Advertising

Buffoonish Design Mistakes.

Buffoonish Design Mistakes.

I've gotta be honest, nowhere that I've ever worked would be capable of putting out something this immensely ridiculous. The people are too smart. Too many people eyeball everything before it makes it out the door. And again, people are too smart. But Luckily, the world is populated by people who care so little about their work – that their work makes great fodder for my blog posts! So there's plenty of work out there to laugh at. Pepsi doesn't seem like a company floating in incompetence, but someone had to be sniffing glue when they ok'd this layout. Can't say that people being taken aback by the gratuitous word "rape" necessarily surprises me, even if it is technically an "a". What's actually missing in this ad? Well, the art directors IQ for one thing.   The family that hangs together, dies together. Reassuring imagery at a place that's devoted to healing people. Pepsi again. This time revealing a hatred […]

Social Media Advertising… Useful?

Social Media Advertising… Useful?

It's hard to deny that an approach to advertising that's so simple and, as a general matter, is infinitely more cost effective than whirling out all manner of printed matter and then paying to place it is a virtue. But aside from a feeble stab at name recognition, it really isn't altogether obvious that social media advertising is accomplishing much of anything. In a sense, it's quite obvious that advertisers would go this route, as fragmentation of the market is increasingly a problem, and the likes of Facebook and twitter have to be monetized in some way, but it's hard not to get a sense that marketers are going about it wrong. All wrong. It's a compelling argument that something such as certainty, which social media advertising provides in the sense that you can track all visitors who lay eyes on your message, but what, really, is the point? I'm certainly not the only person who has aimlessly visited a […]

The Truth About Social Media Advertising

The Truth About Social Media Advertising

…and other urban legends… It was the best of times to be in marketing, it was the worst of times to be marketing… Or at least, that's how I imagine Charles Dickens might have started A Tale of Two Cities if he was writing it today. The paradox is true. It's a tough time to sell marketing services – everyone's looking for an expert, while the terrible reality is that trends are shifting too quickly for true expertise to exist. On the other hand, there's never been a better time to be “mad men” because there are no limits, no boundaries, no set of rules to follow anymore. At a time like this, a commodity like certainty is worth its weight in gold. A “marketing expert” who can guarantee a campaign's success will go far, until, that is, it becomes clear that – just as you suspected – there are no guarantees when it comes to promotion and advertising. Unlike […]

Best Disney/Marvel Mashup Galleries

Best Disney/Marvel Mashup Galleries

Now your childhood IS just one big jumble of images! As my many thousands of readers know, I like to keep things fresh around here, so while yesterday we discussed the future of the printing industry, today we'll have a look at some hilarious graphic design awesomeness brought to you by yesterday's announcement that Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment and the 5,000-or-so characters of the Marvel Universe. Intending to write a little post speculating on the design of a Disney/Marvel logo, I was blown away to discover that the web is already awash with hundreds of pieces of Disney/Marvel mashup art. This has got to be the corporate merger that has generated the most design inspiration in history. Sketchers are sketching, painters are painting, and even writers are fast writing out new crossover storylines. You can check out some of the best Disney/Marvel mashup galleries on Super Punch, BleedingCool, The Fire Wire, and of course, flickr and DeviantART. No word yet […]

What is a Marketing Communications Provider?

What is a Marketing Communications Provider?

Is it the next phase in the evolution of commercial printing? Last Week, the 2009 Offset and Beyond Conference took place in Las Vegas. It was an interesting year, with the focus of the conference mainly on the shifting face of the offset printing industry. Experts spoke about the importance of strong leadership, 'leaning,' and embracing new technologies to get printing companies through turbulent periods. However, the main point put across by many speakers is that to survive, printers need to shift from being 'just printers' to being 'marketing communications providers.' What exactly does this mean? Obviously, it's one of those amorphous, evolving words that can mean both everything and nothing. As more printers develop from technical craftspeople into these new hybrid creatures, a different term might pop up, but for now 'marketing communications provider' (MCP) will just have to do. What exactly is a MCP? An MCP is a printer who doesn't just offer a technical service so much […]

Print Design Posts of the Week 7

Print Design Posts of the Week 7

Less gloom, more pretty colors. Last week was pretty grim, so this week I put together a list of links that focus more on how awesome the print and design industry is. It's spring. The sun is shining, the birds are singing (maybe not in Cleveland, but somewhere). Enjoy a nice, relaxing weekend, folks! Dan Woellert over at Kodak's Build Your Biz blog weighs in on the importance of innovation in the print industry, using an interesting metaphor. A disgruntled journalist shares his Google Reader links to content from all over the web talking about the death of the newspaper, and the fight to save journalism. Very cool stuff. The stimulus plan now has a logo, so that we all know when we're being stimulated. If anyone knows that value of a good logo, it's our well-designed President. How does that old Beatles song go? "All you need is typography! All you need is typography! All you need is type-type-type-type […]

Writing Good Ad Copy

Writing Good Ad Copy

Read the previous post for part one of this series. Odds are not everyone is going to overthink the bit of sign printing discussed in the last post quite to the degree that I have. In fact, as good as that copy is, it's not the kind of copy that's designed to really catch anyone's attention. Rather, the slogan, in all its skillfulness, is probably striving to avoid drawing too much attention to itself by being utterly apolitical. In the world of TV advertising, on the other hand, Obama's ad copy folks are all about making us sit up and pay attention. In two new ads, one for West Virginia, and one for South Dakota, a voiceover by Obama concludes with the words, “I approved this message BECAUSE…” Isn't that neat? It made me react right away, because I'd never really heard anything like it before. We all know that the candidate voiceover of approval is necessary to the vaunted […]

Taking Great Pictures for Use in Print Design

Taking Great Pictures for Use in Print Design

At Hotcards, we do a lot of design work for the customers we print for. Photography, on the other hand… Getting your designing, printing, and even mailing (if you're running a direct mail campaign) done in one place is a relief for many people, but coming through with high-quality images that are specific to your product, service, or event. On the other hand, we're also living in an age where, thanks to rapidly evolving design technology, many individuals and small businesses do their own design work. And that's just great. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be hard for a DIY designer to turn their ideas into the kind of print designs that act as effective marketing tools. Around here at Hotcards, one of the biggest DIY mistakes we see involves the use of low-quality photography. Nice pictures are essential to great print design, but pictures that aren't so nice, or that aren't used properly, can really hurt the quality of your […]

Calling All Printers and Print Designers!

Calling All Printers and Print Designers!

I know you've got to be out there. Somewhere in this sea of web designers, there has to be people that are still interested in, and engaged in, print design. How do I know this? Because everywhere you look there are billboards, posters, flyers, table tents, brochures, labels, stickers, and coasters, many of them beautifully, brilliantly designed. But you go online and try to find printers or print designers blogging about their craft on a regular basis? Either I am totally out of some super-elite loop, or there are virtually none of them out there, which seems senseless to me. Just because the internet is the domain of the web designer, doesn't mean it's his or her exclusive territory in which to gain recognition, have ideas heard, and build an exciting community. Are all the print designers out there hiding? Lurking amidst the impregnable sites and blogs wielded by the mighty hands of the web designers; hiding behind blanket topic […]

Functionality in Print Design

Functionality in Print Design

There is a line between success and my design, and that line is made up of service people who have neither the time nor the energy to deal with my crap. The other night, we were down at the local watering hole, indulging in sundry libations, when my eyes trained, all of a sudden, on the uniquely shaped beer coaster positioned beneath my pint of brew. This was no common circle of soggy pasteboard. It was a large, thick, intricately cut maple leaf, a marvel, we all agreed, of advertising design technology. Beer manufacturers are known for never cutting corners when it comes to design and advertising. This coaster, advertising Molson Canadian beer, proved that Canadian brewers are no exception to the rule. Molson recently won a Bronze Lion at the IAF for a particularly witty bit of commercial advertising that not only won over the judges at Cannes, but also convinced Molson to change advertising agencies for good. Obviously, […]

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