Posts

Petar-Pavlov→Doritos-Packaging-Concept

Important considerations for better package design

Perhaps packaging is the most common design field that we get daily in touch, and i can’t stop getting the feeling that is also the most misunderstood.

Well to be honest, I get the feeling that the designer’s profession is a bit misunderstood too. The strongest – and sadly not only – misconception is that knowing how to use the Adobe suite makes you automatically a graphic or web or a motion designer. This claim is as absurd as someone saying that knowing how to hold a test tube makes you a scientist! But this is not our today topic.

In this article we’ll talk about package design. We’ll discuss several important considerations from technical prerequisites to human perception.

Important considerations for better package design   Happycentro →Sabadì

Happycentro →Sabadì

So package is functional tool, it fulfills various requirements of commerce, and a distinctive package form helps define product’s and brand personality. As you design it, you should take into account its whole life cycle. Design of the structural graphics is the least of your concerns! Yes someone who can open Photoshop can do it too. You as designer should be considering which its place in the brand hierarchy is. And also practical things like its transportation, containment, storage, display, end-use and finally disposal.

- Making a unique package is half the work. Unique constructions in packaging are only commendable if they can be mass produced efficiently and they can accommodate the distribution channels of the company. So make sure your work is within the parameters of the brief.

Important considerations for better package design   Burak Kaynak→Sliced Bread Notebook

Burak Kaynak→Sliced Bread Notebook

- You should be able to understand the feasibility of what you are proposing as package design, and also account for any pitfalls that you will likely encounter. Make sure your design can actually manufactured with the suggested materials, not just in theory but also within the budget.

- Try to think more as your audience. Assume you were in the super market, and haven’t already developed a brand loyalty. And assume again that all other things like perceived quality and price where equal. What would make you pick this brand over another?

- Packaging alone can make us feel that we are buying more than just a product but an experience. The three dimensional form that you can wrap your hands around and feel it – has an undeniably stronger feeling than other design disciplines. Developing an alluring form or a package that Is functioning uniquely can potentially become the cornerstone of an entire marketing strategy. So after determine the target audience the next usual step in package design is to determine its form.

Important considerations for better package design   Alberto Vasquez→3in1 Stick package design for Nescafé

Alberto Vasquez→3in1 Stick package design for Nescafé

- Consider potential harmful by-products and excessive waste that might be caused by your choices on materials and try to eliminate these factors or in worst case minimize them. Making your packaging environment friendly should be your first priority and its necessity in the modern over polluted world we live in is more than an ethical matter!!

- Study successful forms of the past (well generally study the past). Knowing how we got on today’s market will empower you understand it better. Study and analyze even forms of products that have been removed from this specific market. Evaluate what had made them successful and how can you adapt them to your needs, improve them or completely repurpose them.
I hope you enjoyed this article and gave some things to think and consider!

How does packaging affect your choice to buy a product?

Looking forward to hear your comments and opinions!

 

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution Behance Project by Petar Pavlov

Chris-Piascik→Morgan-&-Milo

Creating more sustainable packaging systems

In a previous article I have suggested some ideas to consider for improving your package design in general. In this one I would like to introduce you to the complex world of sustainability as far as package design is concerned and suggest some ways to make your packaging more sustainable.

Did you know that our present methods of production, consumption and disposal are actually destroying globally our life support system?

Well you don’t have to take my word on it, you can always spend some time researching and contemplating on that.
If you design packaging or want to learn more about package design, you should be aware by now that packaging is not about the structural graphics only, but also of form and materials. You should fully be aware and understand that your choices of materials and material applications have impact and consequences to our natural habitat.

You might be thinking that packaging requires the coordination of numerous industries, but rather than worry and be alarmed by this complexity you should be happy because as the designer you have many ways to reduce the negative impacts of packaging in the environment. As a package designer you are the one who should be knowledgeable and advice your client about these matters.

Sustainability requires us to understand this world as the complex system it is, and interact accordingly.
Here are some things to consider:

Try to use higher percentages of post-consumer recycled content. This encourages the the efficiency and development of collection systems by creating more demand, and is already is significantly reducing energy consumption and deforestation.
Explore the tree-free alternatives such as fast growing plants and agricultural by-products. Plants like hemp, switch grass, kenaf and straw, grow quickly, they need less water and fewer chemicals. Also from a marketing standpoint they provide more innovative opportunities to create unique and more interesting lines of “paper”.

Use papers from certified pulp sources this ensures that everyone in the supply chain gets fair share of the profits. FSC provides this kind of certifications for any wood derived materials. They monitor the sustainability of timber growth and harvest, as well as indigenous peoples and workers rights.

Use less ink coverage. The more ink consumed in the process the more will be the post-industrial and post-consumer waste to recycle the package.

Approximately 20% of the Pantone colors contain especially harmful chemicals. For example metallic colors contain high levels of copper and zinc compounds while many reds contain barium. Fluorescent colors also have a high toxic load.
Investigate and request soy based, or other vegetable produced inks. Soy printing in terms of performance has a higher level of rub resistance thus resulting in less dot gain than petroleum based inks. Soy pigments are much more intense requiring less ink to achieve the same effect. They are more easily removed from paper making the De-inking part of the recycle process more efficient. Soy ink can be cleaned with water based solvents reducing further the VOC (volatile organic compounds) that cause air pollution. Last but not least soy waste is considered much less hazardous by government standards.

Finally design packages with recycling in mind. Plastics used in the package should be easily detached from it and also marked with the proper resin symbol. We’ll further discuss this in a future article!

That’s definitely not all, but will help you get started!

Hope you enjoyed the article! I am looking forward for your comments and opinions.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Chris Piascik on Behance

Martin-Oberhäuser→Brockhaus-Encyclopedia-Infographics2

Infographics, love them or hate them?

How much value do you place on infographics when designing a marketing campaign or updating your website to include new content? Infographics have become increasingly popular options for magazines, newspapers, and websites, and can communicate a lot of information in an accessible way. In this context, they work well for social media and sharing. However, infographics can also be criticised for their thin content, and for not delivering the kinds of social engagement that can be crucial for gaining brand loyalty across media.

Infographics can be effective when used properly as a form of content marketing; colourful imagery and clearly arranged figures and graphics can make it easier for users to click on and digest important information. The more well designed an infographic is, the more likely that a user will spend time going over it, compared to a block of text. Information consumption is sped up, and faster decisions can be made over whether content is relevant to a user.

This value can be mapped out in a number of ways. In social media marketing, infographics can allow companies to grab the attention of users that are being distracted by other signals, and can provide lasting engagement through visual connections. Infographics similarly work well as items that can be easily tweeted and shared between social networks, creating the potential for higher search engine ranking.

However, infographics can be criticised in several ways. One of the more common problems of infographic information involves whether their facts are accurate – repackaging content into a graphic might obscure inconsistencies and errors in research, and can end up making an argument look more persuasive than it actually is. Moreover, infographics can lack the depth of argument and context provided by guest posting and integrating graphs and images into longer form content.

Other problems with infographics include similarity and repetition – you may see the same designs being used again and again across sites, which can mean that users gloss over important distinctions between companies. At the same time, certain infographics might not show up as well as on different devices, and might become irrelevant over a short period of time if statistics are updated, leaving you with outdated content that has to be revised.

To this end, it’s important to view infographics as just one part of a design led marketing campaign that positions content in attractive ways. It’s worth looking into creating a digital and print campaign that uses infographics in support of longer form content and more traditional ways of presenting information. For example, working with a marketing agency Brighton might involve repackaging the same content for different platforms, with the goal of preventing the impact of infographics from being diluted by over-use.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Martin Oberhäuser→Brockhaus Encyclopedia Infographics

By: Marcin Wichary

Making your Presence Felt with Signage!

A good business strategy will always involve signage in the branding of your business, it is the most important part of customer outreach. It is impossible to gauge the popularity and success of your business unless the consumers who might target are aware of what you offer. The purpose of business signage is to instantly and effectively communicate the professionalism, the function, and the overall presence of your business. Business signage will convey to people who you are, where you are and what you do, so it should always be your first step, no matter what. Even if you provide the very best products in your industry, that doesn’t mean that your business will succeed and that you will be able to convert, or that your products will take off. In order to for people to use your products or services, and for all your hard work to pay off, people have to be aware that they exist. Before the complexities of marketing, advertising, PR, and web marketing take over, there is the very simple and effective method of signage in your local area. Having a two-pronged strategy will enrich your marketing campaign, and each strategy will reinforce the other. By employing a strategy that covers local signage and online marketing, you raise your chances of reaching the maximum amount of consumers.

Portable signage is a particularly cost effective tool for brand awareness, just make sure that you have had all of your signage plans approved by your local council first, wherever your council may be. This is really important, because remember, you are interacting with the public when you use signage, that is the whole point after all. But anything that intrudes into public life has to be regulated and approved, that is the nature of democratic governments. Take advantage of this and discuss ways that your business could enrich your local area with the council. Turning your signage into public artwork is a great way of doing this. The more you get your community involved with your business, the more that will be likely to use your business, so it’s a win win really. If you offer something back to the community in your area, they will look favourably on your presence. The very best signage, signage that is beautiful as well as useful, becomes a valued part of its local area. The Coca Cola sign in Sydney, in Kings Cross is a perfect example of this. It is now a landmark and a way that people orient themselves in the area. In this sense, signage serves the very same perfect as architecture and infrastructure; to to enrich the area and to give residents what they need.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Marcin Wichary

Article by Belinda Darling

Belinda Darling is a branding and marketing expert based in Melbourne, Australia. She specialises in small to medium sized business embarking on marketing and PR campaigns, and also performs small business consulting. Belinda advises all her clients to use Footscray Signage for their local business needs.

By: Mooganic

Anatomy Of An Effective Presentation Folder

It all starts with your presentation folder!

If you want to convey authority, expertise in your craft, and the feeling of security to your prospect clients, then your presentation folders have to be top class!

The thing is, your presentation folders are your first impression to your clients. Do this right, and you’ll score huge points as far as getting new customers. Do this wrong however, and you’ll lose 99% of your chance of ever closing a sale.

That said, what exactly is the anatomy of an effective presentation folder? What key components does your presentation folder need to have to impress your clients?

Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Proper Weight and thickness

It’s easy to determine a folder’s quality simply by feeling its weight and its thickness.

As a general rule, a good quality folder should be able to hold on its own against simple gravity or when mild pressure is applied to it. A good question to ask your provider is what thickness their folder has. If it’s 12 points and above, then that should be a considerably safe thickness to have.

  • Quality printing

Even if you have the best folders in the world, it won’t amount to anything if your printing’s quality is poor.

Your printing’s quality is one of those make or break factors that you should be very careful about. If you aren’t sure about what to ask from your provider, then I suggest that you at least ask about the litho quality printing. That quality and anything beyond it should look very professional and of good quality!

You can also ask your provider for samples of their made folders if you want to see the quality yourself.

  • Custom pockets for business cards or CDs

Custom pockets make your presentation folders more functional.

Simply inserting your CD’s or business cards on the presentation folder without the custom pockets might fall once the prospect opens your folder.

To avoid that and any further embarrassment to you from happening, I suggest that you have a custom pocket made for your presentation folder to give it that professional feel.

  • It should be coated

If you are to impress your prospective clients, you need to have your presentation folders coated. Doing so gives your folders a smoother more professional look.

While there are different types of coating, two of the best are the matt and glossy lamination. Having your presentation coated through these will give you the quality finish that will surely astonish your prospective clients.

  • High quality glue

You should never see any seams on the corners of your presentation folders.

If you see any at all, that indicates that low quality glues are used to put together your presentation folders. That said, it’s always a good idea to ask your provider for samples even before purchasing from them.

Considering these tips when ordering presentation folders will help you get quality results. Never compromise the quality of your folders since your company’s success might hinge on how great amazing your presentation folders are.

If you have any suggestions or any ideas about ordering presentation orders, I urge you to share it in the comments section below so more people can share their ideas.

The more people that shares, the more people are helped. Sound like a good way to give back to the community right?

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Mooganic

Article by Aileen Galsim

Aileen Galsim is a blogger for Showcase Creative a UK printers that provides high quality short run Presentation Folders in the UK, calendars, and other printed presentation products. You can contact her at aileen (at) syra.co.uk or connect with her through google plus.

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: SEOPlanter

Definition of penalty and ban on a web page or site from Google

What difference is there between Ban and Criminalization of a Web Site?

First of all it is good to clarify what is a penalty and what is the ban of a website.

Criminalization of the Web site or Web page

What does it mean that a page or site has been penalized by Google?

A website is considered penalized when one or more pages, the first placed permanently with certain keywords, undergo a sudden collapse and no longer placed in the top positions. When a site or specific pages of a site is penalized, are indexed in the indexes of the engine, but are downgraded in the SERPs  (an acronym for Search Engine Results Page ), which results pages of search engine.

In practice, the penalty is a ” downgrading “of the site or a web page that involves the loss of positions in the SERPs .

The penalty is usually a “downgrading” of positions within the engine’s results pages .

► The Google penalties are usually of two types :

  • penalties algorithmic / automatic : algorithms applied by the search engine
  • Penalties Manual : manually applied by the Google team

Some types of Google Penalties are for example:

  • Google Penalty -5 : Google this slight disadvantage is the downgrading of a web site from first to sixth place . In practice, if your website has always been at the top of Google searches with a given key, and suddenly finds himself in sixth place, could have suffered this penalty.
  • Google Penalty -30 / -90 : page penalized (penalized or pages) is hereby imposed a penalty of TOT positions (30 to 90) so that it no longer appears in the first pages of Google. In practice, if the first page was a well-positioned with a keyword, it will be relegated to positions of XX in Google SERPs.
  • Google Penalty -950 : -950 penalty in the event, the page hit by the penalty will only appear after the 95th page of Google SERPs. This is a penalty due to over-optimization  or keyword stuffing (Over Optimization Penalty)
  • Other Penalties : There are also numerous other types of penalties from Google, for example due to over-optimized backlink in a reduced period of time, the excess of tags, the presence of duplicate content, and more.

Keep in mind that some penalties are often not real penalties, but only of ” fluctuations “.

Ban the Website

What does the site banned from Google?

A site is banned by Google when it is completely excluded from the Google index . In practice even a page of the website is in the archives of Google. The banned site will no longer appear in the results of the engines for any type of query.

How can you tell if a site is penalized or banned?

See if a site is banned is very simple. Just search Google for site: nomedelmiosito.com. If the engine does not return any results, then there is no page in the indices of the engine. Tell if a site is penalized, however, is not always easy and requires a thorough analysis.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by SEOPlanter on Flickr

Article by Mohit Maheshwari

Mohit Maheshwari (Google+) is the CEO and strategist of a professional web development company india and a digital marketing agency, New Media Guru. He is also an active blogger and loves to share his experience and knowledge of the web development company india web designing and Internet marketing.

By designer Simon Laliberte

10 Super Creative Product Packaging Ideas

Packaging no longer just fulfils the functions of protecting, containing and preserving items, it serves a much wider purpose.  Designers and marketing specialists all know how important packaging is in terms of how it influences an individual’s perception and whether it will sell or not.  Attention grabbing is certainly something that packaging designers aim for, and here are 10 fantastic packaging ideas that are sure to get noticed.

Gnome bread

The clever container for this loaf of bread shaped like a gnome’s hat has a design of a character on the front.  When the bread is placed in the container, it reinforces the idea that the bread is shaped like a hat.  Eating bread is not likely to be the same again!

10 Super Creative Product Packaging Ideas   Designed by Lo Siento Studio

Designed by Lo Siento Studio

The pizza and toothpaste collaboration

At first glance, this looks like an ordinary pizza box.  But open it up, and as well as your savoury feast, the box contains a glaring picture of the inside of a mouth.  The idea was to promote Colgate’s new range of toothpaste, Max Night, to encourage people to use this toothpaste so that their dinner breath doesn’t become their morning breath.

10 Super Creative Product Packaging Ideas   By advertising agency YR Paris France

By advertising agency Y&R, Paris, France

Wine in a log

As far as packaging is concerned, this one is pretty unusual to say the least.  It’s a bottle of wine and a box of matches encased in a wooden log.  The idea is the user should enjoy the wine by burning the log on a warm cosy fire.

10 Super Creative Product Packaging Ideas   By advertising agency Cole Weber Seattle USA

By advertising agency Cole & Weber, Seattle, USA

Cheesy pencils

Forget your normal run-of-the-mill block of cheese next time you head down the supermarket.  This truly unique packaging idea for selling Parmesan cheese is worth buying just for the experience it encompasses.  Use the sharpener to sharpen the Parmesan pencils and you’ve instantly got shavings of cheese to drop on your plate of pasta.

10 Super Creative Product Packaging Ideas   By advertising agency Kolle Rebbe Hamburg Germany

By advertising agency Kolle Rebbe, Hamburg, Germany

Fruit-shaped jam jars

If you want your packaging to deliver exactly what it says on the outside, then the fruit-shaped jam jars couldn’t be more truthful.  The shape of the jar resembles the flavour of jam inside.  Quirky and eye-catching, these jars are bound to stand out amongst a row of identical-looking alternatives on supermarket shelves.

10 Super Creative Product Packaging Ideas   By advertising agency Tapsa

By advertising agency Tapsa

Humorous DIY

If the prospect of painting your walls fills you with dread, then what you need is a paintbrush with a moustache-inspired packaging to inject a bit of fun into the project.  The paintbrush is enclosed in card packaging with facial designs, so that the bristles of the brush resemble a moustache.

10 Super Creative Product Packaging Ideas   By designer Simon Laliberte

By designer Simon Laliberte

The empty tummy bag

These plain paper bags used in grocery stores look simple enough, but on closer inspection they reveal the shape of a human stomach.  When the bags are empty, so is the stomach, but fill the bag with food and it looks as though the stomach is filled with food, as well.  The City Harvest stomach bag is designed to help cure hunger in New York.

10 Super Creative Product Packaging Ideas   By Andy Winner and One Show Merit

By Andy Winner and One Show Merit

Lunch bags that nobody would want to steal

These gimmicky lunch bags contain green spots on the side, so when your sandwiches are inside, they don’t look particularly appealing.  The idea of the packaging being that the green splotches act as a deterrent for any would-be sandwich thief!

10 Super Creative Product Packaging Ideas   anti theft lunch bags

http://www.thinkofthe.com/product.php?name=anti-theft-lunch-bags

Coconut water

If you’re going to sell coconut water, then surely the most appropriate form of packaging would have to be inside a coconut shell?  Head to the Dominican Republic and that’s what you’ll be able to find.

10 Super Creative Product Packaging Ideas   more awesome product packaging

http://designfeedr.com/more-awesome-product-packaging

The real milk bottle

Milk bottle packaging is fairly bog-standard and not terribly inspiring.  But, for something a little different, designers Julien De Repentigny and Gabriel Lefebvre came up with this milk container that spells out exactly what’s inside the carton!

10 Super Creative Product Packaging Ideas   visualadvice

http://visualadvice.com/?p=50

Images are copyrighted by the respective designers and agencies and are displayed here for the sole purpose of promoting design and their work.

Article by UK Packaging

This guest article has been written by UK Packaging, providers of quality packing materials including bubble wrap, jiffy bags and cardboard boxes.

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.

Creative Commons - Attribution photo by Ramsés Reyes

5 drawing & design software programs with the highest employment prospects 2013

Modern design applications are built to empower the new generation of graphic designers in print, web and mobile media platforms, for 3D animation and photo-realistic film output.  The last few years have seen a transformation in the capability of these applications and they have included a vast array of new features and effects.

If you want to develop the skill needed to capitalise on these opportunities there are some applications that should be on any designer’s short list.

AutoCAD and AutoDesk Inventor

Although, in recent years, manufacturing output has decreased significantly in the west, the demand for new, diverse high quality products is increasing.  All these new products have to be designed and most of them are designed in applications like AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor.

Autodesk Inventor is a 3D CAD and Simulation application for Mechanical Design.  It allows designers and engineers to produce accurate 3D models to aid design, visualisation, and simulation of products before they are built, reducing risk and cost.

The feature set of traditional CAD has extended to modelling and rendering in full motion 3D, making the applications like AutoCAD useful right through to making marketing materials and full motion rendering for TV advertising. You would be surprised how many products you see advertised on TV that are virtual, nowadays it’s cheaper to set up a simulation than a photo shoot or a day of filming.

At the creative end of the media business AutoCAD and its associated applications like Maya are used in film, TV and gaming to create virtual worlds, characters and motion effects.  Objects, characters and landscapes can be designed with the same attention to detail as is required for real world products.  So, traditional CAD skills are very much alive and in the virtual worlds, are open to far more creative license that ever.

AutoCAD has truly moved with the times and now has a range of application extensions to allow light source manipulation, rendering, characterisation, avatar development and a host of other media centric utilities.

Adobe InDesign and Creative Suite

Slightly less exotic than the world of movies and gaming but just as lucrative for creative technology professionals, are web and print media skills.  Jobs in this field are expected to rise by at least 15% (United States BLS) in the US and European market places through 2013.

As traditional and web channels increase, the number of brands and advertisements increase in proportion.  Even in the recession, where there is more competition for less disposable income, high quality and striking visuals are what companies need if they want to be remembered.

The influence of design impact and branding in advertising communication to create memorable iconic visuals is critical to the success of some businesses.

Indesign is part of the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5, generally accepted as the design standard and includes Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat X Pro, Bridge and Device Central. If you are a graphic designer, or work for a print media outlet, such as a newspaper or magazine, you are probably the most familiar (and infatuated) with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. In fact ‘Photoshopping’ is the term generally used to describe the ‘perfecting’ of imperfect posed pictures of the famous to remove blemishes and take a few years off their appearance.  And although we know that nowadays we can’t trust a picture, you can be assured that both Photoshop & Indesign training can put years on your career.

Visua.ly

The social media, the cloud and big data are terms you will hear throughout 2013 and, the impact of these technologies will be felt throughout the length and breadth of the technology landscape.

With more data being collected from diverse sources, the skills needed to visually depict these relationships is fast becoming a recognised discipline.  Infographics, as it is now termed, describes the process of representing complex data to show the patterns and trends visually.

Charts and graphs can begin to look dull and corporate on a highly visual or stylised web site or publications so, Visua.ly makes data as visually appealing as it is informative creating memorable facts, figures and statistics

Infographics provide a method of visually illustrating data from diverse sources creating a graphic representation with sufficient appeal in order that the viewer will spend the time needed to understand it.

So from reacquainting yourself with the old guard of graphics applications to making friends the new kids on the visual block, there is enough to make 2013 a good year for drawing and design professionals.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution photo by Ramsés Reyes - source

Article by Acuity Training

This article was brought to you by Acuity Training. Acuity has a large number of design and development focused courses, including;  SPSS, Indesign training, Autocad and much more.

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 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.

Case studies of effective advertising   Case studies of effective advertising 2 1024x766

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.

Bock_beer_advertising,_1882

Facts of business promotion through banner advertising

Business promotion has become ubiquitous today. All around you can find advertisements of millions of businesses. If you are also looking forward to promote your business, you first need to understand the facts of business promotion.

Here is a lowdown on that:

Promotion is important for every business to reach to its customers. You can use various types of media to carry out your business promotion. There are different promotional techniques and strategies that a business can adopt. If you wonder what promotion does to your business? Well, the answer is straight – it conveys your business marketing message to your present and potential customers. Few of the popular promotional mediums are:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Outdoor advertising
  • Internet

Business promotion is a broad concept. You can divide it into – advertising, public relations, sales promotion and selling.

  • Advertising – electronic, print and online media.
  • Public relations – publishing articles, posting blog posts, press releases
  • Sales promotion – trade shows, customer contests and programmes
  • Selling – selling through phone, face to face or internet

Business promotion mainly has 2 strategies:

Pull strategy – here the potential customer is encouraged to buy the product. Examples -  coupons and customer based programs.

Push strategy – here the products are taken to the customer for selling. Examples – trade shows, and exhibitions, products on display in several stores/websites.

Well-designed promotion lets you:

  • Remind your customers about your present line of products
  • Inform your customers about the new launches
  • Venture into new segments of market

You can get useful information about your present and potential customers. You can use this information to design your future advertising campaigns. This automatically increases the effectiveness of advertising campaign.

You can also evaluate the result of the advertising campaigns. Through customer reviews or number of customer interaction in your Facebook profile, you can decide upon the success or failure of your advertising campaign.

To make optimum use of the promotional strategies, you need to consider certain factors. You need to choose an appropriate media for your business promotions. Again the type of media will depend upon several factors like – type of target audience and budget.

Contrary to the earlier times, today advertising is no longer limited to radio, print and electronic. It is advisable that you understand your budget and target audience and choose and advertising medium.

Banner promotion

Among the several tools for advertising, banners are an important part. It helps you draw the attention of the customers towards your company name. If you want to bank upon banner promotion, all you need to do is to hire a banner printing company. The printing company will design banners in compliance with your advertising goals. Get to know more in details please click here.

However, you need to be careful with the selection of a printing company. Today, you can find several printing companies that specialize in commercial printing services.  Carry a thorough checkup of the company and its quality of services. Get quotes from multiple printing companies. Choose the company that offers you the best within your budget.

Featured Image: CC Attribution – Bock Beer advertising from 1882 – via Wikimedia Commons

Article by Stuart Hopes