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Collage of social media icons.

Time for some spring training

Spring training isn’t just for baseball players. It is also a good time to learn new skills. Brush up on Twitter best practices. Refine photography skills. Learn to code. Each years digital skills are being democratized more and more. Tasks that were done only by professionals with expensive equipment can now be done by following simple tutorials on YouTube. Use the skills below to jump start your own spring training. COB – No, this has nothing to do with corn. It stands for Cut Out Background. Ever wonder how the Crying Jordan face gets added to things so fast? COB is the answer. Removing the background from an image can be a good idea for highlighting individual items. It may not be a skill that you use all the time. However, knowing how to do it will save you a ton of time. Photoshop allows for the most control. The more precise the cutout the better the final product will look. There are at least five different ways to cut out a background in Photoshop – here is one. This…

letterpress dingbats

KCCIPA – KCDesignCore recap

Letterpress, lead type, screen print, saddle stitching, corner rounder, litho, calligraphy – just a few of the terms that were thrown around last night at Adobe’s KCDesignCore meetup. Our small group of designers were taken back in time as Calvert Guthrie graciously gave us a tour of his community print shop, Kansas City Center for the Ink & Paper Arts (KCCIPA). Calvert’s space, rented to local artists, comes fully equipped with everything a printer needs, including quite the collection of antique and modern printing presses. He also teaches classes, which include letterpress printing and calligraphy. Calligraphy is something he specialized in when he worked on greeting cards for Hallmark. When I was in Typography class in college, we practiced calligraphy, which has become somewhat of a lost art since the age of computers. We were also required to learn and identify over 100 fonts. Being able to instantly identify a font really speeded up my workflow as I was designing graphics. Since then, I’ve forgotten some of the characteristics of many fonts and the number of fonts I immediately recognize…

Photo of trendy female riding a white kitten.

Picture perfect: Choosing images that get results

Last week Getty Images hosted a webinar by Creative Research Expert Jacqueline Bourke on how to select images what will increase engagement. In 2015, there were 1.5 trillion images were shot. That number will only continue to increase. The quality of those images keeps getting better and better. Consumers now expect high quality images in all their content. It is important that you select images that engage your audience’s emotions and senses. We are visual creatures. Ninety percent of information is transferred visually. Our audiences are being bombarded by an ever increasing amount messages. Visual images are processed 60,000 times faster than text.  A strong visual image will allow for our content to stand out from the crowd. Images are obviously crucial on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, but tweets and Facebook posts with strong visual elements have more engagement than text only counterparts. Below are some trends and examples of how they have been used:   First person: This perspective pulls your audience in and makes them a part of the image. It is much easier for them to envision whatever you are pitching…

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CreativeMornings on Creative Burnout

Creative Burnout – with Megh Knappenberger As creative people, we are often asked to make something out of nothing. But we are creative so we can do that, right? Yes, for a while, but anyone who is pouring out their creativity, especially if they do not take time to refuel, is going to eventually run out. They will begin experiencing burnout. Love for creativity is like any other relationship. Falling in love is the easy part. Megh talked about how she had a close connection to creativity while studying design in college. I think many of us can relate to that. We are surrounded by our field of study, we hang out with students who are majoring in the same field, and we are at a stage in our life when we have a hunger to learn more and more so we can soon take on the world with our skills and talent. But then, the rest of life happens. We are soon distracted by other responsibilities, whether it is marriage, children, bills, buying a house, etc. Take a moment…

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible - MC Escher

Coffee and Design – Design Disruptors

I attended a Coffee and Design meetup last night, where we watched the documentary, “Design Disruptors”, which is about the rising importance of design as a competitive advantage in disruptive technologies. Among the companies interviewed in the film are Netflix, Google, Facebook, airbnb, MailChimp, Salesforce and Lyft. These companies are finding ways to solve old world problems with new world technologies. They don’t necessarily follow the rules of the industry. An example is how Uber and Lyft are making taxicabs look like an old world problem. They listened to customers’ complaints about taxi service and they provided a better solution. Some people who used to stay at hotels are now trying out airbnb. Blockbuster lost their customers to Netflix and other forms of streaming movies. What other opportunities are out there to improve products and services? When I think of the word “disruptor”, I think of someone causing disorder or interrupting service. In business, it is actually considered a good thing. It means to radically change by introducing a new product or service. Do something in ways people never thought…

Fast food logos using bright red and yellow.

Color Psychology in Food Marketing

You may have done a color analysis at one time to determine what color wardrobe you look best in. But have you thought about how colors affect the way we feel about the food we eat? Color psychology has been used in marketing for a long time. For example, red is the color most used by fast food chains, followed closely by yellow and orange. Yellow and orange are colors that make people feel hungry. The color red is associated with emotion and passion. So when one sees red combined with yellow and orange, they become passionately hungry. Green and earthy tones for usually used for eco-friendliness, natural, organic, healthy food choices. For those who are conscious about healthy eating, these colors are appealing. For the meat, potatoes and gravy guy, maybe not so much. White represents purity and cleanliness, but it can also appear plain and sterile so marketing with this color needs to be done carefully. Black signifies elegance but is not very appetizing. If you want to use a dark color, go with dark brown instead. Blue…

Graphic of megaphone and social media icons.

If you build it…you have to tell them about it

“If you build it, they will come.” That might have been true in “Field of Dreams” but it’s not always the case with social media profiles and other digital marketing platforms. Your customers may not realize that you have a Facebook page, Twitter profile or other digital marketing. So what can you do? The short answer is that you can tell your customers which platforms you have and where to find you. The long answer involves three things: in-store signage, cross-promotion and word-of-mouth marketing. In-Store Signage One of the best places to tell your customers about your digital presence is in the store. Remind them about your website or to follow you on social media while they are already there. Some might have a smart phone with them, so they can log in to their own Facebook or Twitter profile, and start following you right there on the spot! With social media, it’s important to remember to include what platforms you are on and where to find you. The best way to do this is to include the custom URL…

Graphic of Web Traffic painted on road that turns into an arrow pointing up in the horizon.

Customers won’t go if they don’t know about it.

Do you have a website? If so, how many of your customers know your domain name? You have lots of opportunities to let your customers know about your website, some not as typical as you would think. Many stores will put a websites domain name on a weekly ad then expect the customers curiosity to make them go look. Customers EXPECT stores to have websites; the question is why should they look? Do you post your ads on Tuesday afternoon even though the prices take effect on Wednesday? Let your customers know they can get a sneak peak of your ad before your competition, ON YOUR AD. Does your website have coupons, recipes, shopping lists or cooking tutorials? Tell them ON YOUR AD. Maybe even add a graphic of a computer screen with your domain name on the screen to get some visual attention. Ask us to make a QR code for your ad. If anything customers will ask “what’s that?” Examples: You say you don’t have an ad or share one with an ad group? We have ways to…

Your Store's Brand graphic.

Your Store’s Branding

Birds do it. Bee’s do it. But what the heck does marketing have to do with it? Insects, birds, wind and even water are all vehicles for pollen, and they make cross-pollination possible. In nature, cross-pollination can produce stronger and more vigorous plants than those produced by self-pollinated plants. For example: butterflies need pollen for food and plants need butterflies to spread pollen, so each species has developed traits to aid in these goals. Plants that attract butterflies have developed very bright colors while butterflies have developed a strong sense of sight to see the colors. Without cross-pollination, this symbiotic relationship couldn’t be possible. Now think of your marketing strategy. What vehicles are you using to spread you marketing message to your customers? Website? Weekly print ads? Bag stuffers, text messages, email, Facebook or Twitter? When you try a new vehicle do you put it to the test with help from other vehicles or do you have a “sink or swim” philosophy? Our department has witnessed many times a key to a successful campaign is one that uses a cross-channel strategy to…

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