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From Concept to Completion. Creative Advertising and Graphic Design Services.


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 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.”


Client’s Guide to Finding the Right Design Firm

Business Tips and Trends

The AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) is a professional organization for design, organized in 1914. They currently have 22,000 members throughout 66 chapters across the US. It’s a pretty reliable organization and they publish several books and magazines for our industry. They also have published a great book for those who need to hire design firms, called “A Client’s Guide to Design: How to get the Most out of the Process.” What we found interesting and wanted to pass on to you were the ‘top 10 questions’ you should ask a design firm when interviewing them to represent you. Here are the questions…

  1. Does the firm understand the business?
    Do they talk the talk or walk the walk?
  2. What kind of results has it achieved?
    Can they show you proven success? Have they won any awards?
  3. What is its design process?
    Do they throw concepts at you or create mock-ups?
  4. How knowledgeable are they about them?
    Do they have a thorough understanding their clients or just of a certain type of business?
  5. How does the firm like to work?
    Developing a campaign or single advertisement project? Do they specialize in print or online?
  6. Who are its clients?
    Are they more retail or business-to-business type of clients or in the same industry as yours?
  7. What is the design process?
    For instance, what is the culture? Does it match up to yours? Does the firm like lots of direction or more latitude?
  8. What kind of design experience does the firm have?
    Are they new and innovative but have no work samples to show yet? Or have they been around for 25 years, like Cheep-Cheep?
  9. Who will work on your projects?
    Is it important for you to meet the actual people who do your design? or would you rather work with an account representative?
  10. Do you like the people you’ve met?
    Do your personalities clash or match?

At Cheep-Cheep we will answer any of your questions. If you find yourself wondering whether all of this is really necessary, AIGA says to ask yourself how seriously you want to compete in the marketplace. Because that is exactly what a good design firm will help you do.

DesignforHire


Advertising Testimonials

If you have great feedback from a happy customer or client, you can use their testimony to boost your business. Adding a testimonial to your brochure, website or advertising can add validity and selling power to your service or product. Testimonials build trust, help buyers overcome skepticism, and give your sales unbiased recommendation.

What Makes a Good Testimonial?

If you have ever had a customer tell you how much they value your service or product, then ask them for a testimonial. Don’t over edit the message, but don’t be afraid to change the grammar and how it’s said. Use testimonials that fit, don’t ever fake it. Don’t be afraid to encourage specifics from your client. For instance, if your client saw wonderful improvement by using your product or receiving your services, then ask what specifically caused the improvement. Let the users be the “stars” and not the service or product itself. Try to avoid using word like “best” and “easy” as they don’t really add validity. Be sure to ask your customer if you can use their feedback for a testimony.

How to Use a Good Testimonial

If you have a testimonial from some one notable or even a celebrity, don’t be afraid to use that as your entire advertisement. If you have endorsements from unknown people then don’t make it the main focus. If you have many testimonials, try dedicating a page on your website. If you only have one or two, use them in flyers, postcards and ads. You can use call-out-boxes or before and after pictures. There are many ways to handle a good testimonial. The best endorsement is word-of-mouth. If you have a customer telling others how wonderful you are, what could be better than that?

Give us your feedback on how you have used testimonials from customers.

CheepCheepTestimonial


It’s that Time of Year, Again! Evaluate your Marketing Strategy

The year is winding down and budgets are being created for 2014. First you have to evaluate the money you spent and if the marketing strategy you planned for this year is actually working. Here are a few questions to get you started on that evaluation:

  • Have you discovered your true market opportunity?
  • What size is the market?
  • What are the key trends that inspire your success?
  • Is your business affected differently during a certain time of the year?
  • Do you work harder in some months than other?
  • Do you know your exact audience you are targeting?
  • What trends in advertising have you not tapped into yet?
  • What competitor threatens your success?
  • What can you learn from them?
  • How can you differentiate yourself from them?
  • What improvements can you make?
  • Take a look at the promotions and advertising that you did. What was your most effective campaign?
  • What events increase your organizations visibility?
  • What information material do you have available on the spot?
  • Where are your communication efforts most well received?
  • What platform of social media is working for you?
  • What does your website say that your advertisements don’t?
  • Find out what works, and what doesn’t and then attack the budget. What mistakes from last year did you make that you don’t intend to carry over to the next year?


Design Glossary

DesignGlossary

Alignment: This term is use to refer to the position of the text in body copy. Alignments can be flushed left / ragged right, flushed right / ragged left, centered, and justified which means it is both aligned flush right and flushed left.

Aqueous Coating: A protective coating on a printed piece applied by the printer to enhance the printed surface.

Bitmap: A collection of individual dots or pixels in a computer graphics.

Bleed: This means we extend beyond the border or margin so when it is trimmed it “bleeds” off the edge.

Camera-Ready Art: Artwork is prepared to be photographed for a press plate and is ready to print. No additional work needs to be done before it goes to press.

CMYK: This is the abbreviation for process colors or “full color”…they stand for cyan blue, magenta red, yellow and black (K).

Die Cut: A finished printed piece that has a unique cut to the piece. For instance if you have a rounded shape, this is “die cut” from sharp blades to create its unique shape.

Duotone: Two colors combined make a duotone. A vintage photo look can be created with a sepia brown and black, combined it looks like one color but its actually two.

Em Dash: A long dash used in punctuation. (Em is a unit of measuring the width of printed text that is equal to the height of the type size being used).

Gutter: The term refers to the space between columns of type or in a center spread of 2 pages, the gutter is the middle where the catalog or magazine is bound.

Kern: To reduce the letter space between characters or type.

Low-Resolution: This describes the image on a computer that has a low number of pixels per square inch. Printing needs a hi-resolution of 300 dots per inch (dpi).

Moiré: (Pronounced “mo-ray”) This is an undesirable effect found in a halftone print resulting from interfering patterns caused by incorrect screen patterns. If you scan a photo that has halftones and put it in a document that is printed again, a moiré pattern will happen.

Pantone: A collection of colors used in printing that is a global matching system that all printers use. These colors are numbered and used across the print industry to have the same system in place to match each other.

PMS: No ladies, not that! In the design world this stands for Pantone Matching System.

Runaround: In typography, the text would go around an image such as a photo or illustration this is also known as runaround.

SWOP: In printing this is a color standard for proofing which stands for Specifications for Web-Offset Printing.

Vector Graphic: Vector art that is object oriented by use of points, lines, curves and shapes which can be resized without it being halftones. If you send a picture that is a fixed size image, enlarging it will look blurry. Vector graphics can be sized and will not lose the quality of the image.

Watermark: A translucent logo in paper created during manufacturing so that the design is faint yet visible when held against the light which usually identifies the maker.