Work hard play hard: a Yummygum team building trip (gallery)

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Work hard play hard: a Yummygum team building trip (gallery)

In order to keep improving as a team we believe it’s important for team members to get to know what drives one another.

As of september 2014 we’ll be working full time with a crew of four designers. We’ve expanded a while ago but we never worked with the four of us five days a week. That’s why we wanted to break out of the office vibes for a week and work on some team building, process defining, skill sharing and of course a fair amount of serious maxin’ relaxin’.

We came across this perfect accomodation (near Kortrijk, Belgium) on Airbnb that had a swimming pool, a patio and a jacuzzi. Every morning we would work on client projects until noon and after work on a new Yummygum iPhone app. Naturally we took a bunch of pictures while we there, which we’d love to share with you.

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Say hello to: Jeffrey

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Say hello to: Jeffrey

Whenever new team members have started reinforcing the Yummygum team not only do they get added to the About Page on the Yummygum website, they’re also asked to introduce themselves in a blogpost.

Hi! My name is Jeffrey and I’m currently graduating on Progressive Reduction over at Yummygum. If everything goes as planned I’ll be graduating from my study Communication & Multimedia Design late August. After that I’ll be joining the team fulltime as Junior Visual Designer again (before I started doing my thesis I was also a Junior Visual Designer at Yummygum).

As a kid I used to enjoy drawing and designing, which has made me who I am today. Growing up I had to decide what study I wanted to attend but I had no idea what study to choose. It was actually a study information evening that got me into the world of design and problem solving.

Since I didn’t want to start my new study as a complete noob I taught myself how to master Illustrator and Photoshop. I found myself really enjoying digital design and at that time (and still do). I wanted to become the ‘best’ designer ever. I know it’s quite a bold statement, but I do believe one always needs to have something to strive for.

Being a designer makes me realize how fortunate I am. I’m able to do what I love the most and I can make a living doing so. Working at Yummygum makes me realize that even more.

In my spare time I enjoy working on side projects, like sketchshortcuts.com . I really like playing with new techniques, fonts, colors etc. Other than that, you’re likely to find me enjoying some beer or a nice cappuccino. Cheers!

2 Tips For Better Paperwork Management

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Being an agency that deals solely with digital products, it’s quite odd that we haven’t converted our paperwork and finances to the digital world earlier. Read along for a little insight in our process and how it saves us money.

Our paperwork has increased exponentially over the last 3 years, sending and receiving invoices, signed estimates, paying employees, etc. Organizing this paperwork neatly and making sure you’re on top of your finances became a weekly task, even with a regular trip to our accountant.

Along came a post by @MacStories about Hazel, a small plugin for Mac OS X that automatically organizes your files and folders based on a set of rules. We’ve experimented with the plugin in our personal lives (like photo organization) and quickly figured this could be huge to manage our paper work. But, how do you get your paperwork on your Mac in the first place?

imageHazel App gives you peace of mind.

Tip 1: Scanbot + Dropbox to digitize and cloudify paperwork

To get your paperwork into the digitial world you need to scan your documents. You can use an actual scanner device, but using your phone is much more efficient. The app we prefer to use as a scanner is Scanbot. It has a pretty interface and all the features we require for our workflow like Auto Dropbox Sync, Auto Scan and Multiple Pages.

Give your scanned documents a suitable name like Invoice - Company. We can use the filename later to categorize accordingly.

Once you’ve setup Scanbot to sync with Dropbox, you can start using Hazel.

imageCreate premium quality scans. Easy. Fast. Upload them to your favorite cloud.

Tip 2: Hazel for auto organization

Each year we used to buy a folder with tabs to embed and categorize our paperwork. It’s easy to convert that setup to the skeuomorphic OS that also has folders. Create a folder for the current year and a folder inside for each category like Expenses, Invoices, Estimates, Misc, etc. Make sure you have this setup right and you don’t have to look at it again for quite a while.

Now you’re ready to create rules with Hazel. Hazel can Move, Rename and Tag any file or folder. When your scanned document is synced with Dropbox, Hazel will detect it and applies your rules. Here is our basic setup of rules:

  1. Move file from Scanbot folder to Paperwork → Current Year → Category → Current Quarter
  2. Apply a Tag
  3. Rename to ScanDate - Filename.ext

imageOur Hazel setup

As we now have all our paperwork digital and organized, we don’t have to visit our accountant in person but just send him a (automatically) well-organized zip file. This approach has saved us tons of time and headaches.

Be sure to check out Scanbot and try a free trial of Hazel, and tell us how you’re managing your paperwork.

An Introduction To Photoshop Linked Smart Objects

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Photoshop CC introduced the Linked Smart Object. Linked Smart Objects kind of behave like what you would’ve wanted Smart Objects to behave; keep the host PSD small in file size and serve as a representation instead of a duplicate.

For those not familiar, Smart Objects are non-destructive files imported into a host PSD. The file imported becomes a Smart Object and is basically a duplicate of its original, yet taking in one single row in your Layers Panel. You can open the Smart Object to make edits, save it and the edits would show in the host PSD. We use this technique regularly for something like a Footer on a Website, or a NavBar in an app.

It all sounds awesome, yet there are two main downsides to using Smart Objects.

1) It’s a duplicate

You’d expect edits to the opened Smart Object to affect the original file. Fact is; this doesn’t happen. The edited Smart Object is duplicate embedded in the host PSD which means it looses its link to the original. Ideally you would want the Smart Object to be a true reference to its file, just like how a PHP include works.

2) Cumulative file size

The second big downside of using Smart Objects is their file size adding up to the file size of the host PSD. Unlike putting a Flattened version of the file you want to use in the host PSD, Smart Objects are full-blown duplicated.

imageSmart Objects work great with elements you use in different PSD files.

Linked Layers to the rescue

Apparently Adobe became aware of these downsides of Smart Objects and created Linked Smart Objects. Using these actually have the pro’s of regular Smart Objects but no longer any of the downsides.

1) It’s the actual file

Placing a Linked Smart Object is an actual representation of the original file. The Linked Smart Object is seemingly flattened, yet still allows you to open it, do edits and overwrite the original.

2) Small file size of host file

Because the placed Linked Smart Object is not a duplicate and just representation of the original file, the host PSD is much smaller.

imagePlace your Linked Layer, save it and your host PSD will automatically update.

Notes regarding Linked Smart Objects

Even though we really love Linked Layers, there are also a couple of things to keep in mind.

1) Update Modified Content

Linked Smart Objects are automatically updated to its latest version in a host PSD if you have the host PSD opened and save changes to your Linked Smart Object.

If you don’t have the Host PSD opened, Photoshop will show a triangle shaped badge with an exclamation mark. You have to manually update the Linked Smart Object and can do so by right mouse clicking the Linked Smart Object in your Layer Panel and you can choose Update Modified Content.

2) Keep an eye on the original file

Although it’s pretty nice a Linked Smart Objects is merely a representation of its original, this does mean you have to be careful not to delete the original. Without the original the image will still be visible within the host PSD but you won’t be able to transform it. You can re-locate and update the link to the original by double-clicking the Linked Smart Object.

Pro Tip #1: Keyboard Shortcuts

To embrace the usage of Linked Smart Objects as a part of our workflow we have created keyboard shortcuts for the two most used actions regarding Linked Smart Objects: a) Place Linked… b) Update All Modified Content. We like using keys that include the initial of the action name. We use ⌘⇧L for Place Linked… and to quickly update the content in your host PSD, we use ⌘⇧U for Update All Modified Content.

Pro Tip #2: Drag with Alt

Drag your files inside a Photoshop Document while holding ⌥ and it will be pasted as a Linked Layer.

imageDrag + Drop while holding alt to paste as a Linked Layer.

Read more on the Linked Smart Objects

Love to read more on the subject, check out these links Linked smart objects, How to link Smart Objects and Smart Objects and Layer Comps in Photoshop CC 2014.

A Minimal Yummygum Office 2.0

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Building the right environment to work in has always been important to us. Hiring more people meant we needed more space. Read along to see how we went from a 2-person office to a 4-person office.

Since 2011 we’ve been actively expanding our workforce by hiring freelancers. We noticed a lot of efficiency can be gained by actually working together in the same room, and so we decided to look for Junior Designers and Interns to join our team.

imageOur old setup was perfect for two people.

Our previous setup was purely built for a 2-man show, however nowadays working with 4 people in the office is not exception. To create more room, but use the same beloved space, we had to do some rebuilding and reorganzing.

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More People In The Same Space

Late 2013 we decided to expand the office with another room where we can lounge, have meetings and do some sketching together. It’s the perfect space to step away from your computer and think freely.

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We often meet with fellow designers to share a cup of coffee or talk about new ideas. Clients from overseas also love to stop by and discuss the future.

To Lounge Or Not To Lounge?

Our lounge area was an obvious cadidate for more color and a less clinic vibe. Adding some great illustrations by Nick Slater makes it feel more alive and inspiring for less focused tasks.

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Beautiful Photography By Leon

Be sure to check out a beautiful Exposure post by Leon with the photos of our office.