Bookmobile Spotlight

We are so excited to be featured in Bookmobile’s sponsor spotlight this month! Check out their Newsletter below.

Click to download PDF

Sponsor Spotlight

Lara J Designs specializes in helping new companies brand their business and providing quality marketing for existing businesses. They serve companies from the small one-person start-up to large international businesses by providing custom graphic design services: logo design, business cards, brochures, website design, and all sorts of print materials. We asked Lara why it is important to her and the company to give back to the community.

Her response:
“We feel it is important to give back to our community and make a positive impact in the world. We enjoy putting our graphic design talents to good use and to help causes which we feel deeply about.”

A few details about the creative team at Lara J Designs:

Lara: Founder and creative director of Lara J Designs. Her graphic design studio is the ‘creative brains’ behind the marketing of many events downtown, including Art Market, First Friday, the Cartersville Bluegrass and Folk Festival, and many more. She lives in Cartersville with her husband, Matt, sons Evan & Colin, Yorkshire terrier Charlie, and cats Sarah, Chester & Kara.

Megg: As the project manager, Megg serves as the linchpin and liaison between LJD’s designers and clients, monitoring projects in the work pipeline to
ensure that clients’ needs and requirements are being met on time and on budget. She is also in charge of billing, managing LJD’s social media updates, and web content. Outside of work, Megg enjoys spending time with her family and friends, trying new restaurants and coffee shops. A typical Saturday afternoon includes a hike on the Chattahoochee trails with her husband and dogs.

Casi: Graphic designer and illustrator. She is also a fine artist, working in pen and ink, collage, and mixed media. Though always attracted to art and design, Casi has many other interests such as literature, mathematics, and physics, and her career includes 3-1/2 years as a math tutor.

Steven: Graphic designer at Lara J Designs since 2012. Steven studied Studio Art at Georgia State University and Graphic Design at Chattahoochee Technical College. He finds inspiration in many eras of graphic design and fine art and is an avid film and literature buff. He is also Lara’s brother, and married to Casi.

Thank you, Lara J Designs, for all you do for the Bookmobile and other non-profits in Bartow County!

Is it time for a new logo?


Logo Redesign for Fusion Dance Studio, Cartersville, Georgia

Is your logo looking a little rough around the edges? Does it make you feel like you’ve fallen through some sort of 90’s time warp? Bad logos may make your business look sketchy and unprofessional. Here are 6 signs it’s time for a change.

  1. Your logo is made from clip art.
  2. Your logo uses dated early computer effects to “make it pop”. (In a bad way) There is never a good time to use the bevel effect.
  3. Your logo uses fonts with strokes on them, squished fonts, or messy fonts you’ve seen a million times before. (like comic sans or papyrus)
  4. Your logo is unoriginal. There are only so many variations on the nike swoosh out there, and I’m pretty sure every possible combination has been tried at this point.
  5. Your logo is an image made in photoshop. Logos need to be vector art files to be scalable – no one wants pixellated banner.
  6. Your logo was bought off a stock website. Do you really want the same logo 100 other people already have?

Lara J Designs is a professional graphic design company that can assist you in moving your company’s brand into the modern world. Request a quote or give us a call for more information on how we can get started. 

Google changes rankings based on content, video, images

What Does the Recent Core Algorithm Update Mean?

First off, it’s important to remember that this update is not related to Penguin or Panda. The Panda system is in fact part of the core algorithm, but these changes don’t affect that.

What has been changed, however, is how Google ranks the quality of content on websites.

Specifically, Google is now even more focused on ranking sites better if their content is more recent, more detailed and accompanied by videos and images. This means that content that is rich in keywords but which is not recent, researched, detailed or accompanied by media may not be easily found. While some might have thought that this would result in academic content being left at the bottom of search rankings, the fact that the algorithm update specifically looks for detailed and referenced content means that this won’t happen.

The update has also seen some strange surges in ranking, which many online commentators have been unable to explain. This could relate to the aforementioned semantic search system which is expected to properly roll out in the next Penguin update.

Website Design, Cartersville, Georgia Google ResultsLara J Designs, Website Design, Cartersville, Georgia

What’s So Important About Video?

Arguably the most important change that came with the core algorithm update was the video and media section. Content that includes video will now rank better, as long as it meets all other criteria set out by Google. But what’s the big deal?

First of all, video is a great way of communicating ideas to your customers, readers and subscribers. It’s great for your website and helps keep people on your website. Now though, it’s also an essential tool for proper SEO management.

The title and description of your video helps Google to understand your site, your brand and your message. You can also index your video on your site making it easier for Google to find. Furthermore, the amount of likes, shares and views that video receives on your website adds to your ‘credibility’. The more interaction with your website, the higher up the search rankings you will go as Google’s algorithm considers the high quality nature of your website.

If one of your videos go viral, then the benefits will multiply. With thousands, possibly millions, of views and likes, Google will quickly push your website up the rankings for searches relating to the content on your website. From the meta tags and data to good old fashioned keywords, Google will be able to display your material to users searching for related content.

Not only that, but your video can help improve your visibility through video-specific search engines. YouTube is obviously the most obvious example, but there are video search options on Yahoo, Bing and Google.

Let us know if you would like us to further discuss your SEO rankings and installing All in One SEO pack on your custom designed WordPress website. Lara J Designs offers fully customized WordPress themes to match your branding.

Original full article from the All in One SEO Pack WordPress plugin blog, available to read here https://semperplugins.com/google-penguin-update/

Website Design Process with Lara J Designs

Getting the design process started for your new website or redesign of your current website can seem crazy and overwhelming. At Lara J Designs we like to do everything in our power to make the process simple and smooth. Below is a break down on how the website design & development process will go and how we can help make it easy.

Lara J Designs Sticker 2016

Step 1: Initial Consultation

This initial meeting is for us to discuss the needs for your new website and get a good break down on how you want your new website to function. We can bounce ideas off one another while answering any questions you may have regarding your new website design and functionality. This meeting can take place at our office or over the phone, either way works for us! Just reach out to us through our quote request form, email or a phone call to set up the meeting. After scheduling, we will send you a questionnaire to help us gather information for our initial meeting.

Step 2: Quote your new Website

After the initial meeting, we will send you a quote for the website discussed. We offer both basic HTML websites and WordPress websites. A WordPress website has a content management system where you will have access to edit the content, update photos in galleries, post blog articles, etc.

Once you receive the quote and we answer any questions you may have, we will need an emailed acceptance on the quote of your choosing and a 50% deposit before getting started on any design work. Then we move forward with the fun part!

Two things you should have before getting started: domain and hosting.
Your domain is your url for your website (example: our domain name is larajdesigns.com). You can purchase multiple domains and we can point them all in the same direction of your site, but you really only need one good domain that is easy to remember, spell and says what your company is/does. We recommend NameCheap.com to purchase your domain name.

Your Hosting account is less important to have up front, but will be needed to go live with your beautiful new website. Website Hosting is the service providing space on the Internet for website files. You must have website hosting to make your website available to the public on the internet. We recommend using Bluehost (general purpose sites) or WP Engine (WordPress sites). They both have great 24/7 customer service, which is incredibly important in case of anything that may go wrong with your website or email! Let us know if you would like our help setting your account up. We are happy to do that for you. If you would like to read more about domains & hosting, please visit this page.

Step 3: Home Page Mockup Design

The first stage of the design process is to design an image of how your home page will look. For this step, we will need your desired home page text and images/graphics we may use. In this stage of the process we want you to focus on the design and layout. It is much easier to make changes to the website design in the mockup phase rather than after the entire site has been coded.

We will provide an image that will look like this:

Pure Abundance- MockupEphemerality Art WebsiteWilliams QBA website

While we work on the mockup of your website, we need you to focus on all content for the other pages. Gather all the images you would like used and write up your content in a Word Document or email. It is a good idea to have multiple people read it over and get feedback. Be sure to think about SEO keywords while you are writing your text. What words will people search to hopefully find your site? Make your list and do your best to use insert those words in your copy.

Stage 4: Coding the Development Website

This stage we code your website on our development server. We will need all your content for this stage. Once we are done coding, you will be able to click through your website to make sure you like the flow and that everything is setup how you would like. When we send you the link you can click through all pages on the site and test functionality.
After we make any revisions you need, we move forward to stage 5.

Stage 5: Website Live!

To go live, we need the final payment for the website and your hosting account log-in and domain account log-in. We will then transfer your website to your domain name, and you are all set!

If you decide to go with a WordPress website, we will schedule a 1 hour training session with you to walk you through step-by-step how to use your new content management system.

Internet Explorer 8, 9 & 10 no longer supported

After January 12th Microsoft officially does not support old versions of Internet Explorer. This means that no more bug fixes, updates or other patches will be released, leaving those editions vulnerable to malware and other security threats. This is also big news in the website development community (us!) because developers and designers can now be assured that everyone will be using the newest version of Internet Explorer. Old versions of IE were very prone to not displaying newer websites properly, and gave us quite a few headaches.

So… moral of the story is – if you are using Internet Explorer as a web browser, for goodness sake,  upgrade to IE 11 to keep your computer safe :) Also – for reference – Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are MUCH better browsers!
Internet Explorer

For more information on this change, check out these articles:

2015 Downtown Cartersville Window Contest

Lara J Designs won the Judges Choice Award for the 2015 Holiday window decorating contest and we are so proud of our team. We started in early November designing our Holiday cards and implementing the same theme on the window. We were so proud with the final product and wanted to share with our friends and clients!

Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season!

WPA National Park Posters

Yellowstone National Park, Ranger Naturalist Service

November 13, 2015
by Steven Cline, graphic designer & illustrator at Lara J Designs

Between 1935 and 1943 President Franklin D. Roosevelt started the new deal, and the Works Progress Administration was established with the goal of putting Americans back to work. Part of the WPA budget went to art projects, one area of which was poster design. More than two million posters were produced during this time. These posters had many subjects, including travel, education, health & safety, and more. One poster topic which really shines today is the National Park Travel Posters produced during that era. The crisp simplicity and soft color palette of these works are timeless and breathtaking.

WPA artist Chester Don Powell & screen printer Dale Miller are believed to have been the main designers of these National Park Posters. When the program was closed down at the beginning of World War 2 these Park posters were virtually forgotten, but in 1973 a Grand Teton poster was found and many others were subsequently re-discovered.

The crisp simplicity and soft color palette of these works are timeless and breathtaking.

You can read more about and see more of these amazing posters here.

Contact Lara J Designs for more information about how we can help you create timeless branding for your business.

National Park Poster National Park Poster National Park Poster