The Kaleidoscope Plus Group Ambassador Pack by CWDmedia

CWDmedia takes stock following busy year with new clients

The end of another year approaches, and what a busy year it has been!  So busy, in fact, that I’ve struggled to find time to keep the CWDmedia site updated periodically, which is of course what Google likes when it indexes your site for its search engine results.

It has been a pleasure working with regular clients including Xtreme Fitness, Farmer Phil’s Festival, Sweetcheeks Beauty Boutique and more, while it was great to welcome on board a number of new clients across a diverse number of industries:

The Kaleidoscope Plus Group

The Kaleidoscope Plus Group Gala Ball 2018West Bromwich-based charity The Kaleidoscope Plus Group has been promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in the Midlands and further afield for over 45 years.  #TeamKPG engaged CWDmedia to work on a number of projects in 2018, including key publications (corporate & ambassador brochures, annual report and more), fundraising toolkits and social media support.  The latter involved me providing photography services at several fundraising events across the West Midlands.  I even got involved in the fundraising myself, raising over £1,500 for the charity by shaving off my beloved beard – a feat which got special mention at #TeamKPG’s Annual Gala Ball, for which CWDmedia was a sponsor.

Double Vision Mobile Bars

Shropshire-based Double Vision Mobile Bars provides quality mobile bars, hog roasts and candy carts for all manner of functions across the county.  They engaged CWDmedia to redesign its company website, the anticipated launch of which is in early 2019.

Jordan Red

As mentioned in my previous update, Jordan Red is an exciting new band whose founding member Dan Baker is a long time client of CWDmedia.  I was engaged to develop their initial logo ideas into a finished article and create their official website which launched in December 2018, with expansion phases anticipated in 2019.

Rosie O’Sullivan

Rosie O'Sullivan 'The Nashville Sessions' EPBirmingham singer Rosie O’Sullivan first rose to prominence when she wowed the judges on Britain’s Got Talent with her soulful voice, prompting David Walliams to say “I just want to hear you sing all night” and Simon Cowell to comment “Absolutely bloody fantastic!”  CWDmedia first worked with Rosie to design artwork for her 2017 release ‘Tempo’ and the subsequent digital single ‘Time’.

This year Rosie engaged CWDmedia to provide art direction for her new double EP ‘The Nashville Sessions’ and supporting digital single ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’, both of which were showcased during a promotional tour to Nashville itself.

Inar Group

The newest client to join the CWDmedia roster is Stafford-based Inar Group – an engineering and software programming business with an exciting new project set for launch in 2019.  CWDmedia has been engaged to design Inar Group’s corporate website, also set for a 2019 launch.

So in summary, there’s lots going on and some exciting things planned for 2019 already.  I can always do more, however – if you have a requirement for anything design-related, I can probably help.  Get in touch and let’s get to work – happy New Year to you all!

Jordan Red uses CWDmedia

Jordan Red selects CWDmedia for brand direction

I’ve had to sit on this update for quite a while but am delighted to now be in a position to announce that exciting new rock band Jordan Red has selected CWDmedia to design its logo and website ahead of the group’s official launch in December 2018.

The band, comprising founder members Dan Baker and Dan Leigh, has spent much of the past year demoing material with internationally renowned producer Romesh Dodangoda – respected for his work with Bullet For My Valentine, Bring Me The Horizon and previous CWDmedia clients Martyr de Mona – at the helm.

Their sound is best described as a combination of big, hook-laden choruses and crushing riffs, and has been recorded with the help of session musicians Conor O’Keefe and Dave Fee, themselves of rising band As Lions.

The perfect fit for the Jordan red website and logo

Throughout the design project, CWDmedia worked closely with the band to ensure its clear brand vision was ultimately realised.  It was the latest in a number of projects CWDmedia has delivered for Dan Baker – including his personal website and cover artwork for previous band Nya – and renewing the previously effective working relationship made a lot of sense.

“After working with CWDmedia on several projects in the past I knew that they would be the perfect fit for the Jordan Red website and logo,” said Dan, “Steve really went the extra mile during the creative process to ensure everything worked as required with the new website and logo design.  He was readily available to implement changes to the design until we were 100% happy with how everything worked and looked – I look forward to working with CWDmedia on more projects in the future!”

You’ll find Jordan Red all over social media – visit www.jordan-red.com to find out more.

Do you require logo or web design services?  Maybe CWDmedia can help – get in touch for an informal chat about your project!

Emma Scott Presents... / Pluggin' Baby | CWDmedia

CASE STUDY: Emma Scott Presents… / Pluggin’ Baby

Emma Scott is a radio presenter turned live music promoter and manager turned author and radio plugger.  Well known for her popular shows on both Kerrang! and latterly Heart FM, her time as a live music promoter saw her work alongside major selling artists (such as The Automatic, Skunk Anansie, Therapy?, Ben Folds Five and Sylosis) and up-and-coming underground bands alike, leading to a spell managing The Whiskey Syndicate.  Since diversifying into writing, Emma has published two ‘self-help’ style books for aspiring bands – ‘Break Your Band’ and ‘If It Was My Band‘.  Her newest venture, Pluggin’ Baby, has seen her assist numerous artists with gaining commercial and independent radio airplay.

Challenges faced:

Emma Scott Presents… hosted as many as eight live gigs a month across Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stourbridge in the West Midlands.  To support the promotion of each show and to build the Emma Scott Presents… brand, an impactful and instantly recognisable design for flyers and posters was required, and the turnaround of designs for the shows needed to be fast.  Often performing artists would provide poor quality logos, so the designs needed to overcome this while retaining a look and feel that reflected the quality of the brand.

Logo and stationery design was required for the launch of the Pluggin’ Baby brand.  The logo had to reflect both the radio airplay aspect and the typical rock n’ roll nature of Pluggin’ Baby’s expected clients.

How CWDmedia helped:

CWDmedia effectively interpreted the brief to consistently produce eye-catching flyer and poster designs for Emma Scott Presents… shows for several years, adhering to branding guidelines set out by the venues in use.  In this time the style of the design was refined to freshen up and strengthen the brand and increase interest in the shows themselves.  On the occasions where bands supplied sub-standard logo files, CWDmedia recreated them to large format print quality standards.  Some 150+ events were designed for in total.

After developing a strong and productive working relationship with the client, CWDmedia was later approached to create the logo and cover artwork for the ‘Break Your Band’ book and the brand identity for Pluggin’ Baby.  Business stationery including business cards and compliments slips followed, and CWDmedia liaised with Emma Scott’s website partner to supply graphic elements suitable for web use.

Emma Scott said: “For anything involving graphic design, I contact CWDmedia.  Business cards, compliments slips, flyers, you name it – Steve has designed it for me.  I love his work – it’s always top-notch and done with a smile.  He’s down to earth, polite, friendly and professional.  I’ve lost count how many years we’ve worked together, but it’s a long time – and I don’t see this ending soon.  I’ve found that once you have found someone you trust and work well with, it’s always best to stick with them!  Build the right team around you and you will go far! His rates are great and he’s now a good mate – long may that continue!”

Emma Scott Presents... flyers | CWDmediaServices provided (design and print):

  • Flyers & posters
  • Website graphics
  • Corporate stationery (business cards, compliments slips)
  • Logo designs
  • Social networking site graphics
  • Flyers & posters
  • Magazine adverts
  • Web adverts
  • Roller banners
Links
Martyr de Mona | CWDmedia

CASE STUDY: Eagle Two Records

Eagle Two Records is an independent record label that was set up to cater for the management and PR of UK-based rock band Martyr de Mona. It is an all-inclusive record label and management company that manages every aspect of an artists’ requirements from booking studios & concerts to handling all releases of music & video and liaising with external booking agents and PR companies on the bands behalf.

Challenges faced:

Eagle Two Records needed a complete graphic design package to advertise and promote Martyr de Mona’s ‘Impera’ album release to industry standards and set a brief for the supply of a professional, high quality album cover along with supporting merchandise and advertising designs.

How CWDmedia helped:

CWDmedia worked closely with Eagle Two Records and Martyr de Mona to provide full album artwork including a roll out 8-page sleeve which included images, photography & calligraphy text. In addition, CWDmedia produced a full suite of advertising designs for social media and physical flyers to aid the marketing effort supporting the album’s release.

Chris Hale, owner of Eagle Two Records, said: “CWDmedia was a pleasure to work with and was able to carry out the complete brief with a focus on cooperating with the label and the band in artistic terms whilst offering expert advise and maintaining a professional approach. CWDmedia delivered top quality designs to a deadline and at an affordable rate. We couldn’t have asked for more.”

Martyr de Mona - Impera - CWDmediaServices provided (design and print):

  • CD cover & 8-page booklet design
  • Website graphics
  • Social networking site graphics
  • Flyers & posters
  • Magazine adverts
  • Apparel design (t-shirts & hoodies)
  • Web advert designs
Links

Summertime madness at CWDmedia!

Who doesn’t love the summer?  Sunshine, barbecues, holidays… it’s definitely the feelgood season of the year!  Here at CWDmedia, I’m no different – I love the summertime.  But as much as I enjoy catching rays and showing off my pasty white legs in a pair of shorts, what I enjoy more than any of that is designing.

“Quelle surprise!” I hear you cry, and well you might… but it’s true!  And to help keep me at my desk instead of basking in the warmth of a lazy afternoon with a beer in hand, I’m offering a 25% discount on all design work placed with CWDmedia between now and the end of July.

Sale of the century?  That might be pushing it, but I love a bargain every bit as much as I love designing or the summer, and I’m hoping you do too!

Hit the Contact page to request a free estimate today!

CWDmedia, Skunk Anansie, bleed area

Designing for Print: What is the Bleed Area and why is it Important?

Throughout the whole designing process you have to always think one step ahead. This helps you to minimise the risk of errors in your work. So a crucial factor to always keep in mind, when putting your business card or brochure design together, should be to include an additional bleed area around your work.

What is the bleed area?

Think of the bleed as a protective border around your designed layout. It’s there, so that when the product is cut, all of your important information remains safely within the frame you wanted.

It makes sense to think that if important images and features are positioned near the edge of a layout, there is a risk that they may accidentally get cut off. You don’t want that and neither does the printer.

It is also used to avoid strips of white paper showing on the edges of your print, should the batch be misaligned when cut to size. This is because the ink is allowed an extra space to literally ‘bleed’ over the edges.

Why is it Important?

Somebody clearly had to learn the hard way, at some point, that not having that extra space there, led to some costly mistakes. You don’t want that worry. So that’s why the bleed area was invented, to save clients and printers from major errors and headaches.  It offers you peace of mind, so always use it. It is there to help.

So How Much of a Bleed Area Do I Need to Leave?

3mm is the general recommendation. You can easily add this extra space in applications like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

But if you want to get specific with print area margins, it’s recommended you leave at least 10mm from all sides for A4 documents, 8mm for A5, 6mm for A6 and 4mm for business cards.  Personally though, I’ve always stuck to 5mm on all sides and have never had an issue – most printers I work with only ask for 3mm as a minimum.

To give you an idea of how this extra room will affect your work we recommend you adding a ‘crop mark’ around your design to indicate to yourself and the printing company what the finished product will look like.

The Bleed is there to Help You

These requirements are there not to give us more work but to help minimize stress, so don’t forget to add that breathing space, because that’s exactly what it is.

Photoshop Actions CWDmedia

How to Create Actions to Save Time in Photoshop

Photoshop can seem confusing at first glance but once you have got around the basics, it becomes an invaluable tool for photographers and designers alike.
There are many helpful features but the most efficient has to be using Photoshop Actions. You soon learn, as you begin to regularly work on this program, that there will be certain tasks that you will have to repeat, often over and over. For example, changing your image to black and white, flattening and saving to a particular file.

It will quickly start to feel tiresome and will eat into your time. But the kind folks at Adobe created the Actions tool to make those repetitive jobs so much easier.

How to Create Actions

  1. Find your Actions palette, if it’s not already open, you can find it under the Windows menu. If you don’t have any actions already set up you can go through the default ones already listed. Or alternatively you can add ready made ones by downloading other professional’s handy actions like Gavin Seim’s.
  2. You will see at the bottom of the actions palette there are a number of buttons showing the symbols to play, record and stop. These are the most important buttons you will use because they allow you to make a record of your habits.
  3. To set up a new action pull down the ‘Action’ menu and click on ‘New’. Name the file whatever you like and then your new addition will be saved in the action palette. Then figure out what time saving sequence you want to record (eg, turning your image black and white), press that record button when you’re ready and do what you would normally do. Then press the stop button when you are done. It’s honestly that easy.
  4. If you mess something up or if you accidentally skip a step — don’t worry. After recording the action you can go back and edit the steps, add steps, and re-record.

Using Your Actions

  1. The beauty of recording the repetitive steps that you do on Photoshop is that after you have recorded them, you can implement them into your new work at the press of a button.To do this, click on ‘button mode’ in your Actions palette and your previously recorded actions will turn into square buttons. Then you will find those time saving tricks ready literally at the ‘click of a button’. Click and go. It really is that simple.
  2. You can categorise your actions using ‘sets’ and group them together for ease. You may have 10 actions you’ve saved and five of them are the ones you use most frequently, so group those together in one folder. You can organise your palettes to be as time saving and efficient as you want.
  3. When you click on play to activate your action, you will see layers building in the bottom palette. Layers are there to help you easily make changes, so you can still edit at any point. Open up the layers and adjust the opacity etc as required.
  4. If you make any changes to your actions remember to save them, just in case Photoshop decides to crash – it has been known!  And if you decide to delete a file, don’t worry about it deleting the main action files, you will have just removed them from the actions palette. As long as you have saved it on your computer somewhere the original files will still be there, ready for reinstallation.

Do you use actions? What are your thoughts on them?

Planning a Brochure – What To Consider

Despite us living in an increasingly digital age, sometimes there’s no substitute for having a well-designed, professionally printed brochure to read at your leisure.  Your brochure reflects your business, so you’re gonna want it to look professional, right?  Well if you don’t plan it out correctly, your company brochure could just end up in the recycling bin.  You know the five P’s – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

To avoid that fate, always think about:

Your Readers’ Needs

Always pre-plan by thinking about what your client wants. Look at your demographics and think logistically about what the reader would want to take away with them. What is the brochure’s purpose? Decide what would make them keen to read on.

Create an appealing front cover

The first page your reader will see is the front cover. Get it wrong and they loose interest. Think like the popular magazines do and make it interesting with promises of offers and promotions inside or exclusive insights.

Folds

The typical marketing brochure is comprised of an A4 sized sheet that measures 210mm x 297mm or 8.3″ x 11.7” that folds in three. Is that what you want? Or do you want to try something a little different? There are actually many options, but remember print bleeds and where the folds are will determine how much you can fit on. And very importantly make sure that your design all unfolds in the right order.

Keep it Concise

You can only fit so much onto a brochure so make sure all of your copy is not too wordy yet remains of value.

Paper

You have many options so go a little more luxe, if your budget can stretch to it, and create a glossy magazine style. Or go for a textured paper that matches your artistic client base. Tailor all design decisions to your demographic.

Colour and Pictures

Go colourful and incorporate some interesting pictures into your design. People are naturally drawn to pictures and colours help headings and logos stand out. But consistency is key to maintaining professionalism, so don’t get too carried away.

Make it a Keeper

Putting valued information in your brochure will encourage the reader to keep it, refer to it often or pass it on to other people. You don’t want your hard work to end up in the bin, so craft it with as much need-to-know information as you can.

Contact Details

May seem like an incredibly obvious one but your contact information needs to be crystal clear on this document. Do you want it on the front and back or at the top of every page? Make it as easy as you can for customers to contact you.

 

Check out CWDmedia’s previous blogs for further design tips.

Martyr De Mona live in Wolverhampton | CWDmedia

Martyr De Mona release ‘Impera’ and tour UK

CWDmedia clients Martyr De Mona’s long awaited album ‘Impera’ was released earlier this month on In At The Eye Records to widespread acclaim.

After I’d helped them with the odd flyer design here and there, the band approached me prior to going into the studio with a view to putting together the album artwork and supporting promotional materials.

The album artwork came together well, incorporating photography by Steve Gerrard and illustration by Joshua Farnell.  It was supplemented by flyers, posters and a huge backdrop banner as seen on Sunday night when the band headlined Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Hall – a venue I’m no stranger to myself after my time with VERT.  The bill also featured fellow CWDmedia clients The Black Hounds and it was great to see the Midlands rock music scene is in such rude health!

The Wulfrun Hall date was part of a UK tour the band is currently midway through in support of ‘Impera’.  Check out the CWDmedia Facebook page to see the finished artwork.

Enjoy Martyr De Mona’s video for ‘Influence & Persuasion’ (track 2 on ‘Impera’) below, and if you’d like to pick up a copy, links are as follows:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/impera/id781610284

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/IMPERA-Martyr-De-Mona/dp/B00INIDI2S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398162674&sr=8-1&keywords=Martyr+de+Mona

[framed_video column=”full-width”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvWiq2aXppg[/framed_video]

Golden Rules of Graphic Design

The Golden Rules of Graphic Design

We spoke previously about rules for non-graphic designers and how you can make your designer’s job easier, well today’s focus is all about the golden rules for graphic designers themselves. Times change, skills adapt but some rules should always stay the same, here are a few of our favourites:

Get to Really Know Your Client

Seriously, before any planning goes ahead, figure out exactly what your client wants, how they work, what kind of deadlines they want and most importantly their exact specifications. Extract as much information as you can from them, it will make the whole process so much easier. A happy client means a happy designer.

Print Areas

Before excitedly getting into the fun, creative process, remember to think ahead. Set up your blank document and set print area margins (the print area guidelines where text and images should finish). 10mm from all sides for A4 documents, 8mm for A5, 6mm for A6 and 4mm for business cards (to allow for print bleeds).

Never Stretch Fonts and Images

Keep an eye on images and type in your design, so that you don’t stretch them out of proportion when making adjustments. Typeface design is a very skilled, time-consuming job, especially when you are dealing with logos. It needs to be just right. While you may not think that anyone can see the image is slightly out-of-balance, everyone can see it.

Saving Versions and Layers

As you go along, mistakes will occur, it’s inevitable. But make sure to save your early layers on Photoshop (even if you create 10 versions in 1 day). It may seem like a lot of space to use up but you just don’t know when those early edits could really save your bacon. You even use them again in the future as templates. And, of course, save regularly! Make it an obsessive habit. Technology fails, be on top of it.

Widows and Orphans

When creating pages of text you have to be careful not to create ‘widows’ and ‘orphans’. Widows are end sentences that fall onto different pages (therefore away from related text) and ‘orphans’ are words or part of words at the end of a sentence that get forced onto their own line. You want all blocks of text to be grouped together. Consistency is key.

Pantones

Use Pantone references to make sure you get your colours exactly right for your client. You don’t want any nasty surprises on print day. Read more about our print specifying tips here.