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Celebrate our Birthday with Us & SAVE!

Birthday
In all the excitement of Tweet Your Way to Success, we forgot our own birthday!

It was our second birthday last week so, rather than not celebrate it this year, we decided to have a late celebration with our clients and hopefully some new faces!

We’ve launched a range of discounts on our publishing packages, so publishing has never been more affordable.

These discounts are only available for a short time only, so grab them quick before they go!

See our publishing packages page for details on our packages and click through to your chosen package to see how much you will save! We will also be offering birthday discounts on our bespoke packages. You can save up to 25% on some of our packages but you have to be quick as discounted packages selling out fast!

So it’s a case of better late than never, but don’t be too late to save!

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Is Creative Cloud 2014 just a rebadge?

Ask any designer/photographer/illustrator/programmer about Adobe Creative Cloud and they WILL have an opinion.

Sadly, many of these are still based on preconceptions about Cloud without trying the software for themselves. I’m not paid by Adobe, don’t “drink Kool-aid” nor are any of the other insults I’ve received about my pro Creative Cloud views true. I’m aware I’m putting my head above the parapet by posting my view of Creative Cloud on here. My views are based on having been a member since Creative Cloud started. In that time, I’ve had several versions of the software while still paying a static price, regular updates, inclusive hosting for 5 sites with Business Catalyst… the list goes on and on.

So what difference has Creative Cloud 2014 realistically made?

As a long time user of Creative Cloud (and most Adobe versions before that), I’ve become accustomed to the gradual increments between versions and more so with the Creative Cloud subscription updates. Bearing in mind Adobe’s focus on productivity, has the 2014 release made a big difference?…

InDesign

The first thing I’ve noticed in InDesign Creative Cloud 2014 is the difference in producing ePub files. Gone is the clunky dialog box conversion, now its as simple as exporting an interactive PDF – for both fixed and flowing ePub formats. It makes life much easier for the digital publisher, and feels infinitely more professional. This has already sped up my workflow, and previews directly into your chosen reader for checking saving you precious clicks.

Other key feature updates include;

  • tables: Improved manipulation of tables including click and drag columns for easy shifting of data – much better than having to cut columns out manually etc. and useful for training programs with multiples of chart data.
  • seamless updates: your plugins, setup and workspaces will automatically transfer to your updated versions of InDesign
  • colour groups: you can now group swatches, which is useful at concept stage to manage colour ways etc.

There are also some minor tweaks to the search engine enabling the user to “Find Previous” as well as next.

Photoshop

As it celebrates it’s birthday, Photoshop Creative Cloud 2014 has a number of new features. My favourite of which is the new smart guides. While these have been available for some time in InDesign and Illustrator, they have finally made the transition to Photoshop. This means suddenly we can easily space elements evenly on the fly, and makes life much quicker than using align and distribute buttons to achieve the same effect.

Another useful time saver for illustrators and designers is the ability to package linked files within your Photoshop document. This saves time not only in finding the files in the first place, but the ability to use linked files prevents having to repeatedly change multiple documents when one source file changes. Anything that saves me time I consider a blessing, as I can concentrate more on what I enjoy doing. It also saves the awful aaargh moment when the client decides to change the product design after all the marketing collateral has been completed.

Now, we can even use Layer Comps in a smart object to create new effects. Typekit even works in Photoshop now too for unparalleled ease between programs. This, together with added blur functionality and focus based selection, a feature page editor can easily put together a spread title that would have meant intricate selection marking previously.

All this is before we come to the 3D printing capabilities that are now included in Photoshop, including direct sending to online 3D providers! Now we can take a 2D logo design and turn it directly into its own marketing product. Want it in ceramic? Fine… Want it in gold? Feel free!

The key to all these great features is PRODUCTIVITY! Every routine has been streamlined to make us able to work faster instead of twiddling thumbs waiting for our computers to catch up.

Muse

In this Creative Cloud release, Muse comes of age and becomes a fully fledged application. It’s UI now matches the other Adobe Creative Cloud titles, and has added drag and drop functionality in its Plan view (a wireframe view for initial site layout and mapping). Many of the features will appear unchanged to previous versions of Muse, but what is new both for Muse and for Creative Cloud is the Asset Library that is due to become available to Creative Cloud subscribers. This will provide Muse users with base designs to work from, new widgets, stock imagery and more!

The Asset Library

One of the big announcements was the curation of a free to use Asset Library as part of your Creative Cloud subscription. As I mentioned, this has benefits for Muse users, but will also benefit print designers too! It’s not launched yet as there tends to be a phased introduction – as with Typekit.

These are just the things I’ve had chance to play with in the first week of Creative Cloud 2014! I’m looking forward to writing some updates as and when I get to try more.

There will always be doubters of the subscription model, mainly while people labour under the idea they have bought the software previously. Either way you are only buying a licence to use the software, and I would rather pay monthly and have continuous support (and Adobe’s have been good in my experience) than spend in one lump sum that only covers me for one or two versions of the software.

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PRESS RELEASE: Tweet Your Way to Success (Social Media)

Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly

From 0 to 13.9k followers from her kitchen table and now Samantha Kelly (aka Tweeting Goddess) releases her first book.

Tweet Your Way to Success (book)
Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly

In the début title ‘Tweet Your Way To Success’ Samantha tells us how she started a business with no money, going from lone parent on social welfare to a highly influential leader in her field. There are sections on starting your own business, how to turn your business around, tips on using social media and how to network and build on relationships. Samantha is a former Dragons Den applicant, most recently making her mark in social media through the creation of #Irishbizparty a place where Irish businesses can connect and network freely using both Twitter and Facebook.

Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly is available to purchase now in Paperback or eBook.

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Book Launch: Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly

Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly

Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly

Ever wondered what it is like to start a business? Have you asked yourself what do I need to do? What characteristics are needed?  How can I start a business when I have no money or experience? Does Twitter work as part of a marketing strategy for your business? How is it going to help me get my business out there? 

Well in this book, Samantha shows you how she started a business with no money and went from lone parent on social welfare to a top influencer and leader in her field. She will give her tips for Twitter and how to use it effectively using simple language and with a clear message that when you assist others it will come back to you. How to build relationships and nurture them.
And most importantly how to be yourself and use your personality to succeed!

You will be taken through starting out in business, networking and advice before moving onto creating your Twitter account and beyond!

Samantha used our Blog to Book package to bring her book to print! This great package uses your existing blog to create an amazing paperback book!

The first books will be dispatched on approximately 12th June 2014 (provisional date, actual despatch will be notified). Those with pre-orders will be dispatched first. The book will be available on Amazon, however Amazon RRP will be more expensive.

Samantha Kelly is an Ireland-based business woman who has appeared on Dragon’s Den as well as a host of media programs. Following the sale of her first successful business, she has now launched Tweeting Goddess to help those wanting to use Twitter to grow their business.

Buy this book through us here for only £7.99 +P&P or in digital format for £4.00

Tweet Your Way to Success
Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly
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In the Jungle, the mighty Jungle the puppy sleeps tonight!

Cavalier Capers 2: Jungle Adventure

Jungle Adventure by Grandma Sysum

In the second installment of the Cavalier Capers series we follow Josie and Kipper into the “jungle”. What frightening beast will they find lurking in the jungle undergrowth? It could be a lion! It could be a giraffe! Or… well you’ll just have to read it to find out!

Cavalier Capers is aimed at young readers with each book being aimed at a particular age group. Jungle Adventure is aimed at the 6-8 year olds with bold illustrations and a great storyline.

Each book comes with a collectible character card for you to print fold and laminate. This book features Kipper.

The book is now available to buy in paperback.

The Cavalier Capers series is written by Grandma Sysum and is illustrated by Natalie Ballard. You can see the Cavalier Capers website here.

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Where’s the Kitty?

Cavalier Capers Flash Screen LITTLE READER

Hello Kitty by Grandma Sysum

In the third installment of the Cavalier Capers series the Pups have been listening in to Grandma Sysum’s telephone conversations. We all know what trouble comes from listening in to one end of a telephone conversation. When will Jessie be coming and why is she bringing a Kitty with her? Doesn’t she know Pups don’t like Kitties? Will Grandma replace them all with kittens and cats?

Cavalier Capers is aimed at young readers with each book being aimed at a particular age group. Hello Kitty is aimed at the 5-7 year olds with bold illustrations and a great storyline.

Each book comes with a collectible character card for you to copy, fold and laminate. This book features Josie, and Hello Kitty is available in paperback here.

The Cavalier Capers series is written by Grandma Sysum and is illustrated by Natalie Ballard. You can see the Cavalier Capers website here.

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Help us teach cancer a lesson!

Cancer is a horrible disease and it can affect anyone at any age. Let’s fight back and help us teach cancer a lesson it won’t forget!

Tina Wright and Lucy and Jessica Ballard are running the Race for Life in Worcester on 6th July 2014 in memory of Raymond Ballard (their beloved Ampoo) who sadly lost the fight against Pancreatic Cancer at the beginning of May this year.

For those of you who know Ian, the kids and me, know how tough we’ve found it these past couple of months – and you know how hard it is for us to write this blog piece. Now is the time for us to start fighting back! We want to raise awareness of Pancreatic Cancer (which is too often found too late) and raise funds for research into this terrible form of cancer. The fact that this unforgiving type of cancer is possibly hereditary spurs us to make sure we don’t lose another generation to this illness!

If each of my Twitter followers alone gave £1 each, we could raise over £3000 for this one event alone! With the followers from all our Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn accounts we could raise well over £5000! So let’s fight back against cancer together!

You can donate here.

There will be other fundraising events throughout the rest of the year.

Thank you
Ian, Natalie, Lucy & Jessica Ballard & Tina Wright

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Why wait to get engaged to have “The” ring?

The Independence Ring

The Independence Ring by Liz Lewinson

Independence Ring: Rock the Female Revolution reveals timeless teachings about the vast, innate power of women. What is the power of a woman like? Like a tsunami, risen.

The book explores a new and more accurate meaning of power and offers practical ways for women to become positively powerful. Celebrate? Why not! The Independence Ring ceremony celebrates freedom from limiting and imbalanced views of women and men. In order to reclaim the well-being of societies and the planet, there must be a female revolution.

Learn how the many aspects of our lives impact on our own image of power, and how to turn it round to a positive. Embrace your own innate power and rebalance the battle of the sexes in this great book that is sure to alter your perspective.

Where to Buy

You can buy The Independence Ring on Kindle 

You can also buy this title as a paperback