Design Bloopers: Only the Shadow Knows

I can spot it a mile away, and after this post, I hope you can, too. It’s the mark of an amateur who is dabbling in design. What gives them away?

They lurk in the (drop) shadows.

Drop That Shadow, and Take Your Hands Off That Mouse!

Drop shadows are one of those graphic “tricks” that people are drawn to like moths to a light bulb. The downside of drop shadows is that they give type or objects a fuzzy edge, and they make text very hard to read. There are a few very limited times when drop shadows can be useful, however.

It’s much easier to show you, so watch this quick video:

Read article …Design Bloopers: Only the Shadow Knows

Business Colors: You Already Know The Most Important Rule

Red and blue. Maroon and white. Green and yellow.

What do your high school, your favorite sports team and most major corporations have in common? Two colors. They pick two main business colors to represent their organization, and you should, too.

It’s all about restraint

When it comes to color, the best policy is to restrain your hues. It sounds counterintuitive, but if you want your business to look good, you should stick to a limited palette of colors.

creating a brand that's recognizable by choosing a two-color palette

There’s a good reason for this. We expect our audience to associate specific images (like our logo and colors) with our business.

The less information we give them to “learn” about us, the better the chance they’ll absorb it.

Read article …Business Colors: You Already Know The Most Important Rule

The World As We Know It Is (Not) About to End

Book publishers might think their world is about to end. The Internet offers enough reading material (and distraction) they may fear no one will read a book again.

As small business owners, the effect of social media and the Internet on our businesses is something we’re all in the process of sorting out. It can be disheartening to think the old model we may have grown used to is just not working anymore.

Here’s a video that shows what Penguin books (Dorling Kindserley in the UK) thinks about these trends. I saw a similar video a while back that was an Argentinian political statement, so this idea is not original, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it applied to marketing concepts.

Read article …The World As We Know It Is (Not) About to End

Design Bloopers: This Ad Gives Me A Headache

This post is about a major design blooper, and this one touches on typography.

Noticing design bloopers is one of my favorite pastimes! (Ask anyone who lives with me).

I especially enjoy seeing major corporations make massively expensive design mistakes: it’s a good reminder that good and bad design are within reach of all of us (and sometimes even the big guys reach for bad design).

Read article …Design Bloopers: This Ad Gives Me A Headache

Surprising Insights About Web Video

My Interview with Dave Kaminski of Web Video University

creating a brand marketing video with tips from my interview with Dave Kaminski

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing someone I’ve held in high regard for years: Dave Kaminski of Web Video University. Since I was in the middle of writing my Design 101 series, I posted the interview video on a private page and only shared it with my newsletter readers.

[EDIT: This video is no longer available]

Read article …Surprising Insights About Web Video

Why I Think You Can Learn Design and Marketing

brand marketing is within your grasp if you educate yourself about design

I’ve heard every excuse imaginable over the years. Most of the time it’s directed at me as a sort of backhanded compliment to my abilities:

“I’m just not creative at all.”
“I can’t draw a straight line.”
“I gave up on creativity when I outgrew crayons.”

I always smile and nod politely. They’re trying to say something nice about my abilities, but they’re telling lies to themselves. Why?

Because anyone can learn this stuff.

Read article …Why I Think You Can Learn Design and Marketing