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Read some of the articles we’ve shared in the past:

 

The Theory of (My Design) Evolution

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Resolution Creative has been in business for over 30 years, originally under the name Lisa Smith Youngdahl Graphic Design. As with most businesses, there has been a period of evolution over the years. Much of the evolution has been caused by technology changes.

My graphic design education had focused on drawing and fine art as well as the principles of design. My early career was spent at a drawing board and the tools of the trade were pencils, technical pens, and markers. Everything changed in the 1980s with the introduction the Macintosh computer. Within a few years, the graphic design industry had gone digital. It was adapt or die.

Installation of the mural designed by Resolution Creative for the Dunham Fund corporate office, featuring digital artwork.

Installation of the mural designed by Resolution Creative for the Dunham Fund corporate office, featuring digital artwork.

Today, with software making visual communications more accessible, some of my past clients have brought the design work in-house. While I will miss those clients, there have been exciting opportunities the past year that indicate the direction my business will evolve. Some of the design work I created in 2018 used my “non-digital” drawing skills, such as the bass guitarist illustration on the Blues Blend coffee packaging. I also had some exciting digital illustration projects, including a five panel mural for the Dunham Fund office. The installation of the mural (shown above) should be completed in the next few weeks.

You can see more of my traditional illustration work in the portfolio on this website here. I am also offering a free image download with each newsletter in 2019.

Although I am planning to focus on my illustrative skills moving forward, I will still offer the same professional and award winning graphic design services. Perhaps your business has also undergone an evolution? You may need to hire an expert to help you market those changes. Contact Resolution Creative for a free consultation.

Hanging On To Your Past

Posted by on 1:29 pm in Blog, Newsletter | Comments Off on Hanging On To Your Past

Water Street Resident StudioI moved my business this month.

I am still in Water Street Studios, still on the second floor. Yet, moving always means packing and sorting through remnants of the past, deciding what was important to keep. Included in this review were some of the marketing pieces I had designed in the past for my own business. Brochures and one sheets that were well designed and engaging, but perhaps the message did not reflect my current focus. I realized, although I had invested the time and cost of producing these items, I did not need to keep them. It was time to let go and move forward.

Are you hanging on to your past? Do your current materials reflect where your business and target market are today? Perhaps you’re ready for a brand refresh. Contact Lisa Youngdahl at Resolution Creative for a free consultation and audit of your current marketing materials

Resolution Creative will work with you to create eye-catching custom graphic design and illustration. Perhaps we can meet in my new studio, and you can see the design, illustration and art I have been producing.

Buying the Package

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Your Customers May Be Buying the Package Before They are Sold on the Product.

Think of the overwhelming selection of items we face when entering a store. Instead of waiting for the consumer to reach for your product, let your product reach out to your audience. Packaging can be designed so that the colors and typography are vibrant, it’s easy to read and stands out from the competition. Once the customer sees your package, is it delivering the right message? Your packaging is part of your brand! It should be used to tell the story of your product; the quality and superiority.

Interested in hiring a professional designer to ensure your product stands in front of the rest? Resolution Creative will work with you to create eye-catching custom graphic design and illustration. Call Lisa Youngdahl at 630-661-1140, or email info@resolution-creative-services.com for more information.

Current work: Packaging for FreshGround Roasting

Resolution Creative was commissioned by FreshGround Roasting to design the packaging for a special blend developed for the 2018 Blues & Roots on Water Street Music Festival on June 9, 2018. Proceeds from the sale of each bag will go to Water Street Studios in Batavia. Resolution Creative created the illustration featured on the package in addition to the graphic design. The artwork featured on the package will be exhibited at Water Street Studios with three other works of mine in the exhibition, The Art of the Blues, June 8 – July 8

You can order the Blues Blend online, ( in a variety of grinds,) and support Water Street Studios and the arts in the Fox Valley.

Marketing with Posters

Posted by on 10:47 am in Blog, Newsletter | Comments Off on Marketing with Posters

Advertising poster designed by Alphonse Mucha for Moet & Chandon champagne

Advertising poster designed by Alphonse Mucha for Moet & Chandon champagne

Did you know that posters were one of the earliest forms of marketing?

In the 19th century, industrialization led to the birth of a middle class; workers who had disposable income and purchasing power. At the same time, new and affordable color printing technologies were developed. Because of these two factors, print advertising was born. Potential customers were reached through the use of posters displayed in outdoor spaces; public streets, markets, and town squares.

Advertising posters were designed by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha and other well-known artists. Since that time, posters have been used not only for product advertising, but for political messages, promoting a cause, public service campaigns, motivational messages,  event marketing… Posters work, and are still effective.

Unlike the 1800s, there are many other forms of mass communication we can use today. Yet a poster can have a role in a multi-channel marketing approach.

Posters are affordable and will reinforce your marketing message and brand.

Shepard Fairey’s iconic poster represented Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Shepard Fairey’s iconic poster represented Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

To be effective, a poster should be well designed and cater to your audience. It needs to be seen from a distance; eye catching, colorful, and easy to read. Integrating the typography with the art will communicate the message while maintaining a unity within the design.

Are you interested in including a poster design in your marketing? Contact Lisa at Resolution Creative to discuss how we might work together.

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Is Your Web Site Usable?

Posted by on 12:57 pm in Blog, Newsletter | Comments Off on Is Your Web Site Usable?

Have you considered whether or not your website is usable? As much as I hate to admit this as a designer, the visual appearance of your website isn’t everything. There’s a purpose in having an attractive site. An attractive site informs your audience that you are established, professional, credible… However, a web site can look great, but not be usable.

With only 10 seconds to get your message across, you really have only about 150 words to make your point and convince your visitor to complete your call to action.

I asked you before the holidays to determine what information you would like visitors fo find on your web site, then ask family and friends if they can find the information while navigating the site on their own, without any coaching. If you had an opportunity to do this, you may have been surprised by the results. This comic below illustrates how practical information may not be easily found during a visit to a website.

comic courtesy of xkcd blog.

Testing has shown that if the specific information people are looking for is not found in ten seconds, they will leave the site. Your information needs to be easy to find. How can the visitor contact you? Where are you located? What is the goal of your site? Is there a Call to Action? Make the information the visitor is seeking obvious.

You may be thinking about having a new website created or a current website redesigned. Usability should be one of the first steps in the process, before color, type and visual element are decided. I can help guide you through this process, and create a site that is usable and attractive. Contact Resolution Creative to discuss how we might work together.

References used in article: http://alexwhite.org/2010/12/the-10-second-rule-for-website-usability/

Marketing Resolutions

Posted by on 3:54 pm in Newsletter | Comments Off on Marketing Resolutions

From my newsletter a few years ago, it’s still good advice.

Did you know that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolutions?

New Years Resolution Calendar
You may start with the best intentions, but people often fail at achieving the desired outcome. According to Forbes.com, to keep resolutions your goals should be specific. Instead of making a vague promise to “improve my website”, you might also include a focused plan of what needs to be changed on your website and how you will accomplish this. The plan could include where to begin, determining what skills or knowledge may be needed, and then finding another person to keep you accountable and successful. Does adding these details make your list seem overwhelming? Delegating some of these tasks might help overcome the roadblocks and help fulfill your goal.

What resolutions are on your list? If you haven’t started, here is a list of 13 Marketing Musts, as outlined by Small Business Trends.

  • A clean, current, engaging, easy to navigate website.
  • A WordPress blog where you can share your expertise and the expertise of others you admire.
  • A fully developed professional, active Linked In Profile, with recommendations.
  • A Facebook page that you use strategically, respectfully and carefully.
  • Smart use of Twitter for branding yourself and others.
  • Podcasting and listening are hot. Feature quality content from yourself and others.
  • An e-marketing campaign to regularly engage with your permission based A list.
  • A local chamber membership or professional organization to engage in your community.
  • Going to key conferences to meet key people, in person, in your industry.
  • Seminars and workshops to enhance your professional advancement and knowledge.
  • Brand makeover to keep yourself fresh and relevant.
  • Choose smart, strategic partnerships and alliances to add more value and reach.
  • Give back, pay forward, help others, pro bono.

If you used some or all of these “musts” for your business resolutions, would you know how to achieve these goals? Resolution Creative can help you with many of these, whether for print, web, social media or email marketing. Call 630-661-1140 or email and schedule a free brand analysis, and learn how you can get started on fulfilling those resolutions.

Peace on Earth

Posted by on 2:32 pm in Blog, Newsletter | Comments Off on Peace on Earth

2017 Holiday Greeting from Resolution Creative
Peace on Earth

Batavia Peace on Earth Bridge
Since 2008 the pedestrian bridge in Batavia, Illinois is decorated with the greeting “Peace on Earth.” during the holidays.  It’s a message we should remember throughout the year. This original color pencil drawing is based upon a photograph I took, at sunset.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday and looking forward to a prosperous 2018!
If you’re a client, thank you for your support. 


Lisa Smith Youngdahl

Your Winter Break homework

I recently returned from WordCamp US 2017 in Nashville. One of the topics discussed was the usability of a website. You may have an attractive website, but is it truly usable? An exercise you can do is write a list of important information you would like visitors to your website to access. Over the holidays, ask your family and friends if they can find the information while navigating the site on their own, without any coaching. Is your site truly usable?  We will discuss this in greater detail in the next newsletter. In the meantime, do your homework, and have a wonderful holiday!

I am currently booking projects for early 2018. What marketing materials will you need in the new year? Contact me for a FREE initial design audit.

– Lisa Youngdahl

Learning more about WordPress in the Music City

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WordCamp US 2017 WordPress Conference attendee badgeWordCamp US 2017


the national WordPress conference
part 1

 

This year, between the Thanksgiving gathering and preparing for the holidays, I plan to travel to Nashville to attend the 2017 WordCamp US. What is Wordcamp? It’s a conference focusing on everything WordPress, with information presented on a variety of topics. For those of you not familiar with WordPress, it is a content management system used for blogging and websites. The sites I have designed in recent years have used this system. It’s easy for my clients to maintain, and adapts well to be responsive when used on mobile devices. I’ve attended WordCamp Chicago several times, but this will be my first time at the national conference.

After reviewing the schedule, here are some of the sessions I am looking forward to attending:

  • Web Content as Usability
    Can your visitors easily navigate a web site and find the information that is important to them? This is different than accessibility, and targets the average user.
  • How to teach clients to effectively use WordPress
    Some of the popularity of WordPress is due to it being easy to edit content without knowing how to code. This session will cover effectively educate clients to update their site.

These are just a couple of the variety of topics that will be presented. I will walk away with the knowledge of how to improve the web services I can provide to my clients.

After I return from Nashville, I will be available to work on your projects throughout the holidays. Perhaps there will be an opportunity to implement to knowledge I’ve gained. In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! As always, I’m thankful to my clients and the projects we develop together.

Contact Resolution Creative for a free initial design audit. I am currently booking projects for 2018.

Thanksgiving newsletter turkey photo

Good Logo Design is More than a Trend

Posted by on 2:38 pm in Newsletter | Comments Off on Good Logo Design is More than a Trend

When browsing online, I often see articles such as these:

Logo Design Trends for 2017
Logo Design Trends and Inspiration
Graphic Design Trends to be aware of
Print Design Trends to Look Out For

Instead of following trends, it is better to learn and apply the principles of good design. I constantly see poorly designed materials which are difficult to read or understand. Knowledge and use of the principles of design and rules for good logo, print and web design is an important investment in your marketing.

Since a logo is the most commonly seen element of your business, let’s start with some rules for logo design.

  • Simple – Keep it simple and your branding will be easier to understand at a glance.
  • Memorable – Use a unique, yet simple, element that relates to your business.
  • Timeless – Don’t just follow trends. (Remember drop shadows and gradients?)  Your logo will look dated in few years and it will be costly to change.
  • Versatile – Your logo should reproduce well at any size or usage. It should have the same impact in black and white as it does in color. Try to stay away heavily detailed illustrations.
  • Appropriate – A logo should reflect the industry and market served. A logo designed for a construction company will not be appropriate for a fashion brand.

Here are some examples of well known logos that follow these guidelines. Working with an experienced designer who knows and implements these rules will help ensure the creation of a lasting visual identity for your business. Call Resolution Graphics for a free consultation.  Click here to view some of the logos designed by Resolution Creative.

Fed Ex Logo Design Here are two well known examples of good logo design. Simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, appropriate, and unique to the businesses represented.

The FedEx logo is very easy to read and recognize, but it’s not just a word mark.

Do you see the arrow created by the negative space? Arrows are commonly used to convey speed and movement. The hidden arrow does not distract the viewer from name and adds an element of cleverness and surprise.  Read more…


McDonalds Logo DesignEveryone recognizes the McDonalds logo. The original restaurant chain featured gold arches on the buildings. The simple rendering of the arches in the logo also form the letter M.


Apple Logo DesignWould you believe the illustration on the left was the original logo for Apple Computer? It breaks several of the rules for good logo design. It’s definitely not simple, or versatile, making difficult to reproduce. Does this design convey modern technology and product design? This logo was only in existence for a year. Read more about the history of Apple’s logo

Website Update, Be Discovered

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Website updating will help clients find you

Google Search Screen website on a laptop computer

Perhaps your business or organization has not changed in years, but the internet has. It may be time to update your website to meet current standards, compliance, and make it easier for your customers to find you.

I recently attended Wordcamp Chicago, a two day conference for everything related to WordPress, a content management system used in website creation. I’d like to share a couple of important takeaways from the event regarding SEO. (Search Engine Optimization)

  • If your website is not using HTTPS, or SSL, an upcoming release of the latest Chrome browser will display a message stating “Not Secure.” Not only will you be flagged as not being a secure site to your audience, but Google gives preference to sites which are secure. If your Google ranking is important to you, your web site needs to use the HTTPS protocol. Not sure what SSL and HTTPS are? Read more about SSL and HTTPS here and specifically how it applies to WordPress.
  • Is your site ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant? Google ranks sites which are ADA compliant higher than those that are not. This means using alt text for your images, enough contrast so text may be easily read, and using HTML heading tags in the correct order.

Speaking of Google ranking, did you know that mobile-friendliness has been a ranking factor since 2015? Pull your phone out of your pocket and see how well your web site displays (or doesn’t!) Mobile website views surpassed  desktop views in 2016, and how your site appears is important to Google.

Are you interested in improving your search engine rankings and a receiving a free audit of your website? Contact Resolution Creative to bring your website into compliance, optimize for search engines, and refresh your digital marketing!