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Words that make you go “EARMUFFS!”

Posted on September 10, 2009

Photo by kit1578.

No, I?m not talking about curse words, although there are a few that make even me cringe. I?m talking about words that will NOT be bleeped out on national television. These are ordinary English-American-language words that wouldn?t cause anyone else to notice but causes you to flinch and put your hands over your ear (ie. the earmuffs). Hmm? maybe you need an example.


Did you scrunch up your face a little while reading that? This is a word that causes the rest of the office, sans myself, to make a squished up face and often say ?eww? or something to that extent. The truth is, I tend to like the gross and inappropriate. It?s how I was raised. No, really. I grew up on Rambo and Die Hard movies, blood and violence and all that good stuff.

In the office, however, it?s important to understand your coworkers comfort levels, and this includes those words that cross their tolerable limits. Ok, I?ll admit I?m usually the one to test these limits, but if I know it really bothers them, I?ll do my best to avoid those words.

To keep the office-peace, in almost any office with more than one person, there is an understanding that some things are just off limits. Since there is usually a mix of people from all different places, backgrounds, and lifestyles, it sometimes difficult to know what subjects and words are sensitive. When the topic arises that does make someone legitimately uncomfortable, this needs to be recognized and respected. (Unless, of course, you want office tension.)

For many people, almost half of their waking hours is spent at work during the week. Office dynamics are interesting and complicated and easily thrown off kilter, but when things are going smoothly it can be a great place to spend the day. Just remember to keep those ?earmuffs? words in check!

(As for the alligator photo, well, I couldn’t find a good earmuffs photo, so… the alligator lives in a “moist” habitat. HAHA!)


? Post written by Cristy Wiza.

(0) Comments   |   Filed Under: Communication, Office    Tags: , ,

Phone vs. Email

Posted on September 2, 2009

Have you ever sent someone a quick question via email, only to receive a phone call from them a few minutes later? And instead of simply replying back to the email with a one sentence (or less) answer, they spend 10, 15, 30+ minutes on the phone talking about everything except the question you asked? Or, on the flip side, receiving an eight-paragraph email that would have only taken a few minutes to discuss over the phone or in person? Not to mention all of the other forms of communication available today (Facebook, Twitter, Ning, ? ok, the list is endless). How do you know what?s appropriate?

Photos by otjep and daniel437.

Think TIME and CLARITY. What will take the least amount of time while still conveying a clear message?


  • Quick question needing a short answer
  • List of many changes to a project (for easy and accurate reference)
  • Needing files, fonts, logos, etc.
  • Sending information during non-business hours
  • Arranging meeting dates
  • Needing to send the same information to multiple people


  • Questions regarding an unclear email
  • Topic with many talking points in need of a discussion
  • Sensitive subject material that could be misconstrued in an email

These are only a few examples, and there are always exceptions (like a detailed email highlighting the points of a conversation or project for documentation). Knowing the other person is key, like calling people who never check their email, or emailing people who never answer their phone. Let?s face it, the goal is communication and there are definitely people who have strong preferences in using one or the other.

Saving your clients time is also saving them money. Finding the most efficient way to communicate with them will get the work done in the least amount of time? time you can use to check us out at (yes, shameless plug at the end)


? Post written by Cristy Wiza.

(0) Comments   |   Filed Under: Clients/Customers, Communication    Tags: , , ,

The Art of Estimating

Posted on August 20, 2009

One of the hardest and most frustrating things that we do as designers are estimates. Ugh?the dreaded task of trying to pin down the value and time limit for the work that we create. Yes, it?s a necessary evil, but that doesn?t mean we have to like it!

It is nearly impossible to know beforehand how long a project will take, and that is something that customers often have a difficult time understanding. It varies depending upon the subject matter, the type of work being done and how creative or off-the-wall it needs to be. Oh, but that?s just the beginning. There are so many, may other factors to take into consideration, and a lot of it depends on the customer themselves. How many people, both creatives and customers (the dreaded designed-by-committee) will be involved? How many rounds of changes do they expect to go through? How many discussions, meetings or phone conferences are required during the creative process?  Will all content be available at the start of the project or will it trickle in as time goes on? Does the web site need to be programmed in a specific language or way to meet the IT departments requirements? Are they expecting the logo to be redesigned as part of the brochure project? Customers sometimes have expectations that we aren?t aware of during the estimating process, which is why an estimate is really, just a (somewhat) educated guess.

So bear with us as we spend a day or two (or five) as we review the project scope, try to get inside your head and figure out what your expectations are. And after all that, put a number on it. I know, it?s a daunting task.

If you are looking for a team that has the art of estimating refined, we are the team for you! Visit our web site to find what we do, and how WE CAN HELP YOU.