Posts tagged ‘graphic design’

How to Drastically Improve Your Designs with the 5 C’s

Design is everywhere. This is the topic on conversation for a new article at design informer. Since design is everywhere it is the job of the design to present that design in the best possible light. By sticking to the 5 “C”‘s of design, Jad take you on a great tutorial to help make designers better designers by sticking to some basics that most not be overlooked or forgotten.

Read the full article over at designinformer and learn how to improve your design skills.

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May 20, 2010 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

Connect With Customers Through Color

Watched HGTV lately? Color trends come and go in the interior design world, so I thought it would be interesting to see if the print world follows suit. Do you know what colors are currently forecasted to be “hot?” How often do you reinvent your print collateral to coincide with such trends? Is your color palette universal enough to stand the test of time?

Believe it or not, color speaks to people with great emotion. What are your paper products saying to your customers?

“Color trends are not conjured up using a crystal ball. They are the result of much observation of our surrounding natural world as well as the influences that will impact our world in the future,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®

According to Pantone, an X-Rite company, and the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for design industries, name a few factors that play into the selection of color trends: socioeconomic issues, technology, lifestyles, entertainment, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, the needs, moods, fantasies and aspirations of CONSUMERS!

Eight featured palettes in PANTONE VIEW home + interiors 2010 offers the newest colors and combinations to best express directional themes for 2010. CMYK printing equivalents are ALSO supplied to accurately reproduce the forecasted colors in marketing materials, in-store signs and packaging.

With our unpredictable economy, is it worthwhile to look at our print materials with an eye to color? What do our color palettes need to convey in such economic unrest?

I believe consumers are looking more to the “old days” for a sense of elegance and a return to quality. Making the old new again appeals to our sense of practicality and resourcefulness – qualities which are definitely back in style. Products and services that also connect emotionally have a better chance of appealing to our cautious consumerism.

What SINGLE color do you think can take us back and make us feel nostalgic and secure…Pantone has announced that the Color of the Year 2010 is… PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, an inviting, luminous hue.

Combining the serene qualities of blue and the invigorating aspects of green, Turquoise inspires thoughts of soothing, tropical waters and a comforting escape from the everyday troubles of the world, while at the same time restoring our sense of wellbeing.”

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According to Pantone, whether envisioned as a tranquil ocean surrounding a tropical island or a protective stone warding off evil spirits, Turquoise is a color that most people respond to positively. It is universally flattering, has appeal for men and women, and translates easily to fashion and interiors. With both warm and cool undertones, Turquoise pairs nicely with any other color in the spectrum. Turquoise adds a splash of excitement to neutrals and browns, complements reds and pinks, creates a classic maritime look with deep blues, livens up all other greens, and is especially trend-setting with yellow-greens.

Looks like we can’t go wrong with turquoise – add a splash where it works within your current style guidelines. Perhaps your design already has a placeholder for each year’s current color trend. If not, give it some thought!

May 19, 2010 at 7:07 am Leave a comment

How we React to Color – Tips for Commercial Printing

Even in the wilds of nature, color plays an intensive role in behavior, attraction and aversion. Color is informative. It tells a creature whether or not something is probably safe to eat, as well as whether or not another creature is weakened, sickly or healthy. Color has the power to alter moods. Softer oceanic colors can soothe frazzled nerves, high energy neon colors dazzle and delight the night life crowds, and power colors adorn the workspaces of professionals that understand the profound effect their surroundings can have on their productivity and focus. With so much to be communicated via proper coloration, and with certain tasks being better suited to certain colors, any professional working in commercial printing would do well to put extensive thought into the subtle or explosive messages they are sending with the palette they select for each project.

Successful commercial printing first requires a clear and goal-oriented identification of the overall mood or schema of the project at hand. Publishing with the intent to advertize will usually require a far different set of shades than that required by publishing with the intent to inform. Taking a moment beforehand to clearly define the project goals and intentions will pay dividends down the road in terms of successful and relevant visual themes.

Once the goals are defined, it’s time to choose the best colors for the particular job. Advertizing material, which is always designed to be eye-catching and visually distinct from information surrounding it, benefits greatly from oppositional colors that create strong contrast to the human eye, and thereby increased reactive interest. Notice how often advertizing materials feature dichromatic balloons, banners, or bubbles in yellow and red.

Because these two colors are naturally strong signals for the human brain, due to their wide prevalence in the wild as indicators of food edibility or the shock of blood, they cast a powerful spell all their own upon modern readers. At the same time, their placements on the light spectrum cause them to be mutually enhancing. Red and yellow trimmed informational boxes are even more noticeable than either solid red boxes or solid yellow boxes.

The overall effect achieved by these two colors when synthesized by the human brain is one of heightened attention. Countless other such combinations exist, each with their own varying thematic message. Deep greens, when commingled with dark or soft browns suggest earthy peacefulness, growth and the natural world.

Tinkering with these combinations and allowing time for various color themes to show their ultimate thematic effects can greatly enhance any commercial printing project. Likewise, identifying the target audience of any particular publication and making educated guesses as to their thematic expectations or moods will increase the overall effectiveness of assembled content. Brochures designed to woo potential retirees to a beach community, for example, should display the area being promoted in soft, relaxing, pleasant hues. A mixture between the tranquil blue comfort of sea and sky and the entrancing sherbet swirls of a sunset will strongly deliver the message that it’s time to buy tickets.

April 25, 2010 at 8:32 am Leave a comment

Essentials of Call to Action for Commercial Printing Marketing

When it comes to commercial printing, a call to action is an essential marketing concept. Call to action refers to a request made on behalf of the advertiser for the prospect, or potential customer, to do something in regards to a product or service. Basically, an advertiser issues an effective call to action in order to persuade a buyer to move closer toward making an actual purchase. Understanding and effectively employing this concept is absolutely essential to directing a successful marketing or advertising campaign, and a good call to action answers the following question in the mind of the advertisement’s reader: “That’s interesting. Now what do I do?”

Commercial printing applications for the call to action concept are as diverse as the possible mediums for advertising. Web to print applications could include buttons that visitors click in order to begin purchasing a good or service. Web to print applications above all others, in fact, require a sound understanding and implementation of this concept, considering the sheer volume of retail business being done on the internet every second.

In terms of hard copy media, some examples of effective calls to action include instructions for a customer to call an 800 number in order to discuss the product with a company representative. Coupon campaigns in local supermarket pamphlets or direct mailing packets are another effective call to action, as they inspire customers to directly seek out the goods and services that are being discounted. In terms of the internet, every time an advertisement mentions a website to be visited for more information, they are essentially issuing a call to action.

To this end, it is the responsibility of the marketer to drum up fresh and exciting ways to issue effective calls to action to their customer base as well as new prospects. A local business owner could promote a new opening by distributing materials that advertise rock-bottom opening specials so long as patrons come within a certain small window of time.

Successful web-based marketing campaigns have used the full spectrum of today’s available technology to reach customers at home and on the go. Offering free content such as ringtones, pictures or music in exchange for the telephone numbers of customers that SMS or text a certain number via a cell phone is one way that clever marketers are generating current and active customer data.

Specifically to the realm of the web, today the name of the game is free give-away content or service. Many successful sites offer a compelling web or information based service at two simultaneous levels. New users that register using basic personal information are eligible to use the service at a basic level for free, but may be restricted to a certain number of uses per day or bandwidth constrictions, for example. Once they are thusly introduced to the service, customers often opt to pay a flat monthly fee or one time upgrade fee in order to enjoy the full features of the service with all trial restrictions lifted.

April 18, 2010 at 8:53 am Leave a comment

The Basics of InDesign’s Control Palette for Commercial Printing

Commercial printing publishers, graphic designers and casual users alike have reason to celebrate Adobe’s InDesign software for its customizability and robustness of functionality. Knowing how it differs from other commonly used web to print publishing software is essential to getting the full use out of this software. Because the basic features of this software are easy to overlook but always applicable throughout the course of a design project, a quick refresher is in order for anyone hoping to get the most out of their InDesign experience.

The customizable menu bar, which defaults to being docked at the top of your workspace in InDesign, features a special palette known as the control palette. This is the palette which changes in appearance and functionality to reflect any new tool selection made by the user. This control palette also contains the item measurements of any object you create or select within the workspace. For example, if you were to create a rectangular shape in the center of the workspace and then select it, you would notice the X and Y coordinates of this new object being displayed in the control palette.

These coordinates are very helpful when it comes to properly aligning various elements within your project or positioning single elements precisely. Because web to print and commercial printing applications, for example, demand a high level of precision in order to guarantee proper image displays on hard copies, it’s important to make note of these coordinates.

When you select your rectangle, you will notice a display of various little black boxes. When the center box is selected, you are telling InDesign to use the corresponding center of the rectangle as the reference point. Based off this reference point, the software will display the applicable coordinates. If you were to click a different reference point box, such as one in a corner, InDesign will likewise show you the applicable coordinates based off your new selection.

Other key elements of the control palette include the H and W values. These offer the user at-a-glance measurements of the height and width of their selected object. Another handy tool provided for managing the size and shape of your object is represented in the small chain icon nearby. Clicking this chain icon tells the program to constrain the selected object’s height and width in order to preserve a constant scale.

Basically, if you increase the height of a constrained object, its width will increase proportionally, and vice versa. This is a great time saving tool whenever you’re trying to create a banner or graphic for, say, a print on demand product that requires a totally filled space. In the same vein, should you find yourself having trouble manually expanding an object or image to take up the exact amount of space required, you can directly type over the displayed H and W values in order to tailor your object to your exact specifications. In this case, the chain feature serves the same purpose and will behave just as it would in a manual expansion.

April 16, 2010 at 8:42 am Leave a comment

Setting the Mood: Choosing Colors and Shapes for your Commercial Printing Project

While many successful interior decorators, therapists and artists know that different colors can have varied and profound effects on the moods of their observers, fewer people probably think about the different effects that certain shapes and patterns can have on the overall sense of the space they inhabit. Having a keen sense of which patterns or shapes are most appropriate for achieving your desired effect can elevate your space or commercial printing project from the ordinary to the captivating, and leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits your space or reads your publication. The following suggestions for harmoniously blending color and shape to enhance the impact of both are simply some starting points for what is ultimately a fine and subtle art form of design.

Shape and color share the power to define the character of a space, be it an inhabitable one such as a kitchen or a simply the back flap of an informative brochure. Like color, shape can suggest deeply primal themes. Subtle and effective use of this force of suggestion to align the viewer’s feelings with the ultimate goal of a publication is seen at the highest levels of commercial printing. An informative and persuasive pamphlet advertising a recycling company, for example, would do well to feature an arrow moving circularly to indicate the cycle and process at the very nature of their services.

Consider how the commonly understood symbol for recycling, three green arrows chasing one another in circularity, combines a suggestive shape (one of literal and visible cycling) with a message enhancing color, green, which conjures images of Earth, natural harmony, and healthy plants, in order to transmit its overall message. As neither the color green alone, nor a simple unbroken circle alone, could so effectively communicate the combined ideas suggested by the actual recycling symbol, the very power of the successful synergy of color and shape is seen here.

In order to harness this communicative power, it is first necessary to clearly define the goals of your project. Let’s say the order of the day is to design an advertising pamphlet for a new local gym specializing in weight loss and body transformation programs. If the first concepts that come to mind are energizing and inspiring colors, you’re on the right track. Certain shades of orange, yellow, red and green can all evoke sentiments of positive energy, progress, and initiative.

Opt for bold and sharp shades in this instance, remembering that washed out or softened colors could be counterproductive for this particular application. Once your shades are chosen, it’s time to think lines and curves. Alternating sharp straight lines, for informational or text boxes, with curvy but thin shapes in dynamic arrangements to suggest action, motion or dance, is a good start toward giving your readers a quick visual overview of the overall message. Sluggish, dark colors or wide, rounded shapes, on the other hand, would certainly be a poor choice for this particular commercial printing project, but finding the right blends of colors that pop and lines that slide gracefully would be essential to an effective synergy.

April 13, 2010 at 8:14 am Leave a comment

Coloring Your Image: Are You Sending the Right Message?

What is your current color image saying about your business? Did you realize that choosing colors for all your general graphic design products is as important in communicating your image as any written word?

For instance, red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.

Red brings text and images to the foreground so it’s recommended use is as and accent color to stimulate people to make quick decisions; it is a perfect color for ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Click Here’ buttons on Internet banners and websites.

What about blue? Did you know that is suppresses the appetite and therefore should not be used on cooking, or food items such as restaurant menus?

(more…)

March 23, 2010 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

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