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Design Blog


Thoughts and professional design and marketing advice from Resolution Creative.

Marketing Resolutions

Posted by on 2:29 pm in Blog, Design Blog | 0 comments

It’s the end of January. Have you already failed at your resolutions, or did you even make any? It’s still early in the year, it’s not too late to get started. How about some marketing resolutions that will help grow your business? Keep in mind it is easier to keep resolutions if the goals are specific.

Last year I wrote about 13 Marketing Musts for 2013 from Small Business Trends. This list may help you get started in making improvements to your 2014 marketing. Remember to keep your goals specific. Instead of making a vague promise to “improve my website”, develop a plan of what needs to be changed on your website and how you will accomplish this. Does accomplishing these goals seem overwhelming? Delegating some of these tasks might help fulfill your goals.

Using the Correct Color Mode and Resolution for Print

Posted by on 10:28 am in Blog, Design Blog | 0 comments

Click on image to view a guide to preparing files for print, provided by our print vendor.

Click on image to view a guide to preparing files for print, provided by our print vendor.

I recently explained the need for correct image resolution and color mode in response to a friend’s Facebook post. My friend works for a major metropolitan newspaper, and was frustrated by the continual submission of low resolution images that were not usable for print. Are you making the same mistakes? Do you know how to set up an image properly for print? For images, two of the main requirements are using the correct color mode and resolution.

Here is a brief explanation. Print uses pigment inks and the web uses light colors. Think back to your high school science class, and it may be easier to understand. For print, the correct color mode is CMYK, which is comprised of separate channels for each of the process color inks used, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Images to be used online has a color mode of RGB, with channels for Red, Green and Blue. If an image is the wrong color mode, it may not reproduce correctly since it can not be separated into the correct channels.

A web image is typically 72 ppi; this is referred to as resolution. That’s all that’s needed for a monitor, though this rule of thumb may be increasing to double that size with retina monitors. Print resolution needs to be much higher, at 300 pixels per inch. Images printed at a lower resolution will appear jaggy or fuzzy. Pixels per inch are sometimes referred to as dots per inch.  You may see your resolution by looking at the Image Size in Adobe Photoshop. If you don’t have access to Photoshop, this link has a way to check an image resolution in Windows Explorer:

Pixels per inch are resized proportionally. If you have an image that’s 2″ x 2″ at 300 pixels per inch, and enlarge this image to 4″ x 4”, the resolution will drop to 150 pixels per inch. You can not enlarge an image beyond it’s original size, because the resolution will decrease proportionally. If you have a high resolution image, you can decrease the size, but not increase it. The only time you should use an image at a size larger than the original is if the resolution is greater than 300 ppi. If the 2″ x 2″ image has a resolution of 600 pixels, you can increase the size to 4″ x 4″ and it will be at 300 ppi.

Are you confused? Until you have worked with resolutions and color modes, and viewed the differences on press, it can be difficult to understand. Just keep in mind that for print, the color mode should be CMYK and the resolution should be 300 ppi at this size you intend to use the image. If you’re rather leave the design and pre-press work in the hands of a professional, contact Resolution Creative.


VNA Health Care Flyer redesign

Posted by on 1:28 pm in Case Study, Design Blog | 0 comments

Client: VNA Health Care –  Aurora, IL
Industry: non-profit health care
Project: flyer redesign

VNA Heath Care flyer

VNA Health Care prints a series of flyers for each clinic location. The information provided includes the location, the staff, and the specializations provided at that clinic. Because of the turnover in staff, there is often a need for the flyers to be updated. The client was interested in an updated look, while still keeping within the brand standards.

The existing flyer had a lot of visual clutter in the dark background and repeating circles. Legibility is increased with tighter groupings of the provider images balanced with white space. Large subheads in different colors helped segment the specializations. The provider names in black on a white background are easier to read than the small reverse type used previously. The redesign resulted in a layout that can be easily updated, and modified for different locations.



Shop Local for Marketing

Posted by on 3:02 pm in Blog, Design Blog | 0 comments

AMEX_Shop_Small_Stamp_RGB_Primary_Blue_Logo1-300x290One of the phrases we’re hearing repeated throughout the holiday season is to “Shop Local,” along with the promotion of Small Business Saturday. Buying goods locally is an investment in your community, and strengthens the economic base.

However, buying local and supporting local businesses should not be limited to brick and mortar retailers. Do you know the vendors available to you locally for your graphic design and marketing? Working with an independent consultant will yield results targeted to your market, marketing created specifically for your products or services. (more…)

Brand Consistency

Posted by on 10:25 am in Blog, Design Blog | 1 comment

Are you annoyed by this logo?

Are you annoyed by this logo?

There’s a logo that has bothered me for years. I have often driven by it, and it has never failed to annoy me.

As a graphic designer, I have certain expectations of a logo. A good logo design should be simple, legible, recognizable and and usable on a variety of media. I see many logos that don’t fit that criteria, but none of them annoy me as this one does. This has the potential to be an effective logo, but it is not being used with consistency.

A logo is part of your brand. To be effective, and build recognition and the brand, a logo needs to be presented in a consistent manner. This means always using the same color scheme, type styles, the way other elements are positioned with the logo.

What’s wrong with this logo? I suspect the smaller angled logo on the sides of the awning was how the designer originally intended the logo to be positioned. The larger logo over the door not only is not consistent, but sends a visual message at odds with the name of the business.

Do your business visuals send a confusing message about your business? If you need help in getting it right, Resolution Creative can help. Contact us for a free design audit of your marketing materials.



Designing for Print

Posted by on 6:43 pm in Blog, Case Study, Design Blog | 0 comments

InvitationMockupAA client called me last week. A special event was being hosted by this health care organization, and the client wanted more than a standard invitation. Something that would stand-out and be noticed. Perhaps a die-cut?

In this interactive age, the request was a designer’s dream. My project load has become increasingly digital. But there are just some things you can only do in print media. Die-cuts, folds, specialty papers, embossing, foils, letterpress are just some of the features print designers drool over. Print is tactile, and has a permanence that can not be achieved in digital design. (more…)

How to Choose a Graphic Designer

Posted by on 12:37 pm in Blog, Design Blog | 0 comments


It’s more than knowing the software.

What You Should Know to Choose a Graphic Designer.

I recently spent an enjoyable hour reminiscing about obsolete graphic design materials with former classmates on Facebook. Those who became designers after the birth of the Mac do not have the same memories of rapidograph pens, waxers, rubylith or kneaded erasers.

Does remembering the “good ol’ days” make us better designers? No, of course not. In the same sense, knowledge of graphic design software does not necessarily make one a designer either. Both the obsolete technology and the current software are only tools. The argument I always present is that owning a hammer does not make a master carpenter.

What does make one a good designer? Besides knowing the Adobe Creative Suite, what else does a designer need to know? (more…)

Folds and Bleeds

Posted by on 12:09 pm in Blog, Design Blog | 0 comments

Use a Brochure Template For Printing

IMSA Fusion Print Brochure, print design, Batavia IL, Kane County ILYou want to print a standard size tri-fold brochure. The paper dimensions are 11″ wide x 8.5″ high. The paper just folds in three, right? Just divide 11″ by 3 to determine where the panels fold.

Actually that’s not correct. Professional designers know that the fold needs to accommodate the thickness of the paper. The panel that folds on the inside would be a bit shorter.

What if your brochure has a color background. Do you create your 8.5″ x 11″ brochure with a background area that is 8.5″ x 11″? No, actually it needs to be larger. In printing, this is called a bleed. (more…)

Fundraising on a Shoestring

Posted by on 11:50 am in Blog, Design Blog | 0 comments

Old Fat Guy Idol puts the FUN in Fundraising

It’s October 1, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It seems a timely blog post would be about Old Fat Guy Idol, a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day I founded with some old high school friends, and the marketing created for this event.

Old Fat Guy Idol foundersLet me start the story by mentioning that I had not been in touch with my old friends for decades. In 2009 we had reconnected through Facebook, and had a class reunion. We were from a small high school, only 37 in our graduating class. I convinced my husband’s band to play, and one of my classmates, Chuck, sang a few songs with the band. I later posted a video of this on Facebook.

Another old friend, Larry, who had not attended the reunion, happened to see the video on Facebook and commented that he had always been a better singer than Chuck. This ignited a friendly argument and it was decided to be settled by holding a public competition. Larry had walked in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day the prior three years. We decided to hold a contest, and raise money for his participation fee.   A third classmate, Bobby,  was recruited, and Old Fat Guy Idol was born. (more…)

Print Marketing Idea #1

Posted by on 4:41 pm in Blog, Design Blog | 0 comments

Paper airplane created as a monthly promotion by designer Michelle Yao.

Paper Airplane Print Marketing Idea

Looking for an effective promotion piece to hand out at the next networking event or trade show?
Something inexpensive, fun and customized with your logo, tagline and contact information? What is more fun, or less expensive, than a paper airplane?

If you remember the last time you made a paper airplane, you’ll remember that all you needed was a sheet of paper. Once folded, it’s a fun item to toss around a room, or compete with others. Better yet, it will help you stand out from your competition. (more…)