“From Concept to Completion,” Hunter-McMain Delivers Over Twenty Years of Design to Quilts, Inc.

Quilts IncQuilts, Inc. has been a valued client of Hunter-McMain, Inc. and it’s small division, Cheep Cheep Postcards™, since 1991. Hunter-McMain has served the advertising and graphic design needs of a wide variety of businesses in the Houston community since 1989, but our relationship with Quilts, Inc. is unique. With the growth of our two companies has come expanding opportunities for advancement and collaboration. Now, we are delighted to announce that our Cheep Cheep Websites™ division is designing a new website for Quilts as well! We anticipate being ready to unveil the new website design before the new year.

This month, in addition to developing the new website, the designers at Hunter-McMain, Inc. and The Cheeps are busily preparing advertising materials for Houston’s annual International Quilts Shows, which will take place October 24-November 1 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The International Quilt Festival is the largest convention held in Houston each year, as well as the largest annual quilt show in the world.

Hunter-McMain and The Cheeps are dedicated to providing creative advertising and graphic design services for many long-term clients, but we have an especially long and fruitful relationship with Quilts, Inc. According to Hunter-McMain’s founder and CEO Jeanne Parker, “Although we’ve been doing work for Quilts for over twenty years, each year is just as exciting as the last! They started with just one show, and now they’ve expanded to multiple shows in major cities. They’ve grown and we’ve grown with them.”


In anticipation of the upcoming Quilts Shows, Hunter-McMain is giving away free tickets to the annual Houston Quilt Festival (Oct.24-26) to the first 10 people to like and share this article on social media! Be sure to tag us in your share on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, and message us for details on where to pick up your tickets! (must be in the Houston area to be eligible)

Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Everything You Need to Know

Creating the perfect ad campaign for your business can be tough, which is why it’s so important to have a great graphic designer in your corner. Of course, we know that sometimes working with a designer can be hard, too! Maybe you don’t quite know what you’re looking for in a design, or you have ideas, but you and your designer are not speaking the same language.

Don’t worry! We can help. Last month we gave a detailed breakdown of the top 10 things that every designer hates—and how to avoid misunderstandings and stress when building your perfect ad, logo, or website!

If you haven’t had the chance to read the full series, don’t worry! We’ve gathered up the whole list right here. Now is a perfect time to get up-to-date on the things your designer hates—plus how to avoid common snafus, and keep your design process running smoothly!

10) Too Much Text

No!                Yes! Images courtesy of  http://adsulikeit.blogspot.com (left)  and  http://popurls.com (right)
                          No!                                                                                       Yes!
Images courtesy of http://adsulikeit.blogspot.com (left) and http://popurls.com (right)

Ads with too much text can be stressful to read, hard to design, and not very pretty. Keep it clean and simple, and your designer will be happy—plus, your eye-catching ad will attract new customers who can see how savvy you are!

9) “Borrowed” Images 

Image courtesy of thevisualcommunicationguy.com
Image courtesy of thevisualcommunicationguy.com

While it is sometimes ok to borrow an image from another website if proper credit is given (as above), many images are copyrighted, and there are complicated rules for when it can be used and when it can’t. Instead of copying something you like online, work with your designer to create something unique for your business.

8) Read the Rate Card

This is the rate card we gave to clients who were placing ads in the 2014 Quilts Buyers’ Guide, a publication we design for Quilts, Inc.
This is the rate card we gave to clients who were placing ads in the 2014 Quilts Buyers’ Guide, a publication we design for Quilts, Inc.

What in the world is a rate card? Basically, it tells you everything you need to know to place an ad in a given publication—and it’s different for every single one! We broke down the basics of where to find the rate card and how to use it to keep your process running smoothly. Check it out!

7) You say, “Let’s use something fun, like Comic Sans!”

Image courtesy of imaginaryanomaly.wordpress.com
Image courtesy of imaginaryanomaly.wordpress.com

All we have to say about that is: Noooooooooo! Your designer can certainly, absolutely, unequivocally find you a better font that is classy, smart, and unique to you. Let us! Pretty please?

6) Embed Your Fonts

Do what now? This is basically a term for a simple process by which your fonts are included as part of a document you send your designer—so they can see those fonts, even if they don’t have them on their computer already. Follow the link for helpful tips on what “embedding fonts” even means, why it matters, and how to do it! Easy!

5) Color: “Why won’t it print like it looks on my screen?”

The Pantone Color Guide. The book depicts roughly the difference you can expect between computer images and printed images.
The Pantone Color Guide shows roughly the difference you can expect between computer images and printed images.

Simple! Sort of. Actually it’s a little complicated. If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty, we explained it all in the original post. Suffice to say, it will look different from screen to page, so make sure to request a color proof, and use the delightful Pantone color guide shown above to help predict how your ad will look printed.

4) Low-Resolution Images

Image courtesy of stackoverflow.com
Image courtesy of stackoverflow.com

Resolution is another one that takes some time to fully explain, but the basic principle is this: send your designer the biggest image possible. This will allow it to be printed larger without blurring. If you’re not sure if it’s big enough, ask your designer! Or, check out the longer article to learn how to identify high- or low-resolution images, and make sure the pictures in your ad are crystal clear!

3) Last-Minute Changes

stop-the-press 2

Allow me to repeat myself: Nooooooooo! Alterations that a client thinks are “quick” may or may not be, and your designer may have to work overtime to get that ad to print by the deadline. Missing the deadline can mean big hassle and even extra fees from a printer if the process is delayed! If you schedule plenty of buffer for your design process, you’ll ensure that last-minute changes are never necessary, and keep your designer (and your wallet) happy.

2) “My last designer was terrible! She wouldn’t give me the design files!”

Uh-oh! When we hear those words we know there’s trouble a-brewing—because most designers won’t give you those files, either. Image courtesy of www.amandavyne.com.
Uh-oh! When we hear those words we know there’s trouble a-brewing—because most designers won’t give you those files, either. Image courtesy of http://www.amandavyne.com.

In general, the client owns the final ad, but not the working design files or various component parts of the ad. This can vary in different situations—we get more specific about that here. Making sure your agreement is crystal clear at the outset can prevent misunderstandings down the road!

1) You say, “Give me something….different/Unique/Special”

Pardon us while we freak out. Image courtesy of www.warcom.com.au
Pardon us while we freak out. Image courtesy of http://www.warcom.com.au

This kind of request is a little too vague, and it puts a lot of pressure on a designer to guess what you might love. We always want to give our clients what they want—but first we have to know what that is. Make sure you know what you’re looking for, or be ready to trust your designer to come up with something awesome! Specific thoughts about color and style can point your designer in the right direction, and examples can be helpful, too!


If you want to learn about our collaboration and design skills firsthand, get more information here or call us at 713-627-1177 to set up your free consultation!

Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 3

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

Image courtesy of http://www.zerouno.org.
Image courtesy of http://www.zerouno.org.

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. stop-the-press 2

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!

Image courtesy of idressmypets.com
Image courtesy of idressmypets.com

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Make Your June “Berrylicious”

The wall above is painted "Berrylicious." A few additional "jewel" tones, plus a pop of turquoise emphasize the  depth and richness of June's featured color. Image courtesy of CMG.
The wall above is painted “Berrylicious.” Additional “jewel” tones, plus a pop of turquoise emphasize the depth and richness of June’s featured color. Image courtesy of CMG.

Color is a huge part of marketing! This is something we touch on over and over again, because while color always remains one of the most important parts of an ad, which colors you use should change from season to season!

Berrylicious, paired with some complementary shades of lighter pink, in wool. Image courtesy of CMG.
Berrylicious, in wool, with complementary shades of pink. Image courtesy of CMG.

Color Marketing Group (CMG) is an organization for color design professions whose mission is to generate “color forecasts.” This means that what CMG does is predict what colors will be on trend, months, and sometimes years ahead of time. Taking a cue from CMG’s color forecasts can be a great way to keep your marketing materials seeming fresh and modern! These guys are the pros when it comes to color, and this month they’re ushering in summer with this deep berry color, called “Berrylicious.”

According to CMG, Berrylicious is:

“rich in color… playful and tempting in a way that makes you smile… it is a color that can stand alone, as well as offer a springboard from which other hues can contrast. It is [a] fresh way to enliven grey, becomes shocking with coral and can be calming when layered with other berry-inspired hues. Fresh from the produce aisle, “Berrylicious” brings luscious to glorious life.”

In addition to making you want pie with their description, CMG also suggests a few exciting ways to use this color for different effects. Incorporating a little Berrylicious into a June ad, program, or new web page might be just the thing to keep your look relevant, modern, and fun!


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Top 10 Things Designers Hate, Number 6: Speaking of Fonts…

Welcome back to our Blog series, “Top 10 Things Designers Hate!” We’ve covered ads with too much text, “Borrowed” images, reading the rate card and, most recently, the impact of fonts on your advertisement. It’s hard to over-emphasize how much fonts affect your ads. So, speaking of fonts, our number six thing designers hate is…

6) When You Don’t Embed Your Fonts

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.

Wingdings: Cute on dogs. Not on your ad. Image courtesy of cafepress.com.
Wingdings: Cute on dogs. Not on your ad. Image courtesy of cafepress.com.

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!

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Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 7

Welcome back to our blog series, “Top 10 Things Designers Hate!” If you haven’t already, definitely go check out our previous posts in this series, about “borrowed” images, rate cards, and ads with too much text! Today’s post will cover another topic that is near and dear to the hearts of many designers: Fonts.


7) You say, “Let’s use something fun, like Comic Sans!”

One of the most important things to know about design is that Comic Sans is not your friend. Nor are Papyrus, Times New Roman, or any other over-used fonts that can be found in Microsoft Word.

This is a good example of a poor font choice. The font is cutesy and fun, but the Harley-Davidson Riding Club should seem cool and tough! Image courtesy of  bonfx.com.
This is a good example of a poor font choice. The font is cutesy and fun, but the Harley-Davidson Riding Club should seem cool and tough! Image courtesy of bonfx.com.

Designers see fonts like this as a “lazy” design choice. Since they are so frequently used, they are perceived as all-purpose fonts. That means they are not going to provide that specific, individualized tone that you’re hoping to achieve with your ad. There are even websites devoted to pointing out bad uses of popular fonts.

Not that we don't love the funny papers! Image courtesy of listpod.net.
Image courtesy of listpod.net.

Your designer likely has a stockpile of hundreds of fonts that aren’t immediately recognizable by the average person. They will certainly have something with the feel you’re looking for, but with the added advantage that clients will not recognize it. That means that they’ll think of the font as unique, and associate it with your business—instead of with the Sunday funny-papers.

A great font can help send the message that you want to send, and tell your story, visually. Instead of asking for a specific font you already know about, try focusing on a general look and tone that you want for your ad! It may help to bring in examples of ads you like, and explain what about them works for you. With that information, your designer will be able to generate a design (with a font) that is perfect for you and your business.

This Kodak ad makes great use of typography! By using a font that evokes an old typewriter, they emphasize the comparison they’re making between pictures and words. Image courtesy of 1stwebdesigner.com.
This Kodak ad makes great use of typography! By using a font that evokes an old typewriter, they emphasize the comparison they’re making between pictures and words. Image courtesy of 1stwebdesigner.com.

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The Taco Bell Chihuahua Campaign

In September 1997, Taco Bell introduced the dog in one advertisement. The advertising campaign began during a peak in the “Burger Wars,” in which several fast food chains engaged in large advertising campaigns against each other.  The dog was made to speak through special effects. Her advertising catch phrase was “¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!” (“I want Taco Bell!”). The figure grew popular, so much that toy figures were produced and the commercial became a recognized piece of popular culture. In July 2000, Taco Bell ended the Chihuahua advertisements, ended its relationship with their creator TBWA, and replaced the company president after the biggest decline in Taco Bell history. Whether you loved the Chihuahua campaign or not, this commercial was very memorable…and THAT’S advertising that works!


The “Big Easy” with Easy Mac ‘n Cheese

Are you a Macaroni and Cheese fan but have a short lunch hour? Kraft Macaroni and Cheese has got the “big easy” for you with this advertisement for Easy Mac ‘n Cheese.

ad-47-500x248 ad-48-500x256

Musical Annie Closes January 2, 1983



The Broadway production of Annie first opened at the Alvin Theatre on April 21, 1977. It was nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won 7, which included Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book. The show closed on January 2, 1983 after a total of 2,377 performances, setting a record for the longest running show at the Alvin Theatre until it was surpassed by Hairspray in 2009.

About the Broadway Annie

Annie is based on the popular Harold Gray comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” and the book by Thomas Meehan. The original production opened in 1977 and ran for almost 6 years. It launched numerous productions in many countries, as well as national tours. The musical’s songs “Tomorrow” and “Hard-Knock Life” are among it’s most popular musical numbers.

Golden Ratio and Layout Design



For nearly 2,400 years the golden ratio has fascinated Western intellectuals. It fascinated a whole community of mathematicians, biologists, artists, musicians, historians, architects, psychologists and even mystics. Ancient Greeks first studied the golden ratio because of how frequently it appeared in geometry.

Book Design
There was a time when the 2:3 proportions were so exact that they were only half a millimeter off. This was most prominent in books produced between 1550 and 1770.

The golden ratio is even used in everyday design such as the shapes of postcards, playing cards, posters, wide-screen televisions, photographs, light switch plates and cars.

Adolf Zeising found the golden ratio expressed in the arrangement of branches along the stems of plants and the veins in leaves. It is also found in the skeletal make-up of animals, the geometry of crystals, and the human form.

The golden ratio appears everywhere and is utilizes as a tool to help produce aesthetically pleasing designs and layouts. You can use this ratio to equally or unequally divide on purpose to get the effect you’re looking for in your design in order to tell a story or invoke an emotion.