Sunday, November 17, 2019

5 Fantastic Color Combinations for Your Next Design

Feeling blue?


Maybe it's the color of the room you're sitting in.


Color psychology is something that has fascinated people for decades. Artists and interior designers have long believed that colors can dramatically affect moods and emotions, and color marketing has become a hot topic in marketing, art, design, and print. As Pablo Picasso once remarked, "Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions."


Color is a powerful communication tool, so understanding it can help you signal action, sway the mood, and even influence psychological reactions. Want to give it a try? Here is a quick snapshot of color harmonies, including color combinations to try in your next poster, banner, or custom label.


The Best Ways to Create Balance


The color wheel consists of three primary colors (red, yellow, blue), three secondary colors (colors created when primary colors are mixed: green, orange, purple), and six tertiary colors (colors made from primary and secondary colors, such as blue-green or red-violet).


When you draw a line directly through the center of the color wheel, you will separate the warm colors from the cool colors.


Warm colors (reds, yellows, and oranges) are vivid and bold in nature and tend to advance forward when viewed. They communicate energy, brightness, and action. Cool colors (blues, greens, and purples) appear soothing by nature and typically make a space seem larger. Cool colors are often associated with nature, calmness, peace, or serenity.


When choosing your next color combination, remember that complementary colors (those opposite on the color wheel) provide sharp contrasts. This can make your imagery really pop, but are best when used sparingly.


To avoid overdoing things, remember complementary colors do not need to exist in equal parts. If you want to use purple and yellow, allow one color to dominate and add only a tiny bit of the other.


For a more subtle approach, use triadic colors in your design (those that are evenly spaced around the color wheel). Or use analogous colors (those next to each other on the color wheel). Here one color will dominate, and the other will provide a sophisticated accent.


Set the Mood with Five Gorgeous Blends


Ready to get started? Check out these gorgeous blends:


For a friendly, playful feel:


Try magenta, goldenrod, turquoise, and brick. This four-color combination brings zest, personality, and a friendly, exciting tone.


For a sophisticated yet energetic feel:


Try gold, charcoal, and grey. This perfect combination of sunshine and somberness offers a cheerful tone with a grounded, mature accent.


For an aged, natural tone:


Try tan, deep turquoise, and black. Against the more neutral base, turquoise leaps to the forefront to evoke creativity, life, and freedom. For a more serious feel, use turquoise sparingly and add touches of brown or deep orange.


For a contemporary, chic tone:


Try mauve, sapphire, and powder blue. The baby blue brings a gentleness, while the rich pink and deep blue highlights scream femininity.


For an invigorating, rustic feel:


Try pine green, burnt orange, and light peach. When you want to set your design apart, orange is guaranteed to stop traffic. Burnt orange offers a more distinguished feel than a pumpkin or neon orange hue, but it still gets the job done. The rich green offers a warm, natural accent, and light peach ties everything together perfectly.


Colors That Connect


Want to set the mood or connect with your core customers?


Whether you lean toward simple and sophisticated or edgy and eccentric, colors build emotional bridges like nothing else can. Bring that wow factor to your professional printings through beautiful, unforgettable color combinations.

Monday, October 14, 2019

5 Simple and Impressive Print Techniques to Strengthen Your Marketing Materials

Individual design elements are the building blocks of today's best marketing pieces, and with today's technology, almost anything is possible when it comes to print.


Print products can vary in texture, color, shape, and finish, bringing a staying power that allows your company to shine strong among competitors.


Step Up Your Game with Memorable, Inspiring Print Promos


Here are five simple and impressive print techniques that can drastically improve the appearance of your materials.


1. Cut it Out


Whether it's brochures, business cards, or door hangers, printed pieces aren't limited to square or rectangular shapes.


Consider reshaping your invitation to match your logo, or creating a custom label in the shape of your most popular product. For brochures or folders, you can add custom-shaped pockets, a peek-through window, or die cuts that accentuate the featured product.


2. Add Texture


While embossing was originally known for its use in personalized stationery, today raised elements can be used in envelope flaps, business cards, hang tags, and more.


Embossing elevates your design from the background, providing a raised, textured effect. It can be used to create geometric patterns, add borders, or add a custom seal to product packaging.


3. Be Blunt


Adding contrast is one of the most effective ways to add spark to your print piece.


Contrast helps organize your design and establish a hierarchy, guiding viewers to the most important parts of your design.


Add contrast by mixing dark and light colors (like white fonts on deep, rich backgrounds), by using opposite hues in close proximity, or by mixing organic, fluid shapes with angled, geometric elements.


Contrast texture in your font pairings, graphic sizing, or in disrupted patterns like these.


4. Go Retro


Though the eye loves symmetry, the heart connects with the imperfect.


From scary scars to burned edging, imperfections in design can humanize your creations and strengthen the bond between a brand and its user.


Add retro elements by making things look dirty or ragged. Degrade pristine images with vintage photo filters, add blur or gradients to your designs, or add artifact images that scream authenticity.


5. Finish Well


Like dolloping whipped cream on your pie, adding a stock coating in your designs can bring a delicious finishing touch.


In addition to providing extra protection to your marketing materials, coatings can draw attention to key elements by adding texture and shine. Add sophistication with a glossy UV coating, shimmer with pearlescent glitter coatings, accents with spot varnishes, or coarse texture with grit coatings.


Coatings add class and show that you approach business with pride, which can make customers more comfortable working with you.


Create a Timeless Treasure


While new trends take shape every day, you can make a modern design statement with existing techniques that give your print materials a sleek twist. Great designs mix the old and the new to create timeless print pieces your clients will love.

Friday, September 27, 2019

4 Ways to Maximize Impact with Pictures

They say a picture paints a thousand words, but pictures go beyond just that. Sometimes they force an emotional response.


Consider the Snake Campaign from Playland, an amusement park in Vancouver.


This print ad features a horrified man on a background split between two scenes: on the left, a jungle landscape, on the right, an outdoor amusement park.


In front of the amusement park scene, the man clutches the handle of his roller coaster safety bar as he seems to be hurtling from a high drop on the ride. In front of the jungle scene, the man's hand is nearly clutching an enormous snake that has slithered itself over his neck and waist. The snake and safety bar are precisely symmetrical, harnessing the man in for a ride he wishes he hadn't taken, while playing on people's nightmarish aversion to snakes.


The message? Playland is a place to scream yourself silly: "Fear Made Fun."


For the Love of Imagery


People like pictures. A lot.


Why? For one thing, pictures help our brains process and retain information.


According to John Medina, author of Brain Rules, people can often remember more than 2,500 pictures with at least 90 percent accuracy several days after seeing them. When comparing pictures to oral presentations, researchers found that people listening to an oral presentation could only recall around 10 percent of the details. But when an image was added, recall rose to 65 percent!


The brain also processes images faster than any other form of communication. A team of neuroscientists from MIT found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds.  So whether you're writing a report, brainstorming ads, or creating handouts for a seminar, be sure to prioritize pictures!


Bring Your Content to Life with Pictures


Here are several ways to incorporate images in your next project:


Show, Don't Tell


Since pictures are so efficient, an image almost always exceeds an explanation.


A diagram of a machine, a blueprint of a building, or a map of your facility will do much better conveying a concept than paragraphs of text.


Overlay Text


An image can be a great way to introduce a chapter or a section of your presentation.


To add clarity, try placing text on top of an image (like a magazine cover, which features a signature photo with overlaid text) to create a nice header. Many online editor tools exist to help you with this, or even basic tutorials from Photoshop.


Color Code


Since colors are a form of imaging, using color coding in brochures, catalogs, or store displays can help viewers make sense of your information.


Color-code sections of a binder with predominantly red images in one section and green in another section to delineate subjects. Color code inventory or training manuals to keep people and products organized, or use colors to organize workflow boards to convey urgent tasks versus those that are on-going.


Turn Bullet Points Into Icons


Looking to spice up a flyer or brochure?


Lots of text is distracting to an audience. Instead, try replacing bullet points with a photo or icon that represents the message you want to share. A yellow triangle with an exclamation point works for highlighting caution areas. A speedometer can be used for acceleration. A bulls-eye can be used for sales targets. Be creative and have fun with icons!


Like any campaign, consistency in tone and photo content will naturally boost the message you bring. Adding thoughtful, seamless photography can help you maximize the impact, clarity, and beauty of each piece you produce.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Transform Customer Complaints into Great Reviews and Referrals

In business, problems always arise.


Things malfunction, customers get frustrated, or miscommunication causes delays. However annoying, big problems are still a gateway for better interaction. Consider this example from Toyota:


The year was 2013, and Webin Manzana noticed the dashboard of his 2008 Camry was melting due to the sweltering weather in the Philippines. Because the warranty on his vehicle had long since lapsed, Toyota Motors Philippines refused to get involved.


Manzana, frustrated with the inherent defect in the dashboard material, decided to fax a letter directly to the CEO of Toyota, Akio Toyoda. To his shock and delight, the next day he received a call from Toyota Motors Philippines, arranging to pick up the Camry and replace the dashboard immediately.


3 Ways to Resolve Sticky Situations


When handled poorly, customer complaints can deal a heavy blow to your business.


Here are three ways to resolve sticky situations while improving relationships with your clients.


1. Respond Quickly and Calmly


Whether you respond through e-mail or in a more personal way, time is essential in handling complaints.


Even if you can't immediately fix a problem, remember that the thing your customer wants most is an acknowledgment of the issue and an affirmation of the frustration they feel. Listening patiently can diffuse many situations, especially if you actively sympathize and ask clarifying questions.


Put out fires quickly, and remain calm by reminding yourself the customer is not necessarily upset with you, but with the situation. 


2. Tell the Customer How You Plan to Address the Problem (in detail with a specific time frame)


Once you understand why the customer is upset, you can begin to work on solutions.


If customer oversight was the only issue, a specific reparation (like partial refunds, replacements, or credits on future orders) might quickly mend the hard feelings. If you want to go a step farther, consider offering the customer not only a full refund or replacement but also a bonus item. If you are replacing a T-shirt, could you send them a second T-shirt to give away to a friend?


Every day, brand trust diminishes because of negative customer service experiences. Therefore, the psychology of offering a resolution cannot be understated.


In some situations, it may be best to ask the customer what he feels should be done to best resolve the issue. This allows a person to feel they have won (or that they were correct), and that your organization is willing to go the extra mile to make things right.


3. Keep Working to Ensure the Customer is Satisfied


After a problem is resolved, what steps will you take to follow up on your client again?


Can you call a week later, or send a follow-up e-mail after three days? Circling back gives you the chance to find out if you handled the issue thoroughly, whether a solution was effective, or if the customer had other questions.


Most people will be impressed that you take this extra step to solicit their opinion or ensure their satisfaction.


A Silver Lining


Though handling complaints can be tough, over time, it gives you greater insight into your products, your services, or into the minds of your clients.


Effective complaint management not only resolves problems, but it can transform people into advocates for your brand and sources for future referrals.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

5 Tips to Keep Your Design Project On Time and Under Budget

Ready to launch out with a new ad campaign but nervous about keeping the project below budget?


Not all projects are smooth sailing. Sometimes things go wrong, and your expenses can spiral out of control quickly.


Here are five tips to keep your next project on track and on budget:


1. Ask Questions Upfront


When partnering with a design professional, be sure to clarify the contract up front.


Will you be paying a project fee or an hourly rate? What services are included in this fee? Clarify how long the project will take, how often you'll get to review the work, and how many revisions are allowed in this agreement.


2. Plot Your Course Early


Involve your design professional in your brainstorming as early as possible.


Designing one piece can have a quick turnaround, but re-branding or crafting large-scale exhibit pieces can take months, especially if there is confusion about the parameters or design presets for a particular project.


One costly mistake is to change directions midstream, so start conversations early to help your design professional take a big-picture run at your project to manage it in the most efficient, cost-effective way.


3. Assemble All the Elements


Attend to the precise details of copy, timeline, and photography at the get-go, and be sure these elements have been given a green light by those in authority before the project commences.


Your project will involve many pieces, and when they are aligned from the start it will allow your design dollars to be maximized with fewer delays. While you may not have precise details ironed out, clarifying project parameters is key in finishing on time and on budget!


4. Schedule Regular Updates


It's imperative that both the client and the design professionals are tracking with the same timeline as a project progresses.


Who will handle this communication and how often will it take place? Will you use e-mail, phone calls, or face-to-face meetings? Ongoing communication is essential for success.


5. Allow For Margin


To keep a project on budget, it's essential to create margin so deadlines don't get tight.


Every project has hiccups, so it's best to allow a little padding as you build a realistic timeline. For example, if the printer needs eight days to deliver a piece, schedule at least 11 days so you're guaranteed a smooth outcome.


How Much Should I Budget?


Ready to get started on your next design? Here are five basic steps for planning your budget:



  1. Estimate your monthly income

  2. List your fixed design expenses

  3. List your variable design expenses

  4. Anticipate your one-time design expenses 

  5. Create the budget


Online budget planners can also be helpful for estimating your costs.


Better Together


Want to save on time, labor, or unnecessary stress?


Whether its exceptional-value graphic design or full-service printing, our capable team is dedicated to providing you with prompt, knowledgeable, one-on-one service, and carefully printed materials you can be proud of. We're here to make things flow as smoothly as possible!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

How to Win Over Millennials with Effective Print Marketing

Millennials and their Gen Z siblings are the first truly digital generations, some learning to swipe a screen before they could wipe their own faces!


Millennials are a particularly powerful bunch, currently holding more spending power than Baby Boomers. By 2020, this group will have a collective spending power of $1.4 trillion. What does this look like in a daily snapshot?



  • More than nine in ten millennials own smartphones, and 90% of millennials have at least one social media profile. Of that majority, 52% are active on 5 or more social media sites

  • Millennials make up 58% of mobile shoppers and are 2.5 times more likely than the average shopper to be influenced by a mobile app.

  • 73% of online millennials believe that internet has been mostly a good thing for society, and they certainly believe their gadgets bring personal benefits: 53% of Millennials said they would rather give up their sense of smell than their technology! 

  • While young people love being online, they don't go there to read ads. In fact, YouTube recently hit upon the idea of six-second ads as a way to try and keep fidgety viewers watching.

While online presence can build your brand and increase your web traffic, businesses are finding their digital marketing campaigns are easily lost in the shuffle of online noise. Print is gaining influence each year, with direct mail alone showing strong results among millennials:


  • 92% are influenced to make a purchase by direct mail.

  • 90% said they would prefer direct mail over email.

  • 90% think direct mail advertising is reliable.

  • 73% use direct mail coupons when making purchases. 

  • 63% responded to a direct mail piece to make a purchase. 

Corner Younger Markets


When you want to reach new generations through print marketing, here are three ways to make your message more effective.


1. Keep it short and sweet.


Young people want answers fast, so keep ads quick and to the point.


Avoid long advertisements, and think about ways to increase visibility. Here's one inspiring example:


Reddit currently has over 1 billion unique visitors per month, but at its conception, the company only had a small advertising budget of $500. Faced with limited options, its founders turned to stickers. Everywhere they traveled, they put stickers on posts and signs. They even gave them out to people with the request to "please sticker responsibly." The sticker campaign paid off and later led to other grassroots campaigns that helped make Reddit enormously successful.


2. Use social proof.


Need an accurate answer?


Phone a friend or poll the audience! Millennials and teens trust friends, family, and testimonies more than the company they're buying from, so incorporate reviews and user content in your ads to demonstrate why other others love your product. Use quotes, pictures, or user benefits others have realized, and you will easily gain influence.


3. Make it tech-friendly.


Use your company website in all print advertising, and consider adding QR codes and scannable coupons to increase digital and offline connections.


Use pictures of people using your products with links to unique online landing pages so you can better track your results. Make it easy for people to access your company online, and your sales will see an immediate boost.


Print to Win


In an ever-changing world, effective companies must learn to translate their products and values to a new demographic.


Be intentional through print, and you will cut through the clutter today.


 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Get Ahead at Work by Busting These Bad Habits

Work and sleep are two of the most time-consuming things we do.


The average American will spend nearly 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, so the way you approach your job can have a huge impact on your quality of being. As Annie Dillard famously said, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."


Do you want your experience at work to be as happy and anxiety free as possible? If so, perhaps it's time to put the scalpel to some of your less-than-desirable work habits.


Here are just a few ways bad choices might make your life more difficult at work.


Habits that Hurt You Personally


Skipping Breaks


Sometimes we think we're too busy to take breaks or grab some fresh air.


But this simply isn't true. Research shows productivity is highest when people work in "sprints" with frequent breaks (around 90 minutes with 15-minute rests).


Winging it on Mondays


Do you struggle to get down to business at the start of each week?


Devote part of Fridays to making a "start here" list for the following week so you can hit the ground running on Mondays.


Negative Attitudes


A recent CareerBuilder survey showed that 62% of employers say they are less likely to promote employees with a pessimistic attitude.


Avoid complaining (which comes across as unprofessional) or responding to suggestions with negative comments like "that won't work," or "I wouldn't know where to start."


Even when things go wrong, focus your energy on what you've learned rather than despising your situation.


Habits that Annoy Others


Eating Smelly or Loud Foods


While a small snack may be fine, avoid eating foods that are messy, noisy, or smelly to protect your reputation with co-workers. Top stink generators include reheated fish, raw onions, tuna, smelly cheese, and hard-boiled eggs.


Grooming at Your Desk


When you are distracted, do you tend to chew your nails, play with your hair, pick at your face, or pull food out of your teeth? What if the co-worker next to you did this? Yuck. Enough said!


Interrupting or Asking Too Many Questions


While a willingness to contribute can be great, often you may be repeatedly cutting off others without realizing it.


Interrupting is rude and shows a lack of self-control. Similarly, asking an abundance of abrupt questions can be draining or annoying to others. When you need further information, gather a list of questions and pose them in an organized, positive way so you are respectful of others' time.


Habits that Harm Your Reputation


Using Work Time Improperly


Be honest: while at work, how often are you handling texts, personal e-mails, or private phone calls?


If you think others don't notice, you're wrong. While co-workers may tolerate this behavior, it will certainly hinder the respect or opportunities you receive in the future. Keep your personal life out of sight (perhaps tucking the phone away or on silent) and you will be more efficient and more valued.


Distraction or Delays


Why is texting while driving illegal?


Because it's impossible to concentrate fully on two things at once. If you are jotting personal notes, sending e-mails, or galloping through the fields of your imagination during meetings, it sends an inconsiderate message and communicates a lack of integrity. Come to appointments on time and ready to focus.


Being Nosy or Political


While small talk goes a long way to build rapport with others, avoid uninvited personal inquiries or incessant curiosity that won't let things go.


And remember, if certain topics are divisive in politics, they'll be divisive at work. Keep conversations focused on work-related issues to avoid insulting others, hurting your professional image, or causing rifts in your company.