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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.

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   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.”

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

 

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Reader Wreathed with Flowers Virgils Muse

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Coliseum Seen from the Farnese Gardens

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Cathedral of Chartres

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Cathedral of Chartres

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The bridge of Narni

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The bridge of Narni

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Artists Studio

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot St Sebastian Succoured by Holy Women

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

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

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Agostina

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot Young Woman in Pink Dress

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot Young Woman Madame Legois

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot Volterra the Citadel

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Volterra, the Citadel

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot Ville dAvray

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Ville d’Avray

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Woman with the Pearl

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Tanneries of Mantes

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Tanneries of Mantes

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   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.”

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

Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired or are displayed here under the “ fair use” copyright law, and are available through WikipediaWikimedia.

This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it partially uses material from Wikipedia.

 

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 !

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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.

By: Gangplank HQ

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

By: Troy Thompson

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.

By: Adrian

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

Creative Commons - Attribution by Victor1558 on Flickr

How a business can make the most of its marketing strategies

Despite the current economic climate, small businesses and medium-sized enterprises can still succeed. Businesses can rise above the competition where there’s demand for a product or service with the help of an intelligent marketing strategy.

Some businesses today admit to limited marketing budgets holding them back from reaching their customer base, with news of newly launched or upcoming products falling flat without being picked up on by the public.

Implementing a marketing strategy may well be the most important thing a business can do – and it doesn’t have to cost the world. Of course, it’s well within a company’s interests to reduce its marketing spends while putting into place the most beneficial plans, and there are a number of cost-effective routes open to a 21st century business.

The importance of having a strong website

The internet undoubtedly plays a huge role in the modern world. Personal computers and, in more recent years, laptops and tablet computers have slowly edged the television set from its decades-long reign as the home’s focal point. With a huge number of U.S citizens today making daily use of the internet, increasingly via tablets and smartphones, having a great website couldn’t be more important. This has to involve strong aesthetics so a business comes across as professional and trustworthy, and also functionality so that users feel engaged and find a site easy to navigate.

Being visible on the internet is essential. With more and more people choosing to shop online, it’s important for a business to increase its visibility. The best methods include using a mixture of search engine optimization (SEO) to achieve better rankings in the results of popular search engine sites, such as Google and Yahoo, and activity on social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

A return to tradition

Of course, it’s not all about technology. The world’s population may be increasingly tech savvy, but printed marketing materials have been around for centuries, and there’s one simple reason – they work.

Especially for smaller businesses targeting residential or business areas in their locality, or looking to attract the custom of shoppers passing through nearby retail centers and shopping districts, printed marketing material allows businesses to reach customers in a variety of ways.

Printed banners hung on poles will grab the attention of passers-by simply by the space they take up. Likewise, flyers can be posted out to residents in specific zip codes or handed out to shoppers on the street. Glossy brochures can be left in suitable venues, such as serviced office centers for B2B enterprises, or local hotels and information centers for businesses seeking to attract custom from tourists.

The business card – a timeless classic

Anyone who’s attended a weekend conference or regularly sits in on business meetings will testify to the importance of a good business card. Handing over a business card to a potential client or business partner can be a great way of showing them real interest, professionalism, and trustworthiness.

Tried and tested – email marketing

Email campaigns have proven useful to businesses in every sector – from office cleaners to grocery stores and recreation centers. Business owners should build an email list gradually by requesting customer email addresses with purchases made in store and online. Some people might be naturally reluctant to subscribe – which is why it pays to offer special deals, discounts, and engaging newsletters for those who do.

Be heard

Ultimately, it all comes down to selling the brand; being active and promoting a company’s name, colors, and mission statement whenever possible. It’s about giving the business a face and a voice, making other businesses and the public know what is on offer – and that as a name in the industry or market, the company is here to stay.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Victor1558 on Flickr

Article by Charlton

Charlton works for Minuteman Press, a printing company which provides high quality printed marketing material for a variety of businesses. More information can be found at www.shop.minutemanpress.com.

By: Emily Jones

Bringing Pictures and Frames Together for Your Own Artwork

Whether you have the vision of Michelangelo or the skill of a toddler with finger paints, your own artwork can be a wonderfully personal and appealing addition to your own décor.  Of course, this means that you will need to choose the right picture frames to ensure that the artwork with be displayed to its best advantage.

As a rule of thumb, to enhance the look of your pictures, the frames that you select should be good quality, the right style, an appropriate size, and a suitable color.  This means that you will have a number of choices to make, but by mulling them over carefully the stunning outcome will be genuinely rewarding.

There are a number of supplies that you will need to bring your pictures and frames together.  Among others, these include:

  • Wood or metal frames – your choice will depend on the overall look you want, your budget, and the location in which you will be hanging your artwork.
  • Mats – there are several shapes, sizes, colors and styles from which to choose, including using more than one.  These are a great way to enhance the look of your art.
  • Mounting boards – this is the backing for your frame, which may not seem like a big deal to you (because it will be behind the piece and not visible), it is actually a very important part of the display and preservation of your picture.
  • Glazing  – this is often called the “glass” that is used to protect your framed artwork and give the framing a finished appearance.
  • Accessories and tools – there are a number of other items that you could require, depending on the type of framing project you choose. Make sure to select the right products to ensure the best possible result.

You will also need to choose whether your artwork will be best suited to custom picture frames or one that is ready made.  This can depend on the look you want, or the size of the artwork that you’d like to frame.

Each of your decisions will have an impact on the final look and cost of your picture framing project.  Fortunately, when you choose the right supplier, you will be able to benefit from the look and performance of high quality frames, without having to spend an arm and a leg.  This is important, as the frame you select can have a considerable impact on the appearance of your artwork.

Keep in mind that framing your own artwork can be addictive.  Once you have the right tools and complete your first project, you may find that it doesn’t take long before you’re hanging more of your own work and are giving it as gifts, as well.

When it all comes down to it, the partnership between pictures and frames should be considered along the same lines as the expression “it’s the clothes that makes the man”.  It may be what is inside that has the true beauty and value, but it is what is on the outside that sets it off.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution photo by Emily Jones

Article by Kelsi Roth

Kelsi Roth is the Social Media Coordinator and a Showroom Representative at American Frame. She is currently pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Art with a concentration in New Media at the University of Toledo. Her love of art and photography brought her into the framing business where her love of sharing and connecting energizes American Frame’s social media presence. To reach her, send an email to [email protected].

Find Kelsi at Google+!

By: Robert

Five Unique Mediums You Should Try Printing On

Although Internet advertising has exploded, many businesses find that good old-fashioned mediums like printing still play a very important role in their advertising plans. While your customers will expect to get printed items such as business cards or brochures from you, you can do something unexpected by having these and other items printed on unusual materials to make yourself stand out more. Here are a few ideas for five unusual mediums you can print on to promote your business.

Plastic Business Cards

It’s a Catch-22, really. You know that you need to carry business cards to hand out to your clients and to compete in today’s business world. However, your competitors realize this, too. So how do you make your card stand out in your potential client’s wallet–by plastic printing, that’s how.

Plastic business cards give you the option of the sturdiness of plastic so your card won’t get beat up once it goes into your client’s wallet and with options like transparent card printing, you can add an element to your design that your competitors’ cardboard business cards won’t have.

Wood

Wood as a medium for printing has been around for thousands of years. Many of the surviving pieces of art from centuries past were painted on wood. You can give your promo pieces that same sort of timeless appeal. If you’re not sure how to do it, think menus for a restaurant or name cards at a catering event printed on thin wood for an extra classy and memorable touch.

Canvas

In the digital age, pictures are ubiquitous. If you’re printing marketing materials like calendars or inspirational posters to send out as promo items to your clients, think about having these items printed on canvas. If you add a wooden dowel to the top of your items printed on canvas, they will become pieces of wall art reminiscent of the tapestries found decorating the walls of ancient buildings. A promo calendar designed on this medium will wind up hung up on your client’s wall where he can see it and your business name all year.

Magnets

What is a kitchen without refrigerator magnets on the fridge? Without them, most people would have no place to hang notes to their families or their kids’ artwork. Use this to your advantage by having your advertising materials printed on magnets. Your potential customers will see your name every time they open the fridge.

Kid Tattoos

If your company regularly hosts community events, and you want to create a free giveaway that’s sure to draw families to your booth, think about having something printed on temporary tattoos. Make these items something that the kids will love and the parents will remember by having a cute graphic printed on the tattoo and then your business’ logo printed on the paper backing of the temporary tattoo. At your next community events, the kids will remember the tattoo and their parents will remember you.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution Photo by Robert

Article by Annette Hazard

 Annette Hazard is a freelance writer that suggests plastic printing for unique printing. She often writes about business related issues and spends her free time training for marathons.

what-are-stock-photos

What Are Stock Photos And Why Should I Buy Photos?

If you do a quick Google search you can find photos online in seconds. This seems to be the easier and most cost effective means to find photos for your digital media, but wait. If you are not the owner of the photo, meaning you have not physically taken the photo yourself, you actually do not have the legal right to use that photo on your blog, on your website or in your ads. Downloading a photo from the internet and using it for your business, your blog, or for commercial purposes is not allowed.

Photos on the internet,unless they are within the public domain, are copyrighted. This means that the photographer owns the photo and if you wish to use it, you need to ask permission to use the photo. The process of discovering who owns the copyright, contacting the owner for permission, negotiating the terms of use, which can include financial compensation to the owner, is in most cases a very long process. The photo that you found, and want to use has not turned into a project. If you use the photo without being granted permission from the owner, you may just find someone at your doorstep asking for financial compensation or requesting that you take the image down. Your free photo has now turned into a financial issue that could have been avoided.

Stock photos are photos that photographers create and sell a license. Buyers purchase the right to use the photos so that they avoid any legal issues of copyright. As the stock photo buyer you can purchse the right to use a photo under different licenses, royalty free licences, extended rights licenses and rights managed licenses. Stock photo agencies act as the broker and marketer for the photographers making it easy for photographers to sell the rights to their photos and users to purchase these rights.

Stock photos are easy to find, easy to purchase and easy to use.

When you think of the hassle you have to go through to find the original photographer for a photo that you have seen online, stock photography makes so much sense. Instead of looking through a search engine for photos, you search through a stock photo agency, find the perfect photo, pay for the right to use the photo (some photos start at as little at 50 cents) and you have legally purchased the right to use the photo under the licensing agreement you paid for. In a few minutes you will have a great photo and no legal issues. How simple is that!

Images are critical to the success of your marketing or business needs.

Images are important. Today, images are more important than text when communicating what your company does and how you administer your services to buyers and readers. Corporate blogs are increasingly important and require the use of images to communicate your story. Delivering the amount of photos that a business needs these days is next to impossible. Stock photos solves this very problem. Thousands of photographers submit hundreds of thousands of photos each day from all over the world. When you are savvy about how you buy your stock photos, photos become pennies per image, instead of hundreds of dollars per image. That is an irresistible savings for any business, and finding stock photos is an irresistible time saver.  Using stock photos adds up to financial savings, correct use of images, time savings and spectacular images that communicate your story better than if you hired a photographer.

Before you dive into stock photos learn how to use stock photo properly and effectively

If you are new to stock photos, there is a small learning curve that requires a few minutes of attention.

Learn the difference between each type of license. Certain licenses allow certain activities. Learn what each license allows you to do with a photo.

Understand your stock photo needs and research the best way to buy your stock photos. You can buy the rights to one photo for a onetime fee, you can purchase a monthly subscription that enables multiple photo downloads during a time period for a set price or you can purchase stock photo credits that let you download photos for a certain amount of credits. Each stock photo buyer has different needs and understanding pricing options can save you money!

Not all stock photo agencies are created equal. Different stock photo agencies offer different photos. Different agencies offer different photographers. Sign up for a free membership at many different stock photo agencies and search around for the perfect photo.

Use the resources that stock photo agencies offer to ensure the best use of your stock photos. Stock photo agencies want you to successfully use the photos they offer and have many resources to help you be successful.

Stock photos are a great way to meet your image needs, find images fast and use images legally. For pennies per image, you can have all the great images you need at the moment you need them.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source -> http://www.panthermedia.net/

Find out which stock photo agencies are popular, and understand how to use stock photo agencies for your image needs. There are hundreds of stock photo agencies that provide images for businesses, blogs and individuals but this list provides you with the top agencies that have great prices, great photo selections and online resources.

Image © Panthermedia

Creative Commons - Attribution photo by Victor1558 on Flickr

How to Get the Right Office Chairs

One of the most important factors that you have to consider when putting up your office is getting the right office chairs for your employees. To help you work without risk of injury and help your employees (and yourself) work efficiently, it is vital to select the right type of chair. Since most of your time in your office will be spent sitting, getting the right chair is not a consideration to be made lightly or be taken only based on aesthetics. The chair can be regarded as an important part of your workplace.

Find a chair that can be easily adjusted and is flexible. Usually you will want to purchase a chair that has height adjustment, a pneumatic seat, seat depth adjustment, arm height adjustment, adjustable tilt tension and back seat height adjustment. Ensure that the chair has a good quality material. There are many different materials available in the market or online, but usually the chair’s base must be steel or aluminum. Steel is extremely durable, scratch resistant and strong, while aluminum is both strong and lightweight. Examine the chair to ensure that it is suitable for your body size and weight. It is also advisable to consider the overall physical feel of the chair.

How to Get the Right Office Chairs   OfficeChairs Ensure that the chair suits you ergonomically. Also, it must be both deep and broad enough to enable you to sit comfortably. The pad of the chair must be made of a breathable, durable material that is comfortable and firm, without being excessively spongy. In addition, the chair back must be padded in such a way that it assists the natural curve of your spine. Don’t forget to examine the adjustable arms. They should be firm, but not very firm as to hurt your wrists or arms after an extended period of time working in the chair. Armrests must be adjustable and must not affect with the workspace. You must be able to move closely to your desk without losing support from the backrest. Your shoulders must be relaxed and your forearms must comfortably rest on the armrests. If the armrests are very high, they will tend to elevate your shoulders and give you pain or stiffness in the neck and shoulders, whereas if they are very low, they initiate leaning and slumping to one part. Eliminate armrests if you don’t utilize them, if they affect your work or they cannot be adjusted properly.

There are a wide variety of office chairs found in the market and online. They are designed with various features, sizes, shapes and materials that can suit your needs. Many furniture manufacturers are offering high quality items. However, before you make any purchase, you need to try several different office chairs. Inquire about the return policy when buying your chair, because at times the chair may feel comfortable in the beginning, but after a day it may not. If you cannot get a chair that fits your decorative tastes, it is advisable to buy an ergonomically built chair than a pleasing aesthetical one. You should also avoid chairs with cheap plastic materials as they are prone to accidents that break off, which can lead to severe injury.

Don’t settle for cheap office chairs. Ergonomic chairs are more expensive than standard chairs. But as a business owner who cares for the health of his/her office staff, investing in these chairs could not be better.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution photo by Victor1558 on Flickr – source

Article by Alice Watson

Alice Watson graduated with a double major in English and Business Management from the University of Ohio. A Columbus native, she went back to her home city after graduation to work in several advertising companies, before striking it out on her own in Shanghai, China, working for an International furniture manufacturing company in East Asia. She helped increase the company’s sales by 30% and began expanding into Europe and North America. After working in China for a number of years, she moved back to Columbus. She worked for her family’s office furniture store (www. OfficeFurnitureSpot.com) (888-920-3375), and worked to expand their markets as well as their offerings into more products like bookcase, file cabinet, office chair and many more. Connect with me on Google Plus : Alice.

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.

 

Case studies of effective advertising 2

Case studies of effective advertising

Nobody likes an attention seeker… unless you’re talking about advertising that is.

In an age where advertising space can be bought on everything from internet banners to half time at the Super Bowl, how do you set your business apart and make your advertisements stand out from the crowd? Balancing cost effectiveness with brand visibility has been the challenge facing marketing managers for decades. How do you create eye catching and informative advertisements without breaking the budget?

No matter what industry you’re in, choosing the right promotional strategy is a key ingredient in the success of your business. There are a number of options to choose from when considering your businesses specific needs.

Banners, signs and flags

Promotional signage is a powerful tool in market advertising that balances brand visibility with cost effectiveness. Promotional banners are versatile, portable and can be used at trade shows, conferences, field days or outdoor events. With so many designs to choose from, there’s bound to be a promotional banner to meet your businesses specific needs.

Double sided banners and signs are great for trade shows, outdoor events and on-street advertising. With two individually printed panels, your business’ advertisement can be seen from all angles. Double sided teardrop, fin, surf, paddle, vertical and sail banners are especially designed with a ballast base that you can fill with sand to keep them upright in all conditions. Lantern banners are another novel way to draw attention to your business. These 3D diamond shaped signs offer three advertising panels that rotate in the wind.

Case studies of effective advertising   Case studies of effective advertising

International sporting events such as the formula one racing events are the perfect example of how advertising banners can be used to effectively market a product.

Marquees and shade cloths

Create the perfect backdrop for your businesses event with a custom designed folding frame banner wall or relax in the shade with a specially designed pop up marquee. These portable shade tents and banner walls come in a range of different sizes and are a great way to advertise your business at outdoor fairs, markets or event days.

Rip Curl is one brand that has successfully utilised this form of promotional advertising. Their black, white and red tents are easily recognisable and can be found at almost any surfing event around the world.  

Vehicle graphics

Get up to speed with the very latest in brand advertising with vehicle graphics. These moving advertisements are perfect for achieving brand exposure in the right places.  Target particular demographics or position your brand at a particular event. Whether your organisation has a single car, a dozen vans or a fleet of lorries, custom vehicle graphics will turn heads at all hours of the day and night, building brand awareness with every trip.

Red Bull is possibly the most easily recognisable case study for the success of vehicle graphics. Their instantly recognisable cars have been a part of their successful marketing strategy for many years and have significantly impacted on their brand exposure and sales figures.

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With so many different ways to advertise, it is easy to make sure your business stands above the rest.

Images provided/licensed by the author

Article by Katherine Flowers

Katherine Flowers is passionate about industrial concepts and creative designs. She writes for SignWave about experiences, encounters and advice connected to the graphic industry.