All Posts By

Brandon

Happiness In The Workplace

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

You might think that I’m writing this blog because I am unhappy with my job. I asked myself this question when I decided to write about this topic. I am very satisfied with my job and where I am at this point in my life. I’m sure like other people, I do things to keep happy and stay positive.

We all have had those horrible jobs where you are only there because of the pay cheque. My experience was at a couple of restaurants, from employment as a dishwasher. Fortunately, it was good to experience the worst of jobs at first. You gain that experience and move yourself forward. Even though you may feel like you haven’t gained anything from it, you actually have. In my perspective, you have gained strength, motivation, discipline and many other valuable traits that help you in your future employment.

All the experience I have in my past has helped me to enjoy and find purpose in my current job. But like every job, even if it’s the best job in the world; it comes with its ups and downs. During these times it is good to keep yourself positive and stay on track. Recently I have been under some pressure to make sure that I hit my deadlines and deliver on promises to clients. During these times, I try and take a couple deep breaths and relax myself to a point where I can focus and think properly. Taking one task at a time will ensure that things get done and completed properly.

3018419587_bed1d63fb9

All things will pass with time, no matter what. When I am under some pressure I tell myself

“This, too, will pass”.

No matter how stressed I am this always helps me relax and understand that everything will work out as long as I am putting the effort.

During times of struggle and stress, try and remember that no matter what happens you will be ok. When the day is done and you are headed home, don’t forget to keep up with the things that make you happy. Don’t let your job completely take over your life. Although you may love your job, it shouldn’t be the one thing that runs your life. Keeping up with the things you enjoy outside of your career will increase your overall happiness of everyday life.

A Second Look: Trends in Web Design and Development

By | Graphic Design, Web Development | No Comments

After spending many hours online, you naturally begin to pick up on web design’s current (and evolving) trends. By visiting a variety of different web sites and communities, you start to pick out specific differences in layouts and styles of each design you stumble upon; you begin to observe the subtle nuances designers have begun to adopt to put their work above and beyond what we call ‘average’. Incorporating the latest trends through a marriage of coding and design is ever advancing the web and how we view it day-to-day; it’s not stopping or slowing by any measure, and you should be ready to embrace it.

Here are a few trends in web design to keep a look out for (and, if you’re a designer or coder, trends to pick up on).

What Web Design Trends to Watch For

1) Grid Style Layouts

The first time I noticed the wide-spread use of grid based structures was on social media (think of Pinterest, Tumblr, Google + and the like). Most social networks use a grid to help display huge amounts of content in an organized, concise fashion to decrease the chances of user confusion and conflict. This creates a simple user experience that enhances the overall time spent of the site; half the battle is creating a strong UX, let alone one that’s pretty to look at and able to captivate users.

Using thumbnail images with some text displays a tidy way to keep information into a easy to read format. This allows users to flow throughout the site and find what they are looking for without relying on search queries, as was once the trend. This grid based layout has also become standard amongst blogs and personal websites for easy content consumption while remaining auto responsive and flexible.

 

2) Extended Form Elements

Creating a simple experience that enhances the user experience is the key to web design; if it’s not intuitive, it isn’t worth interacting with and probably not worth using. This includes using JQUERY to help write smooth, easily-readable code with fewer lines, and overall, much less clutter. CMS’s have been further enhanced by Javascript and JQUERY  (think WordPress, Joomla, etc.) while keeping websites clean on both sides of the canvas (front and back ends).

These elements, which bring a high level of polish and interactive features, live on some of the greatest sites to date. Viewers are now spoiled with liquid-smooth animations and creative website layouts that we never had the chance to experience before the turn of the millennium. 

 

3) Landing Pages

Although they’ve been utilized by sales peoples for quite a long time (for leads and converting users), landing pages have become a rising trend, featured both on one-page sites in addition to email grabbing pages of large websites. Using this element helps to encourage viewers into learning more about a product or company (while, obviously, benefiting your business by allowing you to capture valuable contacts and customer insights). The idea of landing pages is to create a sneak peak at what the company can provide to various types of potential clients, letting them know what sets them apart from the competition. If the customer opens the door to your website, you want them to walk in and enjoy a hot cup of tea, not run for the hills. It’s all about great, converting copy, a proven track record and a beautiful user experience.

 

4) 3D Transition Effects

I’ve come across many websites that are using 3D effects to display image galleries, navigation menus and text animations. Although it’s a fun, punchy feature to use on your site, designers should be wary of using too many animations on a single page (especially on single page themes; you know who you are!). A common effect used on websites is the scrolling fade transition; this allows information to fade onto the page just as the user is scrolling down or transitioning to another slide/section. Modern design is all about introducing content in a smooth, appealing way, and 3D/parallax effects do this quite easily with little effort or code.

 

5) Flat Design Elements

You’ve seen it everywhere; even mobile devices and operating systems (Metro UI in Windows 8 and 10) have picked up flat, layered design.  More and more web designers are using this element because of the simplicity and the professional polish that comes with design elements that lack the aging effects of typical Web 2.0 treatments. CSS3 allows designers to incorporate flatter buttons, text shadows, and rounded corners to keep their designs fresh, current and consistent; it’s much easier to have your website live as a cohesive unit if the design meshes well.

This feature tells us a lot about the future of not only web design, but of UI design in all devices. Apple, Google and Microsoft are only some of the first adopting fresh colours and simplistic (yet stunning) interfaces that are layered, flat and make use of smooth transitions.

 

6) Portraits

Many portfolio and creative websites are now using portraits to add a human element to their website; after all, websites shouldn’t be websites: they should be the face of your business, organization or belief online. A good way to accomplish this would be to include a simple photograph of yourself on your bio page or in a slider on the home page, or even dedicate a section in your ‘About Us’ section.

This helps the user to get a glimpse into who you or your company is on a personal level, removing the corporate illusion of a single unit. Instead of doing what everyone does with portraits, add some creativity and spice; use hover overs, funny faces, GIFs or cultural/hobby photos. Add some character!

7) SVG Images & Icons

You’ve seen them, and they’re taking over by storm. Vector bases graphics are becoming something that almost everyone web site has, either living as a hotlink to another page or service, or serving as a great way to add visual interest to an otherwise boring section where copy might have been used. They help communicate meaning to a heading, service, or button into a simple icon. SVG images are like vector images but can be manipulated much more easily with the hassle you expect from graphic integration on the web. They have the ability to be selected and edited in most Adobe applications. If you still remember the relevance of flat design today, these vector graphics work very well in such environments.

 

8) Responsive Design 

Many people are starting to use their mobile and tablet devices more often than their computers; its a fact many businesses are trying to cope with. Be it social media or corporate websites and tools, people are flocking to not just one device to consume media and interact with the masses: they’re using 2, 3 or even more. The easy access to things like the Internet and email are a huge factor into why mobile technology is becoming something that everybody on the planet is starting to use. Responsive design works the best when you eliminate the excess stuff and only keep the bare essentials. This makes a simpler design and easy to use for all users. Scaling up for computer size is when information can be added and more design elements can be incorporated.

 

As you can see many of the trends are working together to create the World Wide Web  that we see today. I’m sure that as the web continues to grow and reach more and more people, trends will change and evolve. Will we continue to see flat, layer design, or will the Web 2.0 styling with emboss and gradients come back? Will we seen flash websites take to the forefront, or will clean and simple sites live on?  Who knows. The landscape for web design has shifted considerably over the past few years despite the young age of the Internet itself. As more people search for their next fix online, be it that next hot item or to simple message their friends on the next social network, there will be more options to innovate and push boundaries. What do you think we’ll see next?

The Road to Enlightenment

By | Life, Other | No Comments

I like to stay inspired, learning what I can about the world. It’s been an experience continuing to open my eyes more and more, uncovering more about the purpose of life. Of my influences, Russell Brand is one person among many who serves as a valued voice speaking of the injustices that have been plaguing the world from wealth inequality to political corruption.

Many who are deeply intertwined and interested solely in pop culture know very little about the problems the facing our world today. People are focusing on their social media status or famous people who sing songs about money and getting girls, when these things are all totally insignificant to life. People with higher social status like Russell Brand, Matt Damon and Rob Schneider have been doing a great job expressing their opinions about what is actually going on in the world and why our current way of life isn’t sustainable. To me, it’s pretty cool to see celebrities use the platforms they have to express their point of view and try and awaken the minds of humanity.

Currently, with our culture in place, we often call celebrities like Russell Brand lunatics. Why? Because people haven’t been presented these ideas before. Having an open mind to all the possibilities of life is something that we all need to take into account. This is where we will find our true connection to each other and how the world is meant to be.

Learning more and what life presents and the infinite capacity for connection to all things. Using meditation helps to re-connect our spiritual being. “You think of yourselves as humans searching for a spiritual awakening, when in fact you are spiritual beings attempting to cope with a human awakening. Seeing yourselves from the perspective of the spirit within will help you to remember why you came here and what you came here to do.” – The Group. This is applicable to all human beings, whether you think it is or not. In my opinion, people should be living spiritual lives, but we are all stuck in the realm of our five senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell). The next steps of evolution are to move on to the next realm of spiritual consciousness (enlightenment).

There is so much more than what we see in front of us. There is much more around than just what we are experiencing. Our eyes are only able to see between ultraviolet light and inferred light. Our ears can only hear between 20 to 20,000 decibels. It’s highly likely that there are other energies and consciousness moving through the universe that we don’t see. Looking within yourself holds true opportunity to limitless bliss for positive energy. Although I may not know and understand everything life presents, I am learning and open minded to all possibilities.

 

“When I Stop Struggling, I Float; It’s the Law.”

By | Life, Other | No Comments

We all struggle with the endless ups and downs of life; it’s human nature to isolate ourselves and think we’re alone in our experiences. Doing your best to stay positive is something certainly easier said than done. Certain events in life may bring forth negative thinking patterns that, when given the right opportunity, can wreak havoc on our lives. Reflection is great and healthy, however worrying too much about the past or the future can lead to negative emotions and thoughts. We might find that as soon as one bad thing happens, we associate it with other negative feelings and experiences things that have happened in our lives; it’s a miserable pattern at best.

It’s self destructive .

If you find yourself in these situations more often than you’d like, you are what scientists call a ruminator (or in other words, an over-thinker). This state of over thinking could actually be detrimental to your health, spanning over both mental and physical horizons. Holding and generating these negative feelings can be detrimental to human performance, leading to mental conditions like anxiety and depression.

Personally, I know how it feels to over-analyse life’s bits and pieces; I know how it feels to be miserable and somewhat depressed. It sucks; a lot. Nobody deserves that; to feel burdened and overwhelmed by forces seemingly out of their control, tides turned against them. But there are ways to get around these negative feelings and thought patterns; there is a way to power-through these times of confusion, over-reflection, and doubt.

These hurtful patterns won’t stop unless you put the dedication and effort into helping yourself. Based on scientific research and my own personal experiences and research, I’ve have found that these next 8 ways will drastically help you stop over thinking and just live life knowing there are going to be negative events, but you’ll be able to get through them both sane, productive and happy.

1) Accept that you have a problem with over-thinking.

This encompasses the healing process and will help you forgive yourself. Most people probably aren’t aware your brain is actually wired to make over thinking a natural tendency; it helps reinforce rational thought and create a pool of thoughtful answers to act upon.  Our thoughts are knitted together like a web instead of layered on top of one another. The imagery might not make total sense; I aware! But once you become more aware of this you can begin to solve the underlying issue. This is usually the first step in all healing processes; realization, reflection and acceptance.

 

2) Breathe more.

For me, this was the best thing that helped me through this same exact process. Breathing will relax you, calm you, connect you to the present moment and ground you to the world around you Taking three big breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth. This helps reconnect yourself with reality; you’d be surprised how often we lose our connection to reality and get caught up too deeply in remembrance. The world is in the present, ever changing; don’t get left behind in the past (or the future, for that matter).

 

3) Get active and stay busy.

Let the energy out and have fun! Physical activity actually provides enough absorption to pull you out of negative thinking and back into a state of flowing (floating) with life. It’s proven that exercise helps improve focus, productivity and, of course, your health (mental and physical).

 

4) Be mindful.

This takes some practice. Being able to live in the present moment and take each second at a time is one of the essential pillars of life; it’s valuing each second that passes by for what it is and realizing the life is precious and important. Lao Tzu once said: “If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future, and if you are at peace you are living in the present.” A great way to kick this into gear is to mediate and relax, breaking free of heavy thoughts. This clears your mind and presents a calm and an ‘at one feeling’ with the universe.

 

5) Surrender to the universe.

Don’t try to control every aspect of life; let life flow. In reality, we have little to no control over the unfolding of events before us, at least not from the conscious standpoint that our worrying will directly impact the outcome in the way we want. Surrender does not mean giving up; It means you are willing to go with the flow of the current instead of trying to swim against it and getting repeatedly bashed into the rocks. Surrender is a form of release and a form of peace. It means you are willing to trust that everything will work out as it’s supposed to.

 

6) Your thoughts create your own reality.

Our thoughts actually do shape our reality through influencing our actions and expectations; it a way, they can affect what we see in front of us. The more you worry about something, the more you’ll begin to attract that exact same energy you are worried about! Jimmy Ohm always says: “Worrying is a misuse of creative energy.” Focus on important things, but don’t forget the more you worry, the worse your outlook will become.

 

You have all the tools to be positive and create a life that you want. Live each day one at a time, be thankful for this life you have. Be patient, take the time to find inner peace in each present moment no matter if its negative or positive.

My Perspective on Life & The World

By | Life, Other | No Comments

For my weekly blogs, I’d rather talk about what’s happened in my life and what’s going on in the universe. Every time I do, I feel like reader’s have no idea where my head is, like I’m crazy or something. From my point of view, most people think that life is nothing but what they see in front of them; ‘what you see is what you get’. Black and white. I refuse to accept that belief and point of view (respectfully, of course), because I know there’s more under the surface of every experience and opportunity; to every facet of life.

Life is so much more than what we get to see each day. So many people do things in this day and age without thinking; without first understanding the consequences of their actions and being able to accept they play a part in their own mistakes. Countless oil spills and wars could have been avoided had we simply just worked together and stopped closing our minds to new ideas, focusing solely on ourselves. We take the Earth and perhaps life for granted. Living each day like you have a thousand more to go. There’s nothing more precious than life itself, so why are we intent on living in the now? Why aren’t we looking to the future, preserving the world for our children and their children?

What is life? What is reality? These are questions we may never understand, but while we have the time to find out as much as possible about the world around us, I think it’s a good idea to keep our minds open. There are so many different theories of life and human existence and how we can improve ourselves. It’s a pretty uneducated to only believe in one point of view when the possibilities of life are endless.

Yes there might be a God. Or, there may very well not be. I’ve always told myself to keep an open mind and take all possibilities into account. Show respect towards all ways of life and beliefs. Never judge no matter the situation.

I wish I could do something to help change peoples minds about disrespecting the people of the world, no matter their religions or their ways of life. There’s no reason to start wars or show disrespect towards another country’s beliefs because you disagree with their traditions. You may never know; whatever they believe may happen to be reality. How are we to know?

Until you get the perspective of whole world and how other people live, there’s no reason to be so confident that our ways are the only ones. What makes us so sure we’re ‘enlightened’? Well, I believe it’s all about the human condition, something in itself that’s confusing enough.

My goal in life is to travel the world, to go to every nook and cranny. I want to literally see every country and how they live, learning from them because each of their experiences are different. This planet we call home is so expansive and mysterious; there’s so much we can’t see, and that’s because of both the size of the Earth and the plethora of experiences and viewpoints amongst various cultures. I’m going to travel and keep travelling until I’ve seen the perspective of the entire world in front of me. Every person on this Earth should get the opportunity to do the same. We are all equal. We are all brothers and sisters. Keep an open mind; life will surprise you if you do.

Social Media: The Decline of Face-to-Face Communication

By | Life, Other, Social Media | No Comments

Commuting back and forth to work everyday, you tend to see a lot of different people. Everybody’s different in there own way. There’s one thing that everybody has these days: a cell phone. 9/10 people are either looking down at their cell phone, scrolling through the Facebook news feed or talking with somebody on a call.

This new technology has completely changed the way we communicate. It’s changed just about everything about us, altering our very culture; it’s changed the way we engage with one another, the way we market brands and ourselves. To all of us it seems like these applications have been around for quite some time, but they’re still fairly new. We’ve become so wrapped up with new technology that we’ve pretty much forgot how to engage and interact with each other face-to-face. This is a growing fact in the world today that we simply can’t ignore.

Its a little scary if you ask me. Why? Well, most of these large networks and communities won’t just stop growing; Facebook is a prime example. Communication has gone from human contact to technological contact in no time flat. People now feel comfortable messaging a friend across the room when they can easily speak out load to communicate with them. Out of convenience? I’m not so sure, but it’s a notable trend. I’ve been taking some steps to keep face-to-face communication alive for myself. I urge you to do the same. This will be beneficial for more than one reason. You will be able to speak your mind a lot easier, feel more comfortable in front of an audience, and express your feelings in a better way than through text. The true way genuine relationships are made is from face to face contact. Verbal instead of written. Expressing and feeling someone else’s emotions is nothing like reading it on your cell phone. Speak your mind out loud, you’ll find more people tend to listen and remember you.

Of course using social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family; we can attach media, use emoticons and more. It adds communication where we’d normally be without it; where we’d be without the human contact we prefer at the moment in time. It’s great for following your interests and hobbies, keeping track of the newest products and trends. But If these people really mean a lot to you, you’ll take the extra effort to see them and communicate with them in person.

This especially true for the newest generation of kids. All they see and want is technology; newest iPhone: check. The fastest, thinnest tablet: check. If parents don’t start teaching them how to connect and communicate with people, then there’s little hope of a future with intimate, natural contact. We will be communicating through technology and that’s it. Using video calls instead of meeting somebody to talk. Should we call it lazy way to communicate? That lies in the eye of the beholder, but let’s be serious and honest with ourselves: social media and digital communications amplify the human experience, but we need to remind ourselves that balance is important and so are real life conversations.

Lets make eye contact, share emotion and thought. Lets do it through face-to-face communication and ensure we treasure personal, intimate conversation.

When Opportunity Conquers Fear

By | Life, Other | No Comments

There’s always some sort of up and down in life. It’s never just a steady track. When you think about past experiences and what you’ve been through, they’re all a sum of who you are as a person today; the good and the bad are equally important.

We will all come across big opportunities to achieve something great, but we may be too nervous or lack the confidence to press forward; for example, interviews or presentations are the two things that always make me sweat. When I got my first agency job, I almost didn’t go to the interview. I was so nervous I couldn’t get up out of bed. Somehow, I found the courage to get up and go. Once I arrived at the building, I took a deep breath and told myself I could do it and everything would be ok. Even if I didn’t get the position, I should be proud of myself that I went. I got the job and am happy to this day for making the decision to try.

Learning from that experience has showed me that I do have the skills and confidence to impress. Everything up to this point and forward has all been worth it; the long hours of work throughout high school, public school and college paid off. If I didn’t have these experiences, I wouldn’t be in the place I am today. Maybe you can relate to my story. I’m sure many people have had similar experiences and benefited from them. No matter the out come, as long as you’ve learned from them and moved forward, you’ve won.

Everybody is going through their own problems and experiences. There’s never any good reason to judge somebody or be negative towards them. Treat people how you want to be treated. You will find that you are much happier. Don’t let your ego control you. Just be. And let other people be.

Confidence is a major part of life. The ego works off of that. Your ego comes out when you don’t feel confident enough to do something. So you judge other people or think negatively about them to make yourself feel better. I’m not somebody to share about my life and my perspective on things because of my confidence, but I am doing it anyways. Pushing through that barrier and expressing my understanding of life.

I challenge you to do the same. No matter what it is. Take risks. Try new things. These experiences will improve who you are. Stay positive. Life will present you with the endless possibilities of the universe.