August in Houston is always hot, and this year, it’s record-breaking! Cool off a little with this month’s spotlight color, “Vintage Mint.” We’re loving this light, refreshing shade of green for everything from ads, to accessories…to cocktails.
Plus, we don’t like to brag (too much), but as you can see from our blog’s color palette, we liked “vintage mint” before it was cool (pun intended)!
According to the experts at Color Marketing Group (CMG):
“Vintage Mint has its roots in mid-century design…[but with] a distinctly modern edge… Always fresh, but now a bit daring, this new version has the energy to take on fashion, graphics, industrial design and transportation. Its daring has brought diversity, as it takes on unexpected roles in menswear, accent furnishings, and kitchen appliances.
Take a cool, fresh breath, with Vintage Mint.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Take a cue from the experts and incorporate vintage mint as a fun, fresh addition to your next ad or postcard.
Oreos, but…better for you? The same great taste, but…smaller? Brilliant!
At least that’s what the new Oreo Thins Ads would have us believe, and we think they’re doing a very convincing job.
The latest series of ads for the new Oreo Thins (a permanent addition to the Oreo cookie family) emphasizes a “sleek” and “clean” feel with few words and large, impactful images of the cookies–which look totally delicious, just smaller.
The way they emphasize how “thin” the cookies are in the ad designs play into a cultural interest in healthier eating, as well as the constant shift toward slimmer, sleeker products in the tech world. For instance, the ad above shares some similarities with this ad for the Apple iPad Mini:
The iPad is sexy, so Oreos are sexy, too! The Oreo Thin ad campaign is also making clever use of celebrity and social media–for instance, not long ago, actor and comedian Neil Patrick Harris sent out this tweet:
Accompanied by this charming Instagram post:
If that doesn’t make you want Oreo Thins, I don’t know what will.
For these reasons, we have to officially declare the Oreo Thins campaign to be some Advertising that Seriously Works!
Welcome back! We’ve covered a lot in this series, and we’re almost finished! We’ve come a long way together, and now it’s time to reveal the number 1 thing designers hate. Drumroll please…
1) You say, “Give me something….Different/Unique/Special!”
“I want it to be different, but I’m not sure how.”
“I love what you’re doing, but could it be more…artsy?”
“I’m not sure what I’m looking for, but I’ll know it when I see it.”
Here you have it: a designer’s worst nightmare. It can be difficult to satisfy a client who speaks in vague concepts, but has little idea about what kind of visual they’re looking for. A request like, “give me something unique,” can be fun for a designer, because it gives a lot of opportunity for creativity! But it can be frustrating, too, because it puts a lot of pressure on a designer to guess what you will love.
Buzzwords that evoke feelings like “family,” “futuristic,” and “fun,” are common in marketing, but they’re also not very specific. Graphic designers are more visually oriented, and they’re looking for more visual descriptions like “use shades of blue,” or “line drawing,” or “photographs of puppies.”
Often clients do have something in mind—they just don’t know how to describe it. That’s when they may default to vague descriptors (like “unique”) and then be disappointed with what we come up with. If you know what you want but have a difficult time describing it, it’s great to bring examples of what you like to share with your designer (but try to avoid #9). Just be ready to say what you like and don’t like about each example.
For instance, a client for a new website might send a list of links to the designer and say, “I like the layout in this one, but I want less text,” and “I like the color scheme here, but mine should be brighter and the pages on this site are too cluttered.” From that, a designer can start to glean the aesthetic you’re looking for, and what kinds of things won’t work for you.
If you really have no idea what you want, that’s ok, too! Trust your designer to create something unique for you—they’ll be thrilled to do it. Then you can tweak it together, until you have exactly the right design for your company!
A simple but important part of any working relationship is respecting each other’s time. We think most people totally get that! But this particular issue still comes up every now and then, so this week, let’s talk about how much designers hate….
3) Last-Minute Changes
Every designer has had a client wait until at or after the deadline to request a color change, a text-rewrite, or even a complete overhaul of an ad. These last-minute changes are often accompanied by, “oh, it’s just a little change, it shouldn’t take you very long,” or the dreaded: “I need it by today.”
Of course, clients often don’t realize how long a given change is going to take. Something that seems simple, like replacing the copy, can actually be time-consuming because it requires the text to be sized and formatted to fit in the same space as the old copy. A change like, “could you just add a photograph?” isn’t a matter of just sticking something into the ad. A designer needs to find the right image, get the client’s approval, and make sure it’s the right size and resolution to look good with the rest of the ad.
Sometimes, as with ads printed in magazines or newspapers, there is a hard deadline for getting the ad to print. That can mean the designer has to work overtime to get the ad in on time. If you’re printing a brochure or a magazine and want to make a change when it’s already at press, you can end up wasting paper (oh no! the environment!) and you may be charged by the printer for the time they’re not able to use the press because of you! Nobody wants that!
All these last-minute changes can be avoided if you build your schedule with a little buffer-time—and stick to it! Then you’re happy, the designer’s happy, and look: this puppy is happy, too!
Imagine this familiar scenario: You have a font you want to use. You type up your copy in Microsoft Word, save it as a .docx document, and send it to your designer. Unfortunately, your designer doesn’t have that font on file, which means that when the document is opened on your designer’s computer, it defaults to some other font…like maybe Wingdings 3.
The formatting you worked so hard on is ruined, and your designer has no idea what you were trying to send. Time to start over.
All this trouble can be avoided by the simple process of embedding your fonts. What does that mean?
“Embedding” fonts means including the font you want to use as part of the document when you send it to your designer. This can be done quite simply: often, when saving ad document as a PDF you will be prompted to embed the fonts. That’s about as easy as it gets!
If this doesn’t happen (like if you’re using an older version of Word or Adobe Acrobat) you can follow these simple instructions here or here.
And voila! This simple process avoids confusion and keeps communicating with your designer clear and efficient. Everybody wins!
The key to getting people to read your blog, advertisement, book or brochure is to make sure you have a headline that catches their attention. Take a lesson from marketing and creative experts who have assembled a list of headline words or ideas that make your headlines pop.
Use numbers. Readers like odd numbers specifically. Scan the magazine stand and you will see how numbers are used in a headline.
Use exciting adjectives or action words such as Effortless, Free, Amazing, New, and Improved
Use trigger words like How, Why, What or When
Use unique reasons like Secrets of, Tricks to, Facts, and Ways to
Make a promise that your reader finds valuable… words like Guaranteed, that Work, In a Day
The best way to write a headline is to keep it simple and direct. Being clever helps. Puns work, too, and using the tips above. But there is a simple formula to follow that will help build your headline to be effective.
Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise = Effective Headline
To go one step beyond an effective headline, we think having a visual image (photo, illustration or infographic) adds to any effective article, advertisement, brochure or book. Otherwise your headline needs to be creative with font style, size, and color to make it effective without the visual.
Way before computers came into the picture, graphic designers would have to “spec the type” manually to layout an advertisement. This was done by figuring out your designated area where the copy would go and fit specific fonts and columns to the width of your area. A printer would compose and lock movable type into the bed of a press, ink it and press paper against it to transfer the ink from the type and creates an impression of the paper. In practice, letterpress also included other forms of print presses, such as wood ingravings, photo etched plates and were used along side the metal type in a single operation. Until the second half of the 20th century, letterpress remained the primary way to print. Then we switched to typesetting companies that prepared the text for the graphic designer.
Before the 1980s, practically all typesetting for publishers and advertisers was performed by specialty typesetting companies. These companies performed keyboarding, editing and production of paper or film output, and formed a large component of the graphic arts industry. The typesetting companies would send out a representative and help you achieve this. The rep gave the graphic designer special rulers (see illustration). These rulers aren’t quite obsolete, but it seems as though no one ever specs type anymore. The reps would return with the paper output of text to put onto boards to layout your design. Waxing and pasting this text output was an art in itself. If there was a misspelled word, some times you would cut out the word and re-paste it. This was also an art as a large camera would scan the final piece. Type on a curve was done manually too. As the computer arrived on the desktops of artist, the letterpress craft disappeared.
Luckily, computers do this automatically today, but composition, placement of text is still important and takes a graphic designer to arrange this to maximum readership.
Dodge Ram truck uses the vintage look in the advertisements. Wish you could go back to the old days when we used our trucks for the ‘great’ outdoors? That’s the image that Dodge Ram truck uses in this recent campaign using the ‘old fashion’ outdoor theme to provoke memories we don’t want to lose. As one ad suggests, “Find yourself in places where no one else can.” The ad agency that created this campaign for Dodge Ram is The Richards Group in Dallas, Texas. Our hats off to them for creating retro advertising that works!