3 Ways to Infuse Originality into Your Design

There is a big difference between being authentic and being original. Originality is defined as the ability to think independently and creatively. It’s an out-of-the-box type of thinking. Authenticity is defined as being real or genuine, not copied or false. Designers are typically (or should be) authentic, but it is much more difficult to come up with original work. Designs are commonly influenced by other designs, but it’s important to make your work your own. Here are three ways to infuse originality into your design:

  • Break the rules and go outside your comfort zone. Going against the grain and designing something totally unexpected is a great way to be more original. But to break design rules, you have to first have a firm understanding of them. Read up on the basic principles of design by clicking here.


  • Broaden your range of inspiration. A lot of designers tend to focus on one single book, site or a small group of web sites for their creative inspiration and direction. Make sure you frequently update your sources of information, whether it’s bookmarking new websites or purchasing new books and magazines. Connect with other designers and artists on social media to find inspiration. Here’s a great design website you might not have on your go-to list: Designspiration.


  • Design just for the sake of designing. It’s difficult to push originality to its fullest when you are constantly limited by your client restraints. Take an afternoon to design something just for fun, without the rules of a client or company. This will help keep your creative juices flowing and you’ll have a fresh piece for your portfolio that encompasses your style and personality. Try designing a personal logo if you don’t have one or listen to music and then design the images that come into your head when listening.

Where do you get your inspiration for your designs? Tell us in a comment or on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!

Did You Know about These Keyword Tips That Will Simplify Your Search?

If you are looking for a specific image on Creative Outlet, you should keep in mind these keyword tips that will make your search even easier…

1. When you’re looking for a specific image, we recommend starting with a broad-based search. Narrow it down once you get the initial results so you can get the best ideas. For example, if you search “mom bike” because you are looking for a mom on a bicycle for a Mother’s Day ad, you’ll get 4 results. But when you search a bit broader, for example, “woman bike,” you’ll find over 200 images. You will have more results with a broad search and this helps you find the best match by having more options to choose from.
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 2. If you run into an issue where you are sure there should be more results, search both singular and plural forms of the word. For example, search both “door” and “doors” if you do not get the results you expected. Occasionally, there are keyword glitches. We always fix these glitches as they arise but we want you to know how to get around this so you can get what you need faster. Please let your account manager know if you find a word that doesn’t return results for both tenses so we can change it as soon as possible.
3. Stuck on the spelling of Hanukkah or Chanukah?  We will help you complete the word by the time you type in Hanu…
4. Are you looking for more items like the one you just found? When you click to get an enlarged thumbnail, you will see our list of keywords associated with that image to the right of graphic. This list is live and links to the searches tied to that keyword.
5. When you’re searching, be sure to include the space between the words for the best results.  So when you’re searching for “hot dog,” you will get the best search you can.  But if this is for a restaurant ad, chances are you aren’t looking for a dog that is hot!  An easy way to narrow your searches is to use our advanced search and + or – keywords.  So for the “hot dog” search, look for “hot dog” minus (-) animals and you’re sure to get something for that restaurant.
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6. We work very hard to identify the genders, ages, races and other specifics of our images using people, so keep that in mind when you need a very specific image of a particular demographic.
7. We make sure to have a human eye on every image, so not only will you get the literal translation, for example, couple dining, you will get keywords that let you know what that image is about.  What is the feeling being portrayed? Is it happy, joy or love?  What style is it? A silhoutte?  What else are they doing? Are they drinking wine, talking or sitting?
8. There are always some keywords that are out of the ordinary like headless, akimbo or copy space.  Once you use these, trust us, you will go back to them again and again.  We have a dedicated account management team and live chat available to help you if you’re ever stuck!

3 Common Problems Businesses Make with Social Media

Most businesses use social media these days, but are they using it in the right way? Social media is not about simply advertising your products, services or content. Social media is about establishing thought leadership in your field and showing your audience how engaged you are with them, their needs and curiosities. It’s about creating and sharing original content that they can benefit them. Here are three common problems that you might be doing:

1. You’re not using a monitoring tool in social media.

MidAdultWomanWithHandToEarAsIfListeningT55847027_S_72_C_R_png You’ll need something to gauge your success on social media. Facebook has built-in analytics, but not every social media network does. Hootsuite is a great free social media measuring tool that you can use to monitor what’s being said about your business and how often. It covers Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and WordPress.

2. You’re not sharing content.

Engagement goes beyond merely addressing your customer’s concerns. Social media gives you the power to quickly connect and build relationships with both customers and other industry thought leaders. By monitoring topics relevant to your business, you’ll discover opportunities to engage with potential clients.

You can start by positively commenting on an article someone published, or sharing some of their content with your audience and giving them credit. Try to ask questions in your posts to get even more feedback and respond accordingly.

3. You’re not planning for negative comments.


You’re bound to get complaints from customers sometimes. Have a plan prepared for how you’re going to react on social media so you’re not drawing blanks when it happens. 

There are different levels of customer complaints and they all have to be handled differently. LiveAgent gives some great tips on how to handle a complaining customer. The key is to stay positive and never, ever, get into an argument with a customer or client.

What Marketers Need to Know about the Canadian Anti-Spam Law

The Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is the Canadian Government’s new weapon in the fight against spam. Most of Canada’s new legislation came into force on July 1st, 2014. Organizations will be required to have either the prior consent of intended recipients of commercial electronic messages (CEMs), or ensure that the messages being sent, or the recipients of those messages, are exempt from the requirements to get consent. If you’re in Canada or send to Canadian residents, you’ll need to comply with CASL. Luckily, there’s a three-year transition period, until July 1, 2017, during which you can take steps to ensure your list stays in compliance under the law.


What’s covered under CASL?

CASL regulations apply to any CEM sent from or to Canadian computers and devices in Canada.

A CEM is any message that:

  • Is in an electronic format, including emails, IMs (instant messages), text messages, and social media communication
  • Is sent to an electronic address, including email addresses, instant message accounts, phone accounts, and social media accounts
  • Contains a message encouraging recipients to take part in some type of commercial activity, including the promotion of products, services, people/persona, companies, or organizations

Implied vs. express consent

Implied consent is a looser representation. Express (or explicit) consent requires action from both sender and receiver. Implied consent includes:

  • A recipient has purchased a product, service or made another business deal, contract, or membership with your organization
  • You are a registered charity or political organization, and the recipient has made a donation or gift, has volunteered, or attended a meeting organized by you
  • A professional message is sent to someone whose email address was given to you and who hasn’t published or told you that they don’t want unsolicited messages

If you already have a legitimate business relationship with a “lead” (meaning they have purchased something from you previously), you can obtain new, explicit permission to continue marketing to them during the 36 month transitional period. Explicit consent requires three things:

  • Consent (also called opt-in)
  • Specific identification information from the lead
  • An unsubscribe mechanism

For all other Canadian leads, you must take steps to allow them to opt-in again. Consent may be provided either in writing (including via online means) or orally. In either case, the marketer must keep documents verifying consent. Penalties for violations can range from up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for companies. Personal and family relationships are exempt and do not require consent.

A full text of CASL can be found here. A more detailed digital marketer’s guide to CASL can be found here.

Who’s in the Spotlight?

Since November 2013, MultiAd has the pleasure of having Susan Wise in the Creative Outlet Sales Department. Susan is a sales veteran, playing various roles in retail, marketing and outside sales for over 30 years. She has worked for Fortune 500 companies as well as family-owned businesses. For eight years, Susan worked in newspaper sales in her hometown, which she expresses as a wonderful way to get to know the small community that she just moved to.

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Susan and her husband, Tim, with their son, John

At MultiAd, Susan maintains a home-like feel to her workplace as she tackles her day-to-day activities. She enjoys getting to know people as she defines their needs for our products and services.  Her favorite part of her job is being able to meet new people. She finds that understanding how people make decisions is one of the most interesting part of being a sales person.


Susan is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska. She served in the Nebraska Air National Guard in the 1980′s working as a sergeant in the Services Unit. Being in the National Guard has helped her develop as a sales person by keeping her on task, never accepting “no” as the final answer, and teaching her to make a positive experience out of something negative. Susan has lived in many places throughout her life, but the 1990s brought her to Illinois where she met her husband, Tim. The couple has a son, John, who is just shy of 14. The family’s hobby is Boy Scouts, where they have met many friends. They also enjoy outdoor activities and traveling. Susan loves taking in new cultures and seeing how people live and work in different places. She has been to just about every state on vacation except for three – Louisiana, Arizona, and New Mexico, which are on her to-do list!

Outside of MultiAd, Susan keeps herself busy with social media training for small businesses as well as helping out part-time at a local boutique. She loves the small-town, small-business vibe and admires the hard work people put into their small businesses. Susan is also an active board member of her local Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Economic Development Committee. The town where she resides is small, quaint and what she considers as the perfect place to raise a family. Susan finds strength in her family, friends and church.

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Susan’s dog, Frisco

Susan likes to read magazines and newspapers during her down-time. In particular, she enjoys the ads and short stories. She loves ads that get her attention, feature a great photo, or a fun header or border. “We have so many talented artists here at the office that go to great efforts to make ads that are fun and eye-catching,” she states. “Our Photos Unlimited product is my favorite. I have many of those pictures up on my computer screen during the day just to give me some inspiration.”

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the MultiAd team, Susan!

Did You Know about Our Quick & Easy Search Tips?

Find the art content you need in less time by using these handy search tips… 

1. When using the basic search feature in the center of the website, try combining keywords to narrow it down. For example, instead of “baseball,” try “baseball headings,” or “baseball photography,” or “2014 Ford Mustang.”

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2. If you are looking for the newest content, click the drop-down categories to the right of the website under the “New Content For” heading. Choose what month you’d like to view the newest content. Once the month is selected, click on “Category.” Categories include: Photography, Illustrations, Spec Ads, Web Banners, Special Sections, Fun & Games and Reference Guide.

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3. If you are looking for timely content, for example to use in your upcoming advertisements, locate the “Timely Topics” section in the middle of the homepage. You’ll find four topics to choose from for the current and next two months. Topics are reflective of what is usually popular during those months.



4. If you are interested in viewing the top downloads on any given day, notice the “Trending Today” section on the homepage located towards the bottom of the page in the center. Just click on an image that you’d like to download.

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5. The “Advanced Search” tab in the upper right corner of the homepage allows you to combine specific categories (media types, resolutions, color ranges) with your desired style (banners, flourishes, photography, puzzles, self promotion and more). If you like a particular product or collection of Creative Outlet, for example, auto images or crosswords, you can choose to search either “Products” or “Collections” in the drop-down menu next to the “Advanced Search” heading. Once you select a product or collection, you can narrow it down even further. “Auto Images” for example, prompts you to choose the year, make, model and color of the car you are looking for. You can’t get much more specific than that!

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6. If you’re interested in searching a particular product, like Holiday Greetings, Logos or Special Sections, but you aren’t looking for any one specific piece of content, then click the “Products” tab drop-down at the top of the homepage to view its landing page. These landing pages give you access to a quick search of the product along with tiled searches of the most popular content. Aside from using the drop-down header menu, you can bookmark a landing page using its specific URL –

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