A Picture May Require a Thousand Words

February 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m often amazed at the ways we humans find to communicate with one another. In addition to technological improvements (poor iPhone 4 reception aside), our languages, in both written and spoken forms, continue to evolve.

I recently conducted an experiment on facebook. I posted my reaction to my favorite basketball team’s loss using only a colon and an open parenthesis. As any good texter knows, this is the emoticon for a sad face. Within minutes, facebook friends realized I was sad and quickly figured out the reason for my :(. Granted my friends know me well, and were able to take the symbol in the context of game’s final score, but still…it’s two pieces of punctuation!

Now, that won’t get it when it comes to customer service, especially in design. If I send out a draft and the client’s response is :( , I don’t know if he hates the whole idea or prefers a different shade of aqua or is just in a bad mood and wants to be left alone. For a designer to meet a client’s needs, it requires clear communication, which takes a lot of words – and visual aids. Much of the final product is subjective, so at the beginning of the creative process the designer should have a good understanding of what the client hopes to achieve with the end result and be equipped with as much specific information as is available.

A good way for a designer to make sure they’re on the same page with the client is to define terms by showing examples. If a client wants something bold, fresh, and high tech, look at several samples of artwork and see if those terms mean the same thing to each of you.

The designer may want to send font samples to help guide the client on those options.

Take advantage of tools to agree on the best colors to use. PMS wheels have long been used to determine standard spot colors. A fun way to help decide on a complete palette of colors is the kuler.adobe.com website which can create a complete palette of colors, each with specific CMYK or RGB mixes.

A good client will trust the designer’s instinct, and a good designer will welcome their client’s input. Good, clear communication at the beginning of a project will help ensure a successful end result, and solidify the designer/client working relationship.

Art Shirley
Creative Director


Happy Presidents’ Day

February 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

On this President’s Day it seems appropriate that we take a moment to recognize and appreciate the sacrifice a select group of men and their families have made for our country. Here are a few words of wisdom from 8 presidents representing several different generations.


Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

John Adams

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.

John Quincy Adams


I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.

John Adams

Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.

John Quincy Adams

America is a nation with a mission – and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire. Our aim is a democratic peace – a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and woman.

George W. Bush


I have found it advisable not to give too much heed to what people say when I am trying to accomplish something of consequence. Invariably they proclaim it can’t be done. I deem that the very best time to make the effort.

Calvin Coolidge

You don’t lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.

John Quincy Adams

If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement.

Jimmy Carter


I have never been hurt by what I have not said.

Calvin Coolidge

If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.

Calvin Coolidge


The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.

John Quincy Adams

We are not the sum of our possessions.

George H. W. Bush

I hate to see complacency prevail in our lives when it’s so directly contrary to the teaching of Christ.

Jimmy Carter

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.

Calvin Coolidge


Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States.

George W. Bush

Mass demand has been created almost entirely through the development of advertising.

Calvin Coolidge


I look forward to these confrontations with the press to kind of balance up the nice and pleasant things that come to me as president.

Jimmy Carter

It’s a very good question, very direct, and I’m not going to answer it.

George H. W. Bush

Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.

William J. Clinton

When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web… Now even my cat has its own page.

William J. Clinton


I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.

George H. W. Bush

Any man who does not like dogs and want them about does not deserve to be in the White House.

Calvin Coolidge

There are a number of things wrong with Washington. One of them is that everyone is too far from home.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Not Just A Hallmark Holiday

February 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Some cynical types say Valentine’s Day is the invention of the card, candy and flower industries. If that’s true, it’s one of the most brilliant marketing moves ever. Let’s face it, you can love someone every day of the year, but on February 14 you have to find a non- everyday way to express it.

Companies are offering new and ever more creative means of saying “I love you.” Here are a few we like this year:

You can reserve your place in her heart with a Valentine’s Day reservation at White Castle (yes, the fast food burger chain). They’ll even take a photo so you can treasure the memory.

In February, if you fly Turkish Airlines you can bring someone along for 1 Euro. You can choose from 170 destinations…but you have to fly out of Istanbul.

If you’re a baseball fan in Las Vegas, you might get a visit from Cosmo rather than Cupid. The mascot for the local minor league team is delivering ticket packages on behalf of those who love those who love baseball.

As long as you’re in Vegas and in love, why not tie the knot? With the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel’s Build Your Own Valentine’s Wedding Package, for as little as $299 you can have Elvis perform the ceremony – and a couple of numbers. The service includes a photographer, Internet broadcast, souvenir wedding certificate, and your name in lights on their marquee in the Strip. Optional are the theatrical fog and lights and the 8-inch wedding-cake-to-go.

Putting social media to use, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is giving away eight Ashanti Women Fertility dolls – “authentic replicas” carved in Ghana. To win, you have to be a Facebook Fan. And you have to be 18 or older. Must be some serious mojo in those dolls.

You don’t have to have outlandish ideas or spend a lot to benefit from holiday marketing. Simply look at what your company has to offer and how it might make the day special for someone. You can even make up your own occasion – come up with promotions that celebrate your company’s anniversary, or even the owner’s mama’s birthday.

And however you choose to view February 14 – day of romance, marketing bonanza, or both – enjoy this day!

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