It has been a spectacularly hot week in the PNW, record-breaking temps in our city and beyond. We're keeping the water bottles iced up and finding ways to stay as cool as possible. Check in with your friends and family — especially those trying to beat the heat!
NEW: Before we jump headfirst into where to find amazing icon sets (oh yeah), a shoutout to finsweet this week (we’re huge fans) who introduced Client-first, a Webflow style system that is incredibly amazing. The finsweet team is always forward-thinking but this product might be my favorite. As the name clearly states, Client-first allows designers to “build flexible Webflow websites that any human can understand” — truly a game changer for designers attempting to hand off designs that clients can manage.
The name “Client-first” started us thinking and talking about ways we can make sure our own business prioritizes clients. Here’s the beginnings of a list:
Fast response time
Organized systems and processes
Caring about each client’s business and priorities
Offering helpful suggestions and ideas — no BS
Asking great questions
Aiming to exceed expectations
Being professional and also personal
So when should you use icons in designs, anyway? The short answer is: when they improve visual interest or communicate an idea quickly and enhance the UX. The longer answer is an ongoing conversation/debate in the design world (this article and this one) about using icons at all. We’ve had more than one conversation with clients who aren’t sure how/when to use icons — or who want to use them everywhere. A great designer finds right balance using a combination of images, text, icons and illustrations (trust your designer!).
It’s also important to understand the categories when looking for icons, the main ones being: (1) CSS icon sets (to use these, copy and paste the code); (2) Icon fonts (actual fonts that contain symbols and glyphs instead of letters or numbers; (3) SVG icons (our fav 👍 — editable and scalable to any size without losing clarity); (4) Marketplace icon sets; and (5) Free icons.
So here are some our favorites sources of quality icons:
The Noun Project (Free/Premium) Over 2 Million curated icons, created by a global community
Flaticon (Free/Premium) The largest database of free icons available in PNG, SVG, EPS, PSD and BASE 64 formats
Iconfinder(Free/Premium) Hosts the worlds largest collection of premium icons, with over 340,000 icons in stock
Nucleo (Free/Premium) Premium vector icons for iOS, Android and Web
Icons8 (Free) Contains 19,100 icons, allows to search and import icons directly to Photoshop, Illustrator, Xcode or anything
Boxicons (Free) Simple vector icons carefully crafted for designers and developers
We’ve used icons from all the above with zero complaints. Some (The Noun Project and Flaticon, for example), offer full licensing rights and unlimited collections with a premium subscription. Try a few, or create your own.
YouTube or Vimeo?
Obviously these days, more and more video content is accessible, useful, and amazing. YouTube is the largest video hosting platform on the web, but may not always be the best or obvious choice for every business.
Let’s list a few distinctions between YouTube and Vimeo:
Pre-Roll Ads: If you upload videos to YouTube, it is highly likely that a pre-roll ad will play before your content (and this has the potential to deter some viewers). Vimeo does not allow ads, which is a key selling point for many businesses.
Audience: No competition. YouTube commands an audience of two billion monthly users (that's a 2 followed by 9 zeros 📣), so if maximum reach is what you're after, YouTube wins. No close second.
Search Optimization: Again, YouTube wins. It is the second largest search engine on the internet (you know who is number one AND YouTube’s parent company) and Google favors YouTube videos in search results.
Support: Have you tried to reach YouTube support? 🙄 Customer support is often THE determining factor when choosing any software. Vimeo is the hands down winner here (with their paid accounts), offering high level, personalized support on demand. YouTube offers free help documentation and (a sometimes-too-large) support community.
Video/Audio Quality: Both are better on Vimeo, although the best is with a paid Vimeo plan.
Opinion: Most people/businesses select YouTube (and it is a good solution for many). While there are other comparisons, the choice comes down to what is best for you and your business. Looking for privacy and security? Vimeo. Looking to reach the largest audience? YouTube. Ad free? Vimeo. Looking for free all the time? YouTube. Looking for customization? Vimeo.
What is kerning?
Admittedly, something we knew nothing about a few years back — kerning is the spacing between letters or characters in a piece of text to be printed. (NOT tracking. Kerning.) Here’s one of our favorite dudes explaining exactly how it works and why it’s important. And do NOT miss the kerning game. Go ahead. Play the kerning game. You’re welcome.
Local business shoutout
📣 Casey Armstrong — a business owner who is the epitome of “client-first”. Casey started with a brick-and-mortar event space (FunctionPDX) that had a strong year in 2019 and faced the same COVID challenges we all had to reckon with in 2020. Read more about Casey's story and solution here. What we want to recognize is his attention to his customers — they are truly first (along with his awesome staff and team). If every business cared about their clientele like Casey does, we would all be well-served.
In memoriam: Nancy Griffith
As I’m writing this, we’re saddened to learn of the passing of Nanci Griffith, truly one our favorite musical artists. Nanci’s very unique music has traveled with us down many roads and turns and project deadlines. We will miss you Nanci — your music lives on and changed our lives forever. Catch that blackbird’s wing. ❤️