More than just a Pretty Typeface
In the 7th grade, I got in trouble for doodling in class. The teacher actually called my mother, an artist in her own right and alleged doodler, to tell her that her unruly daughter had been doodling, yes doodling, during a guest speaker’s presentation. The nerve! What must I have been thinking, causing such a disturbance?
The truth is that I was paying attention in class. I just pay attention in a different way than some.
I grew up surrounded by creativity: From the home-made and often hand-sewn Halloween costumes (including one pumpkin costume that caused great porch-climbing difficulty), to the twirled paper designs we’d spend hours creating at our summer cottage (we had no television), to the china painting that I never was able to perfect like Mom’s (the smell of turpentine always reminds me of her), to the hand-carved wood toys Dad made for me, and even through the craze of Friendly Plastic melting (you don’t even want to know).
Even today, my family, adults and children alike, can be found on weekends coloring and drawing side-by-side at Mom’s kitchen table. So, when that teacher of mine called my mother to complain about how I had disrupted her class with my silent and marginal (pun intended) creativity, I can only imagine that my mother’s response was to ask her if the drawings were any good! Mom was probably just happy that I didn’t tie another kid’s shoes together on a field trip at the board of education (like my sister had once done!).
While I don’t consider myself to be an actual artist, I doodle to this day. I’ve doodled on car trips, in meetings, and on conference calls. While on the phone with that last client, I was doodling on the back of a discarded envelope. (Gasp!) Based on my 7th grade teacher’s response, this behavior might indicate that I’m not focused on the activity around me, but those doodles that I try to confine to the width of a margin (sometimes they breach that double red line) actually help me focus and remember lectures, conversations, meetings, and sometimes even visual concepts (right?!).
I don’t know if this means that I’m more of a visual thinker and learner, but I do know that I remember more the things I see on a page or the things that I’ve written or typed myself; I know that I remember the information surrounding those doodles more because of them. Perhaps it’s the concrete identity of the images that makes the words and concepts tangible. Perhaps it’s similar to scent or color recognition. Perhaps it’s magic. Whatever the case, I doodle and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon!
I’m glad my mom understood the workings of a creative mind. I’m glad that, instead of grounding me for doodling in class, she fostered my creativity and continues to do so to this day, as I think creativity is what keeps us going. I believe that creativity is the basis for problem solving and innovation, and I thank my mom for not allowing outside forces to try to take that from me (not that they’d succeed, but Mom had my back!). And if I get a call from some outraged 7th grade teacher a few years down the road, I won’t be surprised.
*In the strangest of coincidences, my niece was just admonished for doodling by one of her college professors. She shared a link to this article, which I find very interesting: http://lifehacker.com/5162029/doodling-increases-focus-and-recall Of course, she also sent the link to her professor in a response, which I hope was as nice as she told us it was!
Things have been so busy around here that months have gone by with no blog posts. It’s terrible, I know, but I swear that January was just a second ago!
We have some new projects to post, some current projects to keep under wraps, and some future projects we can’t wait to get started on.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of our most current projects. Hopefully they’ll be up in the portfolio soon:
ADS Integration Website:
Marietta Rose Website:
Ascent Physical Therapy Logo:
Well, 2011 is over. The ball dropped, the champagne popped, and some of us stayed up way past our bedtimes!
Some people like to start each new year with a resolution to change past behaviors or to adopt a whole new mentality. I’m guessing that the gym might seem a little fuller and the fast food line a little emptier — at least for a while.
My plan for the new year is to start it by giving a little shout out to my clients (see client list here), both new and old. I’ve had a great time working with each and every one of them in 2011 and look forward to continuing to provide them with the best marketing and graphic support in 2012.
Maybe I’ll also get around to dieting, exercising, reducing my carbon footprint, and replacing the paper towel roll when it’s empty.
Happy New Year!
With the holiday season upon us, I thought I’d address the subject of party invitations.
To some, a party invitation is just there to tell invitees the “who, what, where, when, and why” of the event, so very little time or effort is put into the design, wording, or delivery of the invitation. To others, time, effort, and expense are of little consequence compared to sending the perfect invitation to coordinate with each special event.
I fall somewhere in the middle. Okay, I lean slightly towards the latter, but I’ve learned some valuable tips to keep my budget in line with my expectations.
“Why should I spend money on the design, printing, and mailing of an invitation when I can just send an email?”
The answer to that depends on your personal preference and style. Some prefer to send a text message with a link to a map, but keep in mind that the invitation is the attendee’s first glimpse into your event. I say make it match. You’ve spent so much time determining the location, the decor, the food, and the dessert (mmm, dessert!), why drop the ball when it comes to the invitation? Why wouldn’t you want everything associated with your grand event to coordinate perfectly?
Whether it’s a pot luck at your local community center or a sit down soiree in a gilded ballroom, your invitation is the first contact your partygoers have with your event. It should inform them not only of the “who, what, where, when, and why,” but of the formality – or informality – of the event and what they might expect upon arriving. If your party is decked out with glitter, add a little shine to the invitations as well!
Of course, if you need help with the design, print, and assembly of your party invitations, give me a call.
I believe in custom design; in creating marketing materials that represent a company’s specific brand philosophy. With this in mind, I NEVER, I mean NEVER use templates! Correction: I rarely use templates (I say, shuffling my feet and averting my eyes).
Recently, an interesting project came my way. My client had previously purchased a subscription to an online web service that provided templates for creating one’s very own website. The problem? With little web design experience and the inflexibility of many of the templates, my client had a difficult time working with the templates or modifying them for his specific needs.
When he came to me, I was skeptical of these templates. I mean, who did they think they were trapping me in their limited parameters and stifling my ability to perfectly capture the client’s message through design?! I thought we truly might be better off scrapping this web service subscription and starting from scratch, but I logged in to his account to see what I might be able to salvage.
I made a couple of attempts at modifying templates to make them fit my design vision with no luck. I mean, I could change the style sheets, but not the HTML: meaning I was locked in to the template with no escape! Somewhere between the third attempt at modifying the templates to suit my needs and complete and utter frustration, I figured out just how much flexibility I had and just how far I could push the boundaries of those templates. This allowed me to rethink my design process just enough to find a happy medium — a balance between template and design where custom results could exist.
In the end, the website design came out just as the client had envisioned and I learned how to bend the rules of templates as well as my own rules about using them. I guess if they can be flexible, so can I. Creativity is great, but I remind myself over and over again that creative thinking is what propels us forward, no matter what the objective or obstacle.
*Take a look at the results here: www.gourmethotfood.com
If you want to look professional, you need to hire a professional.
A professional graphic designer will provide you with high quality design pieces that can elevate your company’s image and speak to your target customers effectively. Professional graphic designers have real-world experience in successful and valuable communication with your audience and can assist you with the visual brand management that is crucial to your company’s survival.
My nephew knows how to use Photoshop, can he design it?
That depends, is your nephew a professional graphic designer? Does he have the experience to produce high quality graphic materials that will engage your audience and represent your company’s image in the best and most effective way? Does he have the in-depth knowledge of marketing and advertising necessary to determine the best direction for the design of your materials? Does he know how to properly set up files for print and web? Does he know the intricacies of creating a brand image and have the expertise to carry that brand image throughout every subsequent communication piece? If you’ve answered “no” to these important questions, it would be best to find a professional graphic designer with real world experience to manage your marketing communication program.
Here’s an article with some good points on why you need to hire a professional graphic designer: Why Hire a Professional Designer
Photoshop is a powerful tool, but remember that, with great power comes great responsibility (yes, I realize you aren’t Spiderman, but still!). For many of us, Photoshop is a powerful resource; a tool we call upon for projects ranging from fixing red-eye to compositing sophisticated images into unique and beautiful designs. One of my greatest pet peeves, and I know I’m not alone here, is seeing poor Photoshopping passed off as professional work. If you do not yet possess the skills to retouch a photograph seamlessly, with no awkward repetitive clone stamping, no obvious cutout and background replacement, and no smudgy healing tool remnants, please outsource this portion of your project to someone who possesses the knowledge, skill, and restraint to know just how much Photoshopping is enough. Don’t worry, with some time, classes, practice, and patience, your skills will improve.
Warning, may cause seizures, lack of focus, or visitor exodus!
This is just something I had to rant about…
Not only is the overstimulation of animated effects passé, it’s distracting and can do more harm than good in your designs.
Just because you have the ability to create a million different flashing, spinning, swooping, trailing, and rotating effects does not mean you should! Too many flashy, animated effects can create confusion or irritation for your audience. Be cautious not to overdo it and always practice restraint. Your audience will thank you, your designs will look more professional, and you will probably see an increase in desired results. OK, rant over!
Sometimes I come across articles that are interesting and informative. This one is from a while ago but has some good information about directing traffic to your Web site. click here to read the website traffic article
Photoshop turned 20 years old! (Funny how it ages and we don’t!) Adobe.com has a great video about the origins of Photoshop. click here to watch the video