How to organise your online business

How to organise your online business to avoid overwhelm & maximise your time

You’ve probably seen blog articles such as ‘17 apps that you NEED to run your online business’, or ‘100 ways to organise your online business’. And if you’re anything like me, seeing those big numbers instantly makes you feel overwhelmed.

Well I’m not here to add more to your plate. I'm here to share the 5 applications/platforms that I use to organise my online business. Yep, just 5! I’m all about keeping things simple and organised so that I don’t overload myself.

What I love about the below apps, is that they can be accessed on mobile and desktop, so I am never caught off guard. As an online business owner, I’m not always at my desk and do find myself working on the go. So being mobile is really important when it comes to staying organised.

Some of the apps I use are not free, but I’m a firm believer that time = money. And anything that frees up my time for more important things, is well worth the money.

So, here’s how I organise my online business:

1. Google Drive

This is probably my most used application! Because it can be accessed from any device, I'm able to have my work files on hand wherever I am (including on the couch bingeing Netflix).

Within Google Drive, I use Google Sheets (like Microsoft Excel) and Google Docs (like Microsoft Word) for the day to day running of my online business. Here’s a few ways I use them that have helped me become so much more productive and organised:

1.1 Writing content such as blog posts and website copy

Right now I’m writing this blog post straight onto a Google Docs document. Once I’m finished I will then transfer my blog post onto my website. When I’m coming up with content for my website pages, I will add it onto my ‘Website Content’ Google Doc, and then add it to my website when I’m happy with it.

Why not just write it straight into WordPress? Well, several reasons:

  • I can access Google Docs on my computer, phone, iPad, ALL the devices! Which means that while I may start writing my blog post on my computer, I could finish writing it from my phone while I’m waiting in the car for my kids to finish school.
  • I’m not distracted by my website (anyone forever fiddling with their website design?) I can type without being influenced by my website design, which means I don’t add or leave out content just to fit in with the design. I design around my content (here’s a great article on how to DIY your own website copy).
  • Google Docs automatically saves my work while I’m typing so I know I’ll never run into an issue with my website glitching and I lose everything.

1.2 Organise my online business and personal life

Did you know that you could use Google Sheets like a planner? A free digital planner? Yes please!

Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a paper planner lady. But being an online business owner (who works from home), I’m not always working at my desk, which is where I keep my planner. And I was finding that sometimes I would check an email on my phone, and would forget to write down the new task in my planner because I wasn’t sitting in front of it right then and there.

Being a mum of 3 who runs a household and an online business, I always have something on my mind that needs to be done. So if something isn’t written down it’s getting lost in the abyss of “I’ll remember that for later”.

Not to mention when planning appointments or catch ups on the go, I was always telling people “I’ll have to check my planner when I get home and I’ll let you know.” Spoiler: I didn’t let them know.

I never thought I would say it, but a paper planner just wasn’t working for me anymore.

So after a bit (a lot) of trial and error, I created a Digital Planner using Google Sheets. That I can bring with me wherever I go! No more forgetting tasks or appointments, and no more getting burned out because I’m trying to remember a million things at once.

Here’s an article on how you can create your own to-do list using Google Sheets.

Or, I’ve done all the hard work for you and created a full blown Digital Business Planner which you can find here. It’s got all the bells and whistles so you won’t think twice about betraying your paper planner.

1.3 Backing up my website and my computer

I used to keep all of my files and backups on an external hard drive. But said hard drive is now inaccessible and my files are probably lost forever. Who still uses an external hard drive to store their files?!

I now use Google Drive to backup all my important business stuff in two ways:

  • I use a plugin called UpdraftPlus to back up my website to Google Drive automatically twice a day.
  • I manually drop all my work files into Google Drive every so often. Because I keep all my freelance and website stuff in one place all I need to do is drop my Jobs folder from my computer into Google Drive and all the sub folders will auto update with the new files.

I do pay for extra Google Drive storage but it’s totally worth it to know that my files are safe and I’ll never be burned again by a broken hard drive.

Google Drive has also added a new ‘Privacy Screen’ feature for iPhone and iPad if you’re using the Google Drive app. You can read more info about how to use Privacy Screen here.

Using UpDraft for website backups, and manually dropping in folders for computer backup. Have paid for extra storage for Google Drive.

1.4 Sharing files with clients

As a designer, the files I usually need to share with clients are huge. So rather than trying to email them a 20gb file, I’ll create a folder for their project on my Google Drive and the share the link to the folder with them.

And then if they have images or content that they want to share with me, they can drop it straight into the Google Drive folder I created and everyone has access to all the project files.

2. Asana

If you offer 1:1 services, Asana is the perfect way to track your clients. And it’s free! (There is a pro version however I’ve managed to get by just using the free version).

But Asana can be used for so much more than tracking clients. I love using it to organise my online business side of things too.

Because Asana is so versatile, it can replace other 1 or 2 apps that you may have been using as well. For example I used to use Evernote (as well as Asana) to plan out content and keep track of ideas. However it was just another app to keep track of.

When I sat down and really thought about how I wanted to organise my online business, I decided I was going to use as little apps as possible. I realised I wasn’t using Asana to its full potential.

So here’s how I use Asana to stay organised the simplest way possible:

2.1 Tracking client projects/vendors

While running Origami Collective, I also have freelance projects that I take on occasionally. Using Asana to track these projects means I always know what stage of the process my clients are at.

Basically, Asana allows you to create ‘Projects’, and within those projects you can add tasks. You can view tasks as either a list, or a board (boards are my favourite way to organise everything!).

If you are a marketplace or directory business, you could use Asana to track your vendors and packages. For example you could add a vendor as an Asana project, and then use tasks to track social media shout outs.

2.2 Content planning

I have a project that is displayed using the ‘boards’ view where I keep track of all the content I need to create for my business. So blog posts, social media posts, products, email campaigns etc.

Each post/product is a task that I then move through the boards as I create them. This allows me to get an overview of exactly what I need to be focusing on at any one time.

2.3 Keeping track of new business ideas

I have an Asana project that is dedicated to any ideas for my online business that pop into my head.

When I get an idea I’ll add it as a task, and then within that task I can add any further notes.

This way everything is all in one place, and my brain isn’t overloaded with trying to remember everything.

I’m currently working on a blog post that goes into detail about how I’ve set up my Asana to avoid overwhelm. If you would like to know when it goes live drop your email address below to be added to my updates list. No bs, no ‘funnel’. Just the content you asked for.

3. Tailwind

Ah social media scheduling. Everyone has their own favourite scheduler (there are heaps of them out there), but mine is Tailwind.

Sticking with the theme of ‘keeping things simple to avoid overwhelm’, I only focus on two social media channels; if that.

And that is my advice to you. As an online business owner you already have to fill many roles, you don’t also need to be stretching yourself thin trying to be active on every social media platform there is.

Pick 1-2 platforms that you are comfortable with. And that your audience uses the most. Then stick with those.

So here’s how I use Tailwind to streamline my social media posting, and avoid overwhelm.

3.1 Scheduling IG posts then auto sharing to FB

I repurpose my IG posts for FB, tailwind let’s you post to both at the same time. This means I’m not having to create original content for two different social media platforms.
I will sometimes add something different to FB that I haven’t added to IG. For example if I’ve created a new blog post I’ll add more of an excerpt to FB than I would on IG as I’ve found my audience likes to read more on FB, and scroll more on IG.

3.2 Scheduling Pinterest posts

Pin your own pins to your boards first, then use Tailwind to pin them to other boards. Pinterest likes when you spend time on its platform rather than always using Tailwind to schedule posts.

A handy feature on Tailwind is the ‘shuffle button’. This is great for when you’re bulk scheduling to different boards at the same time. You can shuffle all your scheduled posts.

Keep in mind though, Pinterest no longer likes it when you pin 100 pins a day. In 2020 they have recommended 15-20 pins a day. Even better if you can be pinning your own ‘fresh, original’ content.

When Im scheduling pins, I’ll go into the board I’m scheduling to and use the ‘more ideas’ tab to find relevant content to pin to my board. Super easy and effective.

If you’re having trouble coming up with content that your audience wants to interact with, check out my social media templates. I’ve done the research for you and created templates based on types of posts that I have seen that get good engagement.

4. ActiveCampaign

This is one of the paid applications I use, and it’s the only one of the 5 that isn’t really mobile friendly (where’s your mobile app ActiveCampaign?!). But it’s still a very powerful tool and I would recommend it to all of my clients.

If you’re on a small budget there is a Lite plan that you can go on, made cheaper by adjusting the amount of your contacts to 500.

So here’s how I use ActiveCampaign to streamline my business:

4.1 Sending out updates

At the time of writing this post I’m currently only using AC for staying in touch with my subscribers and customers. Because I’m only attracting subscribers who are genuinely interested in the content I’m putting out I’m not pressured to be sending weekly (or even daily) emails to remind them that I’m here.

I keep it super simple for myself and my audience and just send out an update when a new post or product goes live. This way my audience doesn’t feel bombarded, and I’m not burning myself out trying to stay on top of funnels and multiple campaigns (as they’re called in AC).

4.2 Following up with customers

I try to make everything I do about my customers as much as possible. So when someone makes a purchase I send them a quick email with some tips on how to get the most out of their template.

A week later I send out an email to ask that if they loved the template, to leave a review so that their fellow online business owners can benefit from it too.

It’s a super simple automation that’s straight to the point and gets the job done.

ActiveCampaign automation for product review

5. PayPal

I know a lot of online business owners have a love/hate relationship with PayPal because of the fees.

But being one of the most trusted and easy to use payment methods for my customers, I feel that it’s worth the cost. I know that if a website doesn’t let me pay by PayPal, I’m less likely to follow through with the purchase if I have to go and get my wallet (because who knows where that thing is anyway).

So aside from taking payments on my website, here’s what else I use PayPal for:

5.1 Tracking income and expenses

Create a business PayPal account using your business email address. Then use that account for any purchases that you make for your business. As well as receiving any payments from your clients/customers (see invoicing below).

That way when tax time comes you can easily see what your expenses and your income have been.

If you login to your PayPal and go to Reports > Financial summaries > Financial summary you can create a report of all your income/expenses for the financial year.

Any fees that you paid PayPal will be on the report which you can also claim as a business expense during tax time.

5.2 Invoicing

I use PayPal invoices for my freelance clients as it’s easy for them to make payments. Again, yes there is a fee for using this service. But it’s worth it if it means the payment process is easy for my clients (plus these fees can also be claimed at tax time).

You can set invoices to be able to be part paid if you require deposits on any work you do. Send invoice reminders, or even give refunds.

Everything is in the one place so you don’t need to digging through various apps to find an invoice you may or may not have sent 2 years ago.

It's time to get organised

So those are the 5 applications I use to organise my online business. And while a couple of them may be paid, I truly feel that the cost is worth it for my sanity!

If it makes your life loads easier, helps you be more productive, and less stressed, then it’s worth it. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and your business.

Do you use any of these applications? What do you think of them? Please feel free to share how you organise your online business in the comments below.

website design tips

Why your website design needs to do more than just look good

So you run an online business, and you think your website design looks pretty good. But for some reason you can’t get people to stay on your website for very long, and you aren’t making many sales.

But why?

Or maybe you’ve built your own website, and you know the design isn’t that great, but your product is amazing, your services are top rate, and you really care about your customers. But you also don’t make many sales.

How come?

It’s because your website design is so important when it comes to actually turning viewers into customers.

And I’m not just talking about a website design that looks good. It needs to create a warm feeling, where your potential customer is put into a mind frame where they are wanting to buy.

Psychology Today has a great article on the psychology of why people buy which is well worth the read. If you can get inside your viewers mind, you can work out what it is they need from you before they are ready to purchase your product.

For those of you who want to know how this translates into website design, I’ve created a checklist of things your website design should or shouldn’t have to maximise your chance of gaining a new customer/client.

1. Your home page

Usually your home page will be the first thing someone sees when they land on your website. It is your first chance to draw your viewer in, and sell yourself.

Keep these things in mind when creating your websites homepage:

1.1 Main header image

The most important part of your homepage is the main header image. This is where you make your first impression, and usually where someone will decide if they want to keep scrolling or leave.

The most important thing your header needs to have is a ‘call to action’. Below are two examples of home page headers.

Brilliant Digital use a short and to the point headline to catch your attention. They then have two call to action buttons to choose from. The ‘success stories’ button is a great addition as it gives social proof that they can do what they are saying they can do.

call to action example

This next home page header, whilst it looks nice, it doesn’t really draw the viewer in and doesn’t really excite the viewer enough to want to click the ‘view more’ buttons.

Website design example

The other big difference between the two headers is that the first one is audience focused. Their focus is their viewers business, rather than speaking about their business.

A pretty picture as your header image is not enough to make sales!

Also, as tempting as it is to create a slideshow of images to get in as much information as you can, your best bet is to use just one image. Assume your audience is time poor, they don’t have time to sit and watch a slide show of images.

Instead, use your one best image as your header image, and then you can break up your home page with further images that are relevant.

1.2 Talk about benefits, not features!

A great way to sell your product or service is to talk about your customer.
Sounds kind of backwards right?

But think about it. Your audience is there to see what you can do for them. They want to know how your product or service will solve the problem they are having. How will it benefit their life?

Here’s an example of a description for gumboots that is feature driven:

- Made from rubber
- Yellow colour
- Sizes XS-XL

And here is a description that is benefit driven:

- These rubber gumboots will protect your feet from getting wet, whilst bringing brightness to a dreary day with their yellow colour.
- They come in a range of sizes so you can be comfortable as well dry!

Which one makes you want to buy the gumboots more?

Keep this in mind when creating the content for your homepage. As this is your first contact with your audience, you want to add as many benefits of your product or service as possible.

You can break up these benefits with images, recent blog posts or banners. Don’t be afraid of having a long home page! The more a viewer has to scroll, the longer they will be on your website.

Megaphone is a perfect example of a longer home page that keeps you wanting to scroll as they speak about the benefits of their services, instead of their features.

Megaphone website

2. Where to put links to your social media accounts

I see a lot of websites with social icons in their main header menus, or even in the ‘top bar’ of their websites.

But why would you want someone to leave your website as soon as they land on it?

Yes, you want to build up your social following. But you also want a user to spend some time on your website before they go to your social media accounts and get sucked into the social media black hole.

A better place to put links to your social media accounts is in your footer, where they can still be found by website viewers. But also not distract them from your content.

3. Your branding is important

Why is branding important? Because it builds trust with your audience.

A website that doesn’t have clear branding will appear confusing to your audience, and give them the impression that your products/services are low quality.

A website with good branding will have the following things:

3.1 Only use up to two different fonts throughout your site

If you can, you want to use at least one of the fonts that has been used in your logo throughout your site. Providing the font is legible of course.

If you can’t use the same font as your logo, go for a similar font. So for example, if your logo uses a serif font, use a serif font on your website.

Avoid script fonts that are hard to read!

You then want to use your chosen website fonts throughout the rest of your digital design materials. Like Facebook and Instagram posts, your media kit etc.

3.2 Only use up to four colours throughout your site

Again, you want to use the colours that are in your logo so that you have consistent branding.
If your logo only has one or two colours, you can visit Colour Lovers and get some inspiration for colours to pair together.

Make sure that you are choosing colours relevant to your business and appealing to your audience though.

If you are selling kids toys for example, bright, fun colours would be more appealing compared to blacks and greys.

3.3 Keep your images consistent

Choose a theme you would like your website images to have and stick with it.
This could be images with bright lighting, images that are moody, or images that follow a colour theme.

If you have access to Photoshop, a great idea would be to add the same colour overlay or filter to all your main website images to create a really strong consistency.

Flatfair has opted for fun vector images throughout their site rather than images of actual people. By using the graphics they have created a really strong brand, and come across as trustworthy and organised.

website design branding

4. You should have a mailing list and an easy way for customers to sign up

Do you have a mailing list? A mailing list is a collection of your customers (or potential customers) email addresses, and it is super important.

Because what is the use of launching a new product or service and not having anyone to launch to?

The important thing though, is to make sure that your mailing list sign up form is easy to locate, and also appealing to your audience. People are a lot less willing to give up their email these days, so you need to make it worth their while. However you also only want to capture emails of people who are actually interested in your content! There's no use having a mailing list of 5000 people who never open your emails.

My mailing list opt-in form is direct and to the point. I have chosen not to swap a freebie for email addresses, but rather give my freebie away for, As I only want subscribers who will benefit from my content, it's a win win for both of us. Here's my current opt-in form:

5. Test your website on mobile view!

So you’ve created your website design and it looks great on your computer. But how about other devices?

If you aren’t using it already, I would highly recommend installing Google Chrome on your computer. It allows you to see what you website looks like on other drives.

You just need to right click anywhere on your website and select ‘inspect’. You then select the device icon from the top menu bar (circled in red on my screen shot below). This button allows you to toggle between desktop view and mobile view:

website design mobile view

You can then use the drop down box to select from different mobile devices:

website design mobile view

Whilst it would be really time consuming to get your site looking perfect on every device, I would at least make sure that your site is 70% there across all devices.

6. Back yourself by investing in your business

Whilst this isn’t so much about your website design, I still feel that it is a really important point.

When I created my first website design a few years ago, I went with a free WordPress theme and spent hours and hours on custom coding just to get it to look how I wanted it to look.

I also spent hours and hours searching for the perfect free stock image.

I opted for the cheapest hosting there was, and my website was sloooooooow.

See where I’m going with this?

When you are running your own online business, time is money. What is your time worth?
Would you be better off buying that $60 theme that is absolutely perfect and has a one click demo install so you can get up and running right away. Or would you prefer to spend hours on a free theme like I did, when I could have actually spent that time creating content and products to sell!

Your business may not be making any money yet, but that is exactly why every single minute of your time is precious. And for me, anything that saves me a bit of time is worth the money.

Care to share your website design?

If you’ve recently launched your own website, or redesigned an old website, I would love to see it! Pop down a link to it in the comments below, and let me know what you love about your website design!

Time management tips

The time management tips you probably haven't heard

When I first started my online business I had no idea what time management was.

I had no idea what I was doing, and I was always feeling overwhelmed, stressed and short on time.

I didn’t have any systems in place. I was so used to working for someone else that I realised I didn’t know how to maximise my time whilst running my own business.

After a few years in business though, I have picked up some time management tips that I have found surprisingly useful. These tips have helped me not only manage my time better, but also avoid the overwhelm.

Why should you bother with time management?

If you are an online business owner, there’s no one paying you a salary. No one paying you while you sneak a scroll through social media on your phone, or take an extra long toilet break (we’ve all done it).

Every minute counts.

You may also not have the funds to outsource anything at the moment, so you’re doing it all on your own.

Managing your time is important so that you can make the most of your short hours. Produce your best work. And also avoid burning yourself out.

1. Focus on one thing at a time

This may sound counter intuitive, but think about how you feel when you are trying to get many things done at once.

Are you focused and producing your best work? Or are you spread thin, distracted, and making small mistakes because your mind is always elsewhere?

I have found that if I pick one thing to focus on that week, I get it done not only quicker, but better.

Choose one thing you want to focus on for the week, be it blog posts, social media posts, or learning a new skill.

Spend the whole week on that task. Write a few blog posts, schedule all of your social media posts for the month. Whatever it is, focus all of the time and energy you have into it until you have completed the task you set for yourself.

And if you happen to finish your set task, you will have the headspace and time to move onto the next one.

2. Take an hour lunch break

Have you ever been sitting at your computer working, looked up and realised it was 3pm and you hadn’t had lunch yet?

I sure have.

I would power through and work all day, and although I would be getting everything done, the quality of my work suffer. I was burning myself out, and denying my body the things it need to function at 100%.

I would have trouble focusing, and things would take double the amount of time that they usually would. Does anyone else find it hard to concentrate on work when they are hungry?!

So I told myself that I would start making sure that I took a lunch break. An HOUR lunch break.

I start my lunch break with a 30 minute walk outside. Walking does wonders for your health, and energy and I would strongly recommend adding it to your lunch time break. This article covers 5 reasons why you should walk on your lunch break.

I listen to podcasts while I walk too, so anything from Kerwin Rae, to Melyssa Griffin. Listening to business podcasts gets me motivated to put out my best work when I get back to my desk.

I then make sure I eat lunch AWAY from my work desk. I like to sit and eat on the floor (sitting on the floor cross legged is great for your back if you are sitting on a desk chair all day), but you could sit outside or even at your dining table.

Just make sure you are away from your desk to give your mind a chance to refresh.

After spending an hour away from my desk, I find that I’m more focused, and way more productive. And the more productive I am during my time, the more tasks that I can fit into a day.

3. Say no to more things

Working for yourself you may feel like you need to say yes to everything. Because saying no to money seems crazy right?

But what if saying yes to everything means staying up until 2am, bleary eyed and stumbling through your work hoping you don’t make a type in tomorrow's Facebook post?

You don’t need to say yes to every job if it means you are spread so thin that your tasks are not getting the full attention that they deserve.

Or worse still, your tasks aren’t getting completed and you are moving nowhere.

If your plate is already full, it is ok to say no (or ‘not right now’ even). You will feel better for it, and you will be able to manage your time better without having to squeeze in extra work.

4. Be satisfied with 70% perfect

So I recently redesigned the Origami Collective website, and I’m embarrassed to say that it took me a whole YEAR to do. Yes, 1 year to redesign my website.

And it was because I wanted it to be absolutely perfect. So I kept tweaking and adjusting, and then also getting side tracked at all the things I could do instead of xyz.
But it got to the point where I thought “I am never going to feel like it’s perfect”, and I launched it anyway.

My need for it to be perfect was holding me back, and also taking up all of my precious time!

I could have launched months ago, and I have missed out on potential income because of my need for everything to be 100% perfect.

Have you ever spent hours and hours creating the ‘perfect’ social media post, to not be happy with the final result anyway? Or have you spent hours trying to make one thing on your website look right, when you could have been working on bringing in new clients?

You are your own worst critic! Being satisfied with 70% perfect doesn’t mean putting out something that is shit. It just means putting out your best work, and if it’s not the right shade of green, or doesn’t have 1587 characters exactly, it doesn’t matter!

Because majority of the time, 70% perfect to you, is actually 100% perfect to your audience as they don’t see the imperfections that you see. All they see is the value you can provide them.

If you give any of these tips a go, or have any time management tips you would like to share, feel free to drop a comment below and let me know!

Illustrator template

How to edit your Illustrator template

Chances are if you are reading this article it is because you have purchased an Origami Collective Illustrator template and you are now looking to edit your template. Well you have come to the right place!

If you haven’t purchased a template from us and you have stumbled upon this article from somewhere else, feel free to read along as the techniques I speak about are useful for any Illustrator user to know.

Editing the colours to suit your business branding

On the side of your artboard you will see some swatches. This is where you will add in your business branding colours. Click on the first square, then double click on the foreground colour in the toolbar and this will bring up the Colour Picker window:

Illustrator media kit template

You can then either select your colour by moving the circle around, or you can input the HEX code of the colour you would like to use in the # field.

Change the rest of the squares to colours of your choosing, preferably colours from your business branding. Once you have done this, select all the squares using the direct select tool (keyboard shortcut V). In the swatches window, select the new colour group icon which will create a new swatch group out of the colours of the squares:

Illustrator colour groups    Edit colour swatch Illustrator

You should now see your new swatch group in your swatches window. Now onto changing the colours of the template. Select the whole artwork using the Selection tool (keyboard shortcut V). Go to Edit > Edit Colours > Recolour Artwork and the Recolour artwork window will pop up.

Select your colour group from the window and your artwork will change colours:

Recolour artwork Illustrator

You can then click and drag the new colours in the ‘Current Colours’ section to choose which colour you would like to replace. In the below example I have clicked and dragged the dark purple into the light purple spot:

Recolour artwork swatches

Illustrator edit colours

You will see that the document started with 13 colours, but they have been grouped to fit into the 5 colours from your new colour group. You could also changed the colours manually by adjusting the CMYK values of each colour. Although I would not recommend this, time is money! And I am all about doing things as efficiently as possible.

Replacing or adding images to your template using a clipping mask

Depending on which template you have purchased, you may have images in your template. These are easily replaced using clipping masks.

Select the image you want to replace, then right click on it and select release clipping mask:

Illustrator clipping mask

Click anywhere on your artboard to deselect everything, and then delete the current image. You will be left with a box with no fill or outline:

Illustrator crop image

Drop in the image that you would like to add, and position it above the empty square. Then send the image ‘to the back’ by right clicking and selecting Arrange > Send to back (keyboard shortcut cmd/ctrl + shft + [ ). The reposition it if needed so that no important parts will get cut off when we apply the clipping mask:

Crop image illustrator

Then with the image and the square selected, right click and go to Make Clipping Mask:

Replace image Illustrator template   Clipping mask Illustrator

And now your image has been replaced! You could of course use Illustrators crop tool to crop/resize your image, but I find this way easier as it means you can replicate the template exactly without too much effort.

Photoshop template

How to edit your Photoshop template

Chances are if you are reading this article it is because you have purchased an Origami Collective Photoshop template and you are now looking to edit your template. Well you have come to the right place! For those of you that are more visual learners, I have created a video containing all the information in this article.

If you haven’t purchased a template from us and you have stumbled upon this article from somewhere else, feel free to read along as the techniques I speak about are useful for any Photoshop user to know.

Editing colours to suit your business branding

There are two different methods that have been used to allow you to change the colours on your template (depending on what template you have purchased), either using  solid colour layer with a layer mask, or using smart objects.

Before we begin changing colours, it will come in handy if you have the HEX codes of your business colours. Or even the RGB values.

1. Changing the template colours using a solid colour layer (business card templates & media kit templates)

If you look in layers panel you will see a solid colour layer with a layer mask attached to it. This layer has been linked with the layer below it to allow us to change the colour:


Smart object layers

So you can see that the flower layer has had its colour changed to pink using the solid colour layer.

To change the colour, simply double click the solid colour layer (the pink square) and select the colour you would like to change it to.

How solid colour layers work:

To set up a solid colour layer, select it from the menu at the bottom of the layers panel:


Solid colour layer

You will be asked to select a colour, choose any one as it can always be changed later. Then, whilst holding the option (alt for PC users) hold you mouse between the solid colour layer and the flower layer and your cursor should change into a down arrow with a box next to it. Click between the two layers and this will link them together:


Changing colours solid colour layer

You then need to select the solid colour layer and change the layer mode to colour from the drop down box:

Solid colour layer layer mode Photoshop business card template

As you can see, this has also changed the colour of the middle of the flower (which we don’t want). So this is where the layer mask comes in. Select the brush tool (keyboard shortcut - B) change it to 50% hardness, and make sure black is your foreground colour.

Then click on the layer mask that is next to the solid colour layer, and once it is selected you can use your brush tool to start brushing away the colour from the middle of the flower:


Edit business card template

You can use this method to essentially recolour anything you like!

2. Changing the template colour using linked smart object layers (social media templates)

If you look in your layers panel you will see layers with solid blocks of colour in them. You can tell that they are smart object layers by the symbol in the bottom right hand corner of the layer preview:


Smart object layer

To change the colour of the layer, simply double click it and a new window will pop up:


Edit smart object payer

Then using the paint bucket tool (keyboard shortcut - G), fill the layer with your desired colour. Hit cmd + s to save the file, and then close it.

You will then see all the instances of the peach colour have now been changed to your selected colour in the file.


Smart object layer colour Linked smart object layers

How linked smart object layers work:

Smart objects allow us to edit layers without changing the layers original characteristics. If you duplicate a smart object and make a change to the duplicated layer, this change will be reflected on the original layer as well. Smart object layers are linked, allowing you to make changes throughout files with ease.

To set up a smart object layer, use the shape tool (keyboard shortcut - U) and create a shape with a solid fill colour and no stroke. Then right click on the shapes layer (you need to right click on the name of the layer) that has been created in the layer panel and select ‘convert to smart object’ from the menu that appears.


Create smart object layer

You now have a smart object. Using free transform (keyboard shortcut - cmd/ctrl + T) you can resize the shape to suit your needs. Duplicate this layer to create linked smart object layers.

This smart object layer can also be used to recolour an object. I have dropped a graphic into my file, and placed the layer underneath the smart object layer. You need to ensure that the coloured rectangle is covering all of the graphic. Then you need to hold alt and click between the two layers to link them. This will then change the colour of the graphic.


Change colour with smart object layer

You could then duplicate the smart object rectangle layer and link it to other objects to recolour them. If you ever wanted to change the colour later, you would only need to adjust the colour on of the smart object layers, and they would all change.

NOTE: The linking only works if you duplicate the smart object layer. Any duplicates of the original will be linked. If you create a new smart object layer from scratch it will not be linked to your other smart object layers.

Adding or replacing images using smart objects

Editing a smart object layer with an image is it is essentially the same as editing a colour smart object layer.

Double click the smart object layer and a new window will pop up with just the image on the artboard.

Replace image smart object layer Saved smart object layer

Drag and drop you new image onto the artboard. Place it as desired using free transform (keyboard shortcut cmd/ctrl + T), hit enter once the image positioned to your liking. Go to File > Save (keyboard shortcut cmd/ctrl + S) and then close the window. Your image should now be changed!

Smart objects changing images Smart object layer images

Print & bleed layers for print files

If you have purchased a business card template from us, please ensure you read the print and bleed layers on the Photoshop file before you make any changes to your template.

Canva template

How to edit your Canva template files

Chances are if you are reading this article it is because you have purchased an Origami Collective Canva template and you are now looking to edit your template. Well you have come to the right place! For those of you that are more visual learners, I have created a video containing all the information in this article.

If you haven’t purchased a template from us and you have stumbled upon this article from somewhere else, feel free to read along as the techniques I speak about are useful for any Canva user to know.

Setting up a digital asset in Canva using an Origami Collective template

If you haven’t already, you can purchase one of our templates here. We have created templates that any small business owner would need to DIY their business creative.

For this tutorial I will be using one of our social media templates as an example. The template comes with 6 different post types, as well as as no text option for each post. The no text options allow you to change colours and images by layering your own elements on top of the template. The text version is for those of you who are super time poor, and allows you to just add some text and post.

To edit a no text version (I am using a social media template as an example, but the tutorial applies for any of our Canva templates) with your own colours and images, open up Canva and select ‘Custom dimensions’ from the top right hand corner of the screen. As we are doing a social media post, we will make the size 1080 x 1080px and then hit ‘Create new design’:

Create custom sized Canva design

Click on ‘Uploads’ from the side menu that appears, and drag your graphic into the the window:


You will also want to drop in the image you would like to replace the template image with so that it’s ready to go for later.

Click on your template image and drag into onto the blank page, then you will need to reposition it and resize it using the arrows that appear when you hover your mouse near the corner or middle of the image.

Now we are going to recreate the black shapes in another colour. Select ‘Elements’ from the side menu, and next to shapes select ‘All >’. Then select the square shape and drag it onto your canvas:

Canva-custom-shapes   Canva-shape-tool

Reposition and resize the square so that it fits over the square we are changing the colour of. Then click on the small square at the top left of the editing menu to change the colour of the square:

Change-colour-in-Canva      Select-colour-Canva


You can then follow the above steps to recolour the smaller rectangle.

Go back to the Uploads menu item and drag your new background image onto the canvas. Reposition the image so that it covers the whole canvas:


With the image still selected, click on Position from the editing menu and send the image to back. This will put the new image behind our template, which you can now delete:

Position-image-Canva     Canva-template

You can now start adding text to your post using the SAMPLE (included in your package) file as reference. Go to Text in the side menu and click on Add a heading to add some text:


Move the text to the top of the blue square, and then using the menu editing bar select the font you want to use, for this template we are using Aleo. Adjust the size of the text so that it resembles the SAMPLE file, I have also made it bold:


Go back to the text menu and select ‘Add a little bit of body text’ and adjust the placing, font and size. You can also adjust the line spacing:


Add the final bit of text using the same steps as above and you’re done:


Select the download icon from the top menu, select JPG for your file type and then download your customised social media template:


Setting up a business card in Canva using an Origami Collective template

If you haven’t already, you can purchase one of our business card templates here.

Setting up your business card template in Canva is essentially the same as the above steps, except you just need to add bleed to your document.

Create a design with custom dimensions, this business card template is 50 x 90mm. Go to the Uploads menu item on the left hand side, and drop in your two business card template files that have the word BLEED in the file name.

Then go to File from the top menu and select ‘Show print bleed’:


You can then drag your file onto the artboard making sure it covers the whole area, including the bleed area:


You can then add a page by clicking ‘+ Add a new page’ underneath the current page and drop in the second side of your business card template.

Once you have added your text, to save the business card, click on the download button from the top menu, change the file type to PDF print and select ‘Crop marks and bleed’:


You will then be given a print ready file that you can give to your printer.

How to export a logo file

How to export logo files in Illustrator CC

So you've designed a logo, now what? Because a logo is used across a variety of mediums, it needs to be saved in a variety of different file types. This tutorial is going to show you how to save your logo files for print, and how to use the 'Export for Screens' function to save for web.

Before you save, you want to make sure your logo is right in the middle of your artboard, and that there isn't too much white space around it. A good artboard width for a logo is around 400px (140-150mm) as it is better to have a larger file than one that is too small.
You can change the size of your artboard by going to File > Document Set Up and clicking 'Edit Artboards' (or by the short cut SHFT + O) and dragging the artboard in or out. You can also use the W: and H: to manually put in an exact size for your artboard.

Artboard size

Saving logo files for print

First you want to make sure that your file is in CMYK colour mode by going to File > Document Colour Mode > CMYK. I always recommend designing a logo in CMYK, as this avoids any colour surprises when you see your logo on printed materials.
Then, you want to select your whole logo (CMND + A) and go to Type > Create Outlines (SHFT + CMD + O). This turns any text into a vector object so that you don't have issues with missing fonts when you send your logo to printers.

Colour mode

Now it's time to save. I usually save an eps. and .pdf version of the logo for print, just to make sure all my bases are covered. Go to File > Save As (CMND + SHFT + S) and chose where you want the file saved. Then you want to select 'Illustrator EPS (eps)' from the drop down box next to 'Format'. My preference is to tick 'Use Artboards' underneath the drop down box, as this will make my file the size of the artboard. Then hit save, and a new window with your EPS options will pop up.
I generally just use the standard options that have been pre selected, but make sure 'Transparent' is selected. This gives your file a transparent background. Hit OK and you're done!

Save logo as eps

Eps options

Now you need to go back and save as a PDF. This is a simple as going to File > Save As (CMND + SHFT + S) and selecting Adobe PDF (pdf) from the 'Format' drop down box instead of eps.
You will then get a new window pop up with your PDF options. Generally, these are the options you should select:

PDF options

I like to turn off 'Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities' to try and avoid my logo file being altered in any way. I don't usually edit any of the other PDF options when saving a logo file.

Saving logo files for web using 'Export for Screens'

When you are saving a logo for web you want to change the colour mode to RGB by going to File > Document Colour Mode and selecting RGB.

Once that is done, go to File > Export > Export for Screens (OPT + CMND + E) and the Export for Screens window will pop up. This new function is awesome as it lets you save .jpg, .png, .svg, and .pdf files all in one go. You can even save them at different resolutions, and only save the Artboards that you have selected.
Select the artboards you want to save, and the location you want the files saved to.

Export for screen

When saving for web, I like to supply my clients with a .png file that has a transparent background, and a .jpg file. To do this select the drop down box under 'Scale' and make sure it is set to resolution. Then type in the resolution you need (I usually use 150ppi). Then under 'Format' select PNG from the drop down box.

Saving a PNG

Then select the + Add Scale button and this will bring up a second row. Again, you will need to select resolution from the drop down box under 'Scale', and change the ppi to 150. Then under 'Format' select JPG 100. Hit 'Export Artboard' and you're done!

Saving as a jpg

If you have any questions or feedback, I would love to hear from you! Just pop them down in the comments below.

What is a print ready file

What is a Print Ready File?

What is a print ready file

A print ready file is a file that has been optimised for print. If you run a business, chances are you've needed to get things printed like business cards, flyers , and so on. If you had a graphic designer create these files for you, they would have optimised them for print. But if you created the file yourself you may or may not have known that certain things need to be done to ensure that your file prints the best possible quality it can be.

What if I don't set my file up for print?

You may end up with a low quality looking file, and an unhappy printing company. Some printing companies will double check your file for you, make sure it's set up correctly and if not, will set the file up for you. This takes extra time, and they will probably do this without charge (so be thankful!). Other printing companies will charge you to set your file up if it hasn't been already, or they will print it exactly how you've supplied it. If it hasn't been set up correctly you may end with things like:

  • Colours printed incorrect or not looking how you expected them to look
  • Text or important images cut off because they were to close to the edge of the document
  • Blurry text and images because the file resolution wasn't high enough
  • A white border around the edge of your print because bleed wasn't set up
  • Missing fonts because they weren't outlined in the file
  • Incorrect document size, and spelling errors

Some of these may not make much sense, but I have created a guide on setting up documents correctly using InDesign and Illustrator. As well as how to export them for print. Pop your email address down below and it will get sent straight to your inbox.

Print Ready Business Card Example

Here's an example of what a print ready file will look like. It's a business card, but the same principles apply for flyers, brochures, signs etc. I've added in the art board line (black) and the margin line (pink) just so you can see how the card has been set up.

Print ready fileEssentially you want to make sure your file has ticked all the boxes of this checklist:

  • Document size has been set up to the size the printed product needs to be
  • Document colour has been set to CMYK (see my guide on how to do this)
  • Document has 3mm or 5mm bleed. If you are printing large banners, the bleed should be at least 10mm
  • Depending on the size of the document, a minimum of a 5mm margin has been allowed. No text is allowed outside of this margin as it may be cut off
  • Text has been outlined (see my guide on how to do this)
  • SPELL CHECK and PROOF READ your document! Majority of printers will not take responsibility for documents printed with spelling errors

My guide on setting up and exporting documents for print explains the points in this check list. Just pop in your name and email address and the guide will be sent to you right away. *you won't get any spam, promise!*


Documents that are going to be printed need to be set up in CMYK colour mode. These are the colours a printer uses (cyan, magenta, yellow & black). If you set it up in RGB (screen colours, red, green & blue) colour mode, you will end up with a file that looks totally different to what you were looking at on screen. Check out this blog post to learn more about CMYK and RGB.

What are different file types

What is a PNG file?! Different File Types Explained

What are different file types

There are a lot of different file types and it is easy to get confused about which one is used for what. So I'm going to tell you, without all the technical jargon.

Why do I need different file types?

Unless you are a graphic designer you probably haven't given much thought to why we actually use different file types. Different file types are used depending on what you are using the file for. Some file types are large, while others can be compressed down really small. You wouldn't use large file types for web and they would take a long time to load.

What does each file type mean, and what do I use it for?

Image/vector file types:

What is a PNG filePNG (Portable Network Graphics): PNG image files are used for web as they are low resolution (small file size). They will load faster on your web page, and can be saved with a transparent background. They are not good for print because of their low resolution. You will end up with an image that isn't sharp and is blurry.


What is a JPG fileJPG/JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): This is the most commonly used file type for images. The quality of a JPEG will lessen the smaller the file size is. The bigger the file size, the better the quality. JPEGs are used for print as you can make the file high quality. They can also be used for web at a low resolution.


What is a GIF file typeGIF (Graphics Interchange Format): I'm sure you've seen those moving images on the internet, they are GIF files. GIFs can only use up to 256 colours from the RGB colourspace. This means the file size of a GIF will be very small, as the more colours in a file, the higher quality it is. GIFs are used for web because of their small size, they will load very quickly.


What is a TIF fileTIF ( Tagged Image File): A TIF file is a very high quality, and also large, image file. It is used for images that are being printed in catalogues, or large banners etc. Anything that requires the image to be very high quality. Definitely don't use these file types for web.


What is an EPS fileEPS (Encapsulated Postscript): An EPS file is a vector file type that is used for high quality graphics for print. For example, you could use an EPS version of your logo for business cards and it would print looking sharp.


Document/Adobe file types:

What is a PDF filePDF (Portable Document Format): This file was type was created by Adobe so that everyone could share files, and not need programs such as Illustrator to open them. PDFs are great for keeping a documents quality. If you supply a printer with a PDF version of your business card file it should print with no loss of quality.


What is a PSD filePSD (Photoshop File): This is a file type that has been created in Photoshop, and you would need Photoshop to open it. Photoshop is an Adobe program used for editing images and creating web assets.


What is an Ai fileAi (Illustrator File): This is a file type create in Illustrator, and you would need to open it in Illustrator to view it correctly. Illustrator is an Adobe program used for creating vector graphics.


What is an IND fileINDD (InDesign File): This is a file type created in InDesign, and you would need InDesign to open it. InDesign is an Adobe program used to create multiple page documents and more.


To read more about what the Adobe programs are used for check out our previous blog post.

Which program should I use

Should I Use Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign?

Which program should I use

Which program you use is important if you want to produce work that is high quality. I see a lot of people using the Adobe programs for the wrong things, and it’s because they either don’t know how to use the correct program, or because they don’t know what each program is for.

At the end of the day, you can use  Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign for a huge variety of things, and it does come down to personal preference and skill level. But each of these programs were designed for certain tasks, and using the correct program for your task will help you create higher quality work at a faster pace.

Photoshop is used for:

Photoshop was originally created to manipulate photos, but it has become a powerful program and can do a variety of things. It is a raster based program, so this means it uses pixels. Photoshop is good for editing photos (as I mentioned), as well as creating digital materials. These include web banners, email marketing, social media posts, and web pages if you really wanted to.
Photoshop is great for digital materials because it allows you to set up your work to the exact specs you need; dimensions (in pixels), resolution etc. You can then save your work using the ‘save for web’ menu option, and this allows you to save the image to the file size you need it to be.

Do not use Photoshop for:

Please, please, PLEASE do not create logos in Photoshop. Logos need to be versatile, they need to be able to be scaled to any size without losing quality. If you create your logo in Photoshop, you will not have a logo that can be scaled without losing quality.
If you are creating a logo that has textures or an image in it, create the basic version in Illustrator first. Then you can bring it into Photoshop to edit it, just make sure you save your logo files in really high quality.
Any sort of vector (read more on vector and raster here) based work that you do in Photoshop will end up looking blurry and pixelated. This also goes for text. If you are creating a flyer and want sharp, crisp text, don’t create it in Photoshop.

Illustrator is used for:

All of your vector needs. This includes logos, text/typography artworks, and any other element that requires you to draw it with the pen tool. The pen tool in Illustrator is superior to the one in Photoshop, and once you get the hang of it, is a lot easier to use.
You could also use Illustrator for business cards or flyers that have a lot of text with no images. Or if you were creating vector art for the web you would do it in Illustrator and export your image as .jpeg or .png file.

Do not use Illustrator for:

Any designs that have images in them, you will have a really hard time editing images in Illustrator. Illustrator is also not good for multiple page documents such as reports or portfolios. You will end up with a very large file, and you will find it difficult to keep the pages in the document uniform.

InDesign is used for:

InDesign is where you bring all of your elements together. It’s perfect for business cards, flyers, brochures, portfolios, multi page documents and so on. It allows you to place .ai and .psd files straight into your document with out slowing your file down.
For example, if I was creating a portfolio, I would edit my photos in Photoshop. I would create any vector aspects in Illustrator, and then I would bring it all together in InDesign. I would use InDesigns character and paragraph styles to keep all my text looking the same, as well as use the master pages to create page numbers and footers/headers.

Do not use InDesign for:

InDesign is different to Photoshop and Illustrator in that it can be used for almost anything (not photo editing though), and you would still get an ok looking end result. I don’t use InDesign for creating digital assets unless it’s an EDM with a lot of layers, or something else that will have a lot of elements in it.
You can create basic vector shapes on InDesign, but you will find it a lot easier to create them in Illustrator.

For those of you who like to skim read, here’s a quick overview of what was in this article:



  • image editing
  • web banners
  • email marketing (EDM)
  • social media posts (images)
  • web pages


  • creating vectors
  • designing logos
  • typography artwork
  • flyers/brochures or anything else text heavy



  • creating vector objects
  • designing logos
  • text/typography
  • business cards that don’t have images


  • designs with images
  • multiple page documents



  • business cards
  • flyers/brochures
  • multiple page documents


  • creating vector objects
  • digital assets (unless they have lots of elements.)