating a product, the one thing that matters is the user. He urges startups to ask the question, “what is right for the user?” than “who is right.”

In the article, he branched out three concepts that have value when it comes to developing a product. And finding the best people to understand your users.

The first of his points is about understanding and driving T-shaped people. It’s when you have someone well-versed in their field while collaborating with another person from another field. The best ones are curious, empathetic, and humble.

His second point deals with T-shaped people and user-centered thinking coming together. Your T-shaped people should always have the question of how to solve problems for users. And these T-shaped people will know that they can’t satisfy all of your user’s needs but identify the best solutions for your users.

Lastly, your startup should always know how to craft high-quality decisions. But what counts as one? He lists down what makes a decision, high-quality:

  • User-centric
  • Timely
  • Calculated
  • Communicated
  • Humble
  • Shared
  • Monitored
  • Considered
  • Balanced

Other Speaking Engagements

Early Stage 2021 wasn’t the only time Scott Tong shared his design insights and experiences as a founder. The Designer Fund advisor was a guest in the Startup Grind. In this event, he talked about being a designer for IDEO and Pinterest. At the same time, as a founder, he also touches on the subject of culture. 

He gives his advice for entrepreneurs who have lost their sense of purpose. He says to get in touch with values. Plus, he’s aware that disagreements are ever-present in any business setting. And to reduce friction, trust is key, and understand your team.

One other podcast tapped the ex-Pinterest Head of Design to discuss Design Entrepreneurialism. In this podcast, he talks more about his journey as a designer and working in the new venture: IMO Ventures. 

And the one thing he emphasizes about design is culture, which he also wrote in his TechCrunch article. Here, he says that design is connected to messages, wherein it means one thing to the designer and another to its viewer. That’s one way startups may look when considering product design.

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