Archive for the Design Tips Category

How To Combine Multiple PDF’s Into One PDF

How To Combine Multiple PDF’s Into One (Using Adobe Acrobat or Online Software)

Click here to read the full article in our Knowledge Base

Date: 10th April, 2017 | Under: Design Tips, Tips & Tricks | No Comments

7 Direct Mail Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

1: Skip the purchased/rented lists – It can be tempting to take the quick way out and rent or buy a list to find an audience. Renting a list has worked out for some people before, but in general it can be a bad idea. There’s no way to tell how any of the names were found or if they are in any way “qualified” prospects that have an interest in your product or service in the first place .You should create your own list of leads using inbound marketing tactics and use predictive analytics to find new prospects. This can include a “house list” of old customers or potential clients who have responded to ads or otherwise shown an interest in your product or service. Creating a list this way rather than renting it guarantees that each name is a qualified lead and will lead to much higher response rates and sales.

2: Focus your campaign – Direct mail marketing has operated on the same principle for decades – send out a ton of mailers in the hope that a few will reply. While seemingly simple, a lot of people take this step too literally and aim their campaign at everyone. Casting too big a net will make your efforts seem impersonal and your response rate will be significantly lower. Use a targeted campaign with variable data printing to focus on specific people, groups and areas for the highest return on investment.

3: Test, test, test! – The most important step that people seem to always neglect with direct mail campaigns is testing. Testing and tracking response rates are the only ways to thoroughly check if one approach is better than another and see what works for the future. What works for one company or product won’t always work for another, so always test first to see what works in your market.

4: Focus on your prospect – When creating a mailer, it can be very easy to get caught up in your descriptions and only write about the product or service and all of its marvelous features. The problem with this is that most people simply don’t care what you have to say unless you can connect it to them in some way. Instead of focusing on the product or service, focus on the problems your client may have and position your product as the solution.

5: Be Bold – While decreasing direct mail rates have made the market less competitive, people still receive lots of unsolicited mail that they just throw right in the trash. It’s important to create a mailing campaign that is interesting enough to grab attention without reading. Use graphics, customization or creative cutout designs to captivate your intended audience so they will want to keep reading your pitch. Try working in different colors to help make your mailer stand out against other mail; get creative with your designs and people will remember your mailer and your company when they’re looking for your service in the future.

6: Follow up! – So you have a great mailer that had an excellent response rate. Now what? Follow up on your leads and call prospective customers as soon as possible. Don’t let your leads go cold because they have forgotten all about you; make sure they know that their business and time are very valuable to you and that your company still wants their business. By keeping your business’ name in the back of your customers’ heads and following up, you can begin building a working relationship with them that will lead to ongoing sales later on. You can also follow up with direct mail pieces, and even include incentives to update information to keep your house list current.

7: Get to the point – People generally don’t have time to read unsolicited mailers, and most just don’t care enough to be bothered. While your design might be beautiful and elegant, most people won’t read beyond five or ten seconds if you haven’t grabbed their interest. Make sure anyone reading your mailer knows why they are reading it early on if you want them to finish reading it.

Date: 15th March, 2017 | Under: Design Tips, Fun Stuff, Marketing, Print News, Tips & Tricks | No Comments

We Check & Fix Your Artwork

We Check & Fix is a fee based service (from $25 to $45) to check your artwork and make fixes and send you a PDF Proof.

This popular service allows print buyers to make sure the file is print ready and no issues will occur in the printing process.

Click here for more info

Date: 23rd January, 2017 | Under: Design Tips, Marketing, Tips & Tricks | No Comments

8 FREE Apps for picking a designs color scheme

As a visual creative, color is one of the most important tools at your disposal. But how do you go about creating the perfect color scheme for your design

These apps can all help you pick the perfect palette, to make your design sing. And the best news is, they’re all completely free.

01. Color Hunter

Upload an image and generate a colour scheme with this free web app

Color Hunter is a browser-based tool that lets you find and make color palettes created from images. Just upload your image and get a palette based on the colors it contains.

Alternatively, enter a search term in the box at the top of the page; Color Hunter then searches Flickr.com for matching images and uses them to create a color palette.

02. ColorExplorer

Use ColorExplorer to create palettes and then export them to software like Photoshop

ColorExplorer is a free online toolbox for designing and working with colour palettes. Developed for professional designers, it’s been in development since 2006 and all features are free to use. These include colour matching; browsing popular colour libraries; conversion hints between multiple colour libraries (RAL, TOYO, and more); palette export for use in software like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign; colour palette analysis and import from images and text files; and centrally stored palettes for easy access.

03. Paletton

Paletton uses colour theory to present you with harmonious colour combinations

Formerly known as Color Scheme Designer, Paletton is a designer tool for creating color combinations that work together well. You start with a base colour, and Paletton then generates similar shades that will complement it. In this way, the web app guides you through building up a colour palette for your design based on one of five styles, which it calls Mono, Complement, Triad, Tetrad and Free style.

04. COPASO

COPASO lets you create a colour scheme in three ways

COPASO is an advanced color palette creator from creative community COLOURlovers (they also provide a more basic alternative here). COPASO’s one-stop interface lets you create a color scheme in one of three ways: choosing colors, uploading images, or entering CMYK or HEX values. You can save and publish your color palettes, and there’s even the handy ability to add notes to them.

05. Colorzilla

With ColorZilla you can get a colour reading from any point in your browser

Colorzilla is an extension for Chrome and Firefox browsers to assist designers with color related tasks, both basic and advanced. With ColorZilla you can get a color reading from any point in your browser, adjust this color, and paste it into another program. You can also analyse the page, inspect a palette of its colors, and create advanced multi-stop CSS gradients.

06. Pictaculous

Pictaculous lets you generate a color palette from any photo or image

Pictaculous is a color palette tool from email marketing giants MailChimp that enables you to generate a color palette from any photo or image, in PNG, JPG or GIF format. It also gives you suggestions from COLOURlovers of similar color palettes, and lets you download an Adobe Swatch of your chosen palette.

07. Coolers.co

Coolers.co generates a new palette every time you press the spacebar

Coolers.co is a web app that offers a quite unusual way to find the right colour scheme. Basically, every time you press the spacebar a new palette is generated, so the idea is you keep going until you find the right inspiration. Alternatively, you can browse through the various palettes that other users have found and liked.

08. Color Hunt

Color Hunt offers a curated collection of colour palettes

Similar to Coolers.co above, Color Hunt offers a “curated collection of beautiful colors, updated daily”. Add its Chrome extension to your browser, and you’ll get a new colour palette every time you refresh your browser window.

Date: 12th January, 2017 | Under: Design Tips, Fun Stuff | No Comments

High Resolution VS Low Resolution

[High Resolution VS Low Resolution]

Short Answer:
High Resolution = Happy Printer, Low Resolution = Suicidal Printer

Long Answer:
You’ve probably heard the phrase 300 dpi in relation to hi-res images. The number 300 stands for…

Click here for more info

Date: 6th January, 2017 | Under: Design Tips, Tips & Tricks | No Comments

Business Card Printing & Design

[Business Card Printing & Design]

We get a lot of questions from clients about printing their own cards, especially from small biz owners and startups.

We thought it would be helpful to address FAQs for folks contemplating a new print marketing campaign.

Click here for more info

Date: 5th January, 2017 | Under: Design Tips, Tips & Tricks | No Comments

Count Pages Properly For Your Book/Booklet Projects

[Count Pages Properly For Your Book/Booklet Projects]

If you’re new to booklet design, determining how many pages you need to complete your booklet without extra blank pages can be tricky. No worries, though, we’ll take it step by step.

Click here for more info

Date: 4th January, 2017 | Under: Design Tips, Tips & Tricks | No Comments

Brochure Printing & Mistakes To Avoid

[Brochure Printing & Mistakes To Avoid]

Brochures are one of the best ways to communicate with your customers about what services your company offers, who you are and any special deals you are offering.

A professionally designed brochure can grab your customer’s attention and call them to action.

A poorly designed brochure can wreak havoc on your company’s image.

Click here for more info

Date: 3rd January, 2017 | Under: Design Tips, Tips & Tricks | No Comments

8 great logos for 21st century

Thanks to the brilliance of modern branding and logo design, most companies today seem like creations of the modern world, despite almost all of them being rooted in the 20th century. (Some, like Coca-Cola, are even older). In fact, very few brands launched in the current century have yet become truly global concerns.

That will change over time, of course, as young upstarts grow and take the place of older rivals. But right now, companies founded during years that start with a ‘19’ continue to rule the roost.

There are exceptions, however, and not surprisingly they all come from the fast-moving tech world. In this post we pay tribute to some of the movers and shakers who’ve stirred things up in the 2000s and 2010s, and the branding that’s helped them establish that dominance.

01. Firefox

Literal logo Firefox has stood the test of time

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there were two rival browsers dominating the web: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Netscape. The former eventually eclipsed the latter, but out of Netscape’s ashes came a new browser, based on the same code, and created as part of an open source project.

The logo for what became Firefox 0.8, launched in 2004, was a concept from Daniel Burka, that was sketched by Stephen Desroches and then rendered by Jon Hicks using Fireworks MX; you can read more about how it was created here. The strikingly literal logo has been tweaked and updated many times since, and yet its basic essence remains: a true modern classic.

02. Chrome

Chrome’s logo has moved from skeuomorphic to simple and flat

If the early years of the century saw tech observers fretting over the dominance of Internet Explorer, the ensuing years put their minds firmly at rest. Following the success of Firefox, in 2008 Google launched its own browser too, Chrome, and it wasn’t a bad move at all: by November this year StatCounter estimated it had a 51 per cent share across all web platforms.

Created by illustrator Michael Lopez and front-end tech lead Ben Goodger, amongst others, the Chrome logo tied in nicely with the company’s overall look, extracting the red, green, yellow and blue colours from the letters of the main Google logo. The original design had a glossy, 3D skeuomorphic look, but was given a simplified, flat makeover in 2011 that has pretty much stuck to this day.

03. Facebook

Facebook’s logo is instantly recognisable, everywhere

It’s hard to remember a time when social media meant Friendster and MySpace. But it was only in 2004 that Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook onto the students of Harvard University, eventually infecting the entire globe with its schema of pokes, shares, likes and status updates.

Designed by Cuban Council in 2006 in collaboration with Joe Kral and Peter Markatos. the Facebook logo has become one of the most recognised symbols in the world today. Largely unchanged since then, it features a slightly modified form of the Klavika Bold typeface.

This 2015 version of the wordmark was designed in collaboration by Facebook’s in-house design team and Eric Olson of Process Type Foundry.

04. Twitter

The Twitter bird represents everything from the freedom to speak your mind to freedom from tyranny

While Facebook has become one of the world’s most profitable companies, its real-time rival Twitter is still trying to work out how to monetise. But the microblogging service, created in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, has nonetheless made a huge impact on the world, from the Arab Spring uprisings to the success of Donald Trump.

As such, the Twitter logo has remained constant, and the brand is determined that it remain so. “The Twitter logo is a powerful symbol for what’s happening in the world now, and the power of the voices and unique conversations that happen on the platform everyday,” they point out, in urging people to stick to its strict brand guidelines.

The original wordmark for Twitter was created by graphic designer Linda Gavin, who was given just one day to develop a new logo in time for its official launch on July 15 2006. The third Twitter redesign, created by in-house designer Douglas Bowman and released on June 5 2012, saw the introduction of the famous bird icon. You can learn more about Twitter’s logo evolution here.

05. Netflix

There’s a subtle sense of the epic about the Netflix wordmark

Netflix has the dubious accolade of becoming a euphemism for sex, in the form of ‘Netflix n’ chill’. Perhaps more importantly, the brand which in 2007 transformed from a DVD rental company to a streaming media service has changed the way we watch TV forever. Watercooler talk has morphed from ‘Did you see the latest episode last night?’ to ‘No spoilers, I’m binge-watching season 5 this weekend.’

In fact, it’s become such an institution, so quickly, that this year there were howls of anguish over the dumping of the ‘classic’ Netflix logo in a favour of a minimal red ‘N’ icon. The good news is that those fears were unfounded: the latter is a secondary icon for use at very small sizes, and doesn’t replace the tried and tested wordmark.

While that logo has been tweaked and flattened over the years, it retains its essential essence, with a pleasing curve to its seven letters that conveys idea of a comfortable, widescreen experience. You can see the latest version above, designed by Gretel.

06. TripAdvisor

Tripadvisor’s owl has traffic lights for eyes

How did we manage to book hotels before TripAdvisor? The online travel forum, founded in 2000, has made good customer service paramount for any tourist-facing business in 2016, and a jolly good thing too.

It’s logo has become an icon, proudly displayed by the best-awarded businesses, with its owl emblem representing the wisdom of planning your trip ahead, and the binoculars symbolising the search for a good deal. Did you ever notice that one of the bird’s eyes is red and the other green? This is a traffic light effect, symbolising the places tourists choose to visit (green) and not to visit (red).

07. Airbnb

Airbnb’s unusual logo has become a modern classic

While TripAdvisor has changed the way hotels operate, Airbnb has changed what we think of as a hotel. Enabling normal people to rent out rooms to visitors has opened up a whole new type of tourism, which the company is keen to trumpet with its slogan: ‘Don’t Go There. Live there’.

Launched in 2008, Airbnb had fairly mundane branding until it released its current logo design in 2014 to howls of controversy and comparison of the graphic with genitalia. Since then, though, it’s bedded in nicely and has become instantly recognisable wherever it appears, from giant billboards to tiny mobile screens. Created by DesignStudio, we’d argue it’s already become a modern design classic.

08. Instagram

Instagram’s ditched the leather look for something simpler

Launched in 2010, image-based social network Instagram was the first to have Facebook seriously worried. So they bought it, two years later, for an estimated $1billion. In the same year, Instagram debuted its faux-leather camera icon, which its massive worldwide community took to their hearts.

There was a big backlash this May, then, when that skeuomorphic design was jettisoned for a radical flat redesign (shown above). But despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, it’s unarguably a more flexible design for small screen sizes, as  Ian Spalter, Instagram’s head of design, wrote in a blog post on Medium. And we rather like it. Time will tell, but we think that eventually, the world will too.

Date: 30th December, 2016 | Under: Design Tips, Fun Stuff, Print News | No Comments

Plain Black VS Rich Black

[Plain Black VS Rich Black]

We all know print design projects have several pain points, especially when it comes to color matching.

For instance, have you ever held your freshly printed piece in your hands and wondered,

“Why the heck does the black stuff look grey???”

If so, click here

Date: 29th December, 2016 | Under: Design Tips, Tips & Tricks | No Comments


 

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