We all feel it sometimes – that sense of dread when we realize that we have creative block, and the ideas just aren’t flowing. What can you do when this happens to you? Here are my top 5 ways to boost creativity.
Tip 1: Travel
It doesn’t have to be far, and it doesn’t have to be for long, but nothing boosts me out of creative block like travel. Sometimes, it is a vacation. Sometimes, it is just a walk. But getting away from the screen and looking around can sometimes spur the unlikeliest of inspiration. Plus, the sun and outdoors will inevitably give you a mood boost as well.
Tip 2: Look
Look for inspiration – be it google or in art books or in the morning newspaper. Seeing what other people have created will likely inspire some new ideas of your own.
Tip 3: Play
Don’t be afraid to get all of your ideas down without judging. Does something about the curve of the typography inspire you? Try it out and see what happens. Eventually, playing with different aspects of your project will lead you to a cohesive final idea.
Tip 4: Decorate
Make sure that where you work is a creative space. My desk is surrounded by type specimens, gifts from friends who travel, famous design sayings and projects in progress. It makes me happy, and that translates into my work.
Tip 5: Relax
Listen to some music. Do some yoga. Get yourself in a relaxed mindset and the ideas will be more likely to flow.
Above all, remember – you can do this! Every creative person struggles with the blank page. What do you do to help yourself beat creative block?
A lot of businesses send out promotional materials in December as a thank you to their clients for the holidays. But why limit it to December? With a day for nearly everyone, we think you should pick your own holiday to celebrate. After all, holidays are a great opportunity to keep in touch with clients and set yourself apart from the pack.
Here is a list of some of our fun favorites for every month to get you started*:
January 26, 2015 – Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day
Who doesn’t love Bubble Wrap? If I were going to send out something for this, I would send out bubble wrap and a list of fun things to DO with bubble wrap on a card. Because lets face it. Popping bubble wrap is just fun.
February 17, 2015 – Random Acts of Kindness Day
This one would be great for a non-profit. What better way to further your cause than to call attention to Random Acts of Kindness Day? Do something nice for your clients or donors and ask them to pass it on.
March 14, 2015 – Pi Day
Pi day is already pretty popular. This might be a good one for some of the services out there that specialize in numbers and math. OR use Pi Day as an excuse to send your clients a real pie. After all, who doesn’t love pie?
April 13, 2015 – Scrabble Day
For the wordsmiths out there, this could be a fun holiday to send out designs or cards with Scrabble tile inspiration.
May 15, 2015 – Bike to Work Day
Bike to Work Day is super popular in the DC area. Try sending a mailer with some sort of reflector for a bike or vest that has your logo.
June 5, 2015 – Donut Day
This is another easy one. A dozen donuts is low in cost, and food is always a hit with clients. If you work with local businesses, hand delivery means a lot as well.
July 2o, 2015 – Lollipop Day
Lollipops are fun and easy to customize. Get some lollipops in your brand colors and send them to clients.
August 9, 2015 – Book Lovers’ Day
Book Lovers’ Day is a great day for you to share knowledge with your clients. Does your company have a book? Promote it! If you are a marketing agency, it might also be a good time to send a list of your favorite recommended books to help your clients succeed in their marketing efforts.
September 19, 2015 – Talk Like a Pirate Day
This is another day that took off due to internet fame. Why not send all your clients a pirate eye-patch or bandana with your logo and help them look the part?
October 30, 2015 – Check List Day
Who doesn’t love those notepads that have the presorted checklist for your day? They can include everything from a list of grocery suggestions to a list of things to do. Put your logo on them, and you have a great promo for Check List Day! Maybe even add your company to the list.
November 26, 2015 – Cake Day
Do I need to say more?
December 21, 2015 – Crossword Puzzle Day
This is another fun day. Create your own crossword puzzle for your clients with a secret message. Include a link where they can find the key online.
So search the internet and find a holiday to make your own. It never hurts to connect with clients throughout the year, and this is an easy way to stand out and create a holiday synonymous with your business.
*Holidays via Days of the Year
We’ve all been there. Your company is developing their first brochure and you need some photos to fill the space. But what should you pick? Here are my 5 tips when choosing stock photos.
Tip 1: For kids or corporate stock, try to pick something natural.
All those photos of kids and corporate execs smiling at the camera are great, but they scream “posed.” Look for photos of people in a more natural setting, talking to each other or engaging in an activity. This will look less contrived, and will make the photos seem like they could have been taken specifically for your materials.
Tip 2: Keep your audience in mind.
Different countries or audiences have different expectations, so keep your target audience in mind when choosing photos. Does the area have sensitivities to how women should be portrayed? Should your photos be multicultural? Does their corporate culture include employees in suits or in jeans? These are all good things to consider when choosing your photos.
Tip 3: What is your budget?
Sure, Getty has some great photos, but they are also often incredibly expensive. If you have a low photo budget, you may want to stick with a less expensive option such as iStock or Dreamstime. This will allow you to get more for your money.
Tip 4: Beware of editorial use only.
Many of my clients send me links to photos they like, only for me to find the “editorial use only” note below them on the page. Keep an eye out for this when browsing on stock sites. These photos can be used in a newspaper or magazine article, but can not be used for advertising and promoting your business.
Tip 5: Size matters.
There is no hard and fast rule as to what size you will need for an article or website. It really depends on how large the photo is being used. Generally, you can assume a photo should be 300 dpi for print and 72 dpi for web. For most sites, this means your photo will need to be “medium” or larger if being used in a print piece.
I hope these tips will help you in your quest for stock photography. Keep them in mind next time you browse.
To start off the new year, I thought we would talk about something light-hearted. So, as a designer, here are my 10 things to know about dating (or marrying) a graphic designer.
1. You will never be able to watch movie titles again. Oh, the kerning!
2. Your house will be covers in letters and typography. Trust me.
3. Your significant other will get lost in Paper Source – and need to touch everything. (Paper! Texture! Color!)
4. Your wedding will be perfectly color coordinated in Pantone swatches.
5. You will be painfully aware of the release of every knew Apple product. (Apple Pay, Apple Watch, iPhone 6, oh my!)
6. You will never use Comic Sans again. Ever.
7. You will find out there is a documentary called Helvetica – and much to your dismay, it is available on Netflix.
8. You will be stopped on the street to take pictures of signs and letters. (Yes, we do love type.)
9. Your significant other will always have a Sharpee.
10. Your child’s first book will be “CSS for Babies.”
Infographics have become a huge trend in design over the last few years. Why are they so popular? There are a number of reasons…
Here are our top 3:
They take dense and sometimes boring info and make it easily digestible.
For so long, we looked at stats in one way – excel graphs, pie charts, tables, etc. And while this visually helps us understand to a point, infographics take that one step further. They often give the charts and graphs context, and make them creative and fun to look at. The more time people spend looking at it, the more they will remember and understand.
They are ideal for illustrating on social media.
Almost all social media channels at this point allow the incorporation of images. In fact, some like Facebook, have algorithms that give you preference if you have an image. Others, like Twitter, show a proven track record of increased views and interactions when you include images. Infographics allow you to easily show a snippet of your blog post, article, etc in a visual manner on these types of platforms.
They incorporate design trends.
Many infographics very successfully complement the latest trend of flat design. This not only makes your company look current, but also allows the infographic to house a lot of information without appearing cluttered.
As you can see, infographics are a fun way to enhance your company’s articles, blog posts, newsletters, etc. Interested in hearing more? Contact us at www.skleber.com to begin your design journey with Stacy Kleber Design, LLC.
This week, Pantone announced their 2015 color of the year – Marsala. Marsala is an interesting pick. It is a deep, earthy red with some brown tone to it – a far cry from last year’s Radiant Orchid, which was more of vibrant pastel purple.
I wasn’t crazy about Marsala at first glance, but I have to admit the color is growing on me.
If you haven’t seen it, check it out here: Pantone 2015
What should your palette be?
To start, this is the kind of color that would look very rich mixed with a black, white and gold color palette.
For a more modern mix, Pantone has been showing it on their site with pale peaches and light aquas – an interesting and yet visually appealing choice.
What sort of message is it sending?
Marsala is a color that is both warm and yet strong. It will be more soothing than a vibrant red, and more friendly than a typical brown tone.
How can it be used?
It has a richness to it that makes it extremely versatile in both upscale design, as well as in more earthy design. It can be both “dressed up” and “dressed down” depending on how you use it.
In design, it should likely be used in moderation, as it will be a very dominant color. There are exceptions to every rule, however…
How will you be using Marsala this year?
When you are starting a business, you will have to choose whether or not to invest in design. To help you with that, this week I’d like to debunk 5 common misconceptions about design.
Misconception 1: My brother/sister/niece/insert-family-member-here can design my materials.
If your brother/sister/niece/etc has a design degree, then go for it! But design takes training and sensibility. It is more than access to proper software. It requires research on the industry you are designing for, understanding of trends and years of honed skills – all of which go on behind the scenes. Don’t sell yourself short by skimping on materials that will be part of your first impression.
Misconception 2: I don’t like it, therefore it isn’t good.
Don’t fall into the trap of confusing personal taste with the appeal to your audience. Maybe the creator of Barbie really loved pink – maybe they still do. Or maybe, more than likely, he or she put their personal feelings aside, since they knew pink would resonate with the hearts of every little girl around the globe. And it worked.
Misconception 3: If I have the designer do this in Word, I can update it myself.
On some levels, this is true. But I have seen too many projects get watered down and lose impact because people insist on updating them themselves. Not only will you get a better product in a professional design program, rather than in Word, but the designer will pay attention to details that you may not consider – such as line breaks, orphans, widows, etc. For a truly professional and polished design, make your edits with a professional.
Misconception 4: I don’t need a printed proof. When I print this, it will look exactly like the version on my screen.
No two screens will ever show color exactly the same. And since printing is CMYK and screens are RGB, the same is true of color properties. This is particularly true of printing Pantone colors in CMYK – depending on their ink make-up, it is likely they will lose some of their vibrancy. It is always imperative to check color on a proof when color matching is important to the overall design.
Misconception 5: Designers make it pretty.
Yes, as a matter of fact, we do. But design is about way more than that. Design is an essential part of your brand. It helps sell and persuade. It has concept and purpose, and is more than just pretty pictures for their own sake. A common quote is “Good art sends a different message to everyone. Good design sends the same message to everyone.”
At Stacy Kleber Design, LLC, we take pride in our design and our ability to help our clients. For more information, visit www.skleber.com.