Archive for the Fun Stuff Category

Tip – 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

Top 8 Reasons to Hire a Local Printers VS a Chain

You might be surprised to learn the benefits of hiring a local printer versus a chain store.

1.  Price

Unlike with many big box retailers and their local independent counterparts, as far as print and design jobs go, hiring a local firm is likely much less expensive than hiring a big firm.  Corporate shops are often set up for small jobs, and indeed, can be cheaper if you’re only looking to make a couple copies or print 1 sign. Local firms become ideal for saving money when you start printing large jobs for a business, a meeting, an event, etc.

2.  Relationships

At a corporate shop, you’re likely to deal with a new employee every time you visit. At local printers, employees have been around a while, allowing you to form business relationships, not only with the designer and printer, but with support staff like accounting personnel.  The staff, in turn, will be more likely to work with you to make you happy, lest they have to deal with an unhappy customer the next time you order.

3.  Flexibility

Flexibility in papers, coatings, inks, and products is only part of the reason. A local shop that values your business is more likely to put in the overtime to get your work done on time.

4.  Local

Keeping your business local means more tax dollars for your city and helps to maintain a vibrant business community. A local firm mean you also save money on delivery costs and can reach out to friends and colleagues in the business community to inquire about the quality of the firm. Local businesses have more at stake when you hire them, since their smaller customer list means each customer means a lot.

5.  Customer Service

Local firms have superior customer service and will often bend over backwards to meet your needs (provided they are reasonable, of course). You’ll get to know your customer service representative and they’ll get to know you, ensuring the best possible service and product.

6.  Expertise

Large corporate stores often hire young people without much work experience in order to pay them minimum wage. Local firms pay their employees more and their employees tend to stay put longer. Additionally, small firms rely upon their limited staff to have a vast knowledge of their products and services, meaning you have an expert working on your project rather than someone with only  a basic knowledge.

7.  Options and Innovation

Local firms often have more options and are more likely to innovate for your orders. Things like die-cutting and specialty papers can be ordered without extra hassle.  There are no bureaucratic impediments to innovation, and cutting edge software and equipment are more prevalent.

8.  Community

Tying it all together, working with a local print firm helps to create a community that benefits everyone involved.

Date: 23rd January, 2017 | Under: Fun Stuff, Print News, Tips & Tricks | No Comments

Real Estate Marketing Tips

1.  Real estate is all about word of mouth, my past clients and my current listings market for me.

Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, but it’s rarely enough. Even if you have a strong referral base in your favor, if you aren’t keeping a moving stream of new customer leads, you’re at risk when the tides change in your competitive environment. You can’t afford not to spend on advertising if you’re banking on long-term viability for your business.

  • Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. Business cards, for example, are one of the most cost-effective print marketing tools. Think of them as miniature ads and maximize the ‘real estate’ on your cards. You can use the back to print to provide useful info and calls to action, such as testimonials and free offers. Or use creative magnetic business cards to stay in front of your prospects every time they hit the fridge!
  • When promoting your existing listings, make your printed real estate flyers and brochures work harder for you. Showcase not only the property, but your services as well – what you offer to sellers and/or buyers. You’ve seen how many people stop by and pick up real estate flyers out of curiosity, even if they’re not currently in the market. Those are your future customers, make an impression both in person and on paper.
  • Do stay in touch with your customer base in thoughtful and creative ways that encourage them to keep you in mind and refer you to friends. Send personal or useful gestures such as holiday greeting cards, notepads or mini-calendar magnets. Follow up with buyers after closing to welcome them to their new home.

2.  The more exposure you get, the better.

Think you need to get your face plastered on billboards, in newspapers and in other media with your ads to get listing and buyers? Think again. Effective real estate marketing is not about getting in front of more people more often, it’s about getting in front of the right people in the right way.

What is your target audience? Are you focused on a particular neighborhood, demographic or income level? Use the right medium and messaging that reflects your unique value proposition and your target market. A combination of print and internet exposure is critical for an integrated marketing strategy.real estate postcards

  • Done right, direct mail real estate postcards can be a powerful sales-booster with cost/benefits you can easily measure. Learn how to build a successful mail campaign and calculate your ROI with our Direct Mail Tips and our affordable mailing services. Use the new Every Door Direct Mail Program or EDDM to reach specific cities, zip codes, carrier routes or geographic areas cheaply.
  • Surveys have shown that more than 70% of sellers and buyers use the first realtor they contact. Give prospects a reason to contact you or visit your website now. On your business cards, postcards, door hangers or flyers, point to resources on your site that are useful anytime such as local real estate updates, free home valuation service, home maintenance checklists or a blog for issues in your target neighborhoods.

3.  You can’t compete with the “big guys” marketing budgets or more experienced agents.

This is a fallacy in every industry. In fact, you can compete well if you consider what do that the larger brokerages or long-time realtors don’t offer. Do you send new listings by email to buyers or share your clients’ environmentally-responsible practices, such as using sustainably-produced paper for your printed marketing and contract documents? Or maybe you exclusively work with buyers. Zero in on the advantages you provide or could offer that will distinguish you and get the message across in the cost-effective ways we’ve mentioned here.

More than most industries, real estate is about building trusted relationships. Find out what your target market cares about most and explain how you are a good fit for their needs. Don’t be hesitant to tout your accomplishments and ask for your customers’ business. The more honest, confident and competent you come across, the more trust you’ll earn and the better your chances for riding out the storm of any downturn.

 

 

Date: 20th January, 2017 | Under: Fun Stuff, Marketing, Print News | 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

Attending Trade Shows Without a Booth

Attending trade shows to promote your business can be an expensive venture. Most marketing departments will tell you that you need a full booth with giveaway items and raffles to make your investment worth the buy in – but that’s not always the case. In fact, having the freedom to roam to the floor rather than be tethered to a booth could help you better target other vendors that you want to network with. For most trade shows, the cost of admission is far greater than the cost of renting booth space, but with proper planning, the value could be even higher.

This approach isn’t right for all companies, and will vary depending on the size of the trade show and other vendors in attendance – but often works for small businesses that are focused on growing. Of course, by taking this approach, you could be at the disadvantage of not having marketing materials on hand when the perfect lead comes along. With proper planning you can carry everything you need in branded presentation folders.

Full size presentation folders have four pockets, giving you plenty of room to include several different types of printed material, with options for business card slot holders as well. This option tends to work best as it holds all standard size sheets of paper. Alternatively, we do offer mini-presentation folder printing with tri-fold options that are perfect for smaller print promotional materials.

How Much Can You Fit in a Presentation Folder?

With up to four presentation folder pockets to organize, you can fit a significant amount of marketing material in each to bring to trade shows. Business sales sheets or promotional flyers to hand out would be perfect for a B2B type conference. Attending a B2C trade show without a booth would take a different approach where you may want to fill your presentation folder with custom stickers or promotional postcards to hand out.

 

Presentation Folder Printing Services

Of course, you will always want to carry your business cards with you when in attendance at a trade show. Be sure to check with event organizers to make sure that you are allowed to bring in your own presentation folders before getting to the event floor. In most cases, as long as you are respectful and strategic with your approach, most organizers will be happy to have you there – perhaps researching to rent a booth at the next one!

Networking at it’s Finest

One of the best parts about trade shows is that everyone is there to network with each other. A smile, professional demeanor and custom printed promo material can go a long way for the cost of admission. Don’t limit yourself to our suggested items above either – we are a one stop shop for trade show printing needs and can help you from design to delivery!

Date: 5th January, 2017 | Under: Fun Stuff, Marketing, Print News | No Comments

(Why & How) the print industry needs to educate buyers

We all know the benefits of educating our staff. The better they can be equipped to do their jobs, the more effectively they will work. So why does this principle not apply to buyers?

If our customers have the right skills, it benefits both their company and the printer. The customer will get more out of using their supplier – and the supplier will find the customer more efficient to deal with. These days, many buyers do not have the skills to carry out their jobs properly and this is having an adverse effect on our industry.

Many companies worry that if customers know more, they will become harder to deal with. Conventional wisdom argues that if buyers are more knowledgeable about print, then they will be able to shop around more and be better equipped to drive prices even lower.


Not just feeds and speeds

It’s important to realise that training print buyers is not all about the technical side of things. Most printing companies that offer customer training tend to focus on the print process and how to create specifications. I would argue that this knowledge should actually be a low priority when it comes to educating buyers. Instead, there are some other basic skills that will be of greater benefit to everyone involved.

The first thing is to educate companies on why print is still such an effective communication channel. People need to realise that print can help businesses achieve good results – and can often be more effective than digital channels

Many people do not realise how powerful communication can be if we combine different communication methods. Even if they do understand this, they usually do not know how to achieve this. Part of the education process should involve explaining how print can fit into a multi-channel mix.


Teach your clients how – not what – to buy

This is not about how to raise a specification, nor is it about what type of printing company to use. This is about understanding the difference between price and cost. It is about understanding when to start talking to a supplier and how they can help you create the right solution. It’s about how to manage your suppliers effectively and build a beneficial relationship.

If your customers understand how to manage their supplier then it allows you to work with them. This, in turn, allows you to educate them on the more technical side of things as a relationship builds.

So who should be responsible for educating buyers? The whole industry needs to come together on this. Everyone needs to do their part, including industry bodies, equipment manufacturers and, last but not least, individual companies.

Remember, customer training is as important as staff training: ignore it at your peril.

Date: 4th January, 2017 | Under: Fun Stuff, Print News | No Comments

PRINT STAYS STRONG

In a recent review of Target Marketing’s 2016 Media Usage Survey we see print continuing to be a strong choice for marketers.

1. Digital Media Continues to Grow.
When asked about future investment in media:

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 2. Direct Mail is Still a Strong Choice.

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3. Print Maintains a Significant Position in the Budget.

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 4. Personalization is Increasing.

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5. Use of Direct Mail is On the Upswing.

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Print makes good business sense.

Date: 3rd January, 2017 | Under: Fun Stuff, Print News | 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

10 beautiful examples of illustration in print ads

Most print ads feature some combination of photography and typography. But when you next come to design a print ad, ask yourself whether a custom illustration could do the job better?

To show you what we mean, in this post we’ve brought together 10 great examples of illustration in print ads from around the world.

Of course there are plenty more besides, so we’d love to see your favourites too.

01. Puy Du Fou

History comes alive in this print ad for a French theme park

This epic advert was created by French agency Les Gros Mots to promote Puy du Fou, a historical theme park in the Vendée region of western France. Illustrated by Julien Joly, it cleverly draws on frescoes combining all the different eras that visitors can experience at the attraction.

02. Kiss FM

A Beatle takes the place of Uncle Sam in this ad for a rock radio station

This ad to promote a rock radio station is the work of Sao Paolo agency Lua Propaganda, with illustration by 2020 Studios. It smartly updates James Montgomery Flagg’s 1917 “I Want You” Poster for the American war effort, swapping Uncle Sam for John Lennon. The radio station itself features only on a small badge on Lennon’s chest, a subtle detail that somehow makes the message all the more powerful.

03. Red Cross

An evocative illustration and a thought-provoking tagline combine to great effect in this poster for the Red Cross

We’ve all become so used to shocking photography of disaster zones that we’ve started to become immune to it. Consequently, an illustration can sometimes be more effective, and that’s certainly the case with this grimly evocative scene for an attention-raising campaign for the Red Cross. It was created by Paraguay agency Verde and the illustration was by Edgar Arce.

04. Saint Bier

Saint Beer gets the religious seal approval in this tongue-in-cheek ad

Catholic monasteries have long been associated with the brewing of strong beer. and this tongue-in-cheek tableau, with the tagline “Convert yourself” and a slightly blasphemous reference to the Holy Grail, conveys the point succintly and stylishly. It was the work of Brazilian agency Propague and the illustration was by Pimp Studio.

05. Assassin’s Creed

This ad for videogame Assassin’s Creed points to the brutality of poverty in Victorian England

Another ad making effective use of vintage style illustration, this ad was part of a campaign for the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate videogame, which is set in Victorian England. While that era is often associated with the clipped accents and refined behaviours of costume drama, this impactful poster reminds us that it was a brutal time for many. It’s the work of Montreal agency Bleublancrouge, with illustration by Yeaaah Studio.

06. Ford

WPP makes a point using pointillism in this ad for Ford

This arresting, although somewhat headache inducing ad for Ford, comes with the tagline ‘Don’t Emoji and Drive’. Using a very 2010s form of pointillism by creating an illustration from individual emojis, the ad was produced by BlueHive, the bespoke WPP agency for Ford’s advertising in Italy, with illustration created by Illusion.

07. Skullcandy

This attention grabbing illustration for Skullcandy keeps the brand looking cool

Now here’s an illustration that gets your attention. It was created for Skullcandy, a headphone brand keen to appear on the cutting edge, and this stunning print ad certainly does that. It’s the work of J. Walter Thompson Shanghai, and the illustration was created by Visionary Bangkok.

08. SPCA

This ad for a cat protection society makes brilliant use of a tarot card motif

Playing on the idea of tarot cards, this lovely ad for the Society for the Protection of Cats sells its message without needing to get overly cutesy or sentimental. It was produced by Havas Suisse, with illustration by Yeaaah Studio.

09. Evans Cycles

This ad for Evans Cycles takes a trip back to the past

Vintage illustration mixes nostalgia with parody in this gorgeous print ad for Evans Cycles. It’s the creation of London agency Antidote and the illustrator was Bruce Emmett.

10. Behance

A creative ad for a creative community

Owned by Adobe, Behance is a global portfolio sharing social network for creatives of all types. But it’s not just online: the company also brings together community members and top artists to carry out portfolio reviews in person. This ad to promote its Brazilian event features a stunning mixed media collage created by art director, illustrator and photographer Antonio Rodrigues Jr.

Date: 28th December, 2016 | Under: Fun Stuff, Print News | No Comments

5 new Windows tools for creative pros

Creatives who use Windows computers, tablets and phones have traditionally complained of feeling like poor cousins to their Mac-loving counterparts. Which means we often get it in the ear: whenever we post about a new tool that’s not available for Windows, our Facebook comments are full of complaints and a general sense of abandonment.

But don’t shoot the messenger: we don’t make tools, we just write about them. And right now, we actually have some good news for users of Windows devices: in the last few weeks, there’s been a flurry of great new Windows tools to try out.

But have we missed one? If there’s another Windows tool for designers you feel we should be telling people about, please let us know in the comments!

01. Adobe XD

Adobe’s prototyping tool, XD, has landed on Windows

Adobe’s big answer to Sketch and Invision apps, the interface prototyping tool Experience Design (XD for short), finally arrived on Windows 10 this December. It’s not the exact same app, as Adobe explains in this blog post, but a new app fully customised for the capabilities of Windows hardware.

That doesn’t quite tell the whole story, though: it’s actually quite a basic version of XD rather than the full version of Mac users can enjoy, with a number of key features missing. For example, Layers Support is not yet available, you can’t share an Adobe XD file from the app, and you can’t record the Preview screen. But at least Adobe promises to catch up as soon as it can. You can read more about the new release here.

02. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo, Serif’s low-cost rival to Photoshop, is now available to both Mac and PC users

Last month, the award-winning Mac alternative to Photoshop, Affinity Photo, finally became available for Windows to try out too. And the good news is that this Windows version has all the features of the Mac version.

This including real-time results, non-destructive editing, RAW processing and end-to-end colour management. In fact, this Windows release even includes the new features of the recent 1.5 Mac update, such as advanced HDR exposure blending, 360-degree image editing, tone mapping, and batch processing.

You can learn more about Affinity Photo for Windows here.

03. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer quickly followed Affinity Photo onto Windows this month

Following the successful launch of Affinity Photo on Windows, makers Serif followed up this month by releasing a Windows version of its Adobe Illustrator rival, Affinity Designer.

Again, this new Windows version matches its Mac counterpart feature for feature, including a vector and pixel editing toolset, 10 million percent zoom, and non-destructive effects and adjustment layers.

As with Affinity Photo, Serif stresses that the Windows version of Affinity Designer shares exactly the same back-end as the Mac version, so you can switch assets between both tools on both platforms with confidence. You can learn more about the release here.

04. Project Felix

Adobe’s 2D and 3D compositing software Project Felix has been launched for both Mac and Windows simultaneously

First announced by Adobe at its MAX conference in San Diego this November, Project Felix is a clever new compositing tool for graphic designers. It enables you to combine 2D images with 3D assets like materials, models and lights into a single, photorealistic image; all without any knowledge of 3D software.

Released this month for both Mac and Windows, the tool uses advanced machine learning algorithms to adjust things like lighting automatically to create a realistic looking composite. It also automatically links up to Adobe Stock to allow you to purchase and import assets directly from within the software. You can learn more about the release here.

05. 3D Builder

Just launched for Windows 10 Mobile, 3D Builder helps non-techies get started with 3D printing

Already available for Windows PC and Windows Holographic, 3D Builder was released this month for Windows 10 Mobile and XBox too. So what is it?

Quite simply, it’s a Microsoft app aimed at making 3D printing easy for non-techies. It lets you scan, view, personalize and print 3D models, as well as harnessing your phone’s camera in order to create digital 3D models from real objects.

You don’t even need to have a 3D printer of your own; you can just send your files to Microsoft’s preferred 3D printing service, i.materialise.com, from within the app.

Date: 23rd December, 2016 | Under: Fun Stuff, Print News, Tips & Tricks | No Comments


 

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