Writing Tools To Help You Communicate Better

Writing Tools To Help You Communicate Better

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When it comes to writing style I don’t consider myself a “traditionalist”. Two things that I insist on when writing is spelling and punctuation. Both of these things have improved by using two apps on a regular basis: Hemingway and Grammarly.

If you’re writing a script for a commercial, a TV promo, an ebook, blog post or any form of online social media, these two tools will make sure you stay on track.

Grammarly – is more than a spell checker. It checks your grammar, spelling and plagiarism (premium version only)! You read that right. According to their website, “Grammarly’s plagiarism checker crosschecks your text against over 8 billion web pages, detecting plagiarized passages and highlighting sections that have been previously published elsewhere”. Another plagiarism checker is Unplag. Learn about their free plagiarism checker here.

The web browser plugin checks that comments or posts are grammatically correct.

Grammarly is available for free as a plugin on Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

Hemingway – is a web tool where you simply cut and paste your document and get instant feedback. Sentence structure and phrasing, even passive voice alerts are included.

My personal preference is running my text through Grammarly and then taking it to Hemingway for final touches.

Try them and let me know what you think!

BONUS: If you’re writing a timed text for a commercial or explainer video try the David Tyler Script Timer by clicking here.

Why Fit In When You Can Stand Out

Why Fit In When You Can Stand Out

9 Awesome Websites for Royalty Free Stock Images for Commercial Use

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Whether you’re building a website, blog post, creating an info graphic or ad campaign, here are 9 of my favourite places to get royalty free stock images.

1. PIXABAY – Has got to be the easiest of these website to search for the right picture. You can use the category browser or use the “search” feature. The only downside to the search feature is that sometimes it will show you pictures that come from paying services like Shutterstock which kind of defeats the purpose, but that’s how the finance the website.

2. GRATISOGRAPHY – Another beautifully designed website, easy to browse. There are lots of fun and quirky choices here…also some very attractive shots too. All pictures were photographed by Ryan McGuire and free of copyright restrictions.

3. PICOGRAPHY – While the collection here is smaller than the previously mentioned websites, the pictures are truly stunning. Try the search feature and see what you can come up with for your next project in need of a photo. Picography is also looking for your input on their pics, note the comments set ion for each pic.

4. PUBLIC DOMAIN ARCHIVE – The collection here is likewise smaller, but the quality of those images is high. This website is put together by Matt Hobbs and his family. For a small fee ($10/month) you can get access to a private collection of images and bulk downloads.

5. UNRESTRICTED STOCK – While they do provide high quality photographs, the forte of this website seems to be it’s vector graphics and icon sets. Be sure to read their license agreement before you download.

6. LIFE OF PIX – You can use the Google-esque search engine or browse through another set of stunningly amazing pictures by category here. This website I’m proud to say has been put together by a local Montreal agency (Leeroy Advertising Agency).

7. PIC JUMBO – Another fantastic set of images for you to use in your personal or commercial work. What I like the most about this website (besides the photographs of course) is the “test-drive” feature that lets you see what the photo you’re thinking of downloading in various contexts. Try it out! This website also provides a premium service ($6/month) where you can have pics sent directly to your email.

8. UNSPLASH – Even more beautiful photographs here but in a “non-splashy” format. The Ello-ish style helps to keep your attention on the pictures themselves and not on the web design.

9. NEW OLD STOCK – And just incase you’re looking for picture from days gone past, this website should be your go-to. As it says on their rights-and-usage page, these photos are “to the best of my knowledge” available to the public domain. Depending on the picture you may want to verify if it’s OK to use in your project.

Take your time to explore this list and decide which websites to bookmark for your next project. Depending on your style and what you’re looking for some of them will be better suited to your needs than others. If you feel compelled, share this post using one of the methods below. Happy browsing!

Communicating Through Color

Sometimes the art of communicating ideas is about the art of communicating through color. I’ve been aware of the Pantone annual report for several years, as many other Montréalers do, I have friends who work in the fashion business and use the info religiously to plan their work.

Last year the Pantone color of the year was Turquoise, in 2009 it was Mimosa, in 2008 it was Blue Iris, etc.

Well, this year (2011) the Pantone color of the year is Honeysuckle:

Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.

You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, a color is something that is beyond words…it’s primal.

Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues…[it] may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer. – Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®

Color goes inside of you and activates something in your soul, it communicates an idea that just goes without saying.

Color is a powerful communication tool, so how are you going to get it working for you?

For more about color read: Color: Messages and Meanings (A Pantone Color Resource) By Leatrice Eiseman

The Art of Communicating Ideas

The Art of Communicating Ideas

I‘ve worked in and studied the art of communicating ideas for over 25 years. To me, how we communicate ideas to each other is a never ending fascination.

Today we live in what my friend Nick Michaels calls “the over communicated world”, with a never ending stream of new and interesting ways to connect through traditional and digital channels.

The purpose of this blog is to explore, understand and craft the way we communicate: verbally and visually, theoretically and practically, informally and professionally.

If you work in the media or are simply a casual student, this blog promises to inspire and intrigue.

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