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layout terms

When you are hiring a designer to work on your ad, flyer, book, etc, it is useful to be aware of some basic printing and layout terms. This will help you communicate easily and clearly, and ensure that you get a better product. Below are some of the common terms that cause confusion for many designers and clients.

Justified Text

Justified text is text that is fully aligned on both sides and spans the whole column.

Flush Left Text

If text is flush left, it means that the text is aligned to the left side, and has a ragged right edge.

Body Copy

Body copy is the main text for the flyer, advertisement, etc. When you are asked to “cut copy” it means that the designer would like you to make the text shorter.

Heading 1

The largest heading or title text on the page. This would be your headline.

Gutter

The gutter is a term primarily used primarily when working with books that have a spine. The gutter is the center of the book where the two pages meet. Since a book with a spine will not lay flat, you will usually want to leave a larger margin in the gutter to ensure text and images are easy to see and don’t fall into the “gutter.”

Bleed

Bleed is extending the images, colors, etc slightly past the edge of a design so as to accommodate for shifting when printing. This will ensure that there will be no white edges on your document. A full bleed page has color to the edge.

Crop marks

This is where the printer will cut your document. If you have bleed, it extends beyond these markings.

Safe area

This is a common term when printing with an online printer.  If you see safe area on your template, it means that even if there is a shift when printing, anything within this area should still be safe from being cut off the edge.

Recto

Recto is a term for a right hand page.  This is particularly useful when laying out a book where every chapter opener needs to start on the right. A left hand page would be “verso.”

For my designers out there, what other common terms would you recommend your client take note of?

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In April, I’m giving a talk about creating simple graphics for your business with Fuel DC.  In the spirit of that, I thought I’d introduce a few things to help you here on the blog.

Canva

There are many resources for the entrepreneur who is trying to create simple images for their blog, social media or website.  One of my favorites is Canva.  Canva makes it incredibly easy for you to create graphics for all your business needs by offering you a variety of pre-sized dimensions, including Facebook cover photo, instagram post, etc. From there, you add text and images to create an appealing design.  Canva has a handful of free choices, as well as a variety of designs that cost a very small fee to implement, and is great for someplace with a small budget. Though nothing beats a design eye, Canva is the next best thing to hiring someone to design posts for you.

Infogr.am

Infogr.am is a great resource for creating charts, infographics, etc to dress up your website or newsletter. You can choose your type of graph, input your numbers and colors, and viola!  A chart that looks so much better than the ones that come out of an excel spreadsheet. For a small fee, you can sign up for a subscription that will allow you to download the graphics as pdfs. For a designer, this means you can bring them into Illustrator as vector art, and manipulate them til your heart’s content.

Font Squirrel

Font Squirrel is a great resource for downloading fonts that are free for commercial use. What I love about Font Squirrel compared to some other font sites is that they take the guess work out of it for you. All of their fonts are licensed for commercial use, which means while it is still advisable to read the licensing agreement, most of them can be used on any of your professional marketing products.

Unsplash

Unsplash is one of my favorite sites for free stock photos. They upload 10 high quality photos every 10 days, and those photos are free for to use for commercial purposes without permission or attribution.  Now, there are a lot of stock photo sites out there, but these are downright beautiful. They may not be a fit for every business, but they are certainly worth a look around.

I hope that we have given you some ideas on how to create simple graphics for your business in a cost effective way.  Happy designing!  For more information and to continue the discussion, join me at Fuel DC in April!

*Note: All sites above are to be used at your own discretion. Stacy Kleber Design is not affiliated with them in any way, and makes no guarantees about the quality of the information or the licensing. 

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?

 

As a designer, I often work with logos provided by my clients.  Sometimes, these logos are older, and the brand guidelines have been lost or never existed.

So what can you do if you don’t know what font a company uses in their logo or brand materials?

One of my favorite resources in this situation is a website and/or app called What the Font?.

What the Font? allows you to upload pictures of the font you are looking for, and uses the characteristics to help you identify the font. It is not always perfect, but it is fairly accurate, and where it is not, it will almost certainly help you to narrow it down.

Another great resource for finding or identifying fonts is Identifont. Identifont has slightly different resources, and lets you identify a font by choosing a variety of characteristics or even typing in a partial name.  I particularly like the ability to identify a font by a symbol.

If you prefer dealing with real people, then Typophile may be the best option for you. Typophile has a specific message board for you to post images of fonts, where they will help you to identify the mysterious characters. Typophile also has a lot of great discussions on using fonts in particular designs, combining fonts, etc on its other forums.

What other great resources have you found for identifying fonts?

 

 

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.