Marketing Trends to Watch For in 2016

Can you believe that the new year is already creeping up on us? Well, even if you can’t, there are still some great things to look forward to. A clean slate, new years resolutions to keep (or not to keep), and even marketing trends. Be sure to prepare for some big trends that are bound to be happening in 2016.

Black businessman looking at line graph

What new marketing trends should we be searching for in 2016?

New technology… that you can wear.

Watches aren’t just for telling time anymore! With Apple leading the way in wearable technology with their new Apple watch, it’s time to keep your eyes peeled for any other companies following suit. Soon a much more portable digital platform will be among us, and its time to start thinking of different ways that marketing can use this medium. Apps are a good place to start when brainstorming ideas for this new and upcoming technology. Their portable sizes may force you to think much smaller, scale-wise.

Using predictive analytics.

Predictive analytics are exactly what you think they are. It uses past data and techniques to predict future outcomes. It gives marketers the best assessment of what might happen in the future and provides insightful information so that smarter decisions are made. More organizations are utilizing predictive analytics because more and more data are available to provide more accurate predictions. It’s also beneficial to marketers and advertisers because it gives them an edge against the competition. Predictive analytics are an excellent resource for campaigning because it helps show you the outcomes of some of your biggest marketing executions.

 Social media becomes the new search engine.

Who’s ever turned to social media for their decision making? According to the Huffington Post, social media will play an even bigger part in consumer purchase decisions. Around 80% of consumers say that they’re influenced by online comments and reviews made by other people. They’ll often go straight to social media for tips and advice on what products to buy and to even help weigh certain products against others. Consumers check company Facebook pages for discounts and YouTube for helpful reviews on sought-after products. What marketers can do is become more influential on social media. Posting discount codes, giveaways and using social media influencers to draw in consumers who may be looking for a specific product. This will also come in handy with the holidays rapidly approaching and consumers searching for gift ideas!

Being in the right place at the right time. 

It’s no secret that content shared on social media is best shared early rather than later. Event marketers can make it easier to share in-the-moment content make events even more interactive using location-based marketing technology such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). This small device uses signals to detect nearby devices and make the event more engaging through special RFID wristbands or apps. This technology makes it easier for event attendees to share real-time photos and videos to their friends on social media, and makes it easier for event marketers to share their content quickly and over all social media channels. This can even be used for a smaller crowd, like what Domino’s did with a poster display. They used RFID technology that allowed consumers to tap their phones against the poster to instantly download Domino’s new app.

These are some great marketing trends to keep up with before the new year is even upon us.  Whether it’s the newest gadgets, up-and-coming social media tips or the most innovative market research methods, it’s something to get excited about for the new year. Keep an eye out for these growing technologies, tools and trends as 2015 comes to a conclusion.

Free Movember Graphic

The month of November is better known as No-Shave November, or Movember, where men grow out their facial hair to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Not only has growing out one’s beard been big for awareness, but it’s also become a big fashion statement for men! You may download this graphic to help raise awareness for the remainder of Movember. Barber shops can use this to encourage men to come in to get their beards maintained, or ask customers to share their beard’s progress from over the last few weeks.

ManBeardPipe Display

FREE DOWNLOAD: (300dpi RGB jpg) (300dpi CMYK jpg)

Only available for free from November 16th, 2015 through November 23rd, 2015.

Miss this free graphic? Search for it on Creative Outlet!

Common Graphic Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Everyone makes mistakes, including designers. But when it comes to deadlines and big design projects, sometimes you can’t afford mistakes. Being able to watch out for these common design mistakes can help with design time and keep you from having to make revisions. Here are a few more commonly made graphic design mistakes you don’t want to keep making!


Using Rasters instead of Vectors. 

The mistake: Raster images are made of pixels, they’re more commonly recognized as .jpegs, .tiffs, .gifs, .bmps, and .png files. Since they’re made of pixels, they’re dependent on the resolution of the image itself. That means that the larger that the image is scaled, the more pixelated it’s bound to look. This isn’t ideal for images that need to be at a very large size. Vectors, on the other hand, are made of geometric shapes and curves, like fonts. Vector images make it easy to scale up or down as big or as small as you’d like without losing image quality.
The solution: Use vectored images for large scale designs. If you need to use raster images, make sure that you are printing it at the highest resolution possible so that you maintain image quality. View at print size (Command/Ctrl + 1 on Illustrator) to see how the image looks beforehand.  You can even turn low quality rastered images into vectored images with the Live Trace feature on Adobe Illustrator.

Misusing fonts.

The mistake: There are several mistakes you can make with fonts. The most common ones are using too many fonts in one design and poor typography choice. Too many fonts can make a design look unorganized, while not finding fonts that are original to your brand or using them without permission can land you in hot water.
The solution: In terms of the number of fonts to use, stick to 3 max. This also goes for the type of fonts, try not to go overboard with using a bunch of italics, bolds, and thin fonts in one design. Otherwise, the design might be too difficult to read. When you do find a font or fonts that you like, make sure that you have permission to use these fonts in promotions. Even if the font is free to download on the website doesn’t mean that it’s free for commercial usage. Double and triple check the fonts you’re downloading before you use them, or else you may end up having to replace your font.

Not following the creative brief.

The mistake: In terms of advertising and campaign designing, the brief is the wireframe to an entire campaign. The creative brief stems from a big idea, an idea that creates overall cohesiveness throughout the campaign. Without it, there wouldn’t be much structure between advertisements. Choosing to create your own spin on the design, or simply not understanding or following the creative brief will cause you to stray from the path and, in the end, have to go back for revisions so that it better fits the brief.
The solution: Not following or fully understanding the brief can be detrimental, so it’s best to start any design project with the brief. Before doing any designing or planning, spend a good time with the brief. Highlight, underline and jot down notes and ideas onto your copy of the brief for future reference. This way, you can refer back to it during the design process for references. Be sure to keep in content with the client if you have any questions.

Being a trend follower instead of a setter.

The mistake: Admiring a designer’s style is one thing, but don’t try and recreate trending or popularly used designs for the sake of aesthetics. This can be problematic in advertising if you want your design to stand out. If you use trendy, overused designs, it’s not going to be anything new for viewers.
The solution: The best part about being in the arts is that you get to create a style that’s all your own. While it’s great to follow popular designers, or keep up with design trends for inspiration, try not to get lost in trying to recreate a design that you like. Instead, put your own spin on things. Use elements of other people’s work, but never copy them. Like taking fonts that aren’t yours to use, you can get in trouble if you’re caught with an identical design as someone else.

Not saving or packaging the design file properly.

The mistake: Finishing a design file doesn’t end with saving and just saving the single design file. Many times graphics, links and fonts can be lost when sending the file back to the client. Meaning that these elements may not show up in the design and can lead to problems and frustration regardless of whether or not the design was flawless.
The solution: Most Adobe programs allow the option to package your file- meaning that all of the fonts, links, embedded images and crucial information to your design will be stored in a packaged file. This can generally be found under File > Package in Adobe programs. Make sure you specify that you want links and fonts copied and packaged.

Don’t let design mistakes slow you down! Prevent any future mishaps (and headaches) by keeping these common mistakes in mind and stopping the problem before it becomes one. You’ll end up with more design time, less revising time, and satisfied clients!

Turn a Drab Photo into a Work of Art Using Adobe Photoshop

Screen shot 2015-08-31 at 12.29.29 PM

Turn a Drab Photo into a Work of Art Using Adobe® Photoshop®!

Work of Art - Step 1

Step 1

Any drab old photo can quickly be transformed into an interesting work of art using a few quick filter effects in Adobe Photoshop. To start, open a photo in Photoshop. It can be any subject matter but try to choose a photo with contrast. In this example, I’m using this photo of an electrical control panel.

Work of Art - Step 2

Step 2

All of the filters we’ll be using are under Filter > Distort in the menu bar. The first filter to apply is called the Zig Zag filter. The Zig Zag filter applies a pond ripple effect to the image. There isn’t a precise number or amount of ripples for this technique. Play with the settings until you are happy with the preview and click OK.

Work of Art - Step 3

Step 3

The next filter to apply over our image is Polar Coordinates. Select “Polar to Rectangular” in the settings and then click OK. This technique distorts the image, pulling colors around the canvas to create more variation.

Work of Art - Step 4

Step 4

For this step, select the Twirl filter. Adjust the angle to your liking and click OK. We’re trying to pull more color (specifically the blue) into the center of the image.

Work of Art - Step 5

Step 5

For this step, instead of a distort filter, we’ll apply a paint texture. Go to Filter > Artistic > Palette Knife. Adjust the settings in the preview box and click OK. This filter removes detail to create a more paint-like appearance.

Work of Art - Step 6

Step 6

Our final step is to use the Polar Coordinates filter once again. This helps remove the curl in the center of the image and creates a more visually interesting design.

This is a quick technique for creating fun and colorful textures and backgrounds from simple photos or images.

Free Recycle Graphic

November 15th is America Recycles Day, a day to educate those on the benefits of recycling and to exercise the different ways you can recycle materials. Download this free graphic to remind everyone about this important holiday!

RecycleBin Display


FREE DOWNLOAD: (300dpi RGB jpg) (300dpi CMYK jpg)

Only available for free from November 2nd, 2015 through November 9th, 2015.

Miss this free graphic? Search for it on Creative Outlet!

Who’s in the Spotlight? Senior UI Developer John Ingles!

Meet John Ingles, MultiAd’s Senior UI Developer and super talented creative. John has been with us for a little over 27 years, ever since he finished college, and he looks forward to many more! He enjoys expressing his creativity using many different mediums, like drawing on the chalk wall in MultiAd’s conference room or sculpting. Learn more about John, his work at MultiAd and check out some of his excellent creative works in this month’s Employee Spotlight!

1. What’s a typical day at work like for you? What are some of your daily tasks?

Well, currently, my typical work day wouldn’t make a very good movie script. I spend most of my time making UI updates to MultiAd’s internal and client sites. Primarily, html and javascript. Zzz..z.z..z..z…. Huh, what.. oh, was that you or me? Anyway, I, as well as the whole IT group, are continually keeping our sites up to speed with the constantly changing data requirements of our clients.

2. What are some challenges that you’ve faced at work, and how did you overcome them?

Modifying existing sites to accommodate requirements of evolving data and new clients can be challenging. Changing the same UI features and code is not necessarily a creative process. So, staying focused and motivated can be difficult at times. So, spending lunch and break times drawing on the conference room chalk wall gives me a chance to use the right side of my brain.

I also work on projects outside of my full-time job to push my skills beyond what I’m able to do during the day. Illinois Prep Scores is an app that I developed with a couple friends. It is an app for getting live high school football scores for all of the teams in Illinois, via crowd-sourcing. If you follow high school football in Illinois, check it out here,


Drawing on the conference room chalk wall is one of the ways John keeps on task at work.

3. What are some personal and professional goals that you have for this year?

Professionally, I am always trying to keep up with technology changes related to UI design for web and devices. It can be quite challenging as it is constantly evolving.

Well, I have several personal goals. I have recently started to learn to play guitar which has given me a new level of respect for those who I have listened to for years. Create more art… drawing, painting, carving, chalk art! Spend more time with family. Time is moving pretty fast, you’ve got to take some time to look around every once in awhile.

4. Tell us a little about yourself!

Well, born in Peoria and lived there until I was 12 when Mom and Dad packed up me and my sister, Julie, up in the 1974 Ford Galaxie 500 station wagon and moved us to “the country” community of Lake Camelot to get me out of the trouble I was quickly finding myself in. I later learned to drive in that beast of a wagon which was challenging. See interesting fact question below. Thanks to their decision, I spent summers fishing, canoeing, swimming, exploring the surrounding woods, playing baseball and eventually, was a lifeguard and swim instructor.


Baby Groot, created using MagicSculp!

I went to Illini Bluffs where I found a love for wrestling and met coach Pat O’Conner. He was an incredible man and I credit him with teaching me the value of hard work and dedication. I also found that I really liked art class where I was able to create things. I wasn’t the best student in the world as my art teacher Mrs. Burlison could attest to. But, there was a field trip that she took our class on to a little art and printing company that set the direction for the rest of my life to this point. That company, Multi-ad Services, Inc. Thanks Mrs. B.!

When I saw what was being done at this place, I had that, “Ah Ha!”, moment. I said to myself you mean you can get paid for drawing?! I’m in and I want to work here. So, after high school, I went to Illinois Central College for graphic design and immediately after graduating applied at Multi-ad, and only at Multi-Ad. I was positive that this place was the place for me and somehow just knew I would find a way in. I made a nuisance of myself to the keylining director at the time, Lora Volkert and after a few weeks, she hired me as a keyliner.

Over the past 27 years, I have been a keyliner, illustrator, interactive media designer/developer, web designer, application developer and currently UI developer. I met my wife here. I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the most caring and creative people I know and consider many to be my closest of friends. I hope to be here for many more.

When I have time, I really enjoy creating art with just about any medium, chalks, acrylics, Magic Sculpt, sand, wood, pencil, water color and let’s not forget digital art, especially vector based. I love it all. I have a CNC machine called a CarveWright ( which allow me carve material like wood and sheets of pvc using my digital art. It’s a pretty cool little machine. The Barclays sign was carved on the a PVC material using the machine then hand painted. The baby Groot was made with MagicSculp (, a two part epoxy “clay”. You should check this stuff out. Believe me, their website is not reflective of how cool their product is!


Last note, about 4 years ago I became involved with a great bunch of people referred to as The Walldogs. The Walldogs are a group of artists, muralist, and sign painters that gather together once a year, at least here in the Midwest, to paint 10-20 murals in one town over a 5 day period. The artist come from all around the world to work together to promote the art of murals, share their methods with other artists while helping the town boost tourism. I could go on and on about this group, but I will share this link and encourage you to check out a town they have been through or better yet an upcoming event!

5. What’s your family like? Do you have any children or pets?

We are a pretty creative family. My wife, a self employed graphic designer, and I have been married for 24 years. I pretty sure the house would just implode on us if it wasn’t for her. She pretty much does it all. I can’t say enough, so, I’ll leave it at that.

My daughter is a senior in the Industrial Design program at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and is a really talented illustrator. My son is a freshman at Illinois Central College and has a creative imagination that I sure will lead him to a successful artistic career of some sort. It is fun to watch them come into their own. The future looks bright for these two.

Any chance to play a board game with the family is always a great time. Monopoly, Clue, SmashUp and Who Killed Dr. Lucky are some of our favorites.

We have dog, Coco. She’s definitely the princess of the house and missing half of her front teeth, she looks like a jack-o-lantern.

6. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Teleportation. Just think of all of the places you could visit if you could instantly be there!


Another one of John’s awesome creations!

7. What’s one fun fact about yourself that not a lot of people would know?

Just one! Hmm..

I lied about my height when I get my first driver’s license. I said I was 5 foot tall when I was only 4 foot 11 inches. Yes, when I was 16, I was under 5 foot tall. I eventually grew to almost 6 foot 2 inches by the time I was 22. Though, I’m currently only 6’ 1”… hmm.. getting old is not agreeing with me.

Bonus fact: I won a staring contest against Captain America. Yes, THE Captain America. At least he said he was. See the photo.

Triple-dog-dare bonus: When I was a kid, usually during summer break, I would sneak into the garage to eat dog food when I got hungry because I never wanted to take the chance that my mom would have something that would prevent me from being able to go right back outside to play. No ill effects from it unless you consider driving with my head out the window and tearing the stuffing out of every ill effects.


John having an epic stare-down with Captain America himself!

8. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

An otter… Uhh.. who wouldn’t want to be an otter?

9. Tell us your best joke!

Not my best, but on topic…

What’s red and smells like blue paint? Red paint.

10. Since Halloween is coming up… do you have a favorite Halloween costume that you’ve worn in the past? Do you plan on dressing up this year?

I wish I had a better answer for this one. I love halloween, but seldom have/take the time to dress up. How about favorite halloween/horror movies. Hocus Pocus, Zombieland, Army of Darkness, any Hitchcock movie and, of course, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.

11. What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Good ol’ homemade popcorn ball and Reese’s pumpkin shaped Peanut Butter cups are a close second.


Business Tips for Gaining More Twitter Followers

On social media, no matter what outlet, everyone is working towards a mutual goal- to gain more followers to increase their online visibility. More followers equal more engagement, better brand recognition and a greater reach for your posts if done correctly. When it comes to Twitter, it can actually help bring in new customers! In fact, 64% of users are more likely to buy from a brand that they follow on Twitter. Looking beyond the hashtag and seeking ways to find your audience on Twitter and know how to engage them is important to raising your follower count and overall customer base.

Be the problem solver.

Seek out customers who may not even know your company exists by looking for those in need of your services. Start by simply searching important keywords into the Twitter search bar. For example, a hardware store can search something like “home improvement,” and Twitter will find tweets that share those keywords. Respond to tweets with helpful tips, links to blog articles, videos or products in your shop. This prompts users to check out your Twitter feed, website or other relevant content and also shows that you’re knowledgable about the industry.

Exuberant businesswoman at computer in office

Use keywords.

Make good use of the words you choose. After all, you only get 140 of them! As mentioned above, keywords in your tweets that are relevant to your business help draw in people who may be searching for your services. Like in blogs or other online content, keywords are an important element to written content. Try compiling a list of keywords that you would use to describe your company or business. Shoot for using a handful of these in each tweet to help with the driving force of each post. Others will see that you share similar interests and will be more inclined to follow you.

Practice better networking.

More often than not, Twitter followers are just a number on your home page. While it’s easy to practice the “let’s follow this person in hopes that they’ll follow back” game, it’s not the best networking strategy if only a handful of them follow back. Twitter networking starts with finding the right people to follow. You can start by simply referring to the “Who to follow” recommendations made by Twitter based on your content and who you’re following already. Tools like FollowerWonk helps you find which of your current followers are from your area or industry, as well as finds users who are interested or talking about your industry. See what these users are discussing and chime in to break the ice. If you have something in common, this helps build relationships with other companies or consumers and show your knowledge of the industry. Retweets are also a great way to give a shout out to the original poster, so don’t refrain from retweeting from other companies in the industry. Additionally, don’t forget to respond to anyone who sends you a tweet, thank any compliments or manage any complaints. Like Facebook, Twitter can be a great outlet to show off customer service skills. Take note of users who you have positive interactions with so that you can reference them in the future.

Keep creating content.

Even if you’ve gotten a surge of new followers and are building relationships with them, it’s important to continue to generate content. After all, that’s what your followers came here for! Studies have shown that the amount of tweets you post correlates to the amount of followers you have. Tweeters who have more than 10,000 tweets are more likely to have between 1,000 and 5,000 followers. Create more Twitter content by sharing blog posts, news, company updates, and tips to keep followers engaged. It’s important to have your target market in mind when making content so that your tweets aren’t misdirected and so that you can set the right tone. Over some time, you will be able to establish what types of tweets don’t get as much attention and what you can do to improve.

It’s difficult to get recognition on social media if you’re not a big-time celebrity. It takes a little more work and the results can take time. However, with the right combination of effort, networking and creation of engaging content, your Twitter fan base can grow.