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Archive for the ‘Design 101’ Category

The Most Important Marketing Tool You Will Ever Use…

Posted on: September 5th, 2009  |  Written By: 

Your Business Card! That’s right, your business card is the most important marketing tool you will ever use. It’s provides the first impression when meeting someone face-to-face. Don’t take your business card for granted. It needs to make an impact the moment you hand it to a prospect. Within the first 5 seconds or so, that prospect has already decided whether or not they may want to do business with you. If you only have 5 seconds to impress them with your buisiness card, you’d better make it count!

Your business card should be interesting and unique. It has to make someone want to keep it, not throw it away. I can’t stand when a customer says they want plain white cards with black text. They might as well say, they don’t care enough about their business to spend $10-$20 extra on getting them done the right way. Hey I understand, times are tough, but they aren’t going to get better by handing out cards like that to prospects.

To spice things up a bit consider putting a picture of yourself on the card, this way your prospect can put a face to the voice when you call them a couple of days later to follow up. Make sure to include all pertinent information on your card by taking advantage of both sides.

All business cards should include most of the following:

  • Company Logo
  • Your Name
  • Your Title
  • Phone Number
  • Fax Number
  • Email Address
  • Website Address
  • Mailing Address
  • Services You Offer
  • Unique Selling Proposition (This is what makes you different than your competition)

Note: If you have a website, use your websites domain name for your email. Using Aol, Yahoo, Gmail, etc., does not look very professional. If you don’t have a website, at least buy a domain name and pay for hosted email. The domain and hosting will only cost about $50 per year. A pretty small price to pay to look professional.

How To Prepare Your Artwork for Print – 5 Point Checklist

Posted on: September 4th, 2009  |  Written By: 

How many time have you tried to order business cards or flyers from a printer using artwork you designed yourself? How many of those time did the printer tell you that they couldn’t use your artwork? If you don’t have any design experience it has probably happened more often than not. The following “5 Point Checklist” will ensure that your artwork will be ready to send to your favorite printer.

1. Resolution

Make sure your artwork is designed at 300 DPI (dots per inch) resolution. Web graphics are only 72 DPI and are no good for professional printing. Designing your artwork at 300 DPI will ensure that your printed materials are crisp and clear!

2. Bleed

Bleed is when the image or background of your design is intended to run off the page. Without proper bleed, you may end up with uneven white borders. A standard bleed (with most printers) is 1/8″ (0.125) added to the final trim size of the finished product, which means if you are printing business cards your artwork should be 3 5/8″ x 2 1/8″ (3 1/2″ x 2″ trim size).

3. Safety

Safety is the amount of space between the edge of your artwork and any essential elements (stuff you don’t want to get cut off). You should always make sure that you leave a minimum of 3/16″ (0.0625) safety on all sides of your design, unless you like having the last digit in your telephone number cut in half, it’s up to you.

4. Color Mode: CMYK

In Printing, all colors are a made up of different percentage values of CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black). One of the most common mistakes made in “for print” design is choosing the wrong color mode. Monitors display graphics in RGB (Red, Green, Blue) color mode by default. What you see on-screen is much different than what you get in print. Designing your artwork using CMYK will avoid unexpected results in color and save you money in reprints.

5. File Format

Ok, this part is a bit tricky depending on the design software you use. Many printers will accept all different types of file formats, but not all. Standard formats accepted are PDF, PSD, AI, JPG, TIFF, PNG or EPS. Microsoft file formats are not accepted by most printers any longer. Whichever design program you choose to use, make sure you save/export your file to one of the accepted formats. Note: If using Illustrator or Corel Draw, make sure to convert your fonts to outlines (or curves in Corel) before saving your file to avoid mismatched fonts being used. If using Photoshop, remember to flatten your file, for the same reason.

We’ve been told that our professional quality, full color printing is the best in our county. Remember to call us at 352-684-4976 and speak to a Project Manager before ordering elsewhere. By the way, if you haven’t already, post a comment about this article. We love feedback!

To Redesign or NOT to Redesign?

Posted on: September 3rd, 2009  |  Written By: 

When should you redesign your website? That’s a great question. Just like clothing or hair, Website elements can go out of style very quickly. Technology is constantly changing and improving and you need to keep up with it or at least not fall too far behind. What’s popular today may not be popular tomorrow. Your Website needs to make an impact! When a visitor arrives at your Website you have anywhere from 5-10 seconds to grab their attention and make them want to stay.

Your site is a reflection of your business and needs to be professionally designed (most cookie cutter website builders just don’t cut it). It should be clean, easy to navigate and have well-written content. To determine if you should redesign your site, look at the following questions.

  1. Does your site portray the image of your business that you want it to?
  2. Was it designed/redesigned within the last 2 years?
  3. Is your Website user friendly?
  4. Does your Website currently get a lot of visitors?
  5. Is your website converting a good percentage of visitors into customers?

If you answered NO to any of the above questions, than it’s definitely time to consider a redesign. A full redesign is not always necessary, many times a simple makeover to freshen things up can make a world of difference! Feel free to call us at 352-684-4976 to discuss your website redesign with one of our Project Managers.

New Website Development Planning Checklist – Part 3: Design and Development

Posted on: August 20th, 2009  |  Written By: 

Buenos Dias people! The last couple of days we’ve been talking about the “New Website Development Planning Checklist”. We are now at the halfway point.  Today we are covering part 3 of this series entitled  “Design and Development”. Let us know your thoughts and feel free to share.

3. Design and Development

There are many things to think about when planning a new website project! The following are some things you may want to consider regarding the design and development before you begin your project:

  • Do you have an exisiting Domain Name?
  • Is your business name available as a Domain Name?
  • How many people at your company need emails?
  • Do you currently have a set of Company Colors?
  • Are there any existing images (such as logo or photos) that you want to include on your site?
  • Do you need/want new graphics, images, flash or banners designed for your site?
  • How much content do you plan to have and who will write it?
  • Do you need MultiCOLOR Media to do the Copywriting for you?
  • Do you need a Members Only Area with a secure log-in?
  • Will you need online forms to collect customer information?
  • Do you have, want or need a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) to handle that information?
  • Do you want Video or Audio on your site?
  • Do you want to offer Quizzes, Surveys or Polls?

While not all of these questions are imperative to answer prior to starting your project, some are, and actually determine how your website is designed and built. Think about it!

What Exactly is Vector Images?

Posted on: December 11th, 2008  |  Written By: 

Vector graphics are specially coded image files that are created with lines instead of fixed pixels.  This allows the image to be rotated and scaled proportinally. Vector graphics have numerous advantages to them, the most noticeable is that they allow you to shrink, stretch or adjust images in ways that .jpeg, .gif or .bmp files will not allow with distortion.  The previously mentioned formats are made up of pixels or little squares while vectors are “resolution independent”

When enlarging a vector image, it retains its previous clarity – meaning it remains as sharp and clear as the original image.  When trying to enlarge a format such as .jpg, .gif or .bmp – the pixels are enlarged and lose quality making the original image blurry.  Smaller pixels equal better quality images.

While the advantages are noticeable, the disadvantages are just as noticeable.  The main disadvantage of using vector images is that they do not allow you to create a “realistic photo image”.  Vector’s are made up of solid areas of color, which do not show the tones of a realistic photo.

When speaking of computer graphics, vector images are most common due to their flexibility and the fact that the image is scalable without losing any sharpness.

Here are some key characteristics of Vector graphics:
1. scalable
2. resolution independent
3. cartoon-like
4. not suitable for realistic photo images

When creating “print media” take into consideration that a .jpg, .gif or .bmp cannot be enlarged for bigger print jobs after they are made for there original purpose.  For example, if you create a 4×6 event postcard and later need to print a 11×17 poster for the same event, you wouldn’t be able to take the original .jpg and resize it without losing drastic quality.  In this respect, a vector design is unquestionably the best option you would have for printing.

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