Top 10 Tips for Non-Graphic Designers

In times of financial difficulty, one of the first departments to have its budget cut is Marketing.  The job of putting together advert designs or brochures can fall to a Marketing Manager or Assistant with little or no knowledge of what it takes to put a solid layout together.  They might be armed with Adobe Creative Suite, but often it’s a case of ‘all the gear and no idea!’  

Similarly, small businesses often have someone juggling marketing, sales and who knows what else because it’s preferential to hiring a dedicated resource.

Let’s assume you’re in that position, but your boss has granted you some budget to get your design work outsourced.  It can be tricky when putting a project together to understand what your graphic designer really needs from you. But you can actually plan a lot in advance, which will save you both time and money as a result, keeping that boss of yours happy.

So here’s our top 10 musts for non-graphic designers:

  1. First up when you’re thinking about sending images over, make sure they’re high res and bear in mind the print bleed. You will lose around 3mm of image after printing and trimming, so if there are bits that you really want to see, make sure they are not going to be too close to the edges.
  2. Research the type style (fonts) you would like to use in advance. Do you want a serif or sans serif style? Bold or handwritten? Establish what kind of tone you want to set for your work and pick a typeface that reflects it.
  3. Think about sizing. Plan out how big you want your type and images to be – get the idea across at the start and it keeps it all nice and easy.
  4. Colour is very important, so remember to provide specific Pantone references if you have certain colours in mind. Then, you can be assured it will be right.  If you’re not sure with this, your graphic designer will be able to help you.
  5. Get super specific – if you want your brochure to be folded in a certain way just spell it out. Designers like specifics, and so do printers.
  6. Save your work as a PDF.  This is the best form for designers to work with.  Adobe InDesign has various presets to help you export your work to PDF.
  7. Think about what style of paper you would like your finished project to go on. There are varying finishes including matte & gloss. Which would you prefer?
  8. Time is of the essence so plan your project from your deadline backwards and add days for contingency.
  9. The most important tip of them all: PROOFREAD your copy, read it repeatedly and get your colleagues to do the same. You don’t want mistakes and neither does your designer.
  10. If you have to make any changes let people know as soon as possible, and remember – once you’ve signed off a proof, if your work comes back and there’s an error you missed while proofreading, that’s your fault – not the printer’s!

Doing the above will ensure a faster turnaround, a happy relationship between designer and client, less time/money wastage and a better quality of work.

 

72dpi v 300dpi

What does ‘high res’ actually mean?

High res, or to put it properly, high resolution.  It’s one of those terms we all think we understand, isn’t it?  We’ve heard it often enough and seen it written plenty of times, but when it comes to actually finding high res images, do you really know what you need to look for?

Why DPI/PPI is important?

Checking an image’s DPI (Dots Per Inch) or PPI (Pixels Per Inch)* is the most important and easiest way to check your image’s quality. You can do this by going into the ‘image properties’ option on your image viewer.  In Photoshop, this is done by clicking ‘Image’ on the top menu and then selecting ‘Image Size’ from the drop-down menu.

If you’re designing for print, the optimum size you want to go for is 300 DPI for print images. By using that as a marker, you can rely on the fact that your image will be sharp and therefore suitable for print.

If you go lower than that, your picture will not look as great as you want it to. It will come out blurry and pixelated, like the example on the left in the image I’ve posted. This is because there won’t be enough pixels per inch to fill out the image frame, so the computer essentially smudges the image to fill the space.

To put it into context, web images are generally sized at 72 DPI, this is because this low resolution works well on screens and it’s small size helps web pages load faster. For printed images you need to go bigger so it can be bolder.
It’s no good thinking “My image looks big enough on screen, it should be fine” – this is the elementary mistake we’ve all made, and it just doesn’t ring true – the image appears large on screen because it needs considerably less pixels to make up the picture.

* Don’t be confused by the terms DPI and PPI – they essentially mean the same thing, it’s just that some designers or printers will use one term rather than the other.

Take High Quality Photos

The quality of cameras in smartphones is improving all the time.  But since the lens on your phone’s camera is generally pretty small, it will never take in as much information as a good old SLR camera will.  As a result, using a decent SLR camera for your project will always give you far superior photography results. The knock-on of this is it makes your designer’s job far easier, and your work is done quicker and for less cost – bonus!

When in doubt, take photos on your camera’s best quality setting as a result.  And if you’re buying stock photos, always get the largest version of the shots you want.  The smaller ones are cheaper, but the smaller they are, the more you’re limited with what you can do with them.

Changing Image Size

It’s also important to remember that even if you have a high resolution picture and you want to change it’s size, this will affect the image quality. Even if you have a perfect sized 300 DPI snap, if you decide to increase it by 300%, the resolution will actually fall to 100 DPI, so always bear that in mind.
Put your design needs in the hands of the experts – get in touch with CWDmedia today!

Paper daisy photography & Beauty by Sweet Cheeks

Make Up Artists – Are they Worth the Money?

When having photographs taken, you want to get the best possible shots you can. Whether it’s for a wedding, a corporate shoot or for an album cover, it’s maybe worth considering the use of make up.

People often misconstrue the idea of using cosmetics in photo shoots for vanity reasons – we’ve all seen the news and the negative publicity that airbrushing gets. But really the use of make up is purely to assist the camera.

In the same way lights are used to highlight the face and features, make up is used to compliment it.

Make Up in Photo Shoots

The way women put make up on for everyday wear is actually very different to what a make up artist would put on for a photo shoot. To be honest you would probably look at the model at first and think she was wearing far too much, but in front of lights and a lens, her face is transformed.

Make Up Artist Techniques

When a make up artist selects colours, it’s not always to compliment clothing, it’s to make that person’s eye colour stand out or to change the shape of their face with highlights and shaded contouring.  And let’s not forget, make up is not just limited to women – just ask Steel Panther or Mötley Crüe!

So, Make Up Artists – Are they Worth the Money?

To answer this question, it’s obviously cheaper simply to make the most of what you already have, but equally, if you want a professional look to your images, sometimes only a make up artist will do. They have the tools, knowledge and experience to make your model look and feel their best, and that’s exactly what a photographer wants in order to capture the best shots.

Make Up Artists also know how to compliment skin tones, how to balance colour pigmentations and how to diffuse light so the shot can come out flawless first time.  It’s about getting the shot right without needing hours of retouching in Photoshop – saving time and money… and who doesn’t want to do that in this day and age?

 

Want to know more about CWDmedia’s photography services? Get in touch today!

CWDmedia copywriting tips

Finding Your Voice – Why Copywriting is Crucial to Business Success

The idea of hiring a copywriter can seem a little weird. Because why would you hire someone else to write about your business? After all it’s you who knows it better than anyone else! But great copywriting can really add something extra to your marketing material.

Your voice

You want to get across the true message of what your business offers but you cannot do that without a voice.
You want to come across as:

  • Professional
  • Approachable
  • Different from all the rest

The tone in your copy gives your business added depth. Your clients want to feel connected to you in some way and so you need to have a consistent voice for them to identify with.

Impartiality

When it comes to creating promotional material it is good to think outside of the box. That’s where a second viewpoint can become really valuable.

Because when you’re working for a company you’re passionate about, it can be hard to think of reasons why a client wouldn’t want to pick you for the job. Forget about statistics and how everyone else is working for a moment and focus purely on the client’s point of view.

New Ideas

It’s also imperative to look beyond the main service areas of your business, because even though they are your main selling points, it’s good to think about the other lesser-known features/values/procedures of your business that really set you apart from the rest.

The So What Test (popular with Metallica & Anti-Nowhere League fans, allegedly…)

The most useful tool you can use when putting marketing material together is the famous ‘So What?’ test.

The bike you’re selling has 21 gears instead of 18. So what? There’s no point listing all of those impressive facets, or the services you offer, without explaining why they are so unique. So don’t be afraid to go into detail. It’s not too wordy, it’s helpful to your customers.  Sell the benefits, not the product or service. Your customers’ biggest question is ‘how is it going to help me?’.

SEO

You will already understand the importance of Search Engine Optimisation to your business. Well, getting this kind of written formula correct in your copy, can increase your site’s traffic and therefore sales tenfold.

Why copywriting is crucial to business success…

If you want to see significant growth in your business then you need to truly connect with your client.

Be personable, care about your audience, find out what they want and explain how you can give it to them. Then you will see your business happily grow.

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