all posts tagged graphic design

How Amy designed a charming book cover

Amy Wessel, a graphic designer on our staff, recently had the opportunity to put her skills to work designing the cover for a self-published book by a local author, Mary Kay Mayer.

The book – entitled From Diapers to Dresses: How a mother’s past helped to shape her daughters’ futures – chronicles how the author used her grandmother’s folk wisdom to guide her parenting decisions and to convey important life lessons to her three daughters.

Amy describes her experience with the project:

Mary knew from the start that she wanted the main focus of the cover to be a dress that her grandmother had made for her. So I developed several ideas that centered around the dress and Mary chose the one she liked best.

Along the way, we discussed incorporating additional prop items and personal photographs into the layout, but in the end we decided to keep it simple and just use the dress.

Mary liked the idea of using an illustration rather than a photograph of the dress. As the book is intended for moms, not children, I was concerned about any illustration that appeared too “childlike.” So I used a combination of photography, hand illustration and Photoshop brush techniques to produce an image that has a childlike quality but is still firmly rooted in reality.

The background colors were chosen to complement the colors of the dress. The font combination was chosen to convey a whimsical yet sophisticated feeling.

The book is available at amazon.com here.

40 Things You Can Ask Your Ad Agency To Do

A lot has changed since the days when agencies only did ads. (The concept this team is reviewing must have been brilliant; the guy on the left is wearing sunglasses.)

Long gone are the days when an advertising agency designed ads and little else. In fact, today’s agencies fulfill such a wide array of marketing functions that the term “ad agency” is woefully inadequate.

Take a look at the list below of stuff you can ask your agency to do and you’ll see what I mean.

  1. Create your website
  2. Design your packaging
  3. Name your product
  4. Develop a new brand
  5. Create point-of-sale items for your product
  6. Design your logo
  7. Design your corporate ID package
  8. Produce your annual report
  9. Proofread your annual report
  10.  Make it easier for people to shop for your product
  11.  Create a web-based sweepstakes sales promotion
  12.  Design your trade show exhibit
  13.  Produce training materials for your sales force
  14.  Create posters, banners and window clings for your showroom
  15.  Assemble and ship mockups in time for your big pitch tomorrow
  16.  Brainstorm ways to help you reduce unnecessary product returns
  17.  Organize all the information for your catalog
  18.  Write a clever, catchy tagline
  19.  Conduct audience research
  20.  Process mail-in rebate forms
  21.  Get translations for marketing your product in Mexico and Canada
  22.  Oversee a photo shoot
  23.  Recommend a social media strategy for your brand
  24.  Design a product sell sheet
  25.  Map out a plan for the way your products should be arranged on retail shelves
  26.  Negotiate and place your media buys
  27.  Design an eye-catching billboard
  28.  Write and produce your TV or radio ads
  29.  Stay on top of the latest trends in culture and communication
  30.  Write a sales offer email
  31.  Write and produce your how-to videos and post them on YouTube
  32.  Help you decide if Twitter makes sense for your brand
  33.  Develop an e-commerce component for your website
  34.  Guide you through a name change
  35.  Partner with popular blogs to talk-up your product
  36.  Help you develop a new product
  37.  Help coordinate your public relations efforts
  38.  Help maintain consistency in all your communications
  39.  Write instructions for using your product
  40.  Oh yeah, almost forgot…create your ad campaign

That’s quite a list (and not even a complete one). And there’s no simple, catch-all term for companies that do all this. Yeah, we could say “marketing communications firm,” but that’s a mouthful of syllables – and only slightly more descriptive.

So for now we’ll just stick with “ad agency.”

It’s not 100% accurate, but people get it, right?