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Enhance Your Autumn with “Etnico”

image courtesy of peace107.com

image courtesy of peace107.com

Ah, Autumn! The weather turns cool, the leaves turn colors, and we can all bundle up in warm cozy sweaters and drink cocoa around a crackling fire! At least…some people can do that. Here in Houston, of course, it stays a balmy eighty or ninety degrees until well into October. Leaves stay green, grass keeps growing, and the only time it would make sense to drink cocoa is when you’re trapped in an air-conditioned office all day!

Etnico color collage

This is exactly why we are loving Color Marketing Group’s September color alert, “Etnico.” With a little of this warm, earthy orange in your life, it really does feel like fall! “Etnico” reminds us of autumn leaves and pumpkin pie, and we think it’s the perfect addition to your fall ad campaign.

Here’s what Color Marketing Group has to say:

Courtesy of elitemillennial.com

Courtesy of elitemillennial.com

“Bringing to mind hardened earth, baked pottery and, indeed, the orange of the setting sun, the color embeds

itself deeply in products. It celebrates when enhanced with a metallic effect, seduces with a matte richness and glows with a polished gloss.

Not just a simple terra cotta, Etnico takes orange to a new level in home and office. It is becoming a new staple for leather and a solid color coordinate to copper. Count on it to accent classic hues like plum, navy blue, and ivory, and to create a new twist with charcoal grey, wine and olive green.

Earthy, yes, but also sophisticated, charming and energized.”

Love it, love it, love it! Take a cue from the experts and incorporate a little “Etnico” into your next design for a bold, warm, earthy look.

This chick likes “Etnico” too! A lot. Like, way a lot. Image courtesy of CMG.

This chick likes “Etnico” too! A lot. Like, way a lot. Image courtesy of CMG.


Advertising that Works: Oreo Thins For the Win

Oreos, but…better for you? The same great taste, but…smaller? Brilliant!

At least that’s what the new Oreo Thins Ads would have us believe, and we think they’re doing a very convincing job.

Image courtesy of static.thefrisky.com.

Image courtesy of static.thefrisky.com.

The latest series of ads for the new Oreo Thins (a permanent addition to the Oreo cookie family) emphasizes a “sleek” and “clean” feel with few words and large, impactful images of the cookies–which look totally delicious, just smaller.

Image courtesy of delish.com.

Image courtesy of delish.com.

The way they emphasize how “thin” the cookies are in the ad designs play into a cultural interest in healthier eating, as well as the constant shift toward slimmer, sleeker products in the tech world. For instance, the ad above shares some similarities with this ad for the Apple iPad Mini:

Image courtesy of www.hightech-edge.com.

Image courtesy of http://www.hightech-edge.com.

The iPad is sexy, so Oreos are sexy, too! The Oreo Thin ad campaign is also making clever use of celebrity and social media–for instance, not long ago, actor and comedian Neil Patrick Harris sent out this tweet:

NPH Oreo Tweet

Accompanied by this charming Instagram post:

NPH Oreos instagram

If that doesn’t make you want Oreo Thins, I don’t know what will.

For these reasons, we have to officially declare the Oreo Thins campaign to be some Advertising that Seriously Works!

Oreo Has a History of Quality Ads…Check it Out:


Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 3

A simple but important part of any working relationship is respecting each other’s time. We think most people totally get that! But this particular issue still comes up every now and then, so this week, let’s talk about how much designers hate….

3) Last-Minute Changes

Image courtesy of http://www.zerouno.org.

Image courtesy of http://www.zerouno.org.

Every designer has had a client wait until at or after the deadline to request a color change, a text-rewrite, or even a complete overhaul of an ad. These last-minute changes are often accompanied by, “oh, it’s just a little change, it shouldn’t take you very long,” or the dreaded: “I need it by today.”

Of course, clients often don’t realize how long a given change is going to take. Something that seems simple, like replacing the copy, can actually be time-consuming because it requires the text to be sized and formatted to fit in the same space as the old copy. A change like, “could you just add a photograph?” isn’t a matter of just sticking something into the ad. A designer needs to find the right image, get the client’s approval, and make sure it’s the right size and resolution to look good with the rest of the ad. stop-the-press 2

Sometimes, as with ads printed in magazines or newspapers, there is a hard deadline for getting the ad to print. That can mean the designer has to work overtime to get the ad in on time. If you’re printing a brochure or a magazine and want to make a change when it’s already at press, you can end up wasting paper (oh no! the environment!) and you may be charged by the printer for the time they’re not able to use the press because of you! Nobody wants that!

All these last-minute changes can be avoided if you build your schedule with a little buffer-time—and stick to it! Then you’re happy, the designer’s happy, and look: this puppy is happy, too!

Image courtesy of idressmypets.com

Image courtesy of idressmypets.com

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Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 4

So far in this series, we’ve covered too much text, reading the rate card, and talked extensively about fonts. The latest designer pet peeve ties in to a similar issue to the one we ran into in post number 5—just because it looks good on your computer screen does not mean that it will look good printed. The number 4 thing designers hate is:

4) Low-Resolution Images

Artfully pixelated image courtesy of stackoverflow.com

Artfully pixelated image courtesy of stackoverflow.com

Resolution in digital images is measured in something called “dpi” or “dots per inch.” The standard dpi for something you want printed relatively large is 300 dpi or more. That means there are, quite literally, 300 little dots of color in each inch of the image. On your computer screen, these dots are called “pixels.”

Often, clients will send us an image that they pulled from Google or Facebook, without paying much attention to the image’s size. Then, they’ll ask us to “blow it up” or “make it bigger.” The problem is, while we can stretch something to be much larger on a computer screen, this does not increase the number of pixels in the image—it simply makes the pixels (or dots) larger. This stretched image may look fine on the computer screen, but when it gets printed there’s a good chance that a smallish image will come out grainy and unclear. And no one wants that!

If you’re using stock photography in your ad, it’s often better to let your designer source the images for you. We’ll know what to look for to make sure the image will come out nice and clear in printing. Then you also avoid issues of “borrowed” images that we covered in Things Designers Hate Number 9.

If you are searching for images for yourself, keep an eye on the number of pixels in the image. Google image search shows the size of images in number of total pixels. If an image is 300×300 pixels, then that image will be 1×1” at 300 dpi when printed. If you enlarge that image to greater than 1×1” when printing it, it will come out blurry.

This sad puppy is 1600x900 pixels. That means the image can be printed as large as 5.3x3 inches without any degradation of the image quality. He’s sad because you tried to print him 10x6. Image courtesy of Google.com.

As you can see circled in red on the right, this sad puppy is 1600×900 pixels. That means the image can be printed as large as 5.3×3 inches without any degradation of the image quality. He’s sad because you tried to print him 10×6. Image courtesy of Google.com.

You can use this information as a rule of thumb when searching for images online. Say you want to use an image that will eventually be printed in a magazine on a standard 8.5×11” page. You would need the image to be at least 2550×3300 pixels to get a resolution of 300dpi.

Finally, clients will sometimes copy all of the images they want to use, paste them into a Word document, and send that document to us. Please, for the love of that adorable puppy up there, do not do this! Pasting images into a Word document can lead to re-sizing in order to fit the image on the page, and can cause compatibility issues between computers with different generations of Microsoft Office, or between Macs and PCs. Always save your images separately and attach them directly to the email. They can be saved as a JPEG, PDF, TIF, or PNG file, but they must be saved at high resolution, at the size you want it printed or larger. That way it will arrive in your designer’s inbox the same way you sent it: nice and big!

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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 #9: “Borrowed” Images

Welcome back to the top 10 Things Designers Hate-and how to avoid them! Last time, we looked at ads with too much text! Today we’re looking at:

9) “Borrowed” Images

You found this picture online that would be perfect for your ad! We agree that it is really nice! The only problem is, it doesn’t belong to you. Most images online are created, and therefore owned, by someone else. There are exceptions to this rule, but it can be tricky!

Look, a handy flow chart! Image courtesy of thevisualcommunicationguy.com

Look, a handy flow chart! Image courtesy of thevisualcommunicationguy.com

In most cases it is best to assume that taking an image straight from the web and using it in your ad will infringe on copyright, and is therefore illegal. When you can, try to use images that you own, like photographs of your business or the products you sell. You can also work with your designer to generate a graphic or find a (public domain) image for you!

If there’s something you found online that you just can’t live without, it is sometimes possible to reach out to the owner and try to pay for its use. But if you want something that really stands out and says “you” to your clients, it’s generally better to use something unique.

This issue sometimes leads to the instruction, “I want it to look just like this other ad, but don’t copy it! The same; but not too much!” We want you to have what you want—but designers are artists, and they won’t be happy to copy other artists’ work. Plus, copying another business’s ad concept can get you into hot water with websites like this one, which pokes fun at “copycat” ads.

Instead, figure out what it is that you like about the image you want copied—is it the colors? The use of certain techniques like line-drawing? Talk to your designer about how to incorporate these elements into a brand-new design that will be specific to your business!

This Jeep ad is a great example of a unique, creative ad that uses images belonging to the company! It also sticks with our #10 rule: minimize text! Image courtesy of www.hongkiat.com.

This Land Rover ad is a great example of a unique, creative ad that uses images belonging to the company! It also sticks with our #10 rule: minimize text! Image courtesy of http://www.hongkiat.com.

Elsewhere on the Web: