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Now Trending: Adult coloring Books

Adult Coloring Books

Have you noticed the trend of adult coloring books these days? It’s become an international phenomenon. Lately we’ve noticed (and taken advantage of) the vast array displayed at bookstores, craft stores, and gift shops. When searching on Amazon.com for bestsellers, up pops a category for “adult coloring book bestsellers.” It seems cookbooks have taken a back seat! There is a category for “Coloring Books for Grown-ups” that has 356 books to chose from—more than double the Children’s Activity Books of 151.

So what’s the big deal?

These days, our lives are filled with long hours, frequent deadlines, and endless social obligations. According to experts, coloring books can help us unwind and reduce stress. The books provide a connection to childhood, when things seemed simpler. Picking up a crayon or colored pencil transports us to the past. It can also be a creative outlet (for those with less “artsy” jobs), and best of all, there’s no pressure! Regardless of artistic ability, coloring inside the lines is simple. There’s no wrong way to color!

Research shows that coloring stimulates your right brain and helps you think more clearly.  You’ll find coloring books therapeutic, educational, and just downright fun! Staying inside the lines takes focus, but not stress. Clinical counselors say the activity opens up the frontal lobe of the brain—the home of organizing and problem solving—and focuses the mind by allowing colorers to forget their worries.

We understand that while many consider this hobby for solo activity, there are also adults who gather to sip wine and socialize while coloring.  Because little concentration is required to fill in a pre-drawn image, you can be yourself and let go.

Crayola has recently jumped on board with the trend. Their line of adult coloring books is called Color Escapes. It is 11×17 in order to fit into a standard-sized frame, so you can easily color, frame, and hang your work! Color Escapes books come in four types, including Geometric, Kaleidoscope, Nature, and Garden themes. It’s a great way to relax–and a great way for Crayola to sell more crayons!

You can also easily find many one-page designs to print and color for free online. So give it a try!

 

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Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Color Edition

rainbow-colorsLately we’ve been talking a lot about color! In keeping with that, number 5 in the Things Designers Hate series is a common question:

5) “Why don’t the colors print like they look on my computer screen?”

The question itself isn’t exactly the problem. Rather, the issue is that many clients don’t ask it until the job is nearly complete. A client may assume that an image she sees on her computer will look precisely the same printed out. When this turns out to not be the case, aggravation and frustration invariably ensue. The client is disappointed that she didn’t get what she was expecting, and we’re frustrated because we want the client to be happy—and we don’t want to have to go back to the drawing board at late stages in the design process.

This can be easily avoided! You simply need to know the difference between viewing images on a computer and viewing a printed image, so that you can factor that in when communicating with your designer.

It all comes down to two simple, but important, abbreviations: CMYK and RGB. 

RGB refers to the primary colors of light: Red, Green, and Blue. These are the colors used by your computer monitor (and any other light-operated system, like the lighting rig at concerts or theatre performances, for example) to create all the colors in the spectrum. When it comes to light, white is made up of all the colors, and black is no light at all.

CMYK is the term used to quickly refer to the process by which images are printed in color. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK. With pigment, the process is the opposite of light: white space is achieved by using no color, and black is a combination of all the colors. Black is also added to a given pigment to darken it.

color mixing in light (left) vs. pigment (right) works differently. In this image you can see that the primary colors of light (Green, red, and blue) mix to create white, while the primary colors of pigment (Magenta, Yellow,  and Cyan) mix to create black. This is the fundamental difference between how we see color on our screens and how we see it printed! Image courtesy of sciencelearn.org.nz.

Color mixing in light (left) vs. pigment (right). In this image you can see that the primary colors of light (Green, red, and blue) mix to create white, while the primary colors of pigment (Magenta, Yellow, and Cyan) mix to create black. This is the fundamental difference between how we see color on our screens and how we see it printed! Image courtesy of sciencelearn.org.nz.

Since the images viewed on your screen are created with light, turning the screen brightness up or down, or altering the “contrast” setting, will change how those images appear. It is unlikely that your designer’s computer is set to the exact same settings as your computer, so a design sent to you online will not look exactly the same on your screen as it looked on your designer’s screen. When the image is printed, it will again be subject to color variation.

The Pantone color book. You can see that the colors on the left of the page are “RGB” and the colors on the right are “CMYK.”  The book depicts roughly the difference you can expect between computer images and printed images.

The Pantone color Guide. You can see that the colors on the left of the page are “RGB” and the colors on the right are “CMYK.” The book depicts roughly the difference you can expect between computer images and printed images.

You can avoid surprises when it comes to color by using a Pantone color guide. Pantone colors are standardized using numbers, so when your designer says they’re using Pantone blue #285PC, you can refer to the book to see how it will look when printed. Printers also use the Pantone guide, so their colors should be exactly the same as the colors shown in the book. By referring to the Pantone guide, you can get a good idea of what to expect from the colors in your printed ad, even if you’re looking at it on a computer screen. You can also always request a printed sample before finalizing the design, just to make sure it looks how you expect it to.

By keeping in mind that colors will differ from screen to page, and using the Pantone book as a resource, you can avoid unnecessary confusion and keep things running smoothly with your designer!

 

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Make Your June “Berrylicious”

The wall above is painted "Berrylicious." A few additional "jewel" tones, plus a pop of turquoise emphasize the  depth and richness of June's featured color. Image courtesy of CMG.

The wall above is painted “Berrylicious.” Additional “jewel” tones, plus a pop of turquoise emphasize the depth and richness of June’s featured color. Image courtesy of CMG.

Color is a huge part of marketing! This is something we touch on over and over again, because while color always remains one of the most important parts of an ad, which colors you use should change from season to season!

Berrylicious, paired with some complementary shades of lighter pink, in wool. Image courtesy of CMG.

Berrylicious, in wool, with complementary shades of pink. Image courtesy of CMG.

Color Marketing Group (CMG) is an organization for color design professions whose mission is to generate “color forecasts.” This means that what CMG does is predict what colors will be on trend, months, and sometimes years ahead of time. Taking a cue from CMG’s color forecasts can be a great way to keep your marketing materials seeming fresh and modern! These guys are the pros when it comes to color, and this month they’re ushering in summer with this deep berry color, called “Berrylicious.”

According to CMG, Berrylicious is:

“rich in color… playful and tempting in a way that makes you smile… it is a color that can stand alone, as well as offer a springboard from which other hues can contrast. It is [a] fresh way to enliven grey, becomes shocking with coral and can be calming when layered with other berry-inspired hues. Fresh from the produce aisle, “Berrylicious” brings luscious to glorious life.”

In addition to making you want pie with their description, CMG also suggests a few exciting ways to use this color for different effects. Incorporating a little Berrylicious into a June ad, program, or new web page might be just the thing to keep your look relevant, modern, and fun!

 

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Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 7

Welcome back to our blog series, “Top 10 Things Designers Hate!” If you haven’t already, definitely go check out our previous posts in this series, about “borrowed” images, rate cards, and ads with too much text! Today’s post will cover another topic that is near and dear to the hearts of many designers: Fonts.

Specifically,

7) You say, “Let’s use something fun, like Comic Sans!”

One of the most important things to know about design is that Comic Sans is not your friend. Nor are Papyrus, Times New Roman, or any other over-used fonts that can be found in Microsoft Word.

This is a good example of a poor font choice. The font is cutesy and fun, but the Harley-Davidson Riding Club should seem cool and tough! Image courtesy of  bonfx.com.

This is a good example of a poor font choice. The font is cutesy and fun, but the Harley-Davidson Riding Club should seem cool and tough! Image courtesy of bonfx.com.

Designers see fonts like this as a “lazy” design choice. Since they are so frequently used, they are perceived as all-purpose fonts. That means they are not going to provide that specific, individualized tone that you’re hoping to achieve with your ad. There are even websites devoted to pointing out bad uses of popular fonts.

Not that we don't love the funny papers! Image courtesy of listpod.net.

Image courtesy of listpod.net.

Your designer likely has a stockpile of hundreds of fonts that aren’t immediately recognizable by the average person. They will certainly have something with the feel you’re looking for, but with the added advantage that clients will not recognize it. That means that they’ll think of the font as unique, and associate it with your business—instead of with the Sunday funny-papers.

A great font can help send the message that you want to send, and tell your story, visually. Instead of asking for a specific font you already know about, try focusing on a general look and tone that you want for your ad! It may help to bring in examples of ads you like, and explain what about them works for you. With that information, your designer will be able to generate a design (with a font) that is perfect for you and your business.

This Kodak ad makes great use of typography! By using a font that evokes an old typewriter, they emphasize the comparison they’re making between pictures and words. Image courtesy of 1stwebdesigner.com.

This Kodak ad makes great use of typography! By using a font that evokes an old typewriter, they emphasize the comparison they’re making between pictures and words. Image courtesy of 1stwebdesigner.com.

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Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 8

Welcome back! To recap: last week, we talked about “borrowed” images, and before that we covered ads with too much text! Today we’re covering number eight on our list:

“Please, Read the Rate Card!”

Ah, do you hear that? Off in the distance? you can just make out the troubled cry of many a frustrated designer.

What’s a “Rate Card,” you ask? And why should I read it?

A Rate Card is a document provided to you by the publication in which you will be placing an ad. The Rate Card contains all the information that you need about placing your ad in a publication: prices, deadlines, size requirements, and in what format your ad should be sent to us (i.e., .pdf, .cps, or .tif). Often, the Rate Card will look something like this:

This is the rate card we gave to clients who were placing ads in the 2014 Quilts Buyers’ Guide. As you can see, the card shows ad sizes, costs, for both black and white and color ads, and deadlines.

This is the rate card we gave to clients who were placing ads in the 2014 Quilts Buyers Guide. As you can see, the card shows ad sizes, costs, for both black and white and color ads, and deadlines.

The publication where you’ll be placing your ad will always give you one of these—please read it! While working on a publication like the Quilts Buyers Guide, which contains many ads placed by different companies, designers can spend a surprisingly large amount of time fielding emails and phone calls with information about sizes, deadlines, and prices—in other words, information that can be easily found on the Rate Card.

Your designer will be happy to help you out if you have questions or difficulties with your ad! But if you check the Rate Card first, you will help ensure that the conversations with your designer are focused on more important and difficult questions than “when is this due?” For example: you want a flying squirrel in the ad? Sure, why not!

Thanks for reading your Rate Card!

 

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Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 10

Creating the perfect ad campaign for your business can be tough. You know what you want: an ad that stands out and lets potential clients in on the secret of what you already know—that you’re perfect for their needs! But how to go about making that ad a reality? Well, that’s a little more difficult. After all, you’re a businessperson, not a designer! It’s not your job to make the ad!

Unfortunately, without the right resources and vocabulary to talk about your design dreams, working with graphic designers can be frustrating—for them and for you!

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be exploring the top ten things that drive designers up a wall! Plus, we’ll be providing some tips on how to avoid these issues, and keep your advertising process simple and smooth. First up:

10) Too Much Text

Talk about too much text! There's so much going on in this ad that I don't know what to look at first. Not only am I not  going to read ALL of it, I probably won't read any of it. Image courtesy of http://adsulikeit.blogspot.com

Talk about too much text! There’s so much going on in this ad that I don’t know what to look at first. Not only am I not going to read ALL of it, I probably won’t read any of it. Image courtesy of http://adsulikeit.blogspot.com

You have a lot to say. There’s so much you want people to know about your business!

But sometimes, less is more. Your designer wants nothing more than to make you a beautiful, expressive ad, and cluttering up a pretty image with a bunch of information is usually not the way to achieve that end. Most of the time, minimizing text will maximize impact. Your clients don’t have to learn every single thing about your business in one ad—just enough to get them interested!

Instead of cramming every detail about your company into one ad, try to focus on generating a few simple, impactful phrases. Be sure that your ads easily lead to more information, whether that’s a web address or a phone number.

This ad by Bissel is a great example of Advertising that Works! The image is clean but expressive, and there's a minimum of text. Image courtesy of http://popurls.com

This ad by Bissel is a great example of Advertising that Works! The image is clean but expressive, and there’s a minimum of text. Image courtesy of http://popurls.com

Check out our Pinterest for examples of some beautiful ad designs that really work! And of course, be sure to check back with us later this week for number 9 on our list of “Top 10 Things Designers Hate.”


Drumroll Please…!

laura headshotIntroducing the newest member of the Hunter-McMain team!

At the beginning of 2015 we welcomed Laura Sanchez to join the Hunter-McMain family as Production Coordinator. Laura has a degree from Texas A&M University, and is nearing completion of her Master’s Degree in Digital Media Studies at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Laura enjoys baking, travel, country dancing with her fiancé, Edgar, and loves her Yorkie, Chacho, “like a son!” Laura’s Master’s Degree has a focus on Graphic Design & Photography, which makes her a dynamic addition to the team here at Hunter-McMain. As Production Coordinator, she has already put her meticulous organizational skills to good use maintaining schedules for the spring Quilts festivals and Home and Garden shows.

She is also using those skills to plan for her wedding, which is coming up at the end of April—just three weeks before she will complete her MA! So congratulations, Laura!

At Hunter-McMain, we’re all about community—we like to celebrate, and we love to eat. Finding “the right fit” was important when it came to hiring a new Production Coordinator. On her very first day, Laura brought an amazing chocolate chip cookie bouquet, and we knew she was going to fit right in!