Author Archives: M.Ali

6 Websites to Boost Your Creativity

Image by Flickr user jef safi \ ‘pictosophizing

Looking to get those creative juices flowing? Whether it’s writing a short story, finding out the latest on multi-disciplinarian creative initiatives or drawing a portrait, we have compiled a list of some of the most creative websites to help you think outside of the box. Feel free to add to the list and tell us about more sites that inspire creativity!


WHAT A nonprofit web platform committed to sharing the very best content on creativity.

HOW Founded by three talented PhDs, the site highlights creativity from scientific

discovery to philosophical debate, from entrepreneurial ventures to educational reform

and from artistic expression to technological innovation.

CREATIVE BUG The website covers a breadth of disciplines and includes interviewswith leading filmmakers, artists, educators and scientists. The elevated discourse and

intellectual approach of The Creativity Post will not only inspire you, but will expand

your definition of creativity.

Image: Screenshot of The Creativity Post


WHAT A Facebook app where strangers draw one another’s Facebook profile picture.

HOW  Portraits are paired at random, and once a person is assigned, the participant

has 48 hours to complete the drawing and submit it – or the image will be reassigned

to someone else. Once you receive your portrait, you can thank the person who drew

your picture and do the Facebook dance – share with your friends and even turn it into

your profile pic.

CREATIVE BUG You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy exercising your drawing skills.

Plus the 48 hour time limit keeps you focused on creating a beautiful piece of artwork.

Image: Screenshot of Selfless Portraits


WHAT A web app that simulates a coffeehouse ambience to enhance your creativity.

HOW Coffitivity is based on scientific research that claims that the perfect conditions

for creative work are a combination of calm and commotion. As you click play, a busy

mix of people chatting, glasses clinking and dishes being cleared transports you to an

ambient cafe – even if you’re at home or in an office.

CREATIVE BUG To maximize the Coffitivity experience, you’re encouraged to

simultaneously play your favorite tunes just a tad louder than Coffitivity sounds. Just

click play, plug in your music, and presto! You’re ready to start creating.

Image: Screenshot of Coffitivity


WHAT A creative music endeavor that gives selected musicians a week to write and perform an original song on a guitar that is then passed from one musician to the next.

HOW One guitar, one week, one song—these are the guidelines of The Acoustic Guitar

Project. The project is intended to be a platform of inspiration and creativity for

musicians to flex their singer-songwriter muscles. This unique undertaking poses the

challenge of writing and performing an original unedited composition in a week’s time.

Each performer signs the traveling guitar which has made the rounds through NewYorkHelsinki and Bogota.

CREATIVE BUG The project’s mission is to help musicians reconnect to the original

moment that inspired them to be singer–songwriters. For the music lovers out there,

the site is a treasure trove of original acoustic compositions that will blow your mind.

An extra cool part is that each artist is interviewed, giving a glimpse into their

creative process and what inspires them to make music.

Image: Screenshot of The Acoustic Guitar Project 


WHAT A  global social initiative that provides a platform for storytelling and story


HOW The stories on the website tackle a variety of human experiences, and are

browsable by subject categories or by world regions. As of now, 22 countries are

already represented!

CREATIVE BUG Anyone is invited to submit a story with a suggested length of 1,000

to 1,400 words. Creative writing is an amazing outlet, and is a great exercise in getting

your personal thoughts onto paper. How cool would it be to see your story on the

online stage with other talented writers?

Image: Screenshot of Share A Story


WHAT A website that is an exploration of creativity in everyday life.

HOW The site includes articles, reviews and other creative sources to get your juices

flowing. The website is divided into the following sections: personal creativitycreativity
at work
creativity toolbox and creativity video.

CREATIVE BUG Deborah Watson-Novacek is the force behind Creativity for Life and is

on the lookout for stimulating articles on the subject of creativity to post on the site.

Feel free to email her and join the good company of such interesting articles such as 12
Ways to Boost Your Creativity At Work
 and What We Can Learn About Creativity From

Image: Screenshot of Creativity For Life

Top 10 Graphic Designing Softwares

 Top Ten!

1. Adobe Photoshop

2. Adobe Illustrator


3. Adobe Indesign

4. CorelPaintShop Photo Pro X3

5. CorelDRAWGraphicsSuite X5


6. Adobe Flash

7. Art Rage 3.5

8. Wacom Tablets

9. Adobe Premiere

10. Corel Paint

Graphic Designing Career prepration tips

1. Major in Graphic Designa

Going to college and getting a graphic design degree is an outstanding accomplishment. Many employers weigh this heavily and you will have a much better chance of getting a full-time job with a degree in design, but there are always exceptions. If you have an extremely strong portfolio, good references and freelancing experience you can still get a great job, but if you can get the degree go for it!

2. Figure Out Your Specialization

Many jobs in graphic design tend to be specialized, such as identity design, packaging design, magazine design and so on. Its good to find the specialization you like best and work on it, but also make sure you are well rounded and multi-talented designer.

3. Plan Your Credits Carefully

Lets face it, college can be a pain in the butt, especially when it comes to planning out your classes. You need a certain amount of credits to be full-time, core classes, required classes, electives and you are trying to get a decent schedule so you can hold a job at the same time! Planning your credits out carefully and registering as soon as possible will help ensure you get the best schedule possible so you can complete your degree quickly and have free time to work and relax.

4. Take Advantage of Your Counselor and Teachers

Your counselor and teachers are incredibly valuable assets while going to school. Get your counselor to help you plan out your schedule and keep you on the right track. Ask your teachers for extra help when needed. Most teachers are available outside of class and will critique work for you. Your teachers have years of experience and knowledge of the field so tap into it.

5. Take Advantage of Career Services

Career services is an often overlooked resource at most schools. If you are looking for a job, projects, help with your resume or anything else, take a trip to your career services department if your school has one.

6. Become Involved in School Events

My school had many great events, and when I look back, I wish i had taken more advantage of them. There were trips, get-togethers and incredible guest speakers. We even had our own museum on campus! So if your school has similar opportunities make sure you don’t pass them up.

7. Develop Friendships With Your Classmates

You are all working towards the same goal, so developing friendships is an excellent idea. Not only is social interaction healthy, but as friends you can help each other out to achieve these common goals. Plus most of you will be working in the same field in the future and you never know when a friend could come in handy in a bad situation.

8. Get an Internship

Internships are just as important as freelancing experience and many schools can help you find an internship. Even if you don’t get to do much design work, its a great way to network, get your foot in the door and become comfortable working in an office environment with other people.

9. Get a Certificate in Graphic Design

If you don’t have the time or money to attend a 4 year school, there are many schools which can give you a great crash course in design in one year or even online. I still recommend the 4 year school over this, but getting a certificate in design or individual programs can help a lot if you have no other schooling.

10. Practice Your Photography

This is a talent I plan on mastering in the near future. I love photography and its also great if you are a graphic designer. Having the ability to shoot your own projects in real life can give you a real edge when it comes to displaying your portfolio. Great photographs of projects can go a long way and its another super skill to throw on your resume.

11. Learn HTML, XHTML and CSS

Web design is mixing more and more with the graphic design career. I have seen many graphic design job listings ask the designer to have at least some web design experience and many jobs require you to know how to code a site very well. So this is a great skill to pick up and will help you with your own portfolio site and landing a job in the future.

12. Take Some Business Courses

Taking one or two business classes can prepare you much better for freelancing and running your own studio if that’s one of your dreams. All knowledge is good knowledge and the more you know about business the better off you will be financially.

13. Master the Adobe Suite

As a graphic designer you will be using programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign on a daily basis. Mastering the programs will make you a more productive and creative designer. Most jobs also start you at running speed and don’t have time to teach you how to use the Pen Tool! Be sure to master keyboard shortcuts as well.

14. Stay in Touch With Your Roots

Its easy to become totally wrapped up in the computer and lose touch with your roots. By this I mean its important to sketch things out on paper once in a while and think outside the computer box. Don’t be afraid to pick up a pencil and use the environment around you.

15. Express Your Creativity

Design can be very “corporate” and restricting at times, and designers are naturally creative people. This is why its good to express your stretch your creativity muscles once in a while. Create personal work, non profit work or other projects that will allow you more creative freedom so you don’t feel constantly trapped and restricted.

16. Create a Portfolio Website

Time is precious and the web is becoming more of an industry standard. This is why you need a web portfolio. Many employers don’t even have time to look at print portfolios and will ask for a website URL or email with a PDF of your work. If you plan on freelancing, your website will be even more important and the sooner you get it up the better off you will be.

17. Create a Print Portfolio

Even though a web portfolio is becoming arguably more important, don’t under estimate the power or importance of a print portfolio. In additionl to your main portfolio you should have some disposable print portfolios you can hand out to potential employers.

18. Create Your Own Personal Identity System

Having your own business card, resume, letterhead and so on will give you a professional edge and show you really care about your career. Spend a lot of time on your identity system because its a direct representation of yourself and your skills.

19. Create a Resume and Cover Letter

You will need this sooner or later so you might as well start working on it now. A well-written and nicely designed resume is going to be a great ally in your job finding battles.

20. Research Job Requirements

Job requirements are changing constantly and every job has unique requirements. Some require more than others so its important you have a good idea of whats expected of you. How can you prepare yourself properly if you don’t know exactly what employers demand skill wise?

21. Start Freelancing

Freelancing builds up incredible experience, especially when it comes to dealing with actual paying clients. You will quickly learn how to deal with clients who have different personalities, how to protect yourself, how to muti task and so on. This is where the business classes come in, but with a little planning and research before hand there is no reason you cant jump right in and start freelancing early on. I landed my first paying freelance gig while I was taking my first Photoshop class!

22. Take Advantage of Design Contests

There are tons of design contests on the Internet; many of which offer incredible prizes! This is a great way to gain exposure, build up your portfolio and win some sweet swag and money in your free time! Following design blogs is a great way to learn about up and coming design contests.

23. Build Up Your Vault of Free Design Resources

The web is filled with an insane amount of free resources including, free fonts, vector artwork, textures, patterns, design elements and so much more. Start downloading, check the usage rights and keep all your graphic design resources organized, because you never know when you might need them.

24. Get the Graphic Artist Guild Handbook

This is a fabulous book for any designer that is packed full of great tips and resources; especially for designers interested in starting their own business or freelancing career. They releases a new version every so often, so be sure to get your hands on the latest one.

25. Start Networking

Networking may be 25 on the list, but in terms of priority its probably number 1. The more people in the business you know the better off you will be. Keep in touch with your network of contacts. Don’t consider some one in your network if you never communicate. A phone call, business lunch, or email once in a while is required.

Help people in your network and they will help your in return. So keep expanding your network of contacts and be sure to keep in touch on a regular basis.


I Hope you all find this article on preparing yourself for a career in graphic design useful. Feel free to add your own suggestions and comments in the comment section below!

Create a New Partition on a Windows 7 Hard Disk

The Windows 7 Disk Management tool provides a simple interface for managing partitions and volumes.

Here’s an easy way to create a new partition on your disk.

  1. Open the Disk Management console by typingdiskmgmt.msc at an elevated command prompt.


  • In Disk Management’s Graphical view, right-click an unallocated or free area, and then click New Simple Volume. This starts the New Simple Volume Wizard. (Note: If you need to create unallocated space, see the Tip Easily Shrink a Volume on a Windows 7 Disk for information on how to do this.)partition2.jpg
  • Read the Welcome page and then click Next.
  • The Specify Volume Size page specifies the minimum and maximum size for the volume in megabytes and lets you size the volume within these limits. Size the partition in megabytes using the Simple Volume Size field and then click Next.partition4.jpg
  • On the Assign Drive Letter Or Path page, specify whether you want to assign a drive letter or path and then click Next. The available options are as follows:partition5.jpg

    Assign The Following Drive Letter Select an available drive letter in the selection list provided. By default, Windows 7 selects the lowest available drive letter and excludes reserved drive letters as well as those assigned to local disks or network drives.
    Mount In The Following Empty NTFS Folder Choose this option to mount the partition in an empty NTFS folder. You must then type the path to an existing folder or click Browse to search for or create a folder to use.
    Do Not Assign A Drive Letter Or Drive Path Choose this option if you want to create the partition without assigning a drive letter or path. Later, if you want the partition to be available for storage, you can assign a drive letter or path at that time.

  • Use the Format Partition page to determine whether and how the volume should be formatted. If you want to format the volume, choose Format This Volume With The Following Settings, and then configure the following options:partition6.jpg

    File System Sets the file system type as FAT, FAT32, or NTFS. NTFS is selected by default in most cases. If you create a file system as FAT or FAT32, you can later convert it to NTFS by using the Convert utility. You can’t, however, convert NTFS partitions to FAT or FAT32.
    Allocation Unit Size Sets the cluster size for the file system. This is the basic unit in which disk space is allocated. The default allocation unit size is based on the size of the volume and, by default, is set dynamically prior to formatting. To override this feature, you can set the allocation unit size to a specific value. If you use many small files, you might want to use a smaller cluster size, such as 512 or 1,024 bytes. With these settings, small files use less disk space.
    Volume Label Sets a text label for the partition. This label is the partition’s volume name and by default is set to New Volume. You can change the volume label at any time by right-clicking the volume in Windows Explorer, choosing Properties, and typing a new value in the Label field provided on the General tab.
    Perform A Quick Format Tells Windows 7 to format without checking the partition for errors. With large partitions, this option can save you a few minutes. However, it’s usually better to check for errors, which enables Disk Management to mark bad sectors on the disk and lock them out.
    Enable File And Folder Compression Turns on compression for the disk. Built-in compression is available only for NTFS. Under NTFS, compression is transparent to users and compressed files can be accessed just like regular files. If you select this option, files and directories on this drive are compressed automatically.

  • Click Next, confirm your options, and then click Finish.partition7.jpg


The Windows 7 Disk Management tool will now show the space configured as a new partition.


How to Win Your Next Job Interview

Kristina walked into my office and took a seat.
“So, tell me,” I said, “what excites you about this role?”
“I feel I’m very qualified for this job,” she said. “I majored in communications in college with a focus on conflict resolution. I did an internship at Search for Common Ground and spent two years with Teach for America. I can bring a lot to this organization.”
Yes, I thought to myself. I read your resume. So I already knew all of that.
Kristina continued for ten minutes to regale me with her experience, still not telling me what I actually wanted to know: what excited her about this role.
“Do you have any questions?” I asked her.
“Not really,” she said. “I just want to say again how excited I am, and that I think I’m a very good fit here.”
It was the first time I’d heard about excitement. Though as you know, not the first mention of what a good fit she was for the job.
I thanked her politely and called in the next person.

Use Your Big Four as a Roadmap

All of us have a range of perspectives: different ways we see the world, and voices we use to express ourselves. I write and teach about the most fundamental sides of us, a set I call The Big Four. These are central in leading wisely and living well. They’re also terrific as a guide for winning a job.
Here’s a tip on how to use each of The Big Four to your advantage.
  • Use your inner Dreamer to share a professional vision about yourself in the future.

    If you’re called in for an interview, there’s a good chance your interviewer has read your resume. It’s your past experience that earned you a seat across from them in this interview. Now it’s time to shift your focus from your past to your future. That’s your inner Dreamer’s specialty. Paint a picture for them of how you hope to make a difference: in your work, in your life, at their company or organization. Inspire them with your aspirations for the years to come and how working with them helps you achieve them.
  • Use your inner Lover to make a personal connection.

    An interview isn’t a transaction. It’s a mini-relationship. It lasts a short time, but the key to success is making real human contact with your interviewer. This is where the inner Lover excels – at building relationships.
    The number one reason people hire other people is because they like the idea of having them around. So reach out, and ask some questions about the person interviewing you: what do they love about the company? What excites them about their work, or gives their job meaning? Ask them to share some stories about great moments with their team. Shift from showing your interest in landing the job to letting them feel your interest in getting to know them.
  • Use your inner Thinker to move beyond superficial answers.

    Your interviewer is likely talking to lots of people. Many of them will say the same things, and they’re very general things: statements like “I’m so excited to work here,” or “I think my experience and my interests make me a good fit.” Answers like this don’t demonstrate your thoughtfulness, your ability to think deeply about issues, or the quality of your judgment. Your interviewer cares a lot about how you think, and your interview is a chance to show them.
    Your inner Thinker is designed to gather information, analyze a situation from a few angles, and generate ideas to solve problems. Shift your answers from upbeat generalities to responses that invite your interviewer to think about what you’ve said. You want the interviewer to get engaged, to join you in an interesting exchange. When the interview is over, you want them still considering some of the points you made, and wishing they had a few more minutes to explore that last topic with you.
  • Use your inner Warrior to show commitment, resolve, and the discipline to get things done.

    At the end of the day, your interviewer is hiring someone because they have a job that needs to get done. They need to know that you’re reliable, trustworthy, and capable of achieving results. Your inner Warrior orients toward taking action and crossing the finish line.
    In your interview, instead of listing job titles you’ve held, shift to giving examples of projects you’ve worked on and completed. Tell stories of how you’ve contributed to completing important tasks, or accomplishing impressive goals. Even if you’re just out of school, you can describe how you hung in there and finished your thesis, despite the temptation to give up. This gives your interviewer confidence that you have the stamina and determination to deliver when it matters. After the interview, take a small action step that goes beyond just emailing them to thank them for the meeting. Attach an article related to the discussion you had, or a link to a website that extends the conversation. This reinforces that you’re not just talk — you’re also about practical follow-up and focused completion.