Before you go to print..

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*Artists*

Spelling. It is such a basic thing. We are taught to spell the moment we enter school at 5 or 6 (or younger) with small, basic words, and work our way up each and every year through the most difficult. Then we were privileged enough to be given the gift of spell check, which makes all of us lazy. Or better spellers. It depends on who you are talking to and if you remember to use the spell check in the first place. Then, through the miracle of technology we started texting. In the world of text…spelling just doesn’t exist. And now, if we weren’t lazy before with our spelling, we are.

I went shopping with my daughter today. As we pulled out of the parking spot, what do we see? A very nicely printed, colorful, flyer that was very professionally printed. This was for a tattoo company opening in a neighboring city. The colors were amazing. Really. The artwork was actually quite beautiful. It was on heavy stock paper, with a UV lamination coating. No expense was ignored in preparing for this opening, or promotion. I was intrigued, to say the least.I don’t have any tattoos. I have played with the idea of designing one and actually getting it. Honestly, though, I am my own worst customer, and have never agreed with myself on what I would like to have permanently on my body.

All truth be told, the  moment I noticed what is in the picture above, I lost all interest. How in the world could I be expected to trust a person to permanently mark my body if they could not remember to spell check their promotional material?  This is the kind of mistake that causes companies to loose business. Really. Think about it. This is company that thrives on producing amazing artwork that people will live with for the rest of their life. A lot of the amazing artwork will depend on their spelling, as many customers request quotes, names, and more. And here, in one of their marketing strategies is a glaring mistake that has lost them a customer. Or, at least, someone who could have been a customer, maybe, one day.

The basic lesson here is: Always prepare your files weeks, if not months, in advance of going to print. Run them through spell check, and have many eyes look them over. If the company you choose to use for the print service offers a service to not only proof your work, but to edit or check for spelling, please pay the extra fee, even if you are positive that you have no errors. The worse that will happen is that you spent a little extra money to guarantee a print ready piece in every way. If this special consideration is not taken, you could be out money and product when you receive the piece back and notice spelling mistakes yourself before you hand the marketing material out (I have learned this lesson the hard way) or even worse: you loose the customers you had hoped to gain by launching such an expensive campaign to begin with.

A mistake like this, if caught by the consumer, can cost you not only customers, but cost you the professional image you are trying to build. Good luck to you all!

Pictures are worth a thousand words…

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And colors! Colorful palettes are everywhere. It’s what you do with them that is important. With color, any mood can be persuaded from a consumer, and by the company.Have you ever found yourself at a loss looking for color inspiration? Love the colors in a photo or a fabric, but unsure HOW to get the colors or pull the scheme? That is where Adobe Kuler comes in handy, to say the least. The picture above is a lovely photo of my husband. Below it are two color samples pulled from the picture, using Kuler. The first is “colorful” the second is “muted”.

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The colors pulled from favorite pictures can evoke strong feelings, and not just for you! If used appropriately they can be used to evoke feelings in consumers. If there is thought and care put into the message that a company wishes to convey to a customer, then the colors and text will be thought long and hard about, so that those feelings  (whether nostalgia, hunger, or desire) are brought to the surface for the consumer subconsciously and therefore provoking them to spend.

The second picture I have shared is one of my favorites. It shows so much. And that poor tired girl off to the side is just done. Period. This picture brings smiles to me. That is my daughter, who after a long day of hunting for perfect pumpkins, is ready to be done with us all, and ditch us for dinner!

Kuler is a tool where you can pull colors from your favorite photos and more. If you are feeling adventurous than you can play with the color wheel. If not, just drag a picture that you love and let the program pull the colors for you! Please visit this fun site, https://kuler.adobe.com, and play. When we take the time to play, inspiration is not far behind. And from inspiration we find our greatest pieces.

 

Marketing can be HARD…

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As the title states, marketing can be hard. A person can get lost in the maze of choices, trying to find which niche will work best for them. Facebook, blogging, twitter, placing ads, flyers, direct mail, community bulletin boards… Then as a person is thinking and trying all of these out (and more), they are also fine tuning their work, portfolio, and always putting their best foot forward.

Do *I* have the answer? No. No, I don’t. Marketing myself is hard, one of the hardest things I have personally done. So, here are some great articles to get us all on the right foot….

 

http://www.graphicdesignblender.com/40-tips-for-brand-new-freelance-designers-2

http://creativepublic.com/self-promotion.php

http://brentgalloway.me/5-tips-to-actively-market-your-freelance-business

 

All of these articles have great points, and some repeat themselves (only because they are worth repeating!). The point is that we must all organize (eek, not my favorite to do, but LOVE when it is utilized), plan and follow through. Plan for the best and prepare for the worst, and always learn from mistakes…then move on!

Noticing “Big Business” trends….

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More business are changing their logos. Some of which are so iconic, that the subtle changes will be just enough to make us take notice. Olive Garden is taking their likeness and making a major change, as is Staples. And both brands are making changes to their taglines while they are at it. And whether you like these new designs or not, they are giving us a glimpse into a trend.

At http://www.creativebloq.com/branding/biggest-logo-designs-march-2014-31411168?utm_content=4640123&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook, we can see 5 classic brands change before our eyes. And I have noticed a theme. If a logo was  squared off, and more vertical in design, they are going more horizontal in the lines now. Also, the complexity of each design is becoming more streamlined and simplistic. Flat. This was something that we brought to attention in March in the article http://nancykimberlin.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/flat-design-trendtypography/. Flat is in. Making things more simplistic and streamlined is in.

Take some time to look around at your favorite brands. Any changes? Share them with us! We’d love to see them.

Is print dead?????

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Print isn’t dead. Wanna know HOW I know? I work in an office document creation business. We print all day long. We print posters. We print documents. We make copies. We print pictures. We print reports for businesses. We print reports for schools. We print calendars. We print off your USB. We print off your sim cards. We print from your email attachments. We PRINT all day long. We print because no matter HOW much you LOVE the web, you are not likely to sit down in a class or meeting with people staring at a screen while you “share” your information.

While the web is great to reach the masses- it misses the mark in groups that are sitting together and sharing. You can email a picture, but hanging it on the wall and looking at is less likely from an email- unless you are full of money and able to have you pictures electronically showing on your T.V. when you aren’t watching Netflix.

Print is amazing. It gives us a feeling. It gives us something to touch- without smearing for the next person to look at(when we allow the ink to dry). It allows us to share things in “unique” ways. Although it’s been around since…Anyone? Anyone? Does anyone know when print was first “invented”? I’ll tell you when: the year 618 during the T’ang Dynasty – the first printing is done in China using ink on carved wooden blocks begins to make multiple transfers of an image to paper. And if you go to http://theweek.com/article/index/250984/no-print-isnt-dead, you will receive a more in-depth explanation of print and when it really started , which is even earlier than what I just referenced! It’s been here for at least 1,396 years. We, as a race of human beings, have been communicating with ink and paper for almost 1,400 years! Has it really dissipated so much that it is disappearing? Nope. It is evolving. It has become “more personal” and “unique” and more “rare”.

Reasons that print is not dead are numerous.  (Found list at http://www.forbes.com/sites/thesba/2012/06/28/print-is-dead-not-so-fast/) Let’s list them:

-Tangible: it is something you can see and feel. No question if you clicked the right link to get the sale price, you know when and where the sale is, and YOU plan to go to it! Newspapers and magazines can sit in offices for years, giving a long term appeal  for ads and columns.

-Credibility: You are overwhelmed with popup ads on the web. Facebook and other social sites are bombarding your eyes with flashing lights, trying to beckon you to click “here!” Print, on the other hand, can give a more concrete sense of legitimacy.

-Branding: Print ads allow for a more consistent look and theme for you brand. The color, fonts, and types of images used can be seen more tangibly and side by side, allowing for you to see the consistency.

-Target Marketing: Placing ads in specialty magazines and areas that target your consumers, without them getting lost on the web and loosing interest or becoming distracted in their search.

-Less Print Ads: I know this one sounds odd, until you think about it. If there are less print ads, then there is MORE space for your ad to shine!

-PR Codes: Of course this one links paper and web experiences. Which is just nice.

-Variety: There is large format printing, vehicle wraps, substrates, packaging! Even printing for cakes!

And please, visit here: http://www.creativepro.com/article/print-dead, to read even more great things about print! I mean, who would have thought of print (“You’re killing trees!!!!” Gasp) as more green then the web?

Paper books still run the market of reading by holding tight at 75% of sales, even though Kindles and other reading tablets are popular. It is even said that by reading and FEELING the book, one is able to map out the information and retain the information better.

Of course, the best method in design is to find the perfect balance between both web and print. So, don’t forget to grab some flyers and market yourself, or send Thank you cards, or postcards to consumers you are hoping to sway in your direction.

Choosing what field of design to go into…

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This can be a difficult choice for many designers. I chose to go into Graphic Design because I love to create, and I love seeing peoples’ satisfied looks on their face when the mark is hit. When I am able to create a piece for a customer that brings their idea or thought out into the open for them to share with others, I feel an immense amount of pride and joy for them.  The killer is that I chose print design and logo/branding. Print can be a killer to get into. Web is where the money is at. If you know how to code, and can learn the tricks to manipulate and have some creativity a designer can really do great financially. I know how to code, but it’s not my cup of tea. It is not where I choose to focus my creativity at. And in doing so, I may have taken a more difficult road to travel. Everyone is into the web. Everyone seems to use it to advertise, to search, research, check into other people and business. The yellow pages are truly a touch away, and your fingers still do the walking. And print is now the “non-traditional” route for advertising.

I have questioned my desire, which is huge, to be in print, logo and branding. I know what the “norm” is. I have looked into my past and really thought about what it is that  draws me in this direction. It is the enjoyment I receive from pleasing people, and the enjoyment I receive from tactile reinforcement. I enjoy reading. A REAL book. I like to hold the book in my hands and feel the weight of the pages the author has written and poured their soul into. I don’t mind the “junk” mail I receive. I open, almost, all my mail, just to check it out, to feel it, read it…and oddly enough- smell it. There is nothing in the world like a freshly printed piece. Well, to me, there isn’t.

I suppose, what I am trying to convey here is that – you, as a designer, should really take a look at what is motivating your choices. Is it that you want to create beautiful sites for the masses to enjoy? Do you wish to make those frustrating website truly more functional? Do you smile every time you see a hidden message in a Logo? What is it that has inspired you to design, and in the way you design? Do you enjoy the feel of pages in your fingers? Or prefer the glow of a monitor?

I started questioning the road I took, because the job I am at is not focusing on my talents. I am frustrated. And I started questioning the road I have taken. But when I sat back and thought really hard, I realized that while it may take some time, I am on the right road. I am confident in what I do. I just crave to do a LOT more of it. So when you are questioning what you are doing, in general, or even just starting to wonder what type of design work you would like to focus on- sit back, relax, and think about the things that made you smile and start down the path of being a designer in the first place.

Business Card design

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I have long stated that I am entranced by typography and hand lettering. I could research and look at examples all day long. I have found a new infatuation. One that supports my love for typography. It is the business card.

Many of you may think, “A business card? As an infatuation?”. Yes. Yes it is. There is so much creativity out there. And a business card is a way to communicate your availability and specialty. It is a way to market. One of the oldest and most traditional ways. But the card in itself does NOT have to be traditional. And when you are a designer, your ability to stand out can be put in the spotlight. The design of your card can be the one thing that stands out against the masses in a company who has stacks of cards from other designers. Is it the texture, the color, the words, the graphics or something else that makes it stand out? Is it the shape, maybe? Who knows.

In this little understood world of business cards, where tradition rules, and rule breaking is usually either ignored or celebrated (depending on how great your originality is) are hidden gems and hidden talents that many people over look. Please, enjoy this link to the site: Business Card Design Inspiration at Cardnerd (http://www.cardnerd.com/). There are some truly amazing business card examples here. Some ideas may grab you and make you wish you had thought of it first (like the person who used a Google search bar on his card). Some will make you wonder if paying an extra huge fee for a special cut card is worth it. Others will amaze you with their use of white space or color. Any way you look at it, business cards do NOT have to be white with black imbossed writing in 8 point font. There is so much more out there.