July 25, 2014
Posted By: Sheri

DSC_5248-copy2When Marc and I first started MSLK back in 1998, I was armed and ready with lots of training as graphic designer. However, like almost every other design business owner before me, I’d never received any training on how to run a business, much less a graphic design business, which has its own unique challenges.

My formal training had shown me how to translate the spoken and unspoken needs of a business into compelling visuals. I could simplify messaging, choose the right typeface, colors, and imagery, but I barely knew how to guide a client through that process. After all, I wasn’t pulling a prefabricated design off the shelf, but rather creating something unique for each client and starting from scratch each time.

So that’s how I sold creative. We are going to create something unique and custom-tailored just for you. It will never have been done before because it’s just for you. Then I’d show them all the beautiful visuals in my portfolio of lovely artifacts I had created for other clients. If I was lucky there was a solution in there that was similar to a challenge the prospective client was experiencing. Then I could talk about that similarity; but mostly what I was selling was style alone. I was also inadvertently selling risk. Take a chance with us because we are so innovative and creative we don’t have a set process.

It was around this time that some colleagues, Marc, and I started the group Spark. Spark is a group of design business owners who get together each month to talk about the issues relevant to running a design firm. Instantly, I saw a few themes emerge:
1. Every design business owner felt exactly the same as we did, and were experiencing the same challenges.
2. All of them were trained as graphic design practitioners with little to no experience running a business.
3. Each designer was inventing his or her own solutions, akin to silently working on reinventing the wheel without even knowing that a wheel exists.
4. Everyone was lonely and sought more camaraderie and support. Read more

March 14, 2014
Posted By: Ryan

MSLK-Rethinking-Responsive-Web-Design
Responsive web design has become one of the most ubiquitous buzz phrases in the web world for the past three years or so. In case you aren’t familiar, the phrase refers to a set of web development techniques used to create the optimal viewing experience of a website across all devices. Perhaps you’re thinking of redoing your website, and maybe you’ve already been sold on responsive design as a “must have.” With all of the articles out there, it can be difficult to cut through the clutter.

MSLK’s philosophy has always been to respond to client needs and project objectives over industry trends. Over the past three years, we’ve created a number of responsive sites (including our own), and we’ve gleaned new insights along the way. We have found that responsive design is essential in many instances, while in others it is over-scaled for our client’s needs and/or doesn’t make sense with kind of site that is being created. Read more to determine when it’s best to invest in a responsive site.

Read more

March 13, 2014
Posted By: Sheri

MSLKcontentFirstOnline

Businesses seem to naturally gravitate towards considering technology needs when looking to build or update an e-commerce site. However, the more valuable — and often overlooked — consideration is that of content. Without a doubt, technology is essential in helping to deliver the content, but technology without content is meaningless. I believe the best process begins with defining user desires and marrying those with   business objectives in order to create the ideal front-end user experience. Defining the user experience should then inform the selection of a technology platform, not the other way around.

When considering the type of content to be included in a user experience, we have found that it is important to consider the following key areas: Read more

February 10, 2014
Posted By: Ryan

MSLK-4-Content-Strategies-for-your-Website

As your number one marketing tool, it is imperative that your website speak effectively to your target consumer. Design and technology will fall flat if the words on the page aren’t carefully considered—everything from primary messaging down to smaller stories. Indeed, content development is an often overlooked, yet crucial, aspect of the web design process.

At MSLK  we believe that in order to design, one must first understand. If we apply this mantra to a website project, it means that content creation should happen as early as possible, which will directly influence the design. The content strategies presented here are applicable to any industry, and have proven successful for our clients time and time again: Read more

February 1, 2012
Posted By: Marc


MSLK works with our clients to build great experiences with every touch-point of their brand, from identity design to websites, packaging, and promotions online and offline. Over the years we’ve found that the best promotions and websites are really only possible when there is a truly unique offering. The only limit is with the brands themselves. When we see a brand that has everything right, it’s exciting.

I came across such a brand during a search for eyeglasses. After numerous visits to online stores and brick & mortars, I found the whole process to be draining: too many choices, and a nagging sense that things were more expensive than they should be. Then I remembered an article I had read some time ago about a start-up making vintage-inspired frames with prescription lenses for only $95.00. I began my Google search using the keywords “New York Times vintage eye-wear website” which lead me right to the article.

Now, I’m the proud owner of a wonderful pair of stylish, vintage-inspired frames from Warby Parker. I only paid $95.00, and found the whole experience to be, well… fun, which is a far cry from my previous experiences. Here’s why:

Read more

June 7, 2011
Posted By: Sheri

Hiring a graphic designer to create something isn’t an easy task. The best design is a custom-tailored solution that could only work for that specific brand. Therefore you can’t expect to go to the store and simply pick up a pre-made logo, package or website that “fits” your brand.

But if you aren’t buying something that already exists, how do you know what design team is right for you? How do you choose?

Over the years I’ve come to define a few telltale signs and measuring tactics. I  follow these principles when hiring a designer myself. Read more

April 20, 2011
Posted By: Sheri

Have you noticed that you are only seeing updates in your newsfeed from the same people lately? I have been and it’s driving me nuts! I keep missing things I really should know about. Have you also noticed that when you post things like status messages, photos and links, the same circle of people are commenting and everyone else seems to be ignoring you?

Don’t worry, nobody has intentionally blocked you. The problem is that a large chunk of your friend/fan list can’t see anything you post. Here’s why: Read more

March 11, 2011
Posted By: Sheri

A blog is the cornerstone of an active online and social media presence for any business. However, perhaps the  term “blog” is a bit misleading. I’m not suggesting every business needs to create the next “CuteOverload” for daily social entertainment. An effective blog need only be an area of your website where you publish fresh content regularly, which could easily be called your News section. Focus your energy on the quality of your content rather than the quantity of visitors.

Read more

January 27, 2011
Posted By: Ryan

MSLK has had the pleasure of crafting engaging portfolio websites for many artists and artist representatives. The process of hiring creative talent has certainly changed in recent years. Physical books are still wonderful tools to solidify an engagement — once you’ve been short listed for a job, but reviewing printed portfolios has become few and far between. Websites have become the number one sales tool for any business, even creative individuals.

Creative websites needs to grab the attention of busy individuals, place emphasis on the work itself and be easy to navigate. The easier your site is for viewers to use, the more of your work they’ll actually see. Experience has shown that users absorb information in different ways, so it is important to implement multiple methods of navigation into your site in order to tailor to the needs of all user types. Read more

January 20, 2011
Posted By: Ryan


A question that our clients ask a lot is: how will I be able to update the website you made for me? MSLK responds: that’s easy, through a simple interface known as a content managment system or cms for short. This is often referred to as the back-end of your website or what the public doesn’t see. It’s usually a dashboard that is extremely user friendly. If you use Microsoft word, you can use a CMS to update your website. Read more

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