Another year has flown by, and here we are again looking toward the future and all its possibilities. And since we prefer to leave the endless lists of New Year’s resolutions to all the influencers out there, we’ve decided to dive into something we love – design trends! So, we took a look into our crystal ball and have come up with some really fun trends for the coming year. Join us as we take a blast to the past with Retro Logos, the Jeweled Tones of the 1930s, and organic Folk Botanicals, and fast forward to a more modern design aesthetic with Gradients and Distorted Type.
Nostalgia is a powerful feeling that can carry us to a better time and place. It’s human nature to romanticize the good times of our youth and gloss over the bad. A few years back, logo styles and trends were leaning more toward the modern, sans serif style (see Google, Century 21 rebrand and others). But our love for the past always comes back around.
One of the trends we are looking forward to is the retro line art/illustrative style logos. Minimal, cartoony, and fun, these engaging logos embrace bright, bold colors that never go out of style. Sometimes it’s a brush stroke, sometimes it’s hand lettering, but it’s always fun. Out with the new, in with the old!
Check out these fun retro fonts:
Where the retro illustrative style is fun and playful, the rich jewel colors trend is moody and elegant. Talk about opposites! This luxurious trend plays off the warmth of deeper tones like golden orange, forest green, and the rich red and purple hues of the 1930s. These deep, saturated colors are excellent for portraying a high-end, luxurious feel that can be a great way to elevate packaging design.
Spice Tree Organics Packaging Coffee Tosside Packaging
With a swing toward these bold colors in design, it’s no surprise that Pantone is jumping on the bandwagon with their Color of the Year – Viva Magenta. This Crimson Red is a bold, fearless color that we can’t wait to try out! These rich jewel colors are perfect when you need to add a little bling to your design.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Folk Botanicals trend. Have you been searching for a way to add an organic flair to your design? This whimsical trend could be just what you need. Botanical graphics will lend the texture and vibrancy to your design that can be lacking in more modern design. By embracing the perfectly imperfect and unexpected color combinations, this trend departs from traditional geometric vector art to give your design a unique, handmade look.
Dieline Jessica Hoffman
Gradients are back! Actually, they never left. A modern departure from our earlier design trends, gradients use cool transitions that blend from one color to the next, and they’re incredibly versatile. They can be used in the background, for elements, and even in text. Well-known graphic designer, Beeple, has used gradients in many of his digital designs, and you’ll find them popping up on social media, posters, packaging, logos, and even apparel. This trend can be eye-catching and bold with bright colors or soft, subtle, and luxurious with a lighter color palette. Gradients will continue to be popular with on-trend color pairings and abstract forms in 2023. So, experiment and have fun. We certainly will!
Taras L Mohamed Samir Cuong Nguyen
Jiyoung Kim za lina
And, finally, as we wrap up our favorite trends for the upcoming year, we have arrived at a style that is sure to turn your designs upside down – Distorted Type. As today’s societal trends crush social norms, traditional standards of living are becoming less rigid, and out-of-the-box ideas are fashionable. The world of graphic design is taking notice as well and breaking away from the standards of typography.
Equipped with its own set of rules for legibility, balance, and flow, typography remains a central element of graphic design. When type is implemented correctly, the message it conveys should be clear, concise, and without distraction.
Well, scratch that noise! Designers’ future creations will upset the status quo of type. Expect to see stretching, slanting, squeezing, melting, twisting, fading, and all other forms of movement. The result? Quirky, interesting type, leading to a new way of impacting your target audience. This fun new take on type is guaranteed to get you NOTICED!
Danilo Gusmão Silveira and KNAS
Bashooka Roxanne Kazmierski
As you can see, next year’s trends offer something for everyone. Whether you’re feeling nostalgic and digging the retro look or searching for something a little more edgy and modern, 2023 has so many options for creatives. And we’ve just scratched the surface of all the amazing ideas out there. Do some digging on your own and see what else the design community has in store for the coming year. Or be a true vanguard of design and create your own trend. We can’t wait to see what exciting things happen in the design world next year!
Fall has arrived in Wisconsin – my favorite time of the year! Cool, crisp mornings, sunny sweatshirt weather in the afternoons and evenings, and great sleeping weather at night.
All of my favorite things are happening: campfires, football, soups and chilis, Halloween and Thanksgiving (and pumpkin spice season if that is your thing), but most of all, the explosion of colors!
Now’s the perfect time to add some fall colors to your desktop or mobile device, so we created 3 free wallpapers for you to download below.
2560×1440 | 1920×1080 | 1280×1024 | 1024×768 |640×480 | Mobile
Attendance at National Parks has increased significantly since 2020, so even more people are seeing the health benefits associated with these natural wonders.
What if we told you that it’s possible to improve your overall wellness simply by viewing nature photography and images. Crazy, right?! Well, if you’re like us, you’re probably filling your walls and space with Mother Nature’s artwork as we speak! And if you live in the Midwest, heading into the cold winter months, this is an easy way to bring the outdoors in.
In fact, according to a study featured in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, just staring at natural scenery for 40 seconds is enough to trigger your brain into a more relaxed state. Who knew something so simple could have such a beneficial effect?
So, if you’re looking for a little more Zen in your life, we’ve created some awe-inspiring National Park posters that will bring nature back to your office, home, or wherever you need a little calm.
Download all four of the FREE National Park posters created just for you!
Download 11×17 Poster Here
Looking for an alternative poster size? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to send it to you. Want to see more of our creative team’s work? Click here to see some of our favorites!
With 2022 quickly approaching, now is a great time to observe the current graphic design scene and take a closer look at what trends will evolve over the coming year. The five trends listed below are not just predictions, they’re movements that have already been gaining traction and showcasing themselves within the industry, and that we expect to see more of in 2022. Hopefully they inspire you in your efforts to produce timely and relevant marketing!
Reformative social movements are influencing the world to fight systemic injustice, end discrimination, and strive for positive social impact. Heightened consumer awareness of these issues has led to new marketing trends with diversity at the forefront. Businesses and designers alike are seeking opportunities to demonstrate their support and be part of the change. To depict a wide range of diverse individuals, designers are using both illustrations and stock photography to elevate their designs. Expect to see multiple races, cultures, genders, and beliefs being featured throughout 2022 marketing visuals.
Serifs are the decorative strokes that finish off the end of a letter. During the early years of businesses’ online presence, serif typefaces were shied away from and replaced with modern sans-styles due to poor screen resolutions and loss of detail. Technological advancement has rendered screen resolution a non-issue, and designers are starting to add style, personality, and readability back into their designs. Serif font usage has been making a steady comeback in the design world for the last few years, and you can expect it to stick around in 2022. Considering serifs’ association with trust and professionalism, businesses will continue to add serifs back into their brand.
One of the most important communication requirements for any business is presenting concrete data. However, whether informing internal staff, shareholders, industry peers, or the public, data is only convincing if it’s being understood. Showcasing data using basic text can leave your audience confused or bored, at the very least. Attention spans of audiences continue to shorten, so instead, try presenting data in logical, easy-to-understand visuals like charts, maps, tables or graphs. They’re less overwhelming, and readers will have a clear takeaway of your message. We’re seeing these attractive and informative visuals on the rise in print media, on websites, and in social slide decks. So, the next time you’re faced with the task of presenting data, opt for a reader-friendly infographic! Need some more ideas? Find the right type of data visualization to fit your style here.
The ’70s and ’80s have without a doubt been influencing design for years now, but the ’90s are making a comeback, and we think it’s totally rad! Think back to the iconic TV shows of ’90s culture for your design inspirations. Shows like Saved by the Bell, F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Clueless, and of course, anything that was on MTV all seem to be back in fashion. Inspiration from this era is becoming so popular that some of the world’s largest brands have started circling back to these moods when setting the tone for their current marketing. We’re seeing use of vibrant colors, abstract textures and patterns, blocky and handwritten fonts, and geometric shapes. It seems that no matter what era comes back, nostalgia is a timeless feeling that consumers can relate to. Perhaps that is why the ’90s are here to stay-for a while!
A growing awareness of environmental issues has led consumers to make more considerate and responsible purchasing decisions. Now, more than ever, people are thinking twice about product packaging and making environmentally friendly choices. As a direct reflection of the “green” mentality, we are seeing an increased usage of natural and muted color palettes. In addition, these muted color palettes are carrying over to companies’ online presences as well. The amount of daily screen time we face is on the rise – therefore, using colors that decrease eye strain is a smart choice for communication in a digital world. As businesses are toning down decades of ‘in-your-face’ eye-popping color choices, look for rich earthy hues as well as calm and tranquil pairings. If you’re looking for inspiration for muted palettes, Adobe has palettes to fit every style.
Keeping up with what’s hot in the world of graphic design can be a challenge. These five movements are just skimming the surface of graphic design creativity, with new and exciting trends constantly emerging. Our goal is to help inspire you as you consider the look and feel of your 2022 print and digital media, so we leave you with one final design constant – stay creative! It’s never one style fits all, and who knows, maybe you’ll be setting trends for 2023!
As the cooler months approach, and the days are now a little shorter, it’s the perfect time to slow down a bit, unwind, and cozy up by the fire and enjoy the seasonal ambiance. We associate so many different colors and traditions with the upcoming season.
The palette of rich reds, oranges, and yellows have come and soon will go, bringing the wintry blue hues and glittery white snow creating a beautifully designed landscape.
As you reach for your warmest winter hoodie, snuggle up with one of these warm drinks to make this upcoming season even cozier. We’ve picked some of our favorite winter drink recipes and designed cute recipe cards for you to print. These are the perfect addition to a festive plate of holiday cookies or a bottle of wine, for a warm holiday gift for your friend or neighbor.
From rich hot chocolate to mulled wine, we love them all. Pick your favorite! Get the inside scoop behind these delicious drinks and see why they’re at the top of our list. Enjoy!
French Hot Chocolate (non-alcoholic)
French hot chocolate, or as the French say chocolat chaud, is a rich, decedent, and molten-like chocolate drink. The perfect recipe to make us feel like we’re living the Paris dream! If you are ever lucky enough to travel there, please devour a delicious chocolate drink for us! Also, be sure to check out these highly suggested hot spots for the best chocolat chaud in town.
Full-Color Recipe Card | Black and White Recipe Card
Spiced Golden Milk (non-alcoholic)
Golden milk is the perfect drink to have in the evening. Try it with or without spice. (We love adding an extra kick.) It’s the perfect nourishing drink to relax with and enjoy the benefits of its soothing properties.
Mulled Wine (alcoholic)
Mulled wine (red wine with mulled spices) is a very popular drink at Christmastime, especially throughout Europe. Unfortunately, Europe is more than a couple hours from us, but the Chicago Christmas Market, Christkindlmarket, isn’t! If you want to experience a fantastic Christmas Market with spiced wine and all things German, you should add this to your list of places to visit this holiday season.
Hot Buttered Rum (alcoholic)
Hot buttered rum is an old-fashioned cocktail that is creamy, sweet, and will warm you all the way through. There are many versions of this recipe out there, but this one is our favorite. Who doesn’t want ice cream in their drink?! You can read more about the history of hot buttered rum here. This is one drink you have to try.
Full-Colored Recipe Card | Black and White Recipe Card
At Econoprint, our creative team’s philosophy is centered on creative collaboration, consistency, and connection. This is the focus you’ll see for every creative project our designers take on. Our team is composed of individuals who love all things branding, print, signage, and … the written word. Each team member has their own unique love for design and style, but ultimately works toward one common goal – creating something that meets (or exceeds) the clients’ needs.
This “meet-the-team” blog post will give you a glimpse into the creatives who jump at the chance to bring a brand to life, and let’s be honest, create some really cool design with a meaningful message that is clear and on point.
So, take a minute to look behind the scenes and see what motivates the Econoprint design team as they approach design projects, and the creativity they tap into every day to give their clients designs that wow!
“People don’t use a product because of the great design; great design helps them use the product.” -Author Unknown
Senior Creative Designer, 11 Years
What’s your favorite part about working in graphic design?
Variety! In a typical day I work on jobs with strict brand standards, and then I’m simultaneously given full creative freedom on others. I truly enjoy both!
How do you approach design?
Brainstorming is my golden ticket. I am constantly hand-sketching quick thumbnail layouts and brainstorming – all day long. This initial step gives me direction before I even touch the computer. Once it’s on screen, I’m able to experiment and elaborate on those ideas, refine them, add in the details, and look forward to feedback!
What’s your greatest inspiration for what you do?
3 websites I love:
How do you keep the creative juices flowing?
I keep an inspiration “dump box.” If I see an idea or design that inspires me, I save it. Later on, I’ll pull elements from those ideas and find ways to elevate them and make them my own. I do not always use this approach, but if I ever hit a creative block, this is one more tool in the toolbox!
What is the best design advice you have ever received?
Do not let yourself become stale! Do your research, stay current, watch trends evolve, and continue to learn.
What helps you stay creative each day?
Music! You’ll catch me hard rockin’, country twangin’, reggae jammin’, and everything in- between. My music taste is about as eclectic as my designs … and the genre I choose to listen to often depends on what type of design I’m working on.
What’s your favorite design trend?
I really like simple data visualization. Being able to highlight statistics and lengthy data by creating a simple infographic can really help an audience retain the information.
If you could design any type of project, what would it be?
I would love to design a branded exterior mural for someone – mixed with photography and typography. Any takers?!
Brand Identity Specialist, 16 Years
I get to create! I have always loved art and visual communication. Being able to bring a new idea to life with color, texture, photography, and typography is a gratifying feeling.
What’s your greatest inspiration for creative design?
My top 3 favorite websites:
I like to move my body. Getting away from the computer and going for a walk, hike, or run, allows me to boost my creative thinking.
What is the best design advice you have ever received?
White space is not your enemy.
To stay creative, I need my morning cup of coffee and my afternoon Spotify jams. Also, my snack drawer. When hunger strikes, I have nut butter, crackers, granola bars, mixed nuts, and … chocolate. It’s always better to have more snacks than not enough!
What’s your favorite design trend?
I like nature-inspired design. It uses natural light, earthy colors and tones, and illustrative elements of nature. The trend has been around for some time, but the pandemic has enhanced the appeal of nature even more.
I would love to design environmental graphics for a museum.
Senior Creative Designer, (Many Moons) 20 Years
What’s your favorite part about working in graphic design?
Different types of jobs and new challenges every day.
I try to look at all parts of the project first to see how everything will work together as a whole, vs. working on all the different pieces individually and hoping it is all cohesive at the end.
I am always taking screenshots, quick iPhone photos, or bookmarking anything that piques my interest. It could be anything from other designs, the colors of a landscape, vintage photos, you never know when you might draw on those items for inspiration.
I usually have a wide variety of music playing in the background most of the day (anything from Johnny Cash to Slayer🤘) Oh, and Snapple Peach Iced Tea!
I like to be involved from the beginning, starting with the initial logo design, working that into all the stationery and collateral materials, and then envisioning how the logo/look will be incorporated into the company retail/workspace.
If you weren’t a graphic designer, what job would you like to have?
I have always been drawn to music and have a pretty extensive music library. A job I would love to try would be a movie Music Supervisor, getting to pick the songs and background music used in films and TV. You are in control, subtly setting the tone and flow of the movie or show.
Music of course, photography, travel (I have been to over half of the states in America, working on seeing the rest), disc golf, hiking, and fishing.
Senior Creative Designer, 15 Years
I enjoy the opportunity to be creative at work. It’s fun, and it’s nice to go to work being able to do something I enjoy. We work with a variety of customers, so there’s something new every day.
What’s your creative M.O.?
I like to take a walk and be in nature. I try to get up and move from my desk throughout the day.
What do you wish you were better at?
Calculating numbers … I’m not a math whiz!
I would love designing some sort of display at a museum – particularly something fun for kids. I also would love designing packaging or a mail piece that has many different parts.
Proofreader/Copywriter, 15 Years
What’s your favorite part about working as a proofreader and copywriter?
We have clients in just about every field you can imagine, so naturally there’s a lot of variety in the types of projects we work on from day to day. I get to see what it’s like to market for everything from small local businesses to large international corporations. I enjoy all the different perspectives and helping our clients reach their target audience in a way that’s approachable and consistent.
Do you have a favorite pen color you use to make edits?
Purple is my go-to color for edits. I think it’s calming, which is great when you’re telling people to correct their mistakes all day. And red … is that even really an option? I mean, who needs more elementary school flashbacks? I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen enough red ink to last me a lifetime.
What is one of the most challenging aspects of your job?
My role with the design team involves a lot of multitasking (which I actually enjoy). I frequently move between different roles – proofreading, copywriting, coordinating with sales staff, etc. There’s always something new to work on, and with the quick turnaround it’s never boring.
Your job is part technical, and part creative. What resources do you use to keep informed and inspired?
For the technical side of things, I primarily rely on the AP Stylebook. I studied journalism back in the day, so I’ve always turned to this guide to stay up to date on the latest changes in grammar, etc. Language is always changing, so you have to keep up. And for creative inspiration, I read. I see a lot on the job, but I’ve always been an avid reader of fiction. It’s a great way to find that creative spark.
Do you have any pet peeves about the things you proofread/edit?
I don’t know why exactly, but I can’t stand the word thus. So, if you ever send anything my way, be prepared … if you use thus, it might mysteriously disappear!
Graphic Designer, On and Off Since 1993!
I love looking for fonts and graphics that give a piece personality. I’ve described the process as being like putting a puzzle together – when everything fits it’s a great feeling!
I read a lot of magazines (Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, HGTV, Real Simple). They’re great resources for fonts, color combinations, and photography.
You get such a wide variety of projects working at Econoprint, that you are always challenged in new ways. Jumping from a technical medical form to a creative postcard featuring a fun event keeps you from burning out.
Keep it simple.
Cold water. As plain as that is, it gives me a little boost with every sip.
A catalog with beautiful photos or a billboard I could drive past.
We love creative design! We’re excited and ready to talk to you about your next project. Get started here.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is the difference between a brand style guide and brand guidelines? And why does your business need one?
There are two different guides your company can use depending on the complexity of your brand strategy – a brand style guide and a brand guide. A brand style guide, which I’ll discuss in a minute, is a one-page document that shows a quick overview of your company’s logo, colors, and fonts, as well as their correct usage. Whereas brand guides are more in-depth explanations that include the company’s brand strategy along with a style guide. Often, you’ll see the two guides talked about interchangeably, but either option will help with brand consistency. The complexity of your brand will determine which type of guide is needed.
Now, you might be thinking that you don’t need a style guide, but I can tell you from experience how helpful it can be when working with a designer or agency. Many times, a style guide will suffice for what your business needs, and it’s easy enough to put together on your own.
Download InDesign template here.
Download Word doc template here.
So why does your business need a brand style guide? Two words – brand consistency! You want your audience to recognize your brand no matter where they’re seeing it (i.e., print, social, digital). There’s nothing worse than having inconsistent fonts, colors, or different logo versions. A brand guide is a clear and quick way to help your team stay consistent, and it’s easy to share with outside designers or agencies.
If you have ever done any kind of design work, you’ve most likely used the color profiles CMYK, RGB, and Pantone. But when designing for print, there are a number of things you’ll need to consider, especially when working on a branded project. The design style, paper selection, and product distribution are always top of mind; but you also need to make sure you’re designing in the correct color profile for how the finished product will be printed or viewed. All of these things must be taken into consideration to make sure your color selection is spot on.
So, let’s talk about the difference between CYMK, RGB, and Pantone colors, especially when preparing an artwork file for print.
CMYK uses a series of dots (composed of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to create the illusion of different colors. CMYK color builds won’t always be an exact match a Pantone color, but they will create more colorful photos.
When using the Pantone Matching System (PMS), your brand’s PMS color(s) are created using a precise formula, so the color always looks the same.
**** When designing for print, even though you’re designing on a screen, your color builds should all be in CMYK or Pantone. ***
RGB is the standard color profile used for on-screen design. It combines red, green, and blue light in different combinations to create the colors you see on a screen.
Knowing the difference between CYMK, RGB, and Pantone, and when to use them, will help to keep your branding consistent. Of course, the process used for each project varies, depending on the nature of your print job. Our team is here to help and answer any questions you might have to ensure a successful print project! email@example.com
Now that many in our community are adjusting to the new “normal” and returning back to work, it’s important to communicate how you’d like your employees and customers to practice social distancing with clear and concise messaging.
Our awesome creative designers are here to help! To make this time of transition a little bit easier, they have created floor graphics and signage designs for you to use in your business.
Stand Here – 24″ Circle
Download: Print | Web
Keep 6-Foot Distance in Every Direction – 24″ Circle
Download: Print | Web
Friends Don’t Let Friends Stand Close – 30″x12″
Download: Print | Web
Stand Here – 24″x4″
Download: Print | Web
Wash Your Hands – 4″ Circle
Download: Print | Web
Masks Required Beyond This Point – 8.5″x11″
Download: Print | Web
Open for Delivery & Takeout – 8.5″x11″
Download: Print | Web
Now Open for Delivery & Takeout – 8.5″x11″
Download: Print | Web
Reduce the Spread – 11″x17″
Download: Print | Web
Contactless Greetings Are Best – 22″x28″
Download: Print |Web
Welcome – 31″ Retractable Banner Stand
Download: Print | Web
Do you need any of the above signs printed, or maybe a custom design? Please call 608-845-2800 (Verona), 608-254-4202 (Lake Delton) or click here to get a quote. Our team is ready to help!
Summer in Wisconsin is short, and it’s almost here. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, families making the most of the Midwest’s brief warm temperatures will flock to popular Wisconsin waterpark and watersport destinations, including the Wisconsin Dells and Madison Area Lakes.
If your business depends on a piece of Wisconsin’s $20 billion in annual tourism revenue generated by over 110 million visitors, you definitely aren’t alone. The Waterpark Capital of the World, Wisconsin Dells, has over 400 businesses including more than 100 attractions, 9,000 hotel rooms and 19 campgrounds – all located in less than 20 square miles.
As an affordable yet effective form of advertising, signage is a huge part of the Tourism industry’s marketing strategy. Vacation destinations like Wisconsin Dells are saturated with signage, advertising adventures like waterparks and escape rooms, restaurants, lodging, and entertainment, begging the question:
Use these 5 guidelines and tools when creating your signs and displays.
Make it Easy to Read – A good rule of thumb when it comes to the visibility and legibility of your sign is to use as few words as possible to get your message across – less than 15 if possible. Also, make sure not to use conflicting or elaborate fonts, and no more than two different kinds. Remember, people driving past your sign will only have a few seconds to read and understand it, so less is definitely more.
Skip the Clutter – Clean lines and plenty of clear space in your design will help it get noticed and easily understood. For optimum legibility, 30-40 percent of the sign should be empty space. Helpful hint: Placing a simple border around the outside of the sign could increase reading speed by nearly 25%.
Use Graphics – Whether it’s your logo, a photo, or strategic use of shapes, a graphic on your sign is a great way to add appeal and differentiate from text-only displays. Shapes, even when hidden within your design can elicit emotions from readers. For example, rounded edges give a soft and approachable feel, while sharp lines convey strength and presence.
Contrast your Colors – Not only does color directly impact how your brand is received (click here to read more about Strategic Use of Color), but it is also hugely important for visibility. The greater the contrast, the easier your sign will be to read, and from a greater distance. Good application of contrast would be to mix colors like black or dark gray with yellows, whites, and oranges, and greens and blues with whites and yellows. As always, focus your color contrasting on your main message, rather than around the border of your sign or supporting graphics.
Location Always Matters – No matter how easy your sign is to read or how thoughtfully you’ve selected your graphics and color, none of it matters unless your sign can be seen. It is crucial that people can read your sign from all possible angles. Make sure to have your sign high enough so that it can be seen from below, but not too high to be blocked by vehicle roofs or windows. It’s also important to consider whether you want to place it on a building, a vehicle, outside your business, or in a yard to achieve maximum impact
No one can deny the importance of digital marketing in today’s world. We see approximately 4,000 ads a day according to Biz Journals, and many times we don’t notice the subtle marketing techniques at play. Digital marketing is definitely leading the reins in a fierce marketplace competition, but print collateral, like brochures still have an important role to play in a balanced marketing strategy.
When considering the variety of print collateral available, developing a professionally produced brochure suggests a higher budget and an established reputation and brand. The tangible interaction a brochure creates has the power to develop a strong connection with clients and potential clients alike.
So, what makes a brochure worth looking at? How will your message fight through the sea of marketing we’re bombarded with every day? The following 5 Tips will help you create the perfect brochure to connect with and inspire your target audience.
Your “salesperson” should attract attention, generate excitement, and establish trust. It can make a great first impression and intrigue you to ask more questions, or maybe call to learn more about the products or services being offered.
When you organize your content in a way that increases visual flow and appeal, your important information is more likely to be read. A professional designer will make sure your brochure has a theme that highlights your message, while remaining consistent with your brand.
Choose photos or graphics that will complement your message and define the focus of the brochure. Either the images will engage the reader, or they won’t. The key is to guide your readers to the ever-important call to action that is the true gauge of your brochure’s effectiveness.
If you can, provide value by including a handy reference of some kind (e.g., a map of town attractions, a chart, or guide) in the brochure. This will help to dissuade readers from throwing it away.
What action do you want your reader to take? The call to action is usually found on the last panel of a brochure, along with contact information. This is where you can offer an incentive to get them to take the next step.
Calls to action can be:
As you can see, brochures can be a great way to solidify a relationship with your readers. Give them something memorable that they can touch and relate to. Maybe, if they’re like the rest of us, they get a little tired of all the ads flashing across their screens. So, isn’t it time to give them something different?
Love. Trust. Joy. Excitement. It’s no secret that emotions strongly influence our daily decision making. What may not be as obvious is that the colors we see in logos and marketing media can create an emotional response, connecting us with brands and effecting our purchasing decisions. In other words, the quickest way to your customers’ hearts may be through your brand’s colors.
The thoughtful use of color when designing your brand can help tell a powerful story to consumers that goes deeper than a simple logo or symbol. Color theorist Faber Birren wrote that biological, social, and psychological conditioning influences humans’ emotional association with color. For example, humans have been psychologically conditioned to see red as a sign of importance; a color to pay attention to, and also culturally conditioned to associate the color green with money.
Although consumers may already have developed thoughts about your brand and understand your products, services and mission, it’s when they’ve associated feeling with those thoughts that loyalty develops.
So, now that you have an idea why color in branding matters, the question becomes, “What colors best fit my brand’s identity?”
The chart below matches popular colors to their commonly associated emotional responses. Considering either a combination or a variation of these colors could be a great way to enhance the emotional response your brand creates.
Of course, there are no concrete rules for determining your brand’s colors. Trends change over time, and there are many schools of thought detailing how to best apply your selected colors to your brand materials.
One concept that is common across most color-branding theories is consistency. Once you’ve designed a color combination that best fits your identity, it’s important to present a united front of branded collateral that will encourage emotional association over time. This would include your web presence, logo, signage, print material, digital advertisements, and staff uniforms.
One of the most common problems our creative design teams see’s when receiving files for printing is the lack of bleed. Bleed is a printing term that is used to describe a document which has images or design elements that touch the edge of the page, extending beyond the trim edge leaving no white margin. When a document has bleed, it must be printed on a larger sheet of paper and then trimmed down. Printing and trimming is pretty precise with minimal amount of paper movement, but if no bleed is applied to the document a hairline of unprinted paper will show up on the edges. This is why we like to see the bleed extended .125 inches (1/8″) on each side of your document.
The business card example below shows how a document should be set up with bleed.
You probably already know how to create a print-ready PDF, but creating a PDF that bleeds requires a few more steps. Follow the instructions below to create bleeds in Adobe InDesign or Microsoft Word.
1. In Document Setup set your document size to the final trim size. Set your bleed settings like the sample shown (1). All bleeds should be set to .125″.
2. When you are ready to make a PDF, select your desired export setting (we recommend Press Quality).
3. Under Export Adobe PDF options select Marks and Bleeds on the side menu. Make sure “Use Document Bleed Settings” is selected under Bleed and Slug. Compare your Marks and Bleeds Page to the preview shown (2).
4. Select Export. After your PDF is created, please review your PDF file. The dimensions should be your trim width with an additional .25″ and your height is your requested size with an additional .25″.
1. Microsoft Word does not have bleed settings. To allow for the bleeds, you will need to add .25″ to your width and to your height. This will allow for .125″ bleed area on all sides. (Example, if you would like a 5.5 x 8.5 postcard, you will need to make your document 5.75 x 8.75).
2. When you change your page size to include the bleed area your margins will not change. This means if you have your margins set to .375″ on 5.5 x 8.5, after the bleed area is trimmed o you will only have .125″ margins. We recommend increasing your margins to prevent important content from getting too close to the bleed area that will be cut off.
3. If you are ready to create a PDF, click File, then Save As, and select PDF in the drop-down menu.
4. After converting your Word document to a PDF, review the PDF to ensure no unwanted changes occurred during the conversion and that your document is the correct size.
Whew! That is it. The next time you send your PDF to us we know you’ll have mastered the bleed.
What is dpi, and why does it matter in the print world?
DPI (dots per inch) is used to describe the resolution number of dots per inch in a printed piece, the higher the number, the more info (dots) are stuffed into a 1-inch area, creating a more vibrant and visually pleasing printed photo. Conversely, fewer dots per inch results in a more blocky/choppy printed photo. See samples.
The goal is to use images with 300 dpi for all printed pieces. There can be exceptions, including photos used in large format displays, pop-up banners, and tradeshow booths. In these cases, the imagery is viewed from more than an arm’s length away, and the pixilation (choppiness) isn’t as noticeable.
So, how can you tell the dpi of your photos? There are a few tricks you can do on your home or office PC/Mac to check the dpi of each photo you plan to use in a printed piece.
So, now that you know the pixel size of your photo, use this formula to determine the size of your photo at the desired 300 dpi size:
Pixels ÷ 300 = the inches your photo will print at 300 dpi:
Example 3219 ÷ 300 = 10.73” & 4024 ÷ 300 = 13.41”
photo can print up to 10.73” wide x 13.41” tall and still look great!
This isn’t an unbreakable rule, as some photos will look good enough at only 200 dpi, but it gives you a guideline how the final print quality of a photo will look in your next brochure, flyer or poster.
Everyone gets “junk” mail at home and at work. At some point, we sort through the piles and decide to keep it or toss it. Sometimes we’ll keep the direct mail piece because something has intrigued us, while a dull, uninspired design or irrelevant message will quickly land a mail piece in the toss pile.
This leads to the big question of, “How do you get your marketing mail read every time?” It’s an easy answer, but one that isn’t always easy to achieve (queue the large neon light). Print marketing should capture the attention of the consumer instantly!
Sure, it’s easy to say, but what does that look like? Maybe you feel like you’re already doing this, but not getting the response you’re hoping for. Let’s start with your audience. Consumers love when they get something that is just for them. Maybe it has their name on the piece, or maybe it’s a coupon for something they’ve been looking at. Target does this really well. Ever notice that the coupon they sent you happens to be for a product you’ll soon be needing? I’d like to say that Target just gets you, but in reality, they’re catering to you by tracking your buying habits, recent purchases, etc. Which is a whole other post, but you get the gist. So, what can we do if we don’t have all that access to data? We’re all trying to engage with our audience on a personal level, and intrigue them to engage with our brand. So, what can you do on your next direct marketing mailer to get your message read?
Impactful, large images, personalization, and minimal text are surefire ways to get your message read. We only have about three seconds to catch the reader’s attention. Intrigue them on the front to engage them to read more on the back.
Make sure your target group and the product or service you’re offering is the right match. Many times, you have a great target group, but what you’re offering is the wrong fit. Quality over quantity will get you better results in the end.
Your call to action is arguably the most important part of your mailer. This gets your audience to take the desired next step, and leads to improved conversion rates. If your ask is clear and without a lot of complicated steps, they will be more likely to take action.
We all want to see a return on the work we are putting into a marketing piece. So, now it’s time to really hit the mark on your next mailing. You need to master the three steps above to keep your piece out of the recycling bin. If you put the work in, your mailer will definitely land at the top of the keep pile.
It’s time to take your event signage to the next level! You know you really need to stand out at the upcoming expo, but where do you start? Should you give your tradeshow booth a complete overhaul or simply invest in one specialty item?
If you’ve been to a tradeshow or two, you’re familiar with the rows of cookie-cutter booths that are just OK. But every now and then you see that booth. The one that makes you stop and want to learn more. Think about what made that booth unique. How did it grab your attention? Was it the bright colors, the imagery, or the booth itself? If you’re not paying attention to some of these details for your booth, there’s a big chance your potential customer will walk on by.
What does it take to make your tradeshow booth stand out?
Tip 1– Invest in your booth
Tradeshows are a big investment, and if you’re looking to make an impact, spend your dollars on a quality booth! You’ll want to think of this as an investment in your brand and its image. Decide on a unique display and a smart design that you’ll be able to reuse for many events down the road.
Tip 2– Top-notch print collateral
We’ve all been there, scoping out our competitor’s fancy booth and perfectly branded print brochures and flyers. You and your sales team should be proud of what you’re handing out to potential customers. This is an important piece of your brand! Most people won’t make a decision right then and there, but hopefully they’ll look at your brochure later and it will remind them of the benefits of your business. This is all the more reason to make sure your print game is strong!
Tip 3– Professional design
This one speaks for itself. Always use a professional graphic designer. They are worth the investment for a great design and keeping your brand looking its best! Impactful imagery speaks volumes about your brand. Just think about the three Cs: creative design, clear message, and color.
Additional ideas to engage your audience beyond print.
The additional tips below are definitely areas that you likely already do, but if you put a little strategy behind your effort this will also help you create engagement before and after the show!
It’s important to think strategically about what you’ll be giving away at your booth. You will have to purchase quite a few items, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting your best ROI. You might consider spending a bit more on a product that will continue to promote your brand after the tradeshow. Consider a canvas tote bag that your customer might use for groceries, or maybe a water bottle with your logo. Be sure to add a creative tagline to catch people’s attention. Always look for a quality product that people will want to use over and over again, and not just push to the side.
By now I’m sure you know how beneficial it can be to tie in your event with your social platforms. You have three prime opportunities to connect with your audience—before, during, and after the show. Before the show is a great time to get your existing and potential customers excited to see you, do lots of self-promotion, and let your audience know what’s in it for them! During the show, take pictures, post to social networks, and show them what they’re missing! Then after the show, share pictures and takeaways and encourage people to reach out if they weren’t able to attend. Share your experience!
We all want our brand to stand out, but if you can do just one thing, invest in your booth! This is the first glimpse of your brand that people will see. Anything you can do to make an impact and set your brand apart is totally worth it!
“Say what!?, What is a vector?, Huh?” are common responses that designers get when we ask a client for a vector logo. Before we jump into the meat and potatoes of why you need a vector logo, let’s talk about the definition of a vector graphic.
A vector graphic is created from points, lines, shapes, and curves that are based on mathematical formulas that represent the image on a computer. These elements can be filled with color, blends, tints, or gradients, and have lines with a stroke attribute such as a solid or dashed line with different thicknesses and colors. A vector graphic can be scaled and resized to double or triple its size (or more) while maintaining its smooth, crisp edges. Since your logo will be used in various applications and at different sizes, it is essential that your logo be created as a vector graphic.
An example of this would be to take your vector logo and scale it onto a billboard or sign at 12 feet. The logo will look just as eye pleasing at that size as it did on your business card. However, if your logo is in a raster format (pixel based), JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, RAW, or PSD, and you increased the dimensions, it would lose its luster and be a pixelated, blurred mess (see sample). You don’t want the face of your brand being displayed in an unprofessional manner. For this reason, it is never recommended that you create your logo or other illustrative graphics in a raster format.
Vector logos should be created in vector-based graphic software such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw and saved out with the extension, EPS, AI, CDR, or SVG. Unless you have the software you won’t be able to open this file. Don’t worry. This is the file of choice for professional designers and print vendors to ensure your logo is displayed cleanly and neatly.
Now the next time a vendor or designer asks for your vector logo, you’ll have the confident response of, “No problem, we have one of those.” Make sure your logo always looks good, with a vector file.
You are ready to WOW your clients with a sparkly new brochure, and you are primed to take the industry by storm. Now you just need to show all your potential clients why they should choose you over your competitors. Easier said than done. Spend all the money in the world on fancy papers and gold-foiled emblems, but the content is what gets results and sells your services.
Where to Start
Keep it short and to the point.
Create Engaging Body Copy
Target your content to your specific audience. Mistakes are often made by trying to paint with too broad of a brush. You only have a limited time to catch their interest, so you need to create content that is direct and on point.
Write from a reader’s point of view, not a business owner. Think of questions that your current clients ask you on a regular basis, and answer them in your text. Also, when listing bullet points, think of them more as customer benefits instead of listing a bunch of services that may not be clear to the end user.
A good balance of words and images is preferred and keeps the reader from skipping large blocks of type.
Great photography is not only beautiful and engaging, but it can tell your story, make a great impression, or push a potential client in your direction or to a competitor.
Infographics are another great way to create impact by breaking up long blocks of text and statistical numbers with something colorful, beautiful, and engaging. According to Forbes Magazine, “visual information—when presented clearly—trumped textual information by tenfold, and the study revealed that 90 percent of all information we remember was based on visual impact.” Provide your designer with statistics, sales numbers, production timelines, etc. and let them create something beautiful and eye-catching.
Think about utilizing whitespace (negative space). There is no better way to draw attention to something than the minimalist approach of using whitespace. It’s better than bolding, adding a drop shadow, or the ever-popular starburst! Your eyes are naturally drawn to the singled out area of the page, and it’s easier on the eyes when whitespace is used in body copy vs. forcing large amounts of text into tight areas. The following examples show text at the same size, but Sample 1 has a nice, readable laid-back feel, while Sample 2 has more of a hurried, frantic style.
Map Out Your Content
We will use the good old, tried and true, trifold brochure as an example, but the same principles apply to most layouts.
Panel 1 (cover of brochure when folded) The cover should have impact, and be an attention grabber. It should never be laden with text and information. The most effective designs will simply include a company logo, some imagery, possibly a tagline, and if so inclined, minimal contact info (website and phone).
Panel 2 (the first page seen when opening the brochure) Panel 2 is maybe the second most important panel of the brochure. It usually includes a summary of your business, a snapshot if you will of what you have to offer to the client.
Panels 3–5 (inside panels) This is where the meat and potatoes of your information usually goes. Oftentimes photos, graphics, or varying backgrounds are used to divide the space and keep it interesting.
Panel 6 (back of brochure when folded) Panel 6 is most often used for contact information and a call to action. End your message with a purpose (schedule an appointment, sign up for, act quickly to take advantage of…). A call to action could also work well at the bottom of panel 5, a natural ending point to the information on the inside.
Brochures can be an important part of your marketing strategy. Think of them as a portable sales rep, something to convey your message, or a representation of your company after an introductory meeting with a client.
Your information in the right hands can be a powerful tool for your success!
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