Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PRU 2010: Graphic Design Panel

Sue Lampitt, Homer Gaines and Shell Lamers Redfern
Shell Lamers Redfern, Creative Director at Get Groovy! began her portion of the presentation by discussing the up and coming graphic designer. The age range in her class is 17-60, so it is not always the youngsters. Technology has been a useful tool for graphic design. What used to take three weeks to do, now takes 30 minutes or less.

Designers express their ideas very differently now.  5, 10, or 15 years ago, people spent a lot of time doing sketches. Designs were purposefully thought out because the process was so expensive. With all of today's technology tools, you'd think we have more time to work on ideas, but it is not that way. We have less time.

She teaches her class how to create artwork that can be reproduced. They learn how to use Adobe Creative Suite and six other software systems.  They also learn the difference between RGB and CMYK. When working with a student or inexperienced designer, it's important to take the time to teach them why changes need to be made. They may have technical skills, but need the experience.

Logo design tips -- When designing a logo, always start out in solid black and white. You can always add colors and grayscale later. If it doesn’t look good in black and white, then it won’t transfer easily to promotional items. When your logo is the size of a postage stamp, can you still read it? If not, then it is too complicated.   Your logo should be designed in illustrator first because it is vector based. Then is can work in other programs. It is okay to have more than one logo if they all have the same elements and feel. Many companies have vertical and horizontal logos.

Sue Lampitt, Intech Printing and Direct Mail Marketing emphasized that print is not dead, although many people say it is. It is a changing industry. People still incorporate it into their marketing every day. Sometimes it is a less expensive way to go. Print has been around for a long time, and can have a lot of impact and power.

10 Reasons to Continue with Printing:
  1. Print is for here for keeps. You read literature in an office; you leave with brochures; you can take it home and review while you think things over. You can hold it and feel the quality. Words are important when in print.
  2. Print is portable. It can go anywhere with you. You don’t have to turn it off on the airplane, and the battery won’t die. It complements all your initiatives. It can drive people to your website.
  3. Print Drives a higher ROI. It is persuasive as direct mail. It is a great way to expand business relationships and keep customers loyal.
  4. Print plays well with others. It complements your electronic advertising. With direct mail you can be specific and speak to the right group or a more focused group.
  5. Print is beautiful. It is art and the printer takes time to make sure it is beautiful. People have feelings that are evoked by beauty.
  6. Buyers seek print. Stores send out catalogs. You can relax when you look over the catalog. A more relaxed atmosphere prompts you to go to their website or store.
  7. Print is credible. It has a lot more value when it is in ink
  8. Print is not rude. It doesn't call you during dinner. People still like to go home and check their mailbox.
  9. Print is personal. With digital printing you can personalize each and every piece. Names and images can change with digital printing.
  10. Print is Everywhere. It is at the trade shows, the theater, it is everyone. 
Lampitt added that it's important to prepare electronic files properly for printing, including vector logos and color adjustments. She also suggested getting copies of your files from your graphic designer and keep it on file for future use or adjustments.

Homer Gaines, Sr. Flash Developer/Designer for Chico’s FAS discussed design trends which can help your initiatives.

A logo says a lot about a company and its services. People look at the logo and form immediate opinions. Sometimes companies fail to get their logo right because they don’t have the education. It takes both the technical knowledge and experience.

GAP is a good example right now of a bad logo brand choice. Why mess with a strong brand? They had a good logo and went in the opposite direction.

Sometimes people want their logo to be bigger, so they can be noticed more. That's not always the best way to get noticed.  When you start showing up in search engines, people are looking for content, not the logo. When they search, the are searching for the content. If you are not saying anything of value to the person searching for content, the logo size doesn’t matter.

Get creative with your content. You can embed stylized fonts into web content now. It allows you to step outside of the standard fonts that come with everyone’s machines, and create text that actually looks like images. Keep in mind that some fonts only look good on a Mac or PC. They may look good on the Mac, but not on the PC. Stay away from those fonts. Macs look like everything was done in Photoshop, but on a PC you can start to see the jagged edges on some fonts.

Educate your clients about design and what will work on the web. Web uses RGB, but printers need CMYK. An AI (Adobe Illustrator) file is the basic vector file. A designer usually provides this to the client, as well as converting it to a JPG for web use.

WordPress is a great tool for blogging. Anyone can set it up. You can maintain all the content that is on it. The only thing you have to pay for is your domain name and hosting spot.  Gaines says to avoid Go Daddy because their admin tools are not the easiest to use. They host and offer domains, but it is really hard to understand and very easy to get lost. There are plenty of hosting companies out there that are easier to use. Gaines uses BlueHost. He also recommends regular back ups in whatever you are working on, and your websites.

Guest blogger:  Jessica Clark, APR, Shell Point Retirement Community, JessicaClark@shellpoint.org

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