I have established
a recap of student projects headquartered on this Web site.
I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that I've had a succession
of some of the most talented students I have ever had the privilege
to teach. Because my classes are getting larger, I've had to
modify the course to accommodate the many and varied learning
styles I've encountered. I really enjoy teaching this particular
course the most because it gives me a lot more latitude to be
creative. I've been dividing the class into teams and providing
creative projects for each team on which to collaborate.
In one of
my classes, one team had to create a concept for a food product...
including name, label graphics, billboard and ad samples. The
product became SnakeEye Salsa. Another team had to develop an
identity and ad samples for a very technically sophisticated
product called the Clarke College Webcast Network. A third team
had to develop an ad campaign for a new school aimed at business
communicators called Multimedia University.
and services are listed below including some of the team's samples.
There are also links to take you to pages or PowerPoint files
dedicated to these projects. They are delightful. In fact, they
were so good, I felt it was a shame we didn't have an actual
opportunity to make these ideas a reality. For example, check
out the following Web-based project prepared by one team who
had to develop a look for an exciting new concept, "Multimedia
University.": You better mark this page so you can
get back here from this set of Web pages.
there is the Webcast Team. What's a Webcast you ask? Webcasting
is video and audio programming and productions that can be deployed
on the Internet. It could be a wonderful way of extending Clarke
College's reach to its alumni, family members and friends around
on the logo above and you will deploy a Powerpoint program in
your browser that was used by our Clarke Webcast Network team.
Salsa Team is in the process of forwarding their work to be
posted on this site.
this page and come on back!
What follows is a continuous stream of my lecture notes from
class to class. At left is a hyperlinked list of dates which
you can use to jump to a specific class. Handy or what? This
will be particularly useful when preparing for the exam at the
end of the quarter or if you should miss a class. If you are
compelled to print these notes out, fine, but because it is
a contiguous document, you may end up wasting a lot of paper
from week to week.
tip for printing the notes: Simply highlight and copy
new material that appears here from week to week, and paste
it into a word processing program (Word works best since it
will maintain formatting). Then print it.
Look & Feel
landscape is all about brands. We live in a highly visual and
multimedia environment. There is a seemingly endless barrage
of brand names and symbols that quite quite literally dance
in and out of our view. Some are obvious, like a 14 x 48 foot
outdoor sign you drive by every day to work. Some are subtle
still prominent, such as product placement in a motion picture
where the brand becomes a prop. FedEX packages and the logo
are not just prominent in the Tom Hanks film, "Castaway,"
but they are an integral part of the story.
knows what FedEX stands for... delivering packages on time,
and it is so perfectly logical for the main character to be
obsessed with time. It is his obsession, this symbol of what
forms the character, and it is so eloquently captured in a simple
logo on the side of a truck, embroidered on a jacket, the hat
Tom Hanks wears, and, of course, the packages that wash up on
the shore of the deserted island upon which he is cast away.
Brand becomes an invaluable story element.
Take a walk
down a typical supermarket aisle. There are literally thousands
of brands, logos, trademarks, packed on the shelves, all competing
for your attention. It's surprising how many of the brands you
see are comfortably familiar. What often motivates you from
selecting one variety of soup over another is a product of how
well the brand's marketing agents informed you of the brand's
virtues. That brand was beamed to you via a television commercial
perhaps that tucked the image into the corner of your brain
while you watched an episode of Survivor on CBS last week.
a logo or trademark can be simple or complex depending on the
number of people involved in the process and the credibility
of the designer or design firm working on the logo. It is a
process of collection, projection, and distillation. Like all
design exercises, you must determine the product's "look
are your logo or trademark is evocative of something familiar
to the target audience. As an example, if you're designing a
logo for a bottle of hot sauce, subtle variations of color would
probably be less successful than more dramatic contrasting colors
on the packaging. If your sauce is designed to evoke ethnicity
or a region of the hemisphere like Latin America, than colors
popular in that region's culture would be logical for your product's
the advent of the Web has fueled the need for equity making
brands.The Web is all about brand marketing because it is a
highly visual medium. Also, because the Web is still a frontier,
brands are essential in building a consumer's confidence.
One of the
challenges in creating an effective logo is making it easy to
recognize without being too derivative and jejune. Many times,
in working with a customer on a new product logo, I asked, "Do
you want to look similar to your competitors or totally different
from your competitors?" In almost all cases, the client
will respond, "I want to look totally different."
But when the design is executed, and it diverges too much from
what other familiar companies are doing visually in the marketplace,
the client balks. In retrospect, no client wants to appear "uncreative"
or unwilling to take a risk with an exciting new visual. But
be advised, ask the question at least twice, and seek absolute
clarification. The question should be worded, "Is it important
for your customers to be able to recognize a look and feel that
has become a standard in your marketplace?
In the textbook
publishing field, for example, the use of primary colors in
a Web site spells "k-12 marketplace" and won't be
desirable among publishers in the secondary education marketplace.
three design elements of a logo or trademark which include:
- what is the logical symbol that could be included?
- What is the color scheme of our trademark? Is it four
color process or a collection of spot colors? What is the manufacturing
process that will be used to portray the logo on a package?
If it's woven hemp seed bag on which only two colors can be
silk screened, then four color process is not practical.
- What type style will best portray the name of the product.
Will is be incorporated into the logo in a special position?
Will the symbology ever be separated from the logotype? Should
we develop our own unique font for our logo or trademark?
obvious considerations include:
the various ways the logo will be portrayed besides in print
and on labels? Embroidered or screen printed on textiles such
as uniforms or promotional items? Personally, when I design
a logo or trademark, I ask myself the following questions?
1. How does
this logo look on a 3-inch business card?
2. How would
this logo look embroidered over a shirt pocket?
3. How large
can my logo appear on an outdoor sign such as a 14 x 48 foot
5. How can
my design work on a vehicle such as a pickup truck, van, side
of a city bus or semi-tractor trailer?
6. How does
my logo look on television, but more importantly, how can my
trademark be animated for a television commercial.
7. How does
the logo work on a Web site? How does it work as button? How
small can I make the logo and still maintain recognition?
Assignment: 1 The Logo
assignment is to develop a logo for one of the following products
or services. In some cases, the product or service is one that
has been around for a while. It will be your job to create a
new and improved look.
The Multimedia University at Clarke College. This
is a school within a school product which will be marketed to
companies and organizations with creative departments. The concept
is to provide both on-line and workshop/campus-based multimedia
technology emersion courses with an emphasis on creative problem
solving. The logo will be used in print, on the Web and animated
Clarke College Webcast Network (CWN at Clarke College, or Webcast
Network, or WebNet at Clarke College, etc.) This
is a logo which will be usedin print and online as a static
graphic and animated video clip. The Webcast Network will provide
live and streaming video via the Internet for the at-large Clarke
Salsa Cooked over an Open Fire. This
product is unique among the three listed here because the name
hasn't been decided upon. We thought we would leave this up
to the design team. This is a product that was born over a backyard
barbecue involving large buckets of bumper crop tomatos. The
product became popular among friends and family, and now retailers
are asking if they can stock it. The logo will be used on label
caps as well as jar labels, as well as print and online.
the logo, and evoctive combination of a bold type face
and an image of a hand on a computer mouse. The concept
was distilled from team discussion and several ideas that
evolved. Our tools include a student's hand, a digital
camera, a desk lamp, and PhotoShop (Adobe Systems) software.
began this lesson with a digital photo of one of our classmember's
hand. We auditioned hands to find the one with the most
definition. We illuminated the hand not with the camera
flash, which would have flattened out the image reducing
contrast, but with a nearby desklamp with a 65 watt bulb
which provided just the right light. Improvisation!
we imported the photograph in Adobe PhotoShop where we
constructed a mask out of vectors, and isolated the hand
and mouse from the background. It's important to have
control over the image, and the best and most precise
way to create a mask is to use the vector tool in PhotoShop
which allows your to create a perfectly contoured line
which outlines the shape you wish to export.
you can save the vector path in case you have to return
to your original illustration to do further edits. Also,
the vector path can be exported to programs like Quark Xpress
where it could be used for another design project involving
is a test image as a dithered halftone. A dithered half
tone is an image reduced to basically two colors, black
and white. The halftoning is achieved by forcing the image
through a stochastic screen which uses variously spaced
pixels to render the image's shadows, middle tones and highlights.
There are fewer pixels in the highlights, more in the shadows.
The image in the smaller window is a test to see how the
newly dithered halftone would fare in a radical reduction.
It does well, and in fact looks extremely good at smaller
PhotoShop a dithered halftone is achieved in the Mode
command. You save the grayscale image as a bitmap. You
are given options in which to screen the image... dithered
halftone, dot screen, patterned screen, etc. Essentially
this reduces your grayscale image to just two colors,
black and white.
is our basic lettering scheme. We chose a bold face that
would allow us to mask in the image of the hand and mouse
inside of the letters. Obviously, if the letters are too
thin, we won't see enough of the hand and mouse.
image of the hand and mouse is imposed into the logotype
using the Paste Inside command.
logo in all its glory with a tagline below and a dark
blue selected for coloration.
are the pieces of the logo for download and experimentation.
Layers in Photoshop
Clarke Webcast Network Logo
is the mascot or symbology for our second ad design project,
the Clarke Webcast Network. It portrays a vintage television
console with a mouse attached to it. Now the task is to
find an appropriate logo type to match this. I'm thinking
something between George Jetson and the grille of a 1957
found it. It looks very Chevy. The best way to sell a
seemingly complex technology is to evoke nostalgia. The
comparison of today's "computers as an entertainment,
news and communication media to the emergence of television
in the '50s is just too good to not capitalize on it.
But as you can see, the letters by themselves don't make
a logo. We need to figure out a way to unify all the elements
into one cohesive graphic.
we look for a shape. The elipse below, shaded blue metallic
and embossed is what we'll try. We've got a lot of words,
to deal with, so we will emphasize the most important
word among the three above... "Clarke."
offset the name to the left to make room for our TV. Let's
also make the type as thick as we can to create to appearance
The shades of blue are working well. Color plays an important
role in unifying images. But so does the embossing, giving
everything a sculpted look.
chose a different but similar type for the Webcast Network
portion of the logo, and it works just fine.The other
type was just not as legible.
Webcast Logo Photoshop.psd
SnakeEye Salsa Team
absolutely fantastic design concept by the SnakeEye Salsa
team. Clifton Henri, their resident graphic designer,
worked his magic on this distillation of several ideas
that the team developed after being snookered on the original
concept, "SnakeBite Salsa." Sometimes setbacks
are opportunities in disguise.
has been a particular challenge for the Salsa team because
they must design a real product, which includes packaging,
prototyping, label making, and product research. For example,
here's how the logo fits into the jar label.
team's first concept involved a different kind of snake
than this one. Their first concept was a cobra which to
the client made no connection to the ethnicity of the
product which is southwest. Now, if we were marketing
a spicy Indian curry sauce, then a cobra would make sense.
The snake is much improved with emphasis on the eye which
is actually a flame.
take a jar of somebody else's salsa, steam off the label,
and paste on the inkjet output above, and you got a prototype.
Determining Look & Feel
assigned the responsibility of formulating an advertising campaign.
What information do you need to know to determine look and feel?
compile a list...
are the Products Benefits?
are the Tangibles and Intangibles?
the Marketing Plan?
percentage is push and what percentage is pull?
- Is this a seasonal
- Is this
a regional product?
does the packaging look like?
can it be found in the retail store?
dominates the market?
does the competition look like?
is the products legacy?
long has it been marketed?
have past ad campaigns looked like? What was successful and
what was not?
- If there
is no legacy, what are the publics perceptions and expectations?
the target audience?
Who is the
primary demographic or target market?
competition? If so, how is market share divided among competitors?
who is a potentially untapped resource that can
grow our sales if we appeal to them?
transcend cultural or gender lines?
publications are in our mix?
media vs. targeted media
vs. Non-intrusive advertising
vs. Non-intrusive Advertising
of every advertising team to is to develop an ad that will attract
attention and motivate the viewer to think or act a way that
is favorable to the product.
of this design class, we have divided advertising design strategies
into two basic categories: Intrusive and Non-intrusive.
Publications such as Time Magazine and USA Today are mass marketed
to a broad audience. Advertising. people read these publications
for news and not for the advertising. Consequently, competition
to capture the reader's attention among the pages of such publications
is strong. A copywriter and designer must quickly capture
the reader's attention, often in some provocative way.
Your ad is "intruding" in their news and feature space.
One could say the epitome of intrusive advertising is television
commercials with the possible exception of infomercials.
On the other
hand, a publication which is targeted to a specific group, such
computer enthusiasts, actually welcomes advertising as a source
of valuable information, almost as important as the news and
features contained in the publication. Thus, it is logical to
assume that ads can contain much more information to help readers
make purchasing decisions. However, such publications
are often filled with provocative advertising among what appears
to be highly competitive advertisers. Particularly if
there is price competition among a product category (catalogers
for example), ads become highly detailed price listings. Bottom
line, of course, is they work among a classification of readers
who are price shoppers. Excellent examples of non-intrusive
advertising can be found in magazines such as Sports Afield,
Women's Day, InfoWorld, PC Magazine where ads are often disguised
can contain both intrusive and non-intrusive advertising.
Advertising supplements for the local food store, filled with
coupons and specials, are non-intrusive to the household manager
looking to save on groceries and home cleaning products.
On the other hand, a full page ad for the new Plymouth Neon
embedded in the middle of the Sports Section, is most certainly
intrusive. The automobile dealer display ads in the automotive
section of the classifieds are non-intrusive among car shoppers
who are often attracted to such sections when looking for a
use the terms intrusive and non-intrusive advertising to quickly
determine our ad campaign's overall look and feel.
- Uses and Permissions
Organization: Assigning Responsibilities and Matching Talent
Collaboration: The team must divide up responsibilities
along areas of expertise. Project Manager as well as other key
appointments to handle the group's obligations and responsibilities:
(the person who handles the money)
on the depth of your talent pool and numbers on your team, you
may combine any two of the above positions into one appointment.)
must process its tasks and meet their objectives. There are
four types of management tasks in any creative enterprise:
Managing Assets and Agendas: How to organize and
manage the visual design process through assessment of known
assets, marketing objectives, client and staff agendas.The
most important responsibility, perhaps, is mediating any
conflict that may arrise and moving the group toward consensus
and the most effective product the team is capable of producing.
Managing Compositional Elements: How to create
and use design software for the management of compositional
elements for maximum visual impact and clarity of information.
Managing the Message: How to determine and ensure
information is being effectively transferred to the viewer.
Managing the Process: How to manage the ad production
process which includes media specifications from reproduction
technologies to paper stocks, from direct marketing and
display advertising to the new media and World Wide Web.
a Project Manager: someone on the
team who will manage the schedule and make sure deadlines are
met, and that team members have the resources necessary to complete
Manager: someone on the team with knowledge and abilities
to take a design and get it to either hard copy or compatible
file format for target media (print, Web, video, etc.). The
Production Manager is also in charge of coordinating the presentation
materials for class. This is not a solo performance, however.
The Production Manager must seek help and expertise when appropriate.
Editor: someone on the team in charge of final copy development.
Everyone on the team will contribute in terms of research, brainstorming,
copy development, etc., but one person on the team must take
responsibility for final copy editing and submission
This is pivotal in the development of the marketing message.
Responsible for the actual art and photographic production.
- Handles the money which includes credits, debits, share
holder investments, and the balance sheet at the end of the
course. The comptroller keeps complete records of transactions
and inventories the team's assets (digital cameras, scanners,
software, hardware, etc.). It's important for the team to get
a handle on its capabilities and resources.
Level Project Goals:
is responsible for taking the contributions of the group and
distilling them into the most effective concept. Here are the
team's project goals:
design which requires developing a production-ready graphic.
What is a prodution-ready graphic? One that is ready for target
media distribution or manufacture (as in packaging).
and Feel: this transcends the logo design to prototypical
ads and packaging concepts. A color scheme and some texture
samples evolve from those colors used in the logo, perhaps.
Target media is selected for tests of the look and feel. With
the Web cast network and the Multimedia University, your target
media may be more electronic like a Web site. With a food product
(the salsa), a package design, display ad or poster would be
most appropriate to pursue.
Discussion Notes #1
Seven Essentials of Graphic Design
Every client has
a story to tell, and it's your job as a designer to find out
story the client wants to tell.
Discuss the strategies
one must take to reveal precisely what the customer wants.
What are the four basic elements of design?
Line, Shape, Type and Texture.
How do you use lines and what are four things they evoke?
Strength, Mood, Organization, Texture
Back to Top
Discussion Notes #2
ANGULAR CAPITAL LETTERS SHOUT! while thin, curvy letters
in upper-lower case whisper.
are the five considerations when choosing type?
Chapter 3: Contrast
just make a design visually engaging, but it is a prime organizing
factor for a design's information.
Contrast Via Shape
Contrast Via Value
Contrast Via Color
Chapter 4: Layout
A design's layout
is a map for the viewer.
The Elements of a
5: Grid Systems
except to the trained eye, grid systems are a subtle but vital
part of the design process.
the reason for a grid system?
6: Identity Design: Logo & Logotypes
is what every company or organization wants.
7: Critique and Analysis
and analysis actually opens your eyes to infinite possibilities.
Discussion Notes #8
of Shape in Layout and Design
good composition is an evocative arrangement of shapes, and
sometimes it can consist of a shape within a shape, within a
shape, all of which combine to direct a viewers attention,
evoke a mood, condition a recognition response (logos and brands).
Name as many design elements as you can that can convey shape:
illustration, logo, trademark, borders, type elements, lines,
five things should you consider when using shape
is a texture?
is the fourth element of design, which is defined as an objects
visual or tactile surface characteristics and appearance
In graphic design, texture is most often used as a secondary
element to reinforce an idea, rather than as the primary element
to communicate a concept.
examples of how texture is used in design:
paper stocks, embossing and foil stamping, solid spot color,
intaglio or mezzotinting, dramatic use of black and white photography
opposed to color can be interpreted as a textural element.
are the six considerations when using texture?
to top of page
Notes #9: Strategies for Developing Effective Advertising Copy
is designed to help you develop a strategy for crafting your
advertising copy. Though in a display ad, the copy portion may
be extremely brief (like on an outdoor advertising sign or Web
page ad banner), it must evoke the value to the consumer or
target audience of the product or service you are promoting.
will be your fact finding strategy as you sit across from your
client and discuss your advertising approach. Time is precious,
and you want to be as effective and productive as possible during
these meetings. What follows are some guidelines to help you
get started and motivated. Assuming you know nothing or very
little about your client's product, or you may know a lot, this
is still and effective way to organize your material.
Value Propositions: There are three kinds of company values.
Each represents a strength, a core value, which propels the
company through every decision and innovation. These are called
"Value Propositions" and they Product Leadership,
Operational Excellence and Customer
Intimacy. Can a company possess more than one of these
value propositions? Yes, but one will emerge as the leading
value above all others. This is what you, as a copywriter, need
to think of a company that embodied Product Leadership as a
value proposition, several in the class suggested Nike.
However, the problem with Nike of late is that they have lost
marketshare to increasingly innovative competitors, and have
had to deal with negative fallout from their overseas "sweatshop"
associate suppliers (Nike allegedly owns no manufacturing facilities
itself, but contracts all their shoe and sportsclothes making
to overseas suppliers). This would be legacy information that
may lead you, the creative resource person, to develop an advertising
concept to counteract the negative, or at the very least, accentuate
will be your fact finding strategy as you sit across from your
client and discuss your advertising approach? Time is precious,
and you want to be as effective and productive as possible during
your fact finding mission with the client.
are some guidelines to help you get started and motivated. Assuming
you know nothing or very little about your client's product,
or you may know a lot, this is still and effective way to organize
client promoting Product Leadership? What company comes to your
mind when you think of Product Leadership?
Leader... first in the marketplace with the technology,
for quality products
should be the emphasis of your advertising copy? Simply
the best, most innovative product is being offered by
your client promoting Operational Excellence?
the copany like FedEX or United Parcel, which have huge
and sophisticated capital-intensive infrastructures dedicated
to doing one thing extremely well? Here are some others:
a consistent product worldwide
fast food concept which was culture changing
technology, such as the Internet, to provide complete
customer satisfaction at an extremely competitive price.
should be your focus in your ad copy? Technology, people
and a system that delivers customer satisfaction.
your client one who leverages Customer Intimacy to gain
market leadership? In this information age, there is a
growing number of companies who depend on relationship
selling to grow their businesses. Some examples:
and Gateway Computers
sell similar if not identical products, but their product
support is what endears customers to their business.
maintain a high motivated, well-trained team of on-line
experts who are empowered and dedicated to complete
maintain a huge database of information on their customers...from
when they were shopping for a computer through the actual
purchase and their most recent service call.
not hang up on a customer until they are up and running
and 100 percent satisfied.
for these marketing trends in customer intimacy:
K-Mart.com and Walmart.com
sell similar if not identical products... consumer commodities,
so to speak. What will they do differently on the Web?
are offering free delivery through fulfillment among their
network of stores in virtually every community in the
country. You order online, they maintain a record of your
purchases, and as future opportunities allow, they will
provide you with e-mail specials on products you need
when you need them. Scotts Turf-Builder, purchased on
line last spring will cause Walmart.com to make a similar
offer at an exceptional price to you this and every spring,
and they will deliver free the heavy bags to your doorstep
saving you a lot of hassles. K-Mart is calling their on-line
service "Blue Light E-mails." What's your message?
"Our product is excellent because the people behind
it are the best at what they do. Get to know us, and we
will ensure your complete satisfaction."
Notes #10: The Brochure Concept
class with an engaging demonstration of how line, type, shape
and texture all factor in the execution of a brochure design
I had worked on the previous week. I saved all of the intermediate
steps to show how the concept evolved from idea to finish. It
turned out to be a perfect example of how line, type, shape
and texture can combine to create a particularly evocative communication
piece.Here was the challenge. I had to create a brochure
for our newly formed Washington, DC sales group. This team works
in the Washington area looking for new business opportunities
for the company for which I work as a creative.
are some of the problems I had to deal with:
Even though our company is headquartered in the Midwest, the
brochure should look like a company doing business inside the
beltway. Images of Washington landmarks are preferred over company
images that evoke the heartland. How can we suggest Washington
without looking like so many other companies doing business
in our nation's capitol?
Our company offers many services, so many, in fact, listing
them all in a brochure makes for a lot of copy not to mention
confusion among certain customers. I mean, does a Defense Department
customer need to see social services type images in the brochure?
Likewise, do brochures targeting the Internal Revenue or Department
of Labor customers need images of military personnel?
A brochure attempting to target all possible audiences may risk
being too general, too abstract and unfocussed.
where a designers knowledge of available technology comes in
handy. For example, if you know about POD (Print On Demand)
that utilizes database technology which can assemble customized
brochures in low volumes, each brochure with slight variations
designed to appeal to a specific recipient, you can solve a
lot of problems.
I can design a fairly complex layered assemblage of images each
on their own editable layer in PhotoShop. I can add and subtract
images at will, saving the images as .EPS files. Then, I can
bring in the appropriate illustration into Quark Xpress, a page
layout program, in which I lay the customized text over the
top of my imported illustration. There is software that can
store and place the illustrations in batch processed print orders,
producing full-color customized brochures of infinite variety,
all without separate setups. I won't kid you... this kind of
thing takes some time on the front end to do well, but it's
worth it. We're not building a brochure, but a communications
tool. And think of all of printing we will save money on because
we are not storing it in some warehouse were it becomes obsolete
in a week and most are ultimately unused and discarded!
we have to build a design that works with this kind of flexibility.
cover treatment. I have a general idea of how the entire brochure
will look. I want to use texture in the form of light limestone,
the kind used on exteriors of some federal monuments. I also
want to use the deep dark blue of our own company colors. I'll
reserve that for the cover, which I want to be a study in contrasts.
Background with embossed columns I obtained from clip
art. I made the pixels a different hue of blue and then
embossed them with PhotoShop's embossing tool.
The larger column image is another clip image of a column
top. I posterized it, dither halftoned it, and manipulated
the transparency tool in the layer in which I pasted it.
The lightbulb is a cliche, but its such an exceptional
image, it works better than I thought.
Type in place, I enlarged certain words to make the text
communicate on two levels... close up and far away.
my start. The columns represent my use of line. The angle is
much more interesting than if I depicted them straight up and
down. The columns are also evocative images that suggest Washington
without showing an actual monument. The lightbulb would have
been too much of a cliche if it were not as interesting as this
particular piece of clip art. I used PhotoShop for the entire
composition, and, as you may know, one of the great tools in
PhotoShop is Render Lens Flair. This touch combined with the
wooden frame I use as a design concept throughout the brochure,
makes for an interesting statement. These frames, by the way,
are actually made of wood which I made using my miter box and
a saw in my home workshop. A little glue and some cardboard
on the back, and voila! I scan the image and stain in
PhotoShop. Sometimes low tech is better and faster than high
Here's my interior background. It's a piece of limestone
which I whitened back in PhotoShop. I don't want it to
obscure the type I lay over the top. But it's still pretty
bland. We need some embossing!
So I found this groovy shot of the Capitol steps and dome.
I turned the original color image into a grayscale halftone,
and then I further converted it to a dithered halftone
using halftone dither in PhotoShop. I set the resolution
of that image to 300 dpi. When I laid it on the limestone
and set transparency to about 20 percent, it looked pretty
groovy... like it was etched into the limestone with acid.
The columns are a repeat of the images I used on
the cover, but I embossed them using the same limestone
surface which I pasted inside the black pixels of the
columns. They look like they were carved into the stone.
Nice touch? Oh, and to tie both pages together into
a single spread, a unifying tool is a bold line across
the top. I went super big on the line and embossed some
column images into it. The device also ties the cover
art and color into the interior of the piece.
I'm laying in some images. I have in mind a multi-layered
assemblage. For those of you familiar with my "Memories
of a Lifetime" images, you know I'm becoming
pretty expert at doing these images. I framed one of them...
the US flag, to see how this was going to work against
the background. Further, I made a nice drop shadow which
helps anchor the image to the background... another unifying
element. Notice how the images are overlapping, and the
shadows are deeper on some than others. I use the drop
shadow command in PhotoShop.
My plan, of course, is to bleed the images off the bottom.
I want to hang my type blocks off the top and have them
end at varying depths into the illustration. The frames
are a variety of colors which I accomplished in PhotoShop
by manipulating hue, saturation and lightness controls.
I've combined images that represent the different customers
we serve and services we provide.
Since we build software solutions, what better image than
a CD-ROM? I love how it hovers and shimmers off
Some dummy type shows how the entire piece will appear
in print. It works for me.
Notes #11: The Importance of Structure
is Design Structure?
the appropriate use of the elements of line, type, shape, and
texture to create a strong and effective design.
are the FIVE primary principles of structure?
Contrast, Unity, Value and Color
Q: In composing
our design, is it our goal to achieve balance?
No. True balance and symmetry lead to boredom. In a busy newspaper
ad filled with two equal columns of line items, all details
of the ads composition blend together in one gray shape.
The viewer doesnt want to work that hard to figure out
what the designer is trying to achieve.
is all about creating mood
things appear slightly or especially radically out of balance,
the effect evokes a variety of moods including humor, drama
(forcing a design element out of balance) can strengthen a design.
By throwing a design out of balance you create tension.
you consider when striving for balance?
advertising design is all about contrast. Contrast can strengthen
are several ways to achieve contrast
Size and Thickness
neophyte designers fail to recognize is the effect a block of
body copy has on the overall contrast of a design.
should you consider when striving for contrast?
How do you
achieve unity in your design?
the management or manipulation of value and color.
What is value?
put, its defined as the relative lightness or darkness
of an object
Q: Besides setting the mood, what else does value create?
you consider when using value?
What does color add to a design?
It adds dimension.
warm color and cool colors
colors project while cool colors recede.
1. In the
chips below, which colors project and which colors recede?
pattern do you see in the chip sets below? How are the chips
how the brightness of the colors change from the top chip set
to the bottom. On the two lower sets, do colors still project
while some recede? Or, do they all recede?
three color tests sampled from colors featured above. Note how
contrast and value are more a product of juxtoposition of color,
and how the combination of colors actually make what was considered
a cool color go from a receding value to a projecting value.
warms up when against a darker value. Cool green actually projects
against dark purple.
all three backgrounds above have in common?
two headlines. One is black and one is red. Popular opinion
would dictate that the red type projects better than the black
type and that it is more readable. But step back from the screen
10 to 15 feet, and which one is more legible?
is the most challenging element to control
is the most challenging element
red type, even though it is the same size and weight, is less
legible, even against a white background. Why?
red is less contrasty than black. Remember, legibility improves
with contrast.This is why black type against a white background
is the most legible type you can produce.
are the production challenges in working with color?
is a design factor even if youre working in black and
are warm whites and cool whites
should you consider when using color?
Notes 12: Classroom Exercise: Achieving compelling design through
the manipulation of structure (balance, contrast and unity)
this exercise, we are going to do a layout featuring several
visual elements. The learning objective here is for the student
to use elements of structure (balance, contrast, and unity)
to form a strong visual composition.
is the BMW X5 Sport Utility Vehicle. The fact we are featuring
an automobile presents all kinds of opportunities since there
is a so much more a car represents than merely transportation.
There are lifestyle and status issues for example that can be
on the BMW logo above, you can download a Powerpoint file with
all the graphic elements you need to get started.
Your composition must feature elements of structure including:
How items are sized and arranged on the page. Assymetrical balance
is most desirable to create drama, tension or excitement. Symmetry
Contrast contributes to a layout's legibility but also the mood
you are trying to create.
Controlling Value and Color helps create unity in a composition.
Notes #13: Outdoor Advertising
Advertising is one of the oldest advertising media in existence.
Until recently, most large pictorals were hand painted on the
sides of buildings and on poster panels. Before outdoor advertising
was even referred to as an industry, it was pretty much out
of control, and in some metropolitan areas, a visual nuisance.
For example, as circuses came through a town, every available
space... on fences and barnsides... were covered with posters.
"Bill posters" and sign painters plied their trade
until civic beautification advocates passed legislation to control
them. Many fences and buildings contained the words "Post
No Bills" meaning no posters or signage allowed.
outdoor advertising is a highly regulated industry. There are
zoning laws which contain billboards in industrial and commercial
areas. Actually this is good for outdoor advertisers because
it puts their message right in the marketplace where people
are shopping and commuting.
outdoor advertising has become even more dynamic a media with
the application of computer graphic technology. Instead of signs
being painted by hand, or screen printed by section, they are
painted by computer using a process similar to a giant ink jet
printer. Designs are often spectacular in scope with or protruding
extensions that break the rectangular frame.
relationships with clients:
are risk averse. Some of the best ideas in outdoor advertising
are by nature risky. A local designer and outdoor specialist
once confided to a class of ours, "I designed this fantastic
board with a giant screw. The caption was something to the effect
'Remember your last car deal?' It didn't sell the client."
a client wants to put too much detail on a board which cannot
be read when driving by at 60 mph.
best advertising designs work on an emotional level. That's
what all advertising has to do, but especially outdoor.
is more in outdoor advertising. It's not what you put in a composition.
It's what you take away.
should be a goal that you find the essence of a product. Often
you don't even have to show the product to convey the message.
One of the best samples was illustrated on a video which Kathy
brought to class. On that video, a designer was describing the
"Got Milk?" campaign for the American Dairy Association.
The boards showed a giant cookie with a bite out of it and the
message... "Got Milk?" Another board showed a pair
of Hostess Cupcakes with a bite out of one and the trademark
icing on top spelled the words, "Got Milk?"
This campaign was deemed one of the most effective campaigns
even though it never actually showed the product.
the three objectives of outdoor advertising:
Get attention with a simple idea. This means think visually.
Do in picture rather than words.
Warm their hearts. Evocative images that make people smile
or laugh are effective. Making people feel good is not a bad
objective in creating memorable advertising.
Motivate action... whether it be to remember a particular
brand name next time you're shopping or visiting that restaurant
because you just saw the sign and you're hungry. Outdoor advertising
is marketplace advertising and it's an important part of the
total advertising or marketing mix. Often times outdoor advertising
coordinates with print, radio and television. Why do radio stations
advertise on billboards? Because there's a radio in virtually
every automobile and truck on the road.
rules or no rules:
depends on the designer you're talking to, because some say
there are no rules while others say there are rules but they
are made to be broken.
are good practices, however:
Simple, easy to read
Contrast: Bold black type against a white background
is the ultimate contrast, but there are a lot of color combinations
that can work. It's important that you work with color and value
to maximize contrast for the best legibility.
Images or graphics communicate visually often better than words.
best to tell writers "forget you're a writer." Think
Notes #14: How I Start Designing an Ad (step-by-step)
I make my way through teaching this course for the first time,
I've taken note at how you manage (or don't manage) the design
process. As I've said before, budgets and time constraints are
so pervasive in the world of advertising design, there just
is too much at stake and too many risks involved in not being
productive and effective. This requires a combination of management
skills as well as artistic talents which must be blended in
a way as to leverage the talent, get the best results possible
and maintain control over costs, schedules and the relationship
with the client.
I created this annotated checklist that can be followed in sequence
when beginning the design process. Of course this list is based
on a first time encounter with the client. When you receive
the opportunity to design an ad campaign, what are the first
things you should do. What questions should you ask:
the Target Publication?
are their ad specifications?
Will I use four color, one color, spot color, black and white?
files do they prefer?
my marketing objectives?
the client's agenda?
we be working with?
we want this ad to accomplish?
call to a closer?
the assets of this campaign?
there an established slogan?
is the distinctive visual?
the Ad Portfolio of past work on this product?
other media projects have been executed for this product?
is my drop dead date?
can begin to draw up a master production schedule with deadlines
the first Brainstorming Session with staff.
Brainstorming Session, we will determine the treatment with
a one or more of our best ideas from this session.
a design document which outlines the project from concept through
production it must contain:
This is a one paragraph statement of the campaign's goals with
the best idea(s) proffered by the Staff Brainstorming Session.
Schedule and Deadlines
thumbnail sketches based on the treatment
Schedule of all Associated Costs of Production
of the Contract
the Budget and all Costs associated with design and production.
up Contract to be attached to the design document.
the contract and design document to the client in a pitch session.
the Contract signed.
Design and Production
back to top of page
Notes #15: Look & Feel: Smartwool
is a lesson about the importance and value of a product line's
look and feel. Look and feel (L&F) are extremely important
assets that, with the growth and popularity of a brand, can
become the most important equity of a company. In fact, in instances
when a poorly run company discovers it has a popular brand,
look and feel become the only value equity it has, and the instruments
of production, such as employees, factories, and machines, become
a liability. As we've seen many times in our economy, another
company, looking to acquire a particular brand for themselves,
will buy the company just for the brand, selling off the rest.
those among us who think everything you can say about a pair
of socks has already been said, are probably unfamiliar with
Smartwool. This brand, which occupied a niche in the high-tech
textile trade and, more specifically, the hiking and camping
equipment marketplace, has grown to include a wider retail sales
network featuring not only socks but new products such as hats,
gloves and scarves. Smartwool calls its product line "next-to-the-skin
wear." Their success is evocative of another textile business,
and foremost, Smartwool is a remarkable product. Growth in its
business largely came from customer word of mouth. Customers
of the socks told their friends, Outdoor and equipment publications
printed stellar and detailed reviews of their products. All
of this is remarkable because the socks are premium priced.
While other sock companies (Burlington, Gold Toe, Hanes, et.
al.) are competing in the discount price arena, Smartwool is
taking a much high road.
company funnels most of its marketing dollars into point-of-purchase
displays in retail stores. There are no national ads, no television
commercials (yet). The store displays are unique in that they
separate their product line from all the rest of the socks a
store may carry. To attain this profile, wholesale distributors,
under the strict control of Smartwool, carefully counsel retailers
on how to display and sell the product one customer at a time.
Web site (www.smartwool.com)
does a splendid job of transferring information to inquiring
customers (everything you want to know about their socks is
here). It not only features the product's look and feel exceedingly
well, but it provides copious amounts of information as only
a Web site can do, preferring, however, to push its customers
into retailers where trained salespeople can close the deal.
There are no online sales at smartwool.com, however. They prefer
to preeminently feature their retailer outlets both online and
scheme: The Smartwool color scheme can best be described
as primitive chic. The look evolved from its hiking and camping
marketplace, where many companies have similar L&Fs. The
orange, pea green, and black are in perfect harmony with one
another. The green is an accent color that says outdoors...
trees, grass, verdant hills or mountains. The orange background
is the dominant color which says sunrise or sunset. The clouds
are rendered in a lighter shade almost as if they were sponged
on in translucent white. A darker orange shows a meandering
thread or it could be a circuitous route on a hand-drawn map.
Logo: The logotype is hand written as if painted on by a
worn-out brush, and the hallmark of the logo is this glyph of
a man in a broad-brimmed hat, a figural that is not as nondescript
as one might think. The broad-brimmed hat is indicative of a
human who knows the value of protection from ultraviolet rays.
Someone obviously this smart takes care of their bottom extremities
as well. The entire look is also evocative of America's Southwest,
still a place that is highly symbolic of the best that is America...
the wide-open spaces, the pioneering spirit, the legacy of risk-taking,
the scarcity of water and harshness of life in the open spaces,
life on the edge... but hey, I've got my Smartwool socks so
at least my feet will be safe!
the left of the logo is a scribble which obviously a ball of
wool thread or yarn. The ball unravels to form the logotype
"Smartwool" which passes through the feet of the man
on the right hand side of the signature. The figure, on closer
inspection has on a pair of socks, and the radiating lines around
his head evoke joy or awareness. The arrows are further illustrative
in case the casual viewer fails to see the message immediately.
It's a humorous touch. This combination of primitive lines says
quite a lot in this logo.
Completes the Look: The packaging is actually the logo wrapped
around each and every pair of socks. The company obviously understands
the value of continuity. Let's say we cast aside the labels,
logo, color scheme, and take the Smartwool socks stapled together
and thrown into the bins with the rest of the socks. Would they
sell as well? Probably not. Regardless of how well they are
made, they would not likely distinguish themselves from the
rest of the socks. But wrap them in the appropriate packaging,
give them their own informative display in the retail space,
the orange packaging becomes a beacon, an attractant, and, in
time, recognition among a conditioned clientele.
the product itself reinforces the look and feel to constantly
remind the customer that this is the best and most comfortable
pair of socks ever purchased. Every sock is emblazoned with
the logo, and the ankle portion of the sock features our little
glyph of a man, not screen printed on the sock but embroidered
onto each and every sock. Even through this addition to the
sock represents as much cost as the manufacture of the rest
of the sock, it's worth every penny to the company in terms
of recognition and reinforcement of the brand's look and feel.
back to top of page