How to best automate product mockup and template design work?

Hi all, I am looking to see if anyone has experience solving the best way to automate the product mockups and design templates for apparel.

Historically I have used a full-time graphic designer to do them with self-recorded Photoshop Actions. I am looking to optimize this further since it's the same repetitive work we could be spending on the actual designs.

We do full cut & sew apparel, so there are two parts:

  1. Mockups for ~10 different products (mens t-shirt, women's t-shirt, men's tank, hoodie, etc) to be automated in one process
  2. Templates for those products for our manufacturing (it's the same template every time but we have to lay the artwork out across each product, which varies in size and orientation)

We have one "input design file" which has all of the necessary design work. I am looking for a designer with deep automation (and possible coding) experience that could help me understand the actual technology involved here to go from Point A to Z.

The process goes like this..

  1. Lead designer creates a design
  2. Lead designer lays design across a single standardized template
  3. *What I need help with begins:* design is laid across all mockups (front and back)
  4. *What I need help with*: design is laid across all printable product templates (already standardized)

Anyone with experience of a similar project?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Why Adobe, Sitecore, WordPress & Co no longer work for next-gen content management

Content

Content Management Systems (CMS) have come a long way from the early beginnings of the Web. With an increasing amount of content that has to be managed across more and more channels, the time is ripe for modern headless architectures to augment the experience and possibilities for both developers and content creators. 

CMS is dating back to the beginning of the WWW

Content management systems (CMS) are nearly as old as the world wide web and can be traced back to August 6, 1991, when Tim Berners Lee laid the foundation of the WWW with the creation of hypertext (HTML) and launching the first website at CERN. Consequently, this led to an inflation of content being created and the need to properly write, publish and update this content. The traditional way of publishing (on paper) was disrupted and a new set of tools and suites had to be created to support content creators and editors to adapt their content to the new channel and possibilities of the web.

The CMS Evolution – from text editors in the 1990s to the first CMS systems including Typo3 and WordPress and the emergence of the Mobile Web

The 1990s: first text editors

Being involved in this development very early on, one had to self educate in HTML and when creating one of the first school homepages in Austria in the 90ies, mainly static coding by using text editors and later editors like Dreamweaver (Adobe) was used. 

The early 2000s: first CMS systems including WordPress emerge

Soon thereafter, in early 2000, the first CMS systems (like Typo3, which remains at around 1% market share today ) emerged, which soon got picked up by large corporations to manage their ever-increasing content. These systems separate content from layout and display and store data in databases (often SQL). The next wave was a revolution regarding the “ease to use” and mass adoption, kick-started by WordPress in 2003. Today, ⅓ of all websites still run on WordPress, which has nearly 60 per cent market share in CMS (Source). However, the WordPress of today certainly has very little in common with the one in the early days. 

Mid-2000 to 2010: Mobile Web kicks off and first website building kits emerge

With the mobile web, which really kicked off in 2007 with the introduction of the iPhone, a new challenge appeared: fitting content to very different (sized) devices and screens and also embedded rich content like videos, sound, etc. Also, website building kits (like Wix) emerged, allowing end-consumers to effortlessly build their own websites (and shops) using drag-and-drop from building blocks.

2010 – today: the exploding amount of content poses huge challenges for the existing, monolithic CMS

With nearly 2 billion websites globally (count increasing) the need to manage all that content is constantly increasing. Also, the requirements have risen dramatically, leading Forrester and Gartner to extend the definition of content management to “digital experience management”. Basically, they describe these systems as being capable of providing and managing the digital journey of customers, across (digital) channels.

The Mobile Web combined with the increasing amount of outlets and channels, as well as the need to be able to serve content on a massive scale (globally, in many languages), brings the existing monolithic systems to their limit.
The need for integration in other systems (from CRM, e-commerce, ERP,…) has created numerous new challenges:

  • multiple channels (e-commerce, social media channels, web,…)
  • increased need for performance (SEO, UX) and global scalability (economies of scale)
  • integration of different services and platforms (via APIs), with complex deployments, urging for a clearer separation between front- and back-end
  • front-end and UX becoming more and more important, to differentiate (the brand and UX)
  • multi-language support and automated internationalization
  • personalization, context adaptation (integration of ML)
  • using state-of-the-art cloud infrastructure (e.g. AWS, Azure) in an efficient way
  • coordination of an increasing amount of content and content creators (publishing process), as well as the integration of tools (spell checkers, translation,…) in the process
  • offering solutions that are usable for non-technical users (e.g. editors), while allowing enough flexibility for developers to integrate them easily into the tech stack

From content management to “digital experience management: Today’s massive amount of content is a golden opportunity for growth and impact for new software architectures 

The solution to the broad range of challenges listed above is “headless CMS” or “digital experience platforms” (DXP) for multiple reasons:

  • separation front / back
  • API first approach
  • global first  infrastructure (multi-language, multi-country, large scale)
  • independence from channels (supporting all existing and new ones)
  • easy integration with 3rd party tools (from CDN, support of editors,…)

The competitive landscape of new CMS  

We have taken a close look at this newly emerging sector of systems that are increasingly changing the way how content is created, managed, and published. According to G2, the top performers by customer satisfaction are ButterCMS, ContentStack, Storyblok, Contentful and Kentico Content.

(Source)

Outlook on market and trends

  • strong investor interest in the space, one provider likely IPOing in 2021
  • several large funding rounds to be expected in 2021
  • existing players will heavily invest and/or acquire companies
  • first large and international deployments, e.g. EF (Education First) with nearly 500m pages.

Startups – Silicon Canals

10 Tips For Managing Work Expectations On Your Time

DontjustsaynoEvery entrepreneur I know can’t find enough hours in a day to do the good things they want, and yet they often find themselves saying yes to new requests. Perhaps because they are optimists by nature, or they just hate to disappoint others, they end up hurting their health, credibility, and effectiveness by not being able to deliver on everything they promise.

In addition to saying yes too often, some entrepreneurs under pressure say no poorly, by attacking the requestor or by avoiding any definitive response. Either of these approaches always make a difficult situation worse, often leading to guilt or a later accommodation.

A successful entrepreneur must be accountable for all commitments, and manage expectations to make this possible. So here are some tips I have learned over the years from strong leaders that can help you say no without damaging current business relationships or future opportunities:

  1. Establish boundaries and honor them for all to see. Let your constituents know your priorities and limits. Don’t continually break your own rules about when you are available or what requests are acceptable. Your actions must match your words, so don’t say yes when you mean no, or hope to squeeze out later.

  1. Ask for time to check your calendar. It’s acceptable business practice to review your schedule, or converse with other principals, before committing to an answer. Don’t respond with a quick yes that you can’t deliver, or a quick no that will ruin a relationship. In all cases, it’s important to commit to a date or time for a final yes or no.
  1. Give credence to your initial instinct. Recognize that your brain and your body often register information that is more accurate than an optimistic emotional reaction, or a negative reaction after a long hard day. Take a deep breath, clear your mind of any external distractions, and analyze your gut reaction before providing any answer.
  1. Voice both the pros and cons to a trusted cohort. Speaking the considerations out loud will help you make sure you understand the full implications of either a yes or a no answer. Every yes answer increases your workload, and every no answer may cut off an opportunity you need down the road. Talking it out also buys you time.
  1. Explore the possibility of a reciprocal favor. This will help the requester understand the impact of the request, and potentially reconsider. In other cases, you may actually get back more than you give up. Every yes should be a win-win proposition, just like strategic partnerships can bring huge growth to both businesses, despite the work.
  1. Explain your constraints before saying no. Rejection without giving a context implies an unreasonable request or a problem with the requestor. People making a request may not understand your budget limitations, current workload, or competitive pressures. In this context, you can also make an encouraging statement about future requests.
  1. Say yes to the person and no to the task. Make sure the requestor understands first how positively you feel about them, despite the fact that the requested task cannot be accommodated in your current workload, strategy, or other boundary. Requestors are then less likely to be left with the impression that your rejection is a personal affront.
  1. Sandwich your no between two positives. Make your answer more palatable with a positive explanation. For example, if your partner asks you to cover a conference, but you have development deadlines at risk, explain these commitments (first yes), how they lock you in town (no), and finish by confirming your focus to an on-time product (second yes).
  1. Defer the decision to a better environment. Ask for the opportunity to discuss the request when you can give the requestor your full attention. When you are in the normal chaos of the startup day, both parties can be easily misinterpreted. Pay attention to body language and tone that often make the negative response more difficult to receive.
  1. Make sure your words are non-defensive but clearly stated. No one wins when a requestor reads your softly spoken no as a yes or a maybe. Long detailed explanations are usually read as defensive or confrontational. The answer should be strong and non-emotional. Just say no clearly, and smile as you say it.

You don’t have to be viewed as a yes person to be viewed as a leader. In fact, if you look at the leaders around you, they are not afraid to say no to the conventional wisdom, and they gain respect for doing it. They have learned the art of saying no with the same conviction and passion they use in saying yes. That’s the best way to change the world and save yourself, so start today.

Marty Zwilling

Startup Professionals Musings

7 Ways To Stay Motivated At Work During Challenging Times

With most of the world on strict lockdown and no prospect of returning to the office any time soon, 2021 is playing out like much of last year so far, and people all over the country are understandably frustrated and tired. With uncertainty around the future and remote working continuing for most, staying motivated at work is crucial for us to maintain positive momentum and mindset this year.

For 2021, a recent study by YouGov shows changing careers is still within the top 5 resolutions for Britons, particularly within the 18-24 age group, and more employees are looking to climb the career ladder this year. As we’ve settled into new work, flexible schedules, and working remotely, managing work-life balance may be slightly more straightforward, but staying motivated may be challenging.

Here are seven ways to help boost your motivation at work all year round, according to Workspace Specialists Instant Offices:

1. Prioritize Mental Health

Now more than ever, mental health needs to come first. Uncertainty from the pandemic and additional stresses make it even more difficult for us to focus. On the one hand, you might be throwing yourself into work to avoid having to address other issues, leading to burnout, or you’re completely detached from work because of stress from COVID, lockdown, and other elements. Now is the time to put yourself first to flourish this year.

2. Practice Gratitude

With all the uncertainty and stress from the pandemic, it’s very easy to become despondent, making it even more challenging to be motivated for work. Being thankful for what you have can lift your spirits. Dr. Robert Emmons, an expert on the science of gratitude, has found that those who practice gratitude at work have better relationships with themselves and others, allowing them to work better.

3. Find Career Support

More content is available online than ever before due to most people offering services, classes, and expertise online during the lockdown. Take charge of your career track this year by finding a mentor willing to share their insights and experience. In addition to guiding you on career growth and decision making, their constructive feedback can help you expand your skillset. Fortune 500 companies understand the value of mentorship – 71% offer formal mentoring programs to their employees.

4. Stay Busy

Around 40% of UK employees admit to being bored at work, and more than half think their existing skills are being wasted. Boredom at work is a significant source of stress and can lead to depression and disinterest. Ensure you take regular breaks during long tasks, even when working from home, but if you’re in a quiet period, keep yourself busy by learning a new skill that can bolster your career.

5. Upskill Yourself

Increase your value at work by learning a new skill. If you’re working from home and have more time on your hands, taking an online course or reading up on something you’re interested in can only benefit you and your career. During lockdown in the UK, 24% tried to learn a new language, while 19% brushed up on IT and digital skills.

6. Use Holiday Time

Having small breaks throughout the year instead of saving all of your holidays for the end of the year can really benefit your mental health in the long run. Even if you’re working from home, taking some time away from your devices, emails and workstations can be very refreshing. You don’t need to venture far from home for a holiday either. If restrictions allow it, go for a walk or simply get outside to restimulate your mental space.

7. Ask for an Increase

As of August 2020, 37% of Britons think they deserve to be paid more for their jobs, according to YouGov. A poll of 5,000 people showed 68% hadn’t received a pay rise or promotion in the last year, leading to unhappiness at work. If you’re committed to your job but need more to keep you motivated, it’s definitely time to stop stalling and ask for a raise.

Nobody knows what 2021 will bring but taking charge of our happiness one step at a time will help contribute to a better work-life ahead for the new year.

 

_________

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StartUs Magazine

Relocation startup Perchpeek raises €2.2 million to help employees work anywhere

British startup Perchpeek, the AI-powered relocation agent, is today announcing it has raised around €2.2 million, led by early-growth experts Episode 1. Founded in 2018 as a UK property marketplace, Perchpeek was originally dubbed ‘Tinder for renting’, but has since developed into a completely unique, global relocation service that is transforming the relocation industry. The Perchpeek…

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EU-Startups

HRtech startup Omnipresent snaps up €12.3 million Series A to boost the remote work revolution

HRtech startup Omnipresent has closed a €12.3 million Series A funding round just five months after it’s seed round. The funding will be used to continue to grow the company’s share of the international employment market as the world shifts to remote work post-2020. The round was led by an undisclosed investor with participation from existing…

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EU-Startups

HK govt extends work from home arrangements for civil servants until Jan. 27 – Yahoo Finance

HK govt extends work from home arrangements for civil servants until Jan. 27  Yahoo Finance
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Penji offers unlimited graphic design work for one monthly rate

Graphic design brings your print and digital marketing materials to life. It’s an important part of creating eye-catching and on-brand advertisements, brochures, websites, merchandise, and more. However, hiring graphic designers can be expensive, and attempting to do graphic design work on your own can be difficult without proper training or experience. Instead, try Penji.

Penji is an on-demand graphic design service that helps thousands of marketers and agencies achieve better results. You can submit unlimited print, digital, or UX/UI design requests, then let Penji’s fully managed team of vetted talent work their magic.

With Penji, there’s no hiring, no HR, and no hourly billing involved. Instead, you pay one flat monthly rate to cover all of your design needs. Here’s how it works:

Create a design project: Simply fill out a form to tell the designers about the project and what you’re envisioning. You can also upload any attachments that need to be included and choose the file types you want.

Project is designed: Penji automatically matches you with the designer best suited for your specific project. You’ll be able to communicate with your designer right on Penji’s platform. You will receive your first draft within 24 to 48 hours.

Review work: After reviewing your work, you can either download your files if you’re satisfied with the work or submit a request for revisions if it’s not quite what you were hoping for. Penji offers unlimited revisions.

Download your files: When you’re happy with the results, you can download your files. You’ll receive the design files as well as the source files.

Features
Penji includes a range of features to achieve your graphic design needs.

Variety of project types: Whether you need graphic design work for social media, beverage labels, vehicle wraps, catalogs, digital ads, newsletters, or something else, odds are Penji can create it. All pricing plans come with general graphic design capabilities, including branding, digital, marketing, merch sellers, print projects, and more. Team and Agency plans also include custom illustrations, web design, app design, and infographics.

Unlimited design projects: You can submit as many project requests as you’d like for one flat monthly rate.

Unlimited revisions: You can submit as many revisions as you’d like until you’re happy with the final product.

Vetted designers: Penji works with the top graphic designers, so there’s always someone capable of completing your project.

Fast turnaround: Most projects will be completed and returned for your review within 24 to 48 hours.

No hidden fees: Instead of paying hourly rates or per-project fees, with Penji, you pay one monthly price for all of your design needs.

Invite your team: Penji allows you to invite your team members or clients to collaborate on the project.

Human support: When you contact Penji, you get to talk to a real person, not a bot. You’ll also be assigned a dedicated account manager to ensure the project runs smoothly.

File ownership: You’ll have 100% ownership over all of the original source files that were created for your project.

15-day money-back guarantee: You can try Penji risk-free for 15 days. If you’re not satisfied, you can receive a full refund.

Interested?
You’ve got other things to focus on – leave the graphic design work to the professionals. If Penji sounds like it might be the right solution for you, visit penji.co to learn more.

Photos
Penji

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