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


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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:


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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.”


Golden Ratio and Layout Design

golden-ratio

 

For nearly 2,400 years the golden ratio has fascinated Western intellectuals. It fascinated a whole community of mathematicians, biologists, artists, musicians, historians, architects, psychologists and even mystics. Ancient Greeks first studied the golden ratio because of how frequently it appeared in geometry.

Book Design
There was a time when the 2:3 proportions were so exact that they were only half a millimeter off. This was most prominent in books produced between 1550 and 1770.

Design
The golden ratio is even used in everyday design such as the shapes of postcards, playing cards, posters, wide-screen televisions, photographs, light switch plates and cars.

Nature
Adolf Zeising found the golden ratio expressed in the arrangement of branches along the stems of plants and the veins in leaves. It is also found in the skeletal make-up of animals, the geometry of crystals, and the human form.

The golden ratio appears everywhere and is utilizes as a tool to help produce aesthetically pleasing designs and layouts. You can use this ratio to equally or unequally divide on purpose to get the effect you’re looking for in your design in order to tell a story or invoke an emotion.


How to Use Color Harmony in Your Advertising Designs

ColorTheory

“Color harmony” is a use of color that will make your design pleasing to the eye. It can engage a viewer, give them a sense of order, or give them a focal point, rather than boring them–or making them stressed. If your ad is boring or chaotic, you probably won’t keep viewers’ attention for very long. The human brain rejects both under-stimulating information and over-stimulation. Finding color harmony will bring a sense of order to your designs.

Some Formulas for Color Harmony

Analogous Colors

ctheory_leaf

Analogous colors are three colors, which are side-by-side on a 12 part color wheel, such as yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange. Normally one of the three colors predominates.

Complementary Colors

ctheory_orchid

Complementary Colors are any two colors which are directly opposite each other, such as red and green and red-purple and yellow-green. In the illustration above, there are several variations of yellow-green in the leaves and several variations of red-purple in the orchid. These opposing colors create maximum contrast and maximum stability.

Want more info? Check out: http://www.colormatters.com/color-and-design/basic-color-theory