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Making A Good Impression – The Importance Of A Business Card

It’s easy to assume that the digital age has killed off the need for business cards. It’s an easy assumption but it’s not a true one. In these high-tech, high speed days when meetings happen in cyberspace and you don’t have to go into the office to get your work done anymore – it’s increasingly difficult for traditional ways of marketing to survive. Yet, the humble business card has and continues to do so. There are several important reasons for this.

The first is that no matter how technologically obsessed we become, there is still nothing as effective as face-to-face contact, says FourthSource.com journalist Paul Lewis. Direct marketing will always, always trump digital promotion because people love to communicate. There are far more creative options involved with designing and creating a business card and it remains the perfect way to quickly showcase and identify a business. The advantages to using business cards are many and those that take heed of them are bound to come off better than those who don’t. Here’s why you should keep putting your business faith in that little square of card tucked in your wallet.

Direct Marketing Is King

Direct marketing will never be less effective than digital promotion. We may spend most of our time on iPhones and iPads these days, but we still love to chat – in person, with another physically present human being. Nothing will change that. According to Forbes journalist Carol Kinsey Goman, it takes just seven seconds to form an impression of somebody. If you can charm a potential client in person within seven seconds – you’ve got that client in your pocket. They’ll be much more sure of your value if they’ve their impression in person. Remember to keep things as informal as possible when offering an individual a business card. You don’t want to be pressuring them, you just want to be handing them an unexpected opportunity.

Business Cards Are Timeless 

Extremely well designed business cards are timeless. They will not go ‘out of style’ or look out of date like computer technology so frequently does. There are, of course, many advantages to using digital software but one of the biggest downsides is that it ages so quickly. Software that was top of the range last year can look utterly down market this year, simply because it’s old. Graphic design changes with time too, but not nearly as fast and not nearly as dramatically. A good business card design will stand the test of time.

The Price Is Right

Experts at the E-Design Group, point out that business cards a cheap way to promote your company. Considering all of their benefits, they’re incredibly cost effective. They’re very small, very light and easy to carry around. The cost of a great graphic design is bound to be the biggest expense – the printing and the paper are next to nothing these days.

So Many Options

There’s just an endless list of options you can take when designing and creating a business card. Nobody said that yours had to be made out of paper – many companies now craft their cards out of oak, Perspex, plastic and aluminium. They emboss their cards, they gild them with gold leaf, they even make their cards into tiny leaflets or pop up items. The only limit when it comes to designing an unforgettable business card is your imagination. As per associates Print My Pixel, if you’re concerned about the relationship between technology and clients – why not put a QR code on your business card? It’s an amazingly easy way to incorporate both direct and digital marketing.

Article publié pour la première fois le 12/07/2013

Creative Commons - Attribution photo by Jeff Vier

Making Homemade Inks

With hundreds of different types of inks available to each of anyone on the internet, making your own ink has become the practice confined to a very specific breed of pen nerds; the nostalgic purists, the picky perfectionists, and the cheap (ahem, “thrifty”). Whatever your reason, making ink has a long and rich history and gives us a variety of options to choose from, and being creative people we’re not above inventing our own recipes.

Tea Ink

The easiest functional ink that you can make is tea ink. Just boil about a cup of water and put 3-5 tea bags in to steep for about a half hour. Then dissolve some gum Arabic or carrageenan in the hot tea to thicken it slightly and let it cool. Bottle it up and there you have some non-toxic, edible ink. Keep in mind that any ink made from tea or berries is going to be acidic so if you’re writing anything that you want your great-great-great grandchildren to read you might want to use something else. In most cases it isn’t a concern since most writing paper that’s available is going to degrade on it’s own just as quickly as it would when catalyzed by acidic ink.

Powder Pigments

Once you feel a bit more adventurous you can move on to powder pigments. Classic and highly effective is lampblack, charcoal, or crushed minerals or seashells. If you’re interested in trying more plant oriented things you can try grinding up dried tree bark, herbs, and flowers. The trick to this is to dry the colored bit that you want (usually flower petals) on a paper towel or bit of cloth until it’s looking nice and crispy and to then crush them into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle. To get the pigment out of the cells and floating free in your ink you’ll then want to add some alcohol until you’ve got a thick paste. After that you can add your favorite thinners and thickeners to build your ink consistency.

Thinning/Thickening Agents

Because non-water based inks lack surface tension and sink into the page much more quickly with increased risk of bleeding I prefer to stick with water. If you go with that philosophy that means that besides water, which will usually leave your ink very runny and might let your ink smudge even after it’s dried, you’ll need to add a thickener, preferably a sticky one. The gums mentioned in the paragraph above make effective thickeners, but since not everyone has that sitting in their kitchen cabinet I tend to go with simple old corn starch. Food starch is a natural glue and will do the job reasonably well. That being said, I still know several people who swear by linseed oil instead of water, which will give you a nice consistency without the need for thickeners. For my part I’m going to be sticking with water based inks because I don’t like bleedy inks.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution photo by Jeff Vier – source

Article by Alice Jenkins

Alice Jenkins is a writer, graphic designer and marketer. When Alice isn’t trying to figure out whole stole her favorite red pen, she writes about web design, small business branding and marketing trends. Alice writes for PensXpress, a business that specializes in custom imprinted pens.

 

Article publié pour la première fois le 05/04/2013

Business Invoice Template

Designer’s Toolkit: Business Invoices Template (US Letter & A4)

Business Invoice Template

Modern & Elegant invoices in 3 preset colors, both in US Letter Portrait & US Letter Landscape as well as A4 Portrait & A4 Landscape formats. Easy to use & customize to your needs!

Business Invoice Template (Preview 2) - by Spyros Thalassinos

Business Invoice Template (Preview 2) – by Spyros Thalassinos

Business Invoice Template (Preview 3) - by Spyros Thalassinos

Business Invoice Template (Preview 3) – by Spyros Thalassinos

Business Invoice Template (Preview 4) - by Spyros Thalassinos

Business Invoice Template (Preview 4) – by Spyros Thalassinos

 

Features

  • US Letter Portrait & US Letter Landscape
  • A4 Portrait & A4 Landscape
  • CMYK & Print Ready in your home printer!
  • Clean & Modern Design
  • Paragraph Styles for easy customization
  • 3 predefined colors: Cyan, Green & Orange!
  • Easily change the entire color scheme by changing the basic color swatch!

Contents:

  • .INDD files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CC 2014)
  • .IDML files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CS4+)
  • .PDF files for preview

Fonts Used:

Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (13)

Designer’s Toolkit: 3 Business Plan Templates (Bundle)

3 Business Plan Templates Bundle

This Bundle contains three Business Plan Templates for Indesign CS4 & later, to choose the one you need (or give your clients more design choices).

These items are also sold separately in GraphicRiver:

General Specs

  • 42 Pages & Cover
  • Table of contents // Paragraph Styles & Master Pages
  • Clean & Modern Design
  • Sections, tables and space allocation are based on real business plans
  • Plenty of white-space to print it in your home printer (the amount varies in each version)
  • Easily change the entire color scheme by changing the basic color swatches!

Business-Plans-Bundle-Preview

 

Business Plan Template Lite A4 & US Letter

  • Letter & A4 // CMYK & Print Ready // 1/8 inches Bleed
  • 42 Pages & Cover
  • Table of contents // Paragraph Styles & Master Pages
  • Minimal Clean Design
  • Sections, tables and space allocation are based on real business plans
  • Plenty of whitespace to print it in your home printer
  • Easily change the entire color scheme by changing the 2 basic color swatches!

business-plan-10 business-plan-9 business-plan-10 business-plan-8

Changelog

  • v1.0 (7 August 14) Original Release – US Letter only
  • v1.1 (15 October 14) Added A4 size

Contents:

  • 2x .INDD files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CC)
  • 2x .IDML files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CS4)
  • 2x .PDF files (for preview)

Fonts Used:

  • FontAwesome ( Download for free at http://fortawesome.github.io/Font-Awesome/)
  • Univers LT Std [65 Bold, 45 Light & 45 Light Oblique] (Buy at http://www.fonts.com/font/linotype/univers/complete-family-pack)

Preview the US Letter version

Other Notes:

To change the color scheme simply change the 2 main colors to the ones you like without having any object selected!


Business Plan Template 2in1 US Letter

  • CMYK & Print Ready US Letter format (Bleed: 1/8in)
  • Clean & Modern Design
  • Paragraph & Character Styles for easy formatting
  • Sections, Tables & Text allocation based on real business plans
  • 2 Predefined Versions
  • Version 1 is suitable for commercial printing & booklet binding!
  • Version 2 is optimized for home printing & use up much less ink!
  • In both versions you can easily customize the color scheme & fonts with a few clicks

Business-Plan-Template----Style-1e Business-Plan-Template----Style-1f Business-Plan-Template----Style-1d Business-Plan-Template----Style-1c Business-Plan-Template----Style-1b Business-Plan-Template----Style-1a Business Plan Template  - Style 2 (5) Business Plan Template  - Style 2 (3) Business Plan Template  - Style 2 (1)

Contents:

  • .INDD files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CC)
  • .IDML files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CS4)
  • .PDF files (for preview)

Preview Version 1

Preview Version 2

Fonts Used:

  • FontAwesome ( Download for free at http://fortawesome.github.io/Font-Awesome/)
  • Open Sans ( Download for free at: http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/open-sans)

Other Notes:

To change the color scheme simply change the main colors to the one you like without having any object selected!

To change the fonts use Type->Find Fonts & replace to the fonts of your choice, or edit the paragraph styles!


Business Plan Template A4 Pro

  • A4 Portrait // CMYK & Print Ready // 1/8 inches Bleed
  • 42 Pages & Cover
  • Table of contents // Paragraph Styles & Master Pages
  • Minimal Clean Design
  • Sections, tables and space allocation are based on real business plans
  • Plenty of whitespace to print it in your home printer
  • Easily change the entire color scheme by changing the basic color swatches!

Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (13) Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (2) Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (1) Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (14)

Contents:

  • .INDD files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CC)
  • .IDML files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CS4)
  • .PDF files (for preview)

Preview on Issuu

.

Fonts Used:

  • FontAwesome ( Download for free at http://fortawesome.github.io/Font-Awesome/ )
  • Open Sans ( Download for free at: http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/open-sans )

 

(update 16/4/15: the bundle offer is no longer available, but you can still get each business plan separately 😉 )

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Facts and Principles behind Corporate Headshots

Headshot is a type modern day portrait where the photograph tries to reflect the personality of the photos subject (person). Headshots are primarily used in three fields- entertainment industry, fashion industry and the corporate sector.  Corporate Headshots photographers can be called in for a variety of purposes.

Uses

The major uses of corporate headshots are as follows –

  • Annual reports of companies
  • Candidate resumes (non standard)
  • Company catalogue, corporate brochures, advertising and promotional materials
  • For use in publications and websites of a company both internal and external.
  • For use in Press releases and other major  announcements
  • For use in marketing materials
  • For use in newspapers, magazines and online articles.

Features of a good corporate headshot

A good corporate headshot will feature these following attributes that will set it apart from not so good ones.

  • Quality – A corporate headshot must look professional and refined. It needs to leave a good, lasting impression. The photographer should have the proper equipment, should know the right techniques and should possess the talents to deliver impressive headshots.
  • Natural looking appearance – the subject of the photo should look relaxed during the shoot. Professional photographers know techniques that will make a person feel comfortable. They talk, play soothing music etc. as methods of relaxation.
  • Highlighting of the personality – A good headshot will reflect the person’s strength of character. It will show traits like self confidence, sense of humour, kindness, intelligence, and other positive traits that a person should have.
  • Styling – Unless the headshot is for a specific job, or looking to attract a specific type of clientele, formal business attire should be worn by the subject. Your hair should be neatly arranged and accessories should look appropriate with the dress.

How to prepare for a shoot

  • Preparation – make all the necessary arrangements beforehand. From what to wear to when to shoot, fix everything in advance so that the photo session is smoothly over.
  • Relax – you should get a good night’s sleep before the headshot session. This will help you to feel relaxed and bring about your natural look.
  • Attire – Dark clothes are more suitable for this purpose. Experts’ have advised to avoid turtleneck or short sleeve shirts. Also too loud checks or stripes should be avoided. A simple dark colour suit is considered by most to be the best.
  • Facial look – Men should get a good shave. Heavy beards are ok if they are part of your normal look. But unattended stubbles should be cleared away.  Ladies should be very careful about the makeup. It should neither be too heavy, nor too light. If you generally do not use makeup then you should try some for the photo session. It is better if you do not get a new kind of hair cut before the photo session.
  • The photographer – always brings experienced photographers to shoot corporate headshots as these photos will be used in the professional field.

Featured image: CC – Attribution Photo by ChrisDag on Flickr – source

Washington,DC is the latest hub for budding up passionate corporate photographers who can capture and enhance anyone’s zeal to work and personalities within the snapped photos. There are plenty of DC Corporate headshots photographers , but we will have to wisely select the most eligible among hem depending on his/her previous works.

 

Article publié pour la première fois le 21/02/2013

Creative Business Proposal Template by Spyros Thalassinos (3)

Designer’s Toolkit: Creative Business Proposal Template (US Letter)

Creative Business Proposal Template

The business proposal is one of the most important documents you need to prepare whether you’re a freelance designer or a design agency. It make the major difference whether you convert your new lead to a customer or not. This template will provide you with the exact tools you need to create such a proposal.

It includes the following sections:

  • Our Team
  • Our Process
  • Client Information
  • Client Briefing
  • Requested Deliverables/Objective
  • Proposal
  • Payment Terms
  • Time-plan / Estimated Milestones
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Our Latest Offers

You can use all the sections or delete the pages you don’t need.

Creative Business Proposal Template by Spyros Thalassinos (5)

Creative Business Proposal Template by Spyros Thalassinos (6)

Creative Business Proposal Template by Spyros Thalassinos (7)

Creative Business Proposal Template by Spyros Thalassinos (8)

Creative Business Proposal Template by Spyros Thalassinos (1)

Creative Business Proposal Template by Spyros Thalassinos (2)

Creative Business Proposal Template by Spyros Thalassinos (3)

Creative Business Proposal Template by Spyros Thalassinos (4)

 

Features

  • Paragraph, Character & Object Styles for easy customization & text formatting
  • Master page to quickly add your company details to every page of the document
  • Excel file to automatically calculate & easily update the proposal fee breakdown table
  • Easily change the entire color scheme by changing the basic color swatch!
  • Clean & Modern Design
  • 3 Predefined Colors

Print Specs

  • US Letter Portrait
  • CMYK & Print Ready with 1/8 inches Bleed

Contents:

  • 3x .INDD files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CC 2014)
  • 3x .IDML files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CS4+)
  • 3x .PDF files for preview
  • 1x .XLSX file (compatible with MS Excel 2013)

Fonts Used:

Preview the dark orange – purple version on Issuu live

Other Notes:

To change the color scheme simply change the main colors to the one you like without having any object selected!

To format your terms & conditions use the 3 “Terms & Conditions” paragraph styles: Title, Level 2 & Level 3!

  • Mockups & images are not included & are used for preview purposes only
  • The background image is included. The various icons are also included and are embedded in the indesign files as editable vectors. If you want more matching choices for icons you can check out FontAwesome and Entypo icon fonts.
Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (1)

Designer’s Toolkit: Professional Business Plan Template (A4 Portrait)

Professional Business Plan Template

Professional & Clean template with exactly everything you need to create a successful business plan. All the sections, tables and even the space allocation was created having in mind realistic and real life business plans.

Sections

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Summary
  • Products & Services
  • Market Analysis Summary
  • Strategy & Implementation Summary
  • Web Plan Summary
  • Management Summary
  • Financial Plan

Example Tables

  • Start Up Requirements
  • Market Analysis
  • Sales Forecast
  • Milestones
  • Personnel Plan
  • Start Up Funding
  • Use of Funds
  • General Assumptions
  • Break Even Analysis
  • Pro Forma Profit & Loss
  • Pro Forma Cash Flow
  • Pro Forma Balance Sheet

And more….

Changelog

  • v1 (23/10/15): Original Release
  • v2 (18/03/15): Added an entire new version, with more charts and additional layouts in 5 different fresh color schemes!

Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (14) Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (1) Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (2) Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (13) Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (13) Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (1) Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (2) Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (3) Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (9)

Specifications

  • A4 Portrait // CMYK
  • Print Ready // 1/8 inches Bleed
  • Version 1: 42 Pages & Cover
  • Version 2: 48 Pages & Cover
  • Minimal Clean Design
  • Sections, tables and space allocation are based on real business plans
  • Plenty of white-space to print it in your home printer

Master Pages

Quickly make changes to the layout of each section, by editing the appropriate Master Pages. You don’t like where the page numbering is? Or the repeated page elements? Simply change the master page & the changes will affect all pages of that section.

Paragraph & Character Styles

The included character & paragraph styles help you define the formatting attributes that will be applied to the various text elements of the business plan. If for example you want to change the color or size or font of the titles, simply adjust the appropriate paragraph style and all other titles that share this paragraph style will get updated automatically document wide.

Global Swatches

Change the entire color scheme but simply changing the 2 main colors to the ones you like without having any object selected!

Table of Contents

The table of contents can be generated automatically, and then get easily formatted with the included paragraph or character styles. To automatically update the table of contents if you made any changes to the section or subsection titles follow these steps:

  1. Change the section or subsection title .ie 2.2 Start-up Summary (or Company History)
  2. Select the “Contents” text frame
  3. From the Layout menu choose “Update Layout Contents”
  4. Anything with the paragraph style of “Will Appear on Table of Contents” will automatically be added to Table of Contents

Editable vector charts

All included charts are editable vectors. You can adapt/customize them to your needs or replace them with your own.

Version 1 is part of a bundle

Contents:

  • 6x .INDD files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CC)
  • 6x .IDML files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CS4)
  • 6x .PDF files (for preview)

Preview Version 1 on Issuu

.

Preview Version 2 in all color variations on Issuu

.

Fonts Used:

Other Notes:

To change the color scheme simply change the 2 main colors to the ones you like without having any object selected!

  • Mockups are not included & are used for preview purposes only
business-plan-8

Designer’s Toolkit: Business Plan Template (A4 & US Letter)

Business Plan Template

Professional & Clean template with exactly everything you need to create a successful business plan. All the sections, tables and even the space allocation was created having in mind realistic and real life business plans.

Sections

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Summary
  • Products & Services
  • Market Analysis Summary
  • Strategy & Implementation Summary
  • Web Plan Summary
  • Management Summary
  • Financial Plan

Example Tables

  • Start Up Requirements
  • Market Analysis
  • Sales Forecast
  • Milestones
  • Personnel Plan
  • Start Up Funding
  • Use of Funds
  • General Assumptions
  • Break Even Analysis
  • Pro Forma Profit & Loss
  • Pro Forma Cash Flow
  • Pro Forma Balance Sheet

And more….

 

 

business-plan-10 business-plan-7 business-plan-6 business-plan-5 business-plan-4 business-plan-9

 

Features

Specifications

  • US Letter // CMYK
  • A4 Portrait // CMYK
  • Print Ready with 1/8 inches Bleed
  • 42 Pages & Cover
  • Minimal Clean Design
  • Sections, tables and space allocation are based on real business plans
  • Plenty of white-space to print it in your home printer

Master Pages

Quickly make changes to the layout of each section, by editing the appropriate Master Pages. You don’t like where the page numbering is? Or the repeated page elements? Simply change the master page & the changes will affect all pages of that section.

Paragraph & Character Styles

The included character & paragraph styles help you define the formatting attributes that will be applied to the various text elements of the business plan. If for example you want to change the color or size or font of the titles, simply adjust the appropriate paragraph style and all other titles that share this paragraph style will get updated automatically document wide.

Global Swatches

Change the entire color scheme but simply changing the 2 main colors to the ones you like without having any object selected!

Table of Contents

The table of contents can be generated automatically, and then get easily formatted with the included paragraph or character styles. To automatically update the table of contents if you made any changes to the section or subsection titles follow these steps:

  1. Change the section or subsection title .ie 2.2 Start-up Summary (or Company History)
  2. Select the “Contents” text frame
  3. From the Layout menu choose “Update Layout Contents”
  4. Anything with the paragraph style of “Will Appear on Table of Contents” will automatically be added to Table of Contents

Editable vector charts

All included charts are editable vectors. You can adapt/customize them to your needs or replace them with your own.

Changelog

  • v1.0 (7 August 14) Original Release – US Letter only
  • v1.1 (15 October 14) Added A4 size

Contents:

  • 2x .INDD files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CC)
  • 2x .IDML files (compatible with Adobe InDesign CS4)
  • 2x .PDF files (for preview)

Fonts Used:

Preview the US Letter version

 

Jean-Baptiste-Camille-Corot---Morning-at-Beauvais

Life and Paintings of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 – 1875)

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (July 16, 1796 – February 22, 1875) was a French landscape painter and printmaker in etching. Corot was the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century. He is a pivotal figure in landscape painting and his vast output simultaneously references the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipates the plein-air innovations of Impressionism.

Movements: Naturalism, Classicism

Camille Corot was born in Paris in 1796, in a house at 125 Rue du Bac, now demolished. His family were bourgeois people—his father was a wigmaker and his mother a milliner—and unlike the experience of some of his artistic colleagues, throughout his life he never felt the want of money, as his parents made good investments and ran their businesses well.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Self-Portrait

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Self-Portrait

After his parents married, they bought the millinery shop where his mother had worked and his father gave up his career as a wigmaker to run the business side of the shop. The store was a famous destination for fashionable Parisians and earned the family an excellent income. Corot was the second of three children born to the family, who lived above their shop during those years.
Corot received a scholarship to study at the Lycée Pierre-Corneille in Rouen, but left after having scholastic difficulties and entered a boarding school. He “was not a brilliant student, and throughout his entire school career he did not get a single nomination for a prize, not even for the drawing classes.”

Unlike many masters who demonstrated early talent and inclinations toward art, before 1815 Corot showed no such interest. During those years he lived with the Sennegon family, whose patriarch was a friend of Corot’s father and who spent much time with young Corot on nature walks. It was in this region that Corot made his first paintings after nature. At nineteen, Corot was a “big child, shy and awkward. He blushed when spoken to. Before the beautiful ladies who frequented his mother’s salon, he was embarrassed and fled like a wild thing… Emotionally, he was an affectionate and well-behaved son, who adored his mother and trembled when his father spoke.” When Corot’s parents moved into a new residence in 1817, the 21-year-old Corot moved into the dormer-windowed room on the third floor, which became his first studio as well.

With his father’s help he apprenticed to a draper, but he hated commercial life and despised what he called “business tricks”, yet he faithfully remained in the trade until he was 26, when his father consented to his adopting the profession of art. Later Corot stated, “I told my father that business and I were simply incompatible, and that I was getting a divorce.” The business experience proved beneficial, however, by helping him develop an aesthetic sense through his exposure to the colors and textures of the fabrics. Perhaps out of boredom, he turned to oil painting around 1821 and began immediately with landscapes.

Starting in 1822 after the death of his sister, Corot began receiving a yearly allowance of 1500 francs which adequately financed his new career, studio, materials, and travel for the rest of his life. He immediately rented a studio on quai Voltaire.
During the period when Corot acquired the means to devote himself to art, landscape painting was on the upswing and generally divided into two camps: one―historical landscape by Neoclassicists in Southern Europe representing idealized views of real and fancied sites peopled with ancient, mythological, and biblical figures; and two―realistic landscape, more common in Northern Europe, which was largely faithful to actual topography, architecture, and flora, and which often showed figures of peasants. In both approaches, landscape artists would typically begin with outdoor sketching and preliminary painting, with finishing work done indoors.

Highly influential upon French landscape artists in the early 19th century was the work of Englishmen John Constable and J.M.W. Turner, who reinforced the trend in favor of Realism and away from Neoclassicism.

For a short period between 1821–1822, Corot studied with Achille-Etna Michallon, a landscape painter of Corot’s age who was a protégé of the painter David and who was already a well-respected teacher. Michallon had a great influence on Corot’s career. Corot’s drawing lessons included tracing lithographs, copying three-dimensional forms, and making landscape sketches and paintings outdoors, especially in the forests of Fontainebleau, the seaports along Normandy, and the villages west of Paris such as Ville-d’Avray (where his parents had a country house).

Michallon also exposed him to the principles of the French Neoclassic tradition, as espoused in the famous treatise of theorist Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, and exemplified in the works of French Neoclassicists Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin, whose major aim was the representation of ideal Beauty in nature, linked with events in ancient times.

Though this school was on the decline, it still held sway in the Salon, the foremost art exhibition in France attended by thousands at each event. Corot later stated, “I made my first landscape from nature…under the eye of this painter, whose only advice was to render with the greatest scrupulousness everything I saw before me. The lesson worked; since then I have always treasured precision.”

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Poetry

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Poetry

After Michallon’s early death in 1822, Corot studied with Michallon’s teacher, Jean-Victor Bertin, among the best known Neoclassic landscape painters in France, who had Corot draw copies of lithographs of botanical subjects to learn precise organic forms. Though holding Neoclassicists in the highest regard, Corot did not limit his training to their tradition of allegory set in imagined nature. His notebooks reveal precise renderings of tree trunks, rocks, and plants which show the influence of Northern realism. Throughout his career, Corot demonstrated an inclination to apply both traditions in his work, sometimes combining the two.

With his parents’ support, Corot followed the well-established pattern of French painters who went to Italy to study the masters of the Italian Renaissance and to draw the crumbling monuments of Roman antiquity. A condition by his parents before leaving was that he paint a self-portrait for them, his first. Corot’s stay in Italy from 1825 to 1828 was a highly formative and productive one, during which he completed over 200 drawings and 150 paintings.

He worked and traveled with several young French painters also studying abroad who painted together and socialized at night in the cafes, critiquing each other and gossiping. Corot learned little from the Renaissance masters (though later he cited Leonardo da Vinci as his favorite painter) and spent most of his time around Rome and in the Italian countryside.

The Farnese Gardens with its splendid views of the ancient ruins was a frequent destination, and he painted it at three different times of the day. The training was particularly valuable in gaining an understanding of the challenges of both the mid-range and panoramic perspective, and in effectively placing man-made structures in a natural setting.  He also learned how to give buildings and rocks the effect of volume and solidity with proper light and shadow, while using a smooth and thin technique. Furthermore, placing suitable figures in a secular setting was a necessity of good landscape painting, to add human context and scale, and it was even more important in allegorical landscapes. To that end Corot worked on figure studies in native costume as well as nude.

During winter, he spent time in a studio but returned to work outside as quickly as weather permitted. The intense light of Italy posed considerable challenges, “This sun gives off a light that makes me despair. It makes me feel the utter powerlessness of my palette.” He learned to master the light and to paint the stones and sky in subtle and dramatic variation.

It was not only Italian architecture and light which captured Corot’s attention. The late-blooming Corot was entranced with Italian females as well, “They still have the most beautiful women in the world that I have met….their eyes, their shoulders, their hands are spectacular. In that, they surpass our women, but on the other hand, they are not their equals in grace and kindness…Myself, as a painter I prefer the Italian woman, but I lean toward the French woman when it comes to emotion.”

In spite of his strong attraction to women, he writes of his commitment to painting, “I have only one goal in life that I want to pursue faithfully: to make landscapes. This firm resolution keeps me from a serious attachment. That is to say, in marriage…but my independent nature and my great need for serious study make me take the matter lightly.”

During the six-year period following his first Italian visit and his second, Corot focused on preparing large landscapes for presentation at the Salon. Several of his salon paintings were adaptations of his Italian oil sketches reworked in the studio by adding imagined, formal elements consistent with Neoclassical principles.  An example of this was his first Salon entry, View at Narni (1827), where he took his quick, natural study of a ruin of a Roman aqueduct in dusty bright sun and transformed it into a falsely idyllic pastoral setting with giant shade trees and green lawns, a conversion meant to appeal to the Neoclassical jurors.

Many critics have valued highly his plein-air Italian paintings for their “germ of Impressionism“, their faithfulness to natural light, and their avoidance of academic values, even though they were intended as studies.  Several decades later, Impressionism revolutionized art by a taking a similar approach—quick, spontaneous painting done in the out-of-doors; however, where the Impressionists used rapidly applied, un-mixed colors to capture light and mood, Corot usually mixed and blended his colors to get his dreamy effects.

 

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Reader Wreathed with Flowers (Virgil's Muse)

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Reader Wreathed with Flowers (Virgil’s Muse)

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Coliseum Seen from the Farnese Gardens

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Coliseum Seen from the Farnese Gardens

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Cathedral of Chartres

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Cathedral of Chartres

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The bridge of Narni

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The bridge of Narni

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Artist's Studio

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Artist’s Studio

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - St Sebastian Succoured by Holy Women

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – St Sebastian Succoured by Holy Women

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Agostina

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Agostina

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Young Woman in Pink Dress

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Young Woman in Pink Dress

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Young Woman (Madame Legois)

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Young Woman (Madame Legois)

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Volterra, the Citadel

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Volterra, the Citadel

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Ville d'Avray

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Ville d’Avray

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Woman with the Pearl

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Woman with the Pearl

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Tanneries of Mantes

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Tanneries of Mantes

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Solitude. Recollection of Vigen, Limousin

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Solitude. Recollection of Vigen, Limousin

Corot was the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century. He is a pivotal figure in landscape painting. His work simultaneously references the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipates the plein-air innovations of Impressionism. Of him Claude Monet exclaimed “There is only one master here—Corot. We are nothing compared to him, nothing.” His contributions to figure painting are hardly less important;Degas preferred his figures to his landscapes, and the classical figures of Picasso pay overt homage to Corot’s influence.

When out of the studio, Corot traveled throughout France, mirroring his Italian methods, and concentrated on rustic landscapes. He returned to the Normandy coast and to Rouen, the city he lived in as a youth.  Corot also did some portraits of friends and relatives, and received his first commissions. His sensitive portrait of his niece, Laure Sennegon, dressed in powder blue, was one of his most successful and was later donated to the Louvre.  He typically painted two copies of each family portrait, one for the subject and one for the family, and often made copies of his landscapes as well. Corot exhibited one portrait and several landscapes at the Salon in 1831 and 1833. His reception by the critics at the Salon was cold and Corot decided to return to Italy, having failed to satisfy them with his Neoclassical themes.

During his two return trips to Italy, he visited Northern Italy, Venice, and again the Roman countryside. In 1835, Corot created a sensation at the Salon with his biblical painting Agar dans le desert (Hagar in the Wilderness), which depicted Hagar, Sarah’s handmaiden, and the child Ishmael, dying of thirst in the desert until saved by an angel. The background was likely derived from an Italian study.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Peasants under the Trees at Dawn

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Peasants under the Trees at Dawn

This time, Corot’s unanticipated bold, fresh statement of the Neoclassical ideal succeeded with the critics by demonstrating “the harmony between the setting and the passion or suffering that the painter chooses to depict in it.”
He followed that up with other biblical and mythological subjects, but those paintings did not succeed as well, as the Salon critics found him wanting in comparisons with Poussin.In 1837, he painted his earliest surviving nude, The Nymph of the Seine. Later, he advised his students “The study of the nude, you see, is the best lesson that a landscape painter can have. If someone knows how, without any tricks, to get down a figure, he is able to make a landscape; otherwise he can never do it.”

In the 1860s, Corot was still mixing peasant figures with mythological ones, mixing Neoclassicism with Realism, causing one critic to lament, “If M. Corot would kill, once and for all, the nymphs of his woods and replace them with peasants, I should like him beyond measure.” In reality, in later life his human figures did increase and the nymphs did decrease, but even the human figures were often set in idyllic reveries.

In later life, Corot’s studio was filled with students, models, friends, collectors, and dealers who came and went under the tolerant eye of the master, causing him to quip, “Why is it that there are ten of you around me, and not one of you thinks to relight my pipe.”

Dealers snapped up his works and his prices were often above 4,000 francs per painting.With his success secured, Corot gave generously of his money and time. He became an elder of the artists’ community and would use his influence to gain commissions for other artists. In 1871 he gave £2000 for the poor of Paris, under siege by the Prussians. During the actual Paris Commune, he was at Arras with Alfred Robaut. In 1872 he bought a house in Auvers as a gift for Honoré Daumier, who by then was blind, without resources, and homeless. In 1875 he donated 10.000 francs to the widow of Millet in support of her children. His charity was near proverbial. He also financially supported the upkeep of a day center for children on rue Vandrezanne in Paris. In later life, he remained a humble and modest man, apolitical and happy with his luck in life, and held close the belief that, “men should not puff themselves up with pride, whether they are emperors adding this or that province to their empires or painter who gain a reputation.”

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Morning at Beauvais

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Morning at Beauvais

Despite great success and appreciation among artists, collectors, and the more generous critics, his many friends considered, nevertheless, that he was officially neglected, and in 1874, a short time before his death, they presented him with a gold medal.He died in Paris of a stomach disorder aged 78 and was buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Hope you enjoyed the article as much as i did compiling the info and the images! See you next time!

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Small Business Tools Behaving Badly (Infographic)

Small Business Tools Behaving Badly (Infographic)

From cave painting to the Facebook wall, man always relied on technology to make business and communication easier. But has it? Let’s find out in the following humoristic infographic about how our modern business tools behave badly!

Hope you found this infographic useful and informative! If you want to know more about designing infographics, check out our past articles: 9 tips for designing awesome infographics & Choosing the right infographic for your business !

How to Make Sure Your Resume Read like a Fairytale

What makes a book irresistible to read? What gives readers the urge to carry on, right to the end, gripped until the last word? There are so many elements that make a successful book, and a fairytale usually has most of them. Your resume needs to have many of the same elements to keep your potential employer reading on, and by looking at what makes up a fairytale we can culminate the perfect resume that could lead to an international career just through visual attraction and creativity.

Good versus evil

Good and evil are the crux of any fairytale. There is always a baddie and a goody, ready to fight against each other and come out on top. What you need to consider when creatively writing is what aspects of your job history, experience and qualifications are good and what are evil. Promotions, qualifications and awards are all great things to include and should stand out on your CV near the beginning, giving your reader a reason to carry on. However, negative elements such as being fired, exam failings (or low grades) and referees who you know are not keen on you are definitely ‘evil’ aspects you need to leave out. Remember to format and change fonts to draw aspects out, bold the good and use lower casing with the weaker elements that make your resume look evil.

Embellish the positive

Readers love to hear and see more positives than negatives, especially in the fairytale genre so make sure you talk about your achievements and skate quickly over anything which isn’t much to shout about. Go into detail about anything positive, highlighting what you did to achieve it and how you did so. Did you improve productivity, boost team moral, or get a great grade on a piece of coursework. Talk about it all and use positive words such as, ‘improved,’ ‘achieved,’ ‘impressed,’ and ‘gained.’ All these words will get your readers attention and keep them interested.

Impress with your strengths

We all have our strengths and weaknesses and so do fairytale characters, but most of the time, you would never know as they go to great lengths to hide their weaknesses and appear immortal. You can do this with your resume and make sure that your potential employer knows about every strength you have. Remember, you don’t need to highlight your weaknesses – ever hear Superman telling the baddies about his Kryptonite allergy? If you aren’t great at managing your time but are an excellent communicator and team leader, focus on that – they don’t need to know you need hone your time management skills. Great on a computer but really bad at English? Tell them all about your computer skills, your achievements using a computer, the software you know well and leave out your penchant for spelling incorrectly. We all have our weaknesses and a resume is not the place to highlight them.

Use imaginative graphics to tell the story, illustrate a comic character and then state what your power is. Just being a little bit creative will have you noticed for a job in no time.

If you think of good and evil the entire time you are formulating your resume you should have a positive, enticing one before you know it. Your resume needs to draw the reader in, keep them in suspense and throw in interesting facts and figures along the way. It is essentially a positive story about you and why you could be a great employee. Finish by telling your reader why you think you would be great for them and what you feel you could learn from them. Let’s hope the sequel is all about you getting that job!

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Gangplank HQ

Building A Successful Brand For A Small Business

Brand building is an important strategy for any business, no matter how big or small it is.  Yet, small business owners often lack the acumen or knowledge in how to brand their business successfully, and what strategies are open to them to achieve this.  Here are some tips to get great branding on the road.

Know who you are

A strong brand lets others know what it does.  Make sure you, and your staff, fully understand your own brand – who you are, what your goals and values are, what you want to achieve, etc.  If you don’t fully understand yourself, then it will be hard to communicate this well to your customers.

Be unique

With lots of competitors in the marketplace, your branding needs to scream out what makes you different from the rest.  Let others know why you are unique and what it is that you do differently from your competitors.

Consistency of messages

Successful branding involves reinforcing strong messages, so that your customers will retain information about who you are and what you do.  Make sure you are clear on what message you want to give out, and stick to the same message on all mediums of communication.  Consistency is a key component to branding success.

Name and logo

An instantly recognisable brand name and logo is a sign of good branding.  Whatever name or logo design you choose make sure it is recognisable, inspires trust and makes a connection to the types of goods or services you offer.  Consider hiring the services of a design agency to create name or logo concepts as you start out, and always include them on every piece of communication you send.

Get your name out there

Organisations both large and small understand the importance of building networks with customers and new customers, as well as generating trust for what they offer.  By building an online and offline community, you are in the driving seat to get customers on your side and love your brand.  Make the most of social networking sites and start blogging.

Online communications

Your business cards and letterheads look great, your customer service team know how to reinforce your brand with customers, and your products are something to be proud of.  But, make sure that the internet is not letting all of your hard work down.  It is easy to neglect this side of a business, but in fact it is a crucial element of branding.  Make sure your website is up to date, and looks as slick as your offline communications.  Use the same level of professionalism replying to email comments as you would for hand-written communications.  Don’t let your guard down, either, on social networking sites, where it can be easy to adopt a more casual or informal approach.

Have a great product or service

Having a successful branding strategy is one thing, but you need to combine that with a great product or service.  Don’t let your product or service slip, just because your branding is on top form.  It’s not a sustainable strategy, and your customers will soon lose trust in you.

Deliver

It’s easy enough to spout great marketing speak about who you are and what you offer, but make sure that whatever you say and how you say it, you can deliver and not let your customers down.  Create honest branding that builds up trust.

Be original

There are many great brand names out there, and there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from them and learning from their achievements.  But, never ever nick ideas off them.  Don’t copy the big boys, as you will soon be seen-through.  Try to always think of original ideas, or at least add a twist to tried and trusted branding messages and strategies.

Build relationships

Get to know who your customers are, and what they like about you.  Valuable customers who like your offering can become great brand ambassadors, spreading the word to others about what you’ve got to offer.  Spend time nurturing these important relationships and get to know who your brand ambassadors are.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Troy Thompson

Article provided by Name Badges International

Name Badges International provided this guest article on building a brand for your small business. They offer a wide selection names badges for work and conferences.

How to Build a Strong Brand

The importance of branding in the modern corporate world is undisputed. Whether you are a multi-national corporation making millions or a small business with limited funds, it’s crucial to understand that you need one in order to survive, and you need a strong one in order to succeed!

It all begins with brand identity

Brand identity is what fuels the recognition of the brand and amplifies the differences with their competition. It takes separated and unconnected initially elements, and through a concept, they are unified by designers into whole visual systems. Proper design in a brand identity is essential and determines how people see and feel about the brand.

You need to carefully consider your company’s logo design, website and print collaterals like your business cards, stationary, magazine advertisements and promotional material, so that they all speak with a strong and unified visual voice. All elements need to communicate distinct and clear messages.

Additionally you need to make sure that this message is the one you want to be known for! So just because your daughter can draw or you had the “bright” idea to offer your logo design in a contest for 55$ doesn’t mean is the proper way to go! In fact in most cases is a recipe to disaster.

Then comes the brand strategy

Effective brand strategy provides a central unifying idea around which all behavior, actions and communications are aligned. It also needs to be consistent and easy to understand.

To put that in test, have everyone in the company explain this strategy in as few sentences as possible. If everyone’s perception is aligned and consistent then you are at a good starting point. If not your strategy is too complex and will most likely fail.

Last but not least comes branding

Branding is the process to build awareness and customer loyalty on your brand through your brand strategy and your various marketing campaigns. Consistency is again the key for a successful branding campaign. Every newsletter, social media status, blog article and brochure must support your branding. And it goes without saying that your branding campaign needs to be both online and offline.

You can use events to build your customer’s loyalty offline. These could be charity events, festivals, or just a stall in a bazaar to promote your products. Also consider providing your customers with high-quality giveaway items that promote your brand in a positive light. Some examples are branded T-shirts, mugs, mouse pads etc. But you can find more ideas and a variety of cool branded promotional products at QLP specialty advertising products.

As for online you can use a variety of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn to establish your online presence and of course the blog in your website. But mind that for this promotion not to be overwhelming most of social media experts suggest the rule of 80/20. Meaning 20% of your content should be about your company and the rest 80% content of value and use to your prospective customers.

Giving your business a friendly and approachable face, and helping your customers to solve their daily problems is extremely important to your long term branding, so always be on the lookout for the best opportunities to do so!

Further Reading:

  • How To Identify Your Brand DNA
  • Promotions and Branding 101
  • The Importance of Branding

Featured Image: Apple Logo wallpaper / Creative Commons – Attribution by Adrian