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Archive for March, 2009

If it seems like you’re buried under a work load that looks mountainous and seems to be growing while you look at it – you could be a procrastinator.

I find procrastination leading to endless nights of no sleep, more stress, and slightly more irate than I’d be normally if I had done things in advance. Though it happens to everyone, even the best of us.

I’ve tried multiple ways to slay this beast we call procrastination, though none of them working quite as well as I’d like,but never fear, I’ve devised a plan that helps me remember what I need to get done and how to get it done. I’ll take you through my own system of getting around to doing all the things I need to do and to slowly diminish this mountainous pile into a few papers at most.

1. Trick yourself.
By tricking yourself, I don’t mean tricking yourself in a funny haha way. I mean you should set deadlines 3 to 4 days before the actual project is due. Giving time gaps like that, makes it easier that if something were to occur during the process, you have those 3-4 days to go back and fix things and fine tune. That and you won’t be stressing about how you wish you had more time and turning in what is ultimately crap.

2. Write what you have to get done during the week and tack it up somewhere or keep it with you.

For me, I usually write my own list in big bold letters in red and black ink and stick it in front of my computer screen so it’s in my line of vision, and of course having it be an eyesore for myself.

I usually break my tasks down into order of importance, thus where the color coordination comes in handy, though you can do what you wish. I label things in red that I need to get done immediately.

3. Give leeway for things.
It’s all right to take a break every now and then, though never take one longer than needed, because of course there are things you need to get done. The longer break you have, the more time you’re wasting.

4. List things in matter of importance.
This is where color coordinating comes in handy. I usually stick to two colors, red and black. I write the subject in red and then what I need to get done in black. The immediate things I write in all red and in bold. Then I break it up into sub-sections of what I can get done. – I usually do away with the easiest thing first then the hardest at the end, but you can do it however you want.

5. Breaks.
Take them frequently, but in 10 to 15 minute intervals, because any longer and of course you’ll be procrastinating again and/or doing other things not pertaining to what you need to get done.

6. If you’re not feeling creative, do something to get your mind off what you’re working on.
I find creative when I’m not having to think about being creative – no matter how hard that is to believe. Usually I do find my best ideas when I’m not forced into having to think creatively, that or if I’m relaxing. Under the stress and pressure of getting things done last minute, I find things not as I’ve wanted them to be. If you have the time to spare – take a small walk and bring a notepad with you and just jot a couple things down that you see. Sometimes creativity springs from a simple color you might happen to see.

7. Visuals.
Browse through a couple magazines or books that are unrelated. I also find this really helpful. I find it helps break away from what current design you’re working on. Though don’t get too desperate or you might be pulling stuff from other design that you wish you hadn’t – and now is it really you work or not?

8. Always Remember This.
You should be having fun doing what you’re doing, cause if you aren’t then what’s the point? Even under all the stress of things, there’s always room for enjoying what you do.
 

 

Post written by DEF at http://www.twitter.com/DEFgraphics.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

These principals can apply to many design projects you might encounter, but brochures with their emphasis on both copy and images are a particular challenge. When handing off your brochure project to a designer it is most helpful to have all of the checkpoints below:

 

• Correct specs for printing – brochures come in all kinds of shapes, folds and sizes. Some printers require bleeds and crops while others do not. Some require extra resolution, specific color saturation, or certain file formats and settings. By knowing this info up front the designer can make the appropriate accommodations from the start -saving themselves time and clients money.

 

• Images – if you have images of your logo, product, projects, building, principals, etc., dig them out and hand them over at the start. Even if you don’t think they are useful, the designer may see the potential or significance within them. You may also be able to acquire images from your manufacturers or distributors if you have any. They sometimes have very high end photography that they are willing to share for free. If you have no images to offer then be as clear as you can about the type of images the artist should look for. There are literally millions of stock images to search through, but be flexible, sometimes there just isn’t that exact image you are describing.

 

• Copy – To remove the guesswork, you can write the copy for the brochure, sectioned off exactly the way you want it. But allow the artist to edit the copy as needed or be prepared to do so yourself. You can also provide other pieces to pull copy from. It’s best to let the artist know points that have to be emphasized and whether to pick up the copy verbatim. It’s also a good idea to give the artist an outline of what copy should appear in given areas of the brochure.

 

• Preferences – are there certain fonts or colors you absolutely love or hate? Can you provide samples of other designs you like? Any input that a client can provide that would help an artist zero in on the right direction is crucial.

 

After all, clients and artist are both on the same team. When a client succeeds with the designs, the artist becomes successful too. Clear communication from the very start give the designer a step in the right direction and helps promote a positive experience for all.

 

Post written by KRSmith at www.khrysser.com.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were working with an artist on a project and it just wasn’t turning out the way you had hoped? Perhaps both parties are trying but just not talking the same language.

 

When a client says “I want simple and clean.”

An artist generally thinks “white space, simple fonts”.

The best way to be on the same page is to pick out similar designs that you like and explain what you like about them to the artist. Explain how you feel the colors, fonts, and layouts portray the clean look you are trying to achieve. This goes for every visual aspect of the design – whether it is fonts or colors you prefer, picture or type treatments, and even styles of copywriting. Be specific. Say what you mean. And show examples.

 

When a client says “Here is some copy for you to pull from.”

An artist generally thinks “Ok, let me see what works/fits.”

When an artist is asked to build a brochure from copy on a website or other literature we carefully analyze the content, try to look at what might be important from your customer’s point of view, and then we formulate the information into a format that fits within the space and with the design. If you already have in mind what you’d like to emphasize or specific copy that you’d like displayed as you have written, then speak up. You’ll save the artist time and yourself later disappointment!

 

When a client says “I want to be like Google/Nike/Coke/etc.”

An artist would like to tell you “Meet me halfway.”

Developing a brand as strong as Verizon, Amazon, or any of the biggies you can think of requires a meeting of the minds. It’s the company or marketing specialist’s responsibility to devise and implement a strong marketing initiative and to outline the general creed of the company. It’s the artist’s responsibility to design pieces that are on target with the marketing strategies, eye catching, and addressed to the right audience. If both of those forces come together accordingly, then all that is left to make you a mega brand is time and a few tweaks to the program along the way. No matter how great the marketing strategy or how talented the designer, it just can’t happen overnight.

Post written by KRSmith at www.khrysser.com.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit www.makepapereasy.com.

Here we are again, speaking about this concept of clients seemingly finding more comfort dealing with a printer direct than a broker. For the brokers, I am providing some great responses and differentiators to help you overcome the common objections of brokered print services. Keep in mind that these responses assume that you are what I call an ‘above board’ broker, meaning that you state that you are a broker to your clients before doing business with them.

1)      All printers are brokers at some point- The simple fact is that there are virtually no printers out there that do everything ‘in-house’. At some point, in any given project, the printer will need to outsource the work to someone else, whether that is for coating, binding, die-cutting, etc.

2)      Printers often have a higher overhead than brokers- This is a good one, because once in awhile a client will ask to tour someone’s facilities. Now we know what that means- the client wants to see how ‘big’ the machines are, or be ‘wowed’ by the organization of the facility. The fact is that bigger machines and bigger facilities means more people, more bills, bigger lease- otherwise known as bigger overhead. It does not mean that printers cannot be competitive, but the broker has more flexibility to source jobs to what they deem to be the ‘best’ printers.  In fact, it is very common for brokers to work with niche outfits, as they don’t typically have as much overhead, to help reduce overall cost to the client.

3)      Relationship is everything- I am making the assumption that we are talking about brokers that have been around awhile. If that is the case, then it is likely that the client has seen their printer reps come and go, while you continue to help them time and again.

So there you have a few statements of reference to help educate your clients, and overcome the prospective client that hisses and forms a cross with their fingers. It is important to note that you should not act inappropriately (i.e. cocky, smug, brag) when making these statements, because no client really appreciates it when someone denounces the competition, and equally important, the printer they are using could actually be one of your vendors.

 

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

I have had clients ask what the most common sizes are for postcards. So here I have created a list for your referencing pleasure:

1.5″ X 7″;
2″ X 8″;
2.5″ X 2.5″;
3″ X 4″;
4″ X 4″;
4″ X 6″;
4″ X 9″;
4.25″ X 11″;
4.25″ X 2.75″;
4.25″ X 3.66″;
4.25″ X 5.5″;
4.25″ X 6″;
5″ X 7″;
5.5″ X 2.125″;
6″ X 11″;
6″ X 9″;
8″ X 5″;
8.5″ X 2.75″;
8.5″ X 3.5″;
8.5″ X 3.66″;
8.5″ X 5.5″;
8.5″ X 6″

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

Have you ever encountered a scenario like this (either as a client or as an artist)?

A company is in need of a new logo or to revamp the one they already have. With a next to nil budget somebody decides, wouldn’t it be great to hold a contest? The company can see lots of designs from many designers and then offer a cash “prize” for the winning design! Isn’t that brilliant?

As an artist you should be cringing. If your not, then please find another profession. It’s scenarios like this that undermine the true value of our services. You have talent, you’ve paid your dues and earned your education and experience. You do not have to work for free. Repeat it with me. You do not have to work for free.

If you are a client who has ever thought about this, let me explain how unethical it is. Say you own a roofing company. I am in need of a new roof. I’d like you to come and reroof a portion of my house. If I like the job you have done better than the work of your competitors then I will pay you a miniscule static fee of my choosing. Insulted yet? As we are when you present such an offer to us.

If you are saying, “well don’t enter the contest.” Then you have obviously missed the point. We have worked hard to build our talent, knowledge, and experience. We deserve to be fairly paid for that. As an artist, or the employer of artists, please support us in the face of these injustices. Speak out and help end these unfair wage practices today!

 

Post written by KRSmith at www.khrysser.com.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

Sometimes it is painfully obvious that clients have no idea what it takes to create their designs. They have no concept of how much time some revisions can take “just so they can see that it would look like” and they also don’t want to pay for the time. Sometimes they want the impossible – too much text in too little space but it still has to be readable to the hear blind AND it has to be eye-catching? I must have missed buying the special computer sprinkled with pixie dust.

 

So I propose that computer and software developers unveil some new key commands to make our lives easier:

 

Command + J

This will be an instant command to “jazz up” any uninspired layout, boring copy, or terrible logo design. Just a click and all of the client’s wildest dreams come true.

 

Command + Shift + C

For cram it in. Got ten pounds of text to fit in a half page ad? No problem. I’ll just use my Cram It Command.

 

Shift + Option + Command + N

The no white space command. This will guarantee that the color profile 0/0/0/0 never appears in a single pixel of the design.

 

Command +L

For lock and load. Meaning the project is approved by the client and should simultaneously be uploaded to the printer with printed pieces delivered to the client yesterday. This magical button will instantly spell check, pre-flight, collect and deliver all files.

 

Shift + Command + M

The magic pixel button. Got low res pictures that need to be used for print? Do your pictures need impossible editing? Heck, got no image and you have to make the perfect one up? Use this command, it’s magic, and it can even read you client’s minds.

Post written by KRSmith at www.khrysser.com.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit www.makepapereasy.com.

Today’s post is geared towards some tutorial websites that I have seen lately. I hope this is helpful. Let me know.

____________________________

This website spans graphic design, web design & social media:

http://www.noupe.com/category/tutorial

Here is a rather well-known tutorial website that provides detailed steps:

http://psd.tutsplus.com/category/tutorials/

Some websites like this dedicate categories to Photoshop:

http://www.tutorial9.net/category/photoshop/

Here we have a website that believes it has the best Photoshop tutorials: 

http://bestphotoshoptutorials.net/category/tutorials/

This website is focused on web design:

http://www.thewebsqueeze.com/web-design-tutorials/

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ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.